Dungeons & Dragons Launch Will Include Free Basic D&D Book

Dungeons & Dragons Launch Will Include Free Basic D&D Book

Basic Dungeons & Dragons will give new players everything they need to make a character and play up to level 20.

Tabletop RPGs can be a ton of fun. That said, they can also be insanely expensive, relying on rule and guide books that can easily set dedicated players back hundreds of dollars. If you need an example you can just look at the new edition of Dungeon's & Dragons coming out later this year. The Player's Handbook alone costs a considerable $49.95 and the expenses only balloon from there. Between $30 adventure books and and additional manuals and guides costing $50 each, even a group sharing books is looking at a potential burdensome investment.

Perhaps recognizing the potential barrier to entry that this could pose for prospective players, Wizards of the Coast has announced that it will be releasing a free handbook to help draw people into the game. The book, which will be called Basic Dungeons & Dragons will be released as a downloadable PDF aimed at giving players the information they need to create a character.

"Basic D&D is a PDF that covers the core of the game. It's the equivalent of the old D&D Rules Cyclopedia," said Mike Mearls, senior manager of the D&D research and design team. "It runs from levels 1 to 20 and covers the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard, presenting what we view as the essential subclass for each. It also provides the dwarf, elf, halfling, and human as race options."

Unlike the old Cyclopedia however, Basic D&D won't include any information regarding setting. Its the company's hope that the content included in the PDF will be enough to hook players who may then go on to buy the more extensive books. According to Mearls, the information in Basic D&D will also be expanded as new paid books becomes available.

"At the launch of the D&D Starter Set, Basic D&D will include the material needed to create characters and advance to 20th level," he said. "In August, with the release of the Player's Handbook, Basic D&D will expand to include the essential monsters, magic items, and DM rules needed to run the game, along with the rules for wilderness, dungeon, and urban adventuring."

All in all, it seems like a decent plan. Even with all the improvements promised for the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons, there are probably already more than a few players who would rather just play the game's they already own. Giving them something free to help them get into the new game however, could be just the sort of bait Wizards needs to help steal back some of the audience its competitors captured in the wake of the D&D 4th Edition's less than ecstatic reception.

Source: Wizards of the Coast

Permalink

Its brilliant stuff, means a player can build a decent character off the bat and play in a convention/club night game without having to splash out for the book or borrow from a friend (I've had several core rule books go "missing" over the years due to people borrowing...).

D&D is shaping up to be pretty good marketing wise, I really hope the game itself is revolutionary enough though to justify my considerably high hopes.

Nothing much to say except that this is an excellent plan -- still not sure I would move from AD&D 1e, but now I'm guaranteed to give the new rules a read/try. More importantly, this will make it incredibly easy for someone new to RPGs and kind-of interested in D&D (but not enough to start investing dollars) to download the rules, create a simple character, and join a group. Even if they only convert a small fraction of those dabblers into paying customers, this edition would have to be considered an enormous success compared to more recent efforts that have tended to shrink the pool of customers rather than growing it.

Decent character varies wildly on edition though. I wouldn't be surprised if this replicates the 3.x caster throwing Save-or-Dies, flying over and such while your simple Fighter says "I hit it with my sword/axe/mace/etc". At which point the person playing that Fighter has to shell out for splatbook that makes class in question viable for long-termp lay.

captcha: that will not work

Why yes, correct

Well, at least I'll have a way to check out the rules and evaluate beforehand.

Auberon:
Decent character varies wildly on edition though. I wouldn't be surprised if this replicates the 3.x caster throwing Save-or-Dies, flying over and such while your simple Fighter says "I hit it with my sword/axe/mace/etc". At which point the person playing that Fighter has to shell out for splatbook that makes class in question viable for long-termp lay.

captcha: that will not work

Why yes, correct

Thats not exactly a bad thing though, its achieving something that works for both parties; the player gets to try out the system in an albeit potentially simplified state for free and then if they like it to the point that they want to expand the character they'll make the investment with the company.

Even then, assuming they're not GMing, they could still skivvy off of the GM's copy to keep them playing.

Enlightened self-interest, from WotC? Maybe this edition will take off afteral. I'll check out the basic rules at least.

I just wish they had the equivalent of the 4th edition Rules Compendium. That book was an immensely handy reference guide.

Wow, it's almost like having some kind of open game system that makes the rules available for free is beneficial to getting someone to buy your products... Like.. like an Open Game License. Way to catch up to 3.5, WotC. Their idiocy aside, I'm interested to see the final product and how it plays; the grid optional combat, the races and classes, etc. Although the fact that they decided to still push 20 total levels is still excessive.

StewShearer:
Perhaps recognizing the potential barrier to entry that this could pose for prospective players, Wizards of the Coast has announced that it will be releasing a free handbook to help draw people into the game. The book, which will be called Basic Dungeons & Dragons will be released as a downloadable PDF aimed at giving players the information they need to create a character.

"Basic D&D is a PDF that covers the core of the game. It's the equivalent of the old D&D Rules Cyclopedia," said Mike Mearls, senior manager of the D&D research and design team. "It runs from levels 1 to 20 and covers the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard, presenting what we view as the essential subclass for each. It also provides the dwarf, elf, halfling, and human as race options."

"At the launch of the D&D Starter Set, Basic D&D will include the material needed to create characters and advance to 20th level," he said. "In August, with the release of the Player's Handbook, Basic D&D will expand to include the essential monsters, magic items, and DM rules needed to run the game, along with the rules for wilderness, dungeon, and urban adventuring."

I'm sorry, are they really attempting to rebrand a crappy boxed-in 5th ed. version of the OGCSRD from 3.5 as something new and fantastic?

or, you know, I could head to http://www.d20pfsrd.com/ and have literally everything I need to run a homebrew game for free.

Different strokes I guess.

Jato Jay:
Wow, it's almost like having some kind of open game system that makes the rules available for free is beneficial to getting someone to buy your products... Like.. like an Open Game License. Way to catch up to 3.5, WotC. Their idiocy aside, I'm interested to see the final product and how it plays; the grid optional combat, the races and classes, etc. Although the fact that they decided to still push 20 total levels is still excessive.

out of every game I have played, I think the party only got to level 20 once, and that was because the campaign became mythic on accident.

plus there really isn't much else for characters at level 20 other than becoming NPC's in other games. The only things that would provide an actual challenge are CR 26+ monsters.

Even then, the only ones that would be an actual challenge are deities, and they can just come back to life in a couple of days.

Pretty smart move on their part, if only to get introductory information into the hands of potential customers. Time will tell how much they keep it up to date and consistent with newer rules, or if this is just going to be a one off promotional stunt to drive sales.

I never did consider tabletop RPG gaming to be all that expensive a hobby, at least on a per game basis. Especially when you consider $60 games (not to mention CEs) and then pile subscriptions and microtransactions on top of that. One person buys a set of books and you can entertain a table of six people!

Anyone be interested in having an Escapist game of DnD5 via G+ or similar once the rules are out? Could be a giggle?

Fasckira:
Anyone be interested in having an Escapist game of DnD5 via G+ or similar once the rules are out? Could be a giggle?

Could do so. Though I haven't got any knowledge of 5th ed having only played 3.5 for the longest time.

hawkeye52:
Could do so. Though I haven't got any knowledge of 5th ed having only played 3.5 for the longest time.

Neither do I! I meant once the rules are out and we've had a chance to see whats what. :)

Kalezian:
or, you know, I could head to http://www.d20pfsrd.com/ and have literally everything I need to run a homebrew game for free.

Different strokes I guess.

out of every game I have played, I think the party only got to level 20 once, and that was because the campaign became mythic on accident.

plus there really isn't much else for characters at level 20 other than becoming NPC's in other games. The only things that would provide an actual challenge are CR 26+ monsters.

Even then, the only ones that would be an actual challenge are deities, and they can just come back to life in a couple of days.

I guess that's my thing though. I don't expect to become a godslayer at max level. But there are cool capstone abilities and other nice things. I think being able to bump max level and face an epic enemy, or just reach it by completing a huge arc would be a cool reward. But up to 20 takes probably years of playing or fudging the rules. My argument wasn't so much that 20 should be easier to get to so much as these unneeded levels that few people reach should be scrapped and max should be less potent but more reachable. Retiring a max level 10 char feels satisfying. Stopping a campaign at level 12 because it's been dragging and challenge levels are all over the place is fun for no one.

Nice to see Wizards of the Coast learning from their mistakes - and from Paizo's success. Good for them. Considering that it's free, I'll give 5th Ed a look over. I might even try running a game with it.

If they'd done this with 4th Ed, they'd have gotten a much better reception from the fans.

 

Reply to Thread

Your account does not have posting rights. If you feel this is in error, please contact an administrator. (ID# 66590)