Friday, February 26, 2016

Hey, Did You Know D&D 5th Edition Is Free?

If you frequest RPG-related social media, this article is probably not for you, since you likely know all of this already... but I'm putting this out there for those that may not realize there are a lot more free resources from Wizards of the Coast beyond the D&D Basic Rules. Share with your friends who may not have tried D&D yet!

Is D&D really free?  Sure is!


Unless you don't read RPG related social media (or live in a cave), you probably already know that the Wizards of the Coast released a free "Basic" version of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

The Basic version is trimmed down including only the 4 "core" classes - Cleric, Fighter, Rogue and Wizard. Similarly it only included the core races, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, and Human. It also excludes Feats, but otherwise is a perfectly playable mechanically complete version of the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. There is even a subset of the Monster Manual which includes the majority of standard D&D monsters for free.

What one may not know is that Wizards of the Coast also released the 5th Edition System Reference Document (SRD5).  The SRD is a PDF that includes the classes that were not included in D&D Basic PDF (Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer, and Warlock) as well as the additional races from the Player's Handbook, Magic Items from the Dungeon Masters Guide, and tons of creatures from the Monster Manual.

The SRD5 does not contain all of the class path options (selected at 3rd level), but it has the primary path for each class, which is more than enough for a complete game. How much would you pay?

But, wait! There's more! 


Each time Wizards of the Coast releases an adventure path, they often add supplemental materials for DM's who don't own all the books. These include more monsters, spells and even race or class options. 

Of these free supplements, a must-download is the Elemental Evil Player's Companion. This document not only contains additional player races, like Goliath and Genasi, but also a boat-load of new spells that don't appear in the Player's Handbook (some of them were later released in Xanathar's Guide). Regardless of whether you have the D&D Basic Rule or the full Player's Handbook, this PDF is really indispensable for giving your players and campaign some additional spell casting options.

Between all these free resources from Wizards, you really have a complete version of 5th Edition that you can play for free (levels 1 - 20) using only these documents!




Princes of the Apocalypse adventure supplement -  http://dnd.wizards.com/products/tabletop-games/rpg-products/princes-apocalypse


Tell Your Friends


There's really no better time to try out playing Dungeons & Dragons. With all of the free resources from Wizards of the Coast, they don't even have to purchase any books to give it a try. Just some dice and friends... (well, you don't purchase your friends, but you know what I mean...)

If you're not certain about what D&D entails, you can start by reading my D&D Primer.



[Update 2]: A commenter (commentor?) pointed out I should mention D&D Adventurer's League which allows you to try out D&D at locals game stores for free. Lots of helpful players and DM's to assist new players. The Curse of Strahd aventure path starts in March, so you want to try out D&D, look up your local game store by zip code here: http://dnd.wizards.com/playevents/organized-play



[Update]: I got a lot of flack from certain places on social media for suggesting to use the SRD as a free resource for players... One guy even went as far to "tell on me" to try to support his point of view. Didn't quite get the answer he wanted.

3 comments:

  1. Google+ comments:
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    Feb 26, 2016
    Clément Covemaeker

    Free is a bit overstated, as WotC released only part of the core rules as free, leaving people who want to use the rules needing to fill in the gaps (e.g. Roll20 had to re-write some

    classes but with a different name). At least that's what I recall of a blog post I read a few weeks ago.

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    Feb 26, 2016
    Marty Walser (Raging Owlbear)

    +Clément Covemaeker I do not think it is overstated at all. The whole system is present, just a few options were left out... but it is still a "complete" game from a game-play

    standpoint.

    Yes, it is correct that each class only has one of the paths that may be chosen at 3rd level (and Feats are not included) but a new player doesn't care about that (and it's not

    important from the point of view of introducing new players to the game) The rule set is complete and you can play every class included in the SRD from 1st to 20th level.

    If you look back at AD&D, the 5e Basic Rules + SRD classes has even more options than 1st and 2nd edition core books had, as well as more options than the D&D Rules

    Cyclopedia. It's a complete game.

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    Feb 26, 2016
    Daniel (ShadowDrakken)

    Not sure this really counts as "free 5th Edition" considering it's the Basic edition, which doesn't even play the same as the full version

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    Feb 26, 2016
    Marty Walser (Raging Owlbear)
    +Daniel Bentley It plays exactly the same. The only mechanical difference is Feats.

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    Feb 26, 2016
    Chalice In Chains

    Man you guys are nit picking like crazy. This is geared towards those that maybe want to try before they buy or maybe are casual gamers that are not going to buy a players handbook. You can play an entire campaign with lots of unique characters with the free 5th edition material. That's the point of this post.

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    Feb 26, 2016
    Eric Boyd
    There's no reaction rolls, morale system, or discussion of what to hand out XP for apart from killing monsters. This is true of both Basic and the full books, mind you...

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    Feb 26, 2016
    Shawn Driscoll
    I don't know about D&D SRDs. But some SRDs are not playable. So I'm not sure what their use is, other than frustrating potential customers. Recently, I discovered that "get the

    SRD" is code for "just torrent the full game, people"

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    Feb 26, 2016
    Chris Woods

    SRDs are for designers who want to build on the game using the OGL. Everything in the SRD can be used in other OGL creations. It's definitely not intended for players (though it

    can be).

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    Feb 26, 2016
    Shawn Driscoll

    +Chris Woods Ok. That makes sense. I tell new players to give quick-start rules a try, to see if they like a game. It irks me when I see someone suggesting new players use the

    SRD rules for a game.

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    Feb 26, 2016
    Chris Woods

    This edition has the Basic Rules, which is a great starting point. And yes, If you need more classes you definitely get access to the others with the SRD. I think the starting point

    should be basic rules and then SRD at some place like http://www.5esrd.com/

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    Feb 26, 2016
    Ada Rae Macey

    +Chalice In Chains It's really not geared towards casual games or new players. It's certainly usable by them, but if it was targeted at them, it would have a lot more fluff and

    context.

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    Feb 26, 2016
    Marty Walser (Raging Owlbear)

    Keep in mind I didn't say "use the SRD". I said the SRD contained additional options not included in the Basic Rules. I think it would be pretty easy to use the classes in the SRD

    once you have read the rules. Was that not clear?

    ReplyDelete
  2. ----------
    Feb 27, 2016
    Marty Walser (Raging Owlbear)

    +Shawn Driscoll "Download the SRD" is not code for "torrent the game." i specifically note that the classes in the SRD can be used legally with the Basic D&D PDF. I do not

    advocate piracy and take exception if that was the implication.

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    Feb 27, 2016
    Jürgen Hubert

    A pity the SRD only has one Background. Though I suppose "Pick any two Skills, and two choices of either a language or a tool proficiency, and explain how you learned them"

    should work well enough as a substitute.

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    Feb 27, 2016
    Marty Walser (Raging Owlbear)

    Yeah, the Basic PDF has 6 or 7... so enough examples to give players the use of the mechanic to create their own.


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    Feb 27, 2016
    Federico Totti

    The hi-res maps for "Death House" are free as well! Thanks +Mike Schley !
    Here on his site http://mikeschley.zenfolio.com/p678546160/h61fadc4d#h61fadc4d?
    #dnd #deathhouse #curseofstrahd

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    Feb 27, 2016
    James Hickey Jr

    Great Age to be a gamer, especially tabletop RPGs! I Love It!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I know this is really old, but I'm sure that link for Elemental Evil Player's Companion is meant to be http://dnd.wizards.com/products/tabletop-games/rpg-products/player%E2%80%99s-companion

    ReplyDelete

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