Take the 2-minute tour ×
Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The Player's Handbook (PHB) for D&D Next is being released in August. The Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual are being released a few months after, however. Can a group run a successful campaign with only the PHB? What would they be missing out on?

share|improve this question
2  
How would I know if it was speculative or not? Wizards could have made an announcement, forum post, q&a answer, or something else clarifying this, but I couldn't find it. Someone else might have if one exists. –  smcg May 23 at 18:56
1  
@smcg not a problem, we've been asking/answering about the playtest all along. I don't see an issue asking this question as it's an odd release schedule for a game. –  wax eagle May 23 at 19:25

5 Answers 5

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Head designer Mike Mearls has tweeted

Lots of Q's about the staggered release: You will not need the MM or DMG to run a campaign. Or the PH or Starter Set to make a character.

To what extent this is true in practice remains to be seen! To me, the last point suggests they might have some basic resources available online for free, which might include a small amount of monsters.

And indeed, they have now announced "Basic D&D". The key quote:

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. 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. (The Starter Set already covers the aspects of these rules that you need to run the included campaign.)

They will also update Basic to keep it compatible with released adventures:

As we introduce new storylines like Tyranny of Dragons, we’ll also make available free PDFs that provide all the rules and stats missing from Basic D&D needed to run the adventures tied into the story. The adventures released as part of Tyranny of Dragons are playable without requiring any of the core rulebooks or the Starter Set.

share|improve this answer

Technically, No, you will not be able to run a campaign with only the PHB.

However, when the player handbook is released it will corespond with an update to the free basic rules pdf. This will allow you to run a campaign for free, with or without the phb. However character options will be limited.

With the combined products of the PHB and the free Basic rule system, you will be able to run a limited campaign from levels 1-20.

This answer is based on the legends and lore article from May 27th. http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd%2F4ll%2F20140527

share|improve this answer
1  
This is the answer I wanted to give but it appears you beat me to it: There will be a free basic set. –  medivh May 27 at 10:58

I will mine the source tweets and articles if necessary but currently we know the following information.

The DMG will Contain:

  • Warforged Race
  • Magic Items
  • Tatical combat rules
  • Mass combat rules
  • Spell point Magic mechanics for all casters

The PHB will Contain:

  • How to Play
  • Fighters, Rogues, Barbarians, Bards, Wizards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, Druids, Rangers, and clerics
  • Backgrounds
  • Traits, Ideals, flaws and bonds
  • Character creation rules
  • Exploration rules

We have been told by Mike Mearls that it will be possible to run your own campaign with just the player handbook.

We have also been told that there are three sets of rules for DnD 5e. There will be Basic, Standard, and Advanced rules. In various talks through the years of the playtest, Mike Mearls has consistently said that you will be able to play the Standard game with just the first book. The DMG is then a book which adds more content and options, and gives you access to the Advanced rules. In addition there is the free basic game which, while having limited options, will allow you to run a campaign from level 1 - 20.

So, if you are content with creating and running a game, which uses the basic or standard rules, with the 10 basic classes, and 6 basic races and do not need to have rules for setting specific Races, advanced magical weapons, custom classes or sub classes, extra combat rules, and alternative magic casting techniques then you will be fine with just the player handbook. However, if you want to create and craft your own campaign world, and wish to do so "by the book" you will need the DMG.

share|improve this answer

We won't know until we/other parties can obtain copies of the books in question and pore over them, but...

The D&D 5e starter kit will release first and include pre-gens, a series of adventures and the monsters and DM notes to run them. The should he sufficient to teach people how to play.

Conjecture: PHB for D&D 5e should have all the core rules required to play included. Hopefully there will be a limited, but useful set of monsters in the back of the book for GMs to use while they wait for the DMG to drop later which will no doubt have all sorts of rules and guidelines covering custom monster creation, item creation, and the mechanics of running a campaign in D&D 5e.

share|improve this answer

According to this "Legends and Lore" article from Mike Mearls, the Player's Handbook — along with the other two core books — will not be necessary to run the game. The basic rules to D&D will be made available for free in PDF.

Basic D&D is a PDF that covers the core of the game. It’s the equivalent of the old D&D Rules Cyclopedia, though it doesn’t have quite the same scope (for example, it won’t go into detail on a setting). 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.

But the best part? Basic D&D is a free PDF. Anyone can download it from our website. We want to put D&D in as many hands as possible, and a free, digital file is the best way to do that.

If Basic D&D is the equivalent of the classic Rules Cyclopedia, then the three core rulebooks are analogous to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Want more character options? Pick up a Player’s Handbook. Looking for more critters for your campaign? The Monster Manual has you covered. Want to sculpt a unique campaign? Pick up the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Still, Basic D&D is the true heart of the game and could easily provide a lifetime of gaming.

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. 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. (The Starter Set already covers the aspects of these rules that you need to run the included campaign.)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.