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The D&D 5 Basic Rules are free and have been out for a month, so I've pored over those. The Player's Handbook came out today.

Aside from the obvious content increase (the PHB has more spells, classes, and races than the Basic Rules do), what other rules changes/additions/ options exist in the PHB that are not in the Basic Rules?

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200 pages worth? – mxyzplk Aug 19 '14 at 20:58
Asking if any rules changed between versions might be more useful. What was added is likely a huge list. – Tridus Aug 19 '14 at 21:43
I thought "Aside from... content" implied rules, but yeah I am asking about rules changes or updates. As an example, I think they added Feats, but I am sure there are more minor things worth noting. – Mag Roader Aug 19 '14 at 22:16
My understanding is that the basic rules are a living document that reflect the main rules (and will presumably include all errata.) The only content that's in the PHB and not in Basic are various character options: class archetypes, feats, backgrounds, etc. Otherwise, everything you need to play (how actions work, combat, skills, etc. etc.) is contained in the Basic rules. – Mike Riverso Aug 19 '14 at 22:45
I would edit this to ask "what content differences exist;" the core rules are identical between basic and PHB. Its the breadth and depth of options available to players (and DMs) that is where the difference lies. – Joshua Aslan Smith Aug 20 '14 at 0:36
up vote 11 down vote accepted

NOTE: This answer assumes that the asker is comparing the latest version of the Player's Basic Rules (v0.2 at time of writing) to the Player's Handbook.

Here is a complete summary in list form of the new content:

  • 5 New Races, 1 New Elf Sub-Race. Side Note: Unfortunately, Duergar Dwarves didn't make it to the PHB.
  • 8 New Classes, Expanded Customization Options for Existing Classes.
  • 7 New Backgrounds.
  • Rules for Multiclassing.
  • 42 Feats.
  • Many New Spells.
  • Additional Appendices. Side Note: PHB contains information about the various planes of existence, basic animal/monster stat-blocks, and "inspirational reading" which is basically a list of other sources for literary flavor/fluff text.

Interestingly, the latest version of the Player's Basic Rules contains some background information regarding factions that the PHB does not have (which presumably will be in the Dungeon Master's Guide). It's also available in the Adventurer's League Player's Guide.

The Dungeon Master's Basic Rules (v0.1 at time of writing) seems to have all of the animals/monsters that are in the PHB, plus additional monster content from the Starter Set adventure (Lost Mine of Phandelver). It does not appear to have the monsters from the latest official adventure (Hoard of the Dragon Queen), however, those are also freely available in a separate online supplement.

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It should also be noted that the classes in Basic have expanded character options in the PHB. For example, there Fighter only gets one Martial Archetype in Basic, and three to choose from in the PHB. – Mike Riverso Aug 19 '14 at 22:48

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