Merric's Musings

Thoughts from an Australian Board Gamer and RPGer
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More information on the new Dungeons & Dragons 5E Starter Set

Merric Blackman
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Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
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Mike Mearls has enlightened us a little more about the contents of the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set. And there’s a big surprise for people buying the set:

No character creation rules are in the D&D Starter Set!

Well, that’s not what I expected – or had inferred based on his previous posts. Mike has clarified that the Starter Set is aimed at Dungeon Masters, so given that it covers levels 1-5, it likely has a pregenerated adventure in the box. It definitely has pregenerated characters. But from where comes the idea that you’ll be able to create characters?

Here’s Mike’s original tweet:

Lots of questions about character creation and the starter set – you will definitely be able to make characters when it comes out.

And his follow-up:

To clear up the Starter Set – it’s aimed at DMs, so no PC creation in the box. But players will be able to make characters without it. For a DM running the starter set, there will be pregens to hand out. Players who want to make characters will be able to do so.

So, how does this work?

At this point, it seems clear that there will be some online option for creating characters. The theories are split between a character generator on the Wizards site and a System Reference Document of some kind. My own opinion leans towards both – the big question is whether or not they’ll be behind the pay wall or not.

Here’s Mike again:

You will be able to run a complete campaign starting in August, with the release of the PH.

So, there’s definitely going to be something online – DM Tools, Player Tools and perhaps more. Unfortunately, Wizards seem to be still working out the details, giving us this reply from Mike when we press for more details:

Sorry, we’re still finalizing things, but I think we have a pretty nifty plan.


However, I can definitely tell that Mike is excited about the new Starter Set. He says so himself:

Holding the Starter Set books in my hand. Gotta admit, this is the most excited I’ve ever been about a product I’ve worked on.

For a DM running the starter set, there will be pregens to hand out. Players who want to make characters will be able to do so.

Orion Cooper: would you recommend the starter set to an experienced DM and player?

Yes – it’ll be a good way to either kick off a campaign or run 8 to 10 sessions to get your feet under you with the rules

Unfortunately, Mike didn’t respond to Morrus’s request for pictures.

There are no rules for creating your own adventures in the Starter Kit. The DM material contains only a pregenerated adventure and rules for running it. Mike, again:

Me: Mike, does the starter set have rules for creating adventures, or is it just pre-written adventures in the book?

Just the pre-written adventure. Think of it like a set you could hand to a board gamer to make them into a new DM running D&D.

The stuff we haven’t talked about yet is where DMs and players go next – there’s a step between the Starter Set and the Big 3

The five pregenerated characters are very, very likely to be the same identities as those in the Starter miniature set – so:

* Dwarf Cleric
* Human Ranger
* Halfling Rogue
* Northlands (Human) Fighter
* Elf Wizard
(The Drizzt in the set would be just a bonus).

One other point: The 32-page player book contains rules for playing characters levels 1-5. Given how D&D works, it will probably contain the spell lists (or a portion thereof) for the Cleric, Ranger and Wizard. That’s levels 1-3 spells for the Cleric and Wizard, and level 1 & 2 spells for the Ranger, assuming the progressions work like they do in the playtest (not necessarily true).

I've writing about a bunch of this stuff on my main blog:
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