D&D 5E modules work with just free PDF--don't need 3 core books


4th Edition

Liberty's Edge

One of the interesting things about D&D 5E is that a person new to the game can simply pick up any module and grab the PDF for free to play. New DMs won't have to buy the books to get going.

Mearls has said that if the module needs any additional rules to run it those rules will be included in free PDF form as well.

So Basic D&D will indeed be a complete game. If you run adventures as part of the D&D Adventurers League at a local game store or convention you will be able to get the module for free and use the PDF for free as well. I suppose some advanced modules may require the books but Wizards hasn't mentioned whether this is true or not yet. Quite the deal.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

11.

The only thing more disappointing is that Paizo doesn't provide a free complete ruleset with splatbooks available online.

Grand Lodge

thejeff wrote:
Will you have to buy the module (or prove you've bought the module to get the PDF that goes with it?

That's actually not unheard of... Necromancer Games included a password in most of their 3rd edition era modules so you could then go on to their web site and download additional content.


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If it boils down to trust lost with a company, free doesn't always cut it.
If Olestra was like "Sorry about the gas and diarhea thing, here's a free bag of chips!" I dunno how many people would take the chips.


Time will tell. Unfortunately the internet isn't very patient

I for one hope there plans come off well and an excellent game is released

Digital Products Assistant

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Removed a post and the replies to it. Don't use the word "rape" in this way.


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Thanks Chris. You probably don't hear that enough about this part of your job.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Digitalelf wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Will you have to buy the module (or prove you've bought the module to get the PDF that goes with it?
That's actually not unheard of... Necromancer Games included a password in most of their 3rd edition era modules so you could then go on to their web site and download additional content.

That's not my impression. From what I can tell it appears that if there is something about the adventure that makes use of a system not in the Basic PDF, they will be adding to Basic to support you being able to run the adventure. So, say the adventure uses a mass combat option included in the DMG but not originally in the Basic PDF. They put the minimum you need into Basic so you don't need the DMG to do it. This is kind of like how a lot of 3.5 adventures in Dungeon and whatnot would include a sidebar if an NPC stat block used a non-standard class or something. I think the same is true if the module just had (Girallon, 10 hp) listed in the encounter assuming you had the Monster Manual they would add the stat block for Girallon to the monster portion of the Basic PDF.

Essentially as I see it, you should be able to play any adventure they publish using only the Basic PDF, the adventure you bought and dice.


Legendarius wrote:
Digitalelf wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Will you have to buy the module (or prove you've bought the module to get the PDF that goes with it?
That's actually not unheard of... Necromancer Games included a password in most of their 3rd edition era modules so you could then go on to their web site and download additional content.

That's not my impression. From what I can tell it appears that if there is something about the adventure that makes use of a system not in the Basic PDF, they will be adding to Basic to support you being able to run the adventure. So, say the adventure uses a mass combat option included in the DMG but not originally in the Basic PDF. They put the minimum you need into Basic so you don't need the DMG to do it. This is kind of like how a lot of 3.5 adventures in Dungeon and whatnot would include a sidebar if an NPC stat block used a non-standard class or something. I think the same is true if the module just had (Girallon, 10 hp) listed in the encounter assuming you had the Monster Manual they would add the stat block for Girallon to the monster portion of the Basic PDF.

Essentially as I see it, you should be able to play any adventure they publish using only the Basic PDF, the adventure you bought and dice.

Possible, but I'm curious how that'll work out in practice. It seems that Basic would accumulate stuff very quickly, or the module design space will stay small

Example: Only 4 classes, with only the basic subclasses and options, are in Basic. Will adventures not use other classes/subclasses or will they add them into Basic as they get used? That seems like you'll fairly quickly get most of the classes into Basic, which seems counter to the intent of only starting with the basic 4.


thejeff wrote:
Legendarius wrote:
Digitalelf wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Will you have to buy the module (or prove you've bought the module to get the PDF that goes with it?
That's actually not unheard of... Necromancer Games included a password in most of their 3rd edition era modules so you could then go on to their web site and download additional content.

That's not my impression. From what I can tell it appears that if there is something about the adventure that makes use of a system not in the Basic PDF, they will be adding to Basic to support you being able to run the adventure. So, say the adventure uses a mass combat option included in the DMG but not originally in the Basic PDF. They put the minimum you need into Basic so you don't need the DMG to do it. This is kind of like how a lot of 3.5 adventures in Dungeon and whatnot would include a sidebar if an NPC stat block used a non-standard class or something. I think the same is true if the module just had (Girallon, 10 hp) listed in the encounter assuming you had the Monster Manual they would add the stat block for Girallon to the monster portion of the Basic PDF.

Essentially as I see it, you should be able to play any adventure they publish using only the Basic PDF, the adventure you bought and dice.

Possible, but I'm curious how that'll work out in practice. It seems that Basic would accumulate stuff very quickly, or the module design space will stay small

Example: Only 4 classes, with only the basic subclasses and options, are in Basic. Will adventures not use other classes/subclasses or will they add them into Basic as they get used? That seems like you'll fairly quickly get most of the classes into Basic, which seems counter to the intent of only starting with the basic 4.

Since NPCs will be treated like monsters and not be treated like PCs, you don't need rules for classes. You can play the game with Basic assuming your PCs only use the simple classes, otherwise your players need the PHB to run other classes/subclasses. The adventure could have a bard for example, but that bard won't be a full bard PC writeup probably.


Yep. Hallelujah. Npcs and baddies should play by simpler rules and stats


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Legendarius wrote:
Digitalelf wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Will you have to buy the module (or prove you've bought the module to get the PDF that goes with it?
That's actually not unheard of... Necromancer Games included a password in most of their 3rd edition era modules so you could then go on to their web site and download additional content.

That's not my impression. From what I can tell it appears that if there is something about the adventure that makes use of a system not in the Basic PDF, they will be adding to Basic to support you being able to run the adventure. So, say the adventure uses a mass combat option included in the DMG but not originally in the Basic PDF. They put the minimum you need into Basic so you don't need the DMG to do it. This is kind of like how a lot of 3.5 adventures in Dungeon and whatnot would include a sidebar if an NPC stat block used a non-standard class or something. I think the same is true if the module just had (Girallon, 10 hp) listed in the encounter assuming you had the Monster Manual they would add the stat block for Girallon to the monster portion of the Basic PDF.

Essentially as I see it, you should be able to play any adventure they publish using only the Basic PDF, the adventure you bought and dice.

I'd be surprised by that, since Basic would very quickly lose it's introductory/simple nature as more and more adventures with extra rules bits were put out.

I suspect there'll be a separate free PDF containing essential rules add-ons for each module released. Although I wouldnt have a clue whether it'll be 'free with purchase of the module' or free for everyone.


thenovalord wrote:
Yep. Hallelujah. Npcs and baddies should play by simpler rules and stats

Total agreement here. I hate when my NPCs are restricted to follow arbitrary rules just because the PCs have to. Especially when said NPCs might only last a few minutes before dying.


I am guessing the additional rules aren't going to be completely new systems, but rather the modules will include rules for spells, traps, and monsters that might not be in the free basic version.


MMCJawa wrote:

I am guessing the additional rules aren't going to be completely new systems, but rather the modules will include rules for spells, traps, and monsters that might not be in the free basic version.

That's what I'm guessing too. A spell gets mentioned that isn't in the Basic PDF, they'll throw in the description, and so on.


Matt Thomason wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:

I am guessing the additional rules aren't going to be completely new systems, but rather the modules will include rules for spells, traps, and monsters that might not be in the free basic version.

That's what I'm guessing too. A spell gets mentioned that isn't in the Basic PDF, they'll throw in the description, and so on.

That's an interesting point; the only spells listed in Basic will (apparently) be mage/wizard/whatever-the-hell-they-end-up-calling-the-class and cleric spells. Unless they're going to list each spell as a separate action in the NPC stat block (which Next/5e hasn't done thus far) spells unique to any other class would require buying the PHB. Look, whatever, I was already planning to. *grumble*


Hitdice wrote:
Matt Thomason wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:

I am guessing the additional rules aren't going to be completely new systems, but rather the modules will include rules for spells, traps, and monsters that might not be in the free basic version.

That's what I'm guessing too. A spell gets mentioned that isn't in the Basic PDF, they'll throw in the description, and so on.
That's an interesting point; the only spells listed in Basic will (apparently) be mage/wizard/whatever-the-hell-they-end-up-calling-the-class and cleric spells. Unless they're going to list each spell as a separate action in the NPC stat block (which Next/5e hasn't done thus far) spells unique to any other class would require buying the PHB. Look, whatever, I was already planing to. *grumble*

OTOH, they've apparently said everything needed to play the adventures will be added to Basic.

So maybe they'll be adding spells from classes that aren't in Basic. Or maybe there will only be wizard and cleric spells. Though that seems unlikely.
I still don't quite see how this will work.

The idea that NPCs/enemies won't actually have class levels plays into it, I guess. I'm not sure how that works out in the long run. It's an idea that was used in earlier versions, but I don't think it was every applied as a general rule for all non-PCs. Plenty of humanoid races were always statted up with a "leaders are X level fighters" approach.

Liberty's Edge

thejeff wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Matt Thomason wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:

I am guessing the additional rules aren't going to be completely new systems, but rather the modules will include rules for spells, traps, and monsters that might not be in the free basic version.

That's what I'm guessing too. A spell gets mentioned that isn't in the Basic PDF, they'll throw in the description, and so on.
That's an interesting point; the only spells listed in Basic will (apparently) be mage/wizard/whatever-the-hell-they-end-up-calling-the-class and cleric spells. Unless they're going to list each spell as a separate action in the NPC stat block (which Next/5e hasn't done thus far) spells unique to any other class would require buying the PHB. Look, whatever, I was already planing to. *grumble*

OTOH, they've apparently said everything needed to play the adventures will be added to Basic.

So maybe they'll be adding spells from classes that aren't in Basic. Or maybe there will only be wizard and cleric spells. Though that seems unlikely.
I still don't quite see how this will work.

The idea that NPCs/enemies won't actually have class levels plays into it, I guess. I'm not sure how that works out in the long run. It's an idea that was used in earlier versions, but I don't think it was every applied as a general rule for all non-PCs. Plenty of humanoid races were always statted up with a "leaders are X level fighters" approach.

In the last module PDF of Dead in Thay (for D&D Next) the release included some new spells for the various casters in an updated spell PDF. In an earlier adventure, new spells or new magic items were included right next to the NPC using them. I can see both options working for D&D Basic and the modules supported by it.


thejeff wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Matt Thomason wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:

I am guessing the additional rules aren't going to be completely new systems, but rather the modules will include rules for spells, traps, and monsters that might not be in the free basic version.

That's what I'm guessing too. A spell gets mentioned that isn't in the Basic PDF, they'll throw in the description, and so on.
That's an interesting point; the only spells listed in Basic will (apparently) be mage/wizard/whatever-the-hell-they-end-up-calling-the-class and cleric spells. Unless they're going to list each spell as a separate action in the NPC stat block (which Next/5e hasn't done thus far) spells unique to any other class would require buying the PHB. Look, whatever, I was already planing to. *grumble*

OTOH, they've apparently said everything needed to play the adventures will be added to Basic.

So maybe they'll be adding spells from classes that aren't in Basic. Or maybe there will only be wizard and cleric spells. Though that seems unlikely.
I still don't quite see how this will work.

The idea that NPCs/enemies won't actually have class levels plays into it, I guess. I'm not sure how that works out in the long run. It's an idea that was used in earlier versions, but I don't think it was every applied as a general rule for all non-PCs. Plenty of humanoid races were always statted up with a "leaders are X level fighters" approach.

I'm not saying you're wrong, I was just thinking about how the lich stat block in the last playtest included a list of prepared spells, and how, if they're going to include liches in adventures (and I think they will, given the name recognition), they'll have to account for the spell casting of liches in the Basic pdf.

. . .

(I can't believe Paizo's spell check flags lich; that's just shoddy workmanship! :P )


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Hitdice wrote:


(I can't believe Paizo's spell check flags lich; that's just shoddy workmanship! :P )

No such thing as a Paizo Spell check...restricted words yes but no spell check. Its your browsers spell check.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Hitdice wrote:


(I can't believe Paizo's spell check flags lich; that's just shoddy workmanship! :P )
No such thing as a Paizo Spell check...restricted words yes but no spell check. Its your browsers spell check.

Browser? You mean you're not all just reading the output from telnetting to port 80 on paizo.com like I am? :-O

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