Trying 5E, What books do I have to buy?


4th Edition

Grand Lodge

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I'm about to run the second chapter of Rise of the Runelords. I'd like to try 5E for kicks to see how my players like it compared to Pathfinder.

Wizards STILL doesn't offer PDFs, so I have to buy physical books.

What books do I NEED to buy to try it out? I figure the Player's Handbook so that we can recreate the characters. But Do I NEED the DMG? Does the PH cover most combat, etc?

I plan to do monster conversion on the fly (or ahead of time, but using these ideas.)

I don't want to invest a bunch of money into it yet. It'll have to be a pretty amazing experience to pull me from Pathfinder ...


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I would say the DMG simply for the additional rules and options it provides. You MIGHT be able to eek by with the PHB, but you'd be creating some things from off the top of your head.

It's possible, just more basic in how you run it (and more on that below if that's the option you want to choose).

I'd also say the Monster Manual.

So, the core three, the PHB, the DMG, and the MM.

HOWEVER...and here's the catch. I think you could decently do it without buying ANYTHING if you don't care about having more options.

DnD Basic Rules 5e

You get enough of a smattering of the monsters so that you can reasonably extract how they work, and enough classes and such to run the game.

Also, if you choose the above option of the Basic Rules...More monsters

Moar Monsters 1

Moar Monsters 2

Even Moar Monsters 3


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RyanH wrote:

I'm about to run the second chapter of Rise of the Runelords. I'd like to try 5E for kicks to see how my players like it compared to Pathfinder.

Wizards STILL doesn't offer PDFs, so I have to buy physical books.

What books do I NEED to buy to try it out? I figure the Player's Handbook so that we can recreate the characters. But Do I NEED the DMG? Does the PH cover most combat, etc?

I plan to do monster conversion on the fly (or ahead of time, but using these ideas.)

I don't want to invest a bunch of money into it yet. It'll have to be a pretty amazing experience to pull me from Pathfinder ...

You can run the game fine using just the Player's Handbook. I wouldn't get anything else (but I would get that - I personally find the basic rules and the 5ESRD to be nothing more than teasers - kind of like the beginner's box for PF: you can get kind of the idea but you really miss out on a lot the game has to offer).

As GreyWolfLord mentioned, there's a reasonable number of options around customising the game in the DMG. However, if you're ambivalent I wouldn't take the plunge until you were sure you were going to play 5E again. There isn't much in there that's useful for other games, imo (unless you need 'beginner DM' advice, which I'm sure you don't).

I definitely wouldn't bother with the MM early on. It's easy to convert monsters from PF (I can almost do it on the fly and I pretty much exclusively run Paizo APs).


The SRD contains more monsters than the Basic pdf, for what's that worth. Basic is written like an actual rulebook you can read, whereas the SRD has more nuts and bolts info.

If you want to play few sessions without spending a ton of money, you might consider buying a single adventure and using Basic and the SRD for reference.


Between the Basic rules and the 5e SRD, pretty much every monsters in 5e are covered, so MM isn't an obligation. Unfortunately you can't do without the PHB if you want to have access to all the character options.


That's true, but the SRD does offer one example subclass for every PHB class; I guess the real question is how much of a feel for the system does RyanH want. Call me a cheapskate, but given what Basic and the SRD offer, I wouldn't spend a cent on the core books without playing a few times first.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I personally only own the PHB, and I'm about to start my third campaign as GM. No regrets. :)


What Hitdice said. You don't need to buy any books. Just download the Basic rules (there's player and DM versions), download (or look up the website for) the SRD, and you get all you need to run a game of 5e. Granted, neither of them have all of the options (more races in the SRD, but not every subrace; more classes in the SRD, but not every subclass) for characters (also, only a single feat in the SRD, which is 1 more than in the basic rules).

If you truly have to have all of the options for the players, then you just need the PHB, though you would be out 30-50 dollars if not enough seem to like it.

Sovereign Court

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Definitely PHB, probably DMG, maybe MM.

The DMG really has a lot of good solid information on things that could come up. A lot of "how do you handle this situation" stuff is in the DMG. SOME of it is in the SRD (how to attack objects, deal with poisons, disease, etc), but not all. I would get the DMG if you can.

Grand Lodge

Thanks everyone. I think I'll do th PHB ($25 on Amazon), and nothing else. I can wing poisons and such (plus the conversion on the fly stuff I read gave some info on that.)

I want the PHB to get as much of the options and capabilities as I can from the player side. We'll be converting 4th level Pathfinder characters. I want to see if the characters can be as interesting, diverse and fun to play,.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Be sure to come on back if you need help with the conversions. :)

Grand Lodge

Will do!


Don't forget to check out the 5e Advice for Pathfinder Players thread!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I was able to DM just fine with just the PH. The SRD is just gravy.

One thing to remember is the whole design philosophy of 5th Edition is really different than PF. It encourages homebrewing and DM interpretation and player customization and the like, so it's really OK to make unique versions of monsters and worry at all about them not being the "official" versions.


As a 5e DM, I would buy the starter set, the adventure is solid and the rules you need are all included.

From there I would tie it into the first open world exploration of the Underdark in Out of the Abyss by encountering drow slavers. Out of the Abyss is a game that really flexes the right difficulty of checks and the narrative power of players in a sandbox. It also shows how dangerous and cruel 5e can be.

Over those sessions I would invest in the other books pretty much based entirely on interest or need.

Just my recommended approach if I was a new convert.

Grand Lodge

@hiiamtom: Thanks for the suggestions. We're already playing Rise of the Runelords, and starting the second module, so I think I will continue with that. I just want to see how we like the rule-set. I plan to try 5e, see what we like over Pathfinder, then switch to Pathfinder for the second half of the module (maybe with some house rules mimicing aspects that we liked), and see what we enjoyed more.


Try and get the players to chip in a few dollars each for the MM - the artwork is stunning and they really do bring the classic monsters to life. Not essential but definitely worth a read.

Alternatively see if there is a copy in the local library. Perhaps even give it as a suggestion for them to get all three.

Grand Lodge

Library... Good idea!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Yay! Enjoy! It's a fun book.

Liberty's Edge

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Get the core three, then use them to translate almost fifty years of delicious D&D goodness into 5e. It's actually relatively easy, regardless of edition, the biggest thing is gauging challenges across editions. ;-)

Community Manager

Removed a post. Do not discuss piracy on our boards.

Grand Lodge

hmmm... it looks like you deleted the one were I said I got my copy (from Amazon, for $25) ...

It's sad Herolab doesn't have all the material in it, just one feat. Not sure if I'll be able to get some of my casual players to go through the physical book for character generation.


RyanH: Just explain to them that, unlike Pathfinder, a digital tool is NOT all but required for character generation / advancement.


Norman Osborne wrote:
RyanH: Just explain to them that, unlike Pathfinder, a digital tool is NOT all but required for character generation / advancement.

Agreed. I use an online point-buy calculator (when doing point buy) but everything else is easy and straight-forward enough to just use a normal character sheet.


You can completely build a 5E 1st level character with a pencil, some dice, and a blank sheet of paper in less time than it takes to create a Pathfinder 1st level character in Hero Lab.


Norman Osborne wrote:
You can completely build a 5E 1st level character with a pencil, some dice, and a blank sheet of paper in less time than it takes to create a Pathfinder 1st level character in Hero Lab.

Agreed.


And more importantly the whole table can roll up a party together, face to face, and have plenty of time left in the session to play!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

You can even use the Standard Array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) instead of rolling or point buy to save even more time!

Grand Lodge

Well, I pan to use feats and that adds some complexity, but there aren't so many.


RyanH wrote:
Well, I pan to use feats and that adds some complexity, but there aren't so many.

Unless they're a variant human or you're houseruling something, they won't have to worry about feats until level 4. :)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Which is about 4 hours of gaming time. :-P ;-) :-D

Grand Lodge

bookrat wrote:
RyanH wrote:
Well, I pan to use feats and that adds some complexity, but there aren't so many.
Unless they're a variant human or you're houseruling something, they won't have to worry about feats until level 4. :)

We're switching to D&D 5E with existing characters in module two of Rise of the Runelords, so they're all level four already. We're not starting fresh. Then probably switching back at some point to compare and contrast.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

We're doing RotRL w/ 5E, and it's really fun!

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