Sunday, July 6, 2014

Breaking down DnD Basic Part 3

Lets look at the DnD Basic rules in detail.

The purpose of these posts is to summarize the rules accurately with commentary from the perspective of an OSR Publisher.

Chapter 2

Chapter Two is about the various races supported by the DnD Basic rules. Each races is given the following.

  • Ability Score Increases
  • Alignment
  • Size
  • Speed
  • Languages
  • Suggested Names
  • Traits
  • Subraces and their traits
The included races are
  • Dwarves (Hill Dwarf, Mountain Dwarf)
  • Elves (High Elves, Wood Elves)
  • Halflings (Lightfoot, Stout)
  • Humans (no sub race)
In general the various races get +4 to their attributes, +2 to a core attribute (+2 to constitution for Dwarves) and +2 or +1/+1 to another set of attributes because of the subrace (Mountain Dwarves get +2 to Strength). The traits are pretty much bog standards and nothing we haven't seen before among the various retro-clones.

Continuing the trend started in 3e, Humans get a bonus as well. In this case +1 to all their attribute scores. There is a variant where Humans get two +1 to their attributes, a free skill proficiency, and a free feat. 

I like how each race are given a small box describing their attitudes towards one another. 

I dislike how much the Forgotten Realms intrudes on the verbose backgrounds descriptions particularly the humans. I think this minor hiccup is an instance where marketing priorities overruled a more common sense approach.

Outside of the scattered Forgotten Realms stuff, the presentation is strictly bog standard DnDish fantasy. 

Like the Basic DnD Holmes Blue Book there are references to the larger rule set embodied by the 5e PHB, DMG, and MM. I am fine with that as obviously one purpose of this FREE PDF is to be a very large brochure to sell the core rulebooks.

Overall I give the chapter a B-, it marked down because it overly verbose and just a tad too much Forgotten Realms. It marked up because it preserves the bog standard approach to the standard array of DnD Races, and attempts to emphasize roleplaying and the fact that everybody have a culture (or subrace).

Next we look at the Classes starting with the Cleric.

And don't forget you can download a 5e character sheet I created from this link. It is designed to print out on one sheet of paper and fold over so you can use the inside for notes.


Scott Anderson said...

Setting-specific stuff in a core product irks me too.

Zenopus Archives said...

Thanks for the detailed review. I just added a quote from this post to Holmes in the New Basic.