There's still stuff to talk about before I get to the contents! (In my head is a series of posts stringing this out and out and out…but no.) This post is about the physical volume that is my copy of the Dungeon Master's Guide.
It's an 8″ x 11″ hardbound book, 320 pages, with a retail price of $50 US. By my standards, at least, that's pricey, but as the ensuing parts of this review will suggest, I think it delivers solid value for that price. The cover is a purple-dominated scene of a heavily armored warrior suffering under the attacks of some kind of undead lord, with the red D&D logo and “Dungeon Master's Guide” up top, the white-on-red fire streak saying “Dungeons & Dragons” and “Everything a Dungeon Master needs to weave legendary stories for the world's greatest roleplaying game” down below. So this is very clearly on what it's all about. 🙂
I really prefer my game books in digest/trade paperback size. They're easier to shelve, and easier for me to hold, and significantly easier for me to refer to with the reduced physical space to scan for particular information. The 4th edition Essentials books were therefore a great joy to me in these ways. But I wasn't expecting 5e to keep that up, so the fact that it doesn't is no particular shock or sorrow.
All three 5th edition volumes have a very nifty feature. The front cover is entirely glossy, and so's the spine. But half the back cover is a nicely textured matte finish, setting off the back-cover blurb physically as well as visually. It feels really nice in my hands – it's a pure luxury touch that pays off, at least for me. I spend a solid majority of my gaming time and purchasing on electronic formats these days, but have always maintained that I like physical books for the things that only they can do. This is a perfect example. No PDF's ever going to go from glossy to matte beneath my fingers, I'm fairly sure.
The back cover matter, in case you're interested:
Entertain and inspire your players
The Dungeon Master's Guide provides the inspiration and guidance you need to spark your imagination and create worlds of adventure for your players to explore and enjoy.
Inside you'll find world-building advice, tips and tricks for creating memorable dungeons and adventures, optional game rules, hundreds of classic D&D magic items, and many other tools to help you be a great Dungeon Master.
When you're ready for even more, expand your adventures with the fifth edition Player's Handbook and Monster Manual.
Well, okay, then! That sounds like a good set of goals for a DMG to have. And I notice that starting right on the front and back covers, they're talking about dungeons as one part of the overall work – it's not just dungeoneering, but “worlds”. That makes me happy.
Next post, I'll actually open up the book!