The number of character concepts alone the D&D 5e PHB covers compared to its PHB predecessors is astounding. Somehow, the core D&D rulebooks in 5e – the PHB, DMG and MM – along with several rich and inspired “super-adventures” are holding up and keeping this game strong and seamless since summer of 2014. That’s nearly two years of tremendous D&D!
But what about more? More rules options? An official rules expansion? It’s a question some veteran D&D gamers – used to the onslaught of supplemental rulebooks from previous editions – and even some of many, many new D&D players are asking.
On one hand, I understand wanting a few more options if that’s all you know from previous editions. On the other, I don’t feel this urgency to add more rules to a game that is running so elegantly at every level of play, smoothly balancing story and game better than any edition in the last d20 years! While the the PHB, DMG and MM can’t possibly cover 5-10 years of rules and material from previous editions, we’re still incredibly fortunate how much the 5e core rulebooks do cover.
I know our playgroup recently had a passionate discussion about the pros and cons of rules expansion – has yours?
While new and more choices might be nice for the existing minor content gaps (for example, more feats, though they’re optional anyway; and more classic monsters – my beloved girallon, where are you?!), the big consideration that keeps me on the conservative end of rules expansion is game complexity – something that impacts DMs directly. Which means it impacts everyone and every D&D session!
As you may have seen in my Faster Combat course and ebook, I’m all about smooth gameplay for players and DMs, and I’m especially for not overburdening the DM. Why add more game balance elements to manage, rule on and worry about? The DM has enough to do!
And this is the crux of this brief article from the D&D’s Unearthed Arcana survey series. Ever wonder why, what to consider, and what the real pros and cons are to rule expansion? If you haven’t started thinking about these questions yet before pounding the table one way or the other, you will after learning more about it here.