The Dungeon Master's Guide is one of three core rulebooks for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. Published in 2014, it provides rules for use by the Dungeon Master, including magic item descriptions and a variety of optional rules.

As of 2019, the 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide is the most recent.

Content[edit | edit source]

The 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide is divided into three main sections.

Part 1: Master of Worlds[edit | edit source]

Part 1 defines worldbuilding, the DM's own personal campaign setting. This contrasts with earlier Dungeon Master's Guide (3.5) (2003), which relegated worldbuilding to its fifth chapter and spent fewer pages on the topic. Part 1 consists of chapters 1 and 2.

Chapter 1, A World of Your Own, advises DMs on creating a world for their campaign to take place in. It details features like deities, maps, settlements, languages, organizations, magic, events, play style and and theme.

Chapter 2, Creating a Multiverse, describes D&D's planar cosmology. It lists many options, including but not limited to the traditional Great Wheel planar layout. References are made to some of the planes from D&D 4th edition (e.g. the Feywild, Shadowfell and Elemental Chaos) as well as the planes of the AD&D to D&D 3rd edition era (e.g. Astral Plane, Inner Planes), with attempts made to syncretize the two worldviews.

Part 2: Master of Adventures[edit | edit source]

Part 2 details the creation of D&D adventures. It consists of chapters 3 to 7.

Chapter 3, Creating Adventures, advises DMs on inventing D&D adventures, giving various types of adventures (e.g. location-based, event-based) and random tables to decide the plot of adventures. It includes rules for creating balanced combat encounters and deploying random encounters.

Chapter 4, Creating Nonplayer Characters, describes the process of creating NPCs and villains with plausible motivations.

Chapter 5, Adventure Environments, advises on the construction of dungeons and wilderness encounters. It includes rules on traps.

Chapter 6, Between Adventures, describes rules for downtime and recurring living expenses.

Chapter 7, Treasure, includes treasure tables and detailed list of magic items. This contrasts with Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, which placed the magic items in the Player's Handbook.

Part 3: Master of Rules[edit | edit source]

Part 3 describes the DM's role as an adjudicator of rules and the use of optional rules and variant rules. This is different to the Dungeon Master's Guide of many earlier editions of the game, which placed rules adjudication at the start of the book. Part 3 consists of chapters 8 and 9.

Chapter 8, Running the Game, describes house rules and the use of dice in deciding the outcome of events. It details additional rules for things like selecting the difficulty class of a check and the use of the inspiration mechanic, overland travel, rolling Charisma checks to affect reaction, damaging objects, tracking initiative and monster hit points, the optional use of miniatures, disease, poison, madness and variant XP systems.

Chapter 9, Dungeon Master's Workshop, introduces variant rules, including dice for proficiency bonus instead of a flat number, removing skill proficiencies, hero points, honor, sanity, firearms, plot points, initiative variants, optional combat actions, massive damage, morale, spell points, and the creation of new monsters, magic items and character options.

Appendices[edit | edit source]

Appendix A, Random Dungeons, gives a method of generating random dungeons.

Appendix B, Monster Lists, lists monsters by the terrain in which they are likely to be encountered, and again in order of challenge rating.

Appendix C, Maps, gives some dungeon maps which the DM can use.

Appendix D, Dungeon Master Inspiration, gives a list of books which serve as a recommended reading selection for Dungeon Masters.

Development[edit | edit source]

Reception and influence[edit | edit source]

According to Wizards of the Coast, Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition is the most successful edition of the game in its history.

As of 2019, Amazon.com rated the 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide as 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guides
Dungeon Masters Guide (1e)Dungeon Master's Guide (2e)
Dungeon Master's Guide (3e)Dungeon Master's Guide (3.5)Dungeon Master's Guide II (3.5)
Dungeon Master's Guide (4e)Dungeon Master's Guide 2 (4e)
Dungeon Master's Guide (5e)
Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition
Core rules
Player's HandbookMonster ManualDungeon Master's GuideStarter SetEssentials Kit
Print supplements
Acquisitions IncorporatedEberron: Rising from the Last WarExplorer's Guide to WildemountGuildmasters' Guide to RavnicaMordenkainen's Tome of FoesMythic Odysseys of TherosSword Coast Adventurer's GuideTasha's Cauldron of EverythingVolo's Guide to MonstersXanathar's Guide to Everything
Digital supplements
Elemental Evil Player's CompanionMordenkainen's Fiendish Folio Volume 1One Grung AbovePlane Shift: AmonkhetPlane Shift: DominariaPlane Shift: InnistradPlane Shift: IxalanPlane Shift: KaladeshPlane Shift: ZendikarThe Tortle PackageWayfinder's Guide to Eberron
Print adventures
Baldur's Gate: Descent into AvernusCurse of StrahdGhosts of SaltmarshIcewind Dale: Rime of the FrostmaidenOut of the AbyssPrinces of the ApocalypseStorm King's ThunderTales from the Yawning PortalTomb of AnnihilationTyranny of Dragons (Hoard of the Dragon QueenThe Rise of Tiamat) • Waterdeep: Dragon HeistWaterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Digital adventures
The Barber of SilverymoonInfernal Machine RebuildLocathah RisingThe Lost KenkuLost Laboratory of KwalishReturn to the GlorySix Faces of DeathX Marks the SpotA Zib For Your Thoughts
Licensed products
Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter SetDungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.