Friday, November 10, 2017

Xanathar's Guide to Everything First Impressions



My groups use Unearthed Arcana stuff extensively and as we approached the release I was growing a bit dubious about Xanathar's Guide to Everything. I was concerned about the following: that the page count was low, why only certain sub-classes from the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide were included, and why there were twenty pages of names. I'll also admit about some boredom with 5E, I've been playing it and running it for quite some time and grown a bit burnt out as a DM (thought I've been taking a few weeks off to help with that).

I am glad that the book exceeded my original expectations and has excited me in unexpected ways.

The book opens with ten rules to remember about 5E and all of them are clear reminders of some basic tenets of the game. It cover exceptions to the rules, rounding down, advantage and disadvantage, combining effects, reactions, resistance and vulnerability, proficiency bonus, bonus action spells, concentrations, and temporary hit points.

While I had been looking forward to the Sub-classes most (and fretting over omitting some of the SCAG Sub-classes), that is the area that I've read the least. I know most of them from UA and Mike Mearls has insinuated they omitted Sub-classes directly tied to the Forgotten Realms.

Honestly, I think I'm enjoying it so much because there is quite a bit for the DM. I prefer the CR system in the book over what we have had. Mearls admitted on Twitter that he wishes they had not called it CR and I have found the system...unpredictable. What I'm reading in here intrigues me.

I really enjoy the sections on common magic items and the charts breaking down magic items by rarity which also shows if they require attunement. The section on making, buying, and selling magic items is also greatly appreciated.

The random encounter tables are a godsend for me and I plan on using them soon. It know it's a little thing, but it's good to have them by environment and level.

And the names, well they are actually pretty useful for a DM and I hadn't thought of that until I saw them. The names for non-humans are truly appreciated as I build cultures in my worlds.

I was surprised to see that only the racial Feats were used and not the skill Feats from UA. I think the halfling Feats are bit overpowered, but we will test them out, though we have no halfling players (so maybe that was the point).

I do wish we got more spells, there aren't as many new ones as I'd like when you factor the SCAG spells being reprinted.

In the end, I'm glad we got this instead of DnD 5.5 and I think the game is in good hands.

To me, this book is the fourth core book and I view it as ADnD's Unearthed Arcana, which I'm guessing was the point.

And if you are always the DM, fear not, there is some cool toys for you in here.

And if you are dying for the Hobby Cover, send me an e-mail, I have them at the stores I run!


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