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Xanathar's Guide to Everything (Dungeons & Dragons) Hardcover – Illustrated, November 21, 2017
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From the Publisher
|Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes||Xanathar's Guide to Everything||Volo's Guide to Monsters|
|Get this to:||Craft inspired adventures with new and expanded monster lore, introduce new monsters to your campaign, and open new character race options||Explore a wealth of new rules options and create a wider world for your players to explore||Immerse your players in monster lore for a deeper roleplaying experience|
|Audience:||Dungeon Masters, experienced players||Dungeon Masters, experienced players||Dungeon Masters, experienced players|
|Contents:||Over 150 monsters with stats and illustrations / More options for character creation with new races / Expanded monster lore for Dungeon Masters to add depth to a campaign||Dozens of new spells / Over 25 new subclasses / New Racial Feats / Random encounter tables for quick combat setup / Rules for Downtime Revisited / Tools like improved traps, magic items, and more for Dungeon Masters to add to their adventures||7 new playable races plus 6 monstrous races / In-depth monster lore including new variants of existing monsters, encounter tables, lair details, history, and more / Dozens of monsters new to fifth edition D&D for players to conquer|
- Item Weight : 1.7 pounds
- Hardcover : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0786966114
- ISBN-13 : 978-0786966110
- Product Dimensions : 8.55 x 0.6 x 11.2 inches
- Publisher : Wizards of the Coast; Illustrated Edition (November 21, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I’m an older gamer and a DM. I cut my teeth on the second edition, but spent most of my youth playing AD&D 2nd Edition. I’ve played every edition since, except for fourth, quite extensively. And I have a lot of experience with other game systems like Star Wars, DC Heroes, MERP, GURPS, Rifts, and so on.
Xanathar’s guide is functionally a compendium of all the “more” that’s been accumulating since the first major waves of books for 5th Edition D&D was released. My book came in great condition. The artwork and quality are excellent. Here are some of the most heavily featured sections of the book.
Chapter 1: Character Options
This section details the additional subclasses that have been steadily coming out via Unearthed Arcana. They have been cleaned up and balanced (though not all are perfect) for release in this single compendium. Many of the options include some revised takes on older class variations (like the Samurai and Swashbuckler), some new attempts at previously tried themes (A more evil-ish Paladin in the Oath of Conquest, or the Arcane Archer), and some completely new (to my knowledge) subclasses like the Horizon Walker, a ranger of the planes who moves through the multiverse.
At the end of the chapter are some new, optional racial feats. Most of these are most interesting when used on some of the “weirder” races like the Dragonborn. Many of the changes and options in this whole chapter put a greater emphasis on role-playing centered classes and class options. Our group is more into the role-playing than the roll-playing. So that’s a plus. Combat-focused gamers may find some of the new classes underwhelming.
Chapter 2: Dungeon Master’s Tools
As a DM, this section is fantastic. It leads with some rules clarification and additional options if the DM wants to make things more interesting. There are also some visual helps regarding area of affect and how they are presented on grid-systems. Also included here is a much needed thorough breakdown of “fair” encounter building with tables and suggestions for DM’s.
My favorite part of this section is the random encounter tables. They finally include tables for random encounters that are broken out by level and type of environment. And there is quite a collection. Pages and pages. And the tables all have really cool, interesting things your players could run into. Really, really fun and excited to try.
Following that is some really good, thorough help regarding traps and how to make them more interesting, some ideas for down time and after that there is a nice collection of new magic items. Nerd candy to read. Also included are some ways to make magic items and their creation more interesting.
Chapter 3: Spells
New spells. Always nice. And at the end, multiple pages of names for quick name generation.
If I had to say something negative, I’d say it’s a smaller book and it doesn’t anything super new like a completely new class or magic system. Another criticism is I wouldn’t recommend this to new players who are not going to DM. There’s a lot of “spoiler” information in here that may kill off the wow-factor of springing something new on a party that DM’s love to have.
This is a fantastic book. I would say if I had to recommend three books to fans of 5e. 1 and 2 would of course be the Players Handbook and then the Dungeon Master’s guide. This would be number 3. It’s more of everything. More character choice, more race choices, more rules choices, more tables, more spells and more variety. And especially to DM’s this will be incredibly useful. It’s a book that I’ll have out in front of me every time I run a game. A great addition.
Is Xanathar's Guide a must-have? Not in the sense the PH, DMG, and MM are. Nothing in here is essential to playing the game, and a player without Xanathar's Guide is in no way handicapped compared to one who does. Do I recommend it? Without a doubt. Having played with 5th edition for a few years now, I really feel this book helps refresh the game.
The Class background-like options and This is Your Life are both helpful for players that need structure to make backstories.
Racial Feats can also be completely optional.
The descriptions about tools and their possible uses helps DMs that need structure to what tools may or may not be able to do and what the conditions for success would be.
There's also some clarifications of existing rules in text - these are not Errata, but clarifications.
An entire section on building encounters is included - this will be very helpful to DMs.
There's also an entire section on designing traps in a structured way, structure for buying and selling magical items, and a section of additional spells.
You can easily survive and run your table without this book, but it's a very helpful and useful one. While I've seen what books like this might do to Shadowrun, WOTC have produced a book that doesn't find itself "patching the game" like a Catalyst book usually does.
My personal advice is - due to the nature of additional class archetypes and other such things - I'd rule that this book qualifies for the "+1 book" rule in Adventurer's League fashion. If your players use this book, it should count as their "+1 book".
Top reviews from other countries
Like the Volo's Guide which it resembles, Xanathar's has sections for GMs (traps, rules, random encounters etc) and players (feats, spells, expanded archetypes) which is a slightly awkward design. Some elements of the Guide To Everything are not really useable for those who exclusively play rather than run games which makes it an uneconomic buy for some.
Some of the sections, especially almost 20 pages of lists of names , are pure page fillers and a waste of space. The random encounter lists aren't much better, the more detailed versions in the Saltmarsh source book are much more useful.
An obvious element to please GMs and players alike, new magic items , is rather ignored with a few light-hearted jokey items, like a cloak that billows heroically when worn, all that appear here. These are amusing ehough but actually paying for a rule book of this kind will probably mean the buyer is hoping for useable additions that will work when playing the game, not one off japes.
The best....and worst....of the sections covers archetypes, new character class options in all but name, The Players Handbook takes care to make all the various classes detailed there to be as equal in power as possible. The Xanathar's Guide ignore this consideration completely. Comparing the Ranger variants here with the Warlock "Celestial" Patron option, the former is infinitely stronger in play than the latter. This, for me, is a failure in judgement, a GM will have to carefully consider which of these new class options to allow. Having said that, some of the new archetypes, especially the Rogues, are a great addition and an invitation to roll up a character different to but no more powerful than those in the core books.
With less padding and more thought as to playability, this inventive, imaginative and well illustrated expansion book could have been indispensable for players of 5th edition, as it is it is a bit of a curate's (owlbear) egg.
As a DM this book also offers some good variant rules and some easy tables to help create a balanced encounter for your party. The tables are a helpful tool that I honestly have used quite a lot in the short time I have had the book. The section on traps will also help you fill out dungeons to help them more alive in the world your party is exploring. There are also resources to help you with magic items (buying and selling) as well as other downtime activities for your party such as gambling.
TLDR: Good book for both DM and players with lots of class options and things to make your DMing easier.