Should i get the D&D monster manual book or the DM guide?

Should i get the D&D monster manual book or the DM guide?


Monster Manual definitely. The content from the DMG is the kind of stuff that is available on the interwebs. * DnD cosmology - tonnes of websites and youtubes about this * Random tables- dozens of great websites like Donjon * Details about magic items - many are in the free SRD at the Wizards web site, or you just make up your own or grab some being shared at r/UnearthedArcana * "How to be a better DM" - you are here at Reddit for that as well as dozens of great advice blogs and youtube channels. The DMG has them all together in one place and has a level of good already curated out of some of the crap on the webs, but if you are on any kind of budget at all, the DMG should be one of the last purchases on your list.


I think people sleep on the DMG. There is a ton of really useful information. Even after reading through it all I still find myself rediscovering things in it and going, "Whoa... that's a really good idea."


Yeah, the monster design guidelines alone give you as many monsters as you can imagine, which is hopefully more than in MM.


you are not going to get any better monsters from using DMG design guide than simply taking inspiration from the excellent and widely varied "samples" already in the MM.


I certainly agree that the quality of monsters in the MM is relatively high. It could be that I just very much like designing monsters, but my favorite encounters have still been with monsters of my own making. For the latter half of my two-year campaign I barely ever even opened the MM.


While there is good stuff in the DMG, there is also TONNES of good and **great** stuff for free on blogs and youtube and reddit. You can easily be a great DM and run great games without the DMG.


But you can be an even better dm and run even more unique and greater games without using the monsters in the manual everyone already knows


the shared history of "we fought goblins and owlbears and beholders and a lich lord" across tables and DMs and generations is what makes the D&D community.




Ok thanks


Although the PHB definitely comes VERY FIRST if you are a player or a DM.


Oh really, im not a noob player and i have DM'd but i havent got any of the books


The PHB has all the rules. you definitely want that.


I've found the PHB to be lacking in a lot of info. Or unclear about quit a bit. Old school player here. Playing 5e, with a new a group. I keep trying to find info and it's either not there, or just breezed over, no depth. Kinda disappointed in the PHB after actually using it.


5e has a different design and play philosophy than many previous editions. ie, there is no need for complicated rules subsystems that tend to not facilitate play but rather turn game time into boring exercises in accounting and cross referencing things on tables and charts. In 5e there is one standard resolution method: the DM assigns a difficulty level and the player rolls a d20 (adding appropriate modifiers) and tries to roll high. Boom its resolved.


What do you mean? It has all of the rules a player needs...


It's meant to leave many details up in the air. It isn't meant to overconstrain. If there's something you aren't sure about, it either has a rule (go ahead and list a few things out! We'd be happy to help) or is meant to be decided by the DM.


One, off the top of my head is healing/recovering Hp's. In the book it says you get all lost HP back after a long rest. Then says you can get more? Hit dice back. Which makes no sense, as you just got healed after a rest. The wording is very confusing, and provides a poor example that made no sense to me. How can you heal more points than you have? How can you heal all damage in just one nights rest? The hit dice part is particularly confusing. So any help is appreciated. I'm going to get the DM's guide, but worried it is just as vague. It would be a collectors item as much as anything for me at this point.


Hit dice are used on short rests to recover HP. On a long rest you don’t automatically get them all back. So on a long rest you get all your HP back and then separately get up to half your hit dice back (if you used any). Does that help clarify things at all?


No. One sentence you say, you don't get all your hp back. The next, like the book, you say you do get all your HP back. Then you get additional hit dice back, even though you just got all of it back. See the confusion?


Sounds like you just don't like 5e's design philosophy.


Not sure I understand what you mean? design philosophy? If the new philosophy is, just make it up, then I guess you're right. I mean, why print a new edition of books with rules, if there are no rules? Of course we can, as a group, just make a ruling, but it was nice in the past when the 'game' actually had rules and such.


Sure, I mean, there's plenty of people who still prefer 3.5 or pathfinder (or whatever) for that very reason. I'm not here to tell you what to enjoy. I will say that as a DM I found those systems a complete slog to onboard new players into. And then if I ever wanted to just make a ruling to keep the pace of the game moving I had to contend with the feeling that I was "doing it wrong" because the true authority for the game is the rulebook. 5e has allowed me to drop all of that baggage and just have fun. Again, if the number of rules helps you enjoy things and you don't consider that baggage like I do, then you should play systems that give you that. But I do want to push back on the idea that those systems aren't also, at the end of the day, about making everything up. DMing is a creative endeavor. I think what matters at the end of the day is whether you and your table are having fun. Part of that fun is feeling like the world behaves fairly and consistently. Rules give us some baseline shared understanding for how the world will work, but I would argue that more rules don't necessarily make the world feel fair or fun. I wouldn't be able to describe exactly where the threshold is where you have "enough" rules. It's some weird emergent property. But like, the reason I like TTRPGs more than video game RPGs, is because what's possible hasn't already been predefined by some algorithm or ruleset. We the DM and players get to use our human brains to decide what is fair and what is possible. So for me, 5e gives me enough structure to play in, and then gets out of my way when it's time for the cool shit to happen.


Why are you lecturing me about how to enjoy D&D? I've probably been playing since before you were born. I just don't like how the 5e PHB is presented. I also don't like how the page numbers are so lightly printed they are hard to see. People on here/this thread, are saying all the rules are in the PHB, and they aren't.


What edition are you coming from?


Original, then 2nd..I bought the 3.5 books, but never got to play them. I bought 5th E for fun to read. Now I've found a group. Lovin' it.


I've found the PHB to be lacking in a lot of info. Or unclear about quit a bit. Old school player here. Playing 5e, with a new a group. I keep trying to find info and it's either not there, or just breezed over, no depth. Kinda disappointed in the PHB after actually using it.


Yep. Get the PHB first.


Get the Core Rulebooks Gift Set if it’s in your budget.


Basic rules are free to download. Players hand book just has extra subclasses and stuff. I'd say you are fine with just the basic rules. The monster manual is nice, and getting the players hand book and dungeon masters guide when you can afford then are great for supporting a game you enjoy, but even a lot of monster information can be found online at like DND beyond our other sources. I have the "5e bestiary" app by dungeon Dev. On my smartphone


On Amazon most of the 5e books are on sale for buy 2 get the 3rd free, and all the core rulebooks are part of the sale. Edit: it lasts another week I think and they seem to be rotating which ones are part of the deal, as yesterday Ravnica wasnt covered and today it was. I just picked up Ebberon, Ravnica, and Avernus.


Only in America-land though...


Yep, I saw this mentioned the other day and was pretty excited, but looks like I'll delay/search ebay some more...


wait where on the site do you see this deal? cause i might just buy 3 more books if this is for real on my next paycheck


Eligible ones will have a green tag in the information section saying add 3 with the tag to 1 cart and the discount will be applied.


Thank you and my wallet hates you already. Lol


MM first imo


Monster Manual, in general. It'll give you actual stuff to use at the table more than the DMG would. The rules are all in the PHB. DMG is to me the best book of the bunch (best written, packed with content etc) but really, MM will see more action.


I would to for MM. The dmg is nice to have but rarely you need to reference something on the spot. On the other hand, with the MM you can whip any adventure or create your own


If your going full homebrew then DMG, it explains some of the mechanics behind monster or content creation. If your running module adventures or playing it quite vanilla then MM. I get a decent amount of use put of all my book so I don't think there are any bad choices


In my opinion, from the two, monster manual. However, content from both books can be found EVERYWHERE. I rarely use my MM bc theres a website (donjon) that has a list of ALL monsters from EVERY book. Granted, most of then dont have stat blocks, but thats a different single search. I know this wasnt an option, but i'd recommend Xanathars Guide more than the other two, as its pretty much a mix of the PHB and DMG


Both are really worthwhile. The Monster Manual will get the most use but the DMG contains the real heart of what it is to run a D&D game and has a fantastic set of tables to give you ideas for building great adventures. I think the DMG is highly underrated.


Kind of need both, MM for the monsters and DMs guide for building anything else


Ill probally get the monsters one but im worried its just whats in the beastiary app.


Which app?


The bestiary app for D&D


any free ap is most likely only going to have the free content from the SRD and the Basic Rules. Otherwise you are most likely using a pirated ap that will be shut down at any time for breaking copyirght rules. plus the aps dont really do the art justice and flipping randomly through the MM is a great way to generate new ideas.


Looks like the app has scraped a whole bunch. Mordenkeinens and Guildmasters guide. If you're going to just look everything up on your phone then there is no reason to get either book. The free apps aren't great and don't support the authors. The monster manual is a great book and if you're going to get one you should get that one. At the very least it'll let you have monsters on the book with something else on your phone


App has 2 p's


Go with what you think you'll enjoy the most. You can find all the info you need online in the meantime.


I’d go mm. I have the dmg and i can count the times I’ve opened it on one hand. The mm has a lot of good info. Even if it’s not necessary info, it still is great inspiration.


Yes. But seriously, MM is a must if you’re DM’ing, DMG is second.


A friend of mine lent me their DMG for a session, I never had any reason to use it. I already learned that kinda stuff from YouTube. But I always have to look up monster stats during sessions, so having a compendium of monster stats would be lit. I think you’ll get a lot more use out of the monster manual.


Everyone here is saying mm so I will go against the grain and say dmg for two reasons that are personally relevant to me: Why not to get the mm first: 1) it’s often I run into player who have it memorized cover to cover so often times I will adjust stats and things if I’m using the book straight. Also if I homebrew the creatures even in part prevents player meta gaming 2) I homebrew my content. Since I’m usually tailoring my content to my players i usually just make a small notecard of random but cool mm creatures that are near level appropriate and just make up the stats on the spot. In both cases the mm was just kinda a starting point. And two reasons to pick up the dmg: 1) lots of tables. I often find myself using the charts often. Things like random location charts, random villain motivations, things like that. They create good starting points to further create my games. 2) item lists. The list of all the basic magical items are there. Now of course this is all from a dm perspective so here is why a player should choose the dmg vs mm: 1) having a mm feels like cheating to me and robs the mystery and experience of encountering new and different creatures. Besides, unless you pass some roll, your character shouldn’t have knowledge on what a creature is or does. 2) having access to the magical item list is good for referencing. Also some dm only class features are in there like the oath breaker paladin which is cool. Now I’m not here to argue with the fine folks here, just want a different perspective and playing a bit of devils advocate.


Get the free app 5e bestiary. It's got all the monster manual stuff and then some. The developers have other apps with all sorts of stuff from the books


Monster Manual 100%


MM. DMG is kinda pointless if you aren't making your own shit. MM is always useful


Yes, this is all I have to say


Monster manual. Its much more useful.


I have both, but I can't remember looking up the DM guide... Monster manual every day though. Perhaps the guide is more for a sit-down read, as I am sure there is useful stuff.


If you have rules lawyers, then get the DMG; otherwise MM is a better choice just because of how often it’s actually used.


A lot of the DMG isn't helpful for beginners. You'd probably be better off watching Matt Colville for DMing advice. Monster Manual is mandatory.


I bought the DMG as my first book. Very disappointed. Its nice, dont get me wrong, but way fewer rules and monsters than I thought. Way fewer.


I'd actually recommend xanathars guide to everything over players handbook, similar content but more depth.


Ironically enough if you're both a player and a DM your overall benefit from the DMs guide will probably be higher but at the same time I can't imagine running a game without access to the monster manual becuase how do you come up with creatures? On the other hand there are a lot of creatures and statblocks available for free so if you got that sorta covered then definitely DMs guide.


DMG, 100%. Most of the monster info can be found online. Some of the stuff they teach you in DMG is really valuable, and there are guides on how to make your own monsters too.


Monster Manual


I'd rather get DMG than MM but that's just 3.5 me.