Now the most important thing in learning to run a game, whether it’s D&D, or others, is reading the rulebook, right?
But one thing you notice when looking at the DMG is that it doesn’t put the rules first and foremost.
In fact when we read it, the DMG is split into 3 sections.
Part 1 – Focuses on creating a world.
Part 2 – Focuses on creating an adventure.
Part 3 – Focuses on the rules.
So if we look at these in terms of what WotC consider important, the first set of tools they give you are for building a world.
Even if you are coming in as an experienced DM, knowing the rules of the world are surely more important than knowing about building settlements, or Planar travel?
So why has WotC put the book in such a bizarre order?
If we want to make an assumption, you can guess that the minds at WotC thought you’d be accessing those portions of the book more frequently.
But in actuality it seems that the layout serves only to discourage new DM’s actually reading the actual rules and you want to know what? I’m no different.
If we look at my copy of the DMG it’s filled with bookmarks for things I want quick access to, but I find those things through googling than any quick search through the book itself.
Heck, having started out as a player I am not 100% sure I sat down and read through the DMG in one solid go, only ever using it as a reference.
I know I have tried, I clearly recall getting into the Planar topics but beyond that? I don’t think I did.
I feel as if I have only ever used the rules of the DMG as reference.
So what should WotC have done?
It’s easy to say they should have put the actual rules at the front of the DMG, but I think there is the possibility that WotC were thinking about making their books digitally accessible and backed out on it
Admittedly that is a big leap on my part but it answers the question of why a professional production would make such an error.
Comparatively, when we consider the PHB.
Part 1 – Build your character.
Part 2 – Game mechanics.
Part 3 – Spells.
The PHB gives you what a new player wants first and foremost, how to build their character.
Part 2 can be covered during gameplay, and Part 3 can be overwhelming for new players and should really be used as a reference.
What I would like, and I know this isn’t going to happen, but I would like to see either the DMG reordered or the actual rules section brought out into it’s own book.
But ultimately it doesn’t change a great deal to have the book out of order, it just means anyone coming in to DM’ing without experience as a player has a lot of needless information to get through before they get to the actual rules of play.
Regardless, there is no shame in googling the resources you need to make your game run smoothly.
There isn’t any shame in adding bookmarks or notes to your DMG, in fact I would argue that it may even be considered something of a requirement.