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All D&D Books To Be Available As PDFs

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the yay-for-synergistic-marketing dept.


sckeener writes "DriveThruRPG has just announced that it will be selling all of WotC's 3.5 Edition D&D products in e-book format - over 90 books. Wizards has elected not to make the three core rulebooks for Dungeons & Dragons available as eBooks at this time, but almost every other current Dungeons & Dragons title will be available from DriveThruRPG. New titles are scheduled to release one each weekday on DriveThruRPG: Some of the titles to be released first include: Book of Vile Darkness, Heroes of Horror, Arms and Equipment Guide, d20 Apocalypse, Champions of Ruin, Complete Arcane, Unearthed Arcana, Masters of the Wild and Book of Challenges. The books are still full price and are DRM protected." I'd be happier about this if they were even slightly discounted, but it's a good step. Heroes of Horror is worth every penny.

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D&D Books in PDF is awesome. (4, Insightful)

Kranfer (620510) | about 8 years ago | (#15547787)

I love this idea. While I like having my nice tidy bookshelves full of books, being able to have my laptop right there with a PDF to search for Rules or concepts would make people who are rule whores like me be able to find the specifics quickly without spending 20 minutes looking. I would like to see the PDFs discounted though, that would be a kicker to have to pay full price for the PDFs again just to have them on my laptop and not have to have 09571340987 books to look through. It would also be nice to see the Fantasy World books put out by Wizards to be in PDF too. Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, etc.

Cool... but... (1)

mfh (56) | about 8 years ago | (#15547846)

Not trying to troll, but I just hope the GOOD d&d books will be in PDF -- you know -- the 1st Gen rules and the non-dumb 2nd Gen. rules like THACO.

All the 3rd gen stuff is for video games, IMHO. Seriously who really cares if a stick falls four feet from my character while he's trying to backstab a 4th level ranger from 11.474m and it "may" cause him to lose concentration. By the time you figure out the math the beer is warm and the prezels are gone!

Re:Cool... but... (3, Interesting)

Kranfer (620510) | about 8 years ago | (#15547867)

I don't think you're trolling and I agree. 3rd Edition is perfect rules for Video Games. I always liked the 2nd Edition rules with THAC0 and such. Hopefully they WILL put 1st and 2nd edition into PDFs. I would definately buy them.

Re:Cool... but... (1)

mfh (56) | about 8 years ago | (#15547889)

Finding 1st Gen books is totally hard nowadays. Nobody has them and mine are covered in coffee stains and beer sludge. I would totally buy the 1st and 2nd Gen rules in PDF!

We tried 3rd gen but it slowed the story down too much.

Perfect for video games? (2, Insightful)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 8 years ago | (#15547977)

Then how come most 3rd ed. d&d game have performed poorly while Baldur's Gate 2 (AD&D - the "worst" ruleset according to a good many!) is widely hailed as a spectacular CRPG, if not one of the best games of all time?

Re:Perfect for video games? (2, Funny)

dinsdale3 (579466) | about 8 years ago | (#15548138)

Remember a little game called Neverwinter Nights?

(Oh, and Baldur's Gate 2 was based off of 2nd Edition rules, not AD&D)

Re:Perfect for video games? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15548175)

As someone else already pointed out, BG2 was based on 2nd ed. rules, which, contrary to what you claim, many feel to be the best ruleset to date.

Wrong on both counts (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 8 years ago | (#15548260)

How is "many" claiming it to be the best contrary to "many feel it the wordt"? These statements can coexist. Baldu's Gate 2 is indeed based on 2nd edition rules - but it's AD&D 2nd edition. This is the most complex ruleset there is and a lot of players complained it was too complex - hence the simplifying andadoption of a simple d20 system for 3rd edition.

Re:Perfect for video games? (1, Insightful)

Etyenne (4915) | about 8 years ago | (#15548226)

The plot. It was the plot. The rules where clunky, but the plot was engaging.

Re:Perfect for video games? (3, Interesting)

tbannist (230135) | about 8 years ago | (#15548255)

I think that's obvious, there are three groups of players who like 3rd Edition: newbies, fanbois and powergamers. It suffers from 2 steps forward, one step back syndrome. Most of the game mechanic changes are reasonably good, I always liked the more intricate miniature rules for combat, for example. However, I loathe the new multi-classing rules, prestige classes are terrible, and some of the weapons are just retarded. Spiked Chain? Mercurial Sword? Cabers?

Couldn't stand the new system.

Re:Perfect for video games? (2, Insightful)

frankie (91710) | about 8 years ago | (#15548604)

As an old-school (1977 blue-box) life-long RPGer, I disagree on several points. 3E rulset (or 3.5E, same thing, really ought to be 3.1 from a versioning standpoint) is substantially cleaner and more sensible than any previous DND. 1E/2E multiclass rules were annoying and arbitrary, and dualclass was just plain absurd.

Your post was the first I heard of mercurial sword in a DND context (I don't own any 3E books, just read the SRD. Also, I haven't played PNP in years, and if I did I'd use Fuzion, FATE, or some such) but dissing it out of hand reveals you as a gamer with two significant flaws:

  1. You have never read Gene Wolfe's New Sun books
  2. You seem incapable of saying "eh, doesn't fit my world design, I'll leave it out". This also applies to prestige classes, obviously

FWIW, BG2 was actually a hybrid v2.1 ruleset, with sorcerer and other features added from 3E. And like most CRPGs, it was good because of the story content. BG2 under 3.5E (or even the ruleset of, say, Deus Ex) would have been just as good, or better.

Re:Perfect for video games? (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | about 8 years ago | (#15549446)

Except the spiked chain is a real weapon. Better known as the Manrikigusari. Mind you, it looks nothing like the illustation in the book, and should probably be brought down to 1d6 damage. But otherwise it's as 'realistic' as anything gets in D&D

Re:Perfect for video games? (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | about 8 years ago | (#15549385)

Once you throw it on a computer, and let the computer do the calcuations, it really doesn't matter what the ruleset running it is. You are talking about a computer game... not a RPG.

Re:Perfect for video games? (1)

stlhawkeye (868951) | about 8 years ago | (#15549447)

Good question. I'm playing Shadows of Amn right now for about the 4th time. I've had Neverwinter Nights sitting around since it came out and haven't managed to get more than about 2 hours into it. I couldn't tell you why. Partially I dislike that in NWN I can't form a party. Partially I dislike the single-player plot. Partially I dislike the interface.

Re:Cool... but... (1)

mrmagos (783752) | about 8 years ago | (#15548658)

You liked THAC0? What the hell is wrong with you? That was the most backward combat system EVER. 1st and 3rd edition rules make much more sense.
My only issue with 3rd ed. is the proliferation of supplements. I DM on occasion, and just knowing which feat is located in what book can be difficult to track at times. WotC almost needs to put out another book just to index some of this stuff, like the Spell Compendium.

Re:Cool... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15549363)

Umm... you do know that 1st and 2nd edition stuff been available for 5+ YEARS in PDF (no DRM) format, right? =4 []

(posted AC to avoid karma whoring).

Re:Cool... but... (1)

ranton (36917) | about 8 years ago | (#15548522)

Wow, has math education in this country really that bad? (Even among geeks/nerds?)

3rd edition has the easiest math from any edition yet. Thaco was much harder to explain to a newcomer than the current BAB/AC rules. And there is no 11.474m ranges, everything is in 5ft increments. To my knowledge there are no rules for anything in the entire game that is in less than a 5ft increment.

I never have problems with the math in 3rd edition DnD. And neither have any of the players I have ever played with. 2nd edition had far more convoluted rules. WoC realized that players didnt care to have charts that tracked a female PCs menstration cycle, so they vastly simplified the rules in 3rd ed. I cant see how anyone can actually believe that 2nd edition (and expecially THACO) were better than the current system?


Re:Cool... but... (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | about 8 years ago | (#15548592)

If you are looking for an electronic 'legit' version of the earlier stuff, see if you can find a 'core rules' CD ROM. They had a bunch of character editors, etc - but the real gold was the books were in RTF format! Easy enough to turn into PDF, but even better, you could mark them up with your notes, carve out sections you needed as player or DM.

Re:D&D Books in PDF is awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15548095)

I really wish the PDF versions would come free with the print versions. A hardcopy is just much easier to use when you're sitting at the table, but it would still be nice to have the electronic version to search when you're not actively playing. I don't like the idea of having to pay twice, though.

Re:D&D Books in PDF is awesome. (5, Informative)

Lacota (695046) | about 8 years ago | (#15548806)

You don't need these. Aside from the lovely consept art, most of the D&D content can be found in the SRD (System Reference Document). Which encompasess the core rulebooks, as well as some of the fringe 3.5 content (Psionics, Divine feats, etc) You can download it in chunks or the whole thing. They are in unencumbered RTF files. Totally free too! In Wizard's own words, here is the missing content from the SRD: Q: What's missing from the SRD compared to the core D&D rulebooks? A: Mostly the "flavor" elements. There are no named gods, none of the spells have significant NPC names, there's no mention of Greyhawk, etc. You'll also note that there are no rules for character creation, for advancing characters in level, calculating experience, or anything else related to the topics forbidden by the d20 System Trademark Guide. Here is the D&D SRD: rd35 [] Here is the D20 Modern SRD (MSRD): srd []

Prometheus instead of d20 (1)

wynterx (148276) | about 8 years ago | (#15549126)

Note that it is the d20 trademark licence not the OGL that forbids the mention of anything to do with character creation, level advancement etc.

Various groups (such as [] ) have attempted (or are attempting) to create a different set of documents, logos, trademarks etc that give a full set of rules (based on the SRD) without any encumbrances like that.

In other words, you can take any of the SRD stuff, add whatever you like to it (including character generation) and publish within the terms of the OGL. You just can't call it "d20".

As an aside, there used to be a site/group called "Twenty Siders" which seems to have disappeared. Perhaps they sailed a little too close to the wind?

Sweet! (4, Funny)

sunrise.kid (931504) | about 8 years ago | (#15547793)

No all I need are some friends to play with :-(

yeah but... (3, Funny)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 8 years ago | (#15547804)

... They won't have Larry Elmore, Clyde Caldwells, or Gary Gygax's signatures on them like my old copies!

Re:yeah but... (1)

mfh (56) | about 8 years ago | (#15547935)

Why not? Just scan them on and add them to the PDFs yourself!

Re:yeah but... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 8 years ago | (#15548183)

Heck, if I got back into playing, I could use it as an excuse to go to GenCon again... hrm... wonder if the wife would mind?

Re:yeah but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15548270)

It isn't like she's going to have to worry about you cheating on her there!!!

Re:yeah but... (3, Funny)

fightzombies (876201) | about 8 years ago | (#15548382)

You have signed copies!? Those must be worth like thousands of GP!

Boo (4, Interesting)

giorgiofr (887762) | about 8 years ago | (#15547822)

There they go and take a perfectly cool idea and corrupt it. These books should be sold with a huge discount because lots of costs have been cut by distributing them online as PDFs. And don't they realize that the very value of a PDF is intrinsically lower than that of a hardbound book? I might as well just buy the real thing and be done with it.
Besides... PDF DRM? I've been given tons of supa-dupa-drm-protected PDFs in the past and usually they gave up in under 10 seconds. As usual, determined attackers will get what they want, while people who are obviously loyal to the brand and good customers get shafted by having their book usage restricted.
(OK, I have an axe to grind... I never really forgave them for the switch to d20... or for buying RTS at all)

Re:Boo (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 8 years ago | (#15548063)

"And don't they realize that the very value of a PDF is intrinsically lower than that of a hardbound book? "

Absolutely false. The cost of production might be lower, but the value is determined by the consumer, not directly by the characteristics of the item.

To me, the PDF would actually be MORE valuable, since I commute a long distance and would be able to read them on my laptop without lugging around some heavy tomes. Easier to tag, cross-reference, etc. How about indexing the books and being able to instantly (well, near-instantly, these are pdfs after all) call up all references to a certain spell in all the books?

In short, value is ascribed by the perceived utility of the object, not by production and distribution costs.

Cost of production is lower (1)

artemis67 (93453) | about 8 years ago | (#15549227)

and lost sales due to online piracy is higher, so it probably balances out, anyway.

I don't care for D&D myself, but within five minutes of me reading this headline to a cow-orker, he found them on a bittorrent tracking site and was downloading them.

About the pricing and a few questions... (2, Insightful)

WinPimp2K (301497) | about 8 years ago | (#15548125)

Do you game strictly at home, or do you ever go to a game store that provides places for gamers to game?

If you ever go into a store, how many copies of the DnD books does the store carry?

Have you considered how much of the store's capital is tied up in those books as a percentage of their total inventory?

How about the square footage to display the books?

Now how do you expect the store's owner to feel if those books were available as eBooks for one fourth of the hardcopy retail price? (Game stores generally do not have the option of returning unsold books for full credit the way bookstores do)

Generally speaking the surviving game stores are on pretty tight margins - it would not take much to tip them into the red. WOTC sells lots more than DnD to those stores - doing things that may put their customers out of business is generally a Bad Thing.

So, while it may look like simple greed to you, there are other considerations that enter into the pricing.

Re:About the pricing and a few questions... (1)

TopShelf (92521) | about 8 years ago | (#15548483)

That's an excellent point, one that's often referred to as "channel conflict" in the wholesale biz. You don't to piss off your current customer base (bookstores and gaming stores) unless you're sure the new form (PDF's) will bring in more profit than you lose with the existing base.

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15548787)

Agreed. Also, screen readers need to copy text to the clipboard. The blind can't read DRM'd PDFs, which would be one of the great advantages of having an electronic copy. Luckily the open parts of the D20 system are available in web format. []

Love electronic distribution but... (4, Insightful)

cgranade (702534) | about 8 years ago | (#15547824)

While I do love electronic distribution, trying to read something as long as the Spell Compendium in a PDF makes me shudder. I love being able to physically flip pages, pass the book around and read without a computer. There are certianally things that are nicer about an electronic distribution, but when they try to recreate a book on a computer, it loses a lot of what makes reading on a computer better. When I can do a spin-find, resize the window and have the text rewrap, change fonts for maximum readability, etc., then I'll give it some more thought. Until then, I prefer that my books are in fact books, and that my files stay delightfully DRM-free.

Re:Love electronic distribution but... (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | about 8 years ago | (#15548178)

Exactly. It's a lot easier to pass a hardcover around the table (or loan it to a player for a week) than it is to dick around with a laptop at the gaming table. My group has tried just that, several times, and each time it's been a worse than miserable excursion. Charging full price for the books simply adds insult to injury-- Steve Jackson Games, as much as I dislike their new lineup, is at least charging $25 for their PDFs, which is a fair amount less than you'll find them for at the local gaming shop.

PDF is a great format for some forms of text, but large-format books with multiple printed columns are not one of them. I have a copy of the Dragon Magazine archive, and if it weren't for search functions then the scans would be next to useless-- there's an unacceptable trade-off between readability and being able to skim pages at a time; at the average resolution, you're stuck scrolling up and down the same page to follow the flow of each column, which a document properly formatted for electronic display avoids.

Good Idea (3, Interesting)

Thyamine (531612) | about 8 years ago | (#15547833)

This is certainly a good idea since a large number of computer geeks (yes, admit it.. you are, and so am I) play, and we're the most likely to adopt e-books or books in PDF form. However I personally prefer to have a book in physical form for all things, so unless there's some motiviation to purchase the book in this format (financial or otherwise) I'm not going to be doing this.

The one benefit that is very clear though, is the ability to purchase books and have them immediately, and not be limited by what the bookstore happens to have in stock today.

Re:Good Idea (1)

artaxerxes (94297) | about 8 years ago | (#15547877)

If they are OCR'ed to allow searching (automagically with OS X Spotlight for instance) this would be the single greatest boon.

Hopefully they will realise it's also a perfect opportunity to include Errata.

I just hope they allow eventually you to roll your own rulebooks with the elements of individual PDFs. That would be especially handy.

Re:Good Idea (3, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 8 years ago | (#15547931)

I just hope they allow eventually you to roll your own rulebooks with the elements of individual PDFs. That would be especially handy.

Psst - You can break the rules!


If everyone in your gaming group agrees a particular rule sucks - ignore it. If you hate using spell memorization rather than per-level MP (my own biggest peeve), just use MP and to hell with memorization. If you think a fixed exp per kill leads to mindless killing sprees and dungeon crawling, make better use of roleplaying-based advancement.

Re:Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15548026)

But the rules are GOD! We must obey the RULES!
Creative thinking is for those non-CS weenies.

Re:Good Idea (1)

FurryFeet (562847) | about 8 years ago | (#15549424)

You didn't actually read what GP said.

Here: I just hope they allow eventually you to roll your own rulebooks with the elements of individual PDFs. That would be especially handy.

Translation: I wish they'd allow me to cut and paste parts and pieces of the PDFs to create my own rules compilations. Trah would be especially handy.

You're welcome.

Mostly awesome! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 8 years ago | (#15547875)

This is definitely a good thing, as I've known GMs who need the convenience of e-books badly enough that they either scan the whole thing themselves or (ahem) find another source of a scanned copy It's definitely one of the reasons I mainly GM from digital source material. But, why no discount? That's pretty inexcusable.

Re:Mostly awesome! (1)

Tet (2721) | about 8 years ago | (#15548356)

This is definitely a good thing, as I've known GMs who need the convenience of e-books badly enough that they either scan the whole thing themselves or (ahem) find another source of a scanned copy

I've tried GMing with PDF versions of the 2e manuals (legally bought), but I just found that it's not as convenient as having the book in front of you. I'm back to the good old paper manuals now.

Re:Mostly awesome! (1)

gameguy1957 (937850) | about 8 years ago | (#15548514)

I agree it would be a good thing if the pricing were better. I could see getting them in addition to the books. I prefer to have a book in hand most of the time. But these would be great if you were looking for info quickly or to browse while on the road. However, I can't afford to rebuy everything over again at full price. I think a good range would be $10-$15 for the core sized books and less for the smaller books or modules.


PDF, eh? (3, Interesting)

pla (258480) | about 8 years ago | (#15547878)

Cool, so the DRM comes pre-cracked, and these should appear online within a month or so. ;-)

On a more seriously note - I think RPG rulebooks work better in physical form. Granted, you can't drag an entire shelf of books around with you, but the players guide, DMs guide, and whatever setting-specific guide applies to your campaign, doesn't really take that much effort - The Dew and snacks for the evening probably weigh more than the books you need.

And as for looking up a particular rule... C'mon, admit it folks - you have the rulebooks all but memorized, and just need to check whether half-ogre gets a 15% or 20% racial modifier to damage with a double-handed flail...

Sigh... And after writing the above, guess what captcha I get? "losers". Not so subtle hint, oh Gods of Slashdot?

Re:PDF, eh? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 8 years ago | (#15547900)

Most of these are already online as PDFs with no DRM. I have quite a few of them. Mind you I have quite a few books in hardcover, but I also download a PDF version since so many damned players kept borrowing books and never returned them. When I play, I want a book infront of me. If a player wants a book, I email them a PDF version.

And there is no reason why the PDF versions should be full price.

Re:PDF, eh? (1)

Kierthos (225954) | about 8 years ago | (#15547922)

A month? Give it two weeks, and you'll be able to download them for free.


Re:PDF, eh? (1)

Spazmania (174582) | about 8 years ago | (#15548192)

these should appear online within a month or so

They've been online for some time now. alt.binaries.e-book.rpg. 'Nuff said.

Re:PDF, eh? (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | about 8 years ago | (#15548427)

Sigh... And after writing the above, guess what captcha I get? "losers". Not so subtle hint, oh Gods of Slashdot?

Why did you get a captcha? I never get that when logged in.

Re:PDF, eh? (1)

pla (258480) | about 8 years ago | (#15548578)

Why did you get a captcha? I never get that when logged in.

I usually don't log in until ready to post... So, for my first post of the current browsing session, I get a captcha.

Re:PDF, eh? (1)

Alistar (900738) | about 8 years ago | (#15549197)

Yes, I know this is off-topic, but ...

I don't even get a captcha to log in.

Am I supposed to?

I block flash and java on all pages, perhaps that has something to do with it.

Re:PDF, eh? (1)

TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) | about 8 years ago | (#15548515)

And as for looking up a particular rule... C'mon, admit it folks - you have the rulebooks all but memorized, and just need to check whether half-ogre gets a 15% or 20% racial modifier to damage with a double-handed flail...

It is only 10%! Oh, hold on, the moon is Waning Gibbous tonight. Never mind, 15% is correct.

Full price? No chance. (2, Informative)

g051051 (71145) | about 8 years ago | (#15547879)

There's no printing, storage, or shipping costs associated with the PDF versions. I'd cheerfully start purchasing every one of the books, but no way I'm paying that much for an electronic download. I think my price point for this would be no more than $10. And what about upgrades? Errata? What's the policy on that?

Been using PDFs for a while (1)

Raleel (30913) | about 8 years ago | (#15547880)

I run an Arcana Evolved game, and Malhavoc releases all of it's stuff in PDF. It's been a godsend in a number of ways. I'm able to reference things just about anywhere I go, and can easily cut and paste sections out for my group in emails (for instance, to clarify rules).

However, while it has it's good parts, it also has it's bad parts. I can still reference a book pretty fast, even with search functionality. Reading ebooks is not really the most comfortable thing, so I tend to not sit down and read it cover to cover without the hard back. PDFs are not as handy for a casual read, like when you are in the bathroom.

They are good, though, and I wish that they would put the PDF on cdrom with the book when I buy.

Re:Been using PDFs for a while (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 8 years ago | (#15547981)

I am also a very big fan of Malhavoc. That is how I became a fan of PDF books for roleplaying in the first place. I also think Monte Cook's classes are better than the core classes.

Re:Been using PDFs for a while (3, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 8 years ago | (#15548465)

"PDFs are not as handy for a casual read, like when you are in the bathroom."

Yech. Maybe it's just me, but I don't want to be flipping through a book that my GM's been reading on the crapper. I know, the book is probably perfectly clean, but given what my current GM looks like, the visual is disturbing.

Besides, now I'm going to be thinking of unique items like Ragnar's +2 Plunger of Clog Slaying, or Charmin's +5 Vorpal Toilet Paper.

Nothing new here... (1)

dotoole (881696) | about 8 years ago | (#15547885)

Hardly a surprise. A number of technical publishers have been releasing programming books as PDFs lately. No printing costs, no shipping costs, no storage costs. This allows publishers to sell the PDFs online for a fraction the price of hardcopies while having a larger margin on each unit. Want a hardcopy? Print it out and get it bound. Still cheaper than buying a hardcopy (or free if like me you work in an office with a binding machine).

News? (2, Insightful)

l0tu53at3r (176637) | about 8 years ago | (#15547898)

Any self-respecting /.-er(slash)pnprpg-er would already have found all these books AND the "good" ones, plus non-WotC pnprpg books in pdf format. Where? At your local, friendly p2p pointer site. Well, maybe not local.

Re:News? (1)

IMarvinTPA (104941) | about 8 years ago | (#15548039)

Well, the place certainly isn't in order and tidy.


This will defininitely help my database. (1)

IMarvinTPA (104941) | about 8 years ago | (#15547905)

Oooh, yum. They're last PDFs really helped me update my spell (and other things) database. The Book of Vile Darkness is a 3.0 book, and so are a few of the other titles. Although they could be updated PDFs for 3.5.

They still need to be MUCH cheaper. I already own most of them in Hardback.


PDF D&D New?? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15547925)

I've had PDF's of all the D&D books for years... and they aren't DRM'd to death...

Here's how new gaming sessions will go... (4, Funny)

MagicDude (727944) | about 8 years ago | (#15547930)

DM - As you enter the dimly lit room, you see a creature lurking in the corner, laughing in the corner. As you approach it, things to dark for a second and then the entire room is illuminated with a bright azure light. You have encountered - A BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH!!

Fighter - I punch the the screen with my fist.

Rogue - I sneak around back and attempt to unplug it.

Wizard - I cast "Bigby's Typing Hands" to press Ctrl-Alt-Del

Cleric - I cast "curse" on Bill Gates

Sorceress - I summon Tech Support

No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15547933)

When the electric goes out now, I can light some candles and we can all still play (actually very atmospheric!). Unless you have a photographic memory, huge sod off UPS or laptop with spare batteries, PDF-based books create yet another thing which cannot be relied upon when the utilities fail.

Re:No way (1)

theRiallatar (584902) | about 8 years ago | (#15548017)

If the electric goes out and it's out for 3-4 hours, chances are you should probably be worrying about the milk in the fridge going rotten before continuing your game.

Re:No way (2, Funny)

alzoron (210577) | about 8 years ago | (#15548860)

Kragnar the Barbarian cares not for spoiled milk! Kragnar the Barbarian smashes his enemies! Kragnar the Barbarian laughs at his fallen foes and drinks spoiled milk with glee!

Re:No way (1)

Spazmania (174582) | about 8 years ago | (#15548214)

There are few people who can afford D&D books but live in an area where the electric routinely goes out for more than a few minutes. If you're one of them, buy the dead tree versions.

Must be a definition of ALL I'm not familiar with. (3, Informative)

Chainsaw76 (261937) | about 8 years ago | (#15547974)

"Wizards has elected not to make the three core rulebooks for Dungeons & Dragons available as eBooks at this time,"

Perhaps the title should be reworded to say, all but the best selling ones.


Close. (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 8 years ago | (#15547993)

All but the *most expensive* ones.

Re:Must be a definition of ALL I'm not familiar wi (2, Informative)

IMarvinTPA (104941) | about 8 years ago | (#15548060)

I think they mean the PHB, DMG, and Monster Manual I. But you can get basically free copies of these in the SRD site. It won't be PDF, but they'll be good enough. Or use [] for your core book needs. Except for the XP chart, starting gold for high level characters, and some WOTC monsters.


Re:Must be a definition of ALL I'm not familiar wi (1)

MrLizard (95131) | about 8 years ago | (#15549125)

Given the majority of the rules material is already free online in the form of the SRDs, making the core rulebooks downloadable is a bit redundant...

Re:Must be a definition of ALL I'm not familiar wi (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 8 years ago | (#15549360)

Most of the content of the three core books (and some from others) is available for free (free as in beer, and under a license inspired by Free Software licenses, though arguably not completely Free in that sense) in RTF (the official release) as the d20 SRD, there are also free PDF versions available from third-parties under the same license.

Good side (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | about 8 years ago | (#15547979)

I guess the good side of this is that they'll be a lot more D&D books available for pirating, and they'll be easier to find.

D&D was the one thing I never pirated materials for but ever since this 3.5 bullshit I've wanted to do nothing but download their books.

Its such a shame the Gygax's got so screwed from what D&D has become.

Pay a premium for digital goods? (2, Informative)

Alan Shutko (5101) | about 8 years ago | (#15548044)

I just checked, and for Frostburn (for instance), I could save $13 by buying it in hardcover form from amazon rather than buying the PDF. Sure, a PDF is more convenient in some cases, but this is ridiculous.

Ideally, I'd want some kind of subscription service. Let me sign up with DTRPG, authorize my credit card, and whenever a new book came out $5-$10 came off my card and I got the PDF right away. If they're worried about people pirating the PDF, a lower price would help that to... for $5 bucks I'd just give books away if I wanted to share the rules.

To Bad (1)

fullphaser (939696) | about 8 years ago | (#15548053)

That some gnome will come along with his +2 battle hammer and smash the computer with the PDF.

Re:To Bad (1)

polar red (215081) | about 8 years ago | (#15548421)

no ... a sprite with a +2 InternetExplorer ...

Big Deal (1)

Mycroft_514 (701676) | about 8 years ago | (#15548131)

Our version of Role playing has been available in PDF format since 2000. And it is not DRMed, and it is discounted in that format, since most of the cost of the paper version was always printing costs. 823464.21.222.125 [] FRP Made Easy: A Real Fantasy

A complete game system in 1 volume at 10$, what more could you ask for?

Saving Costs... (4, Interesting)

MrLizard (95131) | about 8 years ago | (#15548166)

A lot of people here seem to be sans clue about the 'costs' of physical books. Books are sold to distributors at about 25% of retail cost (and there has to be a small profit on that), so, if you just cut out the physical costs of the books, you will save about 15-20 percent. Furthermore, if PDFs are significantly cheaper than physical books, this undercuts retailers, who get angry, and stop ordering the product. If brick-and-morter stores stop buying, this cuts out the main source for new players entering the hobby. Keeping the physical distribution chain alive is key to the long-term survival of the genre.

Re:Saving Costs... (2, Interesting)

evought (709897) | about 8 years ago | (#15549046)

I've worked alongside the publishing industry before. The big win with an electronic format is lack of risk. They already have the content and they have a marginal printing/storage cost. They do not have the risk of printing 1000 copies that sit in a warehouse or get returned by the retail chain. That is why many publishers (e.g. Baen Books, O'Reilley with some titles, AWL with some titles, many small publishers, etc.) give away the PDF or HTML versions of their books now. As other posters have said, many people consider the electronic form a bonus on top of the physical book they own. People who are happy with the electronic version never would have bought a hard copy anyway, but, if you hook them, they might in the future.

Re:Saving Costs... (1)

MrLizard (95131) | about 8 years ago | (#15549198)

I always though the ideal might be a code number or the like, concealed from casual view (under a sticker, etc) in the printed books. If you enter the code number, you get a watermarked copy of the PDF either free or for a nominal cost. (2-3 dollars)

Re:Saving Costs... (1)

taustin (171655) | about 8 years ago | (#15549072)

You are apparently unfamiliar with the gaming market. The physical distribution chain has been dead for years. It was the result of a long, lingering illness. Which is to say, it was never much of a market to begin with.

Re:Saving Costs... (2, Insightful)

MrLizard (95131) | about 8 years ago | (#15549189)

I suppose I'm imagining the three stores I go to locally to buy my P&P books then. (And I'm stuck in semi-rural Indiana, too.) I'm clearly very deluded. I wonder what they are really? Vacant lots? Porno shops? Seedy biker bars? I may never know...

As to my unfamiliarty with the gaming market...I've been actively writing in it for six years. I'm well aware the b&m market is dying, but it's not dead yet, and anything which can be done to revive it...or just keep it on life support for as long as a good thing. If the hobby is reduced entirely to PDFs (of which I've also authored a few), there will be no new blood. You have to know you want something to look for it online.

Here's the deal. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15548171)

If they're going to load them up with DRM and make it all crippleware, I'll pay 1/10 of the price of a hardbound copy.

If they remove the crippleware and sell them as straight PDFs, I'll pay 1/2 of the price of a hardbound copy.

If they sell crippleware versions at the same price of the hardbound copy, then I'll wait until someone cracks the DRM and posts them on the internet, and I'll get them for free.

That's how it works. It would be refreshing if some publishers realized that, but it's no big deal from my end.

As greedy as the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15548212)

Let's see the download costs what to distribute? A fraction the paper of the actual book does and they don't discount them at all? Dumb. I'll stick with buying the books and *ahem* making my own backup copies via "photocopy" machine.

Cuz, ya know, those cheetos are dangerous! To books, I mean.

Another media company fails to get it (3, Insightful)

lilnobody (148653) | about 8 years ago | (#15548223)

This shows foresight, as WotC hasn't had to deal with piracy for as long as the music companies have. They must be aware just how freely their books are available on limewire, and as long as people want them digitally, they'll sell them instead of not even have a piece of the action. Good! I imagine we'll even be able to search the text, once the DRM is cracked--most excellent.

What they don't get is that I download copies to supplement the physical copies I own, so I can look up something on the road from a book I don't have as I prepare the next session for my group. They are seeing it as a replacement, as it costs as much as a book.

I'm not planning to pay as much as a book costs to get something that isn't as good as one. Back to limewire for me. But their quick acceptance of digital distribution, unlike that of most media companies, leaves me hope that they will get it before 4.0...


Three core rule books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15548286)

The three core rule books are already on the WoTC website. They are just waiting for you to download them.

Full price??? (1)

cavtroop (859432) | about 8 years ago | (#15548326)

So lets see, 1) Very low manufacturing costs. The content is already there, and making the PDF is a onetime process. Cost: $0 2) Very low distribution costs. Bandwidth is cheap, and how much does it really cost to download a 30MB book? Cost: $.50 3) Zero storage costs. No warehouse space taken by product. Cost: $0 And they want to charge me full price for this? Yawn, call me back when they are cheaper. this just seems like more profit for the man. Heck, I already own all the paper D20 books I want. PDF's would be nice (especially if searchable), but not at full price. I'd pay probably $4.99-$10 each, for a downloadable, searchable PDF file. No more.

it has arrived (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15548551)

The days of being able to pirate D&D are HERE

New? (1)

bombshelter13 (786671) | about 8 years ago | (#15548655)

How is this news? All the D&D3.5E stuff (as well as the 3rd ed, 2nd ed, 1st ed stuff and the whole Palladium/Steve Jackson/White Wolf catalog as well) has been available in PDF format on #rpgbookz on for years! I've never heard of these 'DriveThruRPG' guys, though. Ohhhhh. Sorry. I didn't notice the word 'selling'.

Bah! (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | about 8 years ago | (#15548722)

I thought they meant 'available in pdf' as in 'free to download'. Maybe someday I'll be able to afford to learn that game...

Re:Bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15549298)

The SRD is available for free at a number of websites, including Wizards. The SRD is all of the base rules minus some specific trademarked names and such. All you need to learn and play for free.

wowza! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15548731)

I cast a level 5 spell of neato great!

Great! (1)

RonaldReagan (112997) | about 8 years ago | (#15548759)

Wow! Now I can download all my AD&D referemce materials from the comfort of my own home, without the embarassment of going to a bookstore! No longer will I have to put up with jeers of laughing store workers, or "jock types" reading Maxim insulting me while I checked out "The Complete Wizard's Guide to Cone of Cold, Version 2.0.", or knowing stares of the FedEx woman delivering books to me. Xenophobia made easy, thanks AD&D!

Roll your own (2, Interesting)

sckeener (137243) | about 8 years ago | (#15548991)

(I'm buzzing. I always love it when I submit something that is accepted.)

I recently looked into rolling my own PDF copies of my gaming books. Here is the thread on Enworld [] .

For those that don't want to click on that link, I basically talked to 3 IP lawyers about how to do it. It all comes down to the receipt. You have to have the receipt to prove purchase. A scanned receipt is fine as long as it shows your name and the product. Basically you are making your own watermarked pdfs. One IP lawyer with 20 years in the software IP field told me a horror story about how you could have the original software CD, license #, have the software registered with the vendor, and you would still need to produce the receipt to prove ownership. Without the receipt it could be stolen.....

This just shows how slow WoTC has been (2, Informative)

Phase Shifter (70817) | about 8 years ago | (#15549001)

Steve Jackson Games has been doing this for a while now [] , with their own games as well as others.

This may be a big deal for D&D fans, but for people who play RPGs in general it's nothing new.

Re:This just shows how slow WoTC has been (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 8 years ago | (#15549426)

WotC has provided some D&D books as PDFs for some time, and SJG doesn't (or at least hasn't for long, its been a couple months since I was on e23, and e23's blocked where I am right now) make its whole catalog available as PDFs. There are lots of publishers that do release everything as PDFs in the RPG business, including lots of PDF-only publishers, but WotC is far and away the biggest player in the business, so this is pretty significant.

Books with free ebooks (1)

rayde (738949) | about 8 years ago | (#15549068)

i think the paper books should come with a card or something for a free copy of the ebook, might lead to more ebook only purchases too.

this whole idea seems alright to me, but personally i'd prefer a paper book to an ebook anyday. stacks of books on the table covered with snackfoods is part of the magic.

What about classic 1st edition stuff? (1)

Cy Sperling (960158) | about 8 years ago | (#15549103)

That is fine and all, but where are official PDFs of the old school TSR series of books and modules? I would love to get some PDFs of my old favorites like Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, Queen of the Demomweb Pits, White Plume Mountain etc. etc. I know they have just a couple up on the site, but why not republish it all?

P2P (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 8 years ago | (#15549105)

Runs & checks Shareaza... Yup, they are all availible!

Reason for DRM, same price, etc. (2, Insightful)

Psykechan (255694) | about 8 years ago | (#15549312)

OK, I see a lot of people complaining that these are DRM encumbered and that they are the same price as the hardcover copies. There is no benefit to purchasing these over the printed books. Well there are slight benefits such as serchable text but that's about it.

I agree though, it's not worth it. The solution is to not buy it.

I am sure that people have been demanding a PDF release for quite a while. This is pretty much the only way to do it. Release it as restricted PDF to cut down on "sharing" of the files is obvious but why make it the same price as the paper material? Simply to not piss off the small game vendors.

Yes the local RPG outlets are usually Mom & Pop style stores owned and operated by fans. They have a few rooms in back where you can get together with other players and play a game; if you need more players or are looking for a group, they offer a bulletin board. This is where new players learn how to play.

They have been slowly going the way of the video game arcade. The difference is that video games could easily move right into the home. RPGs, a social experience, aren't so lucky. Role-playing cannot survive in an online only world. I've tried dozens of times including currently with WoW but it isn't the same. It's like online poker; the mechanics are there but the social aspect is gone.

Now I personally hate D&D, as well as the whole D20 system, but it does bring new blood into the hobby. (So does LARPing but that's another story) RPG based video games also do but afterwards players need a place to meet up with others. These game stores are exactly that.

If people purchase their books and resources online exclusively, the struggling game stores lose even more money and close. Once they close, the gamers either play in their homes or leave the hobby entirely. Either way, there is no new blood infused into the hobby. No people to buy the RPG books be it printed or PDF and the game industry suffers.

So if you like the hobby, go support your local game store. Buy your overpriced splat books there instead of online. Have a chat with the owner, he's probably there. I don't think that his story will differ much from what you've just read here.

Whats the Big Deal? (1)

Durrill (908003) | about 8 years ago | (#15549458)

You've been able to get D&D books as PDFs for years. Just check your local torrent reservoir.
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