The long-awaited and much-anticipated Wizards of the Coast D&D Essentials Kit has finally arrived in Australia. When the kit was released exclusively into Target stores across the United States, in advance of a wider national and international release, it flew off the shelves and became a highly sort after item among D&D enthusiasts.
One of the key elements of Dungeon and Dragon's recent resurgence has been an intentional tailoring of the game towards accessibility to new players and audiences. A new player or group should, ideally, be able to pick up the basic elements of the game and run with it. However, this is not so easy to do for a new player or DM, with the bulky Player's Handbook, let alone the Dungeon Master's Guide. Enter the new Essentials Kit - the bare bones of the D&D game which anyone can pick up and run a well-paced one-shot session.
Although not a complete substitute for the D&D Starter Set, which itself will take players through a whole multi-session introductory adventure (from levels 1-5), the Essentials Kit does offer fantastic value for the price, with something for new players and groups and the more veteran players of D&D 5th Edition. It's got a whole bunch of handy accessories (see below) that the Starter Set does not have, offering not only value, but utility beyond the confines of the introductory adventure that comes with it.
Similar to the D&D Starter Set, though, by basing the setting out of the town of Phandalin, and offering a series of quick one-shot adventures that can eventually and easily link into a wider campaign like Lost Mines of Phandelver, Storm King's Thunder, Curse of Strahd or any others really. Because of this, it is a perfect tool to allow someone an insight and transition into the game. The tactile nature of maps, magic item cards, new side-kick rules etc make this perfect to build a establish a footprint and immersive rapport for both the DM and the party. We particularly like the new 2 player rules option as it's a common request from couples or others struggling to find a full-group.
In our estimation, for the price it's a worthy addition to any player or DM's arsenal, as well as an excellent gift option to help new or potential players take their first step into the hobby.
The kit contains:
64-page rulebook that teaches you how to create characters of levels 1 to 6, and to play the game. Includes an all-new one-on-one rule variant (1 DM + 1 player).
Dragon of Icespire Peak, an introductory adventure
Double-sided poster map: map of campaign's town; map of surrounding region
Dungeon Master's screen with basic rules for quick reference
6 blank character sheets
11 RPG polyhedral dice (2 D20s, 3 D6s)
81 reference cards:
- Initiative cards: 1 to 9
- Quest cards: brief synopses of quests
- Magic item cards: e.g. potion of healing
- Condition cards: e.g. grappled, prone
- Combat cards
- Sidekick cards: 9 sidekicks, each with a stat block inside the rule book
Note: Unlike the with the Starter Set, there are no pre-generated characters included in this kit.
Click here if you'd like the pre-gen character sheets included in the Starter Set.