Many questions have simple answers... If you have the appropriate reference at hand. But should we expect the DMG is ubiquitous? I know that at my AL table there are plenty of players with only the PHB, and some with only freely-available materials.

Many questions seem to be--at least, to a completist-- "Read the Book to Me Questions." But I wonder if they're not, instead, "I've downloaded and read the 114 pages of player's guide and even looked through the downloadable dm's rules. [63 pages, 55 of them monster/NPC stats.] Then I bought the Starter Set and got some more playing and GMing advice and content. So what the heck were the people at my table talking about?"

I'm so glad that with amount of content in the freely-available basic rules we can finally say to people with a straight face "you can play in--or even run and design--games for free." Then the starter set gives you a lot of good playing and GM guidance beyond that, for only 20 bucks. And "if you're serious about playing, obtain and read the PHB" is probably a fine sentiment.

I know we expect querents to do some research first. In the 5e world what should our expectations on resources be?

Possibly related: Should we prefer...Basic Rules or Player's Handbook

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    \$\begingroup\$ Serious question: Does Arqade.SE field questions about video demos if the full game is available? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 24 '15 at 7:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I have no idea; I think the full analogy includes the question of whether one can download the demo software and play in the MMO with full users. In that case it'd be akin to the demo player seeing some cool action a full user took and asking "how do I do X?" where the answer is "um, it's in the menu, if you buy the game." But I think likening the AL+downloads player to a 'demo user' may be spot-on. (And is starting to re-organize my thoughts on them.) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 24 '15 at 8:40

If you're asking a question about DMing 5e, you should have the DMG.

Also, answers should not significantly reprint copyrighted material, so the right answer to any question of "but how does X work" that's completely and clearly covered in the book should be e.g. "see DMG p.56 for an explanation of that" anyway.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Here's a poster-child: Are there any templates available for creating new backgrounds in DnD 5E? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 24 '15 at 2:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that's right and have upvoted. I think I had players--especially new ones--a bit more in mind and so have tweaked the question. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 24 '15 at 3:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ But the DMG also covers rules that are relevant for playing 5e as well, usually not in an easily find-able way. What then? (obviously the second part still applies, but the first part seems in bad faith) \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Aug 28 '15 at 5:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ There was a quote by WotC (which I can't find now...) that you can play any published adventure with only the free PDFs & the adventure itself. If the publishers don't expect someone to have all the "core" books, should we? \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus Sep 3 '15 at 3:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus But does it say you can run the adventure? The free PDF and the adventure itself might be sufficient for a player, but is it sufficient to run a game? ...That actually could be a question on Main if the quote could be found. \$\endgroup\$ – Tritium21 Sep 4 '15 at 9:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe so, but can't confirm. \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus Sep 4 '15 at 12:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Regardless, we should not have answers that regurgitate the DMG, we should simply reference it. Of course they may not "need" it, most people asking questions here should just make a call and go on, but they "want" more guidance. That's the first stop when you do. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Sep 4 '15 at 12:51

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