In “Five ways to create more usable game books,” I piled a heap of criticism on the usability of Wizards of the Coast game books. I singled out the index in the fourth-edition Player’s Handbook for particular scorn.
The fifth-edition Player’s Handbook’s index takes 4 pages, 1.6% of the book’s total page count, way more than the 0.3% the last edition devoted to an index. Plus, the index crams a lot of entries into 5-columns of microscopic type. The index qualifies as best to ever appear in a Player’s Handbook. By a real-world measure, it rates as decent.
I have used the new index and have found most of the information I sought, but not everything.
This brings me to two questions that I could have answered if I had known where to look in the rules.
- A character can make a DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check to stabilize a dying ally. While the Medicine skill (p.178) lists this possible action, the actual DC appears in the combat action for stabilizing a creature (p.197). If you spend a measly 5 gp on a Healer’s Kit, you can stabilize 10 creatures without needing to make a Wisdom (Medicine) check, which makes the guy who chose proficiency in Medicine feel like a chump.
- Drinking or administering a potion requires an action. This appears in the equipment listing for the healing potion (p.153) rather than in any of the descriptions of actions in combat.
Thanks to Tom and Rodney for telling me (politely) to RTFM, because the answers really were in there. (Kids, RTFM stands for read the friendly manual.)