Is There a Legal Way to Get D&D 5E Core Rulebook PDFs?

Playing Dungeons and Dragons with a rule book (known as Player’s Handbook) is helpful for new D&D players to speed up their character development and level up since it allows them more game time in the session.

However, some players prefer having a PDF of the core rule book rather than a hardcover version because they are easy to keep for a long time, but legally getting the PDF version of the D&D 5e core rule book can be a challenging task for them. 
So, this article will discuss the possible and legal ways to obtain the PDF version of the D&D 5e core rule book.

Are There Legal Ways to Get PDFs of the D&D 5E Core Rulebook?

The PDF version of the starter set or basic rules is usually downloadable for free on the internet, though these are incomplete and unhelpful for new players. 

There are a few ways to legally get a PDF version of the D&D 5e core rulebooks. Let us discuss them in detail:

You can create your PDF by scanning the D&D 5e hardcore rulebook and saving it for future reference

If you have a physical or hardcore rulebook and a scanner, you can scan the complete rulebook and save it on your computer or laptop. Although it will take a long time, it is a legal way to get the PDF version of the rulebook. 

However, never share the scanned PDF on the internet or store it on cloud storage services since you may be liable for legal action for violating copyright laws. It might happen because sharing the PDF of a hard copy online or uploading it on cloud storage might be illegal in certain countries.  

Another benefit of converting the physical book into a PDF is that you can search for anything in the PDF version by simply pressing CTRL+F to search for anything in the soft copy version of the book. 

Refer to the 5e System Reference Document (SRD)

You can download the System Reference Document (SRD) that contains the guidelines for publishing content under the Open-Gaming License (OGL) from

The SRD is available in PDF format for the players as a guide to fulfill the need for reference material (for spells, creatures, and most of the things related to the game). 

Use website to scan the hardcore rulebook of D&D 5e game 

In the USA, a website,, takes books from users, scans them, destroys the physical copy, and delivers a soft copy of the books in various formats to the users for personal use only. 

So, if you do not want to spend your time and effort scanning the hard copy of the D&D rulebook, you can consider this website to get your work done. 

Fantasy Ground website

You can visit the website of Fantasy Ground: It has officially licensed material that covers the core rulebooks of the D&D 5e game. 

Roll20 website

You can also consider the Roll20 website, which has officially licensed material for the D&D players as reference material to play the game. It contains many PDF versions of the D&D handbooks, manuals, and guides, which contains all the rules, spells, monsters, classes, items, and other information for players to refer to while playing the game. 

Paizo website

The Paizo website is also handy for D&D players because they have uploaded the rules to play the D&D game. Their content related to the game is free and helpful for players to see the game rules without considering or downloading pirated materials to play the game. 

D&D Beyond website

The D&D Beyond website is another handy website for new players to learn more about the game rules while playing the game. It has all the rules for all the classes, spells, feats, races, monsters, and all other things used in the game.  

D&D Beyond also has a specific section for new D&D players. They have discussed an overview for beginners, rules for playing as a player or a Dungeon Master (DM), how to use dice rolls, rules for creating a character, and provided beginner guides to D&D in this section.

Visit website

You can refer to or website to find out more about Dungeon and Dragons game and also know how to play the game. This website has publicly released the condensed version of the 5e core rulebooks online. 

It also has various sections that discuss the D&D 5e game and explain how to play the game, how to prep for an adventure, how to roleplay, and all other things related to the game for new D&D players. 

The above-discussed websites may not provide any PDF, but you can get the soft copy version of the rulebook in digital form.

Are the Basic Rules Pdfs Enough to Get Into D&D, or Do I Need the Player’s Handbook?

Yes, the basic rules PDF is enough for new players to start playing the D&D game. You can use them to play the game for a while and even run a campaign (though you need to find more options available in PHB and Monster Manual).

If you want to get together, build characters, and run a home-built adventure, Basic D&D rules PDF is enough for you. It has four races and classes that give you 16 different PC combinations, and each class has a few selections you can make within the class to get more options.

The Basic rulebook also provides some magic items and monsters for new players to start their adventure. It has monsters available from CR 0 to CRs in the late teens, which provide plenty of challenging encounters from L1-20. 

However, there are only four races and classes. So, if you want more than 16 PCs, you may have to purchase or find PHB (Player’s Handbook). You can build your monster manual or buy a monster manual for more varieties of monsters in the game. 

Lastly, consider getting the complete rulebook on various online platforms, websites, or methods discussed in the above section.