The game Dungeons and Dragons has changed much since it’s beginnings in the 70s, and since then the game has received a big enough update to be called a new edition roughly every 10 years. When 2008 rolled around, so did D&D’s 4thedition, an attempt by Wizards of the Coast to mainstream the game, by simplifying the rules and balancing the gameplay to allow for faster setup, and well structured action. This article will be the start in a series detailing the books of 4thedition, and also in depth looks into various aspects, such as classes, magic items, races and the worlds that make up the D&D universe in 4thedition.
A good starting point is with the core rule books, the basis for any edition of D&D, and must haves for any player. Let’s start with the Player’s Handbook, or PHB as it’s known in shorthand. 4thedition tried to put their best foot forward by giving us a PHB that summed up the rules quickly, from leveling and dice rolls, to actions and status effects. The first races of the 8 brought in front and center included the usual fare of Humans, Elves, Half-Elves, Eladrin (previous known as High Elves), Halflings and Dwarves, but also Tieflings and Dragonborn, races previously found only in the Monster Manual or other D&D supplements. To coincide these choices came 8 classes, Cleric, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Warlock, Warlord, and Wizard, once again 6 of them well known to D&D veterans, but the Warlock and Warlord being recent newcomers to the PHB. Each class was now assigned one of four roles to play, allowing player groups to better pick what to play for a more balanced team. Skill selection was cleaned up and many skills were actually combined, cutting the once daunting list of 45 from Edition 3.5 to a more manageable 17. Other changes included magic items lists being found in the PHB, when in previous editions it would be left in the Dungeon’s Master Guide, a welcome change for people who would like to readily know what that flaming greatsword they just picked up could really do.
The final change to be found was the last chapter listing the new rituals of 4thedition, previously left to the spell lists of previous editions, all spells are now unique to each class and were listed after the class summaries, while the more complex magic not readily usuable in battle were turned into rituals, to be used as much as you want as long as you had the resources and skill to use them, an interesting change over cramming the rituals amongst the spells that you would normally use to fight off monsters in previous editions.
So ends our wrap up of the Player’s Handbook for 4thedition D&D, I hope to see you back here next time when we take a look at the Dungeon Master’s Guide.