D&D 4th Edition 4E: What we think we know




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    4E: What we think we know

    4th Edition is Coming
    * D&D 4e has been in development since 2005.
    * Specific 4e forums have been created at the Wizards site:
    4th edition discussion
    D&D Insider article discussion
    * Also see www.dndinsider.com
    * Yes, there will be a "Player's Handbook", "Dungeon Master's Guide" and "Monster Manual" in 4e.
    * There will be at least 7 books of D&D 4 on 2008. (source: this post)
    * Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 4e (this post by thormagni) in August 2008.
    * "One new campaign setting per year"... vague plan. Dragonlance? Ravenloft? Greyhawk?(this post by thormagni)
    Wizards of the Coast will release two 4th Edition preview books in December and January — Wizards Presents: Classes and Races and Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters. The first live demos of 4th Edition will happen at the D&D Experience gaming convention in Washington D.C. in February 2008. The full scope of 4th Edition books, miniatures, and adventures will be available in the spring and summer of 2008.

    General Changes:
    * Still a d20 game!
    * 30 Levels: Levels 1-10, 11-20: Paragon, 21-30: Epic.
    * D&D products released between now and the launch of 4th Edition will fall into three groups. Edition-proof products (which are mostly story) will not include mechanics that are edition-specific. Some products will be "enhanced" to 4th Edition mechanics after release through DnDInsider, and a couple of series will end as 3.5 products.
    * The setting for the core books are campaign neutral. Forgotten Realms will be the first campaign setting to be updated (in August 2008). Other campaign settings will be updated at a rate of one per year.
    * Seems likely that attacker rolls dice against target number for everything - attacks, spells, etc. as in SW: Saga Edition.

    Philosophy of the Change:
    Design game elements for their intended use. Secondary uses are nice, but not a goal. Basically, when we build a monster we intend you to use it as a monster. If we build a feat, it's meant as a feat, not a monster special attack. If we also want to make it a playable character race, we'll design a separate racial write up for it. We won't try to shoehorn a monster stat block into becoming a PC stat block. The designs must inform each other, but we're better off building two separate game elements rather than one that tries to multiclass.

    As an example, the a theoretical minotaur PC race write up draws on and evokes the feel of the minotaur monster, but it doesn't simply copy over the rules. - Mike Mearls

    In Fourth Edition, we've totally revamped the math behind the system, and that's a big part of the way that we've extended the sweet spot across the whole level range. When PCs fight monsters of their level, they'll find that the math of the system is more or less the same at level 30 as it is at level 1. There will always be variation with different PCs and different monsters, but that variation won't be so great that monsters are either too deadly or too weak. - James Wyatt

    Races
    * Races will grant abilities at levels other than first - most of the abilities will be gained in the first 10 levels, but there will be some gained at higher levels.
    * Dwarven Resilience (1st level)
    * Elven Evasion (1st level)
    * Half-Elven Inspiring Presence (1st level)
    * Racial Feats to improve racial abilities
    * Racial-specific Powers for class, accomplishing what Subsitution levels did. Example: Dwarf Fighter with "Friend of Earth" power at 10th level

    Characters
    * An 8th level power (or spell) is a power you gain at 8th level. (Thadir's FAQ)

    * "We are doing something different with hit points. It's not exactly what you described, but characters will be more likely to survive a single hit at low level. I like to say the changes we've made make it so you won't go down in one hit at low level or high level." (Thadir's FAQ)

    * All classes let you do a little of all three. At-will powers are there so you never run out of options. Per-encounter powers are there so you can always take it up a notch. Per-day powers are there so you can really bring down the thunder when you need to.

    * There are 8 classes in PH1, but more will come out later in other books and the magazines. Think of it this way: There are many classes, but each will fit into one of the four roles. This way you have plenty of variability, but you can always be sure that the class is filling a basic function it's expected to. (Logan Bonner)

    * Four roles: Striker, Defender, Controller, Leader. All classes fit one of those roles, with some hybrids.

    * Cleric, Fighter, Rogue and Wizard are definitely in. Other classes are up for debate. Likely: Warlord, Ranger, Paladin, possibly Monk... but possibly not.

    Cleric
    * Healing power triggered by striking a creature in melee
    * The cleric doesn't give up his attacks just because he can heal—it's part of his role. (Thadir's FAQ)

    Fighter
    * "Martial" power source being non-magical, as will manuevers. Non-anime.
    * That being said, at high levels, the fighter does push beyond the limits of human (or elf or dwarf) ability. Also, if someone wanted to make their fighter more magical-feeling, they could muck about with the flavor of the powers to make them less mundane. (Thadir's FAQ)

    Rogue
    * The rogue (for example) still has plenty of social focus. The thing is, we don't take away his combat ability because of it. (Thadir's FAQ)

    Wizard
    * Fireball doesn't do 1d6 per level any more.

    Multiclass
    * Multiclass wizards (gish) will be more balanced from the beginning. (Dave Noonan)

    Monsters
    * Statblocks will be simplified, and not the same as for PCs.
    * A very enjoyable part of this work is designing sample encounters for the monsters. We talked just today about whether that would be better on D&D Insider, but we agreed that it's important to reinforce the message that an interesting encounter consists of multiple, different monsters grouped in interesting ways. - James Wyatt

    * [In 3e, we] end up jumping through dozens of hoops set up by the rules of monster design. If I don’t use all the monster’s skill points, it’s “wrong.” If I give it more than the “correct” number of feats, I have to explain that it has a bonus feat. And don’t even think about putting that ogre in full plate without advancing it enough to gain the Armor Proficiency (heavy) feat. Good grief. I want to design a cool monster, not wrestle with the system for hours. Thankfully, 4th edition is doing it completely differently. Monsters are being designed for their intended use: as monsters. We’re not shoehorning them into the character system and hoping what comes out works in the game. Of course, they look alike in many ways and use the same game system, but now the results matter, not the rules for minutiae. - Matt Sernett <- read this entry!


    Digital Versions of Rulebooks
    * Each paper product will include codes to unlock digital versions on the site for a "nominal" activation fee.

    Wizards Presents: Classes and Races
    * December 2007
    * An introduction to the changes of 4e.

    Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters
    * December 2007
    * An introduction to the changes of 4e

    Keep of the Shadowfell
    * April 2008
    * Adventure for 1st-3rd level PCs
    * Includes pre-generated characters
    * Will include a set of quickstart rules for 4E.
    * Quick-start rulebook; adventure booklet; player booklet; 3 poster maps.
    * Additional content on D&D Insider.
    * The adventure is designed to show off all sorts of 4e stuff. It serves as a quick start guide, but while parts of it are there to teach rules, it's a full-blown D&D adventure. You'll need to roleplay, figure out puzzles, out-think the bad guys, and everything else you need to do in D&D. Oh yeah, and there's tons of monsters to fight. - Mike Mearls

    Player's Handbook 4e
    * May 2008
    * 288 pages, done in a more "magazine" format - i.e. lots of diagrams and pictures.
    * Levels 1-30
    * Includes Magic Items
    * Many complex rules eliminated or simplified (Grapple!)
    * New page layout; new character options
    * Character advancement is meaningful at each level
    * High level play as fun and meaningful as low level.
    * Character class roles are going to be more tightly defined within the rules.
    * New power sources will be introduced for the other classes.
    * Resource Management overhauled. Game will keep going even when the caster
    is out of spells.

    Monster Manual 4e
    * June 2008
    * 288 pages.
    * Full colour illustrations; easy-to-use format.
    * Simplified Statblocks (NPC and Monster, I guess)
    * Monster rules are being redefined - DM will have easier time finding right
    monster for the right job.

    Dungeon Master's Guide 4e
    * July 2008
    * 224 pages.
    * Helps DMs run great games, create exciting adventures, and weave their own D&D campaigns.
    * Game will be easy to DM.

    D&D Insider
    * Players will also be able to use DnDInsider tools and access regular new content similar to the material that was previously released in Dragon and Dungeon magazines for a monthly fee greater than the old subscription price, but less than a MMORPG subscription.
    * Monthly fee $10/month (source: PDF handout)
    * Magazine-style content will be added to the site three times a week and compiled into digital "issues" monthly.
    * This is the "D&D Online" section of Gleemax
    * It contains a "Dungeon Master's Kit" that includes the following:
    - dungeon builder (map tool)
    - adventure builder
    - PC generator
    - other things (Source: Wizards forum post)
    * "Character Generator"
    - character sheets
    - character visualizer (Source: Wizards forum post)
    * "My Campaign"
    * "My Character" (source: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=905809)
    * "D&D Game Table" (source: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=905805)
    * "Dungeon & Dragon Magazines" (source: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=905804)

    D&Di Game Table
    * It will not adjudicate game rules.
    * Like your normal games it will be up to the DM to share his or her house rules for his or her players, and enforce them using the voice interaction provided by the VOIP, the text chat window, and the DM's settings. (Thadir's FAQ)

    The Dungeons & Dragons Insider Package
    Become a Dungeons & Dragons Insider and gain access to exclusive content designed specifically with D&D players in mind. As part of your monthly subscription, you gain access to features designed to enhance your D&D experience, including:

    D&D Insider Magazine, online magazine with new content updated daily, including:

    -Product Previews (articles showcasing upcoming D&D products)
    -Class Features (articles expanding existing character class options and debuting new character and prestige classes)
    -Strategy and Tactics (articles relating to D&D roleplaying combat and spellcasting, and to D&D Miniatures Skirmish play)
    -Design and Development (articles and columns exploring the many facets of the D&D experience, written by game designers in D&D R&D)
    -D&D Humor (comic strips devoted to the D&D experience)

    D&D Product Enhancements (expanded content for D&D products you bought, including interactive content such as searchable indexes, extra features, behind the scenes articles, game designer and developer commentary, and more)

    Exclusive Content that expands your favorite campaign world

    -Eberron and Forgotten Realms ongoing content
    -Interactive maps
    -World events and adventure hooks

    D&D University

    -Rolling six-week course to help make you a better D&D player
    -Course message boards
    -Player tip of the week from D&D R&D

    - MyCharacter.Com pages that you can design and populate, with a Premium Customization Kit that includes D&D art, frames, and icons
    - Private Message Boards that give you a direct line to D&D R&D
    - Premium RPGA Membership Card mailed to you
    - Fast Lane Registration at all RPGA events (online and in the real world)
    - The Magic Shop, a virtual shop where you can outfit your D&D character

    D&D Character Builder, a program that helps you create and manage your D&D characters. This program allows you to create a character for any D&D game, walking you through the process of rolling the dice and assigning your game statistics, as well as creating a visual version of your character using "paper doll" models and "drag and click" selections of armor and weapons. At the end, you can save your character and print out a character sheet, as well as go to any D&D tournament and call up your character for use, or use the character at the Virtual Gaming Table (see below). With this package, you get to create and store up to 10 different characters or up to 10 different versions of one character (your character at different levels), or some combination of the two.

    -Exclusive D&D-related novels and short stories written by your favorite authors
    -Real-World D&D Search Engines (find D&D gamers, game stores, tournaments, and events in your area)
    -In-Game D&D Search Engines (find feats, spells, magic items, and other D&D-related topics)

    Digital Gaming Table, a program that allows you to play D&D using the Internet as your kitchen table, with a viewable play surface, dice rolling, virtual miniatures, and voice chat. Now you don't have to wait for your home gaming group to get together to play a game of D&D. You can still play your weekly face-to-face game, but now you can also play two or three more times a week by finding a game at the virtual table. Or, you might want to reconnect with your old gaming pals who long ago moved away-now you can all play together again on a regular basis! With this package, you get to play at the table 3 times per month.
    Source: http://www.enworld.org/showthread.ph...eferrerid=4046

    Open Gaming Licence
    * 4th edition will be OGL
    * There will be a new SRD
    * Details on the new d20 System License (or equivalent) are still being worked out. It seems unlikely there will be a fee.
    Last edited by MerricB; Friday, 24th August, 2007 at 04:17 AM. Reason: More info
    Merric Blackman
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    I'm getting a "sukael, you do not have permission to access this page." message on all of those links. EDIT: The gleemax ones, I mean. The ENWorld link works fine ;D

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    Quote Originally Posted by sukael
    I'm getting a "sukael, you do not have permission to access this page." message on all of those links. EDIT: The gleemax ones, I mean. The ENWorld link works fine ;D
    It's a LOCKDOWN!

  • #4
    Wow, no OGL. That will mean a definite forking of D&D.

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    It's interesting that the forums had a listing for 4E Eberron and 4E Forgotten Realms, but no mention of Greyhawk, Dragonlance, etc.

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    Interesting times. If it's old school, I'll probably buy it (at least the core). If not, I'll remain a bitter grognard playing C&C and my out-of-print Gygax-era stuff.
    "I despise all weavers of the black arts. Speaking of which, can you pass the gravy?"

    "I didn't know there would be this much talking."

  • #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Xyxox
    Wow, no OGL. That will mean a definite forking of D&D.
    Not really.

    The fan stuff kinda-sorta sucks, but it keeps people from reprinting 100% of the released material on their geocities site. And it only sucks for the publishers if WotC is real tight with the license. So far they've been pretty cool with their IP (mind flayers, beholders, etc).

    What it does is allow WotC to avoid a Book of Erotic Fantasy 2: The FATAL Edition. And game stores won't get screwed with a d20 glut.
    "I asked Dave to please send me his rules additions, for I thought a whole new system should be developed. A few weeks after his visit I received 18 or so handwritten pages of rules and notes pertaining to his campaign, and I immediately began work on a brand new manuscript. "Greyhawk" campaign started —the first D&D campaign! About three weeks later, I had some 100 typewritten pages, and we began serious play-testing in Lake Geneva, while copies were sent to the Twin Cities and to several other groups for comment. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS had been born."
    — EGG, Dragon #7

  • #8
    Eternal Optimist SILVER DEFENDER
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    ø Ignore MerricB
    Quote Originally Posted by takasi
    It's interesting that the forums had a listing for 4E Eberron and 4E Forgotten Realms, but no mention of Greyhawk, Dragonlance, etc.
    Not that surprising. They did have "other settings" as an option. Currently Eberron and Realms are the only two supported 3e settings (and have been the only two throughout Wizards' 3e run, not counting one-off books).

    Cheers!
    Merric Blackman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyxox
    Wow, no OGL. That will mean a definite forking of D&D.
    I'm not entirely convinced that's a bad thing, depending on how hard/expensive they make it to licence 4E. There are some great 3rd-party publishers to be certain, but (over the years) there has been some very, very bad ones too.

    Maybe requiring a licencing fee will keep the quality up from the very beginning. Just a thought.

    “It only surprised me up until around 1977, ... I had thought we were going to have a considerable audience of gamers and science fiction and fantasy fans. I thought easily with those we'd have 50,000 or more [buyers], but when people began to write me [with questions] about what fantasy books to read, and I saw the wide range of both younger and older people who were attracted to the game, I understood that it was reaching a deeper chord, something deep within us.” – E. Gary Gygax (July 27, 1938 – March 4, 2008)

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    Thanks, Merric.
    Most sorts of diversion in men, children and other animals, are in imitation of fighting.

    -Jonathan Swift

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