ITT people try to tell you the way you like to pretend playing as a fantasy elf or dwarf is wrong. Plus you're probably a jerk. Why are you such a jerk? Also that you are not playing DnD the one true way and that you're a horrible monster. Why do you hate fun?
Here is a Dungeon:
Here is a Dragon:
Hence the name. Also, as a bonus picture here is Bane.
He's so dreamy
And no, he's not going anywhere from the OP. He wants you to love his manly pectoral muscles, his huge thigh muscles and bulging tip of the long hard shaft of his spear. The artist who drew this spectacular visage of our general thread mascot and local god even has a wallpaper of him
. All hail Bane!!!!
Speaking of before we go any further here, want to get the perfect way of starting 4E? Don't know where to go though? Try Wizards generously offering both a revised and improved version of Keep on the Shadowfell and the Quickstart rules? What will this cost you?
Absolutely nothing as it's completely free. Download them here.
Dungeons and Dragons is a pretty old game, originally being created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974, both of whom have passed way now. Since then it's had various iterations and editions, with the latest edition being 4th edition, published by Wizards of the Coast. The basic rules consist of three books:
As the name suggests, this is for players and also details the games core rules like combat.
This book details the various monsters and other things that populate most DnD worlds.
This is for the DM and contains useful things like how much experience you have to make an encounter, treasure tables and rules for creating your own monsters.
If you want to play DnD, you usually only need the players hand book. Running a game requires those base three books and should be bought by everyone in general.
Speaking of stuff, what stuff can you look forwards to playing in this wonderful game of Dungeons and Dragons? How about a handy description of the varied options in 4E?
Your wonderful options for Playing Dungeons and Dragons 4E
The first of the core books in 4E reintroduced many core races that are familiar to anyone who has played DnD before, while also introducing some new options like Dragonborn to familiar fantasy tropes like dwarves and Elves. The main difference in race design in 4E compared to previous editions is that most races gain positive bonuses to stats (no negatives) and are generally more evenly powered across the board. No ECLs or similar are used here.
Additionally this is the book that introduced many of the core classes back to the game like fighters, rogues and wizards while again introducing new elements like the Warlord. Class design is really radical in 4E compared to the way 3E handled things, so you should be prepared for a major shock if you’re coming from a previous edition. Most classes have been broken down into a series of roles that determine what they generally do: Defender, striker, controller or leader.
Further most classes have both a power source (that mechanically ties them into certain things) and a collection of individual powers that determines how they can affect combat (usually flavored by the role the class fits into).
The PHB introduced the following races and classes into 4E:
Dragonborn are probably one of the more controversial of the races introduced in the original PHB, much fun has been had in my various groups over the “To play a dragon” part in their description. Overall they are one of the races best supported in 4E, with numerous feats, options and a really solid base class. Like any self-respecting dragon/man creature they have a breath weapon that is hugely expandable by feats.
Additionally they have an entire supplement book dedicated to them, further expanding their options in the game and several DDI articles.
One of the best races in the game for a defender due to their general resistance to forced movement powers and also suit a wide range of divine classes. One of the most iconic races in Dungeons and Dragons it was good to see them in the original PHB. They also got themselves a bit of a size increase to medium, though still overall shorter than a human (As you’d expect).
The Eladrin were formerly the “High” elf archetype of previous editions but this time they’ve been linked closely to the feywild. The feywild being a mirror plane of the natural world where nature is rather crazy and more vibrant than normal. As a result they’ve picked up the ability to teleport a short distance, making for numerous arguments about how you’d build a prison for individuals who can teleport. Overall they manage to pull off a significantly different feel and flavor from standard elves – so justify their inclusion fully.
Did I mention they can teleport as a racial power? Because they totally can.
Elves are basically as they are from their portrayal in Lord of the Rings, somewhat tall light humanoids that make perfect rangers among other classes. They have an excellent racial ability to reroll a failed dice roll, but are otherwise pretty much the iconic elves of Dungeons and Dragons – minding of course the lack of strength or constitution penalties from earlier editions.
Half-elves are basically a combination of humans and elves, with generally a friendly atmosphere to them and the ability to take feats from both elves and humans (as well as having some of their own). They make excellent diplomatic characters due to their inherent racial bonuses and their racial power to take an at-will from another class is extremely handy in the right situation.
Halflings are one of few races in 4E with the small size category that lets them run through a large creatures space – something that can be rather handy from time to time. They are quick witted, resourceful and can force an enemy that attacks them to reroll the attack – especially useful if the attack was a critical hit! They are the poster child for “classic rogue” in 4th edition as well.
Hey that’s us! As in many fantasy stories, most 4E settings assume human civilization is typically on the rise and overrunning older “wiser” races that scoff at the fast generation times and ingenuity of humans. As a race, humans have some excellent features such as picking up an additional at-will power from their class, can choose what one stat they improve and gain an extra feat at first level. Overall an extremely solid race and can fit anything you want to play easily.
Tieflings are the descendants of an ancient race that made pacts with infernal beings for power. They have a somewhat inhuman appearance with huge horns on their faces, tails and sometimes even goat legs! They recently received errata that changed their core racial power and feats as well, making them one of the only races I can think of that has been drastically changed since publication.
Like dragonborn they are also getting a book dedicated to them that will be jam packed full of options.
: The cleric is the stalwart of dungeons and dragons, serving a god (or sometimes gods) and generally performing the role of party medic. In 4E, Clerics can hold down an offense as well as heal their allies, making them a very versatile and fun class to play as opposed to being the guy everyone got mad at because he wanted to attack instead of heal. It’s a very solid class and can stick it out in melee as well as standing back from the rear playing a supporting role.
: Wisdom primary, Strength or Charisma secondary.
: It’s worth noting this is the most loved class in all of 4E. Copious excellent paragon paths, feats, powers and options await the player of the fighter, backed up by some of the best core class features in combat superiority and combat challenge in the game. Enemies fear shifting, moving or even remotely having you look at them funny. A front line defender that hits things dead while preventing an enemy from leaving the area around them, fighters are one of the best (if not the best) defender in 4th edition.
: Strength primary, Dexterity, Constitution and Wisdom secondary.
: A very capable defender, as he is the only one who has immediate access to plate armor from the start without needing high stats and a feat. Although not as directly sticky or powerful as a fighter, their mark inflicts damage without an attack roll and they are super effective against undead (as it does radiant damage). As an added bonus, paladins can do a bit of healing on the side as well helping out the frazzled leader of the party in a tigher situation.
: Strength or Charisma primary, Wisdom secondary.
: Effectively this is the class to go to if you like shooting things with arrows a lot or want to wield two weapons to murder things. The class is largely built on a power called “twin strike”, which lets them attack twice a round and by the late periods of a campaign can deal considerable amounts of damage. They also have copious options for attacking outside of a round (during the monsters turns basically), meaning they can keep doing considerable damage even outside of their turn. Due to some of their powers, they actually come very close to being the martial controller in 4E (as one doesn’t exist as of yet).
: Strength or Dexterity primary, Wisdom secondary.
: The classic “sneaky” class, the rogue relies on getting combat advantage over his opponents and stabbing or shooting them in extremely sensitive places. They favor using light weapons over bulkier ones and can be extremely damaging strikers in the right situation.
: Dexterity primary, Strength and Charisma secondary.
: The Warlock is one of the oddities in 4E, although it is a striker it actually functions best as a single target controller that does some damage on the side as well. Depending on the pact (as Fey, Infernal and Star in the original PHB, expanded to Vestige, Sorcerer-King, Dark and others later) the Warlock gets different utility out of their powers and core class features.
: Charisma or Constitution primary, Intelligence secondary
: The warlord is a leader who focuses on manipulating his allies and the battlefield. Although not as strong at healing as other leaders, the Warlord has a single minded focus on boosting his allies attacks and initiative considerably, allowing his allies to go well before their enemies and destroy them before healing is even required. The warlord is definitely the leader for the tactically minded in 4E.
: Strength primary, Intelligence and Charisma secondary.
: This is the class that focuses on exploding enemies violently with various area of effect spells. They have some excellent powers that deal automatic damage to other enemies and can severely hamper opponents by penalizing their saving throws (making it harder to escape from their effects). Wizards also have excellent damage potential with many of their spells, meaning they can stop enemies in their tracks and still blow them to pieces. Just don’t expect them to be completely game breaking like they have been in previous editions: Reality check is Wizards are an excellent addition to a group but won’t win encounters for you by themselves.
: Intelligence primary, Wisdom and Dexterity secondary.
Wizards were not finished there of course and released the second players handbook further expanding the options available!:
Tall blue supermodels, the Deva are touched with divine blood much like how Tieflings are descendants of those with infernal blood. The Deva are the most overtly “good” race in 4E and undergo an eternal cycle of reincarnation. Those that go bad end up becoming a Rakshasa after their next reincarnation. They’re pretty tied into the divine power source – being half angels and can boost their own dice rolls through experience from their numerous lifetimes.
Second of the short people in 4E DnD, Gnomes are a curious lot from the feywild who are cunning and quite tricky. They have the ability to turn invisible when potentially hit by an attack, which is a rather handy ability and are generally good at most arcane classes. Gnome barbarians are possible as well with some changes to two handed weapons, so rejoice!
Huge humanoids from the mountains of the world, Goliaths are extraordinarily tough and very strong – especially as they have a racial power to give them general damage reduction. They are pretty strongly interlinked with the primal power source and so favor classes like the barbarian. They also double as the half-giant from Dark Sun as well.
Proving once and for all that human beings will have sex with anything (or that a wizard did it – depending on your interpretation) is the Half-Orc. Mixing the primal brute fury of orcs with the great adaptability of humans – the half-orc proves to be an extremely swift and handy fellow in a fight. Just don’t ask him where he came from.
The shifter is as close to playing a genuine lycanthrope as a PC that you can get in 4E. They are part man and part feral beast, with the interesting choice of a different racial power and even stat boost depending on which ‘strain’ of shifter you want to be. They generally tend to be excellent primal characters as a result.
Class descriptions by Terrendos.
Power Source: Divine
Primary Abilities: Wisdom, Intelligence, Dexterity
"My god has words for you. This blade will show you to him."
Avengers are excellent at isolating and eliminating single targets. Other followers do what should be done. You do what must be done. Pro: roll two attacks under certain circumstances. Con: Reliant on enemies for static damage boosts.
Power Source: Primal
Primary Abilities: Strength, Constitution, Charisma
"My strength lies in the fury of the wild."
Barbarians are savage warriors, channeling primal energy through themselves and their massive weapons. Darting back and forth across the battle, your fierce shouts make the enemy quake in fear. Pro: Big damage dice, lots of damage potential. Can fly into mighty rages. Con: Rages are daily powers, so don't expect to use them a lot. Also low defenses that get lowered during certain attacks.
Power Source: Arcane
Primary Abilities: Charisma, Intelligence, Constitution
"I play the song of my ally's victory over your corpse."
Bards are artists, channeling magic through unbelievable skill with music, drama, or poetry. Your skill with blade, book, and hymn are the stuff of fables. Pro: lots of fancy rituals to help in conversation. Can take as many multiclass feats as she wants. Con: Comparatively less healing than clerics, and less effective hazing abilities.
Power Source: Primal
Primary Abilities: Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity
"I am the seeker. I am the stalker. I am the storm."
Druids are the most effective and purist channelers of primal fury and embody all aspects of nature, from the calm of the still leaf to the fury of the thunderbolt. Pro: Alternates between caster form and wild shape for effectiveness in every situation. Con: Too many At-Will choices, fewer burst options than Wizard/Invoker.
Power Source: Divine
Primary Abilities: Wisdom, Constitution, Intelligence
"Mighty Pelor! I beseech ye! Smite these wicked foes with your unending light!"
Invokers are invested with a pure spark of their chosen god, rather than being merely ordained by corrupt priests and weak rituals. They are the purest of their god's mortal agents. Pro: Arguably a better controller than Wizard, plus gains access to the sweet Channel Divinity stuff. Con: Less overall damage potential, less powerful rituals, and lacking the utility spells that make wizards such good generalists. Also I'm not that fond of the PP choices.
Power Source: Primal
Primary Abilities: Wisdom, Constitution, Intelligence
"The spirits surround me, guiding my movements and obeying my commands."
Blessed with a mighty spirit companion that aids his allies, the Shaman is a primal, spiritual force. His mighty companion serves as both a focus for his attacks and as a shield to protect both him and his allies. Pro: Protector spirit makes an excellent backup Defender or Striker. Con: You have to give up your actions to command it.
Power Source: Arcane
Primary Abilities: Charisma, Dexterity, Strength
"The difference between you and me? You wield magic. Magic wields me."
Sorcerers are natural founts of arcane power, resulting from either a history of dragon's blood or a product of mysterious, chaotic forces. Either way, you practically bristle with barely-contained magic, parcelling it out as needed in battle. Pro: Potential for very high damage and lots of cool effects. Con: Those effects are typically random, some of which can hit your allies.
Power Source: Primal
Primary Abilities: Strength, Wisdom, Constitution
"Get past me? You might as well try to push the mountain aside."
Wardens are protectors of the earth, drawing on primal spirits to protect their allies from harm, and the natural world from the encroachment of those who would corrupt it. Pro: You are a brick wall, but harder to hit and probably more resilient. Con: You're not supposed to wear heavy armor, and marking all adjacent enemies means you're going to need all that toughness.
That not enough races and classes? Well have some more thanks to the third
Everyones favourite astral monks are back and now a player race! They make pretty decent monks (as you would expect), and their stat spread make them okay for many other classes. Additionally they have some of the best racial feats in the game, making them even better.
Yeah, minotaurs are now a playable PC race, probably inspired off the more noble and civilized minotaurs of dragonlance. They haven't changed much since their dragon racial write up, but do get strength and their choice of con or wisdom - making them more flexible in what classes they can play.
These are the leftovers of a defensive gate from the Far Realm that shattered, leaving them behind. Sentient crystal people like constructs in a similar vein to Warforged, they can split themselves up into a swarm of sentient shards. Definitely a bit … out there even for the existing bunch of races.
Plant People from the feywild who are a "young" race that has arisen to fight the abominations of the far realm – which forms a general theme of the third players handbook (especially given Githzerai were originally enslaved by Illithids and Shardminds were part of a barrier that sealed in the far realm). They have several different racial powers and like all PHB3 races a fixed stat and a choice between two others.
Charisma, Constitution and Wisdom.
"By carefully manipulating my allies minds, I shall make them fight better without them even realizing my presence!"
This is a psionic version of the warlord, but not as mechanically strong as the warlord and again has the same general PP flaw that all three of these psionic classes share. They do have a lot of close burst and similar powers that have interesting effects on allies and they do like sticking it up close to enemies as well. Of the three psionic classes, they're not too bad and I think was one of the better thought out power point using ones.
Constitution, Wisdom and Charisma
"Those that ignore me will be burned by their own attacks with the power of my mind!!!!"
The battlemind is the psionic defender and has similar issues to the psion as it shares the same PP system. Unlike a fighter its mark isn't as easy to enforce, albeit can be highly damaging in the right situations and I think they will be a good secondary defender.
Intelligence, Charisma and Wisdom (I think)
"I am Mentock the Mind Taker and I am here to take your mind!!!"
The first psionic class shown that uses a power point system to "augment" at-will powers into encounter powers using power points (PPs). The class seems to suffer from numerous problems, such as higher level at-wills not being equivalent to some lower level powers that scale better and due to taking less PPs can be used far more often in an encounter. Personally I feel the experiment with PPs was not a good decision.
Dexterity, Strength and Wisdom.
The Monk is a great new striker with unprecedented mobility in 4E. Like the name would suggest they are masters of unarmed fighting and if you've ever wanted to punch a dragon in the face with your iron fist of pure Bruce Lee inspired rage - this is definitely the class to play. They can get a pretty solid unarmed attack and using ki-focuses means they can turn any part of their body into a lethal weapon. Any.
Overall this seems like a solid addition to the striker family of classes.
Strength, Constitution and Wisdom (IIRC)
"The runes are the language of the gods and I am the interpreter of their words through my hammer into your skull."
A new leader with some pretty strong all purpose party buffs. They get different "runes" that apply either a damage bonus to the party or a large defensive buff. Seem pretty handy and they like stirring it up in melee. I will say I love this class, but I must honestly feel bad for the strength cleric who has been almost kicked in the gut with the nerf to righteous brand and this class just outdoes it in every way as a close up divine melee leader.
"My arrow flies straight and true to pin the enemy down and punish them for their transgressions..."
A ranged controller that uses a bow and is pretty interesting. In many ways there is some overlap with the ranger here, though the seeker is unusual in that it has a lot of ranged basic attacks that are encounter powers and similar (they play nicely with a warlord that can grant ranged basic attacks as a result). Many of their powers create zones and similar around a target they hit and it's certainly an interesting idea.
Then there are the races and the class from the campaign setting books. First Forgotten Realms:
Classic villains turned into PC races by the popularity of Drizzt, essentially another kind of elf with some different powers. I will say they make amazing rogues because of their darkfire and cloud of darkness racial powers.
Half-elemental planars who join the ranks of the Deva and Tiefling as being plane touched PC races. They make good wizards and depending on your elemental type they can suit a wide range of classes. They also make good swordmages.
Power Source: Arcane
Description: A defender that focuses on using arcane energies to entrap attacking enemies or reduce the damage they do to his allies. They have some good burst and blast powers for dealing with minions and grouped up enemies as well – though not quite the raw damage of a defender like a fighter. Overall a very solid secondary defender, with some excellent tricks to help them keep up.
The Eberron players guide added further races again as well as a new class!
These guys, when you want to be derogative that is are classically known as "Dopplegangers" but most people to be polite call them Changelings. Like the name suggests, they can change how they appear and they make terrific rogues or wizards (they get a choice of stat boost!). On the other hand, as a cautionary note they are probably the worst supported race in 4E for whatever reason.
These are a humanoid race who have bound themselves to dream spirits called Quori. They have some racial psionic talent (communication by telepathy for example) and should obviously fit in well with the Psion and other psionic classes.
People usually refer to them as robots but these guys are more of a metal and plant "cyborg" than a robot. They have pretty strong racial abilities and make fantastic fighters and especially barbarians.
Power Source: Arcane
Primary Abilities: Intelligence, Constitution and Wisdom
"Let me just help you with your wounds in a minute, right after I finish making this...."
The Artificer is a really solid leader, capable of taking other characters healing surges and making his healing powers out of them. This helps to spread around the parties healing surges so everyone can keep fighting longer. They can use a variety of weapons and fighting styles (ranged, melee and binding constructs like a summoner wizard), making them pretty flexible in general.
And now DDI is adding more options to the game as well – insider exclusive (that is they won’t be printed) to boot!
DM/Player Tools and Helpful Links
D&D Insider Subscriptions
These guys have come back from the dead or were prevented from dying by some other force (the Raven queen in the default cosmology). They're unique because they actually have the undead subtype and can take feats that make them fully undead. Fun with a cleric in the party that's for certain! They make for decent assassins (another new class coming out in DDI), rogues and warlock.
Power Source: Shadow
Primary Abilities: Dexterity, Constitution and Charisma
"Please don't mind while I stab you with my Fullblade here - oh you were expecting a dagger? Well that can be arranged after I'm done disemboweling you..."
The Assassin is the first "exclusive" DDI class to be published and is pretty interesting. They can apply "shrouds" to enemies that they can use when attacking to inflict greater damage on their enemies. They also have a wide variety of weapon proficiencies and can teleport between creatures at-will. It's a pretty solid class for a DDI exclusive effort, with the only real flaw being they don't have their Ki-focus elements out just yet.
D&D insider is probably the best method of keeping up to date with 4th edition at the moment. For one thing, it keeps you up to date with all that pesky errata in a simple way and if you subscribe for a month, then cancel you can get a lot of content for not a lot of overall money! You can preview some of the toys at the links below:
This of course is a subscription service and here are the current prices, with a month subscription for what you can get out of it being quite a steal if you are prepared to deal with not having everything up to date each month.
- $71.40 for 12 months - $5.95 per month
- $23.85 for 3 months - $7.95 per month
- $9.95 for month
To subscribe to the D&D Insider service, click here
. Prices went up in July (2009), seems about a dollar an issue for a 12 month subscription.
You can find screenshots of the Character builder here