Much credit for this thread goes to Aegeri. He is sometimes awesome, and you should remind him of that.
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?
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?
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).
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.
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
: 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
: 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
: 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