Wizards of the Coast announced Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition on 15th August 2007, substituting all articles and other internet activities with the Countdown 4dventure page. On the next day it was declared that 4dventure is indeed the next version of D&D rules.
The lead developer for 4th edition is Mike Mearls, other members of the development team including Rich Baker, Andy Collins, Bill Slavicsek, Rob Heinsoo and James Wyatt. One of the illustrators is William O'Connor. Playtesters are to be selected from RPGA members and people who will sign up at dndinsider.com, the tests will start somewhere in September 2007. The characters that will be used in playtesting are:
- Dwarven Cleric
- Human Fighter
- Elven Ranger
- Eladrin Rogue
- Tiefling Wizard
Known system details
There will be 30 character levels, as in Arcana Evolved instead of 20 as in D&D 3.5. It will take the same time to reach 30th level as it does now to reach 20th. Every level will grant new abilities.
- Levels 1-10 are considered "heroic", when the adventures are bound to battle orcs and giants in local encounters. Levels 11-20 are "paragon" with classic fantasy threats like dragons and saving a whole kingdom. Levels 21-30 are "epic", when it's all about saving the world or a plane of existence. Leveling up will be geared towards every second or third game session.
Ability modifiers will be equal to (ability score-10)/2, rounded down/ For example, a strength score of 12 or 13 will give a bonus of +1 to strength related checks.
Known races include: Dwarves, Dragonborn, Elves, Eladrin, Halflings, Half-elves, Humans, Tieflings (PH1) as well as Gnomes, Devas, Goliaths, Half Orcs and Shifters (PH2). One of the PH1 races has been omitted, will fix that ASAP.
Humans will be made more "flavourful". Racial traits will be available and start working from the first level. Racial feats can be taken later when a character progresses in levels to enhance them. Racial substitution levels will be removed from the system in favour of such feat-powered progression. Racial traits will enhance the suggested classes without enforcing any choices: for example, halflings are more lucky and dwarves are more enduring - the first trait is best for rogues and the second for fighters, but they are not completely useless elsewhere.
One classic race, gnomes, will disappear from the core books, but they will appear in Monster Manual. Tieflings will be present in Player's Handbook, looking more demonic than before. Changeling from Eberron campaign setting may be included as well.
Elves are confirmed as a playable race, though their roleplaying description changed greatly. They are now an impulsive race, which roams the woods in small tribes. They are said to have fey heritage and are relatives to eladrin. They still hate the drow, though. In Faerun, ar-tel-quessir (moon elves), sun elves and gold elves will retain their names, but be treated as eladrin in terms of game mechanics.
HP stay. Ancient dragons are told to have over 1000 hp. Also save or die spells will be replaced with spells that take away hit points, and then certain rules will tie hp loss with conditions like "bloodied" (at half hp). Massive damage will make the character suffer from penalties for the rest of the day, but will not kill.
Encounters mechanics will be completely redesigned to make it much more intuitive than the existing EL/CR system. A typical monster will last 3 to 5 rounds and have an appropriately small number of special signature abilities. The number of monsters will be assumed to be the same as the number of PC party members, no more one big opponent with occasional sidekicks. However, this number will represent not the actual number of monsters but their roles, and any role can be played by either a real monster or by a trap or by something else. Thus, traps will not cap at CR 10, there will be ready to use traps up to CR 30 as well.
Monsters will have a big choice of abilities, and the generic set of level-appropriate attack bonuses and defenses will make it possible to actually generate new monsters on the fly. Feral troll will have an ability to regenerate 20 hit points with a swift action instead of bluntly getting back 5 hp per round.
The list of things that will be provoking attacks of opportunity will be much shorter and free of exceptions, and they will mean more to fighters than to other classes. Monsters' reach will be stated for every attack (for example, it will be possible to have reach 15 ft for hands and 5 ft for bite). Some other combat rules changes will also speed up the play. Initiative rules seem to stay the same, and there will be an action called "immediate counterattack". Full attack action will be removed.
Life or death saving throws will be gone for good. AC variations (flat-footed, touch) are gone as well. They will be combined in a system of four standard defences: AC, Reflex, Fortitude, Will. That also means that the spellcasters will have to make attack rolls (for example, versus Reflex for fireball). They also can make critical hits with that.
Crits are on a roll of 20 and confirmation rolls are no longer needed. Damage from crits is max weapon damage, no more double damage or multiplied damage. Magic weapons give extra damage for crits. For example: a +1 frost sword does a extra 1d6 on a crit. However, nobody knows if the extra 1d6 comes from the frost or the +1.
- Interactive Character Sheet which allows to create a character.
- Character Builder - an application that allows to make a "virtual miniature" of a character.
- DM & player vault for keeping and sharing different game-related materials.
- Virtual Tabletop - an application that allows to actually play with other people across the globe.
Starting from 2008 the full range of benefits offered by D&D Insider will be available only to subscribers. The subscription fees have been announced as $9.95 per month. As for now D&D Insider is available for free preview until the end of 2007.
It will be possible to put "decals" like tattoos or other symbols in character visualiser.
D&D Insider will facilitate and enhance the game, but won't be necessary for any play.
The price for enabling access to online variant of a book you already have will be around $1-$2. Full subscription to D&D Insider will not be required for that.
Links to official material
- About 4e
- 4e core rulebooks fact sheet
- 4e D&D Insider
- 4e D&D Minis
- Keep on the Shadowfell
- 4e Product Release Schedule
Design and development
(Dragon articles require that you sign-in to D&D Insider to view the content.)
- Design & Development: Race, Why Race Matters (James Wyatt)
- Design & Development: Class, Fighters: Choice of Weapons (Rob Heinsoo)
- Design & Development: Power Source, Martial Power Source (Mike Mearls)
- Design & Development: Monster, What Can a Dragon Do in a Round? (James Wyatt)
- Design & Development: Dungeon Design (Mike Mearls)
- Design & Development: Points of Light (Rich Baker)
- Design & Development: Wizards and Wizard Implements (Bruce Cordell) - the original version is posted here
- Playtest Reports: Castle Smoulderthorn
- 4ed presentation videos on WotC website
- Behind the scenes: YouTube: Part 1, YouTube: Part 2
- Interviews: YouTube: Mike Mearls, YouTube: James Wyatt, YouTube: Rob Heinsoo
Insider and more
Links to unofficial material
Download and more
- DnD Fans site: www.dnd4th.com
Developers' blogs on Gleemax are not cited explicitly because both of the obvious nature of such a source and the big amount of information produced there.
- ↑ Mike Mearls: http://mearls.livejournal.com/141712.html?thread=1453712#t1453712
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?p=3707620
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=204434
- ↑ http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?p=3705437
- ↑ http://www.enworld.org/showpost.php?p=3738087&postcount=35
- ↑ http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?p=3705092
- ↑ Chris Perkins: http://uk.gamespy.com/articles/819/819068p3.html
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?p=3723603
- ↑ http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?p=3723461
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ James Wyatt: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drdd/20070816a
- ↑ Logan Bonner, http://www.gleemax.com/Comms/Pages/Communities/BlogPost.aspx?blogpostid=5890&pagemode=2&blogid=2072
- ↑ Bruce Cordell: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drdd/20070905a&authentic=true
- ↑ Rich Baker, http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=14197018&postcount=928
- ↑ http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3096805
- ↑ Dave Noonan, http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=910060&page=2
- ↑ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/mi/20071102a
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Andy Collins: http://p198.ezboard.com/Dungeon-design-in-4e/fgameschat19968frm10.showMessage?topicID=1110.topic
- ↑ Matthew Sernett, http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drdd/20071005
- ↑ Chris Perkins, http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=14049296&postcount=16
- ↑ Scott Rouse, http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?p=3876623#post3876623
- ↑ Scott Rouse, http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?p=3850022#post3850022