March 17, 2008

D&D 4th Edition Previews: Players Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual

The GamerZero team conducted interviews with the editors of the major D&D 4th source books slated for release this year. The interviews took place on the floor of the D&D Experience that went down 2 weeks ago and though they don't include any show stoppers, they definitely add fuel to our exciting fire of the 4th edition release.

Some players seem a bit upset that D&D is getting another installment citing that this redesign might have been hit hard with the dumbed-down World of Warcraft hammer. So far, we're totally optimistic. Reading through the Worlds and Monsters prerelease book - which we highly recommend - our hearts race with how well-thought-out their overhaul of D&D is, smartly redesigning monsters and settings and giving them strong traits and themes. The simplification of rules seems completely wrapped around an interlocking set of mechanics that can be easily extending by gaming groups as they see fit.

Here's what we learned this week from the interviews.

Players Handbook (above)
The Players Handbook is really centered around character classes, instead of having that information up front and then filed somewhere in the back, which is a welcomed origanizational change. The interview also talks about Character development arcs. An intersting example given was that higher level powers will extend lower level versions, replacing them in the character's bag of tricks. Through this new abilities will be unlocked, but the list of options will remain smaller than in past editions, and thus more manageable. Beyond that it's slightly vague due to limiting the amount of prerelease information they're allowed to release to the public.

We hope - we really really hope - that new gameplay mechanics will open up with these new powers, instead of the powers imply adding more damage dice to make them essentially the same exact spell as before. That kind of growth really doesn't seem interesting.

A few nice new tidbits: Players will be able to retrain skills on every level, and will receive Feats ever other level. We hadn't seen this info in print before, so score!


Dungeon Master's Guide: [On YouTube]
The DMG has be redesigned to be easily approachable to new and existin DMs, more so than in past editions. The book will ship with a section called the 'DM Toolbox' which will provide clear, simple rules and steps on how to create customized adventures tailored to your party. The video doesn't get into too many hard examples, but seeing as this guide is quite a ways away, things seem to sound good for this stage of prerelease hype ambiguity.


Monster Manual: [On You Tube]
The interview starts in about the Monster Manual at 1:40 (prior to that it's general 4th Edtion experiences). But what we eventually learn: the guide is going to ship with 500 monsters (wow!). Each monster will have some creative / inventive tactics for each monster, with the goal of each monster feeling quite different. A lot of these monster traits are mysterious, and will only be opened up to players as the encounter them, including monsters that use combined forces tactics in groups, or some monsters explode when they die, etc. The players will have to learn the correct tactics to take down every different monster type, essentially exploring each monster type as they're encountered. It sounds awesome. It really, really does.


Is it June yet?

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Posted by Critical Gamers Staff at March 17, 2008 1:31 PM

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