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Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook: Arcane, Divine, and Martial Heroes (Roleplaying Game Core Rules) Hardcover – June 6, 2008


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Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook: Arcane, Divine, and Martial Heroes (Roleplaying Game Core Rules) + Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide: Roleplaying Game Core Rules, 4th Edition + Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual: Roleplaying Game Core Rules, 4th Edition
Price for all three: $70.40

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; 4th edition (June 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786948671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786948673
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (306 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Save your time and money, just go play WoW instead.
Chris Mcdaniel
Just like fighter's exploits of the same level... Then, almost all adventuring options (skills, spells, abilities) are gone.
Andrey Lenskiy
This is the most GAME like d&d of any previous edition.
Nathan J. Knight

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

808 of 877 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Hershberger on June 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
4th edition D&D = Different.

That fact alone would have spawned endless teeth gnashing from loyalists of prior versions - but what differences are we talking about? How different is it?

In a word: very.

4th edition is a sea change in the core rules that is easily on par with the change from 2nd Edition to 3rd Edition.

Start with the thematic changes:
The core races have changed. Humans, Halflings, Elves, Half-Elves and Dwarves are back - they've just been supplemented with three new races. Dragonborn (dragonmen), Eladrin (magical fey of the wood) and Tiefling (humanoids with an otherworldly taint).

Classes from 3.0 and 3.5 have been dropped from this volume (There is no druid, monk, bard, or barbarian). These classes are promised in future Player's Handbooks. Not the most auspicious beginning.

Thematic changes like this are easy to spot - but are perhaps the least important changes in the game. I dislike the concept of Dragonborn ("Dragon-anything" is a label I feel makes its subject seem cartoonish and clichéd), but as a GM - I can easily fix this. In my world Dragonborn will be lizardmen, with a backstory that I choose. I take the rules and make them my own.

The WotC game designers have clearly tried to shift the game mechanics towards customized character development: (a rules buffet, so to speak) - so anyone who wants to have a druid could achieve a reasonable facsimile of powers and rituals and achieve the rest thematically.

Many will have a problem with this - but I frankly don't. Being able to mix and match classes in 3.5 was a radical shift (and a brilliant one) and the re-thinking of that model that occurs in 4th Edition provides more options, not less.
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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful By D. Springer on July 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The 4th edition D&D is a completely different beast than the 3.5 version or earlier versions. It has several significant advantages, but also what I consider to be very significant weaknesses

First the advantages:
1) Combat is streamlined, quick and effective.
2) Every character class has its own special powers to make it interesting. Every level of advancement gives new powers.
3) The new skill system is a significant improvement, giving a good range of activities in a simple to use format.
4) Spellcasters having at-will powers eliminates a major weakness
5) Game balance is clearly a major objective. All character classes seem to be roughly equally powerful - and assigning appropriate opposition is straightforward.

Then the disadvantages:
1) Character classes are combat platforms. They define how you fight. However, it seems that all the non-combat flavor of the classes has been nearly eliminated.
2) Other than skills and a handful of rituals, there is almost nothing in your character class for activities other than immediate combat. Duration of powers is extremely short, usually only a single round.
3) Character classes are rigid - characters are able to select from only a small number of options in character creation/advancement. It seems clear that to have a different type of fighter, you need to pick a different character class (and thus buy a new book).
4) Many rules make no sense in defining a game world, but only exist to enforce game balance or speed up that next combat. Concepts like Mooks, unlimited healing surges after combat, transforming magic items to "dust", or the odd cavalry limitations imposed in the game seem silly.

Overall, the game can be fun, but is clearly designed for gamers that prefer combat heavy games.
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139 of 172 people found the following review helpful By Richard Gear on June 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I don't mind at all that WotC has sacrificed some sacred cows to make the system more streamlined. I don't mind that you have to roll to hit with magic missile. I don't mind that you have to use miniatures, or a battlegrid. I don't mind that the game is more combat-oriented.

I do mind that the game just feels boring.

Sure, I can make a Dragonborn fighter and an Eladrin wizard. But they don't do anything spectacularly different. Except that the wizard is, for some magically unknown reason, unable to whack anything with his staff. All of the powers that they've added essentially boil down to XdY + Ability modifier damage, and if you're lucky, a 1-turn status effect.

I give great praise to WotC for making the classes blanaced. It's very difficult (if not impossible) to push your character off the RNG completely. The problem is that they made everything too balanced, so that no one does anything particularly flavorful.

Not only that, but the character you make is essentially straight-jacketed into one of the two (and sometimes three) predetermined character archetypes that are presented. Taking a power from a different character build is inefficient, because it takes a different attribute to use, which you probably don't have as high.

I don't care if my wizard impales people with ice spikes or burns them with fire, because there's functionally no difference. Defenses against particular damage types are so few and far between that you can do the same thing with the same spell, over and over again.

The elite and solo monsters that are presented are a joke. They have anywhere from 2x-5x the amount of HP a normal monster should have, and have an extra 10%-25% chance to end any effect on them every turn.
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