[Let's Read+] D&D 4e Core Books

keehnelf

is overly critical
Validated User
#1
Hey everyone!

I'm a long-term D&D GM, and have played every edition significantly apart from the LBB and 4e. I would consider myself solidly, but not dogmatically, old-school in my sensibilities where D&D is concerned. Somehow 4e just completely missed me! I watched the debates and acrimony erupt around it but never felt invested one way or another because, frankly, I didn't know anything about 4e.

So, with 5e being solidly established, it's now quite cheap and easy to get one's hands on collections of 4e material--and I've done just that. I'm planning to do a complete read-through of the PHB and DMG in the next week or so in the hopes of learning more first-hand about the edition's goals and play innovations, hopefully without any of the negativity that often pops up when old school meets new, though from the perspective of a decidedly old-school player.

Would there be any interest in such a Let's Read, or has this ship sailed long ago?

edit: fixed a typo
 
Last edited:

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#4
Re: [Let's Read] D&D 4e Core Books

Interested. I might also be worth to considering to turn this into a [+] thread.
 

keehnelf

is overly critical
Validated User
#6
Re: [Let's Read] D&D 4e Core Books

I'm not sure how to rename a thread I've started--but I am definitely good with adding a [+] to it if a mod would be so kind.

First post in a bit.
 

JoeNotCharles

Registered User
Validated User
#7
Re: [Let's Read] D&D 4e Core Books

I'm not sure how to rename a thread I've started--but I am definitely good with adding a [+] to it if a mod would be so kind.
Easiest way is to it the "report" button on the first post (the little triangle in the bottom left). The screen that comes up says, "This is only for reporting users who break the forum rules" but actually the mods are ok with using it for all kinds of simple administrative requests, like "please rename this thread" or "please move this to a different forum" or whatever.
 

keehnelf

is overly critical
Validated User
#8
Re: [Let's Read] D&D 4e Core Books

First up:

Dungeons and Dragons - Player's Handbook

The Cover:

The PHB at first blush already seems like a striking departure from earlier editions of the game. The comic-booky or cartoony style of the art on the cover, with a dragon-man warrior and a human wizard, gives you a sense of action and dynamism that probably captures the spirit of the game really well but is a little jarring to me coming from a tradition of more sedate covers for core rules (the 2e horseman was about as dynamic as I've been used to in D&D core rules).

After a bit of reflection, the most jarring thing about the picture is how angular things are--the dragon-man's armor is all points and hard angles: even his sword is a kind of lightning-bolt like jagged line across the top of the illustration panel. Also, and I might be misinterpreting things, the wizard on the cover looks oddly dirty. But not in a "climbing through muck-tunnels after treasure" kind of way. None of this is bad, it's just a huge departure from what I'm used to in game covers. It adds up to an impression of D&D as a game of action and high adventure. Based just on the illustration, I would expect the rules to be fast-moving, allow the characters to do exciting and impressive things, and fall squarely in the "high fantasy" implied setting or genre. These are all departures from the default mode in, say, B/X, where much of the game is about logistics, managing risk, and sometimes very real and difficult struggle. Conversely, this book is subtitled "Arcane, Divine, and Martial Heroes" so I can only assume that these characters are Protagonists more than Actors--Heroes, not Adventurers. It's an interesting distinction and despite the clumsiness of the title (I wouldn't ever say that phrase out loud) I like that they call it out explicitly right up front.

I'm excited to see how the designers have incorporated these ideas into the existing D&D rules conventions, what's been changes, etc.

From a branding perspective, I note that there's no edition number on the cover. That initially struck me as odd, until I actually considered the branding of the game and realized that since AD&D only 2e and 3.5 have clearly labeled themselves with an edition number, which makes 4e part of the standard rather than an outlier.

Physically, the book is much thicker than I would have expected from a player's handbook--leafing over the table of contents, it seems like there is a lot of material and that the core mechanics are well-covered, but I was surprised to see both how thick it is (it's probably 75 pages longer than I would have considered a PHB "standard" to be) and how lightweight. At least it's easy to carry around! It seems to be well-made, and the copy I have, while used, doesn't show significant signs of damage from being handled and used in play.

I'm excited to see what's inside.
 

MacBalance

Registered User
Validated User
#9
Re: [Let's Read] D&D 4e Core Books

I liked most of the 4e era covers, although I'm not as thrilled about the general 'design language' which while functional (color-coded headers for powers, etc.) was not a book that made for fun casual reading. However, as a rulebook )which is probably the goal) it gets good usability marks.
 

keehnelf

is overly critical
Validated User
#10
Re: [Let's Read] D&D 4e Core Books

Easiest way is to it the "report" button on the first post (the little triangle in the bottom left). The screen that comes up says, "This is only for reporting users who break the forum rules" but actually the mods are ok with using it for all kinds of simple administrative requests, like "please rename this thread" or "please move this to a different forum" or whatever.
Thanks, I appreciate it.
 
Top Bottom