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Role Playing (Games)

D&D Fourth Edition Books To Be Released in June 59

Posted by Zonk
from the now-we're-getting-somewhere dept.
Bill Slavicsek, R&D director on Dungeons and Dragons at Wizards of the Coast, has announced via his personal column that the three core books for Fourth Edition will all be coming out in the same month. When the new game version was announced at Gen Con this year, the initial idea was that the books would be staggered over a three month period. "After conferring with our various trade partners, the Sales Team here at Wizards came back with word that they'd rather have the three core rulebooks release in the same month than over three consecutive months. As that's how we originally wanted to release them, Brand and R&D got together with our Production Team to see if we could accommodate the request. The answer is YES! The new release schedule looks like this: May: H1: Keep on the Shadowfell 4th Edition D&D adventure with Quick-Start Rules. June 6: 4th Edition Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual." As a note, the article is trapped behind an inane login for the Dungeons and Dragons Insider site. Hey WotC? It's really hard to talk up your new toys when you make it hard to read your content. Why not loosen up a bit?
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D&D Fourth Edition Books To Be Released in June

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    D&D 1st and 2nd edition were both on the market for decades. Then Wizards of the Coast purchases D&D and all of a sudden a new edition is coming out every few years. They are just trying to make people buy tons of their printed material, which is exactly what their business model was with Magic the Gathering.

    Yay for printed material that becomes obsolete every few years. Can't wait for D&D 5th Edition, coming next Christmas.
    • by pluther (647209)

      D&D 1st and 2nd edition were both on the market for decades. Then Wizards of the Coast purchases D&D and all of a sudden a new edition is coming out every few years. They are just trying to make people buy tons of their printed material

      You don't remember all the crap that TSR published to expand, change rules, add additional material, etc., for 2nd edition?

      At least the material for 3 and 3.5 was mostly of decent quality, and not just geared towards making your character more powerful with each n

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Earered (856958)
      Well, 3E improved things, and that's from Wizards of the Coast. In some countries (France, Sweden) D&D wasn't the dominant RPG anymore before 3E (Good settings, and pretty rulebooks had room to develop).

      3.5 (point release for books?!?) and 4E are from a Wizards of the Coast owned and directed by Hasbro, a completely different beast.
    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday October 19, 2007 @06:11PM (#21049259)

      D&D 1st and 2nd edition were both on the market for decades.


      In the case of AD&D 2nd edition, 1.1 decades (1989-2000), with a substantial revision (though it didn't get an official new version like 3.5) of the core books in 1995.

      And 1st Edition AD&D was 1977-1988, also 1.1 decades,

      Really, 3rd Edition lasting from 2000-2008 with a revision in 2003 isn't all that much shorter than either of the previous editions.

      They are just trying to make people buy tons of their printed material, which is exactly what their business model was with Magic the Gathering.


      Yes, their business model is to make people want to buy the products they are producing.

      That's pretty much every business model.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Bieeanda (961632)
      As much as I've railed against it in the past, this is pretty much necessary for Wizards to keep D&D as a going concern. Wizards is a small branch of Hasbro. D&D is little more than pimple on Hasbro's ass. If it starts to be a problem (revivification of the old Satanic Panic, or simply not turning enough of a profit), Hasbro will pop it without a second thought. Wizards is Pokemon, as far as Hasbro's concerned.

      The best way to make a promise of profits look good, in this (and I hate to use the wo

      • by conform (55925)
        Wizards hasn't had the Pokemon license for four years or so. Magic is their big property. It might also be Hasbro's biggest property, as well.
  • by newgalactic (840363) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:40PM (#21048847)
    I used to play D&D, and loved it. However, over the years I was turned off by all the expansion books that were available for each race, class, worlds. If I was going to get back into D&D, I would restrict myself to the core three books, PM, DMG, and MM. D&D was always about the story telling ability of the DM anyhow, Min/Maxing just took from the game.
  • Choices (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kingmundi (54911) on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:42PM (#21048877)
    I have been a long time player. But it is rare me and the old crew will get together and play. And when we do end up getting together, it is usually a one off thing where we only play the same characters for a short time. I always felt the core books did not really address casual gamers in a way that would enhance the fun factor.

    The issue as I see it, relates to choices. I noticed that people like to play mages because there is a perception that magic can do neat an interesting things, and a beginning player can spend time thinking about various choices of spells they can get. Whereas, the other classes seem to be more focused on just increasing a stat such as to hit something, or do more damage in a particular situation.

    Well, one of the benefits of role playing is adjusting the rules to suit a particular style. I just wish they incorporated more interesting choices for low levels, or even an optional playing style.

    From the few comments and reviews I have read, it appears that they are spending more time incorporating ideas from MMORPG, such as having tanks that draw aggro, and talent points to customize each class. It will be interesting to see how these work to give a player more choices in making a character. I have my doubts. It is not as though MMORPG are a great bastion of role playing. Seems most people just want points, powers, and trinkets.
    • Re:Choices (Score:4, Insightful)

      by crashfrog (126007) <crashfrog@@@gmail...com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @07:10PM (#21050155) Homepage
      I just wish they incorporated more interesting choices for low levels, or even an optional playing style.

      I think they're very much doing this. Late in the 3.5 product cycle they released "Book of the Nine Swords", which detailed an add-on system of "maneuvers" that provided the same kind of options that wizards and clerics had through spells. Apparently they're working from that to develop a system that provides more options for martial types in 4th edition.

      I heard on a podcast one of the developers say that most 3e players came to feel that levels 7-13 or so were the most fun, in terms of having a lot of options and not feeling gimped but also not having so many different complicated effects that the game drags down. It's their hope in 4th to "expand" that balance of play through the whole range of levels. We'll see, I guess.

      From the few comments and reviews I have read, it appears that they are spending more time incorporating ideas from MMORPG, such as having tanks that draw aggro, and talent points to customize each class.

      They already have this stuff, don't you think? Aggro in MMO games is just a way to represent the monster's intelligence and ability to be goaded or bluffed into hitting the tough guys and leaving the softies alone. DMs do the same thing when they run monsters; they reward good player tactics and good roleplaying by having monsters hit those who are best prepared to take it. It wouldn't be realistic for every Ogre with an Int of 6 to realize that the guy with the staff and robes is a much bigger threat than the guy in the shining plate armor with the huge greatsword, right?

      It'll be impossible, I assure you, for Wizards to somehow take the DM's intelligence out of the equation. Monsters at the tabletop aren't being run by computer algorithms, they're being run by a person taking on that role.

      Talent points? Tell me, honestly, what's the difference between getting a feat or a class feature (or a choice of features) every level and getting a "talent point" every level to redeem for one of a couple choices? The concept is already in the game, it always has been. MMO's represent that game feature in one way; D&D 4th will surely represent it in some way, it's just a way of scaling advancement of characters.

      Seems most people just want points, powers, and trinkets.

      Well, it is Dungeons and Dragons. If 4th Edition turns out to be "Dungeon: The Dragoning" where nearly all rewards are story-based and not mechanic based, I'll be super-disappointed. If I wanted only role-playing, my friends and I could write a book together. The game you don't like is actually one that a lot of people do. Nothing against you, of course, but might I suggest that you either continue to do what you've been doing - adapting the rules to serve your needs - or investigate a different game altogether rather than hope that the game I've been enjoying as-is becomes something totally different?
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        If I wanted only role-playing, my friends and I could write a book together.

        Isn't the point of a P&P RPG in the end to simply act as a ruleset everyone agrees upon to make sure everyone's prepared for what can and will happen? So noone goes "neener-neener, I have plate armor!" when it pleases them?
        • by crashfrog (126007)
          Isn't the point of a P&P RPG in the end to simply act as a ruleset everyone agrees upon to make sure everyone's prepared for what can and will happen?

          I was under the impression that the point was to have a good time. But, you know, whatever.

          Surely if my friends and I decided to write a book we could pretty easily come up with some kind of system by which no protagonist suddenly sprouts impervious plate armor. Writers were avoiding the deus ex machina, somehow, long before anybody thought of rolling dice
          • by KDR_11k (778916)
            It's just easier to grab an off-the-shelf ruleset that was tested by loads of people and is known to work than to make up your own. It's not like you need some expensive software or anything to design an RPG system yet many people still buy standard rulesets (and sometimes complain that the rules aren't exactly what they want...).
    • I have been a long time player. But it is rare me and the old crew will get together and play. And when we do end up getting together, it is usually a one off thing where we only play the same characters for a short time. I always felt the core books did not really address casual gamers in a way that would enhance the fun factor.

      Casual gamers? This is starting to sound like a video games discussion...

      The issue as I see it, relates to choices. I noticed that people like to play mages because there is a per

      • by h4rm0ny (722443)

        Well, one of the benefits of role playing is adjusting the rules to suit a particular style. I just wish they incorporated more interesting choices for low levels, or even an optional playing style.

        There's several books that offer alternate rules. Also there's rules for creating higher level characters if your players already know how the game works. I usually start my players off at level 7+ unless there's a story reason to be level 1...

        There's also Iron Heroes [wikipedia.org] which is an alternative players handbo

  • by Rydia (556444)
    Read: "We realized that plan was completely insane."
    • by Caste11an (898046)
      They staggered the release for 3rd Edition, so why not for 4th? My hope is that the materials are high-quality and don't end up feeling rushed because of this change.
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday October 19, 2007 @06:01PM (#21049139)
    ...but, Slashdot editors! Hello?! "D&D Fourth Edition Books All Releasing in June"? No.
    No.
    No.

    "D&D Fourth Edition Books To Be Released in June"? Yes.

    • "D&D Fourth Edition Books All Releasing in June" is perfectly good english; the form of `to be' that would be in front of `releasing' is implied. A similar construction: "she [is] going to the doctor to-morrow". Leaving out the form of `to be' doesn't sound nearly as good in that sentence, but I'm sure you can think of plenty of examples where it would.

      Second, you made it passive. "To Be Released". Not that there's anything wrong with the passive voice; the information that is in the active sentence
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jjohnson (62583)
        "D&D books releasing" implies, grammatically, that the books themselves are the thing doing the releasing. It's a semantic error, not grammatical, but a decent writer would still have said that the books are being released.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The other commentators are correct - books do not release themselves. You know just enough to be wrong.
      • "D&D Fourth Edition Books All Releasing in June" is perfectly good english; the form of `to be' that would be in front of `releasing' is implied.

        There is no form of "to be" that would make sense in front of "releasing". "Release", in English, does not have an intransitive sense of the form "X releases" that is equivalent to the transitive form with an unspecified subject where and the subject of the intransitive form as the object, i.e., " releases X".

        It does have some slang intransitive (in appearance)

  • I think most of my future roleplaying will be with the Mythic system from Word Mill Games, rather than D20 or D&D4th. The "Game Master Emulator" can provide for some interesting adventures, whether playing with a GM or without (yes... multi player roleplaying without a GM! It actually works.)

    D&D has too much focus on tactical combat and encourages dice-festing. Maybe Mike Mearls can turn it around - I liked some of his work in Iron Heroes - but if a player has to have an intricate knowledge of th
    • by Kazrath (822492) on Friday October 19, 2007 @06:45PM (#21049817)
      Making characters in pretty much any textbook RPG takes hours of research to figure out what really fits what you want to do. The solution is a case or two of beer and a BBQ. Right now every other saturday we play for about 8 hours. Half that time is just BS'ing, drinking beer, and eating some steaks. What I am getting at is that our whole focus which keeps these games fun is the camaraderie between players during the time we spend together playing.

    • by stummies (868371)
      I couldn't agree more. I haven't done any tabletop gaming in years, but I'm still familiar with the rules via pc rpgs (icewind dale, nwn, etc.) and I occasionally sit in the bookstore and read through the new guides for old times sake. it seems like they're more interested in micro-managing than actual roleplaying. I'm guessing that it takes some of the imagination out of the experience as well. I can't imagine having to DM via these new rules; the system is far too complex.
    • by lgw (121541)
      There are storytelling RPGs and tactical simulaion RPGs. D&D came from a company called "Tactical Simulation Rules" IIRC. If you don't like tactical simulation, there are plenty of storytelling RPGs around. Not that D&D has ever been remotely "hard core" in this regard, as it only takes intricate knowledge of the rules and an hour to make a first-level character.
      • by MaineCoon (12585)
        I used to play D&D with the original blue-and-white box in the mid 80s, then during the late 80s went to the Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortal box versions, and switched to AD&D 2nd edition around 1990.

        D&D was not, during those versions, a tactical game. In my opinion, the feats, skill points, and tactical combat in 3rd edition have slowed down the game and made it feel more like a CRPG brought to pen and paper.

        I could always go back to 2nd edition, but despite the things 3rd edition added
        • by lgw (121541)
          D&D has never been a *good* tactical game, but nevertheless it's always been that genre. Chainmail was a fantasy minatures game. The original D&D published in 1974 (often called "the white books" or "Greyhawk") was probably the first RPG, and a transition away from the tactical focus, since the RPG aspect was such a cool idea.

          The Blue-and-White box was a simplified introduction published to raise cash. The rules then forked into "Basic" D&D (the sets you mention) which was still fairly simple
        • D&D was not, during those versions, a tactical game. In my opinion, the feats, skill points, and tactical combat in 3rd edition have slowed down the game and made it feel more like a CRPG brought to pen and paper.

          There's probably some truth to that, but they've also added something SORELY lacking from second edition: BALANCE. Consistency is also a plus, if you learn how one thing works in the system you pretty much know how everything works in the system (the different table for EACH stat in the AD&

          • by mchale (104743)
            If you think it's hard to make an imbalancing character, go check out the Character Optimization forum on the Wizard's forums. (I used to be a regular there; I can't dig up a link for you here because I'm at work, but it's easy to find.)

            It's less the case with the material from the core books, but there are some pretty ridiculous things you can do to make absurdly overpowered characters with stuff from the expansion books.
            • I didn't say "hard", I said "much harder". ;) Yes, of course it's possible to make a broken character. One of my players was playing a minotaur paladin. That was a big mistake...

              What I meant was that in third edition at least SOME thought was given to balance and how the power curve works. There's actual math behind the things going on in those (core) books. One of my older players likes to claim that in AD&D 2nd "Balance was a golden crack pipe" or something like that... Second edition characters just
  • by psykocrime (61037) <mindcrime@cpphacker.co . u k> on Friday October 19, 2007 @07:32PM (#21050427) Homepage Journal
    I more or less quit playing AD&D around 1997 or so, and didn't play any sort of D&D until about 2 years ago. By then AD&D was gone and v3.5 was out. So in the past 2 years I've spent around $600 or $700 on v3.5 (and a little bit of v3.0) books and stuff. So my question is: Is v4.0 so different that it totally obsoletes v3.5 materials? If so, I damn sure won't be "upgrading" anytime soon. If this is the case, they've actually cost themselves business from me, as I would happily keep buying new v3.5 supplements, but no way am I replacing several hundred dollars worth of existing materials...

    • There's conversion rules to go from Star Wars to the Saga Edition. Star Wars Saga Edition has beasically the same rules as D&D 4th, and the old Star Wars was fairly similar to D&D 3.5 but with some rules that were in the Unearthed Arcana alternate rules. So, I am sure there will be similar conversion rules to 4th ed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Besides, you could always use the 4th Ed SRD. In case you don't know about the System Rules Description (SRD), it's the core of the 3.x d20 system. In particular, the parts that are accessible to third party RPG developers under the Open Gaming License without being a violation of WotC's copyright.

        Therefore, it's available for free on the internet, and it basically consists of all the rules from the 3.0 and 3.5 PHB, DMG, and Monster Manual. There's no art, it's plain text, and all references to WotC spe
        • I prefer the formatting at this site [systemrefe...uments.org] a lot more, myself. Put it up on buddy's big screen while gaming for quick reference. Really helpful.
    • I'm sure they'll offer "conversion" rules, but what I've seen of these new rules they're so unlike everything that's come before in D&D I'm not sure you'll want to bother with them.

      Hell, we still play AD&D 2nd from time to time, so don't think that because your books will be out of print they'll suddenly be worthless...
    • I keep hearing that - yet people buy new computers/PS3s/XBoxes/Nintendo whatevers. For something that gives such great joy $600 is nothing.

    • by valathax (916966)
      In terms of a value D&D is still pretty cheap, even if they come out with new version every 4 years. I know I got lots of hours out of my old books and I look forward to what they are doing with the new edition.
  • Attract more buyers of the books (if not more players).

    It's probably painful to you who enjoyed 2nd and 3rd edition rules, but they are not comparable to 1ed rules, or even to the original paperback books of the 1970s. Back then, and if you read early issues of the Dragon you can feel this, there was intense interest in applying human imagination to the gameplay. The GM was encouraged by the rules to make up expedients to arbitrate particular situations, and to write their own adventures. The concept of
    • The best part of the new 4th edition rules are pretty close to simulating a typical action movie. Action movies aren't bad story vehicles and so I'm happy with most of the changes.
    • I've been playing DnD since '81. I think 1st Ed. sucks. Basic was fun when I was still learning simple math and my brother handled all that for me. I really liked 2nd Ed. I played it for years. I am playing in a 1st edition game right now and I can say after playing in this game for a few years, I see that 1st Ed and 2nd Ed are almost the same damn rules by the core books. That said, I think 1st Ed sucks because we play it very differently than we played 2nd Ed. back in the day. Of course, seeing the
  • I used to be into gaming, I was right there at stage 1, complete with the puny little dice you had to colour in with the crayons that came in the first box. I graduated to AD&D and bought all the books printed by TSR and the *exalted* Gary Gygax. Complete with the the first edition 'No we didn't ask for permission, why are you suing us?' version of Deities and Demigods. I even have a box of painted lead guys I have to keep on a top shelf so my son won't get at them and eat them. (funny how they ban toys
    • by mshurpik (198339)
      >The percentage of gaming books you own is inversely relative to the amount of dates you go out on.

      Interesting story, I met a girl playing Diplomacy (board game) at a gaming conference. She wanted to come over and show me the RPG Vampires.

      We didn't even open the book.

      Then she moved (lol).

      But anyway, RPGer meets RPGer and no RPGs were played.

      Shadowrun was college...all dudes. AD&D in middle school, well, we worshipped it and made a complete mess of it at the same time.
      • by Magdalene (263144)
        You ever go to a Con and play a tournament roleplaying game? I challenge anyone of either sex to stand up at the end of one of those rooms and pick a single person in the room and say "hey, now *there's* a hot catch I'd like to spend the evening and a warm can of cocoa butter with!" without any alcohol.... ;)

        I rest my case. *grin*

        m&m
  • The 1st Ed AD&D still has a place in my heart. I haven't played a real table-top game in decades but if I ever do, I'll just use my 1st Ed books. I have a hunch I'm not the only one who feels like this. If you don't have the old rulebooks anymore, you can buy them from Paizo [paizo.com] or download OSRIC (Old School Reference & Index Compilation, a project aiming to provide a copyright-free version of early editions of Dungeons and Dragons). [knights-n-knaves.com] I still might get 4E at any rate, just for the heck of it and see how
  • by Cheetahfeathers (93473) on Saturday October 20, 2007 @10:34AM (#21055157)
    I started in on D&D when I was 13. The game was clumsy, the rules were aggravating, and the stories were never about anything I was interested in. And yet there was something there... something wonderful and fun. Unfortunately it always seemed just out of reach. It was like listening to great music with the volume turned down so you can barely hear it; nice music, but elusive and frustrating as well.

    Way too many game books, a couple system shifts into FASA, White Wolf and other game companies, and nearly a couple decades later I finally found that something I had always been missing in games. I've been having a blast playing since. The volume's been cranked way up.

    I'm not really interested in tactics and cool powers and advancing in skills and such. What I am interested in is cool stories. I like to get together with people and put together a collaborative story. So now I buy games that help me do that.

    Most of these games are single book games. One book, and that's it. No unending stream of supplements, just a good game that's fun to play. These games aren't ones that you have to tweak the rules for constantly either, with everyone playing the rules a different way. These games haven't just been thrown together. They're play tested hard, and they do what they're supposed to do. The rules work. These games are usually very accessible to casual gamers as well as outsiders to RPGs.

    The latest game I picked up like this is Dirty Secrets. It's a game of the hardboiled detective genre. You play an investigator and solve crimes. The location? Your home town. The time? Last week. And there's crime and murder in the air. It's a one shot story game, taking approximately 3-9 hours, depending on the type of game you pick (short story, novella, novel). Much more fun than Monopoly or Risk that many might play instead. High replay value too, since of course every story would be different.

    Sorcerer is another one I like. I've been running this game weekly for the past year. We're almost done with the first campaign, and it's been a blast. Arrogant mortals taming the dark powers and creatures from beyond our reality and forcing them to their will? Faustian deals gone awry? If you ever wanted to play a character like John Constatine, this is the game for it.

    Dogs in the Vineyard makes a great old west game. Personally I don't care for the setting, but the game system is fantastic. It works well in certain other settings as well, so that is what I use it for. For the old west style standoff, I've yet to see a better system.

    Love great TV, and always wanted to do a series? This game structures your stories as if they are TV episodes in a series. SF, fantasy, western, crime drama, spy drama... all are possible. The game system does really well at modeling what's important to a TV series, and resolving the problems that result for the conflicts you introduce. Shows like Firefly, Buffy, Gilmore Girls, Heroes, and the new Battlestar Gallactica are all good examples of the type of shows this game models well.

    If you want a Tolkien-esque FRPG, and like a good bit of rules crunch in your games, I would suggest you try out Burning Wheel instead of D&D. It has a great story based character creation, not just number crunching with maybe adding on some story as a side note.

    If you instead want a game focusing on combat tactics and advancement of powers, and where story control is in the hands of one player while the other players are along for the ride (if there is even a story there at all), then this new D&D might be for you. It's not a bad game, it's just not suitable for all types of gamers.
    • by mchale (104743)
      That sounds like the lineup at The Forge's booth at GenCon. :)

      I picked up a copy of Sorcerer and The Mountain Witch (I think) last year, and still haven't had a chance to play them because the people I game with in my hometown are dyed-in-the-wool D&D players. They seem like really good games, though. Novel, rules-light systems that focus more on the human aspect of RPGs than the rules interactions.
  • When 3rd edition came out, a huge change went in that made D&D more like a video game than a roleplaying system. The idea of boosting stats and such, or picking up a level of some other class when you are ready to advance really feels too much like something from a very weak console game where the players have such a short attention span that they MUST get obvious "power-ups" regularly and often.

    A big part of the problem is letting players see their stats. Honestly, let the player decide what class

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