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View Full Version : [4e] Will there be More to Core?



RukiTanuki
2008-07-08, 07:20 PM
Just a thought that came to mind in another thread.

For being roughly the same length books as 3rd, the 4th Edition books (by most accounts) tried to take the core elements of D&D (the things most of us do in all our games), apply a set of design goals (which not everyone approves, but that's neither here nor there), and do the best job possible with them. This discussion is not about whether they succeeded, or whether it was a good idea, or whether the result is a good fit for your game, etc.

My question is: Are you assuming that the rest of 4e will be more of the same?

I could assume that the rest of the 4e books will introduce more classes, more powers, more prestige paths and epic destines, more magic items, rituals, monsters, etc. In other words, that most 4e books will resemble most 3e books. There'd be classes that provide mechanics the current ones don't (a focus on illusion or summons for example), but overall, the things we think 4e didn't consider important will remain out of Core and homebrew-only.

There's a possibility, however, that the first three books were made with the essentials of heroic fantasy... with the idea that latter books could add mechanics useful to other types of games. Crafting mechanics, additional skills, spells an adventurer would usually skip, and so on might make their way later on, when the development team's resources aren't quite so laser-focused on making the important stuff work.

Of course, now that I think about it, I suppose Dragon and Dungeon are perfectly suited to this sort of thing, as would be the 4e equivalent of Unearthed Arcana (probably my favorite 3e book).

So, I've presented a potential idea I haven't seen discussed. I have no idea whether it's true or not. I have no thoughts on people who agree with the idea, or disagree, or hope it's true, or hope it's not true, etc. I was just intrigued by the idea that we might not have seen all of the ways 4e intends to manage the game world.

(For the record: Yes I do like a ruleset to be "complete." By "complete" I mean that it handles nearly all reasonable applications of the things it defines explicitly, and makes it easy for me to stay in the ballpark when adjucating things less clearly defined. No, I don't think 4e is any less "complete" that 3e is, but I recognize that it's both a heated discussion and something that boils down to personal preference.)

Colmarr
2008-07-08, 07:24 PM
From the blurb on the WotC product page concerning Players Guide to Forgotten Realms, it sounds eerily similar to 3e splatbooks. Extra feats, new powers, new classes, and some fluff.

On that limited data sample, I'm expecting that the 3e business model will remain unchanged (with the hopeful exception that WotC will release more 4e adventures than they did 3e - and they're off to a brilliant start in that respect).

KillianHawkeye
2008-07-08, 08:04 PM
We could always petition for Complete Commoner... :smallwink:

TheEmerged
2008-07-08, 08:10 PM
There's going to be a LOT more of core. The announced plan is to release a new PHB, MM, and perhaps DMG every year. You can already see the cover for the PHB2 on the website in fact.

Moff Chumley
2008-07-08, 09:11 PM
Well, let us consult the catalog:
We have Martial Power, the equivalent of a Complete series book.
Martial Power is the first of a line of player-friendly supplements offering hundreds of new options for D&D characters. This tome focuses on the martial heroes: characters that rely on their combat talents and keen wits for survival.

This book provides new archetypal builds for the fighter, ranger, rogue, and warlord classes, including new character powers, feats, paragon paths, and epic destinies.

I guess that in theory, the Complete Series was a good idea, but the execution was pretty terrible. Lets hope they don't screw up the second time around...

Next, the hopefully fluffy Manuel of the Planes.
If you seek to stem this tide of chaos at its source, follow my lead—I set out for the dreaded Abyss on the morrow. —Lord Amgar the Bold, Paladin of Bahamut

The planes have always been a place of great mystery and danger in the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game, and the new array of planes debuting in 4th Edition continue that grand tradition. Home to gods and devils, demons and genies, fey and titans, these strange dimensions offer unlimited adventure opportunities for Dungeon Masters and their players.

Manual of the Planes explores the many planes introduced in the 4th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. This useful travel guide also comes in handy for players seeking to battle demons, devils, elementals, and other iconic D&D monsters native to the planes.

I can't really see a way for them to screw this up; I'm happy with any balance of fluff and crunch.

Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide seems like a good idea: a series of core books for every setting.

Welcome to Faerūn, a land of amazing magic, terrifying monsters, ancient ruins, and hidden wonders. The world has changed since the Spellplague, and from this arcane crucible have emerged shining kingdoms, tyrannical empires, mighty heroes, and monster-infested dungeons. The Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide presents a world of untold adventure, a land of a thousand stories shaped by the deeds of adventurers the likes of which Faerūn has never seen before.

This product includes everything a Dungeon Master needs to run a D&D campaign in the Forgotten Realms setting, as well as elements that DMs can incorporate into their own D&D campaigns. The book provides background information on the lands of Faerūn, a fully detailed town in which to start a campaign, adventure seeds, new monsters, ready-to-play nonplayer characters, and a full-color poster map of Faerūn.

FR has always been a way to have names for towns and NPCs, plus the occasional adventure, so I don't really care about the setting reset.

Forgotten Realms Players Guide: See above

Welcome to Faerūn, a land of amazing magic, terrifying monsters, ancient ruins, and hidden wonders. The world has changed since the Spellplague, and from this arcane crucible have emerged shining kingdoms, tyrannical empires, mighty heroes, and monster-infested dungeons.

The Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide presents this changed world from the point of view of the adventurers exploring it. This product includes everything a player needs to create his character for a D&D campaign in the Forgotten Realms setting, including new feats, new character powers, new paragon paths and epic destinies, and even a brand-new character class never before seen in D&D: the swordmage!

Heaven knows my players want that Swordmage... :smalleek:

Dracinomicon I: Chromatic Dragons looks nice; I liked the 3.5 one immensely, and the implications of sequels brings hope to the possibility to a series for each species type.
Draconomicon I: Chromatic Dragons describes several varieties of dragons, including red, blue, green, black, and white dragons, as well as three new chromatic dragons.

This sourcebook gives details of each dragon’s powers, tactics, myths, lairs, servitors, and more. In addition, this book provides new information about draconic nations and organizations and how chromatic dragons fit into the D&D game. Wide-ranging story and campaign elements in the book give DMs ready-to-play material that is easily incorporated into a game, including adventure hooks, quests, and pregenerated treasure hoards.
Can't wait to get my hands on this... :smallbiggrin:

And lastly, our first Eberron goodie: The Adventurer's Guide. I don't know how this fits into their three books per setting scheme... I suppose we'll have to wait and see.
This lavishly illustrated visual guide explores the magical, medieval fantasy world of Eberron. Climb aboard an elemental airship and visit wondrous locations, from the soaring spires of Sharn and monolithic mountain strongholds of the Mror Holds to the cyclopean ruins of Xen’drik and the gleaming glaciers of the Frostfell. See the world like never before and discover its many secrets.

If you’re a fan of fantasy artwork and literature, the An Adventurer's Guide to Eberron makes an excellent addition to your library or coffee table. It brings the world of Eberron to life visually and gives non-Eberron players a glimpse into a rich world of magic and mystery.
Never Got to Eberron in 3.5; I guess if I can find the dough, I'll do so now.

Mando Knight
2008-07-08, 10:14 PM
Forgotten Realms Players Guide: See above

Welcome to Faerūn, a land of amazing magic, terrifying monsters, ancient ruins, and hidden wonders. The world has changed since the Spellplague, and from this arcane crucible have emerged shining kingdoms, tyrannical empires, mighty heroes, and monster-infested dungeons.

The Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide presents this changed world from the point of view of the adventurers exploring it. This product includes everything a player needs to create his character for a D&D campaign in the Forgotten Realms setting, including new feats, new character powers, new paragon paths and epic destinies, and even a brand-new character class never before seen in D&D: the swordmage!

Heaven knows my players want that Swordmage... :smalleek:

Dracinomicon I: Chromatic Dragons looks nice; I liked the 3.5 one immensely, and the implications of sequels brings hope to the possibility to a series for each species type.
Draconomicon I: Chromatic Dragons describes several varieties of dragons, including red, blue, green, black, and white dragons, as well as three new chromatic dragons.

This sourcebook gives details of each dragon’s powers, tactics, myths, lairs, servitors, and more. In addition, this book provides new information about draconic nations and organizations and how chromatic dragons fit into the D&D game. Wide-ranging story and campaign elements in the book give DMs ready-to-play material that is easily incorporated into a game, including adventure hooks, quests, and pregenerated treasure hoards.

I'm interested in these two, especially. Swordmage sounds like the (or an) Arcane Defender, and I'm always up for a Draconomicon.

...I also like that using Wyverns as mounts is core...

Vortling
2008-07-08, 10:15 PM
My question is: Are you assuming that the rest of 4e will be more of the same?

There's a possibility, however, that the first three books were made with the essentials of heroic fantasy... with the idea that latter books could add mechanics useful to other types of games. Crafting mechanics, additional skills, spells an adventurer would usually skip, and so on might make their way later on, when the development team's resources aren't quite so laser-focused on making the important stuff work.


Yes. 4e is working very tightly on what I personally refer to as "The Maths". It's what keeps the game balanced and adding new mechanics to it without breaking the balance, outside of a few modular pieces, is difficult. I think the illusions for wizards' pdf and the artificer shows the direction they're going to take 4e in perfect detail.
We'll see even less new mechanics than we saw in 3e. Most classes of the same roles will have functionally similar options with a few variances here and there. Anything that doesn't neatly fit "The Maths" will be shuffled off to be a ritual.
I don't mean for this to sound negative. Having a base core mechanic and then only adding new classes and flavorful bits is a highly workable system and can be kept balanced much longer than if you allow people to add mechanics. I just think we've seen the entire core mechanic that won't change throughout 4e's entire run.

Jarlax
2008-07-09, 08:11 AM
There's going to be a LOT more of core. The announced plan is to release a new PHB, MM, and perhaps DMG every year. You can already see the cover for the PHB2 on the website in fact.

and if you read the cover we get a nice idea of whats to come. PHBII is a manual for Arcane, Divine and Primal heroes. so were seeing more of the old (like a certain arcane leader people have been crying for after he was usurped by the warlord) and some of the new, since primal means a primal defender/striker (barbarian) and primal leader/controller (druid)

Jayabalard
2008-07-09, 08:21 AM
For being roughly the same length books as 3rdActually, as I recall, the 4e phb is 40 pages shorter than the 3.5e phb.


My question is: Are you assuming that the rest of 4e will be more of the same?As I understand it, there will be many more core books, but I don't expect them to have most of the mechanical things that people feel is missing from 4e... I do expect them to have content that was initially left out of 4e such as necromancy, shapechanging, etc.

Fhaolan
2008-07-09, 10:26 AM
I guess that in theory, the Complete Series was a good idea, but the execution was pretty terrible. Lets hope they don't screw up the second time around...


Fourth time around, actually.

The 'Complete' series for 2nd edition, then the 'Sword and Fist'/'Defenders of the Faith' etc. series for 3rd edition, and then the newer 'Complete' series for 3.5. That would make this the fourth time they've come up with specialization splats.

wodan46
2008-07-09, 10:32 AM
Exactly how much was there to 3.5e core, once you disregard the spellcasting sections, which are ridiculously oversized compared to the text offered to non-spellcasters? In either case, it gets more complex once you leave Core.

In 4e, PHB1 was setting classes that the followed the rules to the letter. Now that the rules have been established, PHB2 will start showing classes that bend or break them. Druids have Wildshape as their main feature, and I don't see how that is going to be a Marking/Bonus Damage/SurgeTrigger/AOE-Debuff like any of the basic roles focus on.

Draz74
2008-07-09, 10:39 AM
There's a possibility, however, that the first three books were made with the essentials of heroic fantasy... with the idea that latter books could add mechanics useful to other types of games. Crafting mechanics, additional skills, spells an adventurer would usually skip, and so on might make their way later on, when the development team's resources aren't quite so laser-focused on making the important stuff work.

Good question, but I kind of doubt it. Crafting mechanics? Nah, I think they'll keep that under pure DM adjucation. Additional skills? I really doubt it ... maybe one or two more at most. (Side note: How many non-Core skills did 3e end up having? Wasn't it, like, 6, three of which were Psionic?) Spells an adventurer would skip? Maybe Rituals. A decent selection of mundane equipment? I'm still holding out for that one to make it into a splatbook.

RukiTanuki
2008-07-09, 01:30 PM
I had heard previously that the difference between Third and Fourth's PHBs was about 40 pages. I considered ~10% difference close enough.

I figured there'll be classes that bring new things to the mechanics. We'd like to see druids shapeshift, necromancers control the undead, illusionists contribute to combat without dealing damage, and so on. I still think those were left out of the first book because they were harder to design, and were given extra time.

It would be interesting to see a book that provides adventure and roleplay material for PCs and NPCs that doesn't involve "slay the dragon, save the princess, save the world." I guess Complete Commoner would be a cynical way of viewing it (I can't imagine that title would sell well). Maybe it'd be better packaged as something like Worldscape: A Guide to Life in the World of D&D. It could present alternate rules, skills, subsystems, and rituals to demonstrate how the other 99% of the D&D world lives.

It looks like most people aren't holding their breath for that sort of book. I'd wondered as much, as a lot of the discussion seemed to assume that that aspect of D&D was something that 4e would never give a spotlight. Maybe it's not book-worthy, but I'm becoming more convinced that Dragon or Dungeon may be the perfect place for the "everyday" side of D&D.

Indon
2008-07-09, 02:06 PM
Yes. 4e is working very tightly on what I personally refer to as "The Maths". It's what keeps the game balanced and adding new mechanics to it without breaking the balance, outside of a few modular pieces, is difficult. I think the illusions for wizards' pdf and the artificer shows the direction they're going to take 4e in perfect detail.
We'll see even less new mechanics than we saw in 3e. Most classes of the same roles will have functionally similar options with a few variances here and there. Anything that doesn't neatly fit "The Maths" will be shuffled off to be a ritual.

I agree at least in part with this. 4'th edition has a very small metagame, and if they step out of it it will cause the very problems that metagame was established to fix (balance, ease of play, etc).

However, we're talking about Wizards of the Coast. You never know until it hits the press.

Waspinator
2008-07-09, 02:36 PM
Good question, but I kind of doubt it. Crafting mechanics? Nah, I think they'll keep that under pure DM adjucation. Additional skills? I really doubt it ... maybe one or two more at most. (Side note: How many non-Core skills did 3e end up having? Wasn't it, like, 6, three of which were Psionic?) Spells an adventurer would skip? Maybe Rituals. A decent selection of mundane equipment? I'm still holding out for that one to make it into a splatbook.

There's probably more than I'm not remembering, but Tome of Battle added Martial Lore and the Psionics books added Autohypnosis, Psicraft, and Use Psionic Device.

Oh, and Truespeak. Anything else?

Indon
2008-07-09, 02:51 PM
Ijiatsu Focus, or whatever it's called.

Waspinator
2008-07-09, 05:09 PM
Still, there really aren't that many non-Core skills and most of those are just alternate versions of Spellcraft for other types of "casting" or similar types of character abilities.

Helgraf
2008-07-09, 09:50 PM
There's probably more than I'm not remembering, but Tome of Battle added Martial Lore and the Psionics books added Autohypnosis, Psicraft, and Use Psionic Device.

Oh, and Truespeak. Anything else?

Control Shape
Iaijitsu Focus
Knowledge (Forbidden Lore)
Knowledge (Psionics)

erikun
2008-07-09, 09:56 PM
I am under the impression that they specifically held back on some classes - Barbarian, Druid, Bard, Illusionist, Shadowdancer - for the PHB2. That may be a bit of a pessimistic look at things, but that's definitely how I see it.

Heck, I might be wrong about the last two. Perhaps we'll see the Illusionist, Shadowdancer, and Necromancer alongside the Psion and Psionic Warrior in PHB3.

Crow
2008-07-09, 10:09 PM
I am under the impression that they specifically held back on some classes - Barbarian, Druid, Bard, Illusionist, Shadowdancer - for the PHB2. That may be a bit of a pessimistic look at things, but that's definitely how I see it.

Heck, I might be wrong about the last two. Perhaps we'll see the Illusionist, Shadowdancer, and Necromancer alongside the Psion and Psionic Warrior in PHB3.

Hell they've pretty much come out and said they did. "Core" is a joke now.

Waspinator
2008-07-09, 10:19 PM
Core is now up to what number the DM has decided to buy.