Dungeons & Dragons: Player's Handbook: A 4th Edition Core Rulebook

( 33 )

Overview

The first of three core rulebooks for the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons® Roleplaying Game.

The Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game has defined the medieval fantasy genre and the tabletop RPG industry for more than 30 years. In the D&D game, players create characters that band together to explore dungeons, slay monsters, and find treasure. The 4th Edition D&D rules offer the best possible play experience by presenting exciting character options, an elegant and ...

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Overview

The first of three core rulebooks for the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons® Roleplaying Game.

The Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game has defined the medieval fantasy genre and the tabletop RPG industry for more than 30 years. In the D&D game, players create characters that band together to explore dungeons, slay monsters, and find treasure. The 4th Edition D&D rules offer the best possible play experience by presenting exciting character options, an elegant and robust rules system, and handy storytelling tools for the Dungeon Master.

The Player's Handbook presents the official Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game rules as well as everything a player needs to create D&D characters worthy of song and legend: new character races, base classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, powers, more magic items, weapons, armor, and much more.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786948673
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
  • Publication date: 6/6/2008
  • Series: D&D Core Rulebook Series
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 79,604
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 33 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008

    A Quality Game, But Certainly Not Perfect

    I started playing D&D recently in the relatively new 3.5 Edition. I enjoyed it, but didn't play much. Many of the people I played with were often daunted by the rules. I don't think that some of us ever truly got the rules down. But in the end we all wanted to play and enjoyed it. Now, don't get me wrong. We weren't stupid, but we just weren't diehard fans. We didn't play enough to master it and in some ways, the rules scared a few of us away from playing much at all. Fourth edition has changed this. All of the complexity that boggled some of my players in the past is more or less gone. It is true that with that unneeded complexity, some great details went away and they usually pertained to fleshing out your character. Many die-hard players complain about how it took a lot of the role-playing aspects away from the game, but the reality is that if a party and a DM fails to get RP into their game, it's nobody else's fault but the their's. I'll admit that I'm already implementing house rules that add some of 3.5's versatility back in, but it's not like the 4.0 manuals refuse that. RP is in the hands of the party and the DM. In no ways are the rules responsible for the people using them neglecting to do what they enjoy about the game. Make the game your own and enjoy it. The combat is easier and faster paced for my party and we're having a blast. Sure, there are flaws and I know it. But don't let those who can't get away from the rules they've grown attatched keep you from enjoying this edition or your D&D experience, especially if you're new to the game. Put on your robe and wizard hat, folks. Enjoy this one.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2008

    Let's all wait another year or two and see what develops...

    First of all, as much as I don't blame 4th Edition critics for being upset with some of the changes made to their favorite tabletop RPG, I do think that their judgment of the latest edition of D&D is pretty hasty, considering that 2008 is its first year on the market. However, anyone who thinks of 3e (either 3.0 or 3.5) as 'the evil that killed Dungeons & Dragons' seriously needs to grow up and save the soapbox sermon for a more universal problem rather than retaliate like a spoiled two-year-old against 4e's 'bashers'--especially in the instance that they themselves still haven¿t played D&D under the new rules. Now...what's MY opinion about 4th Edition? Well, I see both sides of the story. On one side, the mechanics are simpler so that newcomers can easily grasp them and casual tabletop players can feel more at ease playing the game. I especially enjoy the fact that wizards, like other classes such as fighters and rogues, have abilities they can execute at will to help them overcome enemies in combat, hence making them feel less like the pushovers they came across as to many in earlier editions of D&D. Likewise, 4e's system still uses the d20 system, which made 3e such a hit with D&D stalwarts in the first place due to its streamlined yet nevertheless articulate nature. Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saves, for instance, are all there, as are the bonuses for having high ability scores, which mean ability score checks (e.g., a Strength Check for prying up a monster-infested castle's portcullis) haven't changed all that much. I also like how most of the class names have remained similar to their 3e equivalents (Cleric, Rogue, Fighter, etc.) as well as the three categories of weapons (Simple, Martial, and Superior). I'm especially impressed with the fact that scythes are now considered Simple weapons rather than Martial weapons. One must admit that that does that make sense, seeing as common farmers are more likely to lug around a scythe than most heavily armed warriors--even those of the traditional black knight variety. However, as many have pointed out before, some of the changes made in 4e truly have to prove their merit to more dedicated D&D fans. For instance, while role-playing and character interaction IS possible in spite of 4e being so heavily combat-oriented, the depth of the former isn't really covered all that much, and it's up to the DM and his/her players to incorporate such substance into their own play sessions. Moreover, the 'Rituals' that wizards and clerics are allowed to cast come from the exact same list, which really prevents a lot of the versatility that made earlier editions of D&D so time-honored. Also, even though characters gaining At-Will, Encounter, and Daily Powers at the same select levels helps in a way to promote balance between the classes, it also homogenizes them and makes one class seem all too similar to another at times (e.g., the warlock in respect to the wizard). Finally, everyone who remarks that this edition is aimed towards ¿power players¿ has a point, as PCs can improve two ability scores every four or six levels (Levels 4, 8, 14, 18, 24, and 28) rather than just one ability score every four levels, and pretty much every PC race except for humans has two +2 ability score bonuses (one for each of two out of the six character abilities) as well as three to six additional racial benefits. Worse yet, gamers who enjoy a hint of realism even in a fantasy-based setting will be shocked at how strong even averaged-muscled characters can be according to this system. Honestly, an ¿average Joe/Jane¿ human with a strength score of 10 or 11 able to move around unencumbered by 100 to 110 pounds of adventuring gear? A small halfling able to lug about the same weight in equipment as a medium-sized human, even with both characters having the same strength score? Honestly, I don¿t see version 4.5 being an impossibility at all with such liberal mechanics as these. On the whole, then, Dungeons & Dr

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2008

    Ink problems

    Had the book for only two weeks and the ink is beginning to smear on many of the pages. It seems like they used newspaper ink to print, not good at all.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2008

    Give it a chance!

    Look, I understand completely where you long timers are coming from. I have played since the release of 2nd Ed. and so I do get what you are saying. The truth is that the company needed to go in this direction. It may no favor traditional players, but it will be great for bringing a new audience. If you don't like it, so what? No one can force you to play it. There is tons of material for 3rd Ed and 3.5 to keep you going for years. But 4th Ed. will be simply easier to play, especially for the casual audience. Yes it plays somewhat like a pen and paper MMO, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Now you can have the mechanics of an MMO and actually have a story with roleplay, instead of killing the same boss 100 times like in WoW. The complete incorporation of miniatures may be a money grab but honestly its a better system and really expands combat. Just because something is simpler does not mean its 'dumbed-down', and you still have a DM, which means the game should still be driven by the story and not the system. Plus the DM can change anything they want about the rules. The system is just easier to use now and makes more sense, and in the sessions I have played so far its actually been quite a bit of fun.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2008

    Act All of the Time

    This book is filled with player oriented information for the latest version of Dungeons and Dragons 'tm'. Primarily a group experience, you and your friends can suspend belief and become heroes of epic proportion. If you want to experience interactive entertainment that requires social and tactical problem-solving, then this book will help you design and equip yourself for such adventures. This edition seems like it will be even more fun, because each player has a contribution to make each round of play. In other words, as a spell caster, you do not run out of spells and have to wait for the brawny fighter to finish the engagement for the team. Good hunting!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2008

    The worst edition of the game to date

    If you're a longtime fan of Dungeons & Dragons, this isn't the game for you. Much of the game's rich history and iconic elements have been sacrificed in an effort to simplify the game to attract new gamers. The game is far less flexible than 3rd Edition. Character classes are loaded with gonzo powers and forced into tighter niches than ever before. Multiclassing is nearly non-existant. Classic races that have been with the game from the beginning have been jettisoned to make room for bland, flavorless new ones like the dragonborn. If you're a fan of the past editions of the game, save your money and wait until next year for Paizo's Pathfinder RPG, which looks more like the heir apparent to the D&D throne.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2008

    Have fun rolling dice all evening

    'For tonight's adventure you will roll this dice a hundred times and see if you can finally kill this annoying mob. Don't worry, if you do, another annoying mob will be waiting around the next corner, ready to ensure that all night your character will do nothing but hack&slash your way through meaningless fight after meaningless fight.' Where is the chance for character growth? Where are the extra-species cultures described in painstaking detail? I like WOW. It is a good computer game, where you can interact with friends while battling the forces of evil 'or good depending'. You spend a lot of time stratagizing the best way to hack & slash your oppenents. D&D is not a computer game though. D&D has always been a game of the imagination, a game of creativity and world building. 4.0 edition 'they'll end making 4.5, just wait' is trying to mimic the success of WOW by adding 'mobs' and 'bosses', trying to focus on combat rather than substance. This system will discuss one hundred ways to kill something, but refuses to go into how anything lives and interacts. All good races have been removed and evil races only seem to be motivated by 'being evil'. A good DMs will counter this by coming up with their own ideas - - but unfortunately the system itself is designed to bog a group down for night after night of combat.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Stop your complaining

    Okay, I've waited for some time to see the complaining die down over 4e. The fact is, 4e is a simpler ruleset aimed at competing against online MMORPGs such as WoW.The PHB is easier to understand and use for the newb who may be interested in such archaic ideas as a pen and paper game. Everytime I see someone complain about how bad 4e is I just imagine the reader of their review walking away and not giving D&D a chance. Nice job! Let's scare everyone away.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    Dungeons & Dragons gets comprehensive and intelligent makeover.

    I recently got involved with the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game after and absence of more than 20 years. I was introduced to the fantasy game as a teen in high school back in 1982-1983. We first played under the D & D Basic rules and then with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules. After high school, the role playing games were put on hold. It was not until this year, 2009, that I picked up the game again. I never saw the 3rd Edition rules. A triathlon friend of mine I recently met said he DM'ed games with his kids and they were just starting to play with the new 4th Edition rules. He asked if I was interested in playing. I said yes.

    I read through a copy of the Player's Handbook that he had and was struck with the realization that the 4th Edition is much different than the Advanced Dungeon and Dragons I was used to. Three things stand out in my opinion. This new Player's Handbook is well organized, very informative, and visually stunning.

    Not that the Player's Handbook of 20 years ago under the AD&D rules was a bad read, but the new 4th Edition Player's Handbook seems to takes things up a notch. Much of it has to do the actual mechanics of playing the game and changes to the core rules. Under the new rules, every character has the ability to be a hero right from the start. Many of the non-combat aspects of the game that used to be guessed at by the DM or many times just not allowed by the DM are now qualified and quantified. Player character role-playing is enhanced. In addition to non-combat rules improvemnets, the 4th Edition Player's Handbook gives very detailed explanations about the mechanics of combat and fighting and specific rules of engagement for various conditions. This makes visualizing the battles a lot more fun for everyone. My final thought regarding the new 4th Edition Player's Handbook has to do with the growth and development of the player character. Characters now have a defined path from beginning to end. There is a goal to reach. Yes you can become attached and emotionally involved in the character, but you know at some point it will be time to start a new one. I think that will be a healthy aspect of the game for younger players to embrace.

    Overall, I very much enjoyed the 4th Edition Players's Handbook. While I am not a DM, I would like to get copies of the other Core Rules books, the 4th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide and the 4th Edition Monster Manual. I recently bought my own copy of the Player's Handbook and a copy of Arcane Power. I plan to purchase more 4th Edition Game Supplement books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Nice Players Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition

    I'm not new to Dungeons & Dragons and 4th edition still has some of the original mechanics and character building information. Some of the changes are nice and others are a bit confusing but I think it will take a little time to get used to them. All in all, I think this is a great addition to the D&D Library.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Easiest Edition Yet

    At first I was concerned with the updates. But after some time with the new version of the core rules, I have to say I love the new rules. There is a lot of simplification. The battles are easier (area attacks make more sense, diagonal movement is easier, action points, Skill challenges, etc). The illustrations are great too, very exciting. This book is the perfect book for the DM that wants to bring a friend into the game. It is seemingly designed to be easier for new players. If anything, my only complaint is the removal of a couple races for the addition of new races, and the removal and addition of a couple classes.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2008

    Mixed Feelings

    Just when I had gotten used to 3rd Edition '3.5, really', another edition of the rules came out. Some of the other people I play with were rather excited about the game, so I wanted to give it a fair chance. PROS: Some of the rules have been simplified, which should make the game even more accessible to new players than 3rd Edition was. Every character class has special powers and abilities, even at 1st level, so everyone has something to do. Spell memorization is gone, so spellcasters don't have to worry about blowing their one spell at 1st level and not being able to do anything. Spell power, or at least the ability for a creature to resist a spell, is now more dependent on caster level, which is a big fix from previous editions. Characters also have some ability to heal themselves, giving healers a chance to do more than just heal during combat. The artwork is pretty good, better than that from the latter days of 2nd Edition, but if you're looking for some of the classic artists 'Easley, Elmore, Parkinson, etc.', I haven't found them yet. CONS: It doesn't feel much like Dungeons and Dragons any more. The change to 3rd Edition was a big step, but WotC maintained much of the character and heritage of the game, from bringing back old races 'half orcs' and character classes 'barbarians' to resurrecting old titles 'Deities & Demigods, Fiend Folio, etc.'. They even added details like bookcover colors 'blue for DM, brown for players', so while it took some time to get used to the new armor classes, initiatives, and saving throws, it still felt like D&D. The new game is so simplified that it feels odd 'not to mention the bookcover colors don't make sense anymore!' There are far fewer spells for spellcasters to choose from, and far fewer magic items as well. So far some of the classic character classes have been removed 'druid, bard, barbarian' though some new classes have appeared 'warlord, warlock', but the biggest blow is character races. Half orcs and gnomes are gone, though you can now play a warforged 'from Eberron', a dragonborn 'draconians, anyone?' or an eladrin 'as if elves weren't exotic enough'. While some of these missing things may reapper as future supplements for 4th Edition are released, the game currently feels too much like trying to emulate a videogame on paper. Parties of characters are more likely to fight mobs of creatures than individual monsters, and combats don't seem to run any faster: a recent six hour gaming session only got our party of six characters through two encounters, with one character dying and another character almost dying. I'm hoping things will improve as the characters advance in levels, but I'm not optimistic.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great game and book

    This is a well made game. Most die-hard players will tell you that 4th Edition ruined Dungeons and Dragons, but it made it simpler to play and did little to make it more restricted.
    The beauty of this game is that you can do anything you want. And the game is not limited to fantasy and magic - with a little modification (there are plenty of online rules for free) you can play modern or sci-fi games with these rules.
    This book itself has the most basic player characters in it. It's a good starter, but I would recommend the new box set that has this and the second book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2008

    SUPERIOR TO THE EVIL THAT WAS 3RD EDITION

    The rules may be a little stricter, but the rules aren't excessively simplified and the monster manual is back to ONE book 'in lieu of the 4 flipping volumes to rip off the players'. All in all, a much needed reconstruction that has been needed ever since 2000 'the year D&D practically died for me when 3rd debuted'.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2013

    I played AD&D for years back in the 80s, mostly DMing. I th

    I played AD&D for years back in the 80s, mostly DMing. I think I stopped playing prior to 2nd Ed. I looked at 3rd edition but I think the books are horribly printed/designs. Just ugly and hard on the eyes to read. 4th Edition learned some of their lessons. The text is clear, crisp on bright white background. Yes, they actually didn't think text should be readable in 3/3.5. Titles and headlines look like title and headlines. The artwork is basic and relatively minimal. That's good, because this is a reference book and you need the space for information. The combat section has useful artwork that help to understand mechanics.

    A nephew wanted to get the game for Christmas. The problem is WHICH D&D? There are several. WotC (manufacturer) is working on a new version for 2014 or so. In the meanwhile, the 4E comes in two lines: standard hardcovers and boxed products and trade papaerbacks called Essentials. BTW go to Wizards website and get the PDFs with corrections for whatever you buy. 3rd Edition/3.5 are heavy fan favorites. PathFinder, call 3.75, is a continuation of the d20 Open Game License established by vers 3. I bought the Starter Box, but I recall the original box felt very, very limited and I immediately wanted to get my hands on the more expansive books.

    They don't explain the most basic fundamental aspect of the game, COMBAT, until page. 264. So know that the book isn't written for new players, but players who already know stuff. To further demonstrate this, I picked up D&D 4th Ed For Dummies. Now I'm not a fan of For Dummies, but I was curious. They explain combat around page 70 of a 450 page book. If you want to learn the game from this book: read chapters 1 & 2, then 8 & 9, then go back to 3. I also find they talk about ideas that aren't rules. LIke the four "roles" of character combat. It is an overly structured way to describe the need for balance in a group. When they said you shouldn't/can't play with less than 6 I was completely throw. You can play D&D with 1 character. Maybe they can't sell you an adventure module for one character, but it is nonsense that you need six characters. So as an AD&D player, I found a lot to be thrown by.

    Compared to AD&D 1st Edition of old... this game is about Tactical Combat. You can't run combat without staging it on graph paper, maps, with tokens or minatures. Sure you could just make it all up and say whatever to the rules. But, for instance, if players wants to flank an opponent to use the combat advantage rule, does he move past an opponent giving them a free attack of opportunity. I realized I couldn't give the hardcover books as a gift and expect a young teen to play this too easily. I did, but combat was simpler back then. I saw a Pathfinder Combat tracker that I immediately though would be so helpful if I was a DM (I think it would help most D20 games).

    With all the At-Will, Encounter and Daily powers I want a cheatsheet to give each character class. How do you bring in new players without them having their noses in the books all the time. It seems unwieldy. Years ago a complete non-player could join and player a fighter even a thief, no problem. Now I'm daunted just reading the Player's Handbook, and I haven't gotten into spellcasters. And Encounter powers mean encounter definitions--which lead to the game being described in Combat vs non-Combat. I definitely feel like the non-combat part of the game has lost some of it's value. Sad, that made it great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2011

    Finally D&D moves mainstream

    This is more a review for the new line as whole than any particular book. I am very impressed with the current edition of Dungeon and Dragons because it seems like an important step in moving D&D out of RPG dark ages. The core design philosophy of the line seems to be "letting people have fun." with an empasis on the pural.

    With 4e most of the classes are blances in a way that you can play whatever you want with out feeling left out of the fun. Your generic Fighter pulls as mich weight as a Wizard. All the way from level 1 ro 30 no single class is redunant or left out of the action. Each class is set as one of four combat "roles". Then each class has a different and unique take on that role.

    My only critism with the line is that for the first run of books they really din't explain the freedom of reskinning and role playing as well as they would in later books. The books are pretty light on non-combat rules and some people have taken this to mean that you can't role play. This clearly isn't the intention and the designers have explained as much. They wanted to move away from the codified and chart-heavying "roll playing" of earlier editions and into a free-form storytelling type of game. If it is fun and everyone agrees then go for it. But it seems that this went over the head of a loy of older players. It is so radically different from previous editions.

    To sum up you are interesting in role playing for fun and to hangout with friends, if you want to tell epic stories without being bogged down in rules, and if you want to make a unique heroic character, this is the edition for you.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    From a Lifelong Dork

    Been a gamer since D&D first came out (not saying when, do your own research), and have played pretty much every version. I will admit to playing 3.0 and 3.5 most extensively, and we were a little reluctant to give 4.0 the time of day... but we did. And here's the consensus:

    The instructions, especially for new gamers, are a lot less convoluted than 3.5. The rules seem to be broken down to a simpler set (one of our group calls it "dumbed down"), and would be easier to pick up from scratch.

    With that though, we all pretty much agree that this initial book wasn't nearly as comprehensive as it could have been (but then Wizards would have missed out on the supplement revenue we all know they're looking forward to), and it seemed like there were a lot of open spaces in what was covered.

    We're still playing it through from level 1 to 30 (about halfway there), so it's obviously playable, but we do find ourselves "house ruling" a lot of stuff. Not bad, for a "dumbed down" version of the game.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2009

    Are you people crazy?

    This edition is so aweful. Of course for newcomers to the game and some diehard oldies, I am sure it isn't, but it is for a lot of people that I know. I can't wait until they revise it again. The way they screwed up the realm, is just pathetic. I hate it, and hope it doesn't stick.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2009

    dungeons and dragons book

    a great book to use when playing the game

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2008

    IT SUCKS

    It totally sucks... I have been playing for several years and it sucks....keep your 3rd edition books.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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