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

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

3.9 33
by Wizards RPG Team
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


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.

Product Details

Wizards of the Coast
Publication date:
D&D Core Rulebook Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

PETER LEE is a game designer at Wizards of the Coast. When not designing sets of dungeon tiles, he creates board games and other non-roleplaying games, including the Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game and The Legend of Drizzt Board Game.

RODNEY THOMPSON is an R&D tabletop games manager at Wizards of the Coast. His credits include the Dark Sun Campaign Setting, Player's Option: Heroes of the Feywild, and Monster Vault.

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Player's Handbook 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Peter_Parker More than 1 year ago
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.
Norm91 More than 1 year ago
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.
Elora_StarFyre More than 1 year ago
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.
Vladagar More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Codex_of_Wisdom More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
RoyalEF More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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Cagekicker More than 1 year ago
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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Guest More than 1 year ago
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.