What you need to know about D&D

If you’re wondering how D&D 4th Edition is coming along, there have been some interesting news items on the Wizards of the Coast D&D website. A recent editorial in the online version of Dragon Magazine (yes, it still exists!) said “4th Edition is close on the horizon — and fast approaching.” A February 13 news item on the website was a bit more specific:

For the next several weeks, you’ll be seeing fewer 4th Edition Design and Development columns than normal. This is because the writers, all of whom are members of the R&D staff, are busy finalizing the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual. As a result, we’re scaling back the number of online articles. Once the three core rulebooks are off to the printer, we’ll get the R&D staffers back on their regular schedule.

WotC is running a convention-like event called D&D Experience in Arlington, VA this weekend, featuring the first public 4E games (and a seminar at which WotC’s 4E plans for the whole year will be laid out). A two-page handout titled “What You Need to Know About D&D” (but informally referred to as the Quick Rules Primer) was prepared for this event, and WotC has made it available for download in PDF format. It contains some intriguing information about what’s different in the new edition. Here are the section titles:

  1. Character roles are more clearly defined.
  2. Powers give you more combat options.
  3. Attacker rolls against a static defense.
  4. Standard, move, and minor actions.
  5. Healing gets an overhaul.
  6. Short and extended rests.
  7. Attack!
  8. Action points give you an extra action.
  9. Movement is quick and easy.
  10. Saving throws are straightforward.
  11. Durations are easy to manage.
  12. Reach (usually) isn’t as threatening.
  13. A trio of “c” rules you might want to know. (These are Combat Advantage, Cover, and Charging.)

This is going to be a very interesting year for D&D.

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