Friday, April 6, 2012

What 4th edition are you playing?

Dungeons & Dragons had two versions of the 3rd edition, the second being called 3.5. It also has two versions of the 4th edition, the "normal" 4th edition and the "Essentials". In many aspects the Essentials are just a repackaged version of the normal 4th edition, with smaller paperback books instead of larger hardcover books, and with all the rules updates and errata included. But there is one major difference which for me makes Essentials feel like a very different game: Character generation and leveling.

Every time you gain a power in normal 4th edition, you have the choice of one out of 3 to 6 different powers. And if you aren't happy with your choice, you can "respec" on leveling. In Essentials there are a lot less choices. At some levels you simply get a predetermined new power without any choice. The normal 4th edition has suggestions what powers for example a more defensive fighter should take, and what powers a more aggressive fighter should take. Essentials has two completely separate sub-classes for these, with the option of mixing between defensive and aggressive gone.

I was wondering which of the two different 4th editions people are usually playing these days. Personally I like the normal one with its choices much more than the streamlined Essentials version. But maybe that is just me. What 4th edition are you playing?

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