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D&D Burgoo: To 4E or not to 4E

It seems Hamlet had a less vexing decision than the one that seemingly faces many DMs of Dungeons and Dragons. Namely, do I switch to the new fourth edition of the game, or stick with the version I’m playing?

I think it’s fair many factors will go into your thinking. Here’s what I’m weighing, right now.


The biggie. At $104.95 msrp for the three core rulebooks, this is the most expensive version (with the exception of collectible editions) of D&D ever to hit shelves. While you’re at it, throw in the cost of a new DM screen ($9.95), a new set of Dungeon tiles ($9.95), and the new minis starter set ($19.99). Those are the basics, and it comes to $144.84.

And unlike D&D 3.x, there will not be a free version available. The new standard reference document will not be a reprinting of the rules but with references to Wizards of the Coast Product Identity deleted. The 4E SRD will simply reference page numbers and section headers in the core rule books. 

Now, a player could choose to subscribe to the Dungeons and Dragons Interactive instead of getting the rule books. The least costly entry will be $9.99 for a 12-month subscription.

So is $104.95 too much to pay for a new game?


In an ongoing campaign, does 4E allow a DM to make an easy conversion from a previous edition?

It’s hard to know until we’ve actually seen 4E, but the answer is apparently no. Some of the designers have said it will be difficult, though not impossible, to convert 3.5 characters into 4E ones. But it seems unlikely any such conversion primer will be made available. It will be up to the ingenuity of the DM and her players to make any conversions.

The fact that D&D’s core setting, the Forgotten Realms, will be undergoing drastic changes to accommodate the implicit story/roleplaying themes of the new rules is probably the best indicator that converting ongoing campaigns will be difficult, at best. If the Realms — clearly a fairly standard medieval fantasy setting — needs an overhaul to fit with the new rules, chances are your campaign will need big adjustments too.

Of course, if you wish to start from scratch, this isn’t a factor.

Rules mastery

Change is hard, and for many folks, mastering the rules of any roleplaying game is hard enough. Some folks just don’t want to be bothered with a new rules set if the one they’re currently playing works well enough for them, and this is true whether you’re playing 3.5, 2nd or 1st edition or the Basic/Expert game. If you’re having fun playing with the old rules, what’s the incentive to change?

The downside, though, is that is becomes more difficult to find players for older versions of the game. New players, by and large, want to play the version of the game that’s on the shelves, the one that’s readily available, the cost notwithstanding. 

And if you go to conventions to play or belong to an organized play group like the RPGA, chances are that 4E games are likely to be your only option. (Although, Paizo Publishing is developing a 3.5 organized play organization and many find Kenzer Company’s Hackmaster a good 1st edition substitute).

What the group wants

It’s also possible, as a DM, that the choice could be made for you. While in many groups, it’s the DM who makes the rules, or at least, brings the version of the game to the table that’s going  to be played; others give the players a voice in deciding the choice of game. If put to a vote, a majority of the players may decide which version to play, especially if they are faced with the difficulties of switching in mid-campaign.

The troubling thing about either manner of decision making is the event of a split vote. What if the majority votes not to switch, say for reasons of cost? Are they left behind because they can’t afford a new set of the rules? What if the minority votes to change? Do they leave the group to explore the new game on their own?

Digital appeal

A new twist to this release is the game’s digital aspect. And the feature of the subscription service that may well be the most appealing is virtual gaming table. Basically, players separated by distance could still come together and play the tabletop version of D&D online, using virtual characters in a virtual dungeon and an online rules reference to facilitate play. Some groups, especially those scattered across the country — or even the globe — by careers and life choices might consider the subscription option a useful service. The question is whether these groups will embrace a new edition, considering a new rules set a fair exchange for this useful digital playground.

Let buyer beware

Like any consumer choice, the best recommendation is to try it out and see if it works for you. Wizards of the Coast is making an effort to run demos of the game at stores and hobby shops, as well as at many local conventions. So there is plenty of opportunities to sit down and experience the game under the new rules before making a commitment.

So unless you absolutely have to possess the latest thing, I’d recommend sampling 4E before pulling out that pocketbook. DMs should make the decision based on what’s best for their style of gamemastery, their campaign and their players. It’s your table, after all, so make the call based on what’s best for you.

What do you think?

There’s certainly no shortage of opinion about the merits of Fourth Edition D&D. So don’t be shy. Chime in. I’d love to know what you’re thinking, and if switching to the new edition is right for you.

29 Comments (Open | Close)

29 Comments To "D&D Burgoo: To 4E or not to 4E"

#1 Comment By Adrian On May 19, 2008 @ 3:28 am

I am actually of the opinion that there might be alot of 1E/2E players moving to 4E. I say this as the 1E/2E rules are really starting to look dated. From what I have seen of the 4E rules, they look a lot smoother and more conducive to story telling.

Also take a look at my recent post and check out the price that you would pay in Australia. Makes me weep, thank the deities for Amazon. [5]

#2 Comment By suudo On May 19, 2008 @ 4:05 am

I played in a demo at my FLGS the other day, and I was fairly impressed. I stopped playing 3rd edition for all the problems with it that 4e fixes, and I’m sure I won’t be the only one drawing that kind of conclusion once the full game is available for all to see.

#3 Comment By zacharythefirst On May 19, 2008 @ 5:27 am

I thought Shadowfell was aesthetically very nice, but I don’t think I’m going to switch to 4e. I wish it well, but my group doesn’t want it, I’m not interested in switching, and a lot of little things I haven’t liked in the design discussions have added up to me feeling like there’d be too much I’d be houseruling. If that’s the case, I’m better off finding a game closer to my speed.

I’ll still be playing a demo soon, but I can’t see much more than that right now. I guess the D&D Rules Cyclopedia remains my iteration of choice for now. 🙂

#4 Comment By LisaHartjes On May 19, 2008 @ 6:13 am

You said:

And unlike D&D 3.x, there will not be a free version available. The new standard reference document will not be a reprinting of the rules but with references to Wizards of the Coast Product Identity deleted. The 4E SRD will simply reference page numbers and section headers in the core rule books.

I’m curious as to where you learned this.

#5 Comment By spenser On May 19, 2008 @ 6:41 am

On the subject of price, unless you are a die hard fan of buying from your FLGS, then get the books off of Amazon or Walmart.com – either of those gets you down under $65 for the 3 book slipcase set. As for the DM screen, tiles, and minis…well, I don’t find those to be necessary, especially for the initial investment.

So if you just want the core books so you can fire up a game, $65 isn’t so bad.

#6 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On May 19, 2008 @ 6:51 am

This has been the game plan according to Scott Rouse, senior brand manager at Wizards of the Coast, who initially gave the lowdown to third-party publishers during a conference call in January.
Until we see the document, we can’t be sure, but it’s supposed to be more of an index or referencing sheet — a tool for freelancers and publishers mainly.
But the point is, unlike the current document, it won’t be something you can take to the table and play the game without buying the rules.

Spencer: You are certainly free to buy the game at whatever discounts you can find. I list the msrp because:
1) It is the suggested retail price. If you go to a brick and mortar store, that’s the price you’ll pay. That’s the stated value of the game.
2) As I regularly play at my FLGS, I feel obligated to make my purchases there. I like supporting the FLGS. And as long as the store provides a table for playing, I think it is good form to make my purchases there.

#7 Comment By Walt Ciechanowski On May 19, 2008 @ 7:12 am

I’d add a few considerations that aren’t so much “To 4E or not to 4e” but “Why Switch Now Instead of Later, If Ever?”

Currently, there are tons of books (from WOTC) alone for 3.5. If you switch to 4e, you’ve limited yourself to the core (at least for now). Certain core classes (in the 3.5 sense) are missing, as well as the gnome (there’s supposed to be an option in the new MM, but I doubt it’s as extensive a treatment as the races in the PHB). If someone’s favorite race/class isn’t included, you’ll have to houserule for the time being.

Most of us that play 3.5 have an extensive library. A lot of it is 3.5-specific crunch. Your investment of $105+$10 DDI per month has just invalidated the $1000+ sitting on your bookshelf for a game you currently play and enjoy (this is not a problem for those that have stopped playing 3.5).

Currently, I can take a group from 1-20th (or near 20th level) in several campaigns without having to do the work myself. For now at least, that option is not available in 4e. Also, since 4e is just starting up, it’s more likely that the completists in your group will be picking up the initially few adventures available.

#8 Comment By StephenWard On May 19, 2008 @ 7:52 am

I don’t know about you guys, but I game on a budget. Thankfully, I found a way to get my [6]. 😉

#9 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On May 19, 2008 @ 8:05 am

I’ve thought a lot about the possibilities of 1E/2E players moving over, too. At first blush, the appeal of the digital aspect, the means of getting players spread out over distances to regroup in a virtual world, would seem to appeal to those older gamers now separated by time and distance. “Let’s get the gang together again,” sort of thing.

But when I broach the subject with the players I know who’ve stuck with 1E/2E, they’re first reaction is: “Are they going to ‘fix’ all the stuff from third edition and make the game go back the way it was? Otherwise, I’m not interested.” Clearly, these people are not fans of the third edition rules set.

Considering that the new game’s mechanics appear to be as far from 2E as can be, those players are unlikely to be swayed to embrace a new rules set.

Maybe the difference lies in whether you are still playing 1E or 2E currently. If you’ve played those rules this long, you’re unlikely to change. But if you set aside the game for a while and are looking to get back in again, then maybe the rules mean less than simply embracing the brand.

It is certainly an interesting quandary either way.

#10 Comment By BryanB On May 19, 2008 @ 10:29 am

I’m inclined to agree with Walt up above. I have an extensive 3.5 library and my favorite campaign setting is the Scarred Lands, which is a 3.x setting. I just bought ten books for 3.5 that I didn’t have for a song, because the prior owner is switching to 4E right away. I like the Oriental Adventures materials that AEG produced and that won’t be 4E compatible.

I have played every edition of AD&D and D&D up to the present. I really liked the majority of changes that 3E and 3.5 brought to the game. I liked 3E well enough to sell off all of my 2E books (major library). I’m in no hurry to rid myself of my modest 3.5 library. Considering how shoddy WotC editing can be, I’m in no hurry to get any 4E books either. I’ll likely get the core books in the slipcase, but I am going to wait until a second or probably third printing. I’m sure my group will want to try out 4E at some point and I am not opposed to giving it a try.

I’m in no hurry to buy 4E books or run 4E though. If the group wants to play it, I will probably buy a PHB (like I always have). I’ve got a lot of time and money invested in 3E. I know how to tweak it the way I want to as a GM. I’m not ready to go thru the learning curve again… at least not yet.

So for me, it is the “wait and see” approach instead of “to 4E or not to 4E.”

#11 Comment By Scott Martin On May 19, 2008 @ 10:44 am

We’re currently enjoying a 3.5 campaign, built specifically for all of the late produced crunch (the completes, etc.) We’ll continue on with 3.5E for a while… though I’m system hound enough that it’ll be months at most before I buy 4e, at least to read it.

#12 Comment By Kurt “Telas” Schneider On May 19, 2008 @ 11:52 am

I’m buying the set from Paizo – irony indeed, but I would rather support them than Wally World or Amazon.

Even if I never play or run 4E, I’m interested in the game simply because it will be “the 500 lb gorilla” that every other game will be compared to.

There are plenty of alternatives out there, for 1E/2E grognards to ‘fast and loose’ RPers to crunch-hounds, and everything in between. But 4E will be the new benchmark, for no reason other than name recognition and WotC’s resources.

#13 Comment By DarthKrzysztof On May 19, 2008 @ 11:55 am

I’m sure I’m buying it, I just don’t know when I’ll be running (or playing) it.

My v.3.5 Planescape campaign, Cold Blood, will be reaching its peak around the time 4th Edition comes out. There’s enough PS material I don’t have room to use in this game to support a second campaign (at least) when this one’s over, so my course is to finish Cold Blood, -then- evaluate 4E.

Since my group plays via chat-based software, I’d like to streamline our sessions and make them less “rulesy,” which 4E purports to do. However, a Planescape campaign obviously relies on the Great Wheel cosmology, and everything that goes with it, so I’ll have to see how that can be reconciled. If all else fails, I might have Cold Blood’s climax -alter- the cosmology from the Great Wheel to 4E’s, so the next campaign can begin with it.

Or I might run a “points of light” game. Or another 3.5 game. Or something else! I haven’t discussed it with the group yet…

#14 Comment By Grogtard On May 19, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

Personally, I’m still on the fence and our group is split between apathy and open screaming hatred. I’ve ran the demo adventure over at enworld and generally folks liked it. Overall, folks that it was an OK game no better or worse than 3.5 just different.

#15 Comment By rekenner On May 19, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

Just as a note – You can get the entire package of books on Amazon for 40% off and free shipping. $60 is a LOT easier to swallow than $105.
And if you preorder, you get an additional 5% off. (Heh, figures my skimming of the comments missed seeing two people point this out already, oops.)

As for me, based on the previews, I’m going to jump to 4e the second it comes back, only looking back to laugh at leaving 3.5e’s rotting corpse behind. The simplicity and just simple *awesome* shown in the previews has been enough to attract me. It seems each class will have enough internal difference that *just* the base set will offer a great deal of character diversity.

#16 Comment By tallarn On May 20, 2008 @ 12:09 am

I’m changing over for sure – I don’t have a current 3e game or group, and I didn’t spend all that much money on 3e products (I got rid of most of them a while ago when I was moving house).

Plus, the 4e rules are so clearly focused on how I like to play the game – giving characters the central role, rather than rules and making it clear that it’s a game designed to have fun with, rather than a rules system that you can use to play a game.

I’m really looking forward to the new edition and I think it’ll be a great success.

#17 Comment By Martin Ralya On May 20, 2008 @ 8:55 am

My group is closing in on the end of a 3rd-20th D&D 3.5e campaign, and the likelihood of us starting up a 4e game anytime soon is essentially nil — but I’m still excited about 4e.

I’m excited about it because it’s D&D, and I love D&D. I was introduced to it via the old red box, learned to GM with 2e and was thrilled when 3e came out. At this point, I have a healthy amount of rules fatigue with 3.5e — there’s too much in there that feels like work to me. I’m ready for something more streamlined, and 4e sounds like it’ll do a good job in that department.

I have no stake in “edition wars” (laaaame) — there have been pluses and minuses to every edition I’ve played or run. Whether I get to play it any time or soon or not, there’s no question for me about picking up 4e. I’ll be at Barnes & Noble on 6/6 as soon as humanly possible to pick up my preorder. 🙂

#18 Comment By Carl On May 20, 2008 @ 10:21 am

I’m with Walt and BryanB above. I have a metric ass ton of 3.x D20 material and I’ve used maybe 35% of it since I switched from 2nd Ed. I want to get a little more mileage out of my 3.x material before I move to a new system.

I’m not opposed to 4e and I’m very curious to learn about the system, but I’m going to wait-and-see. I’m sure they’ll release a system refresh after a year or two and I’ll reconsider buying-in then. There’s a lot about the new system that’s attractive to me, for example, the online-based updates and enhancements. If I could buy a set of core books and get everything else online, including a hypertext rules reference, I’d love it. Will it work out that way? We’ll see.

It doesn’t sit that well with me that I’ve invested $1000 or more in books, supplements and accessories and haven’t had an opportunity to use a majority of it yet. As I said, I’ll be running Arcana Evolved for a little while. I may then move to Iron Heroes, or incorporate more Iron Heroes content into my Arcana Evolved game. I’m very interested in adopting Ptolus, too. Come to think of it, I may do the Paizo-thing and use their 3.x D20 stuff until 4.x matures a bit. I always like Dungeon and never regretted my subscriptions.

#19 Comment By Lee Hanna On May 20, 2008 @ 10:45 am

I’m leery of the cost issue, but also the training involved. My group is just now comfortable with 3.5 as it is.
I think the biggest reason the group I play with switched from 2nd as soon as we did (mid-campaign), was that we had some people heavily involved in Living Greyhawk and Living Death, and they didn’t want to be whipsawed between two systems. That involvement has waned for most of the group, and we are barely halfway through the Shackled City campaign, and looking forward to the Savage Tide. The DM in SC is adamant that she will not switch rules in mid-game, and we all want to finish it.
As we were grumpy about 3.5 following 3.0, we may wait & see about 4e. Some of us will rush out and get it, but we won’t play with it for a while, except for one-shots. Myself, I’ll wait, probably a year or so. I’ve got a lot of 3.x modules still to work into games. (Heck, I’ve got a lot of 1e/2e modules I’d like to tinker with.)
The digital thing has no appeal for me, but my wife’s high-school DM has asked if maybe their old group could re-meet that way?

#20 Comment By Walt Ciechanowski On May 20, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

Carl just reminded me of another reason to add:

While still identifiably the same game as 2e, 3.0 added a number of new concepts and apparently hadn’t worked all the bugs out. Many people stockpiled on a huge 3.0 library just to have it go obsolete a mere 3 years later (regardless of backward-compatibility claims, 3.5 was different enough to make conversions a chore).

It sounds like 4e is going to be at least as different from 3.5 as 3.0 was from 2e. Are you willing to drop a lot of money now and in the near future on a product just to have 4.5 come along just as the system was maturing? On the other hand, WOTC may have this base covered, as the yearly core annuals and online subscription should handle this.

By the way, I know my posts make it sound like I’m pro-3.5 and anti-4e. I’m not. As an RPG freelance writer, I’ll likely be writing for both. I’ll have the 4e books close to the release date, and I reserve judgment on the new system until I actually read it.

#21 Comment By Dire Emu On May 20, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

I will throw in my two cents, blind of previous comments. I am not just an RPG player. When priced as books, the D&D products do seem expensive, but this is not an accurate value judgement IMHO.

I play board games and routinely drop 40-70 on them. To me this is a good value. These board games will give me a lifetime of play for that entry cost. They often have expansions at a $20 rate or so and these extend the life of the product. This is my value framework for board games.

For an RPG, it’s different. I used to think the D&D stuff was overpriced and still do to a degree, however that feeling has been diminished a bit by some value analysis.

I do not need dungeon tiles or miniatures. So that is one thing in my favor. Game screen I can get by without but will likely pick it up. I will not being paying full MSRP (who does anymore?). So, my initial oputlay will maybe be $80 for three books. Not too bad considering how much fun and play time I will get out of just these three books. That’s only about $26/book.

What will I get? I will get the basics to run adventures and campaigns. I have my imagination and a love for homebrew to drive the rest. In fact, I really do own more 3.5 books than I have ever been able to fully utilize.

Sure, things are more expensive, but everythign goes that route. I think everyone should make their own judgement based on the value they see in the product.


#22 Comment By Dragonstar On May 21, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

Before committing to a conversion, I’ve decided to just pick up the gift set and see how I like it. I pre-ordered it from the FLGS where we play every week for $85, which I think is more than a fair price. Sure, I could have picked it up on Amazon for less, but I think it’s appropriate to help out the place where we game.

From a mechanics standpoint, I’ve read through the Worldwide D&D Game Day adventure that I’ll be running on the 7th (if anyone is near Oberlin, OH that day, stop on up!) and combat seems to play out just like 3.X, but much more streamlined. Our group’s big caveat is that we run Forgotten Realms, and will need to see what happens with that release in August before we decide if we move forward. I still plan on running LFR on the side, so it’ll be necessary for me to know 4e, but I’m not going to force the conversion on the rest of the group…

#23 Comment By Crimson Newb On May 22, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

I’ve been reading a lot about 4th ed. for the past 2 or 3 months. While I’m concerned that “simplifying” and “stream-lining” mean dumbing down like it has for 40K, I’ve seen a lot of things I like. I’ll be picking up the core set ($76.23 CN at amazon.ca). I’m all for supporting your FLGS, but ours isn’t that F, so screw him.
I also need to keep up with the current product as I hope to be in the business in the next few years.

#24 Comment By supergnome On May 23, 2008 @ 7:43 am

I started playing about 20 years ago with the good old Red Box set. Right when 2e came out, we switched over and loved it for years. 3e had tons of promise with the more modular character creation, plus the timing was perfect for a new version as 2e was getting stale. 3e became somewhat unwieldly eventually, and just doesn’t suit my DM’ing style anymore. Too much book keeping, so many mods that you can almost always get “one more plus” from somewhere… It just wasn’t fun to run anymore.

Since I was looking at changing systems anyways, I’ll run 4e and see how it goes. I coughed up $63 for the 3 core books already which really isn’t that bad. (I’d love to by from my local gaming shop, but it’s about twice as much.)

I’ll say that the changes to the core races/classes of the game bugs the carp out of me. I play D&D damn it, not some strange far-from-center fantasy RPG! I can add/prohibit races/classes easily, but still.

Is it dumbed down? In a fashion, but the game has always been what we make it. I’m all for streamlined mechanics. I like to just run the game, not reference 3 sections from the same book to sort out some strange rules. The rules-for-everything approach is terrible, so less is more IMO.

I’m not sold on 4e (well, I did BUY it though, didn’t I…), but I’ll give it a shot. I fear they’re trying to compete with a non PnP world, and that’s just not a good idea. If it’s those folks they’re trying to attrack, this this gamer they’re going to lose to True20 or the like.

#25 Comment By mxyzplk On May 23, 2008 @ 7:08 pm

For me it’s not to 4e, for two main reasons.

1. Loss of back compatibility. I’m one of those played-since-red-box guys. I have a huge amount of 1e, 2e, 3e, 3.5e stuff. I liked the 1e->2e transition and the 2e->3e transition – the game rules got better and more streamlined but you could still use your older material to some extent.
Now with 4e they are deliberately changing not just the rules but the “embedded setting” details. Making older settings like Greyhawk, FR, and homebrews work given their new core ideas they’re pushing in everything from cosmology to race conception will be too difficult to merit not just staying with an older ruleset. For the first time I won’t be able to pull out an old adventure, file off some of the game rules, and rerun it intermingled with their new ones, which appear to be deliberately wallowing in the changes (shadowfell, feywild, etc.)

2. The rules. You know, we played Basic, 1e, and 2e only using minis when we wanted to. 3e->3.5e made this a lot harder,and now the 4e rules are purely tactical mini game rules. All the abilities are “shift a square” this and “mark” that. I prefer the in-game realistic setting to come first, and not their attempt at selling a collectible tactical minis game. From what I’ve seen of 4e, it’s not simpler – it would be great if it was, but they took one step forward and removed some fiddly bits then took two big steps back and added many more.
You “can” roleplay with any rules, including Monopoly. But a game’s rules can very much work towards or against that end and these rules work against it. They’re turning it into a tactical minis game so they can take it online, and the reason I still play RPGs in addition to games like WoW is the deeper aspect to them that a computer board can’t simulate. Remove that, and then it’s evaluating your computer game vs someone else’s, and TSR/WotC has never put out any computer based product that did not suck hard. Early glimpses of Gleemax, the online char builder, etc. do absolutely nothing to give me hope that will change.

#26 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On May 24, 2008 @ 7:23 am

“You “can” roleplay with any rules, including Monopoly.”

That’s worth putting on a T-shirt, MXYZPLK.
I think many of your observations are at the core of what I’ve been mulling for some time now, thought I’m less concerned about the story aspects. If the game is still true to its original precept: The only limits are your imagination, then I think you can make the rules fit any homebrew or previously published setting.

I have to admit, I’ve been excited about the idea of a fourth edition. I think it’s time for a oil change, so to speak, on the rules themselves. My disappointment lies in how fourth edition had been marketed to its existing D&D fan base. WotC’s marketing efforts have been clumsy.

#27 Comment By modern-myths On May 26, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

Hi, all-

New reader here, referred to the blog by ENWorld. : )

As a game store owner, I of course have a vested interest in getting folks interested in 4E.

That said, of the 3 campaigns I’m involved in, 2 will continue on in 3.5 (an Eberron and Pathfinder game I play in), while the ‘store game’ I run will wrap in 3.5 at 18th level and we’ll start a new campaign in 4th.

Right now everyone in my group is enthusiastic for 4E, but plans to keep playing 3.5 alongside it. I have a feeling that for many, many ‘more than 1 campaign’ type gamers, this will become the new paradigm over the next few months. There’s no reason on Earth why you can’t keep using those 3.5 books AND enjoy a separate 4E game.

Expense isn’t a huge factor for us, as most folks involved in the game are working professionals, and the cost of a new PHB is about what it costs to go out to dinner, and less than a single tank of gas these days. We’ve done our best to incentivize in-store purchase of the books (we’re having a release day party and pushing WWDnD Day hard), but with the understanding that predatory pricing will capture some portion of those local gamers ambivalent about the purchase. We just factor that into our numbers… it’s not like price-sensitive gamers were buying those huge piles of ‘obsolete’ 3.5 books they’re griping about from us either. Enough gamers either a) value the space and play experience the store provides or b) are new to the game and appreciate our helping them learn it (read: parents of young, new players) that they are willing to pay what the publisher says the books are worth in sufficient numbers that I’m fully confident that 4E will be a plenty-big hit. (And we’ll sell a ‘heavy load’ worth for the Holidays, as some of the later adopters get on board using Holiday gift-giving…)

At the end of the day, we won’t know for sure the real impact the new version has on the already-installed D&D base until, I’d say, post-GenCon. By that time, everyone will have thoroughly read the rules, (and probably had a chance to play some even if they haven’t, at Origins and GenCon). We’ll have seen the new adventures, and the Forgotten Realms, which ought to have a big impact on opinion as well.

What I’ve played of it so far has me impressed if only because it was SO much easier to DM, and all indications are that the ease will definitely extend to putting together encounters. Much as I love 3.5, I won’t miss needing 2 hours to fully stat out a high-level dragon…

-Jim C.

#28 Comment By Gerg On May 27, 2008 @ 8:54 am

I’m getting on the 4e train and not looking back.

3.X was much better than previous editions, but had some huge obstacles to running the kind of action-packed, cinematic games I dreamed of. I’ve been hitting that goal lately with SWSE, and part of that is I have adopted the 4e skill challenge system, which makes social encounters much more exciting. That pretty much means 4e was made with me in mind.

As for cost, selling my 3.X books paid for the next 10 4e books, and it’s not like I didn’t get a ton of use out of them, so all seems right in the world on that account.

#29 Comment By mbrisbois On May 27, 2008 @ 9:47 pm

I’d really like to see a article series about converting a 3rd edition homebrew to a 4th edition model. How does it change the way one homebrew’s races–is it more work? Does it involve scrapping certain things that the homebrew relies upon? What about organizations and factions? Previously these could be deliniated in an interesting and easy fashion, but would the DM converting things find it harder to do so in 4th edition?

#30 Pingback By Boss Around the Gnomes: D&D 4e Core Books | Gnome Stew On May 5, 2016 @ 4:59 pm

[…] D&D 4th Edition launches on June 6th, many GMs will be making a tough decision: to 4e or not to 4e. Several of us gnomes have already made that choice, though, and will be snagging all three core […]