Courtesy of Wizards of the Coast, Gnome Stew is one of a handful of RPG blogs lucky enough to receive a pre-release copy of the Player’s Handbook 2. Ours came on Tuesday, and the book won’t be in stores until March 17th.
Understandably, we’re not allowed to post excerpts from the book — but how about a couple of photos? Here’s a shot of the front of the book (clicky for large):
And one of the back cover (clicky for el gordo):
So…why do we have this little slice of sauciness? Because I’m going to be writing about the PHB 2 from a GMing perspective, and that article will be published here on March 13th, a few days before the book comes out.
And that’s where you come in, Gnome Stew readers! What do you want to know about the PHB 2 from a GMing perspective?
I’m quite familiar with 4e, and am happy to write about rules-specific stuff as well as more general impressions — anything that falls within my mandate, “It’s all about the GMing. The what? The GMing.”
I need to have my article done by the 11th, so if there’s something you’d like to hear about, don’t wait too long to tell me. Apart from that, have at it: Gnome Stew exists to help you as a GM, so tell me what you’d love to read about the PHB 2 — and thanks!
Oh, and: I’m experimenting with using Facebook (Martin Ralya) and Twitter to communicate with Gnome Stew readers. If you’d like to know about things like this before they appear on the Stew, I’ll be sharing teasers, tidbits, random GMing ideas, and (let’s be frank) tales of baby poop in both places.
Here are some article suggestions:
1) Handling Players with New Supplements and GMs Without — Tips on what is a GM to do when a player brings in a new supplement and the GM does not have a material.
2) Supplement Mismatch Scenarios — “No, Martin, you can’t bring in that primal Shaman with the funky totems into my high fantasy campaign.” How to handle that one player that wants to be a bit too odd of character just to use the newest material.
3) Mechanical vs. Campaign Setting — Get your totem pole out of my campaign. What to do when the standard descriptions in the book just don’t really jibe with your campaign.
More specific to 4E PHB2,
1) A general review chapter by chapter of the book is always useful (but I bet you were going to do that)
2) Its all a Matter of Personality — the PHB2 boasts details on how to develop your character’s history and personality. I’m sure there will be plenty debate on how good the chapter is on this one and what other people do for this.
I’d be interested in perceived power creep. The introduction of Adventurers’ Vault introduced it (as most supplements for any game do) but how about a general class comparison between PHB classes and PHB2 ones? (nothing too specific; more like a general feel towards the classes and what they can do)
How about dealing with players who want to make big changes to their characters because new material is available? In a game like D&D that uses levels, a player might advance for some time in one class / profession / career, only to find a better fit when the next supplement. What do you do when the player of a 6th-level fighter wants to retcon into a 6th-level barbarian? Is it worth it to suspend disbelief when the PC’s abilities change entirely, or should the PC be scrapped for someone new?
If this doesn’t give us an ENnie nomination, it’s clobbering time!
All I know about the PH2 is that my long nightmare is over ….
… I can play gnome bard once again.
I would like to read about how to incorperate the source material into your exsisting campaign. Also, how to build encounters using whats new and shiny without overloading. Lastly, I would love a comparison to PH1 and how the classes can blend into a functional party. Thanks.
I’d like to know what crunchy bits are most exciting. I’ve recently come back to GMing D&D in general, and only just getting my feet wet with 4e. I’ve been winging an Eberron game based on 3e source so this is a big thing for my players (lots of 3e & 3.5 experience).
Also, as a GM what classes make the most sense for NPCs.
I would be most interested in the new feats, how they stack up the PHB1 and if they are useful for all characters or slanted towards just the newly introduced ones.
Are more magic items introduced? If so how do they compare to PHB1?
Since I’ve heard the PHB2 has one each of primal striker, leader, defender and controller, a brief note on the workability of an all-primal party would be great. (I know the roles are interchangeable in theory. I also know a warlord doesn’t have nearly as many heals as a cleric.)
Thank you for the suggestions! I’ve also been getting good ideas from my fellow gnomes, and from readers who’ve pinged me on Facebook.
No suggestions from Twitter yet, but we’ll see.
How heavy is the focus on melee oriented characters/races/abilities? Are there good feats/abilities to balance the divine and arcane power users?
I’m interested in how difficult adding backgrounds into an existing game, or if the mechanic is even truly workable. Seems like something (from the little bit I’ve seen) that could really be abused by players. Let us know.
@Sarlax: You probably already know you can retrain any Power or Feat at any level. I would hold players to that unless the book makes a provision otherwise (but I doubt that).
Very interested in Backgrounds as DocRyder mentioned.
Perhaps a quick break down of Racial Abilities that seem to be interesting.