A new World - 4e

This is a starter guide for 4e.

In this guide I talk about the goals of the 4e designers to help understand why particular changes have been made - eg to make it more `fun' maybe it is, however proof will be in the playing.

4e seems to be about options, at any point each character should have choices about what they can do.

4e introduces the concept of powers. Even a 'basic attack' - slapping someone with a sword is an attack power.

  • fighters have exploits
  • clerics have prayers
  • wizards have spells
powers can be
  • at will
  • per encounter
  • daily
An encounter is defined as a sequence of combat ended by a 5min rest (so you can regain your breath). After the rest all encounter powers are available.


At each level you can retrain, i.e. change one feat, power or skill for another. A power must be changed for one of the same type.

Action Types

In each round each character can do 1 each of these things:

  • Standard action most attack powers, charging, using your second wind.
  • Move action walking, shifting.
  • Minor action drawn an item, open a door, pick up an item.
  • Free action (any number) these take almost no time, eg. dropping an item, yelling to the party.

Extending the idea of giving players options are action points these let you take one standard|move|minor additional action in a round. You can only use 1 point per encounter. You get it back after an extended rest.

You can also substitute your standard action for a move or minor action. For example you could take:

  • 2 x move actions, 1 minor action.
  • 1 move action, 2 x minor actions.
  • 3 minor actions

By substituting , at most you can only take 1 standard (ie attack) action in a round.

Character Changes

They have introduced the concept of "roles"
  • controller - wizard
  • defender - fighter
  • leader - cleric
  • striker - rogue/ranger
Each character has
  • Skills - consolidated, much reduced in number, no ranks you are now trained or untrained. If trained you get +5 on checks.
  • Feats - I think much the same - TBD.
  • Powers all about options and having something to do.
  • Equipment - stuff.

Character scores are now not so critical when you roll them. The modifiers are as before eg. 15, 16 is +3, 17/18 is +4. However the modifier (and a lot of other bonuses) go up +1 every level/2 eg +1 at level 2, +3 at level 7.

So by the time you are level 8/9 all your modifiers are increased by +4.

Very few effects/items will increase your base stats eg. the gauntlets of ogre power add +1 to athletic checks and once per day at +5 to damage roll.

Hit Points

you don't roll em any more!. It is based on your class plus CON score. Eg. A cleric is 12 + Con score. you then gain a set number per level.

Healing Surges

Each class get a set number + the CON modifier. You gain 1/4 of your hit points. Typical numbers are 9 per day.

When you are out of surges it is probably a good time to take an extended rest (and get them all back again).

Once per encouter you can take a second wind and spend a healing surge to get back HPs.

Back to Campaigns.

Stupid things we've overheard...

They're chaotic evil? That's great, we're chaotic evil, too. So there won't be any problem with alignments.

Random Quote

Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword.