Dragon 387 - Design & Development: Rules Update Process

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DnDi_Large.png  Dragon 387
Design and Development
The Rules Update Process

By Andy Collins and Grey Bilsland

In this month's Design & Development column, Andy and Greg discuss errata and why they happen, in light of the upcoming Major Rules Update this month. 

Talk about this column here.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?


A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

One question I've always had, that was sort of addressed in the article is how much of the errata is incorporated into the books at the next printing.  For example, I got the PHB when it first came out, I've been cutting out and inserting the errata in the appropriate pages for a while and my PHB is currently pretty overstuffed (it doesn't quite close all the way!). If I were to buy a new PHB now would it already have all of those changes in it? Or would it only contain things like typos and such?

I understand not including some of the FAQ type stuff, but what about when powers are nerfed etc?

If this is the case, is there something I can look for on a book to indicate which printing it is? (I don't have my PHB in front of me here at work so I can't look to see if there's somewhere in the copyright info and such that says what printing it is).  I honestly might consider buying a new PHB in a little while if I know it'll have all that errata in it already.
Updates. Im glad the article owns the necessity for errata and revisions. To maintain the health of the gaming system. Thats life, like dentist checkups and doctor physicals.

D&D is a complex living evolving game. Updates are its immune system. Its a fascinating aspect of the D&D phenomenon. Its like witnessing a biodome becoming a viable self-sustaining ecosystem.

Even speculating about future updates is becoming a hobby in itself.

I like the direction 4e seems to be heading, to use the Character Builder as the official final authority for rules wording.
I like the direction 4e seems to be heading, to use the Character Builder as the official final authority for rules wording.

Official final authority? They said that? I don't think I saw that in the article...

Anyway, the technical limitations of the Character Builder means that it's unlikely to become an actual authority.

It and the Compendium are still splendid ways of looking up game elements, however. How they interact, however, is best sorted between the player and DM, or on a rules discussion forum.

In regards to the article, I found it a relief that they aren't wasting time on hammering out optimization madness. If a player shows up at your gaming table with a hyper-optimized character, like a hybrid with 2 multi-class feats and a throng of oddball feats, it's much easier for the DM to simply say "no", than for them to waste several hours trying to find an elegant way of nerfing it without hammering all the elements that make up this oddball character.
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