The Issue I have with PHBII

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Whenever we talk about core rules, back in 3.5, we would of course be referring to 3 books: PHB, MM, DMG

But I have read over PHB for 4e and I can't help but feel it is incomplete. As a set of rules, I like 4e. I also LOVE what they have done with races (possible exception the noble dragonborns, but hey) and the gods. I also think the artwork is massive step up.

But in terms of classes, those they have laid out are great. I love the paths they can take.

Yet they have given us ONE controller. So, what, for core rules every party shoud have a wizard? And they have missed out on some of the most popular classes, Druid and Barbarian. And when it comes to Epic levels they have given us, what, four options?

This just feels to me as incomplete. I am not saying you can't have fun with 4e. I just don't think it is a complete product yet. I think that for long term fun you are going to need PHBII in the way that 3.5 really didn't need extra supplements (they were good though).

I think that, once it comes out, PHB, PHBII, MM, DMG will be regarded as 'the new core'. And this bothers me, they have sold us an incomplete product and all anyone can talk about is PHBII because it is apparent the game just isn't right without.

So that is my opinion so now I ask you: am I a paranoid nut or am I onto something?
In 3e they tried to give us everything. According to plenty of people here, 3e was a mess that needed 3.5e. In 4e they gave us less options so they could concentrate on making those options quality ones. Personally I'd prefer the less options with the better options.
It seems to me that the classes they left out where those which were the most problematic.

Monks and bards were both generally considered to be weak classes (ok so was the fighter, but you need the fighter in 4e to be your baseline defender). Druids were not only overpowered, but did a lot of different things (shapechanging, summoning, healing, direct damage, etc...) and didn't have a single focus. Barbarians and sorcerers were a lot like fighters and wizards respectively. And, though you didn't mention them, I think psionics are a great part of D&D but they have had many past balance issues.

I think WoTC decided to go with the "easy" and rigidly defined classes first to get the base of the system working, and then balance and diferentiate the "harder" classes later. I have no problem with this approach - I love the druid, bard, barbarian, etc... But I would prefer WoTC take the time to do them right and make them playable, distinct, and fair before they are published.
Read the FrontCover VERY carefully and you will reallisse what the PHB1 is meant for

It's for the Martial, Arcane and Divine Classes (like the "Complete XYZ" books form 3.5)
So if you think it's "incomplete" then you will see, yea thats kinda true but on purpose, the other class-flavors will come with the other PHBs
So if your looking for arkana, you look in PHB1
if your looking for Nature PHB2
and so on...
I agree: it's bollox. They've left a bunch of stuff out of the "core" books with the explicit intention of selling it to you at a later date. They don't want you spending money on WoW (or whatever other games you play) they want you spending it on their horde of "supplementary" materials. In that regard, think of D&D as any other MMORPG, the next book is your monthly cost to play.
And yet if they had included the missiing classes and races, the PHB would have been 350+ pages and probably $45-$50 (USA) and you would have complained about that.

Bel
Originally Posted by WotC_RichBaker In related news, I'm afraid I'm going to have to confiscate your 3.5 rulebooks, and force you to convert to the new edition. Where do you live?
We got our first web enhancement - maybe we'll get them on weekly bases, to have a little variety for everyone. Still, I believe something extra is needed, but if this continues we'll have nice amount of extra variety for our basic builds!

But I'm really not sure about 8 new basic classes in PHB2 - few new(old?) ones would be great, and bunch of extra stuff for the PHB 1 classes.
Shaper & Maker galleries
My only desire is they stop dishing erratum out like it's candy.

The major reason why I quit M:TG was in order to participate at a tourney you had to have a 1" thick binder with all the erratum. I just bought my PHB two days ago and already I have to download an erratum sheet.

No more.

Just produce a product and leave it be. People will be far more willing to put money into a product if they get quality first time around. By continually dishing out changes to the "finished product" you're essentially telling your customers that you can't get it right while begging them for more cash.



So far the rules for 4e seem decent enough they don't need to suffer this fate. I hope WoTC realizes this and don't go down the same road they did with 3e.
My only desire is they stop dishing erratum out like it's candy.

The major reason why I quit M:TG was in order to participate at a tourney you had to have a 1" thick binder with all the erratum. I just bought my PHB two days ago and already I have to download an erratum sheet.

No more.

Just produce a product and leave it be. People will be far more willing to put money into a product if they get quality first time around. By continually dishing out changes to the "finished product" you're essentially telling your customers that you can't get it right while begging them for more cash.

Most people think it's good if a company wishes to fix their mistakes, and does it soon. There's no such thing as a perfect product, and making errata just fixes errors and answers questions that would be asked by dozens or hundeds of people otherwise.

I definitely think it's a plus.
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bunch of extra stuff for the PHB 1 classes.

Extra stuff will be in Power splat books if you want it.
I actually like the fact that they're not trying to squeeze all the classes into one book. I'm willing to bet we'll find at least one more controller in PHBII. (My guess would be a psionic, but that's pure speculation.) The only better organization for the classes I can come with than putting each power source in a different book would be to add a request that they be printed for a 3-ring binder, like some of the 2e Monster Manuals were, so that enhancements like the illusions in this month's Dragon could be added in with the Wizard.
Read the FrontCover VERY carefully and you will reallisse what the PHB1 is meant for

It's for the Martial, Arcane and Divine Classes (like the "Complete XYZ" books form 3.5)
So if you think it's "incomplete" then you will see, yea thats kinda true but on purpose,

Just because they made that decision intentionally doesn't mean its right
And yet if they had included the missiing classes and races, the PHB would have been 350+ pages and probably $45-$50 (USA) and you would have complained about that.

Looking at the font size and the amount of whitespace, I doubt that. At a guess, I'd say WotC could have crammed 50% more material in the 4E PHB had they used the formatting and layout of the 3E core books. I think the 4E books are more legible because of it, but even a handful more classes should have been possible had they really wanted to include them - without adding to the page count.
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the PHB would have been 350+ pages and probably $45-$50 (USA) and you would have complained about that.

Bel

It's idiotic to complain about a complete product if it's accurately priced. I'd gladly pay $50 for a good 350+ page book if it was complete and lacked a "cliffhanger" ending, "Tune in next week for more of those rules you need!"

Your proposed scenario is a far better choice. I'd pay the added $15 to have those rules included in the main book. As it is, prepare to shell out another $35 for that same material.

And just so you're aware: PHB 320 pages, $35; DMG 220 pages, $35. That's 100 extra pages in the PHB at no extra cost. I guarantee you the DMG needed to be larger *cough*ChannelDivinityforMalignGods*cough*.
It's idiotic to complain about a complete product if it's accurately priced. I'd gladly pay $50 for a good 350+ page book if it was complete and lacked a "cliffhanger" ending, "Tune in next week for more of those rules you need!"

Your proposed scenario is a far better choice. I'd pay the added $15 to have those rules included in the main book. As it is, prepare to shell out another $35 for that same material.

And just so you're aware: PHB 320 pages, $35; DMG 220 pages, $35. That's 100 extra pages in the PHB at no extra cost. I guarantee you the DMG needed to be larger *cough*ChannelDivinityforMalignGods*cough*.

Oh, I forgot, it would also take 6 more months to come out, Happy Holidays!
And I addressed your Evil NPCs over in that thread.

Bel
Originally Posted by WotC_RichBaker In related news, I'm afraid I'm going to have to confiscate your 3.5 rulebooks, and force you to convert to the new edition. Where do you live?
I say it's a right decision. Controled, limited and developed yet base game. All you need to play.

But as usual WOTC is damned if they do, damned if they don't. Fandoms...
All you need to play.

All you need to play D&D. Not all you need to play your ongoing D&D campaign. I do feel it's a valid remark that quite a bit of stuff is missing, even it's just missing 'for now'.
Garic's City - A 3.5 D&D PbP (play-by-post) roleplaying game with a decade of tradition. Enter and enjoy the city of Garic and explore the surrounding, unchartered lands. A city in the middle of nowhere is always in need of heroes... Other PbP forums: Castle of Fun - Coalition War Game - COre COlisseum - D20 Modern - Gleemax Roleplaying - Guild House - Magic Puzzles, Fun, & Games! - Map of the Planes - Paranoia Paradise - PbP Haven - Real Adventures - Terisia City
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was incomplete because it didn't have Lando in it.

Star Trek: First Contact was incomplete because Cpt. Kirk wasn't in it.

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings was incomplete because Gollum wasn't completely shown in it.

Can I go on?

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

The 1e DMG was only 240 pages long, and had much more in it than the 3.5 or 4e DMGs have. Most 1e supplements were 128 pages long and had more than most 260 page 3e supplments. Bring back the 1e text format, and I'll be happier. Ah nevermind, D&D doesn't really fit how I want to game anyway, other than a massively house-ruled 2e.
A lot of people have great points here. The Errata is totally out of control 3 pages already in PHB - when the new version of the book gets released I think we have a good case to swap our old version for the new one free of charge.

Whoever used the line "tune in next week for the rest of the rules" is spot on, but what bothers me is that it is not next week, or next month. If it was like that I could just about live with it because you get a few weeks to play around with 4e before the next PHB. But it is coming out "sometime next year". 6+ months away... there product just isn't ready yet.

No way known I would have complained about paying 1.5x the amount for PHB if it was complete... or even 2x because I had to buy two books. If it is a complete set of rules it is a complete set!

But probably the most frustating thing about it is simple: there is really nothing we can do. WotC are going to make more money out of this system, we aren't going to quit our hobby, and by the time 5e comes around this whole mess will be largely forgotten.
And yet if they had included the missiing classes and races, the PHB would have been 350+ pages and probably $45-$50 (USA) and you would have complained about that.

Bel

Yeah right i would have bought three of them. And it would have been AWESOME! This arguments sounds like "Yeah but if they had put out a high quality product, you would not have liked it". Riiiiiiiight. ;)
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was incomplete because it didn't have Lando in it.

Star Trek: First Contact was incomplete because Cpt. Kirk wasn't in it.

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings was incomplete because Gollum wasn't completely shown in it.

Can I go on?

Depends on how much you enjoy sounding like a prick. :P
Looking at the font size and the amount of whitespace, I doubt that. At a guess, I'd say WotC could have crammed 50% more material in the 4E PHB had they used the formatting and layout of the 3E core books. I think the 4E books are more legible because of it, but even a handful more classes should have been possible had they really wanted to include them - without adding to the page count.

^ This quote is pure truth...
All you need to play D&D. Not all you need to play your ongoing D&D campaign...

I dont get this remark.

Im geared up to run a brand spanking new 4E campaign. We have complete characters, a region for them to explore and attain some XPs before they go out into the Big Bad World, and so on.

I had everything I needed to construct the campaign, right out of the three 4E books.

I anticipate this game will run for some time. I actually -hope- that the PCs attain Epic level eventually.

What am I missing?

(Now, if you meant that you cant continue running a conversion of your previous 3.5 game world with the new 4E mechanics, youre right about that. The two systems are practically incompatible).
Input Jack - there are barely enough feats to sustain an epic level character. Secondly there are only 4 types of epic take you can go, compared to about 31 paragon paths you can take. No one is saying it is impossible to have an ongoing, just that if you were to play to level 30 using only the books that have been released the quality would drop dramatically compared to just running a quick campaign or two.
I agree: it's bollox. They've left a bunch of stuff out of the "core" books with the explicit intention of selling it to you at a later date. They don't want you spending money on WoW (or whatever other games you play) they want you spending it on their horde of "supplementary" materials. In that regard, think of D&D as any other MMORPG, the next book is your monthly cost to play.

First. Yes the held some stuff back from us to make more money. ITS CALLED MARKETING!! Second! Most of the class stuff for the other classes (barb, Druid, Bard, ETC...) are still in play testing. I don't know about you but i would rather get classes that work other then incomplete works.
First. Yes the held some stuff back from us to make more money. ITS CALLED MARKETING!!

Calling something marketing isn't any sort of rebuttal to his argument. Selling incomplete products and forcing the user to spend more might be marketing, but we don't have to like it. Giving away free heroin to teenagers so they become addicted and buy more product off you is also marketing, but again, you don't have to like it.


Second! Most of the class stuff for the other classes (barb, Druid, Bard, ETC...) are still in play testing. I don't know about you but i would rather get classes that work other then incomplete works.

Right, and I don't know about you, but I would rather get a book that is complete than incomplete works.
The books are COMPLETE. They're not just as feature-filled as you want. There's nothing missing from the books that prevents you from playing the game. They may not have all of the options that you want to play the game but they aren't obligated to give you more.

What they have given us is a set of rules and a playable game. Sure some people wanting to convert an ongoing campaign into 4e will likely run into issues. This is nothing new as this came up with OD&D to AD&D (which added the concept of a bunch more alignments, and split race and class) and revised AD&D to 3e.

3e to 3.5e and AD&D to revised AD&D were likely the easiest translation since they were only minor alterations to the previous incarnation of the ruleset so required the least amount of alteration to older sourcebooks.
Why the Warlord then? How could it be easier to hammer out a brand new class than to upgrade one of the very popular missing classes from 3.5? They could have done some market research. Since marketing seems like such an issue, why not market something that you know is popular with the customers? I saw alot of monk builds and barbarian builds in the old CO boards...very few Marshal threads...or people clamoring for a "Martial Leader" bleccchhh. Including Bard, barbarian , or monk, druid whatever..would have been marketing also..but not marketing designed to soak the customer base. ;)
i have a similar view to the OP in that the PHB doesnt seem complete to me.
for me though, it is more that there isnt enough material to make an entie character from the classes given.
there are only something like 16 epic level feats, and around 6-7 of these are [weapon group] mastery feats. i cant remeber how many feats you get at during epic levels (something like 6?). there just doesnt seem to be much choice at all at these levels...
hence it will be REQUIRED to buy the 'splat books' such as martial handbook if you want to make a complete character, as opposed to buying them just if they interest, you but not being neccessary, like in 3.5.
as people have mentioned, this is an intentional marketing ploy to sell more books etc etc, but it just annoys me (and obviously many others) a fair bit.
luckily im no longer a student so i can probably afford to buy the books!
(Now, if you meant that you cant continue running a conversion of your previous 3.5 game world with the new 4E mechanics, youre right about that. The two systems are practically incompatible).

Bingo.

However, the systems being incompatible isn't that big a deal. The problem is the lack of several broad character concept options that were available in 3E. I don't need a class that's named "barbarian", but I do need ("need" is probably overstating things, but we do have a lot invested in our ongoing 3E campaign, and I'm not talking about money) to be able to create a 4E character that at least feels like the character of that class in 3E. Same for bards, wizards that aren't controllers, druids, etc.

This is nothing new as this came up with OD&D to AD&D (which added the concept of a bunch more alignments, and split race and class) and revised AD&D to 3e.

I doubt any such problems followed from *adding* basic features. 4E, for now, took them *away*.
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Here is how I see it, and I assume there will be disagreements.

If you go back to the period of 1983-1985, you would see two things: 1) The final version of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and 1) The fourth version of Dungeons & Dragons (which we will skip).

Because by 1985, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons had the three core rulebooks, and optional expansions (including Monster Manual II). But it was in 1985 when they published the first book that could be dubbed "Players Handbook II". The book was called "Unearthed Arcana".

This book follows a similar chemistry that the upcoming Player's Handbook II is going to contain: Additional rules and character classes. Meaning that while the current core rulebooks, such as that from 1st edition, cover everything to start a D&D campaign... The future expansions are meant for more advanced players and DMs.

Plus, by the time the second "Player's Handbook" comes out, people should be used to the system. Which means that if they turn the upcoming classes into more advanced classes, people will be able to play them with ease. Which shows that they made this decision when they wanted to go back to basics (an epic fail with 3.0/3.5e, IMHO).

And my conclusion, doing this will allow both the player and DM to have more fluid options. This, opposed to having every possible rule and class be crammed into a single book. Something that can make a fluid system become problematic and also be made for more advanced players.

Then again, I am hoping they will not call it "Player's Handbook II" and give it a more "expanded" name. So that way, it would say that everything is optional, and made for more experienced gamers. (But I guess it is better than the original Dungeons & Dragons' fourth edition, which consisted of four boxed sets, with an optional fifth box set. :P)
One thing to consider is that game companies such as wizards rarely produce supplementary material that's on par with the core material of their game. Less thought to rules balance is given; less time is devoted toward design and editing, as these "addons" will never sell as well as the product's launch material. If you're hoping for future game material anywhere near as good as the initial one, that boat has probably sailed. This is another reason people argue so vehemently against parceled information. If you think you're going to get this same design quality out of D&D supplements, you'll probably be disappointed.

That is the main reason I, myself am upset with any missing content that is promised to be given at a later date. It's always treated as the proverbial red-headed stepchild. I'll be elated if supplemental material comes out that is useful, well crafted, complete, and inexpensive. The chances of this happening are quite low.
Rapscallion, I can see what you are saying. But that execution was just plain offensive in some ways.

I mean, just because you are this kind of gamer does not mean every other gamer is like this or that. Plus, you are also immediately assuming more stuff, and are assuming that 4e is going to be just like the previous editions.

I will agree that 2.5e was too rules heavy. And I will also agree that both 3e and 3.5e was spammed with rules and pointless stuff. Then again, they did introduce Duskblade in the previous Player's Handbook II. But I do believe they made that a prestige class.

In any case, I do not buy what I find to be bad. I buy what I could use. 3e and 3.5e was not that, since I had seen it being an issue for new gamers and can be abusable by power gamers. Which made me glad when I finally got to see that 4e was more Dungeons & Dragons than Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

But hey... I know for a fact I will only have two books. And if the quoted "Player's Handbook II" is good, much less made for more experienced gamers, I might have a third book to get (note that I am no longer a DM so I will not buy books that only DMs really need).

And besides, if they are truly going back to basics this time, we can just hope that they name this book the "Epic Player's Handbook" than just the "Player's Handbook II". (As in giving rules on customizations on sub-races and magic items, as well as new classes, races, and maybe rules on going up to level 50.

But that is my opinion in terms of keeping the core rules basic and adding usable supplements that would please more advanced gamers. :P
Rapscallion made a very clever point. I can only hope since they are basically forcing us to get PHBII that (and as the original comment goes, it is "core") that they will but as much attention to detail on it as they did the PHB.

*goes and eyes 3 pages of errata*

You know, maybe they will even give it more...
But aside from that introduction, Rapscallion made a very clever point.

I wouldn't know, I tuned out after the insult.
Rapscallion, I can see what you are saying. But that execution was just plain offensive in some ways.



But that is my opinion in terms of keeping the core rules basic and adding usable supplements that would please more advanced gamers. :P

I'm happy to read you're one of the discerning buyers.

Unfortunately I foresee that the sycophantic fanboys will be the only ones pleased. I believe the proverbial fools will soon be parted with their money. But those with any frugality will be forced to slog through hackneyed additions to find the smallest bit of worthwhile material, only then to debate if it's worth the asking price.

Only time shall tell though. But though vocal, I am quite patient.

Someone here is a snobby elitist?

Beats being a bleating sheep.
Considering WotC has said that PHB2, DMG2, and MM2 et all are CORE your arguement is complete bunk.

Core in 4e doesn't mean PHB, MM, DMG only anymore. It's no longer 3 books. You can not like that sure, but that's the reality. There's nothing wrong with anything WotC has done with their current 4e PHB. Considering you couldn't reproduce every character you had from 2e into a 3e variant right out of the door expecting to be able to do so for 4e is completely stupid.

The Core will have everything you need, it's just more books now. If you're willing to pay $50 for a single giant PHB, then I really don't see what you're complaining about having it split up into two books for. It's the same thing, you just got the first half early.

hell when I made the change from 2e to 3e I couldn't play my favourite characters because they're all psionic. Where's my vindication? Is WotC greedy bastids because they didn't give me my Psion right out the door when 3e hit? No, they're not.

Be patient, you'll get all you need eventually. And until then you have everything you need to improvise, or I suppose continue to nerdrage... whatever makes you happy.
says some stuff.

Alternatively you could have read the statement I made about Wizards having a track record of releasing substandard supplementary material, and realized my true concerns with their "core rules: part the second." If you actually believe they're giving as serious thought to this next wave of books, I think they have you hook, line, and sinker.

You're right! It's a wayyy better deal to buy two books for $70 than a single book with the exact same information for only $50! What was I thinking?

I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you, sir.
Considering you couldn't reproduce every character you had from 2e into a 3e variant right out of the door expecting to be able to do so for 4e is completely stupid.

Actually, I could reproduce every (core) character I had from AD&D to 3E right out the door. I expect there may have been some exceptions for others, but by and large 3E didn't remove or delay any *core* options.
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Hmm...

I don't feel like there really needs to be a class called "bard," "druid," or "monk." Or, for that matter, I don't feel the need for a class called "rogue," "paladin," or "ranger."

However, I do think there needs to be a way that a character can shapeshift into other forms (start small -- witch turns into cat type thing -- and balance it building off the work on the polymorph subschool done with the 3.5 PHB II polymorph subschool.). In 3.5, that could be a sorcerer, or a druid, or an egoist. In 4e, call it whatever. I do think there needs to be a way to make a character who can kick ass unarmored, with his bare fists and no overt magic. It could be a "fighter" who specializes in unarmed, unarmored fighting rather than a "monk" for all I care. I do think there needs to be a way for a character to wave his hand and say "these aren't the warforged you're looking for" and get past some inquisitive guards.

To me, these things are like playing a sneaky, thief-like character: you can play D&D without it, but the game isn't complete without at least the capacity to play one.

Suppose that the PHB had shipped with no rogue-like classes. You could play a cleric, a fighter, a paladin, warlord, a wizard, but no one who really specialized in stealth and other thieving arts. WotC says that rogues and their ilk will be coming out in PHB II. It would still be playable, but don't you think there's at least a case to be made that it would have been better for them to delay release and release it once they had worked out a way of playing a rogue than to release their work so far and then promise that rogues would come later?

That's my attitude, I suppose. I feel that many high fantasy and swords and sorcery tropes simply don't exist in current 4e. To me, these issues aren't something you can just brush aside and say "we'll get around to it eventually." You can't just release the first Monster Manual with no orcs, dragons, or demons and say, "eh. We have the giants, goblins, kobolds, mindflayers, golems, undead, and a bunch of other things worked out alright. Orcs, dragons, and demons will come eventually in MM 2. In the meantime, there are enough monsters to use for a whole game." Well, you can, but I think it would be better practice to figure out essential things like orcs and demons and put them in the first MM, even if that means a delay.

That's my attitude about the "missing stuff" of PHB I.