Worlds and Monsters (4th edition preview)

A sneak peak at the the information detailed in Worlds and Monsters preview book:

The Far Realm is responsible for monstrosities that haunt the universe. All aberrations are linked to it. The Far Realm is said to seep into other worlds sometimes, overlaying the landscape with an unnerving sense of dread, even distorting it, and tainting the flora and fauna. Strange new creatures emerge from this polluted reality and insane practitioners sometimes willfully merge the natural and the obscene.

A creatures type is now based on their Origin. Humanoids (type) with an origin of fey (eladrin). Aberration (mind flayer), elemental (archon) , natural (man). Aberration is not a type, it’s an origin.

The Temple of Elemental Evil is mentioned as a Location of Note. This section is said to contain future adventuring locations.

Mind flayer:

  • 1.5 pages of information
  • Mind flayer Same as the previous edition just with fewer powers. Mind blast and dominate are each renewable once per encounter powers.
  • Tentacle lash and grab are basic attacks that can lead to situational powers such as “bore into the brain,” “Thrall,” and “Interpose thrall.”
  • Easier to run.


  • Dragons will have a different color based on their role. Artillery is represented by blue dragons, brutes are white, and soldiers are red.
  • Dragons are solo creatures that get lots of actions on their turn (more than other monster) and also lots of actions when it’s not their turn (tail slap and the green poison dragon ability if you get close)
  • Dragons have fewer abilities, EG the oldest black dragon has only 5 possible standard actions, some consisting of unique magical abilities (taken from the wizard’s spell list
  • Dragons won’t be forced into specific alignments or roles. Their motives can range from their base: chromatic, wild, metallic, and like to be in control.
  • Iron and Adamantine replace brass and bronze dragons.
  • Chromatic dragons grow in raw elemental power and as they age they gain new powers appropriate to their element. An ancient red dragon’s breath weapon “can scour the fire resistance right off you.”
  • Green dragons are back to breathing poison.


  • Huge versions of giants are called Titans which are closely tied to the elements. They are also much more powerful.
  • There will be lots of variety between standard giants.
  • Trolls and ogres will be considered giants while ettins won’t necessarily have the giant type.


  • Now considered easier to get to
  • Mentioned are Drow, Troglodytes, Mind Flayers, Kuo-Toas (aboleth servant/worshippers), aboleths, myconids
  • Vault of the Drow is mentioned as an Underdark Location of Note


  • The inhabitants will include centaurs, dark ones, eladrins, elves, fomorians, firbolgs, hags, treants, unicorns, red caps, quicklings, pixies will-o’wisps, yeth hounds
  • There is a fey reflection of the underdark, ruled over by fomorians
  • Gnomes may be a possible fey-dwelling race
  • There is also mention of the Isle of Dread


  • Shadowfell is inhabited by the Shadar-kai.
  • Shadowfell is the merger of the Negative Energy Plane and Plane of Shadow. The annoyance of visiting these planes was also removed.
  • Shadow is a power source. Involved with stealth, illusion, dread, devastating enemies, and necrotic energy.
  • The undead have been updated. Animus will provide vitality and mobility as a companion to the soul and the body. Shadows are the animus freed of body and soul.
  • The book explains resurrection and reincarnation


  • D&D and the Birth of a New Edition (2 pages)
  • The Process of Re-Creation (4 pages) – reimagining monsters for 4e
  • The Setting of D&D (4 pages) – the Points of Light setting, and how it came about
  • The New Cosmology (2 pages) – an overview of the new cosmology and the end of the great wheel
  • The World (8 pages) – Includes sections Fallen Empires, Locations of Note, The End of Human Dominion
  • Dragons (6 pages)
  • Giants (2 pages)
  • The Underdark (4 pages)
  • The Feywild (8 pages)
  • The ShadowFell (8 pages)
  • Art Gallery (1 page)
  • The Elemental Chaos (12 pages) – Elementals, Locations of Note, and the Abyss
  • The Astral Sea (10 pages) – includes The Gods, Angels, Devils
  • The Far Realm (6 pages) – includes Aberrant Creatures and Mind Flayers
  • Staff Thoughts on 4th Edition (13 pages)
  • The Next Word (1 page)

Excerpts from wizards:

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this is going to be sweeeeeeeet!!!

This is a great sneak peek and it’s got me interested in perhaps picking it up.

This looks interesting, and i hope they will let this consistency seep through to other related products

this will suuuuck, oh god. but at least they’re keeping illustrations in the manuals and paint on the crappy plastic minis. at least there’s that right?

This is really a whole new game, and is gonna suck

So, DND’s turning into a Pen and Paper MMO? Fourth Edition looks to be the Edition where WotC finally turn what TSR made into something finally, common and bland.

Why would you change brass and bronze dragons to iron and adamantine? adamantine isn’t even a metal. it’s a mineral, so it shouldn’t replace a metallic dragon. and the Underdark was intentionally made hard to get to. if you’re whiny ass group of players won’t shutup about going there, then the entire game sucks and gets bogged down.

I’ve been playing d&d for 26 years and it looks like d&d is going to become a pen & paper video game.

I’m an old school player. I believe each class should have strong solid archetypes. I dislike the disjoined munchkin characters that WOTC/Hasbro put into the game. There are so many hybrid classes that can smoke a core class character. There should still be an element of balance in the game which is sorely lacking.

For me the whats been successful in every d&d release are the core books. Every book that goes past those, goes down the slippery slope of breaking the game mechanic and balance. Why not just let players use their own imagination to come up with house rules, to deal with all the hybrids.

I find it hilarious that some of you are nay saying this edition based on information you read here. D&D turning into a video game? Do you listen to yourself? What does that even mean?

I do have this to say about it. Everything is getting streamlined. Everything is being made simpilar, to appeal to a wider audience. Why is that bad? Should D&D stay the choice pass-time for only the pimply-faced-parent’s basement-dwelling geeks? 3rd is more widely embraced than previous editions. It made D&D simpler. 4th edition seeks to continue that trend. Leave it up to elitist retards like you guys to bash it, just because it’s getting mainstream. It’s sort of ridiculous. As far as balance goes, and books beyond the 3 core rulebooks, the beautiful part about the d20 system as a whole is that YOU (the player) can make it any game you want. You can take or leave anything you want. You don’t like the books that come out with new rules for stuff? Make up your own. Or simply don’t buy them. Period. The same can be said for 4th edition. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. Continue to play AD&D or whatever edition you think playing makes you better than the mainstream. Meanwhile, I’ll happily buy 4th edition on release date, and have a blast dungeon crawling with my group. Meanwhile sorry SoB’s like you can keep in your parent’s basements where you belong.

I don’t like complex game systems and that was the primary reason I ditched 3rd edition. Each level advancement was an exercise in accounting. I’ve settled on Castles and Crusdades, perhaps you’ve heard of the system. I reminds me of what D&D was when you bought the game in boxed sets. My thoughts about the 3rd edition was if that design team reinvented the wheel, nothing would move. I have higher hopes for the 4th ed.

DnD has always, and perhaps will always, be a geeks’ game. This edition promises to lose the long-time fans (and customers) in an effort to appeal to a group of consumers that won’t touch the product because it’s too geeky. Simplifying the rules will reduce the interesting encounters that only pen and paper RPGs can create and make video-games comparatively more interesting. I’m willing to bet that this is another ‘New Coke’ flop.

I have been playing for about 25 years. I use the game to help teach moral and ethical values in choices we make. While having fun! Basic in my opinion was the best because it had the fewest rules and choices, but allowed the most creative thought. I have played basic, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and use a combination of all 3 to have fun. That is what it is all about right? I now have 4 complete game systems, enough books to game the rest of my days. I would like to see the new books even if I don’t buy them I am sure they will have some good ideas that have a place in my game. If you can read the forward in the 1ed DMG and PHB by Mr. Gygax. They are gamers words of wisdom…..What does a pen & paper video game mean????GAME ON!

I do see the similarities of an MMO creaping into the 4th edition however I don’t really see the problem with it. 1st, 2nd and 3rd editions were all fun to play but there were always situations with the rules that we had to ignore or change to keep the game moving. Now it looks as if WoTC is taking that approach and putting it into the CORE game.

Blah blah blah, I’m an old nostalgic gamer who is afraid of change. Despite the fact that there is enough material in 3.5 for me to run adventures from now until forever, I’m going to pretend that 4e not being EXACTLY what I think a pen and paper should be is going to ruin my ability to play DnD ever again.

Get over yourselves. A new edition should be a new game and a new way of looking at the world, not a rehash of the previous system. All of your favorite PC races will be available eventually, the ones presented are just a good sample of races and classes meant to give the new edition a certain flavor. There are still skills, there are still feats, etc.

The system is just more orderly and less like a bunch of different systems pasted on to each other with byzantine rules to make them fit.

Looks cool, not too happy about some of the changes in the dragons, but I might be misinterpreting what I read.

I think Luis has a point; We are going to have to learn the rules no mater how they word them. And as we have seen in the past, there are an unimaginable amount of situations, so many that a rule can’t be made for every circumstance.
I personally enjoyed those save or die. That is why we have a cleric around. I mean when part of the party got wiped out by the Beholders eye beam and was a pile of mush on the ground the Warlock and the favored soul reach into their cloaks and pull out their 16th lvl intensified energy drain. and just like that the party turned that same sort of save or die tactics on the monster.
I also don’t think that any monster should be held to a stigma that it’s a single monster encounter. The only thing I’ve ever seen that really is a single monster encounter is the gibbering orb, that is a monster that can hold it’s own against a party of any size (24 eye beams lol broken… but doable).
So I guess 4.0 will be great for those less repaired players and newbies.

I personally am really excited. Granted, I have mixed feelings toward a few of the changes and they’ll certainly take some getting used to, but it looks enjoyable just the same. The beauty of it is that, if you don’t like something, you don’t have to play it! A few of you have been comparing it to an MMO, but in an MMO, there are no house rules. The purpose of the DM is not to enforce the rules, but to ensure everyone has fun. If that means breaking them, that’s what rule 0 is for.

I find it very interesting,reading everyones comments about 4e. It seems to me that every one is upset about something or another… I have been playing 3.5 for awhile now and have had a fun time learning the system. I think that if 4e makes things more simple and gets rid of some of the hard sub-systems it will be a good thing overall. I trade of from being a player and dming. long live dnd regardles of edition… you take what you like and use house rules for the rest.

Been playin for many years….and im sad to say this looks like something horrible for D&D……..myself and my groups have decided to stay with pre-4.0……just a new way for someone to make $$ off of somthin that really wasnt that bad to begin with…..any real player knows this…..

Obviously 4thEd is WOTC play at becoming the new World of War Craft. Clearly this game was designed to stream line easily into the computer age and remove the very elements that make heroic fantasy entertaining, edifying, and textured. Thus robbing the game of its soul and exchanging that for the gamer’s equivalent of ritalin and xbox.

I just heard about 4e recently, and have become very interested in it, being a player of D&D for about 26 years. Just a few comments. I haven’t picked up dice for about 5-6 years. Why?? Like many of us who love D&D from back in “the day”, I have had less and less time to spend on my fav P&P RPG as I get older. Work and family have to come first. As a DM I just don’t have time to learn the always expanding/changing ruleset that accompanies ANY edition of D&D. I bought all the 3.0/3.5 Core set, because I love the game, but barely played. At first, I felt like many others I have heard, dismayed at all the drastic changes. But the more I look into it the more I CAN’T WAIT for 4e… I might actually be able to play again! I love the simple but extremely rich ruleset I have seen…I agree with others who have said it seems a lot more like the Red and Blue Box D&D I started with… and that, to me and my group, is a beautiful thing.

The death of Role Playing as we know it :(

how is it that this single edition can ruin DnD? is that even possible? why is it that all of you gamers must cling to your rules like life lines. 3rd edition had many major flaws, and if you wish to argue let me ask you this. have any of you tried to grapple? or sunder? is there anyway to take away the fun of medeval fantasy roleplaying, in short no. the only way to take the fun out of it would be to remove that wich made it fun in the first place, wich was the fact that you are actually sitting there with your freinds and role playing there is no way to take that away. the trueth is that many of the third edition rules got in the way of the roleplaying its self. for instance the wizard though it is my favorite class it is the most anoying to play, i have found that having to limit the incounters to 1 a day is the most boring thing that you can do to a party and also should you have tha gall to actually try to cast spells you have to actually find them, it can extend combat by hours. i have had freinds that would take five minuts on a single turn.

yes DnD is changing but i beleive that simplifying the game would make it more fun for all of us.

What the HELL have they done to dragons?!

I would have to agree with bill they are butchering a good thing and the just want to make money off the damn thing and for a simpler system if you cant figure it out don’t play. And not only that they got rid of the two best class monk and the barbarin and these paragon paths sure Ill try the game but i wont have my hopes up at all. I will be sticking with 3.5 but the reason i rant is because this means no aditions will be add to 3.5 who realy nedds such a defined charater class I loved the fact that they shook it up.

I would just like to add my two cents here I only last week played 4ed and it was great. For once everyone knew what they where doing. The flavour had changed from rule based to play based. We had a great time at the start of the adventure interrogating/barging with the NPC who was putting up the money. The group was a load of people chucked together around a table on release day with a random character. And to be honest it was a great laugh, we wondered round doing what we wanted including the two fighters being allowed to solve riddles and not be shouted at for being to bright and then when we did get into combat everyone had a role to play but they also had to be aware of their classes’ strengths and weakness. In the first encounter we where ambushed by hobgoblins hiding in a darkened part of the dungeon behind a barricade. The half-elf rogue had been up front with his low light vision as trail blazer. As he had the best INT he set of first to sneak round the ambush he rushed over to another barricade on our right jumped over it and ended up right next to another hobgoblin with no more actions. I went next as a dwarf fighter and charged straight at the original threat sending the original barricade towards the still unengaged hobgoblin. The result he ended up on fire as it turned out the barricade was full of oil ready to be detonated when we had been climbing over it. The hobgoblin next to the rogue went next and started to wipe the floor with the rogue until the other PC’s rushed to his rescue including the cleric hitting the hobgob to heal the rogue even with that it still took us ages to beat these two but each character had something to do.

The wizard no longer has to revert to being an untrained fighter after the first encounter, the cleric now is no long going to have to be protected at all costs and fighters finally get to be more than a moron with a big sword. Rogues still get to sneak attack but with a series of weapons rather than being limited to one and they still can take part in the fighting as happened quite impressively latter on in the session. People now can use any weapon they can get their hands on. Like one of the party he used a bow to good effect doing all most max damage with the first shot.

It was great we all understood very quickly how the system worked the healing surges made the difference between us all desperately swarming the cleric to us just getting on with it.
And I even got and iconic moment my dwarf found himself on the wrong side of a group of monsters with the other players stuck trying to cut their way through to me and the evil wizard so I climbed up a column on my own to get at the evil wizard on top. I then used my once a day power to batter the wizard and sending him flying to the ground. Realising he was getting away my dwarf wasn’t going to allow that and so my dwarf jumps off axe swinging to land next to the prone wizard axe already swinging for the coup de grade.

The 4ed seems to me to run smother and give you more time for role-play so hurrah heck I’m just waiting for set to arrive before I get well into it so well done WotC. As for those who moans its like a computer game I’d just like to remind everyone that this is where computer games came from.
And there are literally thousands if not hundreds of thousands of computer role-players though I’m not one myself. Plus its always been about how you read the rules and want to play the game. Also if you haven’t tried it or at least read the book how can you moan when you base it all on hear-say.

I’ve been reading the rules, checking things out in general, just looking at things overall in detail, since I’m testing both my own game world, and the 4th ed ruleset at the same time with this.

First, I’d like to say they didn’t botch the dragons…. all those “roles” are are basic concepts of how each one fights. They are always a handful to fight the way they are designed for an entire party.

As far as the rules…. Fighters now have a variety of attacks reminiscent of the Book of the Nine Swords (which I believe was a testing ground for 4th ed anyway) and they are now proving you don’t HAVE to have a cleric to play the game. A warlord will do just fine in their place, and a bard, when they release it, will fill that role as well.

In fact, with Healing Surges, you can actually play without a “leader” character at all. They just make it a lot easier. No more resting for several days in order to regain hp because your cleric isn’t around or is burning all their spells on healing up the last few fights wounds.

Yes, there are a lot of classes that got left out in the mix. They are bringing them back it will just take time. Someone’s favorite race/class was bound to get cut with any change they made, so they made calculated risks with what they took out. There are temporary adaptation rules to bring back those classes in a weak form on their website.

Overall, the changes to races allow them to truly feel absolutely unique without the constraints of giving them arbitrary ECL’s to “balance” them so no one will play them.

Yes, the game plays somewhat like an MMO in that all abilities have a recharge time, wether it is once per fight, once per day, or once per round. This allows them to give weaker classes like wizards the ability to stay useful. It also simplifies things so you don’t have to spend hours in a single fight because of the streamlined descriptions of abilities.

I say test the game, and look at the virtues of it on it’s own, apart from the name. It is still very similar to 3rd and 4th edition at it’s basic core, but characters share one trait with monsters…. simple power increases as they level. Leveling has never been simpler in a D&D game since basic.

They also made a lot of tools to help the DM, and anyone who DM’s in any system could learn a thing or two from the DMG for this edition, as it focuses on running a game and dealing with different types of players as well as encounters, traps, and even non-combat encounters that can be as riveting as combat based ones.

Don’t judge it because it is the “new rehash”, judge it because it is simple and intuitive, because it runs smoothly, and because combats run faster, so you can actually have more time in a session to roleplay, not just roll-play. You may find that it is very fun to play just at its base.

(side note: Multiclassing the way they did it in 3rd ed is gone, so no power class combos. They have to sacrifice feats to get powers from another class.)