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By James Treu


One of the disappointing things of Worlds and Monsters is that portions are an exact recycling of  portions of Races and Classes, word for word.  Example: Tieflings in Races and Classes and Fallen Empires in Worlds and Monsters.  Come on, that’s just sloppy, careless, or deceptive.  In any case, it’s a poor show and an abuse of the customer’s money.

Both books suffer from typos, words left out, etc.  It’s the plague of modern quick publishing, so WotC is not alone.


Veteran DMs tend to prefer a bit more granularity.  They may be gamist at times, but simulationism is high on their list.  This edition may grate on that.

In many respects DnD is a mature game system. But in some other respects, it’s chained to damaging legacies and expectations.  This edition holds promise to sweep away a good deal of what’s held the system back.  Can it do it all?  Very doubtful.  But anything it can do is welcome.  It’s going to be a pleasure not to have to fix or compensate for the broken things.  But I’m disappointed there’s little to no indication that they seem to be addressing some prime ones.

I have concerns about how fast this edition has been rushed upon unveiling.  This edition comes to press 9 or 10 months after announcing.  That is cause for considerable anxiety about the adequacy of out-of-house playtesting.  Playtesting in-house with designers and developers just doesn’t give the game the same kind of run-through.  This edition still feels too rushed.  Not enough feedback and playtesting.  It was essentially done when it was announced, and certainly nearly so by the time these books hit the stands.  Without Peter Adkinson’s resources and top-level dedication, maybe that couldn’t be done, I don’t know.

Another concern: 3.75 Pathfinder from Paizo.  Either they suspect something off-kilter about 4E, or they are trying to position themselves to come out pretty either way (servicing both 3.75 and 4E).

Am I complaining about a new edition?  Heavens no.  Sure, part of it is the irritating imperative of modern capitalism: you go out of business if you don’t continually have “new” or “improved” products and services.  Textbooks, appliances, cars, even houses follow this imperative.  Can’t fault WotC for being the same.  But it’s also time for a new edition.  The flaws of 3.5 were dooming too many gaming experiences.  As James Wyatt said:

“When the game gets to the point where we know the holes and pitfalls in the rules well enough that we constrain our design in order to avoid them, it’s time for a new set of rules.”  Yep!  And just over 3 weeks till the 4E Player’s Hand Book (PHB)!  Even this skeptical reviewer is excited!


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