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Thread: 4.5 D&d?

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    Default 4.5 D&d?

    Editions of Dungeons and Dragons

    1974:White box edition
    1977: 1st edition
    1989: 2nd edition
    2000: 3rd edition
    2003: 3.5 edition
    2008: 4th edition
    2010: 4th edition "Essentials"
    2016: 5th edition (projected)


    It's been about 2 and 1/2 years since 4E was released. So I'm guessing that D&D is soon going to undergo some changes (again). I'm here to plead ignorance and say that although I've played core 4E and enjoy it, I've never really invested in it, and spend most of my gaming time on 3.5/Pathfinder/Iron Kingdoms/Warmachine/SWSE/homebrew.

    I've long since given up on WotC "politics" and have no freaking clue what how 4E has developed, and what will come out in the future.

    So, can people who follow this fill me in? Have there been any major structural changes to 4E? Is D&D essentials D&D 4.5? Has WotC made any noises about their next edition yet?

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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    There have been no major structural changes to 4e.

    Essentials (4e.e) is more a change in focus for the game. As I see it the base structure is intact, and rather than trying to adapt all the flavourful aspects of a chararacter as powers, Essentials tries to adapt them as class features, which are no longer front loaded.

    But everything else is still pretty much the same, albeit a greater reliance upon basic attacks.

    I'm fairly certain that there's been no noise regarding a new edition. But I'm not a DnD Insider at the moment. I think that wizards are a bit away from making a new edition yet. Essentials is their attempt at expanding the audience for DnD. I imagine when that's no longer viable as an ongoing strategy, a new edition might be considered. At the moment they're consolidating a lot of what they've developed.

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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Unlike 3.X, WotC decided to "patch" 4E through the course of its life. Thanks to Dungeons & Dragons Insider ("DDI") and the Character Builder ("CB") this has been pretty smooth overall.

    If you want to be pedantic, you could probably divide it up like this:
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    4.0 = Everything published to date (no Errata)

    Classic CB 4E = Everything published & uploaded to the downloadable CB ("Classic CB") (full Errata)

    Cloud CB 4E = Everything published & uploaded to the online CB ("Cloud CB") to date (full Errata)

    DDE = Dungeons & Dragons Essentials, current as uploaded on the Cloud CB

    In this sense, DDE is most like D&D4.5 in that it was advertised as being backwards compatible with D&D4 but, in fact, isn't really. DDE just works differently than D&D4 to date; it's built on different core assumptions.

    EDIT: I would like to disagree with my distinguished colleague in the above post - D&D4 underwent profound structural changes, pretty much from the get go.

    Two core mechanics - Stealth and Skill Challenges - were completely re-written just months after release. Additionally the structure of "default DCs" and damage ("DMG 42") has been revised several times.
    Last edited by Oracle_Hunter; 2011-01-07 at 12:56 PM.
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    In this sense, DDE is most like D&D4.5 in that it was advertised as being backwards compatible with D&D4 but, in fact, isn't really. DDE just works differently than D&D4 to date; it's built on different core assumptions.
    Why does that make it like D&D 4.5? 3.5 had how many different mechanical sub systems in it that all fall under the 3.5 label?
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    I second Person_man's interest in this subject. I really haven't followed 4e much at all after the 2nd PHB, and now-a-days I'm hearing things like playing with the original core rulebook is no longer playing 4e as intended and I get a little confused. If I were to jump into 4e, where would I need to look to see what are the correct rules? Are the old books going to be set aside in favor of material published under essentials?
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Some skills were merged, some abolished entirely, some types of monster abolished entirely, DR revised, and so on, in 3.5.

    In Essentials, there's one or two things that seem to fit.

    Changing some epic and paragon feats to tierless feats that can be taken at any level, for example.
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverent-One View Post
    Why does that make it like D&D 4.5? 3.5 had how many different mechanical sub systems in it that all fall under the 3.5 label?
    It was more about the "feel."

    Remember when 3.5 was advertised? It wasn't really a "new system;" just an update on the rules you knew and loved? And then you looked at 3.5, and noticed that a lot of the changes meant that using 3.0 books in an otherwise 3.5 game really didn't work so well. And then they re-released everything they had done for 3.0?

    DDE feels a lot like that. But YMMV
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    I'm of the opinion that there's a massive philosophical shift between 4e classic and essentials. While the two interact... fairly well it'as a bit jarring. I'm not really a fan of essentials (at all), because I don't think 4e is the proper framework to build those classes on (and I'm a fan of original 4e design as an alternative to other editions once in a while).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Remember when 3.5 was advertised?
    No. I started with 3.5. :P

    It wasn't really a "new system;" just an update on the rules you knew and loved? And then you looked at 3.5, and noticed that a lot of the changes meant that using 3.0 books in an otherwise 3.5 game really didn't work so well. And then they re-released everything they had done for 3.0?
    I just don't see why using pre-essentials books in an otherwise Essentials book game wouldn't work. Sure a lot of class stuff from the two sets of books can't be combined into a single character, but I've seen no reason why they can't be used at the same table. Heck, a Warlord gets along even better with the Essentials martial builds then he does with the ones from the PHB I.
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    5th edition coming out in 2016 (assuming we don't all die when 2012 comes) is believable.

    However, Essentials has too few evolutionary changes to be considered a new half-edition, compared to 3.5 and 3.0. There needs to be more meat to it than just retro-nostalgia-classes like the thief, the mage or the slayer.

    Although if we go by the numbers of errata, and if almost every month had an errata that constitues at least a 0.1, then we'd probably be around 4.6 or so...

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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverent-One View Post
    I just don't see why using pre-essentials books in an otherwise Essentials book game wouldn't work. Sure a lot of class stuff from the two sets of books can't be combined into a single character, but I've seen no reason why they can't be used at the same table. Heck, a Warlord gets along even better with the Essentials martial builds then he does with the ones from the PHB I.
    Yeah... but everything in Essentials ("DDE") is just better mechanically than its D&D4 counterpart. This is because DDE is supposed to be a less subtle game, so there are fewer situational effects and more blunt bonuses. Compare the Tierless 4E "Defensive Feats" (e.g. Lightning Reflexes, Iron Will) with their DDE version, for example.

    In this sense it's like 3.5 in reverse: due to patching, 3.5 was less abusable than the 3.0 material it replaced (e.g. Haste) which meant 3.5 was a "step down" in mechanical power from a Theoretical Optimization (T.O.) perspective. DDE, conversely, is a step up power-wise to compensate for the loss of nuance in Character Building.
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    Yeah, I've pretty much been won over by Kurald's take on the D&D essentials line, name-wise.
    It really is D&D 4.4

    It's nice that it's so fully backwards compatable, but just because I can play Xbox games on my Xbox 360 doesn't change the fact that they are different generations of console gaming.

    I think 2016 for D&D 5e is a little bit off, however. I'm not entirely sure that Essentials is really doing quite so well as it was intended to do, I can't see it lasting a year longer than 3.5 did.

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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverent-One View Post
    No. I started with 3.5. :P



    I just don't see why using pre-essentials books in an otherwise Essentials book game wouldn't work. Sure a lot of class stuff from the two sets of books can't be combined into a single character, but I've seen no reason why they can't be used at the same table. Heck, a Warlord gets along even better with the Essentials martial builds then he does with the ones from the PHB I.
    Currently the issue with combining Essentials and Non-Essentials content is it can lead to situations where no benefit is gained - For example using a Human with the extra at-will feature with an essentials class does nothing for most essentials characters. But the Extra at-will feature is still an appropriate choice for all pre-essentials characters, and is still in the cloud character builder as an option.

    If you carefully avoid these cases though, they should integrate fine.

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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    The essentials stuff is fun it it's own way even though it is structurally different from the previous classes. I'm currently playing a thief in a party of two thieves, a ranger, a sorcerer, and a warlord and everybody seems to have their own tricks to bring to the table. The 'normal' classes get their daily/encounter bursts and can pack more of an oomph when needed, while the thieves get more of a consistent, sustained boom from their basic attacks and awesomely powerful at-will movement abilities.

    The thing i like the most about the new design is that there's less clutter on the character sheet right away. I always hated starting high level games or even getting part way into paragon and having to wade through scores of powers to find one that fits my concept or that can be reflavored (and i always thought it was odd to want to be something like an 'acid mage' when there were so few acid powers and other niche cases like that). Also, you start to feel less like a collection of powers and more like a member of your race. Racial encounter powers and abilities seem more like actual powers in comparison to "basic attack" and "once per encounter class feature". Also, any sort of magic item seems to have more value since their powers don't get pushed aside by your class encounters/dailies.

    just my opinion on the 4e/4.5e thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Yeah... but everything in Essentials ("DDE") is just better mechanically than its D&D4 counterpart. This is because DDE is supposed to be a less subtle game, so there are fewer situational effects and more blunt bonuses. Compare the Tierless 4E "Defensive Feats" (e.g. Lightning Reflexes, Iron Will) with their DDE version, for example.
    You mean Improved Defenses? Which trades off a +1 defense boost in order to boost all three NADS at once? Yes, it's better if you're concerned with all 3 NADs, rather than just boosting say, your lowest, but even then, that's a minor boost in power. Besides, it's not like there haven't been new powers/feats/ect in the 4e books prior to the essentials that we just better than others already existing.

    In this sense it's like 3.5 in reverse: due to patching, 3.5 was less abusable than the 3.0 material it replaced (e.g. Haste) which meant 3.5 was a "step down" in mechanical power from a Theoretical Optimization (T.O.) perspective. DDE, conversely, is a step up power-wise to compensate for the loss of nuance in Character Building.
    This is also important. A thief build rogue can use the rogue tricks from Heroes of X books, while any other rogue build has access to many more powers.

    Currently the issue with combining Essentials and Non-Essentials content is it can lead to situations where no benefit is gained - For example using a Human with the extra at-will feature with an essentials class does nothing for most essentials characters. But the Extra at-will feature is still an appropriate choice for all pre-essentials characters, and is still in the cloud character builder as an option.
    That specific example isn't even an issue, as the Human can now take an actual racial power rather than an extra-at will.
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    TLDR version: essentials is more of an expansion to 4e than a rewrite like 3.5 was to 3rd ed. new options were added, but nothing has been removed.

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    saying that the essentials line in comparison to earlier 4th edition material is like the shift between 3.0 and 3.5 is a little disingenuous.

    the scope of the revisions in the essentials line is more about flavor and feel than it is about rewriting the core mechanics of the system. that's not to say that the structure of how powers and abilities are acquired by the essentials versions of the classes isn't in some cases very different, but if they had been simply labeled as new classes instead of, for example, the slayer fighter (essentials) being as much a fighter as a great weapon fighter (PHB1), then i really don't think it would have raised the fuss that it has.

    granted, the two or three versions of the fighter currently presented in 4E aren't 100% cross compatible in their power choices, but the fact is that all classes must make a permanent choice of basic class features at level one and remain locked into those for the durration of the character's life. choosing one type of fighter or warlock or cleric over another isn't significantly different from choosing one type of warden or shaman or ardent, none of which have gotten the essentials treatment to date, over another.

    the big difference between the 3/3.5 schism and the 4e/essentials expansion is that classes in 4e don't need to be rewritten to correct minor issues like class features that give benefits to skills that don't exist any more, for instance.

    here's the thing; essentials is more like a stand-alone expansion than an edition shift. if you don't want to use essentials, you don't have to. if you want to use the essentials stuff without the previous material, you can. if you want to use both, there are no mechanical conflicts that needs to be accounted for.


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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Agreed that it's not 4.5, or even 4.4...I actually like "4e.e", which was used above. Because if anything, it's not so much an advancement of 4th Edition as it is a parallel development of 4th Edition. They shake up some core assumptions, but keep the power level the same. Everyone operates on the same skills, uses the same stats (attack, four defenses, etc.), can use the same magic items, and can take the same feats. Oh, and they fight the same monsters. It's a bit tricky to swap around powers between the 4e and 4e.e classes, but it's doable.

    Point is, it's just a cousin that plays nicely with "vanilla" 4e.
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverent-One View Post
    You mean Improved Defenses? Which trades off a +1 defense boost in order to boost all three NADS at once? Yes, it's better if you're concerned with all 3 NADs, rather than just boosting say, your lowest, but even then, that's a minor boost in power. Besides, it's not like there haven't been new powers/feats/ect in the 4e books prior to the essentials that we just better than others already existing.
    No no, I mean this:

    Lightning Reflexes (D&D4): +2 to Reflex

    Superior Reflexes (DDE): +2 to Reflexes, CA against all enemies for your first turn in Combat

    Admittedly, Superior Reflexes requires INT or DEX of 15 but I'm thinking that's not the hardest prereq to make

    EDIT: It is true that D&D4 has done this sort of thing in the past, but even then it was usually to fix bad powers which - for some reason - they didn't want to patch through Errata.
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    No no, I mean this:

    Lightning Reflexes (D&D4): +2 to Reflex
    Superior Reflexes (DDE): +2 to Reflexes, CA against all enemies for your first turn in Combat

    Admittedly, Superior Reflexes requires INT or DEX of 15 but I'm thinking that's not the hardest prereq to make
    I finally found those...AFTER I made my post to you. *facepalm*

    As for the prereq, you're right that it's not hard to make if one of those stats is your primary or secondary stat, if neither are though it's notably harder. And honestly, what the Essentials books do with the "static bonus" feats (both the defensive ones and the expertise feats) are what WoTC should have done with them in the first place, giving them each a little bonus that fits the defense/weapon/implement. It's an improvement they might as well have called an Errata on the old feats.
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverent-One View Post
    I finally found those...AFTER I made my post to you. *facepalm*

    As for the prereq, you're right that it's not hard to make if one of those stats is your primary or secondary stat, if neither are though it's notably harder. And honestly, what the Essentials books do with the "static bonus" feats (both the defensive ones and the expertise feats) are what WoTC should have done with them in the first place, giving them each a little bonus that fits the defense/weapon/implement. It's an improvement they might as well have called an Errata on the old feats.
    Though as a side note, isn't it still nice for a character, like a fighter, to be able to pick up the feat without the high prereq? It's more like a more-specific upgrade.
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverent-One View Post
    And honestly, what the Essentials books do with the "static bonus" feats (both the defensive ones and the expertise feats) are what WoTC should have done with them in the first place, giving them each a little bonus that fits the defense/weapon/implement. It's an improvement they might as well have called an Errata on the old feats.
    Eh, I had a friend who pointed out to me that some people don't like paying attention to all those riders and so forth - they just want to roll a die, and add up the numbers to see if they hit. He said this in response to my initial resistance to the Expertise Feats since they were so mechanically powerful that it seems like you'd always want to take them.

    The truth is that some people - like myself - value the flexibility of situational feats (and the ability to do "cool stuff") over pure mechanical victory. My characters usually end up taking Expertise at some point - but often it can be quite late (i.e. high Heroic) because I've been taking things like Multiclassing instead.

    So I now appreciate WotC's descision in that area. Of course, being the kind of Player I am, I'm never going to play an Essentials game for that reason

    EDIT: Considering INT / DEX is useful for so many different classes, I can't really take that prereq seriously. Plus, anyone who takes a 14 DEX is going to be eligible for Superior Reflexes at LV 11 - where it scales just like Lightning Reflexes.
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Hmm, interesting discussion. But I'm a bit confused.

    I own a metric ton of 3.Xish stuff. If a stranger walked into one of my gaming groups with nothing but the core 3.0 handbook and wanted to play, they could, and they could probably do so as any class (though I would suggest a Wizard, Sorcerer, or Cleric). But as the game went on I'd have to tweak things in my game one way or another to accommodate them, such as certain spells, Skills, Feats, etc.

    On the flip side, the only 4E thing that I physically own is the Player's Handbook. If I walked into a 4E group that was keeping up on most of the splat books and D&D Essentials and whatnot, could I play using nothing but my PHB? (By the way, this is something I want to do, if anyone's in the Virginia/DC/Maryland area).

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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    On the flip side, the only 4E thing that I physically own is the Player's Handbook. If I walked into a 4E group that was keeping up on most of the splat books and D&D Essentials and whatnot, could I play using nothing but my PHB? (By the way, this is something I want to do, if anyone's in the Virginia/DC/Maryland area).
    Nope, but if you have $10 you can buy access to DDI and have the equivalent of all the books and all the Errata

    Heck, your group might be willing to go in with you on a shared account. Split 4 ways, you can get a year for $20 per person

    It's much easier to "keep up" with D&D4 than it was in 3.X. The Character Builder integrates all of the splatbooks (and Errata!) into a useful digital tool that makes searching for stuff and building characters easy. Then it auto-formats it onto a document you can print out and bring to the game - with most of the rules for your powers right there!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Eh, I had a friend who pointed out to me that some people don't like paying attention to all those riders and so forth - they just want to roll a die, and add up the numbers to see if they hit. He said this in response to my initial resistance to the Expertise Feats since they were so mechanically powerful that it seems like you'd always want to take them.

    The truth is that some people - like myself - value the flexibility of situational feats (and the ability to do "cool stuff") over pure mechanical victory. My characters usually end up taking Expertise at some point - but often it can be quite late (i.e. high Heroic) because I've been taking things like Multiclassing instead.
    I'm with you on that, and that's actually why I like the newer defense/expertise feats better. They're not just a straight +X to stat, but you get a benefit that fits with the idea of the feat. It makes it work for both those who just care about the mechanically optimum choice and for those who find a pure stat boosting feat boring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Nope, but if you have $10 you can buy access to DDI and have the equivalent of all the books and all the Errata
    Or you could pay nothing at get any relevant errata online for free. So in answer to person_man's question, Yes, you can, at least as well as you can walk up to a group using just the PHB and errata.
    Last edited by Reverent-One; 2011-01-07 at 03:04 PM.
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    On the flip side, the only 4E thing that I physically own is the Player's Handbook. If I walked into a 4E group that was keeping up on most of the splat books and D&D Essentials and whatnot, could I play using nothing but my PHB? (By the way, this is something I want to do, if anyone's in the Virginia/DC/Maryland area).
    Yes, you could. Some powers have been errata'ed, but that's available for free online. In fact, they give out the errata by both book and with a total compilation, so you can just download the PHB errata. As long as you know about your powers that have been errata'ed, that is all you will need. And it's not as if there's a ton of errata for the PHB.

    You can do just fine using only the PHB. Will you be optimized compared to others who have all the books? No. But you are only using one book. Could you create an optimized character using only the 3.5 PHB when compared to someone who has all the books? No. (In both instances, you can optimize within the restraints but you won't be as powerful as someone who has access to all the books.)
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Two core mechanics - Stealth and Skill Challenges - were completely re-written just months after release. Additionally the structure of "default DCs" and damage ("DMG 42") has been revised several times.

    Man, sounds like someone rushed the playtesting stage of devlpoment, don't it?

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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonestheSpy View Post
    Man, sounds like someone rushed the playtesting stage of devlpoment, don't it?
    Sure, but unlike 3.X Diplomacy they actually fixed it
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    wait 5th edition is predicted for 2016?
    oh boy!
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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    The changes to Paragon/Robust defences (effectively replaced with improved defences) was a matter of "the math tax feat still wasn't good enough to patch the hole".

    The changes to the expertise feats was "they where boring and flavorless, but required. Let's add a bit of flavor" as far as I can tell. (note that these are also a case of rendering old feats obsolete).

    The new Iron Will replacements replaced feats that where boring, flavourless and sub-par mechanically with ones that are not.

    That's almost the complete list of feats replaced or rendered obsolete in all of essentials?

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    Default Re: 4.5 D&d?

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Hmm, interesting discussion. But I'm a bit confused.

    I own a metric ton of 3.Xish stuff. If a stranger walked into one of my gaming groups with nothing but the core 3.0 handbook and wanted to play, they could, and they could probably do so as any class (though I would suggest a Wizard, Sorcerer, or Cleric). But as the game went on I'd have to tweak things in my game one way or another to accommodate them, such as certain spells, Skills, Feats, etc.

    On the flip side, the only 4E thing that I physically own is the Player's Handbook. If I walked into a 4E group that was keeping up on most of the splat books and D&D Essentials and whatnot, could I play using nothing but my PHB? (By the way, this is something I want to do, if anyone's in the Virginia/DC/Maryland area).
    I'd say the experience would be comparable. There's been a lot of errata since the PHB was released, including most recently a few fundamental shifts in the basic design concepts, arguably. Any PHB1 character would be functional and workable without too much effort should you walk in to an 'up to date' game at this stage.

    But you can bet that eventually someone will offer to run it through their copy of the Character builder, if just to iron out any errata related issues.

    Essentially, though, I'd say with a decent group, you could arguably play easily enough without the PHB. If you have it, then you will have a better idea of the basics of the system, but you shouldn't be needing to check it regularly anyway. If you do roll up a sheet by hand, I'd thoroughly recommend aping the builder sheets and drawing up your powers in full, if possible.

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