D&D 4E: First Major Round of Errata

4th Edition Skill ChallengeWizards has posted errata and updates to the 4th Edition D&D core rulebooks, and there are quite a bit of changes / fixes.  Head over to the Wizard’s site and check out the text pdf’s, I’ve printed them out and am wondering how exactly I am going to efficiently going to use them.

Some highlights from the errata:

PHB:

  • A lot of the class specific powers (hunter’s quarry, backstab, etc.) were clarified so that if they are used in a round they cannot be used again until your next turn. [ stop breaking the rules, please ]
  • Ranger Attack – Blade Cascade was given a maximum number of 5 attacks  [ Less awesome, more balance ]
  • Several skill DC’s were brought into line with the rest of the game’s numbers, no longer based on straight level but now 1/2 levels [ the best min-maxing is to miss every other level ]
  • You can now buy oil for your lanterns [ thank. god. ]

MM:

  • Angel of Battle’s HP dropped (halved), tons of monster attack damages have been increased, many of them doubling. [ Yeeouch! ]

DMG:

  • Difficult Class by level – all reduced, now 1st-3rd level easy = DC 5, moderate = DC 10, and hard = DC 15, all higher level numbers were equally reduced  [ time to go back and re-negotiate with the king ]
  • Every complexity level of Skill Challenges now end with 3 failures  [ buh? ]

It seems like most of the PHB and MM changes are corrections, whereas the Skill Challenge changes in the DMG feel like a major overhaul in reaction to people’s complaints that they are simply too hard.  I haven’t had time to fully ponder how the lower DC’s but easier failure translates into different skill challenges, but I’m very curious to see how it works out.  This does kind of invalidate much of Keith Baker’s famous blog post though, because his whole claim was that the numbers did in fact work and now Wizards has gone in and torn all of the numbers down.  Thoughts?

Comments

  1. Keith Baker wasn’t really claiming that the numbers worked- more like it worked fine for his group with some house rules (and that the concept definitely worked.)

    Sort of mixed feeling about the errata… glad there’s something being done, but that’s a lot of monster changes in particular.

  2. Perhaps interestingly, the new Skill Challenge system is now pretty much exactly the “Complex Skill Checks” system from (3e) Unearthed Arcana (p81 and in particular the sidebar on p85. The OGL stuff, including the maths is available at http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/buildingCharacters/complexSkillChecks.htm )

    Philip Kendall’s last post: *sigh*

  3. Phillip: Good catch! I bet those rules have seen more playtesting.

    Bartoneus: Here’s the most important errata: Gelatinous Cube- Replace the slam damage: “1d6 + 2 damage” with “2d6 + 2 damage.”

  4. I think these changes to the Skill Challenge will have to be put to the test through play before I can make a good analysis of them.

    Dave: Good god, as if it wasn’t a level 1 TPK machine already! The latest adventure from Dungeon is designed for level 1 PC’s, and one of the random encounters listed in it is a Vine Horror w/ 3 Stirges. Talk about scary…

  5. Wow. I rock the casbah. That’s almost exactly the solution I came up with for skill challenges, though I decided on 4 failures. The fact that they’re lowering the DCs seems like it should help as well.

  6. Hey Asmor, I have some feedback on your 4E monster stat block creator, what’s the best way to bug you about things like that?

  7. Nerdvana says:

    “I’ve printed them out and am wondering how exactly I am going to efficiently going to use them.”

    This brings up a question I’ve always wondered. How does one efficiently keep track of errata? Or more specifically, how do *you guys* (meaning the fine folks who read and maintain this blog) efficiently keep track of errata, if you do at all? My solution to 3.5′s errata was to roundly ignore the majority of it, except for the major changes (i.e. polymorph, monster stat block changes, etc.) With 4e, I think I’m going to start being more errata-saavy, but I was wondering how to go about doing it without marring my books with ugly red mark-up. My initial leaning is to keep a separate binder labeled errata, print out these pdfs, and place asterisks or little stickers next to all the offending text in the books. My worry with marking the book with asterisks is that at some point in an update there might be a truncation of a section marked with an asterisks, thus making it redundant and confusing. My worry about using stickers is increasing the size of the book and screwing with the binding/ making it hard to fit the books into my handsome slipcover. A middle road solution might be to use asterisks marked in pencil and just do it lightly.

    What do you folks think? Anyone have tried and true solutions, or am I being altogether too costive?

  8. THE solution would be to have an Online Systems Reference documents with Updated Monster blocks…
    :)

    The Chatty DM’s last post: So you wanna write a RPG Blog? Part 1: Why?

  9. Nerdvana: I was like you with 3.5 (and 3.0 before it), where I ignored most of it except when I needed major clarification like Polymorph. I also nerfed my shuriken-sneak attacking character by saying “there has to be errata for this” and, yep, there was.

    My hope is that they update the PDFs regularly, so I can just pay for and download the PDF versions with everything incorporated, and so then when it matters (at the game table) I can rely on the digital copies, since the broad strokes of the game used while planning are fine without it.

  10. I just don’t use errata at all. Ever.

    Not helpful in answering your question, I know, but it works for my group.

  11. They could use the errata as a major selling point of the PDFs. All they’d have to do is:
    a) Update the PDFs to include the latest official errata,
    b) Give you a license to re-download the (updated) PDFs as often as you want, simply by logging into the store you purchased from, and
    c) Do both while charging you nothing beyond the original purchase price.

    Convenience and immediacy is not enough to justify spending full price for an electronic version of a pulp-product — not when that full price is going to be $20+ for the lifetime of the product.

    Meeting those three suggestions would go a long way towards selling the idea to me though. Without them, I don’t see myself ever paying full price for D&D PDFs — not when I own pulp-copies of each book already.

  12. I just hope the $35 PHB won’t become obsolete by releasing 4.5 edition books in a year from now

  13. I mark in my books. For short fixes, I write the actual fix in, marking over numbers, etc. For those things that are much longer, I write “See Errata” and keep a printed copy in the back of the book (with the paper size cut down to not stick out).

    While it’s nice to keep your books pristine, I have found over the years that keeping them useful is more important to me.

    Final note: some of the errata I didn’t even mark, as it seemed like common sense stuff or slight wording changes, like the things to re-state a power could only be used once a round.

  14. I choose which errata I will use (which usually isnt much) then place sticky notes with a shortened version of the change that makes sense to me. That way I don’t mess up my books and they are still easy to use.

  15. slowbuyer says:

    I don’t rush out and buy the latest thing that got launched any more. Yes, I was a naive and stupid fanboi who thought that it was my duty to be a supportive and loyal customer. After having experienced many errata, patches, updates, etc, I got wiser and grew up. I have confidence that you will too, as few people are true Peter Pans.

  16. I carefully update the books with errata in pencil, using asterisks and margin space for stuff that won’t fit inline. Then I pencil a note in the front saying the date I did it and the date the errata was published. That’s the way the military says updates are supposed to be posted to military manuals…I guess it was habit. Anyway, it works well for me. That, and I’m not buying 4e until the errata are included… :)

    Calion’s last post: Critical Fumbles

  17. I like to be aware of important changes to balance. I do find with printed materials, playtesting before publishing should shake out most of the kinks.

    I’m not sure whether or not I’ll print and keep track of errata, guess it depends on who’s gm’ing and how much players complain about using the core book as is.

  18. Personally I love the skill challenge changes. After running three skill challenges over the last few weeks of my new campaign and having the PC’s miserably fail all of them, I’ve reduced all the DC’s by five. After going back and reading the errata I’ve noticed that that’s exactly what WotC has recommended, which somewhat angers me considering I figured that out by myself after 3 sessions of 4ed – something the countless play testers of 4ed couldn’t figure out over those many months of testing? I guess they didn’t run any skill challenges.

  19. Actually, the skill challenge system that’s in the books is apparently different from what many playtesters were using.

    My guess is it went through a number of last-minute alterations, and the final version was done hastily.

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