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The thief is renamed rogue, a term that 2nd edition uses to classify both the thief and bard classes, and introduces prestige classes , which characters can only enter at higher character levels, and only if they meet certain character-design prerequisites or fulfill certain in-game goals.
Later products included additional and supplementary rules subsystems such as "epic-level" options for characters above 20th level, as well as a heavily revised treatment of psionics.
Skills and the new system of feats are introduced replacing non-weapon proficiencies, to allow players to further customize their characters.
The d20 System is presented under the Open Game License , which makes it an open source system for which authors can write new games and game supplements without the need to develop a unique rules system and, more importantly, without the need for direct approval from Wizards of the Coast. This revision was intentionally a small one focusing on addressing common complaints about certain aspects of gameplay, hence the "half edition" version number. The basic rules are fundamentally the same, and many monsters and items are compatible or even unchanged between those editions.
New spells are added, and numerous changes are made to existing spells, while some spells are removed from the updated Player's Handbook. Slashdot reported anger from some players and retailers due to the financial investment in v3.
Of those classes, the first four were included in Player's Handbook 2, while the monk class appears in Player's Handbook 3.
Mechanically, 4th edition saw a major overhaul of the game's systems. Changes in spells and other per-encounter resourcing, giving all classes a similar number of at-will, per-encounter and per-day powers. Powers have a wide range of effects including inflicting status effects, creating zones, and forced movement, making combat very tactical for all classes but essentially requiring use of miniatures, reinforced by the use of squares to express distances.
Attack rolls, skill checks and defense values all get a bonus equal to one-half level, rounded down, rather than increasing at different rates depending on class or skill point investment. Each skill is either trained providing a fixed bonus on skill checks, and sometimes allowing more exotic uses for the skills or untrained, but in either case all characters also receive a bonus to all skill rolls based on level. The system of prestige classes is replaced by a system in which characters at 11th level choose a "paragon path", a specialty based on their class, which defines some of their new powers through 20th level; at level 21, an "epic destiny" is chosen in a similar manner.
Core rules extend to level 30 rather than level 20, bringing " epic level " play back into the core rules.
Mechanically, 5th edition draws heavily on prior editions, while introducing some new mechanics intended to simplify and streamline play.
Skills, weapons, items, saving throws, and other things that characters are trained in now all use a single proficiency bonus that increases as character level increases. Multiple defense values have been removed, returning to a single defense value of armor class and using more traditional saving throws. Saving throws are reworked to be situational checks based on the six core abilities instead of generic d20 rolls.
Feats are now optional features that can be taken instead of ability score increases and are reworked to be occasional major upgrades instead of frequent minor upgrades.
The power system of 4th edition was replaced with more traditional class features that are gained as characters level. Clerics, druids, paladins, and wizards prepare known spells using a slightly modified version of the spell preparation system of previous editions. Healing Surges are replaced by Hit Dice, requiring a character to roll a hit die during a short rest instead of healing a flat rate of hit points.
They published the humorously numbered HackMaster 4th edition from until they lost their license. Unfortunately, like the classes themselves, few of these specializations are in any way balanced. Nearly every class has one option that is clearly the best. If you play a sorcerer, you get to choose between dragon blood and wild magic as the source of your power. Both sound really cool, but the dragon blood is unquestionably superior. It gets a powerful breath weapon and a sweet armor buff.
The wild mage gets a random effect that happens only when the GM thinks it should , and then only when a 1 is rolled. The lowest of the low is the beast master ranger. In many cases, the beast master is better off attacking on their own, so their main class feature goes completely unused. This is a major flashback to 3.
The lack of balance here is especially baffling. But there are only two or three specializations for each class. The beast master in particular got a huge boost. Not getting the right equipment could render a character useless, and the endless quest for better loot would overshadow the adventure itself.
Magic items also have hugely variable costs. An Amulet of Health can cost anywhere from to 5, gold pieces.
Talk about market fluctuations! These factors, taken together, mean that GMs have no idea how much gear they should be giving their PCs, and gear really matters. A well equipped martial class can actually hold their own with the spellcasters. The DMG indicates that magic items should be rare and wondrous, not a simple commodity to be traded at market like common equipment.
Martial classes need gear to hold their own. Without magical equipment, PCs have nothing to spend their gold on , and earning gold is the default motivation for adventuring. Some magic items are blatantly overpowered as well. They create a strange incentive to start with some stats super low, because a character with 8 strength will benefit far more from the Gauntlets than a character with 18 strength.
Get too much wrong, and your character will be completely unplayable. As mentioned, picking the wrong class or specialization can ruin your character right from the start. There are six saves, but only three of them matter. Anyone who invests in Strength, Intelligence, or Charisma saves will be sorely disappointed. Many of the base stats themselves are now traps. For example, sorcerers have no reason to raise Intelligence. Now, all Intelligence does is give you a small bonus on some skills.
By the same token, armor class AC is way more important than it used to be. Many spells and other effects target AC, so being easy to hit is a death sentence. There were rules for exactly how many feet a person could jump based on their height and rules for what happened when you put a one dimensional folding device inside another. This led to some… interesting results. Fourth Edition was much more abstract, with most of its rules only pertaining to the exchange of damage in combat.
Fifth Edition tries to walk a middle ground, not having rules for every little thing but also being more than a white room in which fights take place. Unfortunately, it does not always succeed. One is the Sleep spell. It will typically knock out a low-level target with a single casting. To balance this, the spell states that any damage immediately wakes the target up.
But what about snapping a pair of manacles on them while they sleep? Does that count as an attack, and if so, do they wake up before or after the manacles are on? The game gives no indication. For that matter, what about lifting a really big rock over the target and dropping it on them?
Invisibility is another problem. An invisible character should be, by definition, invisible. But by a strict reading of the rules, they are only a bit harder to hit. Then there are owls.