|“|| The first of three core rulebooks for the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game.
The Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game has defined the medieval fantasy genre and the tabletop RPG industry for more than 30 years. In the D&D game, players create characters that band together to explore dungeons, slay monsters, and find treasure. The 4th Edition D&D rules offer the best possible play experience by presenting exciting character options, an elegant and robust rules system, and handy storytelling tools for the Dungeon Master.
The Player's Handbook presents the official Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game rules as well as everything a player needs to create D&D characters worthy of song and legend: new character races, base classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, powers, magic items, weapons, armor, and much more.
The Player's Handbook is the first core rulebook for the 4th edition of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. Within, as in previous editions of the Player's Handbook, are contained all that any player needs to know before playing for their first time, including available classes and races from which to build their character, as well as an introduction to combat rules and a listing of magical equipment that player characters can acquire. The rulebook also includes a listing of feats and rituals, which players can use to further optimize and customize their characters. Unlike later books in the 4th edition core rules, the first Player's Handbook focuses on arcane, divine, and martial classes.
The book is divided into ten chapters, as follow:
- How to Play — This section, which is written to both introduce new gamers to the basics of roleplaying while also explaining differences between the 4th edition ruleset and previous editions, includes a brief history of the game, and an explanation of the most basic rules (such as the "core mechanic" of rolling a twenty-side die) among other details.
- Making Characters — This chapter walks a player through the elementary steps of making their character, such as how to choose a class or race, what ability scores and how to choose them, the basics of roleplaying and alignment, and an explanation of the three "tier" leveling mechanic in the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons. A sample character sheet is also provided with notes to explain what each section means.
- Character Races — The core races of the 4th edition ruleset are presented here: dragonborn, dwarves, eladrin, elves, half-elves, halflings, humans, and tieflings. Details include racial abilities as well as a brief description of racial outlook and psychology. These details are broadly meant to apply to all campaign settings, though some are specific to the core setting of Dungeons & Dragons, the "Points of Light" setting, and differ from those of other preexisting campaign settings.
- Classes — The core character classes are introduced here: the cleric, fighter, paladin, ranger, rogue, warlock, warlord, and wizard. Also presented are paragon paths, such as the kensei or shadow assassin, as well as epic destinies such as the Archmage.
- Skills: — Presented here are a list of skills characters may train themselves in for a variety of useful purposes.
- Feats: — Specialized trained features known as feats are listed here, some of which are specific to race or class or require other specifics before they can be acquired by characters. Listed here are some of the channel divinity feats.
- Equipment: Equipment is listed here, both mundane and magical, as well as an explanation of coinage in the "Points of Light" setting.
- Adventuring: This chapter provides an explanation of how adventuring works, such as how one may obtain quests, how encounters are constructed, what characters can expect to be rewarded with, and how the resting system works for recovering wounds and alleviating ill effects.
- Combat: This chapter focuses on the combat mechanics of the 4th edition ruleset, giving an explanation of different action types and status effects as well as how to work out attack and damage outputs, how movement works in combat, what kind of actions one can take, and how to heal or deal with dying characters.
- Rituals: The final chapter focuses on rituals, powerful spell-like abilities that can be used outside of combat for a cost. These include such powerful abilities as Raise Dead.