Is this the ultimate 4e D&D Netbook? I think so

One of the most common reasons I’ve heard for folks not giving 4e D&D a chance is “But it hasn’t got x!” where x could be a much loved race, class or monster that’s sadly lacking from the Core Rules. WoTC have plugged the largest holes with the return of the Gnome, Half-Orc, Barbarian and Bard but there’s still a metric ton of goodness from Third Edition and prior that has yet to make a reintroduction.

That’s where the 4e Races and Classes netbook by Stormonu comes in. It’s an evolving labour of love which was begun long before PHB2 and the like came on the scene. That means there’s some degree of overlap with the later Core Books with alternate racial and class write-ups for the Gnome, Half-Orc, Bard, Barbarian, Druid, Illusionist, Monk and Sorcerer. It’s well worth a close look though as you may well prefer these alternatives to the Core version, or find something to take away.

The netbook also includes the Aasimar race and the Enchanter, Evoker, Necromancer and Transmuter classes. Each class gets a full write-up with special abilities and Powers to level thirty and a handful of Paragon Classes for each, and there’s additional Powers and options for the Core classes too. It’s all done with a close eye to what’s gone before in previous Editions of D&D with the welcome return of many old friends Spells from the good old days of D&D, either as Attack or Utility Powers for one of the Arcane Classes or as Rituals. If there’s a Spell you wish was back in 4e, I lay odds  you’ll find it here.

Following on there’s new options for Skill use in the form of Skill Emphasis and Skill Expertise. The former grants you a +2 bonus to a specific use of a skill while the latter brings Skill Points back into the game. Neither are options I’d use personally but if you play a grittier, more skill-focused game they might fit right in.

Next up is Yet More Feats, many of which are tailored for the races and classes within. Then it’s onto the good stuff – a real, honest and complete equipment list. Yay! We see a welcome return to Studded Leather and the Chain Shirt as well as more weapons then no less than 13 pages of normal, mundane items your character wants and needs. This is an equipment list to suit the most obsessive 2nd Edition AD&D player with prices for everything from a bowl of soup to a hand centrifuge. Oh yeah!

When it comes to magic items it’s yet more old school brought back to 4e with the return of such items as the Robe of Useful Items and Horn of Blasting. We also find Gnomish Pick, Halfling Sling (which sadly doesn’t sling halflings, despite the name) and other racially-themed weapons in among scores of new armours, weapons, musical instruments, rings, scrolls, rods and more. I’m a big fan of magic ‘quipment and this section is definitely going to get a lot of use, especially when converting prior edition old-school dungeons.

By this point I should point out that we’re only about halfway through a 520 page tome. From there it’s monsters all the way with full stats for everything from a wide variety of animals (at last!) to Athach, non-comedy Bullywugs, Cave Fishers, Neogi, Thoqquas and a whole range of classic monsters from all eras of D&D. I can’t find fault with any of them.

Seriously, if this was available as a full-priced hardback I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. As it is, it’s free and can be entirely yours, right now. This netbook fills all the gaps in 4e I can think of and more besides. It gives you races and classes you wish you had, and provides enough old school goodness to the table to keep even the grognardiest grognard happy for months on end.

So, what you waiting for? Go get it now!

17 Comments on “Is this the ultimate 4e D&D Netbook? I think so”

  1. Holy sweet budha. This sounds like it’s going to be an amazing Netbook (Downloading it as I type). This might help to fill that certain something I felt was missing from 4e (Though I play it and enjoy it anyway ^_^ ). Thanks for the link. I think I’ll slap it up on my blog too to help spread the word.

  2. Psst. I think you mean ebook. Netbook is a kind of cheap laptop. I mention this only because the title got me all excited that there was now some sort of specially-customized netbook that came preloaded with D&D pdfs and mapmaking software and a projector or something.

  3. @Swordgleam I KNEW someone would say that! :D

    The term “netbook” to mean a book that’s available to download on the ‘net predates the meaning of it being a small laptop by a couple of decades.

    D&D history is rife with classic netbooks publications, and that’s why I intentionally used the word. Check out all these netbooks for d20/3e, for example, or these for AD&D and earlier.

    Now you know! :D

  4. “The term “netbook” to mean a book that’s available to download on the ‘net predates the meaning of it being a small laptop by a couple of decades.”

    Further, it typically means that it contains material collected from a group of people working through the various mediums of the internet.

    An eBook is any electronic book, a netbook is a free electronic compilation of fan-created material.

    Awesome find, greywulf. I’ll be aiming the 4e people in my groups at this.
    .-= Dyson Logos´s last blog ..[Friday Map] Esran’s Isle – A Fantasy City =-.

  5. @Greywulf: That still doesn’t change the fact that you first raised, and then dashed my hopes for a ready-made DMing machine. You’ll be hearing from my lawyers about my emotional suffering!

  6. The problem I have with that kind of netbooks… Ok it looks interesting if you like crunch… But as usual and even for paying products by wotc the fluff is more and more gone… It’s rules, more rules, layered in rules. I love fluff. I loved the time where there was a lot of products for a setting, detailling differents regions. The in place politic of wotc to release just three books for a setting is my only gripe with 4th edition (which I play and love), because that way all feel generic…

    This comment comes after a glance at the pdf. I’ll sit down at one point and actually read a bit of it.

  7. @Ashran – that’s always been one of the points of the netbooks – they weren’t meant as fluff because they assumed that the DMs incorporating them would be running any one of a million varieties of games, so the fluff would just get int the way of incorporating the material into the game.

    This is even more so for a PDF of converted material from older editions into 4e. The point of a book like this is to provide the mechanics that you are missing to incorporate the ‘fluff’ you already know you want. A treatise on the existance purpose and culture of druids isn’t what people were looking for when they were trying to add druids back into the core 4e rules when 4e was released – what hey were looking for were functional rules for druids.

  8. I know :) I have a lot of the netbooks of old time (I remember waiting for the one released by the katargane or something like that for ravenloft each halloween).

    That rant was not especially in regard of that particular netbooks, but to the trend in paying products, and especially “world books”.

  9. @Ashran: Glad to hear you say that, because I’m coming out with a mostly-fluff 4e book shortly. I was worried people would be annoyed by the lack of significant crunch. (And Greywulf, feel free to delete this if you mind the shameless plug.)

    @Greywulf: I look forward to seeing what you come up with. :D

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