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!