Share Your defenses are your ability to protect yourself against various types of attacks, such as goblin swinging a sword at you or a wizard casting fireball. Different defenses will protect you from different attacks. The armor you wear, the type of shield you use if any , and possibly your Intelligence or Dexterity all contribute to this. If you wear light armor cloth, leather or hide , add either your Intelligence modifier or Dexterity modifier to your AC whichever is higher. If you roll your stats and your intelligence is 8 and your dexterity is 3, then you would only take a -1 to AC because intelligence has the highest modifier. Fortitude is your ability to endure physical stress, poison, intense pain, etc.
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Instead, this answer attempts to get at the extreme philosophical differences between 4e and 5e. Ultimately, you are going to have to treat 5e as its own separate product; knowledge of 4e will probably result more in bad habits or misplaced expectations, than it is to offer an inside track to learning 5e.
Wizards thought it could do better by cleaning up the game, removing legacy content that was no longer fitting for the game they thought players wanted. As a company looking to sell books, this was obviously a problem.
So balance and ease of adding new material to a table was a major focus. They also promised digital tools to make checking that relatively simple. In order to accomplish these goals and by and large, they did, though of course none of them were accomplished perfectly, or necessarily accomplished at all right out of the gate , Wizards changed a lot of things about the game. For examples: Classes were streamlined, and to a casual review, homogenized, in the name of balance and, presumably, to ease integration with the digital tools.
Everything revolved around the use of powers, discrete abilities that were basically supposed to sum up the totality of actions available to a character. This is despite the fact that the power available to 3. The problem with all of this was that they changed a lot of things.
A huge portion of the gaming tables could find something they hated about 4th edition, whether it was the apparently homogenous classes, the lack of detail in non-combat portions of the game, or the insistence that players should be able to show up using a new book, rather than DM acting as gatekeeper for new material. Or just whatever sacred cow they objected to the slaughter of; there were many. And of course, many did use the fiddly bits, or at least used some of them.
Rather than attempting to promise that all material will work at all tables, 5e has promised a massively modular design, allowing every table to tailor the game to exactly what they want. Many of the sacred cows, not included in 4e, have made a return. Where 4e was a highly detailed tactical simulator wherein almost all causes and effects had explicit rules, 5e relies massively on DM adjudication — just as previous editions had.
This is not without cost. Being extremely detailed and explicit meant that the game gave players a lot of ability to anticipate how the various options they had would work, what would be more valuable. It also meant that DMs had a ton of guidance and resources to work with. One of the biggest advantages that 4e offered was the ease with which DMs could put together fun, interesting combat encounters that just worked — 5e is not in a position to guarantee that, and relies much more on DM work to make that happen.
Further, some of the quality-of-life improvements are gone, in the name of re-enshrining various sacred cows. Bounded accuracy and other mechanics mean that even high-level characters can still be threatened by lower-level challenges, particularly if the latter have a numerical advantage. So when moving from 4e to 5e, both players and DM will have to consider material more critically. Not all options are necessarily balanced with each other, or even relatively balanced, nor are they necessarily intended to be.
Many things that the DM could simply look up in 4e, cannot be in 5e, and he will have to make something up and that also means that players will not be able to know how many things are going to work until they ask their DM, and that knowledge most likely will apply only to that DM. Combat will also be much more simple, which will mean they are quicker, but may also mean they are less intrinsically interesting.
Out of combat aspects of the game may take more of a focus, but much of that will still be left up to the DM just more explicitly so, this time.
Opening DND4E files
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