Opening note: “bad” is a relative term here and likely inappropriate. “Less good” or “not quite as awesome” might be better.
UPDATE: Forgot about the no penalties thing! All defenses are modified by 1 of 2 possible stats. You choose which at character creation. Have a lumbering fighter with low dex? No problem, simple add your strength to AC instead of dexterity! A wizard smarter than she is nimble? No problem, use intelligence to determine your reflex defense in place of dexterity. Again this all serves towards the general trend of defining your character by what the CAN do rather than by what he/she CAN’T do.
Save for opening chapter the PHB lacks fluff and is super crunchy. Not different from previous editions, but reads more like a Manual than other editions. Essentially this lets the player learn the game before settling into a campaign, and leaves the DM free to craft the environment and atmosphere of the campaign world. I’ve always felt that established campaign worlds have a lot of baggage for a DM to manage, by sketching only the barest outlines of a game world WotC leaves things wide open from a creative standpoint. Of course this leaves later, non-essential, supplements to add flavor and fluff to the campaign world. For those who love their established settings late 3.x saw WotC place emphasis on the Player’s Guide to [insert Campaign Setting]; a trend I like and a trend that will continue with September’s Player’s Guide to the Forgotten Realms. The separation of Player info and DM info is a good thing and a published guide for Players certainly takes some of the onus off of the DM for conveying the mountain of information often needed to introduce a new campaign setting.
Read on for more…..