Basic Concepts

Basic Bonus

This bonus has no name in the books – it is a bonus equal to half your level, rounded down. You add this bonus to your attack rolls, your defense scores, your initiative, and your skill modifiers.

Three tiers of play

In 4th edition, characters are assumed to be exceptional. While you’re probably not one of the world’s big movers or shakers – yet – you do stand out. Perhaps you are the best soldier of your company, or the top student of your class. As such, the first tier is labeled the Heroic Tier, running from levels 1 to 10.

The Paragon Tier runs from levels 11 to 20. At level 11 you select a paragon path. A paragon path bears a passing resemblance to a prestige class, specifically in that it represents a specialization of your skills beyond the general nature of your class. However, unlike a prestige class, you continue to advance in your base class as you increase in level. In fact, you only gain benefits from your paragon path every several levels. Also, rather than having convoluted requirements like prestige classes, paragon paths almost always have only a particular class or race as the prerequisite.

The Epic Tier runs from levels 21 to 30. At this point your exploits are the kinds of actions that leave behind legends. At level 21 you select an epic destiny. While your paragon path represented a specialization, your epic destiny represents your character’s grand fate. Again, you continue to advance in your base class as you progress along your epic destiny. Your epic destiny grants few benefits, but those benefits it does grant are powerful. Most epic destinies have even looser requirements even than paragon paths – there are even several epic destinies whose only requirement is to be level 21.

Level 30 is as far as you go; there is no progression beyond that, and it is the DM’s job to wrap up the campaign at that point; carefully balancing between continuing play long enough to let the players have fun with their penultimate abilities, but not letting it drag on too long.


You may retrain skills, feats, and powers if you find you regret a decision you previously made, or if you feel you have better options available. Once per level, you may retrain either one skill, one feat, or one power.

For skills, you can retrain any trained skill you have for another. Note that if your class is always trained in a skill (for instance, wizards with arcana) you can not retrain that skill. In the case of a skill where you were given a choice of two (for example, the ranger’s choice between dungeoneering or nature) you must still pick one of the two. When you retrain a skill, you must still select a skill from your class list, unless you are re-selecting which skill became trained through the Skill Training feat. Finally, you can’t retrain a skill if it is a prerequisite for any feat, power, or any other attribute you have (I think, for instance, there is at least one Paragon Path that has skill requirements).

Feats have the same rule, in that they can’t be retrained if they are a prerequisite for another feat or attribute you have (though you could work backwards, retraining the feat with the prerequisite one level, and then retraining the feat that is the prerequisite the next). You must meet the requirements for whatever new feat you take; it is worth noting that you only need to currently meet the requirements, you don’t have to have met the requirements when you originally took the feat. For example, at 11th level you could choose to retrain one of your heroic tier feats with a paragon tier feat.

Finally, at any level you can replace any power you know with another power of the same type (At-Will, Encounter, or Daily) of the same level or lower, and from the same class of powers – that is to say, an attack power for an attack power, a utility power for a utility power. You can’t replace a power that is a class feature, such as the warlock’s eldritch blast, you can’t replace a power that you gain from your paragon path or heroic destiny, and you can’t replace a racial power.


In an attempt to consolidate the zoo of languages, the Player’s Handbook consolidates the number of languages in the world into the following list:

Common; spoken by humans, halflings, tieflings, etc; uses the Common script.
Deep Speech; spoken by drow, githyanki, kuo-toas; uses the Rellanic script.
Draconic; spoken by dragons, dragonborn, and kobolds; uses the Iokharic script.
Dwarven; spoken by dwarves, azer; uses the Davek script.
Elven; spoken by elves, eladrin, fomorians; uses the Rellanic script.
Giant; spoken by giants, orcs, ogres; uses the Davek script.
Goblin; spoken by goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears; uses the Common script.
Primordial; spoken by efreets, archons, elementals; uses the Barazhad script.
Supernal; spoken by angles, devils, gods; uses the Supernal script.
Abyssal; spoken by demons, gnolls, sahuagin; uses the Barazhad script.

Basic Concepts

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