I got the initial 3 core rule books when they were first released. From reading various questions and answers here, there is errata for the core rules and seem that some involves more than just fitting an oops or a misprinting. For example that monsters have a different range of damage and stats in the Monster Manual III compared to earlier versions.

I know where to find the errata. But could somebody summarize what going on with this? So I understand what to expect if I ever run a 4e game today as opposed to two years ago.

What is important in the errata? Out of the 37 some odd pages and the 117 pages of overall errata what are the most useful and important changes. The fact that a group can ignore all this is a given. But I don't want to ignore it if it helps make a better or smoother running game.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify what you mean by "summarize what's going on with this?" Are you looking for a summary of the changes, or the reasoning behind why it's more than just the correction of typos? \$\endgroup\$
    – AceCalhoon
    Sep 2, 2010 at 13:12

4 Answers 4


Look closely at the errata, though, because it's not all created equal. I think there's several types of errata.

For example, some errata is on the order of "replace the sentence about "At Will Power" to say "At Will Attack power". Wizards of the Coast makes Magic The Gathering, and because of the way that game is played, exact wordings are important, so this is something they do. Rewordings and clarifications make the game clearer and get the intent across better.

The second type of errata is "whoops, that's a typo". For example, when the View Object ritual was printed it said "1000 gp" for the component cost, and then in the listing it said "5000 gp". It turns out 5000 gp was what was meant. This is very important errata, because it could throw numerical and systematic values off.

Another type of errata is "we changed our mind"- the tiefling racial ability Infernal Wrath went from being some bonus damage to an immediate reaction encounter power. That's a big change- that's the kind of thing that changes how the game works. The motivation for this type of change is that "here's something we didn't think about enough originally- this way will be a bit better than the way we originally planned it". Would the original version of Infernal Wrath wreck your game? I tend to think it wouldn't.

Then there's the last type of errata- which is related to the previous type but it says "we designed this wrong. We'll have to fix it because it could cause a major problem if abused". This is where powers like Blade Cascade got tightened up. I think this is important as well.

In the case of the 4e Errata, most of the errata contains a sentence or two to clarify the thinking behind it. (For example check out why Careful Strike gets a damage bonus.. they explain that it makes it a viable choice compared to twin strike). This is good commentary,. you might agree or disagree, but it's usually interesting to hear why they changed things.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The third option listed seems to be far more prevalent in 4E (where a rule gets a major rewrite for balance). \$\endgroup\$ Jun 17, 2011 at 17:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's also "We changed this when we were making DnD Essentials" errata. Magic Missile, I'm looking at you. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Mar 6, 2019 at 4:12

Here's my approach to the errata.

  1. I read the errata for the rules portion of the Player's Handbook. This is probably the most important; focus on the skills, the conditions, and the movement rules. Without looking, I'd guess we're talking about five or so pages.
  2. I read the errata for the Dungeon Master's Guide, focusing on new skill check difficulty numbers and monster creation rules. More on the latter in a sec.
  3. I check the errata for any powers my characters take. I explicitly don't worry about the voluminous errata for all the powers in the game; that's a good way to get overwhelmed, because there really have been quite a few.

On monsters in particular: the monsters in Monster Manual 3 are built with different guidelines than older monsters. You don't have to go back and change old monsters; if you want to, the really simple method is as follows:

  1. Leave damage alone for heroic tier; double the static damage modifier in paragon tier; triple it in epic tier. I.e., a paragon tier monster that does 2d8+5 damage should do 2d8+10 damage.
  2. Give brutes an extra +2 to hit.
  3. Give artillery an extra +1 to hit on ranged and area attacks.

In terms of needs... I think the game would have been pretty decent without most of the changes. The monster changes are good ones, and the new skill check difficulty numbers are important. You could get the same effect we've gotten from all the power errata by saying "OK, if you guys see anything that's really obviously overpowered, let's talk about it and maybe not abuse it." So that's one alternate path.

  1. It only matters if you and your players care.
  2. A WotC up to date errata is available online.
  3. The upcoming Rules Compendium will include all errata to date.
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The link you provided is only for 3/3.5. The link in the question is for 4. \$\endgroup\$
    – Agent_9191
    Sep 2, 2010 at 13:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I fixed the link problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – RS Conley
    Sep 2, 2010 at 13:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/updates 4e updates, People get their panties in a knot over the errata but really, its not a big deal, occassionally you'll find a power or an item that you would house rule in older edition, check and find out that wizzies beat you to the punch. \$\endgroup\$
    – Logos7
    Sep 2, 2010 at 13:34

Unlike the overhaul WotC did from 3.0 to 3.5. Very few major changes have taken place. In fact, almost all of the changes have been very small tweaks to individual powers or magic items. Thankfully, because of the character builder, it's fairly easy to stay on top of these changes. It's looking like D&D essentials products are going to make some slightly larger changes but from what I can tell, they look like positive ones.


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