A while back I got into D&D at a young age but didn't get far into it before it faded from my mind. Recently (last week) I got back into it after watching some YouTube videos which cleared up a lot of issues I had with it at the time. That being said I bought a D&D book a few months back for forum roleplays I was into at the time. The book is the Player's Handbook for the 4th Edition. Since the latest is 5th Edition and it will be a bit of time before I can get a copy of the three books (Player's Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide and Monster Manual) would it be efficient to read the 4th Edition Player's Handbook to learn how to play D&D or would that be a waste of time considering how much I've heard about the difference between 4th and 5th edition?

up vote 57 down vote accepted

No. 4th Edition and 5th Edition are completely different versions of D&D, and share very little in terms of rules and mechanics. If you're looking to learn 5th Edition, I suggest you start with the freely available D&D Basic Rules, which include almost all of the game's rules, but only a small subset of character creation options.

  • 6
    RPG book editions can change drastically on a whim. Unfortunately there just isn't a quick way to determine this unless you know both editions. – Nelson Nov 4 '15 at 8:29
  • Thanks for clearing this up. I had issues with having to read 4th Edition and after finishing realizing I would have to read the latest edition. Also thanks for linking a place I can read the basics. – Torrentwolf Nov 7 '15 at 23:49
  • The newly-released SRD also has more character options (races, classes, one feat...) – Adeptus Jan 14 '16 at 4:21

Not really. While 4e can be a good starting point for people who are new to tabletop rpg's, the 2 editions are too different to really transition between them fluidly. There are very few transferable skills between them.

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