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D&D Rules Compendium (4e)


This handy and comprehensive Dungeons & Dragons book is intended as a quick rules reference. It contains the complete core rules for the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game.

In addition to providing an overview of the game and how it’s played, this book presents the core rules in a format that is easily referenced during a game. It includes information on level advancement, combat, experience points, treasure, skills, equipment, and more.


Product History

The 320-page Rules Compendium (2010) is a largely “fluff-free” book. That makes it lousy bedtime reading perhaps, unless you’re a rules enthusiast, but regardless, it's a superb in-game reference. With a detailed table of contents and index, well-defined chapters and rules organization, and plenty of clear examples, this one book acts as a fast and useful rules reference that encompasses the rules content of multiple other 4e books.

Lead By Example. Rules without examples are often unintuitive or subject to interpretation. The Rules Compendium does an exemplary job of making sure that edge cases and commonly misunderstood rules have useful examples. In many cases, rules are rewritten to be particularly clear and unambiguous—a good choice, and it makes for easier reading.

Mind you, I sort of miss those 1e AD&D days when we used to argue for 45 minutes about how surprise worked. I'm pretty sure that's only nostalgia, though.

Powerless yet Mighty. The basics of character creation are included herein, along with an overview of cosmology, campaign settings, and how to play. Chapters are listed as follows:

  • Adventurers and Monsters
  • Skills
  • Exploration and the Environment
  • Combat
  • Equipment
  • Building Encounters
  • Rewards
  • Terrain Features
  • Understanding Powers

What the book doesn't include is complete powers for every class. That makes sense; this books is not meant to be an encyclopedic reference for every class's abilities, but a rules reference for scattered rules from multiple sources.

All in One. Rules expansions, errata, and clarifications are also included in this book. I think what always impresses me about it is that it's got everything I could ask for. Nifty magical terrain features? Check. Mirror crystals, fey circles, and giant spiderwebs. Quest XP and reward levels? Check, making it easy to reward heroes after an adventure. Aquatic combat? Absolutely, including rules for underwater terrain and 3-dimensional combat.

If you play 4e D&D and you don't like hauling around a lot of books, get the Rules Compendium. You'll be happy for the cleaned-up rules and as well as the quick reference.

About the Creators. Rob Heinsoo isn't just a driving creative force behind 4e D&D, he's also half of the team behind the superb game 13th Age. Be sure to check it out.

Andy Collins is one of the core architects of 4e D&D, and his 3e work includes Complete Warrior, Draconomicon, and Unearthed Arcana. He is Lead Story Designer for the Marvel Heroes MMO.

James Wyatt is a former United Methodist minister who, as an Origins and ENnie Award-winning novelist and game designer, has written and co-authored numerous D&D publications since 2000.

Jeremy Crawford is a developer for D&D whose design and development credits include all the books in the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials line, alongside the Player's Handbook 1, PHB2, and PHB3.

About the Product Historian

History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (7)
Discussions (7)
Customer avatar
PJ E June 11, 2023 1:37 am UTC
I would like to add to the pile of POD requests! For all the core 4e books!
Customer avatar
Gabriel C February 25, 2021 11:33 pm UTC
POD please!
Customer avatar
Steve S July 01, 2019 3:42 am UTC
Any chance of a POD version?
Customer avatar
Mark J February 21, 2016 6:51 am UTC
Things I found missing in this book are the rules for rolling ability scores and assigning equipment.
Customer avatar
Don B November 21, 2013 4:40 am UTC
As a DM, I think this is D&D 4E's best product. It's priced right for the great content, too. If you don't have access to D&D Insider's online Rules Compendium, then this is the next best thing. I bought hard copies for all of my players and we reference it more than any other resource. A must have either hard copy or digital fir every D&D 4E gamer. Thanks for getting this to the masses as a legitimate PDF!
Customer avatar
Scott F November 05, 2013 7:10 pm UTC
It only contains the rules. You'll also need at least one Players Guide/Handbook and one Monster Manual/Vault.
Customer avatar
Andrew K November 07, 2013 8:22 pm UTC
Customer avatar
Andrew K November 05, 2013 5:25 pm UTC
Does this contain the entire 4E game, as the Rules Cyclopedia did the basic game, or are more books required to play 4E?
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Product Information
Platinum seller
Publisher Stock #
WTC 247530000
File Size:
17.11 MB
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File Last Updated:
February 08, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on November 05, 2013.