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Author Topic: D&D 4th Ed. - Essentials...  (Read 2322 times)
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Arkon
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« on: October 06, 2010, 07:17:20 PM »

So I have been seeing some bruhaha over on the WOTC forums about the character builder not getting updated because of the new essentials stuff radically changing the way a lot of stuff works.  I will admit I have been really short on time lately and have not had a chance to track down what exactly is changing...I have heard mention of magic level rarity levels, powers with no level on them, and de-tiering feats....

Please someone explain to me what all of this means!  I haven't bought any books since the original PHB and DMG and just end up using the compendium and the character builder.

 saywhat
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TiLT
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2010, 08:43:04 PM »

If you're an existing 4E player, you can just ignore Essentials. It's sort of like an optional 4.5, but it doesn't really improve much. Instead its focus is on bringing new players into the game in a simpler way without overburdening them with tons of options they won't need for a while.

The reason the Character Builder is taking a while to get these updates is indeed because Essentials changes things around, but it only simplifies them. The Essentials stuff will probably just be kept separated from the regular stuff in the tools.
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Lockdown
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2010, 09:40:16 PM »

Essentials is NOT even remotely essential.

Fail.

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kadnod
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2010, 11:11:55 PM »

I picked up the Heroes of the Fallen Lands and Rules Compendium "Essentials" books.  Both are pretty good, but aren't must-haves for players that already have the PHB & DMG.  "Heroes" has a bunch of interesting builds for existing classes and the Rules Compendium is handy, but actual rule changes are pretty light.   I could do a more involved review if you're interested, but Tilt is right that you can basically ignore the whole thing if you want.   Like I mentioned last game session, I think there's only been one feat (Melee Training?) that's been nerfed as a result of Essentials. 

The magic item rarity thing ties into removing the limit on using "daily" powers.  Essentially (ha!), under the revised rules, you can use as many magic item "daily" powers as you have per day, but there's more limits on what PCs can craft without going on some sort of quest.  It's not a huge deal, except maybe for PCs who have builds that revolve around having very specific magic items. 

If you've got your DDI subscription up to date, Arkon, there is an "essentials assassin" article up in Dragon that can give you a pretty good idea of what an Wizards is trying to do with the Essentials line.
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Morgul
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2010, 03:52:28 AM »

So if I do go this route, I need the PHB, DMG, monster manual?  I seen phb2, mm2, etc at the bookstore.

What about these tiles? And figures?

Can someone link me, or tell me what is the real "essential items" I would need to get to get this going ?
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TiLT
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2010, 04:45:48 AM »

I would strongly recommend a subscription to D&D Insider. It gives you access to ALL the D&D books (well, at least the parts with the rules. Fluff is left out) as well as the Dragon and Dungeon magazines and some very useful tools (Character Builder, which you should always use when making characters, and Adventure Tools which currently contains a monster builder tool).

Apart from that, it's a good idea to have at least the PHB and the DMG. The Monster Manual isn't absolutely required if you have access to DDI, but it does help. I also recommend getting a DM screen to speed up play and reduce the need to browse through the book during sessions.
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Morgul
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2010, 12:36:07 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on October 07, 2010, 04:45:48 AM

I would strongly recommend a subscription to D&D Insider. It gives you access to ALL the D&D books (well, at least the parts with the rules. Fluff is left out) as well as the Dragon and Dungeon magazines and some very useful tools (Character Builder, which you should always use when making characters, and Adventure Tools which currently contains a monster builder tool).

Apart from that, it's a good idea to have at least the PHB and the DMG. The Monster Manual isn't absolutely required if you have access to DDI, but it does help. I also recommend getting a DM screen to speed up play and reduce the need to browse through the book during sessions.

Ok, I see the the insider. Looks cheap enough.  I havent read a dragon magazine in years, so look forward to that.     
Isnt 4th edition based around dungeon tiles and "lead" figures?  (Or whatever the hell they make figures out of now)
(Instead of the old graph paper?)  What should I buy on that route?
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TiLT
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2010, 12:46:56 PM »

You don't need to buy any miniatures or dungeon tiles, though they do make everything more "cool". A simple battlemap (which you can print yourself) and some dice or something else to represent characters and monsters is sufficient.

I myself tend to buy a lot of Dungeon Tiles and miniatures. I think it's very cool to present the players with enemies and terrain that actually look like what I'm describing to them, or even just placing a monster on the map and telling them "it looks exactly like this".

If you wish to get Dungeon Tiles, start with this one. It contains everything you should need for dungeon encounters. Two other packs (wilderness and city) are coming out in the next few months. Doesn't cost a lot either.

Miniatures is considerably more expensive to start out with. If you wish to go the D&D Miniatures route, you could do worse than to start with the hero sets for some generic PC minis, and then buy random packs for everything else. A new set just came out (for the first time this year) called Lords of Madness. It seems to have reasonable variety and a useful distribution of monsters.
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Morgul
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2010, 01:10:49 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on October 07, 2010, 12:46:56 PM

You don't need to buy any miniatures or dungeon tiles, though they do make everything more "cool". A simple battlemap (which you can print yourself) and some dice or something else to represent characters and monsters is sufficient.

I myself tend to buy a lot of Dungeon Tiles and miniatures. I think it's very cool to present the players with enemies and terrain that actually look like what I'm describing to them, or even just placing a monster on the map and telling them "it looks exactly like this".

If you wish to get Dungeon Tiles, start with this one. It contains everything you should need for dungeon encounters. Two other packs (wilderness and city) are coming out in the next few months. Doesn't cost a lot either.

Miniatures is considerably more expensive to start out with. If you wish to go the D&D Miniatures route, you could do worse than to start with the hero sets for some generic PC minis, and then buy random packs for everything else. A new set just came out (for the first time this year) called Lords of Madness. It seems to have reasonable variety and a useful distribution of monsters.


Thanks Tilt.  Yea, If I break it out, I want the miniatures and tiles, heh.   Nice thing about being 40+ is you can generally afford the bells and whistles, compared to being a teenage when we had to scrape up cash just for the new module.

I am thinking heavy instead of picking up the AD&D1 books I need to to just flop down and get this new stuff and test it out.

Again, thanks for the help.
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Morgul
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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2010, 01:16:26 PM »

Those miniatures already painted?

(I hope so, my painting/art skills suck, not to mention the time)

Hah, back in the day, my best painted figure was a black pudding lol
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TiLT
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2010, 01:21:53 PM »

Yeah, the D&D Miniatures line features fully pre-painted miniatures.
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Morgul
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2010, 05:08:49 PM »

I am not sure what you call them in 4th edition..

But, whats a good (the best) starting "module" ?  like levels 1-3 ? 
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TiLT
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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2010, 06:33:09 PM »

There isn't really a large focus on "modules", or scenarios any more. The ones I've heard about aren't very good either. Dungeon magazine (part of DDI) offers plenty of shorter scenarios for all kinds of levels though, so you could look there.

Honestly, I rather recommend making something on your own. 4th Edition is much simpler to do this for than previous editions, and it's hard to do the balance wrong with all the easy guidelines in the DMG.
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Destructor
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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2010, 07:53:44 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on October 07, 2010, 06:33:09 PM

There isn't really a large focus on "modules", or scenarios any more. The ones I've heard about aren't very good either. Dungeon magazine (part of DDI) offers plenty of shorter scenarios for all kinds of levels though, so you could look there.

Honestly, I rather recommend making something on your own. 4th Edition is much simpler to do this for than previous editions, and it's hard to do the balance wrong with all the easy guidelines in the DMG.

Also, if you get a DDI subscription, you'll get access to all past and present Dragon and Dungeon magazines (at least going back as far as when 4th Edition started), so that does contain plenty of modules and such to look over if you're interested. And you can download said magazines as well, so once your sub lapses, you still have access to it.
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Morgul
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« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2010, 08:13:39 PM »

Gotcha...

I seen "modules" or whatever...

Reason I ask is I need to work on intital adventure so I can know what to look for in initial miniatures, if you get what I mean...

Looks like dirst place will be DDI then.   

I am putting the cart infront of the horse, since I do not have the subscription nor the books yet..

I have however, managed to get some old buddies (and a few sons) to commit to playing 2x per month..  lol
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TiLT
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« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2010, 08:34:01 PM »

Quote from: Morgul on October 07, 2010, 08:13:39 PM

Reason I ask is I need to work on intital adventure so I can know what to look for in initial miniatures, if you get what I mean...

I do, and I recommend you discard that thought for now, unless you're willing to paint miniatures on your own. The ones Wizards of the Coast sell are randomized, except for the hero packs I linked to above. Getting enough miniatures to be able to run an encounter without using substitutes is quite the investment and shouldn't be your immediate goal. Buy a few packs from a series of D&D Miniatures that you think look interesting and that are currently available for sale, and expect this result until you can build up a collection of several hundred minis. I'm at the point where I can reasonably represent most types of encounters with the minis I have, but it also means I had to buy a ton of them.
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Dreamshadow
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2010, 04:22:27 PM »


Okay, My turn (though the thread is pretty good so far):

I've got PHB 1 (original printing) and H1: Keep on the Shadowfell.  I'm being told the Rules Compendium is the fastest way to get the latest rules compilation.  I was eyeing that and the DM kit as well, to get a bunch of monster markers. Also was going to get modules H2 and H3 because they imply that will help carry the group through to 10 or 11.  (For the record, I'm not going to be the GM, a friend is, *but* he's unemployed and I'm funding the setup as well as adding to my game library.)  Aside from dice and power cards, that should give us enough of a kit to work with, correct?

Also, do the DDI tools have any value at this point?  I was hoping for the online play component, and I'm seeing that there are issues with the character generator.
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Arkon
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2010, 04:56:12 PM »

I personally feel that D&DI is a great investment.  The character builder really doesn't have that many issues that I have seen, aside from some source material not being implemented yet.  One of the big things missing in my opinion is the mount selection is woefully incomplete.
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Morgul
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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2010, 05:52:16 PM »

Since I threw in my post asking for what I need for 4e instead of focusing on 1e my buddy and I have been getting things.

So far, I have:
DMG
MM
DM screens
(Dusted off my giant bag of dice)
Dungeon tiles
About 60 minis

My friend had:
PHB
Bunch of Minis (maybe 20) he took from his ravenloft game
A plastic coated game mat (1 inch square grid) and some markers

We have played about 6 hours of "skirmishes" trying to nail down the miniature rules before we get a group together.  This was actually a blast, he controlled players, I controlled monsters, and we had our nose in the books everytime somthing questionable came up.  

Have decided game time would be saturday afternoons, every other weekend.

There has been so many people wanting to get in this group we are having to turn them down.  About 12 people want in.
(I do not really want to take on more then a 6 man party)  Folks are coming out of the woodwork.

I didnt know AD and D was still popular.  I have not heard it mentioned in a long time.
But we are about to begin.

D and D insider is free till level 4 or so.   We are trying to stick with initial rules until we become more clear, so not doing much with the new rules that have been added since release.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 05:54:34 PM by Morgul » Logged
Morgul
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« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2010, 05:53:58 PM »

Quote from: Dreamshadow on October 19, 2010, 04:22:27 PM


Okay, My turn (though the thread is pretty good so far):

I've got PHB 1 (original printing) and H1: Keep on the Shadowfell.  I'm being told the Rules Compendium is the fastest way to get the latest rules compilation.  I was eyeing that and the DM kit as well, to get a bunch of monster markers. Also was going to get modules H2 and H3 because they imply that will help carry the group through to 10 or 11.  (For the record, I'm not going to be the GM, a friend is, *but* he's unemployed and I'm funding the setup as well as adding to my game library.)  Aside from dice and power cards, that should give us enough of a kit to work with, correct?

Also, do the DDI tools have any value at this point?  I was hoping for the online play component, and I'm seeing that there are issues with the character generator.

We got the DMG, PHB and MM for about half price at a local game store.  (they were used)
We used the character generator to make our player samples and it seemed to work good.  It was free until we get to level 3.
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