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D&D 4E 4e/Essentials compatibility?

pathfinderq1

First Post
So I've been paying only a little attention to the whole Essentials line and appropriate debates (mostly as I don't have the money to purchase much product right now). With the holidays coming up, I might get some of the Essentials material as gifts, so I have a general question- how compatible is Essentials crunch (feats/powers/etc.) with normal 4e? Both in terms of the ideas, and in terms of what people have seen in actual play- how well do they mesh? Work freely, with modifications, don't work?

Would it be possible to have a normal 4e wizard (for instance), and choose Essentials powers to round out one's selections?
 

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Cyronax

Explorer
It'd be more plausible to play an Essentials Wizard and choose normal wizard powers instead. Currently the Essentials characters have some elements that don't match with the normal progression of all earlier 4e classes.

Essentials is a lot of fun, but its not as modular as the older system.

WotC is putting out a revamped conversion guide or something in February I think.....


The Class Compendium:
Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Product (Class Compendium: Heroes of Sword and Spell)
 

Bold or Stupid

First Post
In most cases they are completely interchangable, the Essentials classes are new builds rather than a replacement class. several classes are very different running off a completely new power structure (eFighters, Rogues and Rangers) many of the others are closer to 'normal' classes and in most cases the poewers can be chosen from the other type.
 

DracoSuave

First Post
Basically, if 4e never had multiclass/hybrid, Essentials and Core would be fully compatible. Multiclass/hybrids are pretty much the only thing that do not currently dovetail... which if that's all you can say is pretty damn compatible.
 

Basically, if 4e never had multiclass/hybrid, Essentials and Core would be fully compatible. Multiclass/hybrids are pretty much the only thing that do not currently dovetail... which if that's all you can say is pretty damn compatible.

Well, there are no hybrid versions of the Essentials classes YET at least. Maybe there never will be, but since the e-classes cover the same concepts that PHB1 style classes do you aren't really held back by that, just make your guy a GWF/Wizard. Hybrids are an advanced concept anyway, not many people are going to want to combine them with essentials style martial classes. If you really want a GWF/Mage you could squint your eyes a tiny bit and it will work. A Knight or Slayer as a hybrid would be a custom job, but even that you CAN do if you really really want to.

Multiclassing MOSTLY works fine with e-classes. The classes that lack certain types of powers can't take those types of power swap feats and thus can't PMC, but is PMC any big loss? Not really... Again we might see something in the new book, say a couple replacement power swap feats that work with specific e-classes (trade a stance for an at-will of another class, etc).

So MC does work, Hybrid doesn't really officially but can be made to work, but there is very little point to bothering.
 

Vaeron

Explorer
Basically, if 4e never had multiclass/hybrid, Essentials and Core would be fully compatible. Multiclass/hybrids are pretty much the only thing that do not currently dovetail... which if that's all you can say is pretty damn compatible.

And I would say MC still works fine if you're and Essentials char MCing into an older build. It's just if you're an older build you can't MC specificially into an essentials build, just a general cleric instead of warpriest for example. Interesting, in the new CB, a warpriest can MC into cleric, which means that even though they are classified as clerics they aren't fully coded as such yet.
 

DracoSuave

First Post
MCing into an essentials cleric works surprisingly well. The channel divinity power can be taken through multiple means, and the encounter and at-will powers are just as available as anything else, really.

The thing is, essentials characters that aren't the wizard have less ability to multiclass into anything else. They can't power swap powers they don't have a choice about.
 

Votan

Explorer
Finally bought Essentials and I was surprised (in a good sense) by the quality of the books. Very well done. It looks quite compatible with 4E (in general) but the classes themselves are a joy to read.

I was especially interested by the "Slayer" sub-class of the Fighter. Seems to have a really nice feel as a combat class and I look forward to play-testing it at some point.
 

zoroaster100

First Post
The Essentials classes seem to have been designed to make it easier for a player to experience the right "feel" with the class that someone likely was looking for when choosing the class, including cinematic moments like the paladin leaping in front of a companion to take the blow meant for the companion, etc. All that is good. The one thing that worries me about compatibility is that the Essential classes seem largely more powerful. Some not by much, but some more so at least upon reading. To really know for sure I'll have to see how they do in play. If all players use Essentials classes they should be balanced. And some regular 4E classes were pretty strong anyway, and should do just fine side by side with Essentials classes (probably most of or all of the Player's Handbook 2 and 3 classes).
 

Marshall

First Post
In most cases they are completely interchangable, the Essentials classes are new builds rather than a replacement class. several classes are very different running off a completely new power structure (eFighters, Rogues and Rangers) many of the others are closer to 'normal' classes and in most cases the poewers can be chosen from the other type.

This is Flatly Untrue, tho the marketing department loves that people keep claiming this.

Wizards? Clerics? About 80% compatible. Major changes to class features make much of the previous non-power support completely worthless and much of the post-e support worthless to 4e classes.

Every other class that shares a name with a pre-e is more than 90% incompatible. Drastically different features, a completely different(and incompatible) power set than AEDU, role changes and changing even starting HP,HS, skills and profs.

No, they arent just new builds, they ARE new classes. Most of which are at least overpowered, have little or nothing to do with their supposed 'role'(every class is based on extra damage) and are extremely boring in their implementation.

...and all that is before we arrive at the braindead idea that is Item Rarity....
 

Shin Okada

Explorer
# Compatibility

If you consider PHB2/3 or Power books to be compatible with PHB, then, Essentials are at least equally compatible with PHB.

I say two Heroes books are compatible with previous books, more so than PHB2/3 were compatible to older books when they were released.

In fact, those two books contains races and classes which are already supported by other books. Human is human. Thus, can take human only feats in pre-essentials books. Even Slayer is still Fighter. Thus, a Slayer can take Fighter only feats. When PHB2/3 was released, the new races and classes in those books were not supported by previous books, of course.

# Overpowered?

No, seems not. At least, I have not yet hear any cogent claim from hard-core power gamers that Essential builds (sub-classes) are overpowered and making older builds obsolete.

Some of the powers and feats in Heroes books are stronger ones. But characters based on pre-Essentials build can take most of them if they want.
 

Samurai

Explorer
They are somewhat compatible in the sense that a game can have an Essentials character running alongside a PHB 4e character.

They are not very compatible at all (yet) in the sense of an Essentials character taking PHB powers when that class suddenly doesn't even get powers.
 

zoroaster100

First Post
Warpriests and PHB Clerics seem like they could easily swap at will, encounter or daily powers with each other and likewise for Mages and PHB Wizards.
 

DracoSuave

First Post
Warpriests and PHB Clerics seem like they could easily swap at will, encounter or daily powers with each other and likewise for Mages and PHB Wizards.

Incorrect. While Mages and Wizards can do as you say, Warpriests are restricted to specific powers for their at-wills and encounter powers, and they can no more select a general Cleric ati-will or encounter power than a sun warpriest can select a storm warpriest power. General Clerics are not so restricted; they can take Warpriest powers without a problem.
 

The Little Raven

First Post
People use "compatible" in a way that shows they mean "interchangeable."

The classes are 100% compatible, in that they can exist together in harmony. They do not have 100% interchangeable features, in that features cannot always be used in place of others.
 

BobTheNob

First Post
My players would never Hybrid and MC only really because MC feats are good feats, not because they want to MC (I even had to pacify a character who didnt want to take an MC feat because it meant he was multiclassing and he didnt want to do that. Took him a bit to understand....)

So the whole "Interchangeability aspect is small, except for one things : themes. Love themes, love em for darksun. But the best you get is the initial freeby power, all of the other "swap" powers from the theme are a no-go for alot of essentials builds. Shame that.
 

I've noticed that some of the pre-4EE feats can sometimes cause wonky effects when taken by 4EE classes and vice versa. Overal, the two versions of 4E are compatable, but I agree that they aren't necessarily interchangable.

I'd say it's a more pronounced version of the issue you had when trying to mix 3.0 with 3.5... most of the stuff still worked, but tweaks to how some of the classes and feats worked meant that you'd sometimes get weird (and potentially broken) results from the rules.
 

Shin Okada

Explorer
I'd say it's a more pronounced version of the issue you had when trying to mix 3.0 with 3.5... most of the stuff still worked, but tweaks to how some of the classes and feats worked meant that you'd sometimes get weird (and potentially broken) results from the rules.

3.0e/3.5e change were far much serious. Spaces of creatures changed. While 3.0e combat rule was not using squares by default (though many were using grids), 3.5e combat rule was based on squares. There are many spells, feats, classes and such which were eliminated and dramatically changed when 3.5e was released.

DMs needed a lot of works to use 3.0e adventures in 3.5e rules. I have actually DMed most of the first Adventure Path of 3.0e and know the amount of works a DM to convert them into 3.5e. That was huge. Also, almost all the players did must re-make their 3.0e PCs when the play group start to use 3.5e rules.

By that mean Essentials are definitely not the different version of D&D from 4.0e. You can still grab H1-E3 adventure modules and play with PCs created only by Essentials. Essentials PCs and Pre-Essentials PC can adventure in the same party without any trouble. You don't need to re-make your PC even if your party start to use Essentials line (though, some update may affect on some of the PCs, but that degree of rule change happened several times even before Essentials).

In over all, Essentials line books are no different from other new supplements for 4e.
 

FireLance

Legend
This is Flatly Untrue, tho the marketing department loves that people keep claiming this.

Wizards? Clerics? About 80% compatible. Major changes to class features make much of the previous non-power support completely worthless and much of the post-e support worthless to 4e classes.

Every other class that shares a name with a pre-e is more than 90% incompatible. Drastically different features, a completely different(and incompatible) power set than AEDU, role changes and changing even starting HP,HS, skills and profs.

No, they arent just new builds, they ARE new classes. Most of which are at least overpowered, have little or nothing to do with their supposed 'role'(every class is based on extra damage) and are extremely boring in their implementation.

...and all that is before we arrive at the braindead idea that is Item Rarity....
I generally disagree with what you've written, but I would just like to address a few points in particular:

1. While not all Essentials classes have the same at-will, encounter and daily structure for their attack powers, as far as I can tell, all Essentials classes have utility powers at 2nd, 6th, 10th, 16th and 22nd level, and in most cases, are allowed to choose one out of a list of possible powers. Hence, by even the strictest reading of when Essentials characters are able to choose a power from another (non-Essentials) source, they are generally able to make use of "classic" 4E utility powers by selecting one of them instead of the utility powers listed in the Essentials class descriptions. Given that a "classic" 4E character normally gets up to 13 powers from his class (2 at-will, up to 3 encounter, up to 3 daily, up to 5 utility), that's (IMO) a fair amount of compatibility when it comes to class powers.

2. While it is true that not all class-related support for "classic" 4E classes are suitable for Essentials classes, and vice-versa, this arises from differences in class abilities. Essentials knights and slayers are still fighters, and can choose and beenfit from "classic" 4E feats and other game elements that just have "fighter" as a prerequisite. In addition, the races have been largely unchanged by Essentials. Most of the time, an Essentials character can choose and benefit from "classic" 4E racial feats and other game elements.

3. It is not clear to me how the perceptions that Essentials classes are "overpowered", are "based on extra damage", or "have little or nothing to do with their supposed 'role'" were arrived at. It seems to me, at least, that the leaders still heal and buff, the defenders still punish enemies who do not attack them, and the controllers still shape the battlefield in various ways. Naturally, the strikers still deal damage, and I can only surmise that the over-representation of strikers in the Essentials classes could be one factor that has led to the perception that the Essentials classes are "based on extra damage". The other possibility could be the damage-increasing class features possessed by defenders such as the knight (fighter) and the cavalier (paladin). However, these are (IMO) simply a substitute for the encounter powers that would have been gained by their "classic" 4E counterparts. Such Essentials classes are effectively trading off the ability to choose a variety of encounter abilities for multiple uses of a single, more generally useful ability. In fact, it seems to me that such trade-offs are quite common in the Essentials classes. To be sure, they are different trade-offs from what has been found in the "classic" 4E classes, but (IMO) they are trade-offs nonetheless. Hence, I see no reason to believe that the Essentials classes are "overpowered".

4. The observation that the Essentials classes are generally simpler, require the player to make less choices, or have less varied powers, is quite valid. However, whether this is a "boring" bug or an ease-of-use feature really depends on what each individual wants out of the game. Similarly, opinions on the item rarity system are quite varied. I personally like the options provided by the Essentials classes and the magic item rarity system - one allows me to accomodate a wider variety of players in my games and the other give me a system to control the players' access to magic items if I want to do so, but as always, YMMV.
 

FireLance

Legend
Incorrect. While Mages and Wizards can do as you say, Warpriests are restricted to specific powers for their at-wills and encounter powers, and they can no more select a general Cleric ati-will or encounter power than a sun warpriest can select a storm warpriest power. General Clerics are not so restricted; they can take Warpriest powers without a problem.
As a tangent, what is your view on using retraining to replace a power that you did not choose with another power of the same type? For example, would you allow a Storm warpriest to retrain storm hammer and replace it with righteous brand? The text for replacing a power through retraining (from HotFK) simply states that the new power must be "of the same type", "must be the same level (or lower) as the old power and from the same class", and that you can't replace "a power that has no level ...; a power designated as a feature; or a power gained from a paragon path or an epic destiny". I suppose it would hinge on whether storm hammer is "a power designated as a feature" even though it is specifically listed as a "Cleric Attack 1" and not a "Cleric Feature" (unlike, say divine fortune).
 

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