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Another Look at the D&D Essentials Kit

Here's a closer look at the upcoming D&D Essentials Kit.


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D&D Essentials Kit (September 3rd; June 24th in the US)
Boxed Set

Everything you need to create characters and play the new adventures in this introduction to the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Dungeons & Dragons is a cooperative storytelling game that harnesses your imagination and invites you to explore a fantastic world of adventure, where heroes battle monsters, find treasures, and overcome quests. The D&D Essentials Kitis a new introductory product meant to bring D&D to audiences interested in jumping into a fantasy story.

This box contains the essentials you need to run a D&D game with one Dungeon Master and one to five adventurers. A newly designed rulebook on-boards players by teaching them how to make characters, and the included adventure, Dragon of Icespire Peak, introduces a new 1-on-1 rules variant.
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Parmandur

Legend
And cannot get it in Australia till september... The wizards store advantage stuff was bad enough (they don't seem to exist over here, regardless of how many AL games are run, MTG tourneys or sales... at least not when I was looking back when volos released)

But why? It isn't like WotC needed target's shilling to do this. It would have sold well and not competed for the third quarter adventure sale... -groans-
New audience arguments don't work either, as Target would have sold it without it being an exclusive product.

Also, DM screens are great. I don't fudge rolls (I have, but it is increeeedddibly rare... single digits still in 15+ years of DMing)

I don't roll openly in 5e though, players don't need to know what the rolls are as it becomes way too clear as to the mechanics of foes. Which hinders the roleplay element imo.

Giving DMs a choice is always better than going the "BADWRONGFUN" route imo.
Given how well the Starter Set has seemed to sell at Target (anecdotally, I have seen it selling like hot cakes over the last few years just shopping in Target: it is located prominently, and always being restocked), and Target having a marketing focus on things nerdy, Target probably came to them with a financial offer.
 

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DM Dave1

Adventurer
Most exciting thing I've seen this year. A true starter box for D&D with character creation rules. Much needed and long overdue. Hopefully this will be the Moldvay or Metzer basic set for. New generation.
Yes - Good stuff!

My only complaint is the DMs screen. One DMs should roll in the open and a screen leads to fudging and that's not how the game should be played (or taught). Two it is probably an expensive add on and a small book of monsters and adventure design would be better add on. IMHO.
I use a DM screen and roll in the open. Mostly since I stand up a lot when I’m DMing. The maps and stat blocks and notes stay hidden behind the screen. I want my players to see clearly and cheer at how wonderfully low I’ve rolled for the monsters. And, sometimes, see them anguish at how horrifically high.
 
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Mercurius

Legend
I reserve the right to roll my dice in private, whether crouched behind a DM's screen or in the sanctity of my own home.
 


Having dealt with big retailers in the past sometimes it’s not an offer what they put on the table but a threat. Hopefully it goes very good for them so they can doing cool stuff for years.
 


Ramaster

Explorer
I feel that rolling in the open has made me a much better DM, since it has helped me own my mistakes and plan (and design) better.
 

Von Ether

Adventurer
Was going to post a "tsk tsk" on "the one right way" for DMs to roll. Not disappointed by those speaking up first.

For the record, hidden rolls for D&D, open rolls for Savage World's (thank you bennies), and I don't even roll in Cypher - so open?
 

Von Ether

Adventurer
Having dealt with big retailers in the past sometimes it’s not an offer what they put on the table but a threat. Hopefully it goes very good for them so they can doing cool stuff for years.
If it was a threat that is sort of good news since Target saw something worth threatening Hasbro over. Barnes and Nobles did the same overD&D fiction.
 

Reaper Steve

Explorer
Chiming in on the rolling tangent: I like open rolls. But I also like the idea of hidden rolls for the PCs by the DM for things like Stealth checks. The PC (and the player) thinks they are a ninja... but were they really?
Of course, that's a big change in play dynamic that requires some by-in.
 


ddaley

Explorer
it probably doesn't help that Lost Mine of Phandelver has run its course after 5 years. almost every D&D night/intro to D&D DM will use it, and it also doesn't help most popular actual play groups have used it as well.
If you backed Odyssey of the Dragonlords, or followed the comments, you would have noticed that that kickstarter is getting people to play D&D who have never played before. I recommended LMoP to them as a way to learn how to play and DM while waiting for that kickstarter to fulfill. So, I wouldn't say that it has completely run its course yet.
 

ddaley

Explorer
It's worth noting that you can buy Lost Mine of Phandelver on D&D Beyond, so it's not going away completly. I expect Icespire Peak will also be available on D&D Beyond (although the Stranger Things adventure aint).
They should make it available as a PoD on DM's Guild.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I always roll in the open, but I love a useful D&D screen for quick references.

Anyway, I lent my copy of the 5e starter set to a friend years ago ans since it remains in his possession I think I'll pick this up for sure.
 

ddaley

Explorer
I always roll in the open, but I love a useful D&D screen for quick references.

Anyway, I lent my copy of the 5e starter set to a friend years ago ans since it remains in his possession I think I'll pick this up for sure.
I'll likely pick up this starter set primarily for the adventure. I love low level adventures. I have been playing D&D since the early 80s and don't think I have ever played a character beyond 7th level.
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
If you backed Odyssey of the Dragonlords, or followed the comments, you would have noticed that that kickstarter is getting people to play D&D who have never played before. I recommended LMoP to them as a way to learn how to play and DM while waiting for that kickstarter to fulfill. So, I wouldn't say that it has completely run its course yet.
....what? I've never heard of this kickstarter before, and I'm sure there are countless other starting modules that people have written, it doesn't change the fact that Lost Mine of Phandelver is not only popular, but also an official WotC product packaged in every copy of the product designed to teach people how to play D&D (which once upon a time was the only starting module people could buy for 5e).
 

Mercurius

Legend
So let me get this straight: the Essentials Kit is basically an updated/improved version of the Starter Set and an expansion of it at the same time? Seems like a win-win. Five years is a lot of time to learn how to improve the starter set; seems like a good time to come out with something new. And I haven't looked at in awhile, but didn't the Starter Set only have pre-gens?
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I'll likely pick up this starter set primarily for the adventure. I love low level adventures. I have been playing D&D since the early 80s and don't think I have ever played a character beyond 7th level.
I've only been playing for 5 years, but I did just get a character to level 6 for the first time. So That seems to jive with my experience.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
This is so close to what I've been hoping they put out for a starter set. They finally have the proper number of dice and the treasure and condition cards are nice to have. I roll in the open, but the D&D screen is a helpful aid for new DMs (this is a more flimsy cardstock version, but it still serves its purpose and keeps the price reasonable).

Only thing missing is battlemaps and minis. They could just use token/pog style minis (1" diameter cardboard disks) and paper mats.

Still, I'm glad to see this and will probably buy it in the hopes my younger son will use it.
 

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