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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
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?
Yup, the Starter Set only had pregens, no PC creation rules (though it did refer folks to the online Basic Rules, and there was a blank PC sheet).

At this point, Lost Mines might be one of the most widely played adventures, too, a classic in it's own right. Expanding the sandbox makes sense.
 

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Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
Surprised you missed hearing about this. There were multiple articles about it on enworld and it managed to garner over 8200 backers.

You might want to take a look at it:

https://www.kickstarter.com/project...ey-of-the-dragonlords-5th-edition-adventure-b
I mean okay, cool, I guess that's nice, but that doesn't change what I said: The Lost Mine of Phandelver is being overused, and the fact you're recommending it to others to get into D&D doesn't help. Even if they're getting into it through something that isn't using the adventure, they're going to learn a lot about that adventure and many intro/impromptu events will be ruined because this is the one adventure anyone wants to run without making their own.

I bought the starter set; I read it so I can run D&D for friends. Then I go to a D&D event at my local game store one day and SURPRISE it's the Lost Mine of Phandelver, gotta pretend I don't know this adventure so I don't ruin it for everyone else. A year later it seems like I'll finally run D&D for friends, and then it doesn't happen, but that's okay 'cause AS IT TURNS OUT the Lost Mine of Phandelver was used in the first arc of The Adventure Zone, a podcast that at least two of these said friends are really into, so it's not a terrible loss. Two years after that, work has a D&D night and I get into a game and GUESS WHAT the DM decided to run Lost Mine of Phandelver, which at least 2 other players were familiar with for varying reasons.

At this point I feel like this adventure is only useful if your players have been living under a rock and intend to stay there for the rest of their lives.

(Also, Odyssey of the Dragonlords is based in Greek mythology, which means I was over it before I even learned about it).
 

Nathaniel Lee

First Post
I am sort of shocked that Target gets to sell these a full three months before hobby stores. It seems to be a sudden and major reversal of a long standing policy of putting FLGSes first.
The target consumer is that person who has never played Dungeons & Dragons before and very likely doesn't play too many games in general so a mass market store like Target makes sense. I'm skeptical that there are a whole lot of starter sets and the like moving through most FLGSes, which seem to be focused mainly on people who are already avid gamers.
 

Zarithar

Adventurer
Lost Mines is this generation's Keep on the Borderlands. That's not a negative comment by the way, but it really has become the default intro adventure for many. Also Greek mythology is frakking awesome!
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
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.
MAYBE...

Target doesn't sell MOST of the D&D products. There needs to be a lead in.

Frankly, the key audiences this is intended for are seen to be more at large retail than at the FLGS. This is intended for those who are looking to be introduced to RPGs. It also feeds a key dynamic that the Starter box was not feeding and helps them make the leap from simply trying out the starter to actually creating characters they are attached to.

Most of those at an FLGS already are aware or know all about the 3 rulebooks and are ready to jump in feet first by buying the rulebooks rather than a box that gets one started into the hobby of D&D. Those at Target (or other retail areas) who have never played an RPG...not so much. I feel that those are the key targets of this new product.
 

EthanSental

Adventurer
I wonder if or when we can pre order it from target? I looked at their website and its not listed yet but I noticed target also has great prices for the various hardbacks....around $31.72 which is competitive with amazon.
 
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Badvoc

Explorer
I'm going to reserve full judgement until I've read the included adventure, but this looks absolutely fantastic at first glance.

A few sheets of cardboard pawns as per the Pathfinder box would have been a nice inclusion, but keeping the end product "pocket money" priced is key. It's certainly not a glaring omission given the 5e rules don't require minis. I'm more impressed with what they have included - more dice, a DM's screen, maps and the various cards for conditions etc.

Basic character creation rules are a very welcome addition. I've walked new players through how to create a character and the step-up in complexity from simply using pregens to grappling with the wealth of options in the PHB can be a bit daunting for some. A simplified or condensed section on chargen would be a better step up for many first time players I think.

Creating a new adventure around Phandelver that can be used before, after or alongside LMOP is a smart move. It seems like they've tried to minimise the amount of overlap between the new box and the current one to make sure there is value in buying both.

I can't wait to get a copy.
 

TheBanjoNerd

Explorer
the included adventure, Dragon of Icespire Peak, introduces a new 1-on-1 rules variant.
This is what I'm most intrigued by. I'm assuming this means running games with DM and one PC. My gaming group can't regularly get together, but my best friend and I hang out on a fairly regular basis, so getting some sort of rules for running smaller games would be great so I can run sessions more often.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I read on the Reddit recap of the stream that the box will come with a code to redeem the adventure for free on DDB and get a 50% coupon on the PHB for DDB. That's really cool, I've been wanting to buy at least the PHB on DDB, but that money always went to a new hardcover book instead.
 

Ath-kethin

Adventurer
Unless there's a big difference in price or content (and there doesn't seem to be), I'll wait til September and pick it up at my FLGS. It's cool that Target will carry the set, but they sure don't need my money and my FLGS sure does.

I have no use for DDB, but whatever - it sure doesn't hurt me for other people to have it.
 

collin

Explorer
I mean okay, cool, I guess that's nice, but that doesn't change what I said: The Lost Mine of Phandelver is being overused, and the fact you're recommending it to others to get into D&D doesn't help. Even if they're getting into it through something that isn't using the adventure, they're going to learn a lot about that adventure and many intro/impromptu events will be ruined because this is the one adventure anyone wants to run without making their own.

At this point I feel like this adventure is only useful if your players have been living under a rock and intend to stay there for the rest of their lives.
.
I disagree with your opinion that "Lost Mines of Phandelver" is being overused. I have often seen it cited on EN World for new DMs who are looking for a 1st adventure to run with new players (far better than trying to run Hoard of the Dragon Queen for the first time, imo). I think it serves a purpose, and it has served that purpose well. I wish my DM had chosen that adventure when we first started playing 5th edition D&D instead of Hoard. Yes, one of the (hopeful) goals of D&D is that DMs and players will continue to expand their imaginations over the course of time and create their own adventures, but you have to start somewhere. It has a niche and it serves its purpose. There are many adventures to choose from, including plenty found on DM's Guild. However, finding good 1st level adventures can be a bit more challenging. The aforementioned "Keep on the Borderlands" was just such an adventure for many new players from 1st-edition D&D on up, but let's face it, besides introducing some mechanics and the (very) basic environment of role-playing and D&D, it ain't that great.

If someone does not want to run it, or play it, then that is their choice. I don't criticize people for running "Keep".
 
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Parmandur

Legend
Unless there's a big difference in price or content (and there doesn't seem to be), I'll wait til September and pick it up at my FLGS. It's cool that Target will carry the set, but they sure don't need my money and my FLGS sure does.

I have no use for DDB, but whatever - it sure doesn't hurt me for other people to have it.
Target already gets enough of my money for diapers.
 





Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Does anyone know what the maps are exactly? I love maps. Especially with hexes. B-)
I see two maps in the screenshot: a regional map of the Neverwinter/Phandalin area and a town map of Phandalin. They appear to be the same maps from Lost Mine of Phandelver.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
...

At this point I feel like this adventure is only useful if your players have been living under a rock and intend to stay there for the rest of their lives.

(...).
Psst Psst. Your XP does not mean sand. My players must have rocks in their head because most have not played in it. What the quartz is Adventure Zone? Sounds like bad anime on the cartoon channel. Maybe you should grit your teeth, and let others suggest good adventures. Lava on.
 

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