D&D 4E Do you mix'n'match Essentials with standard 4e?

Lord Ernie

First Post
My players can mix and match as freely as they like, from any source or any book, as long as it's in the character builder, with some exceptions:

  1. We don't use backgrounds, since they came out after we started playing, and my players weren't all that interested.
  2. We don't use themes, since, again, they came out after we started. I suggested using them myself, since I thought they looked cool, but my players actually voted against it, saying their characters were already complicated enough :) (sidenote, we're into early-mid paragon by now).
  3. Anything too campaign-specific (dragonmarks, etc.) is banned, but campaign material applicable in general gameplay (e.g. the Swordmage, Muls, etc.) is perfectly fine.

Like others here, I retain the right to veto anything on an individual basis, but I haven't needed to invoke it yet. Probably because I'm the most optimisation-oriented in our group as it is :). We have two groups right now, consisting out of: Mul Battlemind, Half-Elf Bard, Genasi Wizard, Dwarf Warlord, and Human Warlock|Wizard for one, and Dwarf Fighter, Razorclaw Shifter Druid, Tiefling Warlord|Wizard, Drow Sorcerer, and Human Cleric|Invoker.

One player who recently dropped out of the campaign briefly switched from a human weaponmaster to a Slayer, and said the character was much more fun to play for him (he was pretty new to D&D/RP in general), but sadly he had to drop out due to lack of time.

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The campaign I play in has PHB 1, PHB 2, and Essentials HotFL, HotFK as the allowed sources. This seems to work very well and I'll be doing this with my next campaign I DM, as opposed to the unrestricted approach of my current game. I play an E-Thief and overshadow the PHB 1+2 Minotaur Ranger on damage output, that may change as we get higher level. There's an E-Mage, a PHB 1 Warlord, a PHB 1 Cleric and a PHB 1 Fighter, we all do fine together.
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First Post
Well, for me, I don't consider it "mix'n'matching" so much as "playing 4E as presented". Heroes of the Whatever are just as cool as using Martial Power or PHB3 or whatever.

I do have a few feats banned in my upcoming games - primarily expertise - but those aren't really specific to Essentials. The game is limited in magic item access, and only the more balanced version of backgrounds are allowed, and themes are custom-designed for each character... but otherwise, all material is open access.

We've got a Changeling Executioner (multiclass Warlock), an Eladrin Swordmage, a Deva or Dwarven Death Domain Warpriest, and one character as yet unchosen. So thus far, plenty of drawing on both Essentials and pre-Essentials material, and I don't remotely foresee any difficulties arising because of that.


First Post
My current group currently mixes Essentials stuff in with stock D&D, and the Essentials to vanilla Fourth Ed. ratio is starting to surpass 1:1.

There is some trepidation because some don't want to change their characters and risk making them less effective or further from their preconceptions, but as far as I know, the ones who have are loving their abilities (myself included).

Radiating Gnome

I'm a player/Dm in one game that's wide open, includes a mix of essentials and classic builds, and has no problems. This campaign has some house rules, including a free expertise feat and inherent bonuses (and the limitation on magic items that goes with inherent bonuses). It's working great, and we're very happy.

I'm also running a game for newer players that started out as an "essentials only" campaign just to simplify things for the players (and cut down on the books they'd have to buy, etc) but as we've played, several has switched to classic 4e classes (a warpriest became an archer warlord, and a thief became a bard) to better fit the player's and the party's needs.

So, again, that's a campaign that is running a mix of Essentials and non-essentials options, and we're very happy.


even though they are bong, the game needs such classes...

4e is complicated enough. The classes of the fallen land books definitively help nwer players...


First Post
A Player joined our group at level 10 and had never played 4e before (only 3.x) so i encouraged him to pick the slayer. This worked out well and he hasn't had any issues getting up to speed. If he gets bored with it later, first we'll see if the fighter power-swap feats are enough to keep him occupied.

I also have a wizard (erm, arcanist) who has been pretty much finding himself since the game began. He started off trying summoning... didn't really jive with him. he retrained all his summoning powers to large area explodey/freezy dailies and was much happier. He still rarely uses rituals or his implement feature, though, and when he took the pyromancer paragon path i knew he would be better served switching to a mage to reap the benefits of evocation and pyromancy schools.

As for feats, I opened up essentials feats almost immediately and a few were taken off the bat, most notably the bumps to defenses/attacks with riders.

Pretty much, it's just options. Things get screwy in certain corner mechanics and obviously multiclassing has only become more complicated rather than less, but nobody has expressed a desire to multiclass heavily yet.

Additionally, it's my hope that allowing some of the players to take their turns quickly will overall result in less average time to complete a combat. Of course, combat is fun in and of itself, but sometimes complication reaches critical mass and people have so long between their turns they tune out. I'm not saying essentials is the panacea to this, but I've been more bothered by some of the crazy stuff people using non-essentials options have cooked up than the essentials stuff.

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