Explain the Essentials to me

GuJiaXian

Explorer
I've been away from 4E for some time. Our gaming group didn't like it much, and in the meantime we've played 3.x, Pathfinder, and a number of non-D&D-related systems. Now, however, I've convinced them to sit down and try 4E again.

And WotC tosses out this "not 4.5E!" set of products.

Now, I really don't care if the new Essentials line is 4.5E or not. I have tons of 4E books (and a DDI subscription that's been largely unused for a very long time). My question is this: are the Essentials materials a supplement to what I already own (as in, new character options and such), or will these books technically "replace" what's already been done? The descriptions of the products seem somewhat ambiguous about this: one place will state that the class options, for example, are just that: new class options. However, another place will say that with Essentials out, you'll be making minor changes to your character (except for the Wizard, who has major changes).

So, if I start a 4E campaign in the near future but still want "future product support," will I need to expect to tweak rules here and there to keep things in line, or am I good simply using what I have currently and buying new products when and where I want to?

[edit]
So, I skimmed the first page of that massive thread in the general forums about this subject. I'm still confused, and now I'm left wondering if my existing 4E core rulebooks are about to become out of date. The WotC "press release" about the Essentials line even says that you can play your old classes as-is (without the new Essentials changes), except for the wizard, whose encounter powers gain miss effects. That means that the PHB that I have is now out-of-date in a major way. Unless I maintain a DDI subscription, I won't have access to the "corrected" wizard unless I buy the new Essentials book. Color me annoyed.

Of course, I might be completely missing the point here. If I am, please correct me.
 
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Obryn

Hero
Now, I really don't care if the new Essentials line is 4.5E or not. I have tons of 4E books (and a DDI subscription that's been largely unused for a very long time). My question is this: are the Essentials materials a supplement to what I already own (as in, new character options and such), or will these books technically "replace" what's already been done? The descriptions of the products seem somewhat ambiguous about this: one place will state that the class options, for example, are just that: new class options. However, another place will say that with Essentials out, you'll be making minor changes to your character (except for the Wizard, who has major changes).

So, if I start a 4E campaign in the near future but still want "future product support," will I need to expect to tweak rules here and there to keep things in line, or am I good simply using what I have currently and buying new products when and where I want to?
Well, it's still too early to tell, to be honest.

What we know is that some classes - but maybe not all - will have "subclasses" or builds that don't have any Daily powers. What they will have is in question - more encounter powers, augments like Psions, or something else entirely.

I think at this point it's very fair to view it as a supplement, not a replacement. Time will tell if that prediction bears out - but in theory neither books nor characters are invalidated at all by the new stuff.

-O
 

GuJiaXian

Explorer
I'm sick of this whole "keep up with the Joneses" mentality with D&D anymore. I know that no one is coming to burn my 4E books, but I like playing with the widest variety of options and the most current rules.

I suppose that what I really want is a player experience like Pathfinder/3.x and a DM experience (especially monsters!) like 4E. Is that so much to ask for?
 

MrMyth

First Post
I'm sick of this whole "keep up with the Joneses" mentality with D&D anymore. I know that no one is coming to burn my 4E books, but I like playing with the widest variety of options and the most current rules.

Except that no options are going away. All the previous material remains viable, and playable alongside the new material. Everything from the original books will remain pretty much the same - the one exception mentioned is the Wizard, and I don't think it will be as major as you fear. Actually, I am almost positive you might be misreading the situation - regardless of what changes may be made, if they affect the PHB Wizard, they will at the very least be publicly available as errata, and not require a DDI subscription to view them.

They may be as simple as "All Wizard Encounter Powers now deal half damage on a miss." I don't expect it, but it could be a single sentence - or maybe they will list a bunch of powers, all of which work that way. Either way, what the powers already do won't change, and they aren't going to make a change like that and have it require someone purchase Essentials or a DDI subscription.

Either the PHB Wizard won't be affected, or any changes will be publicly posted on their site. And in that event, I suspect it will be a single general change that you apply to all (or a bunch) of their encounter powers, rather than them performing a serious fundamental rewrite of dozens of powers. (As, I agree, that would be annoying to track.)
 


Boy Genius

First Post
I'm actually excited about what Essentials entails. It seems to me that newer players will have the "wading pool" that WoTC believes is needed.

But obviously the big thing here is the power restructuring.

So, what of it? If anything, this just provides more options, many of which I'm sure will be ignored entirely. And that includes the new changes to many of the wizard spells. I can't imagine any DM forcing the changes on an already perfectly fine campaign.

In our blog post about the new Dark Sun dnd encounters, Nick played the psion, and stated how much he loved the ability to assign points to his powers. In fact, he believes that this is the way wizards should be in 4e. And looks like now he'll get his wish, perhaps?

At any rate...I think people need to calm down and see the books for themselves before jumping off the castle wall.
 

Wrathamon

Adventurer
I read it as you have

D&D 4e and the new Essentials Line of D&D 4e and then we get a Players Option line later.

We'll still see support for Old 4e... as he said that 2011 line still references the PHB 1 (w. updates)

We'll see how long that lasts... if essentials is a huge hit, it will then be 4.5


I look at it (so far as it hasnt been released) as a self contained package of a re-invented D&D 4e - a bit like Basic D&D was to AD&D. The difference being that Essentials looks like it is compatible with the rest of the game unlike Basic D&D (which wasnt).


No will the Player Options books and (DM options books??) lean more towards the original 4e or Essentials version of the game?

It does sound like the only real difference will be in the classes.

But for players who only use the first core books... I am guessing this is 4.5 to them.

The rules are already on v.4.??? with all the online updates and updates in the PHB 2 and 3.
 

Klaus

First Post
I'll try, from what I read in the announcements and replies:

- D&D Essentials will be a series of products that will remain in print;
- D&D Essentials is aimed primarily at folks new to RPGs and D&D;
- The new Red Box will have rules for the "classic" races and classes, for levels 1 & 2;
- The new Rules Compendium will have rules for levels 1-30;
- Several classes will gain additional "builds" (like those we got in the "Power" books) that change the basic power structure (at will/encounter/daily), but these will be compatible with exisiting builds, so you could have a party with an Archer Ranger and an Essentials Ranger.
- The core line of books will continue alongside the Essentials line.
 

Wrathamon

Adventurer
- Several classes will gain additional "builds" (like those we got in the "Power" books) that change the basic power structure (at will/encounter/daily), but these will be compatible with exisiting builds, so you could have a party with an Archer Ranger and an Essentials Ranger.

I think this is the part that I think is the sketchy part right now...

too me the way they described it isnt a new build like we got in the Powers books.

It sounds like a different class that is themed the same... they dont get Daily's for example.

It doesnt sound like you get a new Essentials Ranger Build from the description. It doesn't sound compatible with the older class, in that I can take powers for my old ranger from the new power list and its just missing the extra rider effect for choosing that class option. It doesnt have Daily powers for example.

it sounded like you get a re-imagined Ranger (Essentials Ranger) that is balanced with the OG PHB 1 Ranger.

You can play the new ranger or the old ranger
 

Klaus

First Post
I think this is the part that I think is the sketchy part right now...

too me the way they described it isnt a new build like we got in the Powers books.

It sounds like a different class that is themed the same... they dont get Daily's for example.

It doesnt sound like you get a new Essentials Ranger Build from the description. It doesn't sound compatible with the older class, in that I can take powers for my old ranger from the new power list and its just missing the extra rider effect for choosing that class option. It doesnt have Daily powers for example.

it sounded like you get a re-imagined Ranger (Essentials Ranger) that is balanced with the OG PHB 1 Ranger.

You can play the new ranger or the old ranger
Here:

http://www.enworld.org/forum/5235533-post143.html

Relevant part:
And seriously, new builds is what I would liken the crunchy bits in the Essentials players books to. You've got the basic PH1 Fighter, you've got the battlerager, and then you'll have the Essentials fighter build. You have the Bow/Two weapon ranger, you have the beast ranger, and you have the Essentials ranger. The rules for playing the game don't change (beyond adding the rules updates into the compendium), and a party could easily have an Essentials build rogue right along side a Brawny Rogue from PH1 - that is, assuming the party wanted two melee strikers.
 

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