D&D 4E Have you ever run 4e using just Essentials?

Weird how Essentials casters didn't need to be "sleek and fast-running".
shrug

The designers, as I understand it, were trying to placate certain types of players.

As others have pointed out, the essentials mage was a bit more complicated than a core wizard, because the mage got two encounter powers to choose from instead of just one. However, take out ritual casting, so maybe it’s a wash.

I would rather play a core fighter than an essentials knight or cavalier or slayer. Some people prefer the latter.

With the slayer’s bonus based on DEX, one could have the “archer fighter” that he or she always dreamed about.

Of course, a core fighter with one-handed weapon talent could use a thrown weapon really well. Javelins had a 10/20 range, and were heavy thrown weapons, so STR was the attack bonus.
18 STR meant a (4+1+2) attack bonus, with a javelin.
 

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Haplo781

Legend
shrug

The designers, as I understand it, were trying to placate certain types of players.

As others have pointed out, the essentials mage was a bit more complicated than a core wizard, because the mage got two encounter powers to choose from instead of just one. However, take out ritual casting, so maybe it’s a wash.

Nobody used rituals in core 4e so not really.
I would rather play a core fighter than an essentials knight or cavalier or slayer. Some people prefer the latter.

Those people.wrre all playing Pathfinder by 2010 so it was a pointless exercise.
With the slayer’s bonus based on DEX, one could have the “archer fighter” that he or she always dreamed about.

That's called a ranger.
Of course, a core fighter with one-handed weapon talent could use a thrown weapon really well. Javelins had a 10/20 range, and were heavy thrown weapons, so STR was the attack bonus.
18 STR meant a (4+1+2) attack bonus, with a javelin.
Again, you would just play a ranger.
 

Nobody used rituals in core 4e so not really.


Those people.wrre all playing Pathfinder by 2010 so it was a pointless exercise.


That's called a ranger.

Again, you would just play a ranger.
Well…yeah.

Some people still want to play slayers. Some people can be stubborn, like that.
 

GreyLord

Legend
Nobody used rituals in core 4e so not really.


Those people.wrre all playing Pathfinder by 2010 so it was a pointless exercise.


That's called a ranger.

Again, you would just play a ranger.

?????

My parties when using the older books used rituals all the time. Rituals were actually pretty sweet. They needed more of them though.

I had people that are interested in playing essentials today even. Of course, it may be that's because it's what is in my travel bag. Still, these folks seem to enjoy it.

Interestingly enough, I DO have a swap out bag with the Pocket editions of Pathfinder 1e, but I have not had as much success with them on travel as I have had with the Essentials. Perhaps it's the travel aspect and those who I travel along with and their personal tastes. There may be a future day where my PF1e travel bag gets used. Haven't had takers for it yet though. I DO have the bag packed and ready to go.

I DO have PF1e games at home though. Presently running one.

I played PF1e AND 4e AND essentials. I think it's hard to categorize who did or didn't want or like the core or essentials classes.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Yeah, me too. :rolleyes:
My parties when using the older books used rituals all the time. Rituals were actually pretty sweet. They needed more of them though.
Agreed, though I don't know how many more were really needed. In Dragon 398, they compiled them all into an index by ritual type that was almost 15 pages long. But that included rituals from all sources, including the magazine so that might not be useful (or applicable) unless you owned all the content. (That, IMO, was one of the great downfalls of 4e; they expected everyone to buy everything.)

Dragon 405 had a great article on Heroic-tier rituals that added Ritual Mastery feats and a lot of new rituals to round out the lower levels.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Friend of mine wanted to run a one-shot adventure he'd gone on at a convention. One of our friends was on board, but was suffering from 4e burnout after playing many sessions of Scales of War with his Pacifist Cleric, and wanted to play something simple.

He was introduced to the Slayer. Others in the group felt that the Slayer couldn't really hang with the other 4e classes, so I had this idea. "Hey, let's all play Essentials classes!"

The DM looked alarmed for some reason, but everyone was soon on board. And there we were, Knight, Slayer, Thief, Cleric, and Wizard.

The adventure was....interesting, to say the least. Actually, it was dirty, mean, and unfair (I believe it was called "Beyond the Door"), and included one fight where the group was teleported into the eye laser range of a Beholder, forcing us all to suffer it's effects on turn one.

My Thief was a nuisance, and the DM tried with all his might to pin me down, but I wasn't having it. The Knight's ability to "mark" any enemy that got near him proved effective in some fights. The Slayer...went down a lot. And of course, the Cleric and Wizard were basically indistinguishable from their non-Essentials counterparts.

But we made it to the end, and while we had fun overall (save for some truly messed up encounter design, like the Beholder fight), afterwards, all the DM could say from that point on about Essentials was "I hate it". And hate it he did, with all the fury of a dying star.

He couldn't articulate why he hated it (sure, most of the classes were dumbed down nonsense, and regular 4e was certainly better, but it wasn't irredeemable, IMO). He just did. And he said that the way we "ruined" his adventure was part of it.

Though he refused to elaborate exactly what we'd done, so to this day, I have no idea what earned his ire. Unless it was just our success?
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
@James Gasik That was a great story, and some very good first-hand experience. I appreciate you sharing it. I suspect this is all coming down to personal preferences, which I can get behind. So I might be better off waiting to ask my own players what they want to do when the time comes. Thanks again for chiming in!
 

I would start without integrating rituals into the VTT since you can run 99% of them with just a skill check or two and it does a thing that is mostly non-combat anyway.

Like the (3 different) water breathing rituals: OK, the party can breathe water now. Great, let's roll for initiative vs. the sahuagin.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Aside from everything that's already been discussed, I thought I would share some of the changes and additions I made for my Fantasy Grounds Essentials module. Keep in mind, I have particular goals and parameters that may be different than everyone else's. Here's a brief list:
  • I want to create a single player module with all or most of the available character options for my campaign. That means I also need to take into account how the module will affect program performance and load times, especially when shared with my players. Needing multiple modules opened would be just as bad, or even worse.
  • I am sticking primarily with Essentials-based classes and options. Core 4e classes will not be included or considered regarding issues of balance or play-ability. They simply do not exist in these games. If I wanted to use them, I'll create a separate module to exclude Essentials. That's just my preference.
  • My campaigns will not likely go past level 20, if they even get that far.
  • I'm not focused on creating new material or content. I have tons of both that are accessible and sufficient to meet my needs. There's enough work already without having to create more.
Feel free to borrow, steal, or modify any ideas you see. I would also be happy to hear more ideas and suggestions you might have.

THE CHARACTER CLASSES
Cleric (Warpriest)
The Warpriest is probably one of the best expressions of what Essentials was about. A return to domains, which were a defining aspect of what every cleric was about in previous editions. Just had to get used to the idea that Wisdom was an appropriate ability for swinging a weapon. (It's not that hard, actually.)

More Powers: The class is untouched, but I included more utility and daily powers from the PHB (updated in the Class Compendium article) and Heroes of Shadow. Melee weapon powers for clerics that used Strength were changed to Wisdom like those of the warpriest. Otherwise, most powers carried over without change or alteration.
Total number of Cleric Powers: 137

Additional Domains: I included the Death domain (from Heroes of Shadow), and the Earth domain (from Dragon magazine). I also adapted three warpriest domains from Neverwinter Campaign Setting and renamed them. Each domain was also assigned to a specific deity as the best fit. Thus, clerics can choose the following deity with the associated domain:
  • Death domain (The Raven Queen)
  • Earth domain (Moradin)
  • Fey-folk domain (Corellon)
  • Knowledge domain (Ioun; originally Oghma)
  • Order domain (Bahamut; originally Torm)
  • Storm domain (Kord)
  • Sun domain (Pelor)

Druid (Sentinel)
Not many changes that fit the Sentinel design. If I have time, I would probably expand the seasonal options to make Autumn and Winter available. Other than that, most of the new powers from Heroes of the Feywild were added.
Total number of Druid Powers: 48

Fighters (Knight and Slayer)
I covered this extensively elsewhere and came to the following decision: I am reserving daily powers as an option subject to further playtesting. Otherwise, no changes or additions were made.
Total number of Fighter Powers: 43

Paladin (Cavalier)
No changes or additions. However, I opted to include the Blackguard as a playable class. Usually, I will balk at a non-heroic character as a player. But after reading the book more closely, I could get onboard with the idea of an unaligned blackguard serving the likes of Kord or the Raven Queen. At least this paladin isn't tied to a mount.
Total number of Paladin Powers: 57

Rangers (Hunter and Scout)
This is in the same boat as the fighter. No changes or additions. Waiting to see how the daily powers work with fighters before entertaining a similar move with these.
Total number of Ranger Powers: 39

Rogue (Thief)
See Fighters and Rangers above.
Total number of Rogue Powers: 25

Warlock (Hexblade)
Admittedly, my least favorite class of every edition is the Warlock. But Hexblade fills a particular niche (the only other controller besides wizard, the only other arcane class besides wizard, and its very gish). Plus, there's a lot of support material for it. So I added new powers and pacts from Heroes of Shadow and Heroes of the Elemental Chaos. Plenty of options for one class.
Total number of Warlock Powers: 78

Wizard (Mage)
The wizard is probably the best supported class in all of 4e. Just adding Encounter, Daily, and Utility powers from PHB (updated in Class Compendium article), Heroes of Shadow, Heroes of the Feywild, and Heroes of the Elemental Chaos, gives mages a TON of spells to fill their books. Shadows also introduces two new schools of magic. I did not include the Witch or Shai'ir sub-classes for a couple of reasons, even though I included the powers designed for them. Wizards have enough options already. And they can play a "witch" by taking certain powers without any of the other stuff. No need to overload one class.
Total number of Wizard Powers: 222

OTHER CHARACTER OPTIONS
Racial Utility Powers
Sticking with just the Essential races (I know! I know! Whatever.), I've included the racial utility powers from the dragon articles. These are basically optional utility powers that players can choose based on their race instead of the normal ones they might get from their class.
Total number of Racial Utility Powers: 54

More Feats
I've compiled a few extra feats that are on par with Essentials from a few different sources. First, the updated feats from PHB (updated in another Class Compendium article). There's also Ritual Mastery feats from a Dragon article that also added more heroic-tier rituals. A handful of feats regarding new equipment was introduced in Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium, as well as the Strike Specialization feats for melee characters with the Power Strike feature (i.e. Fighters and the scout).
Total number of Feats: 116

Character Themes
From Dragon issue 398, four articles presented a dozen character themes that were generically suitable for any typical D&D campaign and work with any class. They are entirely optional, but if used, they can "help flesh out a character and provide some interesting options for developing their background" (or so the articles say).
Total number of Theme Powers: 60

TOTAL NUMBER OF POWERS: 763
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
I would start without integrating rituals into the VTT since you can run 99% of them with just a skill check or two and it does a thing that is mostly non-combat anyway.
I agree. There's a lot that can be done within a good VTT without the need for everything to be written into the program.

My concern, however, is new players and players without access to the game materials. Players still need to know what their options are and how things work. If I were able to purchase ready-made content, I am allowed to share information and resources with my players in the VTT. This is actually one of the driving factors for me to create this reference manual, which I failed to mention in my previous posts.

So here's what I did. In the player's manual I created, I included Ritual feats, the general rules for Rituals as presented in PHB, and an index of rituals by level that I am making available. For the rituals themselves, I created an individual module with nothing but rituals. Rituals aren't actually a factor for Essential-only games until 1) someone takes the Ritual Caster feat (none of the Essential classes get it for free), or 2) it comes up in the game itself, either as a scroll or ritual book. So it's there, but not entirely. I can just activate the optional module as needed.
 

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