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

Interesting.

I solved the ”too many dailies” problem with a different house rule: you can only use 1 daily attack power per combat. Irrelevant at 1st level, highly relevant at 9th level and above.
 

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Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I think it is quite relevant to the topic. The entire premise of my endeavor rests on the basis that an Essentials-only game is sufficiently succinct to be played on it's own as a simpler, cleaner, and completely enjoyable rendition of the game that once was. Eschewing the contamination of predisposed designs and attitudes once fostered by the mother game, I contend that we have an excellent and manageable system ripe for newcomers unjaded and unbiased by a trialed history of predecessors.

In other words, it plays well as a tactical game that focuses more on play at the board with room for as little or as much of exploration, socialization, and roleplaying as a group cares to indulge. To me, Essentials is to 4e as the OSR is to D&D.

I think Essentials works fine as a standalone. It is not a simpler version of 4e Classic or "the OSR version of 4e". It's a rejection of the spirit of 4e. It rejects 4e's philosophy on setting design, rejects its philosophy on class design, retconned a whole host of 4e lore and does not include many of the new features of 4e. In every way it was trying to make 4e less like 4e and more like what come before it. I think that's what makes it attractive to a number of people.

Sorry for the digression. I think it's brilliant for people who enjoy elements of 4e's mechanical design, but did not enjoy its attitude, setting design and class design. I just believe it is fundamentally a different game as a stand-alone than 4e before Essentials.
 

Voadam

Legend
It's a rejection of the spirit of 4e. It rejects 4e's philosophy on setting design, rejects its philosophy on class design, retconned a whole host of 4e lore and does not include many of the new features of 4e.
Can you explain a bit more with examples, particularly on the setting design rejection and retconning of lore aspects that you see?

I personally felt that defender auras for example were a more 4e refinement of defender mark mechanics completely in line with the 4e defender class role design concept.

I am not deep into 4e lore, it worked great for me as a surface level points of light 4e knowledge mostly from the core books and monster manuals working from a solid fairly deep AD&D/B/X/3e D&D lore background. What got contradicted in essentials? The heroes books and the monster vaults seemed in line with prior 4e stuff to me.
 

Zeromaru X

Arkhosian scholar and coffee lover
Can you explain a bit more with examples, particularly on the setting design rejection and retconning of lore aspects that you see?

The question wasn't addressed to me, but... I also considered back in the day that Essentials somehow wanted to reject the lore they had been building in 4e.

For instance, all that nonsense of the common and uncommon races, separating the classic Tolkienian races from the "exotic" ones, something that didn't happened in core 4e. Core 4e assumed all the races in the world were common.

Essentials also tried to make the world humanocentrist, by giving in delineated regions with clear borders in the Conquest of Nerath map, with countries that were mostly inhabited by humans, even in regions were that made no sense (like for instance, Rethmil). This was something that they wanted to avoid in core 4e (per the preview books), as they wanted to give the world a more fantastic feel. I remember this was one of my big gripes against Essentials at the time.

Another thing I remember people complaining at the time, was how they changed some of the monstrous races back into their "evil" lore of editions past. For instance, in core 4e gnolls had a lore that made them more the noble savage trope, but Essentials turned them into the demonic monster stereotype, something I remember 4e fans really disliked back then.
 
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Voadam

Legend
Another thing I remember people complaining at the time, was how they changed some of the monstrous races back into their "evil" lore of editions past. For instance, in core 4e gnolls had a lore that made them more the noble savage trope, but Essentials turned them into the demonic monster stereotype, something I remember 4e fans really disliked back then.
At least as relates to gnolls this is a bit of a false memory that seems to conflate essentials with original 4e. :)

4e from the start had heavily demonic gnolls. I remember that being a contentious point at the launch of 4e.

I remember the early 4e dragon articles from when they were free PDFs and 367 had one on playing gnolls and the first 4e one, Dragon 364, had one on the Demonomicon of Iggwilv for Yeenoghu both articles leaning in hard on the demonic bad guys characterization.

The fourth of the four gnoll statblocks in the 4e MM is the gnoll demonic scourge.

Here is the description from the original non-essentials MM:

GNOLLS ARE FERAL, DEMON-WORSHIPING MARAUDERS that kill, pillage, and destroy. They attack communities along the borderlands without warning and slaughter without mercy, all in the name of the demon lord Yeenoghu.

Gnoll Lore
A character knows the following information with a successful
Nature check.
DC 15: Gnolls are nomadic and rarely stay in one place for long. When gnolls attack and pillage a settlement, they leave nothing behind except razed buildings and gnawed corpses. Gnolls often decorate their armor and encampments with the bones of their victims. Impatient and unskilled artisans, they wear patchwork armor and wield weapons stolen from their victims.
DC 20: Gnolls don’t bargain or parley, and they can’t be bribed or reasoned with. Gnolls are often encountered with hyenas, which they keep as pets and hunting animals. They also work with demons.
DC 25: Gnolls detest physical labor and often use slaves to perform menial chores. The life of a slave in a gnoll camp is brutal and short. That said, slaves who show strength and savagery might be indoctrinated into the gnoll vanguard. Such creatures are usually broken in mind and spirit, having become as cruel and ruthless as their captors.
DC 30: As the mortal instruments of the demon lord Yeenoghu, who is called the Beast of Butchery and Ruler of Ruin, gnolls constantly perform atrocities. When not scouring the land in Yeenoghu’s name, gnolls fight among themselves and participate in rituals that involve acts of depravity and self-mutilation.
 

Voadam

Legend
Essentials also tried to make the world humanocentrist, by giving in delineated regions with clear borders in the Conquest of Nerath map, with countries that were mostly inhabited by humans, even in regions were that made no sense (like for instance, Rethmil). This was something that they wanted to avoid in core 4e (per the preview books), as they wanted to give the world a more fantastic feel. I remember this was one of my big gripes against Essentials at the time.
Gotcha, where was the map from? I don't remember it, but I've seen it referenced occasionally.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
The question wasn't addressed to me, but... I also considered back in the day that Essentials somehow wanted to reject the lore they had been building in 4e.

For instance, all that nonsense of the common and uncommon races, separating the classic Tolkienian races from the "exotic" ones, something that didn't happened in core 4e. Core 4e assumed all the races in the world were common.

Essentials also tried to make the world humanocentrist, by giving in delineated regions with clear borders in the Conquest of Nerath map, with countries that were mostly inhabited by humans, even in regions were that made no sense (like for instance, Rethmil). This was something that they wanted to avoid in core 4e (per the preview books), as they wanted to give the world a more fantastic feel. I remember this was one of my big gripes against Essentials at the time.

Another thing I remember people complaining at the time, was how they changed some of the monstrous races back into their "evil" lore of editions past. For instance, in core 4e gnolls had a lore that made them more the noble savage trope, but Essentials turned them into the demonic monster stereotype, something I remember 4e fans really disliked back then.

What stood out the most to me was the attempt to sort of merge Elves and Eladrin back together. 4e Elves were sort of nature's wardens. They consciously made the decision to stay in The World and were very closely related to Primal Spirits. That split and the tenuous relationship between them and the Eladrin was basically cast off in Essentials to make Essentials Elves more like the previous incarnations.

In general, there was a very strong deemphasis of lore elements unique to 4e like dwarves' relationship to giants, the elemental nature of demons, the Dawn War, Primal Spirits, etc. Stuff I found essential to my personal enjoyment of 4e.
 
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Zeromaru X

Arkhosian scholar and coffee lover
Gotcha, where was the map from? I don't remember it, but I've seen it referenced occasionally.

The Conquest of Nerath board game. While I really like the map, I didn't liked the implications it brought to the world building of the Nentir Vale's world, like having mostly human-ruled nations around the map, and the few nations that weren't human-ruled, were ruled by the Tolkienian races. Specially after they said, back in 4e's early life, that they weren't going to create any world map as that was the DMs job.
At least as relates to gnolls this is a bit of a false memory that seems to conflate essentials with original 4e. :)

4e from the start had heavily demonic gnolls. I remember that being a contentious point at the launch of 4e.

I remember the early 4e dragon articles from when they were free PDFs and 367 had one on playing gnolls and the first 4e one, Dragon 364, had one on the Demonomicon of Iggwilv for Yeenoghu both articles leaning in hard on the demonic bad guys characterization.

The fourth of the four gnoll statblocks in the 4e MM is the gnoll demonic scourge.

Here is the description from the original non-essentials MM:

GNOLLS ARE FERAL, DEMON-WORSHIPING MARAUDERS that kill, pillage, and destroy. They attack communities along the borderlands without warning and slaughter without mercy, all in the name of the demon lord Yeenoghu.

Gnoll Lore
A character knows the following information with a successful
Nature check.
DC 15: Gnolls are nomadic and rarely stay in one place for long. When gnolls attack and pillage a settlement, they leave nothing behind except razed buildings and gnawed corpses. Gnolls often decorate their armor and encampments with the bones of their victims. Impatient and unskilled artisans, they wear patchwork armor and wield weapons stolen from their victims.
DC 20: Gnolls don’t bargain or parley, and they can’t be bribed or reasoned with. Gnolls are often encountered with hyenas, which they keep as pets and hunting animals. They also work with demons.
DC 25: Gnolls detest physical labor and often use slaves to perform menial chores. The life of a slave in a gnoll camp is brutal and short. That said, slaves who show strength and savagery might be indoctrinated into the gnoll vanguard. Such creatures are usually broken in mind and spirit, having become as cruel and ruthless as their captors.
DC 30: As the mortal instruments of the demon lord Yeenoghu, who is called the Beast of Butchery and Ruler of Ruin, gnolls constantly perform atrocities. When not scouring the land in Yeenoghu’s name, gnolls fight among themselves and participate in rituals that involve acts of depravity and self-mutilation.
Yeah, I suppose people fixed their attention in the Playing Gnolls article and forgot about these previous entries. But, I remember people really pissed off by that perceived change in the lore. It didn't affected me as nobody played a gnoll IMC, lol

hat split and the tenuous relationship between them and the Eladrin was basically cast off in Essentials to make Essentials Elves more like the previous incarnations

I have to re-read the PHB and HotFL entries to see if there are any differences. But now that you mention this, there are also the eladrin and elven subraces from the Neverwinter Campaign Setting. I usually ignore those because I feel is more Forgotten Realms focused, but yes, they were an attempt to return the elves to their former incarnations.
In general, there was a very strong deemphasis of lore elements unique to 4e like dwarves' relationship to giants, the elemental nature of demons, the Dawn War, Primal Spirits, etc. Stuff I found essential to my personal enjoyment of 4e.
Personally, I didn't feel they were deemphasizing the Dawn War, but I guess that is because I consider Heroes of the Elemental Chaos as part of the Essentials line. The Monster Vault also mentions some Dawn War lore here and there.

I have to re-read the books to check about the dwarves and the demons.
 




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