D&D 4E Inquiry: How do 4E fans feel about 4E Essentials?

cbwjm

Legend
I'm experimenting with an even less restricted paradigm. Powers have an associated source, but you don't HAVE to be attuned to that source to use the power. You simply have to be attuned to it to drop RIDERS on top of it. That is, you only have riders from your source, and you can't spend power points to enhance an effect (which is basically just a slightly different way of saying "get a daily use") without that attunement. So, a fighter can unleash a really potent "Spend a PP and add a rider to a basic at-will to make it into awesome thingy" and a wizard could still access the basic 'at-will', if they have the right boon, they just can't pump it up. This cuts WAY back on the numbers of powers required, and pretty much provides the equivalent of hybrid/MC. You can always try to become attuned to several power sources if you want, though you only ever get the class features of your actual base class (which generally includes your role-defining riders).

Its an experiment, but I THINK it will work, and basically the result is kind of a bit 'covert', but its VERY close to identical to classic AEDU in effect, except you use power points to get your encounter/daily type effects. The PPs can double as HS and AP too, so you don't really want to just burn them casually. OTOH it does open up the possibility of spamming a specific potent power/rider/enhancement combo somewhat. I guess that is just sort of the price of admission though.
That sounds cool, a much more refined version of my suggestion.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
This would be neat. Maybe better, but I think it's not a strictly superior choice to class based. You gain certain flexibility, but you lose some ability to customize to class.

The individual classes would still give you your role.

Being a fighter or knight made you a defender. Being a rogue, ranger, or slayer would make you a striker.
But all 5 classes should have been able to pick Twin Strike and dual wield effectively without a feat.
And there was no reason for both Sure Strike and Careful Strike.

I playtested this with my family back in the day and it worked well.
 

Personally, if 4e used shared power pools, it woulda helped Essentials feel more organic in it's introduction. Essential classes would feel more entangled within the original classes.

Here is my dream 4e Martial Power Source

ClassMartial At-WillMartial EncountersMartial DailiesArcane EncountersArcane DailiesDivine EncountersDivine DailiesPrimal EncountersPrimal DailiesShadow DailiesPsionic Dailies
FighterXXX
Ranger HunterXXX
RogueXXX
WarlordXXX
AlchemistXXX
AssassinXX
BerserkerXX
BlackguardX
BrawlerXXX
CrusaderXX
GadgeteerXXX
KnightXX
Hunter RangerXXX
RunepriestXXX
SkaldXXX
SlayerXX
ThiefXX
Here's the problem with it, it is VERY VERY HARD to make the classes feel distinct! You end up with a everyone doing mostly the same stuff, and 4e simply didn't invest THAT much in other ways of making classes unique. It was a mix of power and feat and class feature that did it. When you try to write the powers for this implementation, it just doesn't work out very well.

So, my solution is to have riders. You have core powers that do some useful and interesting stuff, but are FAIRLY generic. Then you have riders that each class gets which pretty much define the class in its role and make it distinct (you can have class features that aren't riders too). Now when the Knight makes a Powerful Blow with his arming sword, he can also clip you up side the head with the rim of his shield, or if a different build option was taken, maybe force you back or make a passing attack, etc. These options can also be applied to a Careful Attack, or a Sweeping Blow, or whatever. So you have a few core attack techniques, and then things you add on top to make you distinct.

The number of powers is greatly lessened (and there are a lot of other techniques for that as well that aren't relevant here) so you can actually build an entire class with just a handful of distinct riders, plus maybe some distinct utilities if you think they're warranted (but here I think the basic shared list is a stronger proposition, just basically make them Skill Powers and each character has a thematic choice of options).
 

Minigiant

Legend
Here's the problem with it, it is VERY VERY HARD to make the classes feel distinct! You end up with a everyone doing mostly the same stuff, and 4e simply didn't invest THAT much in other ways of making classes unique. It was a mix of power and feat and class feature that did it. When you try to write the powers for this implementation, it just doesn't work out very well.

Well you could fix that with each class having a class power and class feature. Sneak attack and a class bonus to daggers makes rogues feel different from a ranger's Hunter's Mark and fighting style. If you pool powers, you really only need one more class feature.

E-Classes that copy features might need adjustments.

So, my solution is to have riders. You have core powers that do some useful and interesting stuff, but are FAIRLY generic. Then you have riders that each class gets which pretty much define the class in its role and make it distinct (you can have class features that aren't riders too). Now when the Knight makes a Powerful Blow with his arming sword, he can also clip you up side the head with the rim of his shield, or if a different build option was taken, maybe force you back or make a passing attack, etc. These options can also be applied to a Careful Attack, or a Sweeping Blow, or whatever. So you have a few core attack techniques, and then things you add on top to make you distinct.

The number of powers is greatly lessened (and there are a lot of other techniques for that as well that aren't relevant here) so you can actually build an entire class with just a handful of distinct riders, plus maybe some distinct utilities if you think they're warranted (but here I think the basic shared list is a stronger proposition, just basically make them Skill Powers and each character has a thematic choice of options).

Isn't that similar to pooling powers and giving each class a minor action attack trigger class power?
 

Well you could fix that with each class having a class power and class feature. Sneak attack and a class bonus to daggers makes rogues feel different from a ranger's Hunter's Mark and fighting style. If you pool powers, you really only need one more class feature.

E-Classes that copy features might need adjustments.



Isn't that similar to pooling powers and giving each class a minor action attack trigger class power?
Yeah, I think it is pretty similar. There's a few ways to articulate the same thing, and 4e did play around the edges of this stuff, but they never did it in a big way, really. I mean, Slayer and Knight do the power attack thing, but I guess they were philosophically opposed to taking it to the logical endpoint.
 

Undrave

Hero
I'm not disagreeing with this, either. But I did not mean to imply that it was the only reason. Obviously, different people have different expectations. And sometimes the differences are shared.

When I mention certain mechanics, I am referring to the familiar parts of the game that players expect to see carried over, like Vancian spellcasting and other sacred cows. On whole, the difference in 4th edition was apparent in everything, even its presentation. Everything was presented in color-coded formats like trading cards; powers, magic items, monsters, etc.
Oh yeah... 4e was very much like turning on the house lights in a theatre and showing you how the set is built out of plywood and duct tape and that all the words were in this script here...

It really made no qualm about being a game with game rules that existed to balance a game so it was fun for everybody at the table.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'd say that of the eight schools diviners, enchanters, evokers, illusionists, and necromancers all have strong themes and aesthetics in almost exactly the way you talk about. and abjuration is reasonably thematic just not a strong archetype. This leaves conjuration (why again is teleportation conjuration?) and transmutation. Even in these two cases the problem is that you've basically got two thematic archetypes mixed up in the school. Transmuters are mixing organic and inorganic transformations for example and it causes a mess; if you turned half the transmuter into the biomancer it would be fine. And conjuration's not that different; both of them are very grab-baggy.

But when I say most 5.5/8 (with abjuration being the 0.5) to me qualifies as most - although I'm firmly of the opinion that the Nethermancer should be added back from 4e sharing the school of necromancy. And like I said the Biomancer is strongly thematic and covers much of the ground a transmuter does.

Who cares what healing is? I mean it's not as if it's something wizards can do and no one else bothers with the schools.

More to the point all your "more thematic grouping of spells" is is a slightly more polished version of the D&D schools of magic; all eight of them are meant to be thematic groupings of spells and some spells (like teleport) really are "none of the above"and might belong to e.g. a travel school. Having eight and only eight is a problem - as was the nonsense about "opposition schools" that infested earlier editions. But the idea behind schools is precisely thematic groupings of spells, and most of them work.

Also I'm firmly of the opinion some spells should be of multiple schools, allowing them to trigger the specialisms. Currently Invisibility is under Transmutation - which I can just about understand. But if it is there should also be a version that's Illusion.
Yeah I see no reason not to give some spells multiple school “tags”.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Yeah I see no reason not to give some spells multiple school “tags”.
ADnD did this and, in 2e at least, they even explained it as different casting methods for the same result. It did lead to the argument back in the day when oppositional schools were a think as to whether or not a specialist could cast spells that had an oppositional school + non-oppositional school listed. I think it was clarified as yes they could in a sage advice column. Probably quite a lot of spells, especially if looking back at 2e, would have a couple of schools applied to them. I often think the various wall spells should be conjuration, though I think they've more or less always been evocation only.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
ADnD did this and, in 2e at least, they even explained it as different casting methods for the same result. It did lead to the argument back in the day when oppositional schools were a think as to whether or not a specialist could cast spells that had an oppositional school + non-oppositional school listed. I think it was clarified as yes they could in a sage advice column. Probably quite a lot of spells, especially if looking back at 2e, would have a couple of schools applied to them. I often think the various wall spells should be conjuration, though I think they've more or less always been evocation only.
Yeah and if we throw away the need for one school only, we can just err on the side of multiple schools and list Shield as Abjuration and Conjuration, Etc.
 

The problem is trying to take existing spells and fit them into categories.

It would all work a lot better if you made categories first and then used that to help you determine what exact;y magic can do and what kind of spells to make.

Otherwise it's all a bit of a mess. A lot of spells don't fit anywhere well. Some schools like necromancy are a bit hamstrung because it's "animating dead and doing stuff with ghosts" and...and...uh...I know some spells that sound like they're really evil and have death in the name, that'll do it." (Also oops we gave all the best necromancy stuff to clerics already.)

I'm not sure there's really a good way to make them work without being willing to slay some sacred cows.
 

Kannik

Adventurer
I thought the classes weren't that great for the most part, and wouldn't want to play essentials only. Also, the fact that instead of making the Ritual system more prominent, they decided to remove it, or at least not mention it, tells you something.

I always wondered what the effect would be if at 4e launch, the classes that got Ritual Caster also got free rituals per day like the Bard (but more) and had a table that showed "Rituals known" and "Free rituals / per day" that looked like the old spell tables...

In one of our campaigns, the Paladin player was feeing a bit bummed at the loss of some of the broader abilities/spells from previous editions. So I did something similar to what you suggest above, selecting a number of the rituals that fit the Paladin theme (and spells from previous editions) to add to his character (without needing to select the Ritual Caster feat). In addition, I allowed most to be cast either using components or, at an option, using healing surges, which allowed them to feel like they were coming from within and their tie to their deity (and to match 'casting' from previous editions). It worked out very well and they loved it, giving them extra flavour and abilities for use outside of encounters.

My favorite thing about 4e is how much flavor and flair you get with each class. I like that we have Avengers with powers tuned to them that take advantage of their class features rather Divine striker powers.

Likewise! Especially in the later books the classes were really evocative, managing similar roles in quite different ways and with a great amount of flavour (visually, thematically, and for RP purposes). That flavour was something the players in my group who hadn't played 4e before noticed and commented on even though we only played for 2 sessions. :)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Likewise! Especially in the later books the classes were really evocative, managing similar roles in quite different ways and with a great amount of flavour (visually, thematically, and for RP purposes).
Vivid even if you are martial.
That flavour was something the players in my group who hadn't played 4e before noticed and commented on even though we only played for 2 sessions. :)
I like how Swordmages defend utterly differently than fighters do....

But I am fine with Poets, Priests and Politicians having words to thank for their positions.

Thank the Police...
 
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Vivid even if you are martial.

I like how Swordmages defend utterly differently than fighters do....

But I am fine with Poets, Priests and Politicians having words to thank for their positions.

Thank the Stones.
My favorite power is still Vicious Mockery. I mean, its hard to get more cool than "Your father smelled of elderberries!" <roll for damage> lol. For me the Bard was one of the most fun classes to play. Well, that and the shaman "hey, just talk to my fuzzy friend here, KABOOM!"
 



S'mon

Legend
Played 3 hours of 4e Reavers of Harkenwold on Roll20 tonight. A skill challenge (trying to recruit the Woodsinger Elves) and 3 battles (2 notably tough) - our level 3 PCs earned 693 XP each!

The Roll20 VTT definitely works great with 4e.

Didn't go so well tonight, the Iron Circle finally kicked our butts at Albridge due to some idiotic NPC battle deployments*/adventure railroad. Would have been 3/4 TPK (I was Brave Sir Robin-ing away) but for a deus ex machina.

*When your town is called Al-Bridge, maybe make use of the bloody BRIDGE. :D
 


Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Huh, I thought it was Sting all the way! ;)
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My first time starting a thread...be gentle. ;)

I am currently active in the Survivor: D&D Edition thread on the forum and have observed that while there are plenty of participants in said thread who like 4E I have yet to see a single upvote for 4E Essentials. I never played either version of 4E, have only a cursory knowledge of 4E and know nothing about Essentials.

So, 4E devotees, what were the changes made in Essentials that you dislike?

If there are any fans of Essentials actually out there, what were the changes that you DID like?

NOTE: I am genuinely curious about this topic and have ZERO interest in starting any kind of intra edition flame war, so please lets try to keep things civil.
No offense to anyone, but I enjoyed it. I am also a fan of simplification, which it did.
 

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