Just how compatible is Essentials?

Raven Crowking

First Post
Perhaps I missed it up thread, but is there an instance where Raven Crowking explains why he believes there to be such incompatibility other than some feats and options becoming obsolete?

Perhaps I missed it up thread, but is there an instance where Raven Crowking says believes there to be incompatibility? AFAICT, all Raven Crowking did was say that it wasn't impossible to use 3.5 and 3.0 materials at the same table.

But, maybe you can point out the post I missed?


RC
 

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TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Since I haven’t done this in a while, I will rehash.

There is also a DM: from a DMs point of view, two and a half of the three 08 books are outdated and have been replaced. Sure, the DMG has some evergreen material, just like past DMGs (I still use my 1E one and sometimes looks at the others) and you can update MMI numbers by hand or even on the fly. But I know many of you reading this and saying “compatible, compatible” are DMs, and using the MV (or compendium) and RC as your main references. Your three core books may have dust on them. You not even know where you last put them. You may wonder if they have any resale value, or hope they do.

The play side is kinda a mess: Yes, we all use DDI/CB and play with mostly updated PHB material, with all sorts of other stuff in, including essentials stuff. Fine. We pay up to stay current. Or we did until the CB pissed us off. But I don’t think it is non-trivial to tell an experienced RPGer who wants to play 4E what to buy. What if they don’t want to subscribe to DDI, or find it overwhelming? What if they want to try the warlord or the fighter with lots o’ powers? Non-trivial. And HoS? Seriously? It had some great ideas, and some good mechanics here and there…but still…it should speak for itself. One reason the way it is is to work with the different kinds of 4E. Ok, one more, themes without attack powers. Total wasted opportunity.

Essentials are not updates: I really don’t care. Go ahead, beat that drum. Ride that bandwagon. Updates accelerated massively leading into essentials. By design and the WotC’s own admissions, this was not a coincidence. Essentials material is, by its nature more updated. And what about the Weaponmaster? What is that exactly besides an update to make things more essentially?

Falling sky: ya, ya, ya. Yes, I use recent 4E products and older 4E products and my hair has not suddenly caught on fire. But there are many legitimate issues that go beyond whether a slayer, a bard, and a "templar" can all work in the same party together.
 

There is also a DM: from a DMs point of view, two and a half of the three 08 books are outdated and have been replaced. Sure, the DMG has some evergreen material, just like past DMGs (I still use my 1E one and sometimes looks at the others) and you can update MMI numbers by hand or even on the fly. But I know many of you reading this and saying “compatible, compatible” are DMs, and using the MV (or compendium) and RC as your main references. Your three core books may have dust on them. You not even know where you last put them. You may wonder if they have any resale value, or hope they do.

Honestly, when I DM my main rules reference is the DM Screen. I can't remember the last time I cracked open the Rules Compendium at the table when I was DMing (the closest I can think of is cracking open the RC after the session and with someone else DMing) - and the reason it's the rulebook when I DM is because it's the smallest and lightest thing with all the rules and I don't DM at my flat.

There is precisely one outdated book (MM1, replaced by Monster Vault - I still get use out of the MM2). And the MM3 with the new math is not part of Essentials. Where possible I wasn't using the MM1 long before Essentials came out; MM2 and 3 are just better books.

Ok, one more, themes without attack powers. Total wasted opportunity.

Total improvement IMO. Much easier to balance, and much more focussed on what themes should be. Your class determines how you act when the chips are down, your themes are far more out of combat based. And more out of combat options are good.
 

OnlineDM

Adventurer
But I don’t think it is non-trivial to tell an experienced RPGer who wants to play 4E what to buy. What if they don’t want to subscribe to DDI, or find it overwhelming? What if they want to try the warlord or the fighter with lots o’ powers? Non-trivial.

Simple. Start with Heroes of the Fallen Lands / Forgotten Kingdoms. You want the Warlord or Fighter from PHB1? Go here and here (they're free).

Want more options but don't want to subscribe to DDI? Buy PHB1, 2, 3, Martial Power 1, 2, Arcane Power 1, 2, Primal Power, Psionic Power, etc.

Baby steps. Start with the basics (Heroes of Fallen Lands / Forgotten Kingdoms) and expand from there if the player is interested. If they're really interested, skip straight to DDI and don't bother with the *Power books, Forgotten Realms Player Guide, maybe not even the PHBs depending on what exactly they want.

I don't think this is any harder now than it was before Heroes of the Fallen Lands was printed; the on-ramp book has changed, but there's still an on-ramp book.
 



the Jester

Legend
There is also a DM: from a DMs point of view, two and a half of the three 08 books are outdated and have been replaced. Sure, the DMG has some evergreen material, just like past DMGs (I still use my 1E one and sometimes looks at the others) and you can update MMI numbers by hand or even on the fly. But I know many of you reading this and saying “compatible, compatible” are DMs, and using the MV (or compendium) and RC as your main references.

Nice assertions, and possibly true for some, but I suspect those aren't the guys saying "compatible, compatible."

AS one of the guys saying, "compatible, compatible," I have to say instead, Nonsense! I use the PH1 as much as ever; in fact, our newest player is playing a race and class from PH1 (dragonborn paladin). I use the MM less than I used to- but that's because there are more options available! I still use it plenty, and I can fix the math in my head with a quick "+1/2 level to damage" and a check of how the average damage/round looks.

The play side is kinda a mess: Yes, we all use DDI/CB and play with mostly updated PHB material, with all sorts of other stuff in, including essentials stuff. Fine. We pay up to stay current. Or we did until the CB pissed us off. But I don’t think it is non-trivial to tell an experienced RPGer who wants to play 4E what to buy. What if they don’t want to subscribe to DDI, or find it overwhelming? What if they want to try the warlord or the fighter with lots o’ powers? Non-trivial.

It's just as trivial as asking, "What if he wants to play a beastmaster ranger?" There's no need to freak out or cry, "Which book does he buy? OH NOES!!"

Ok, one more, themes without attack powers. Total wasted opportunity.

For those of us that really dislike power creep, themes aren't an issue because we don't use them. I know they are great and all- and I would use them if they'd been in since day one- and I know I'm not typical; but themes that give more attack powers are not even open for discussion at my table.

Updates accelerated massively leading into essentials. By design and the WotC’s own admissions, this was not a coincidence. Essentials material is, by its nature more updated. And what about the Weaponmaster? What is that exactly besides an update to make things more essentially?

So what? Don't use the updates if you don't like them. Download them off the WotC site for free if you do. It's just the errata and update cycle that has always been there. How many different versions of polymorph were in 3e?

As far as making the weaponmaster more 'essentially'- how so? It didn't lose its power structure or features, it didn't gain a reliance on basic attacks, it didn't become a striker, all that happened was that a few powers that were busted got fixed. It's the same as the errata and update cycle that has always been there. My old 1e Unearthed Arcana is full of handwritten notes incorporating the errata from Dragon into it. Same thing, different edition.

Falling sky: ya, ya, ya. Yes, I use recent 4E products and older 4E products and my hair has not suddenly caught on fire. But there are many legitimate issues that go beyond whether a slayer, a bard, and a "templar" can all work in the same party together.

Are you talking about business model issues or gameplay issues? I'll grant that the business model issues are there- but I think this thread is focused on gameplay issues, and with one exception (the utter lack of support for the new rarity magic item system) I don't see any at all. And again, this is from running a game that has included an Essentials mage alongside a PH1/AP tome wizard.
 

Dannager

First Post
There is also a DM: from a DMs point of view, two and a half of the three 08 books are outdated and have been replaced.

I am a DM, and that is not my view.

Sure, the DMG has some evergreen material, just like past DMGs (I still use my 1E one and sometimes looks at the others) and you can update MMI numbers by hand or even on the fly. But I know many of you reading this and saying “compatible, compatible” are DMs, and using the MV (or compendium) and RC as your main references.

No. I own those books, and I own the original PHB, MM, DMG, but I have used the Compendium and DM's screen for these things from the moment they were available. The only parts of the DMG I really used, even early on, are some of the parts that are still valid today: treasure parcels (yes, an alternate system exists but isn't yet fully-supported) and advice.

Your three core books may have dust on them.

My core books have been gathering dust since I subscribed to DDI.

The play side is kinda a mess: Yes, we all use DDI/CB and play with mostly updated PHB material, with all sorts of other stuff in, including essentials stuff. Fine. We pay up to stay current. Or we did until the CB pissed us off. But I don’t think it is non-trivial to tell an experienced RPGer who wants to play 4E what to buy.

Tell them to buy an HoF_ book.

What if they don’t want to subscribe to DDI, or find it overwhelming?

They probably won't, but if they do, that HoF_ book you told them to buy will get them through just fine.

What if they want to try the warlord or the fighter with lots o’ powers? Non-trivial.

If they want to build a character with a lot of powers to pick from, have them use DDI. If they want to build a character with easy choices to make, have them just use that HoF_ book.

And HoS? Seriously? It had some great ideas, and some good mechanics here and there…but still…it should speak for itself.

In what way? It's a fine book.

One reason the way it is is to work with the different kinds of 4E.

No, it's the way it is so that it works with a bunch of different types of characters. There's only one "kind" of 4e: 4e. Heroes of Shadow is a perfect example that proves that Essentials is simply a set of options within 4e.

Ok, one more, themes without attack powers. Total wasted opportunity.

This has nothing to do with the discussion we're having and everything to do with a personal opinion on how they ought to have handled a mechanic.

Essentials are not updates: I really don’t care.

No one has said Essentials is not about updates. But that's not unique to Essentials. The game was updated before Essentials (and to no lesser degree) and the game will continue to be updated after Essentials. This is the nature of a living game.

What is happening is that people are seeing a bunch of new books that look different and instead of stepping back and examining things with a critical eye, they're suddenly noticing that the game has had updates. If new books are coming out that reflect these updates, it must be a new edition! Or so their thought process goes.

Falling sky: ya, ya, ya. Yes, I use recent 4E products and older 4E products and my hair has not suddenly caught on fire. But there are many legitimate issues that go beyond whether a slayer, a bard, and a "templar" can all work in the same party together.

I don't see many. This is just a lot of people whining about how much they believe the game to have changed, when in reality they could sit down and start playing with a mix of every type of character possible and the game would play pretty much exactly the same, even from the DM's perspective.

And for crying out loud, people, use DDI.
 

Badwe

First Post
Just in case there is still some doubt on the compatability, I thought I would pile on that I have both original 4th and Essentials in my home campaign and have had zero problems with regard to compatibility.

It may be fair to say the starting point isn't as graceful as wotc originally intended, but in terms of ongoing groups there should be no problems.
 

MrGrenadine

Explorer
Just wondering, but when will criticisms of 4e stop being referred to as "whining" or "gnashing of teeth" or whatever?

Because this would be a much more interested thread if people didn't come off as so emotionally invested in squashing any dissent in their own beliefs and opinions.



Back on topic, saying new players should just pick up an HoF* as a starting point is all well and good, but I would be amazed if any potential player, looking at a wall of 4e books at their local comic or game shop, would know to do that. Its just not clear.

And as for compatibility, yes, there are terrific synergies between some Pre-E and E features, but there are also combinations of classes/races/PPs/powers, etc that just don't work, and even DDi doesn't help navigate the hundreds of thousands of possible combinations. So while I'm sure some home games are working with both types of players, its been my experience is that it takes some effort to make sure it works--and for what its worth, this was not always the case in D&D. Again, as the ruleset matures, this will be less of an issue, and I look forward to that more elegant version.
 

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