Q. about essentials, old core books and MM3.

M8

First Post
Hi! My First Post here. :)

I'm looking on some advice. I have the old d&d4 core books, and I'm not sure what the "current state" of d&d4 is.

I used to play AD&D2, a few of it's clones, D&D3 and some other "old" games, like Call of Cuthullu, Pendragon, Warhammer RPG etc. But I haven't played P&P RPG's for almost 10 years now.

I have decided that in the next half year or so, I would like to cut back on my PC use (reading online articles, forum trolling, playing games, youtube-ing, watching movies etc.) but instead write down some RPG material I have in my head on paper.

I wanted to do something like this for years now, and I hope my recent job changes will allow me to do just that.

I have been reading rpg materials, going through reviews, watching forums etc, and I've decided to "number crunch" my thoughts in D&D4 (which at first look I like very much), but if I understand it correctly, D&D4 had some recent changes. So I would like to ask some questions, before I embark on my journey to scribble some nonsense onto paper. :)

01. Is it true that the core 3 books (PHB, DMG and MM1-2) are kinda outdated and the online erratas aren't updated any more?
02. Is it true that the MM3 has a new format that changes monster stats significantly? Making MM 1&2 outdated? (Making MM3 D&D4.1?)
03. Is it true that the new essential books outdate the old core books? Making it D&D4.5 basically?


Lastly:
04. I have the old d&d4 core books (not the deluxe edition or the essentials), if I'd like to publish (online, in a blog or something) my ideas, would my "work" be usable by someone with MM3 (4.1) or the essentials (4.5)?
 
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OnlineDM

Adventurer
First, be aware that talking about things like 4.1 and 4.5 will probably be perceived by many as trolling. I'm still pretty new to D&D, but even I have seen edition war mania crop up. So, tread carefully.

To answer your questions, rules updates / errata to all of the original books are still available, and if there are future rules updates those will be made available as well. So if you want to use the most up-to-date rules and you're okay with printing out those rules update documents, you're fine.

For monsters, monster damage has been increased in MM3 and later books like Monster Vault. You can still use the MM1 monsters as written, but they'll probably come across as wimpy. I really enjoy the updated monsters - they present a real threat to the party without having to make the easiest encounter equal to the party's level plus two. When I use older monsters, I adjust them upward.

The Essentials books do NOT replace the old books. The player books (Heroes of the Fallen Lands / Forgotten Kingdoms) have new builds. That's it. Those new builds feel different from the original builds for certain classes (mainly the martial classes), but they don't invalidate the original builds at all. I've played many Living Forgotten Realms games with original versions of the classes alongside Essentials versions, and they work just fine. They're just more options.

To your last question, if you write something that works with the original books, it will work just fine today. If you use monster damage that's similar to MM1 monsters, the monsters will probably feel wimpy, but I imagine that you would playtest whatever you publish to make sure that it feels exciting, so that wouldn't be a problem. Those monsters would have felt wimpy years ago, too, if you ran them as written.
 

Larrin

Entropic Good
01. Is it true that the core 3 books (PHB, DMG and MM1-2) are kinda outdated and the online erratas aren't updated any more?

"kinda outdated" is a tricky phrase to answer, parts have been fixed and tweaked, but 90% is still useable, if not what was reprinted in more recent books. They've tried to cut back on erratas, because it was getting ridiculous how much they were having to go over and over multiple erratas per book. But they work fine, and the main rules haven't changed (even with errata's). Erratas mostly targeted problem powers or ambiguous class features. Only Skill DC's and Stealth useage really were changed in the 'rules'.

02. Is it true that the MM3 has a new format that changes monster stats significantly? Making MM 1&2 outdated? (Making MM3 D&D4.1?)

This is more true. MM1&2 monsters are useable and fun, BUT they have math problems that CAN lead to long fights that don't challenge the players. This is mostly true about solos. Non-solo MM1&2 aren't nearly as outdated, they certainly still have a place.

03. Is it true that the new essential books outdate the old core books? Making it D&D4.5 basically?

No. The basic rules in the essential books are the same as PHB1. They have all new takes on classes and class powers, just like martial power or PHB2 (their new take is a bit more extreme than these older ones, though), but NOTHING is rendered obsolete, core rules (ie how you read powers, move, fight, skill, etc) are the same barring errata already published long ago (ie stealth rules).

Lastly:
04. I have the old d&d4 core books (not the deluxe edition or the essentials), if I'd like to publish (online, in a blog or something) my ideas, would my "work" be usable by someone with MM3 (4.1) or the essentials (4.5)?

Yes, 100%. No reason they wouldn't.
 

M8

First Post
Thank you for the replies.

I didn't intend to troll, so sorry for the bad topic title and phrasing. I'm new to D&D 4 (I haven't played with d&d3 much either, mostly ad&d clones back in the day), I just wanted to know what books I have to buy before I start.

I would like to buy the phb2 and dmg2, arcane power, divine power, martial power, primal power, shadow power (when it comes out) and maybe the planes below & above (and the shadowfell book when it comes out). As you can see these are quite a lot of books. But I wasn't sure if they are still current, if they weren't I would have have to buy the essential books (which I am not really eager to do, mainly because I don't really understand the difference between them and the old d&d4 core books).

So again, thanks for the replies.

- - -

I have a homebrew campaign setting in my head (it's something like Ptolus from Monte Cook, but instead of one big city, I have a few smaller ones), I don't intend to use monsters in my games, but rather use human NPC's or humanoids, with the occasional warhorse, hound, bear etc. thrown into the mix. (And maybe at higher levels, some demons, devils & undead)

I intend to run a very low magic items campaign (I think there is a guide in the dmg2 for this), I'll probably create a whole new magic items system, my own monsters (if any) based on the DMG and the MM1.

(I'm telling you this because you gave me such excellent replies already, and I hope by clarifying my intentions, you can help me even more).

One more question:
If I use the old core books, with the newest erratas, is there something I should do, to make my NPC's (and the occasional monster) stats more "player friendly"? Like halving monster HP? Doubling dmg output etc?

I tried the basic adventure at the end of the DMG, and I felt the fights are somewhat long and I guess once the player characters become more complicated the fights will become even longer.

My intention is to create a good atmosphere, a good story, with good NPC characters, and I'm not really focused on Monsters or the actual fights, or dungeoneering in itself. Do you think I could pull this off in D&D4?
 
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02. Is it true that the MM3 has a new format that changes monster stats significantly? Making MM 1&2 outdated? (Making MM3 D&D4.1?)

Yes. Use the monster damage formula in DMG2. The easiest way to describe is 8 + monster level = average damage. (It would take too much work to detail lower damage values.) Brutes do +20% damage, encounter powers do +25 yo +50% damage, and there are new rules for minions too, but you can use the old ones just fine.
 

Obryn

Hero
Yes. Use the monster damage formula in DMG2. The easiest way to describe is 8 + monster level = average damage. (It would take too much work to detail lower damage values.) Brutes do +20% damage, encounter powers do +25 yo +50% damage, and there are new rules for minions too, but you can use the old ones just fine.
That's in the errata, not in DMG2. Fortunately, that means it's available online for free.

-O
 

Damon_Tor

First Post
To answer your questions, rules updates / errata to all of the original books are still available, and if there are future rules updates those will be made available as well. So if you want to use the most up-to-date rules and you're okay with printing out those rules update documents, you're fine.

This is incorrect. Rules changes that are published in a book are not added to the free Rules Updates section of the WotC website: this means that the many changes made to the rules in the new Rules Compendium are not found in that document, and never will be.

This is not a new policy: for example, the "Reliable" keyword has gone through many changes. After the first PHB was published it was quickly changed through their "in between books" process to close a loophole: this is the version that can be found on their free errata site. However, the rule was further altered in PHB 2: this is the current version of the keyword, and it is NOT found on their website.

This is why the two "changes coming in Essentials" articles published by WotC are not part of the errata process, and are not found in the Rules Updates portion of their website. These did not include all the rules changes the Essentials line created: for the fully updated rules you need the books.

In other words, yes, in order to remain current with the rules of 4e you must either buy the latest books or become a DDI subscriber for access to the compendium.
 

M8

First Post
Thanks for the replies, you are really very helpful. :)

I went into a gaming store today (I play warhammer), and I checked the Rules Compendium compared to the online errata.

I have noticed a few changes, for example the Difficulty class is different in them (which is I think quite important), I'm sure if I'd read through every material carefully I would even find more differences.

But none of the differences I saw were actually major, game changing things. Yeah some monsters might be a pushover in the old version, some feat combos might be overpowered etc. But it is still the same game, the only two things that I have found changed are the monster/skill check difficulty and the available number of feat combos.
Am I right?
On another note, I also compared the Monster Vault with the MM1, and they are almost identical. Yeah the monsters have 25-50% more hp and dmg, but almost everything else is the same (of course except the new MM3 format which I like very much), or did I miss something?

Edit:
I would like to point out that I'm a beginner, and my possible players wouldn't be rules lawyers, or power gamers at the beginning. It's very likely that I even have to translate the rules into our language, before we can start to play (which means I can easily control what kind of materials they can and want to, use at all).
 
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OnlineDM

Adventurer
Your observations are dead-on. And for people who aren't super rules-focused, they probably wouldn't notice much of a difference even if you started with the rules as written in the original books and later switched to the updated rules.

You bring up a good point on the DCs for skill challenges - they've changed several times. I personally use them as suggestions only.

It's tough because lots of characters have a couple of skills that they're maxed out in (trained, high stat, maybe a racial or background bonus on top of that). With anything but the hardest hard DC, they're going to succeed on any roll higher than, say, 3. If your players are in a situation where they can make a case for using only their super-awesome skills, then you either need to figure appropriate DCs based on your players or just turn the skill challenge into role playing since there's very little chance they're going to fail.
 

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