Q. about essentials, old core books and MM3.

Nebten

First Post
If you are going to be DM only and not much of a player, I don't see a reason to buy any of the "Power" books. They are full of PC options. The Planes books, Open Grave, etc are more suited for a DM who is creating his own campaign, like yourself.
 

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A few things.

1. 4e will do the job nicely for what you're seeking to do. I don't think it is the ideal system (and 3e might not be either). 4e does have a strong focus on the tactical. If you're looking for more freeform story, you may want to consider another system/game entirely. I've read good things about Savage Worlds, in particular.

2. "Public-ness" of material you write. If you're planning on making a website that is for your group alone (password protected or private somehow), then ignore the rest of this. If not, and depending on how much you plan on putting online, I'd look into what WotC is cool with, both officially, and from the experience of the people here. My observation has been that they've been (within their rights) shutting down more and more websites of late. These have included 3e sites. I don't mean to alarm you or even to "be alarmist", but if you're going to undertake any kind of public effort, you should probably check out the legality and restrictions. For this reason you may consider 3e or Pathfinder, which use SRDs, or another gaming company that has a more "fan friendly" policy for public use of their system. I may be blowing this out of proportion for your needs, and I may not. I encourage you to clarify what you intend to post (to yourself and to this community) and perhaps feel out if WotC would be fine with it. They very well may be.

3. I've heard various things about the "up to date-ness" of D&D Insider. MOSTLY what I've heard is that it's the "go-to" construction tool, far exceeding what even WotC's books offer (to the point that people don't buy the books anymore and just rely on D&DI, and WotC has cancelled several books). If I were you, I'd check into D&D Insider pretty seriously, both on WotC's website, and looking into reviews. Of late, there have been some fairly intense complaints, but these might not be issues that would concern you in the least.

4. I disagree about DMs not needing player books for two reasons. The first is to have a good understanding of what your players are going to want/want to do, but that's a minor one. The second, and fairly obvious reason, is that you'll be wanting to make some pretty neat NPCs. If for inspiration only, these books can have value.


All in all, I think your decision depends upon two main things:
1. How public it's going to be, and how publicly utilized. If you want to make something that others may buy or use, this adds a level of complexity (questions of GSL, fair use, etc). Also, audience. If you want people to use it, there should be an audience, and I see that as a good reason to go with a major gaming system like 4e or pathfinder (or perhaps a few others).

2. How it fits the needs of your group and storytelling ideals. While 4e can do this smoothly, there are systems that can do it even better. This site (ENworld) is a great resource if you choose to consider another system, asking "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. What gaming system do you think would be best for this?" If you go that route, I recommend starting a new thread.


Finally, if you go 4e, I strongly urge you to weigh the pros and cons of D&DI versus buying the books.
 
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