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What do we know of D&D Essentials?

xechnao

First Post
What I am especially interested to know is if the game follows 4e's gameplay paradigm of tiles/board encounter gameplay or if it is more open ended.

But anything about it is still interesting to know.
 

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Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Essentials is not a different game from 4e D&D. It is simply a new line of products that should form the new path into D&D for beginning players.

The first boxed set has just 4 classes and 4 races and three (or two) levels of play. Presumably each class will just have one or two builds with predetermined choices (but this is just speculation).

Other products in the line are a boxed set for DMs, a set of monsters, a Compendium with the full rules, two books with full options for several classes and races (this stuff should be mostly new), 3 set of tiles and a dice set.
 

Transformer

First Post
Ignoring the presumption that tiles-based combat encounters = less open-ended,

The Essentials line is the same game. It's just a line of products to ease new players into the game and serve as a standard reference that doesn't change and that has most of the errata included. The "a session is made of encounters" paradigm is surely retained. I'm convinced that it's a new set of core rulebooks, but it isn't a new game.

The first boxed set has just 4 classes and 4 races and three (or two) levels of play. Presumably each class will just have one or two builds with predetermined choices (but this is just speculation).

I believe the latest news was that it does go up to level three. Also, I'm pretty sure it has open-ended character creation (with pretty limited options for powers and such, though, I'm sure).
 

samursus

Explorer
From what I remember, the classes and races won't be new, but the 2 builds for each class will be new. Therefore one could assume that many of the powers might be new as well.
 

xechnao

First Post
This sounds like the quick start rules of keep on the shadowfell.
Are you sure there is not some kind of confusion?

I have the impression that essentials is going to be something different than 4e. While compatible with certain things it would still be different.

A difference kind of like the one among Basic D&D and AD&D.
 



MrMyth

First Post
Are you sure there is not some kind of confusion?

I have the impression that essentials is going to be something different than 4e. While compatible with certain things it would still be different.

There is confusion, but I think just on your end - that Essentials is something different than 4E.

It isn't.

It is a new line of products aimed at new players. It will include new powers and features for existing classes, presumably designed to be simpler to approach. It will not overwrite existing material, and will be completely compatible with all current 4E products.

That's pretty much what we've been told - I'm sure we'll see for ourselves in time, but nothing indicates this is a seperate game in anyway.
 

xechnao

First Post
That's pretty much what we've been told - I'm sure we'll see for ourselves in time, but nothing indicates this is a seperate game in anyway.

Do you have any links? From what I have vaguely gathered I got the impression that it is a somewhat separate game line.
 

the Jester

Legend
Do you have any links? From what I have vaguely gathered I got the impression that it is a somewhat separate game line.

While I don't have a link handy, you could prolly Google search it and look at it on the WotC site somewhere. Essentials is more or less a beginner's kit for getting into 4e. It's the same game.
 



If it was not for the cover that they have chosen I would not doubt your logic. The red box was presented as an introduction to AD&D but was in fact a different game.

They chose the cover, in part, for nostalgia purposes, and because the Essentials serves the same purpose as the old Red Box--an easy, introductory product.

But it's the same game. It's 4E. It's not like 4E, or almost 4E. It's 4E, just presented in a simpler, more pared-down format.
 


the Jester

Legend
If it was not for the cover that they have chosen I would not doubt your logic. The red box was presented as an introduction to AD&D but was in fact a different game.

Huh... I always thought it was pretty clear that the Basic Set was a different game than AD&D. Shrug.
 


xechnao

First Post
But it's the same game. It's 4E. It's not like 4E, or almost 4E. It's 4E, just presented in a simpler, more pared-down format.

Ok, sorry to ask again but do you have any official links that clarify this?
I searched for a FAQ but no luck.

What I could only find is this:

D&D XP 2010: Dungeons & Dragons Essentials : Critical Hits

Interesting quote was:

Additionally, the DDI tools (like character builder) will “work to support the analogue game line” which can easily be taken to mean there will be, at least, an “Essentials Mode.”

Also they talk about solo mode and a different way to determine your class or role. Perhaps they have designed classes in a way that can perform on more roles so that gameplay can be more circumstancial.

Another one is that they have already announced about 10 different products. 10 products sounds stupid if it is just an introductory kit to 4e.



After reading this, my take is that while you could be able to use monsters from 4e, some rules will be different in the sense of being more streamlined and simple in terms of tracking effects and the like. So that if you run with "essentials only" rules the game will run a bit smoother and perhaps with less specialization for the player characters so that they will do more things.
 
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TerraDave

5ever
As one who has said "hey, its basic"...lets go back to when dinasours walked the earth, and were in the monster manual...

Holmes Basic (the first one): An introduction to both original D&D and the coming AD&D. Supposed to be compatible.

Moldvay & Mentzer basic (e.g. the red box(es)): The first part of a "new" game. There are various reasons B/X became a "new" game--including Dave Arneson's law suit--and there are certainly differences, but there was also enough compatibility in products that people would use stuff from B/X with AD&D and vice versa.

Time passes...

Essentials are anounced.

Why is this like "basic", becuase it comes in a box, is aimed at newbys, and is the basis for a free standing set of products that you don't need, and never need, the PHB, DMG, or MM for. Why is still sort of like basic, becuase you can use with the other D&D in print at the same time. But no, its not exactly like basic. Presumably you can make an elf cleric.
 


darjr

I crit!
It was confirmed that it'll be levels 1-3. There was a thread around here about it with a link. I'll dig it up when I get a chance.

Note that the nostalgia art is a limited run. Only the first printing will have that look. My guess is that subsequent printings will have cover art more like the rest of the essentials line.
 

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