D&D Essentials is actually looking good.

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DaveyB
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D&D Essentials is actually looking good.

Post by DaveyB »

The new paradigm shift in design at Wizards seems to be in effect. The new Essentials line is bringing back some much-needed old-school flavor. Classes gain features at various levels, clerical domains actually look good and give distinct powers, schools of magic are back for specialist mages, and classes seem to eschew their more complicated designs in favor of simplicity and flavor. I'm liking more and more of what I see of Essentials. I didn't think I'd ever get interested in anything 4e again, but if this turns out like I hope it will, perhaps they'll lure me back. Here's the Warpriest cleric and the Mage.

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Post by Go0gleplex »

Nice wargame.
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Post by mgtremaine »

meh

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Post by Breakdaddy »

Has this been released yet?
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Re: D&D Essentials is actually looking good.

Post by Coleston the Cavalier »

DaveyB wrote:
The new paradigm shift in design at Wizards seems to be in effect. The new Essentials line is bringing back some much-needed old-school flavor. Classes gain features at various levels, clerical domains actually look good and give distinct powers, schools of magic are back for specialist mages, and classes seem to eschew their more complicated designs in favor of simplicity and flavor. I'm liking more and more of what I see of Essentials. I didn't think I'd ever get interested in anything 4e again, but if this turns out like I hope it will, perhaps they'll lure me back. Here's the Warpriest cleric and the Mage.

I agree.
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Post by Deogolf »

I don't recognize it.
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Post by DangerDwarf »

While I do enjoy 4e from time to time, I've got my D&D Essentials right HERE.

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Post by serleran »

It doesn't seem any simplified to me. Or, was it not supposed to be simpler?
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Post by Omote »

It looks f**king terrible.

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Post by Breakdaddy »

serleran wrote:
It doesn't seem any simplified to me. Or, was it not supposed to be simpler?

Theyve stripped some of the races and classes out, and reformatted the rules for ease of use. The rules are the actual 4e rules so its not simplifying the rules, just attempting to streamline them. It remains to be seen if it is successful or not or if enough people care to buy it.
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Post by zarathustra »

"old school flavour" you gotta be kidding me, there is nothing old school about that unless 3e is now considered old school.

I have to say it looks like a steaming pile to me. But YMMV.

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Post by Lord Dynel »

zarathustra wrote:
"old school flavour" you gotta be kidding me, there is nothing old school about that...

I have to agree.
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Post by Traveller »

I looked at the mage. It's as if the author ate the AD&D rules and then took a dump on the floor.

Anyone who thinks THAT is "old school flavor" is preaching revisionist history, where Gary Gygax never existed. Because THAT has absolutely no relation whatsoever to "old school". The "Essentials" thing is a money grab, because Essentials is the same set of rules as what players already were duped into buying, but put into another format with a few minor changes. Duped because they thought it was Dungeons & Dragons when it was nothing remotely like it.

Sad thing is, they'll be duped again because most players don't care, as long as its shiny, new, and bears the name Dungeons & Dragons.

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Post by Breakdaddy »

Lord Dynel wrote:
I have to agree.

But not everyone holds the same definition of old school as us. I agree that the most widely accepted definition falls into the scope of what we think when we consider old school feel/flavor, but to some of the newer players 3rd edition *IS* old school. Some of our twenty-something brethren started with 3e and have a very different definition than we do. Consider this: You started playing 3rd ed in about 2000 at the age of 12. Now you're 22 and loaded for bear with 4th edition materials, but are chagrinned by the differences in playstyle. This just ain't the same D&D you grew up with and loved as a child! Sound familiar? You can now reach for the Essentials box to recapture some of the goodness you enjoyed in your formative years for a fair price. We old grognards love to think we have a lock on "Old School" RPG gaming, but we only have a lock on the style of old school gaming that *WE* came up with or were lucky enough to be introduced to even after those games were technically gone (OoP). Does Essentials appeal to me? Unlikely, though not out of the question. I'm still undecided about the whole 4e thing as I've not gotten to get into an actual game yet. Will it appeal to a vast market of untapped gamers who do not accept our version of old school gaming as their own? WoTC certainly hopes so. We will see if that's the case in the near future.
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Post by seskis281 »

What's happening with this line, which was originally slated to be a "basic, simplified intro into 4e," is interesting... and has touched off a pretty fiery flame war amongst 4e players on several other sites over it...

WotC does indeed seem to be trying to change some direction here, albeit while trying to keep the core of the changes made in game philosophy (so, in essence, trying to go back and turn L after turning R, but while aiming to still go to the R in ultimate destination). This all seems tied to the changeover when Andy Collins was let go and Mike Mearls was elevated to head the D&D line - one of his 1st blogs/twits had to do with "looking forward to putting the 'D&D' back into 'D&D'," meaning he thought they'd lost something - and from the looks of it his pov is that "balance" had gone too far, and characters needed more differentiation and separation.

So, in essence, they are taking the D&D Essentials (which was supposed to be just a Basic box using the nostalgia Mentzer design) and expanding it out to a FULL GAME LINE, which in the end isn't an intro box but instead a "revision" of the game to some extent. But WotC promised no 4.5, so they won't say that, but it's a pretty strong revision - major changes it looks like to the way classes are approached in some cases, because of the desire to "reindividualize" these (though their trying to have cake and eat it too - everything new is to be "subclasses" under original class/role headings, because they don't want everyone thinking all the money spend on books to date was waste - but, oh yeah, here's the new essentials line you MUST have....)

You can't begrudge a company for trying, but they just, IMHOP, keep missing the mark.... 4e was the "shiny, perfect" new car they rolled out, but a lot of us still like our older cars. Now the new car has some dents and the engine under the hood wasn't what they promised. So they want to get everyone to trade in to a new model quickly, and hope that by making it a "new VW bug" all the old VW bug owners will buy it too... and they may be right as far as the one box thing goes, for people will be curious.... but since it's effectively modified 4e (4.25, 4.5? or as one thread has proposed - 3.9 going backwards) it still won't fix the antagonism for many, the worst of which comes not from these corners (C&C, older D&D crowds) but from the 3.x/PF world who felt more personally betrayed with the whole 4e move.

In all this I just want to add, three terms that I am wincing at now in any RPG discussion:

1. "Balance" - even saying "a party should be balanced" makes me wince. Part of the fun in challenge is to overcome inbalances. A 1st level party takes a wrong turn, and realizes they're heading for a dragon lair. Newer philiosophy means there is no encounter that shouldn't be balanced for equal chance to win. So players playing 1st level characters under 4e would assume "well, it's the encounter presented so we must be balanced and let's fight!" No, at 1st level you realize there's a dragon around - RUN! Likewise the idea of "balance" to classes - the paradigm only applies if you're "roll-playing" rather than "role-playing" IMHOP - I have a player who eschews armor almost completely (other than a leather coat) as a Ranger-Monk class 1/2 character - he is far more interested in his character than being as "buffed up" as he can be. Weird, strange, and different, but very cool stuff. The flavor of play is fantastic, and each member of the group experiments and is still figuring out how to adventure together as a "party" - good stuff.

2. "Broken" If I hear someone say "what's broken is..." one more time I shall scream. Unless the game says "can be played by 4-8 players" and inside is set of rules ONLY for 2 players, it ain't broke! - It just plays as it plays. What's happened is that people are searching for the holy grail of RPG perfection, that in-print game system that does everything perfectly the way they want it for them. This is true in the simulacra discussions as well as the official D&D WotC discussions. A GAME SYSTEM IS JUST A GAME SYSTEM AS IT IS, and when trying to do what an RPG tries to do, which is give an umbrella of rules and guidance for THOUSANDS of possible little situations, there will be just plain wonkiness sometimes. And when you try to "fix" one wonky thing, it's likely to make something else wonky, and so forth... edit: also pretty obvious you can't put any 2 gamers in a room without getting disagreement and argument on SOMETHING so trying to get a large community to agree is just damn near impossible.

3. "Build" - Perhaps the single biggest turn-off to me; the idea of the essence of the game going into elaborate, hours-long statistical maximizing of a character sheet, or rather "build." Sometimes I have to wonder, why bother with the game time....? It seems the "build" is more important. Now, I like characters that grow, evolve, level up and become powerful heroes, but to me the only process of "building" these characters should be... the progress over many sessions, months and even years of adventuring during which they "become" heroes.....

Edit:

Oh, and just so this is clear - I am not anti-4e, although most who know me know I don't like it myself. I think it is a very good tactical table top fantasy combat-focused game, with an ancillary of role-playing on the side. Just because it doesn't tickle my fancy (and I don't like/want to play Chainmail either) doesn't mean it's not a good game. The problem here is the marketing and nomenclature that a company (WotC) is using - a historical RPG line ("D&D") with multiple generations of fans and fan bases, and a game that is, no matter how you slice it, completely different than any of the versions that came before it.

Ok, my long winded 2 cents on a Saturday morning....

Off to movies and then Troll Con this coming week!

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Post by zarathustra »

Quite well put Seski.

@Breakdaddy, although the term may change or mean different things to others, "old school gaming" is a fairly well established genre covering dnd 0e and 1e and the current "old school renaissance" of simulacrum games and modules covering those systems.

I suppose there may be people who regard 3e as "old school" but dammit they need another term... "Neo-Retro gaming" ? "Middle School", "Junior High School dnd" is the one I am leaning toward.

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Post by Lurker »

DangerDwarf wrote:
While I do enjoy 4e from time to time, I've got my D&D Essentials right HERE.

Tooooo true!

Sesk, I can't say it any better than that!
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Post by Lord Dynel »

Breakdaddy wrote:
But not everyone holds the same definition of old school as us. I agree that the most widely accepted definition falls into the scope of what we think when we consider old school feel/flavor, but to some of the newer players 3rd edition *IS* old school. Some of our twenty-something brethren started with 3e and have a very different definition than we do. Consider this: You started playing 3rd ed in about 2000 at the age of 12. Now you're 22 and loaded for bear with 4th edition materials, but are chagrinned by the differences in playstyle. This just ain't the same D&D you grew up with and loved as a child! Sound familiar? You can now reach for the Essentials box to recapture some of the goodness you enjoyed in your formative years for a fair price. We old grognards love to think we have a lock on "Old School" RPG gaming, but we only have a lock on the style of old school gaming that *WE* came up with or were lucky enough to be introduced to even after those games were technically gone (OoP). Does Essentials appeal to me? Unlikely, though not out of the question. I'm still undecided about the whole 4e thing as I've not gotten to get into an actual game yet. Will it appeal to a vast market of untapped gamers who do not accept our version of old school gaming as their own? WoTC certainly hopes so. We will see if that's the case in the near future.

I do agree with you, but I would speculate that that's not what WotC is doing. Publishing the Essentials line in the style of the Mentzer Red Box is not an attempt to appeal to the "grognards of 3rd Edition." I think that, along with Mike Mearls "acceptance speech" of talking about his days of D&D (though he does mention 3e) is an effort to, at least, pull in the older players, pre 3e. Bringing in the lapsed 3e players would be good, too, I'm sure.
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Post by concobar »

lol

i like it.
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Post by Treebore »

concobar wrote:
lol

i like it.

I do too. One of the smartest ideas I have ever seen WOTC/Hasbro have about D&D since 2000. Still doesn't change my mind about how playable it is for me. It's still way down on my priority list.
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Post by moriarty777 »

The biggest turn off for me with the 4th Edition line itself. I love games and I love different games and 4th Edition, as many people will agree here, is a different game. I didn't have a problem with that.

What I had a problem with was their marketing strategy as someone who was going to be nothing more than possibly a very casual player, if even that. I have plenty of RPG rule books I haven't played and probably won't get to play but I enjoy reading through them. However, with WOTC defining what they considered was 'core' to the game being a multitude of different books and not just a couple was a quick turn off (for me) to a new take on the game.

I guess the problem here is defining 'core' and what the 'brand' means to past and present fans of D&D.

Now I was a bit amused when I heard about the essentials line but, as a possible customer, and even contemplating at least taking a look at what they decided to do with it. It makes sense to have a couple of products as 'essential' for the game but it's nice to see it remain in line with the other stuff too. I'm someone who might but into this philosophy. The fact that the company appears to be waffling in terms of the final shape of these products is concerning to say the least.

I suspect that they are trying to please as many people they can without suffering much of a backlash. I mean a bunch of people went from 3.x to 4 and they are seeing this as a major change in focus and that upsets the current customer base.

The fact that Mike Mearls is involved is interesting though. I've seen some of this work and I like some of his work. I'm willing to at least check out the initial set depending on the final form it takes.

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Post by Joe »

Cool! Wish them best o luck with the "Essentials" line.

I may have checked it out, but I lost all interest in "D&D" a year or so ago. Now whenever I think of "Official D&D" all I hear are paper shredders running in the back of my head...odd.
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Post by anglefish »

seskis281 wrote:
3. "Build" - Perhaps the single biggest turn-off to me; the idea of the essence of the game going into elaborate, hours-long statistical maximizing of a character sheet, or rather "build." Sometimes I have to wonder, why bother with the game time....? It seems the "build" is more important. Now, I like characters that grow, evolve, level up and become powerful heroes, but to me the only process of "building" these characters should be... the progress over many sessions, months and even years of adventuring during which they "become" heroes.....

I had this discussion with a fellow who was turning a deaf ear to my CnC pimping. His comment was, " With your game, it all stops when we leave the table. With feats and builds, I can take the game with me throughout the week."

When I mentioned that he could do character journals or portraits, he called that "work."

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Post by Go0gleplex »

[quote="anglefish"][quote="seskis281"]

3. "Build" - Perhaps the single biggest turn-off to me; the idea of the essence of the game going into elaborate, hours-long statistical maximizing of a character sheet, or rather "build." Sometimes I have to wonder, why bother with the game time....? It seems the "build" is more important. Now, I like characters that grow, evolve, level up and become powerful heroes, but to me the only process of "building" these characters should be... the progress over many sessions, months and even years of adventuring during which they "become" heroes.....[/quote]

I had this discussion with a fellow who was turning a deaf ear to my CnC pimping. His comment was, " With your game, it all stops when we leave the table. With feats and builds, I can take the game with me throughout the week."

When I mentioned that he could do character journals or portraits, he called that "work."[/quote]

I call that an idiot.
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Post by Breakdaddy »

How now brown cow? Googs, you know that just because that dude likes "builds" and doing homework between games it doesnt make him an idiot. It's arguable that it makes him masochistic, but not an idiot
Different strokes I guess...
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Post by anglefish »

Breakdaddy wrote:
How now brown cow? Googs, you know that just because that dude likes "builds" and doing homework between games it doesnt make him an idiot. It's arguable that it makes him masochistic, but not an idiot
Different strokes I guess...

The sad thing is that most of the players at my FLGS have a similar mindset. They don't get it why I get antsy after an hour of PC creation. I'm done and ready to PLAY. The character is a means to an end, not my focus.
On a similar note, I once had a guy take almost two hours to make a CnC character. It turned out that he spent most of that time trying to divine how buying a helmet improved his AC.

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Post by CharlieRock »

I can see why they made D&D4 a lot less lethal to the PCs. After spending what amounts to an entire game sessions worth of time creating a character you darn sure don't want to die falling down a pit trap.
They're still gonna. But I can see why they would get so upset with my DMing now.

D&D is so far down my list of "to get" games I don't even pay attention to what they are putting out. I just got Dr. Who. I'm waiting for DC:A. That new Brave Halfling book is on my list, and so is the neat looking animorph C&C book. I'm always in the mood for a new GURPS book. Not to mention the countless video games I gotta get to keep Mrs Charlie happy.

D&D is not happening to me. Essential, non-essential, or just plain reincarnated.

Then again, I don't collect WW games either. But my best friend loves Exalted. And as long as we're playing at his house ...

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Post by Go0gleplex »

[quote="Breakdaddy"]How now brown cow? Googs, you know that just because that dude likes "builds" and doing homework between games it doesnt make him an idiot. It's arguable that it makes him masochistic, but not an idiot
Different strokes I guess... [/quote]

I was referring more to the last four sentences of the quote...not so much the character build aspect of it.
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Post by Joe »

BD is just trying to keep it on the positive vibe.

BD change back to your old avatar...you know the cool one.

What or who is that? ...creeeeepy.
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Post by Breakdaddy »

Joe wrote:
BD is just trying to keep it on the positive vibe.

BD change back to your old avatar...you know the cool one.

What or who is that? ...creeeeepy.

Holy sh.... DUDE! Geddy Lee, man; lead singer of Rush. Jeebuz, turn in your man-card.
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