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 What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?

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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:10 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
I could certain see working them into a number of themes akin to the Fey Beast Tamer.

-'Landed Knight' might give you a Squire as your level 1 benefit, free room and board when in your liege's lands at level 5 and some boost to the squire at level 10.
-'Arcane Mentor' could provide an apprentice mage.
-'Gang Leader' could provide a trusted lieutenant, and some minions to do errands for you while in a civilized location.
A theme can do a lot and is big enough .. doesnt look like the Fey Beast Tamer includes appropriate power which might flavor how Enkidu supports Gilgamesh.  Shocked 

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:59 am

Chris24601 wrote:

Special: If you choose the primary attribute of your class, you can use your full attribute bonus for damage with melee basic attacks.

Not bad by the way, allows the common case, does still stop the abusive cases though it may not re-enable some not so abusive things.

I dont feel a great need as I dont have a player that wants to play the essentials classes. Is this really just a case of a secondary attribute being too strong?

If a fighter wanted to take Martial Training Wisdom and then buffs up things which rely on wisdom like various perception or wary or dirty fighter tricks that derive off of it, not thinking it would be abusive... in fact creating a Socrates of a fighter sounds ok. The slayer have have just made the uber stat even moreso... hmmmmmm.

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“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:27 pm

The issue is mostly double stacking Dex with the slayer (once for replacing strength and once for the slayer adding their dex bonus to damage with all weapon attacks) which would let a 1st level slayer start with an at-will with a +10 hit for 1d10+12 damage using just one attribute. Not even a Str/Dex race that tanks everything but Str and Dex can get numbers that high.

The secondary issue they hoped to avoid was tanking Strength for Con with the Knight since it wipes out the dual fortitude stat issue while also maxing out its hit points and surges.

The ONLY reason it was even at issue at all was the boneheaed decision to make the E-martial classes rely on basic attacks instead of real at-wills because that way it would feel more like older editions. Lots of people don't like the E-martials because of the 'fighters can't have nice things' mindset... but really what people should hate about them is that they completely wrecked the basic attack granting features and charge builds because basic attacks were no longer attacks inferior to an at-will but equal to or even better than one.
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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:16 pm

Yup, I see it as using a different definition of "basic"   - ie instead of meaning "simple" it means fundamental. If it didn't have big/broad implications I would be surprised.

The reasons for starting from core 4e without essentials seem to be very real.

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“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:14 pm

thanson02 wrote:
Personally, if Essentials would have been released first, I would have waited until the Advanced D&D set would have been released and then looked at it.  Truth is, most of the complaints I hear from folks around me is that 4E is too simple and there are not enough customization options for characters.  Granted, these people don't play 4E because they are die hard 3/3.5 fans, but I think the release of Essentials first would have made this worse.


Same. I think people would have dismissed it more easily as a dumbed down D&D.

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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:20 pm

I only recently purchased the Essentials character books, and as someone who's been playing D&D since 1975, I would have certainly been more open to making the jump from 3.5 to Essentials, than I was in making the jump to 4e itself. I resisted playing 4e until late in 2012... so I missed the boat in a lot of ways.

For a person raised on AD&D/2nd and used to the 'look and feel' of 3.5, 4e was a big shock... too big for me at the time it was released. I had such an investment in material and time in the older versions that I just stayed with 3.5 until Pathfinder took over the market in our area.

When I finally started playing 4e, really because of the people who were playing it at the store, and the fact that my son liked it... It took at least a couple of months to really 'get' the concept behind the game and understand it. Once I took the time to actually play 4e, I was hooked.

But the problem was - it was SO DIFFERENT at first, that I just rejected it out of hand. I think that Essentials would have been an easier transition for me... and then full blown 4e would have been a more natural progression.

I don't think that 4e had any chance. You just couldn't have picked a worse time to release a new system. The nature of the build-up and release was flawed. And the system was so foreign that it was a tough jump.

I remember picking up the Monster Manual, opening it to 'Orc' and seeing a monster with 40 or 50 HP and thinking - "What the hell is this?"
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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:00 am

Kazadvorn wrote:

But the problem was - it was SO DIFFERENT at first, that I just rejected it out of hand.

I think in face of OGL they either had to make it VERY different OR stay with OGL and they made a bold business decision which resulted in some changes we wouldnt have seen otherwise.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:54 am

It seems to have been a 'perfect storm' of bad decisions. At least in retrospect.

Do you have any idea WHY they felt they needed to throw 3.5 out the window in the transition to 4e? Have their thought processes ever been revealed?

Based on 20/20 hindsight, and the success of Pathfinder, 3.5 was not a dead end, or dead product.
I just don't see the wisdom of throwing out a product line to introduce a new product line. In other places I've likened it to auto companies... when the mini-van concept was developed they didn't stop producing sedans, or even full size vans. They understood that the mini-van would not appeal to everyone who needed a van or a vehicle that could seat 6 or more people.

I see them making the same mistake in the transition to Next that they made in going to 4e. Where am I missing the mark?
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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:24 am

Kazadvorn wrote:


Do you have any idea WHY they felt they needed to throw 3.5 out the window in the transition to 4e? Have their thought processes ever been revealed?
I generally assumed they felt the money gained by milking off of something which anyone could produce was limited in a way that corporate offices couldnt accept.
Kazadvorn wrote:

Based on 20/20 hindsight, and the success of Pathfinder, 3.5 was not a dead end, or dead product.

A luxury nobody can see ahead of time is not something they would make a decision based on. Pathfinder sure looks like a full on stop as a system. It doesnt support anything even slightly simpler than its current nature. Much of the world is not interested in DMing that complexity. I know Im not and it seems very complex while never fixing issues of balance D&D had since 1e... it never attracted me to come back in to the game.

Kazadvorn wrote:

I just don't see the wisdom of throwing out a product line to introduce a new product line.

Everyone has bought your car and that car never wears out. You make a new product.

In context I will never buy 3.x or its clone its free online for download completely legally.

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“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:10 pm

Kazadvorn wrote:
It seems to have been a 'perfect storm' of bad decisions. At least in retrospect.

Do you have any idea WHY they felt they needed to throw 3.5 out the window in the transition to 4e? Have their thought processes ever been revealed?
Probably because there was a growing pool of people like me were so utterly and completely DONE with the horrible imbalances and needless complexities of 3.5 and its derivative clones that we were downright HUNGRY for something that wasn't yet another iteration of 3.5 (prior to the announcement of 4E I hadn't even TOUCHED a new WotC product in more than year and hadn't played a single d20-based game in almost that long).

Yes, there was still a market for d20 related products, but it was diminishing returns as far as WotC was concerned (the market was saturated with content and what was selling was things that WotC wasn't all that good at producing).

But ALL that argues is that they should have kept up some minimal support for 3.5 so as to keep it from being very economical for some other company to try and compete for 3.5 market and that they should have been a bit more lenient in their dealings with Paizo (whose original plan was to make Golaron a 4E setting until WotC yanked Dragon and Dungeon magazines out from under them). It still NEEDED to make a new edition of the game for people like me if they wanted any hope of catching my dollars in their sales net.

Let's not forget too that it wasn't until 4E stopped having regular releases that Pathfinder actually sold better than 4th Edition did. Based on insider accounts the issue wasn't that 4th Edition wasn't successful, because it was and for any other game company it would have been a monumental success. But it wasn't any other company, it was a division owned by Hasbro who doesn't just demand a profit, it demands increasing profits to satisfy its shareholders and which had set sales  targets for 4E that were bigger than the entire tabletop game industry.
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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:39 pm

I would have suspected as much, regarding Hasbro. If this is still the philosophy, then it doesn't bode well for the 'success' of Next, either. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but it seems like WotC/Hasbro has a huge knack for kicking their customers in the nether regions with each release.

I'm no huge fan of Pathfinder as an RPG system... it's ok, and the content they provide to support the system is quite good. I haven't really had the time to sit down and compare products side by side, in terms of Adventure Paths and 'canned dungeons' but it feels like the content from Paizo is somewhat better. For example, looking at Rise of the Runelords - which is one of the few 'adventure modules' that I have from Paizo - it's a superior product.

Like I said, I've only recently 'discovered' 4e and am still playing catch-up on a number of facets of the game. Of the 4e adventure modules that I've picked up, I have to say they are not knocking my socks off. There really is a feel that the whole focus of the canned adventures is to move the players from one set-piece combat encounter to the next.

Now, given the strength of 4e's combat system... I can see the logic or at least the temptation there... but that sort of product design plays into the hands of the '4e's not a role playing system at all' crowd.

In terms of a comparison between 4e and Pathfinder as RPG systems...
I've found both to require a significant investment in time and research to play... I wouldn't describe either game as a 'beer and pretzels' type endeavor. But - particularly at the higher levels... 4e provides a much greater 'return on investment' than PF. Particularly if anything like play balance between classes is of any interest to the player.

Again, maybe I'm not doing something right, maybe I don't understand the systems as well as I should... but it still looks like play balance falls apart after about level 8 (certainly by level 10) in the Pathfinder system, just like it always did in every edition of D&D before 4e.

But I've wandered way off topic here...

In terms of 4e and 4e Essentials... if I was going to introduce a new player to the system... I'd certainly start with Essentials and then let them move to the full blown system. I think if I'd had seen the Essentials system in 2009, I would have been a lot more open to moving away from 3.5 to 4e. But maybe not... it's hard to say now. I started on 'non-essential' 4e and, while I'd gladly play or DM a campaign that was going to be run out of the Essentials books, I'm not sure that I'd ever trade away the full system for the Essentials system. In fact, I'm sure that I would not.
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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:31 pm

Welcome to the forum Kazadvorn. Smile

I agree though. The launch of 4e and official "dropping" of 3e was a massive maelstrom of mistakes and bad choices. WotC had one of the worst marketing campaigns I had ever seen. If you've never seen the old video commercial for 4e it was essentially a mock-up of every edition and it's stereotypical problems, and players. Not to mention the GSL was garbage. (GSL info)

It WAS true... Paizo was on board for 4th Edition. But WotC messed that up pretty quickly... To think, if it wasn't for the GSL 4e may have been much more accepted and the Pathfinder RPG probably would never have been made.

As for adventures though most of 4e's really good adventures come from Dungeon magazine (or so I've found). There are quite a few on the WotC website that are available for free download.

Check these links out:
http://wizards.com/dnd/Archive.aspx?page=5&category=dungeon&subcategory=adventures
http://wizards.com/dnd/Archive.aspx?category=dungeon&subcategory=adventurepath

If you go through these lists you will find that some of them do not have the small red DDi logo next to them. Those you can download for free. Though I highly recommend (and I bet many here will too) to buy a 1 month subscription and download everything you can. Every 4e issue of Dungeon & Dragon magazine is out. A few of my favorites are 'Never Say Die' (Dungeon #212), 'The Last Breaths of Ashenport' (available for free, Dungeon #156), and 'Owlbear Run' (Dungeon #213). There are probably loads of other good ones though.

But I've digressed...

I do think that Essentials would've been a better basic/intro 4e if you ask me. It is much simpler. I feel like the simpler and more linear class design would appeal to some players, coming from previous editions who are used to certain characters, getting certain things, at certain levels. I often feel like that was 4e's major flaw. It feels kinda alien at first for those that go in expecting it to be like any other D&D game. But I also feel like that was one of 4e's strengths too. My relationship with 4e is weird though.  Razz

I really do wish we would've gotten the Class Compendium though. Or at least something similar to that.

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PostSubject: Re: What would 4e have been like if Essentials was released first as "Core 4e"?   Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:47 pm

I've been on DDI since 2012 I guess... when I discovered 4e.  Very Happy 

And you're right, some of the best stuff I've seen has appeared in Dungeon. What I was referring to was the published adventures... which is really odd. The free stuff being better than the material you were supposed to buy. (well - sort of free, I was never really worried about the cost of the DDI sub, I felt it was a bargain - when we still got the magazines.)

I've downloaded a couple of the LFR modules too... and they seem pretty tight.

@Garthanos...

You know, 4e is the first edition since AD&D that's really excited me...

Something that my son said about Pathfinder... "Character creation is like doing homework." More or less a necessary evil, I guess was his point.

But with 4e, character building is almost an adventure in itself. I find myself building characters just for the fun of it, just to see how the character sheet looks at level 15.
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