Class builds, Essentials and Powers, help a Newbie

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So I'm new to 4.0 but not D&D. My brother and his friends want me to run a session or two for them to check out D&D (They're new)

They have some of the "Essentials" books, and we created characters from them.  I have the Players Handbook and DM Guide(non essentials).  And when I was comparing them on classes and what not I had some questions.

1.  Class builds, do you have to choose a build now? Is there no more generic classes?

2.  For the builds listed in Essentials, is all the powers they get in that book? Or do they get the general powers listed in the Players Handbook as well.  For instance one we created was a Paladin -> Cavalier.  Does he not get Lay on Hands? Is that due to the build of the Cavalier or what?  What about the Prayers and everything else?  And does this extend to all other classes made with Essentials?

That's what I have, I think I have a grasp on most other mechanics now.

Thanks in advance!
1. Class builds are useless, the people who wrote them do not understand how to make good characters.
There are still Fighters, Wizards, Clerics, etc. and when they released Essentials, they created the Fighter (Slayer), Wizard (Mage), and Cleric (Warpriest) as more simplified/specialized versions of the generic class which would have a more basic feel to resonate with the fans of the previous editions.

2. Nope, you only get what the essentials book tells you you get in terms of features. When you get a choice of powers when you level up (the Mage and Warpriest do, iirc) you can choose any Class power at that level (ex a 1st level mage can pick Thunderwave as a level 1 at-will power) Characters in the essentials books (except the Mage) are generally weaker than the generic classes because of this, as they have significantly fewer options to synergize.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
It's worth noting that whever you get a free choice of powers, you get to pick from all sources (i.e. when a Slayer picks his second level utility power, he can pick from all the books which have Fighter utils, not just the e-books.  It's also worth noting that yes, you do have to pick a class build in classes which have such.  If you want a fighter, you have to decide between Knight, Slayer and o-Fighter (aka Weaponmaster).  You can't just be a Fighter.  Note that this is not true of all classes, there are a lot which don't have e-versions - but even these have varying builds, using different secondary (and occasionally primary) stats.

It's also worth noting that it's simply incorrect that all e-classes are weaker than all o-classes.  It's right for some of them (Binder, Hexblade, Hunter), but outright wrong for others, particularly the Scout and Thief, and the Slayer, Knight, and certain domains of Warpriest are very good too.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
So I'm new to 4.0 but not D&D. My brother and his friends want me to run a session or two for them to check out D&D (They're new)

They have some of the "Essentials" books, and we created characters from them.  I have the Players Handbook and DM Guide(non essentials).  And when I was comparing them on classes and what not I had some questions.

1.  Class builds, do you have to choose a build now? Is there no more generic classes?



When you have an option to pick something, you must do so. At character creation, you must choose which Pact your Warlock is going to take. As for the suggested builds, Deceptive Warlock and Scourging Warlock are largely meaningless. A "Deceptive Warlock" simply has Charisma as his primary stat, while the "Scourging Warlock" has Constituation. Following the suggested build is not suggested, and has become less so as time has gone on and new options are released

The more "generic" classes are the ones from Essentials. They were created to be option-lite to appeal to players who were put off by the massive list of powers that classes have in 4E (or to have a more retro feel in the case of classes that had lots of options in previous editions, like Wizards). Option-lite does not necessarily mean weaker. I have a player who retconned his character from a Fighter to a Knight when Heroes of the Fallen Lands came out, and has had no problem staying relevant from level 13 into Epic. He loves the reliability of Power Strike, and he feels the expanded ability to punish enemies when I make them violate his "mark" is worth the loss of Daily Attack powers.

2.  For the builds listed in Essentials, is all the powers they get in that book? Or do they get the general powers listed in the Players Handbook as well.  For instance one we created was a Paladin -> Cavalier.  Does he not get Lay on Hands? Is that due to the build of the Cavalier or what?  What about the Prayers and everything else?  And does this extend to all other classes made with Essentials?



Each class gets exactly what they say they get. Depending on your Cavalier Virtue, you get a Lay on Hands type ability, or you don't. The Virtue of Sacrifice has a healing ability, and is meant to be a more protective Paladin, while the Virtue of Valor is meant to fit a more agressive Holy Warrior archetype.

When you are offered a choice of powers, you may choose from all powers that apply. When your Slayer selects a level 2 Utility power, you may choose from ALL level 2 Fighter Utility powers. When you select a third Stance at level 7, you can only pick from the list of stances available to Slayers. When your Cavalier picks a level 5 Daily power, you may select from the entire list of level 5 or lower Paladin Daily powers.
Thanks everyone, I think I got it now.  I think a lot of what was throwing me off was I didn't see the chart in the players handbook outlineing the advancement and how you pick your powers.

Also the fact that the Paladin and Cleric powers were named "Prayers" for flavor.  That really through me for a loop but now I realize it's just a flavorful name for powers. (As I've noticed fighrters have "Exploits" as well)
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