Dragon 389 - Ampersand Special: The Essential Classes, Knight Preview

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The new article previewing the Essentials Fighter build hit the calendar today with a big Ampersand.  What does everybody think about this?

As for me, I think that it makes sense that this build triggers off of Str and Con and has a lot of armor options.  I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that there are no at-wills for the fighter makes me take a step back.

Any time an ally allows you to make a basic melee attack, you can do pretty much any attack you want, depending on your stance.

Stances are much more plentiful and give fighters something to do with minor actions.

You don't customize your characters the same way (the point of the Essentials line, but still adjustment)

Power Attack is essentially an encounter Furious Assault for any race.

Do fighters every do anything except damage and keep the bad guys from attacking anybody else?  Do they get any effects or deal any other debilitating things or are they just there to remove hit points?  Help me understand this new direction for the fighter.  I understand the mage and the war priest, but the knight is slightly more foreign.  If they called it a knight and not the fighter, it might be more accepted by me, but as it stands, I am not 100% sure.
In the recent podcast WotC did about Essentials, they mentioned that one of the things that new people think their fighter should do is just hit things with their sword. As such you often have new people just doing melee basic attacks without really understanding how to best utilize something like Footwork Lure.

They seem to be making the Essential Fighter just really good a hitting things with their sword and hard to get away from. The minor action stances are what give them versatility in the faces of differing foes.
Seeings how we're basing "Essentials" off past editions, I'm disappointed not to see the return of weapon types. I rather enjoy slashing, bludgeoning, piercing weapons and the tactics they bring into combat.

My initial reaction was that this looks like a fun build. Then my reaction was that aura mark is an overpowered ability. Then when reading this thread I realised they get no encounter or daily powers. That's a major turn off. This sounds like taking the usual fighter class and making it a complete bore (ooh. I get to use minor actions for a very minor difference in my powers). They take the misconception that fighters just hit stuff, and have created an entire build where all you do is step up and hit stuff. I wasn't particularly thrilled with my Battlemind character, as I found it a bit boring. This takes my issues with the Battlemind and compounds the issue 10 fold.

So far Essentials is definitely not for me.
ok, i did not realised that at first too. i can only choose your utility powers and your feats (of course). and the stances also. the daily powers are part of the build i guess. 
From an initiation point of view it sure helps thing along... 

 
Dragon 389
Ampersand Special: The Esssentials Classes
Fighter Preview: Knight Kit

By Bill Slavicsek

Today, we look at the Knight kit for the new version of the Fighter.  Rather than using attack exploit powers, the Fighter modifies all it's melee basic attacks by getting into various stances and power attacks.  The Knight does not mark his foes; instead, he has a Guardian Aura that decreases the accuracy of any non-marked enemy attack that does not include him or another character with the aura by 2 – essentially acting as a constant mark on everything.

With proficiencies for every type of armour – including plate – the Knight takes its place amongst some of the bulkiest defenders.  Strength and Constitution are a necessity.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

A lot of stances that modify attacks?  It could actually be pretty interesting.

The truth is, that they haven't lot their at-will attacks.  Cleaving Assault is an at-will like any other – you just have to get into the stance, and then your MBA is that at-will. 

I wouldn't be surprised if some stances are encounter exploits or daily exploits.  It's just a different way of understanding them – you get into a stance, and it modifies your attacks.  Getting into a stance is a minor or free action, so you can focus on the attack the same round.


The class could be quite fun.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

I missed the Wizard last week, so this is my first look at Essentials crunch (a nutritious part of this daily dungeoneering).

The marketing for this whole line is kind of weird no?  It's like they want this product to find a middle ground between D&D 4.5 and a crunchbook for the original 4 classes.  The podcast sounded canned and hashed out explicitly by the marketing department, but then that's been a problem for a while.

Also including the experience points and feats at each level on your chart is going to scare readers into thinking the rules are changing more than they are. 

Even if Wizards is doing really exciting and cool changes to powers and classes, if the book is going to be Classic Power: Options for Clerics, Fighters, Rogues, and Wizards, just call it that.  Don't try to strike a middle ground between "just another" crunchbook and 4.5.  That said, the new stuff looks fun and interesting.

Vampire Class/Feat in 2013!

I prefer Next because 4E players and CharOpers can't find their ass without a grid and a power called "Find Ass."

I missed the Wizard last week, so this is my first look at Essentials crunch (a nutritious part of this daily dungeoneering).

The marketing for this whole line is kind of weird no?  It's like they want this product to find a middle ground between D&D 4.5 and a crunchbook for the original 4 classes.  The podcast sounded canned and hashed out explicitly by the marketing department, but then that's been a problem for a while.

Also including the experience points and feats at each level on your chart is going to scare readers into thinking the rules are changing more than they are. 

Even if Wizards is doing really exciting and cool changes to powers and classes, if the book is going to be Classic Power: Options for Clerics, Fighters, Rogues, and Wizards, just call it that.  Don't try to strike a middle ground between "just another" crunchbook and 4.5.  That said, the new stuff looks fun and interesting.



You can still view the Cleric and Wizard previews in their respective Ampersand Specials.

And its Essentials because it's doing this with the classes and providing a reprint of other material with all the errata applied.  It's what will be sitting around always in stock in stores throughout 4E.  It's more than just new looks on the classic classes – there's the races, and it's grounded in the lore of the Points of Light setting.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe


And its Essentials because it's doing this with the classes and providing a reprint of other material with all the errata applied.  It's what will be sitting around always in stock in stores throughout 4E.  It's more than just new looks on the classic classes – there's the races, and it's grounded in the lore of the Points of Light setting.



Are the core books (PHB, DMG, and MM) still going to be sold in stores? It sounds like they wont be because the essentials are what is going to be sold as 4E.



Trained skills. I was wrong.

Functionally, the stances are similar to giving Heavy Blade Opportunity at level 1. Charges, OAs, Leader MBA hijinx now get bonuses all the time. The bonuses don't look like they are better (or in a few respects, as good) than Fighter level 1 at-wills, but they are definately broader as per the above.

Measured Cut: Lets you not grant CA from others' flankin'? Or if you hit them? Or you can shift or something on a hit?

Martial Ranged + Battle Wrath = Return of semi-effective Bow Fighter? I doubt the mark mechanic works with it (and your DEX for the RBA... [twitch]). It's a bone thrown to people who complained.

Defender Aura isn't sticky (looks merely defensive for your buddies), so the Battle Guardian mark mechanic stuff probably is sticky/punishing. Multiple Auras do not stack.

I wonder if Weapon Talent will be anything other than "+1 to hit with one-handed melee weapons". The build assumes you are using a shield.

Shield Finesse: Will it help you, or your allies? Also, I don't get the complaining (in other threads) about how the Fighter is FORT-centered. Duh. The big tough guy in plate and heavy shield isn't a master of mental discipline?! Knights get some Reflex love with shields, too. I have never understood the "Why can't my character be good at everything?" stuff. See also Shield Block below.

Power Strike is a way to make your crits MAXIMIZED. Probably gets pumped to 2[W] at level 3.

Combat Readiness: 4 (and Greater Combat Readiness: 9). Bonuses to Initiative? OAs?

Weapon Mastery: 5. If this is like the Epic Crit Mastery feats (for MBAs only?), then... Wow. See also Power Strike.

Weapon Specialization: 7. Untyped damage bonus for Weapon Talent?

Shield Block: 8. Will it help you or your allies?
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I missed the Wizard last week, so this is my first look at Essentials crunch (a nutritious part of this daily dungeoneering).

The marketing for this whole line is kind of weird no?  It's like they want this product to find a middle ground between D&D 4.5 and a crunchbook for the original 4 classes.  The podcast sounded canned and hashed out explicitly by the marketing department, but then that's been a problem for a while.

Also including the experience points and feats at each level on your chart is going to scare readers into thinking the rules are changing more than they are. 

Even if Wizards is doing really exciting and cool changes to powers and classes, if the book is going to be Classic Power: Options for Clerics, Fighters, Rogues, and Wizards, just call it that.  Don't try to strike a middle ground between "just another" crunchbook and 4.5.  That said, the new stuff looks fun and interesting.



You can still view the Cleric and Wizard previews in their respective Ampersand Specials.

And its Essentials because it's doing this with the classes and providing a reprint of other material with all the errata applied.  It's what will be sitting around always in stock in stores throughout 4E.  It's more than just new looks on the classic classes – there's the races, and it's grounded in the lore of the Points of Light setting.



Okay that's awesome then.

Vampire Class/Feat in 2013!

I prefer Next because 4E players and CharOpers can't find their ass without a grid and a power called "Find Ass."

Changing the MBA is a great idea.  It harkens back to 3.5 with building your basic attack.  Also, the Warlord granting MBA's means that this will be a great class to give that to.
Sorry, I like tide of iron and dual strike and all the other at-will powers that made the fighter feel like it was more than just a guy that swings his weapon at things.  I really don't like the feeling that this is a step backwards instead of forwards in terms of the fighter in this edition.
Sorry, I like tide of iron and dual strike and all the other at-will powers that made the fighter feel like it was more than just a guy that swings his weapon at things.  I really don't like the feeling that this is a step backwards instead of forwards in terms of the fighter in this edition.



Note the stances. We've got one here that essentially makes your melee basic attack into Cleave. Assuming there are more than just two options, we'll probably see others that give other abilities - your melee basic attacks might knock the enemy back or let you shift around, similar to Tide of Iron or Footwork Lure.

Meanwhile, the Power Strike power at level 1 just gives bonus damage. I expect later versions and upgrades of it will let you trip enemies, hurl them across the field, trap them in place, and other equivalents to Encounter powers.

I think the Knight will be more straightforward - which many people have asked for - but won't remotely just be "I hit it with my sword" for damage and nothing more. Unless, of course, someone specifically builds one to be like that. For anyone who still wants more tactical options, I'm sure the options will be there.
Note the stances. We've got one here that essentially makes your melee basic attack into Cleave. Assuming there are more than just two options, we'll probably see others that give other abilities - your melee basic attacks might knock the enemy back or let you shift around, similar to Tide of Iron or Footwork Lure.

Meanwhile, the Power Strike power at level 1 just gives bonus damage. I expect later versions and upgrades of it will let you trip enemies, hurl them across the field, trap them in place, and other equivalents to Encounter powers.

I think the Knight will be more straightforward - which many people have asked for - but won't remotely just be "I hit it with my sword" for damage and nothing more. Unless, of course, someone specifically builds one to be like that. For anyone who still wants more tactical options, I'm sure the options will be there.



Sorry, but at-will stances are not equal to at-will attacks.  Battle wrath, and for that matter power strike, are both a weak attempt to turn the fighter from a defender into a striker, while cleaving assault, as you said, simply turns your MBA into cleave.  There's no tactical planning involved with any of the powers I've brought up.  Tide of iron and footwork lure both let you become a mobile warrior that moves his enemy around the field.  Crushing surge gives you a buffer of temp hp, grappling strike lets you grab hold of a foe and hold them where they stand, hell weapon master's strike gives you so many options it almost makes me want to carry a golfbag full of different weapons.

All told, the at-will stances simply, in my opinion, do not stand up to the tactical versatility of the fighter's at-will powers.
Sorry, but at-will stances are not equal to at-will attacks.  Battle wrath, and for that matter power strike, are both a weak attempt to turn the fighter from a defender into a striker, while cleaving assault, as you said, simply turns your MBA into cleave. There's no tactical planning involved with any of the powers I've brought up.  Tide of iron and footwork lure both let you become a mobile warrior that moves his enemy around the field.  Crushing surge gives you a buffer of temp hp, grappling strike lets you grab hold of a foe and hold them where they stand, hell weapon master's strike gives you so many options it almost makes me want to carry a golfbag full of different weapons.

If you recall, the PHB had 4 at-wills for Fighters.

Sure Strike:
[Cough] Tactical Planning?
Cleave: Basically the same as the stance (though different stat). As you've mentioned, perhaps no tactical planning for the at-will. But see below.
Reaping Strike: Tactical Planning? (I don't know if the knight will get this as a stance, though the slayer may.)
Tide of Iron: Supposedly tactical planning. But wait, what is this Measured Cut stance mentioned that "lets you stay in motion to keep [flankin' creeps] out of position"? Sounds tactical to me!

And there is probably at least 1 more stance we don't know about, if not more. [Oh Zagyg, please don't let one be Sure Slicing!]

AND! Compared to some poor schmuck who takes Cleave and Sure Strike, you'll have more tactical options with the stances. Because of the action economy, you can stance/attack/stance (to make your later MBA have different effects than your earlier ones) and combo that with stuff like action-point charges, the anticipated Defender punishment, and all sorts of stuff. Are there minions? Maybe you wanna beat on the normal jerks with Cleaving Assault to clean out the trash and then switch to Battle Wrath to have your Warlord buddy double-up your pain on the bigger guys. Switch again at the beginning of the next turn for your charge to a different crowd. Etc.

So can ~4+ stances compare to ~16(!) at-wills? Of course not. That does not mean that the stances lack tactical versatility, especially when looking at the 4 PHB at-wills.

Also: Power strike provides all sorts of choices. Burn it quick to tear down a huge threat early on? Hold out for crit fishing? Try to drop a creep with an OA before they escape? Sure, there may not be tactical planning (if you can plan for a crit on a given turn at the Heroic Tier, you are better at this game than I am), but there are tactical choices. Isn't that one of the design considerations? Being able to make meaningful choices?
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Well most of the Fighter at wills are at their core melee basic attacks with some gravy on them, which the stances provide. Cleave = Basic melee with extra damage to another target providing you hit. Footwork Lure has the shift and slide bonus added, crushing surge is invigorating, grappling strike adds a grab to the melee basic and so on.

We now have to option of going into a mode where you augment a basic attack and adding what you need to it for the turn, i don't see how it is different (apart from sucking your action economy if you wish to shift from mode to mode frequently).

It does grant some other awesome abilities, want to charge and cleave, now you can, want to have your warlord buddy make you a torrent of destruction, ditto. 

Saying that the at will stances do not stand up to the tactical versatility of the at wills seems a little cut and dry, i guess it depends on what you need your fighter to do. I think the Knight is an amazing class, depending on your party make up (as with any other defender) 
Note the stances. We've got one here that essentially makes your melee basic attack into Cleave. Assuming there are more than just two options, we'll probably see others that give other abilities - your melee basic attacks might knock the enemy back or let you shift around, similar to Tide of Iron or Footwork Lure.

Meanwhile, the Power Strike power at level 1 just gives bonus damage. I expect later versions and upgrades of it will let you trip enemies, hurl them across the field, trap them in place, and other equivalents to Encounter powers.

I think the Knight will be more straightforward - which many people have asked for - but won't remotely just be "I hit it with my sword" for damage and nothing more. Unless, of course, someone specifically builds one to be like that. For anyone who still wants more tactical options, I'm sure the options will be there.



Sorry, but at-will stances are not equal to at-will attacks.  Battle wrath, and for that matter power strike, are both a weak attempt to turn the fighter from a defender into a striker, while cleaving assault, as you said, simply turns your MBA into cleave.  There's no tactical planning involved with any of the powers I've brought up.  Tide of iron and footwork lure both let you become a mobile warrior that moves his enemy around the field.  Crushing surge gives you a buffer of temp hp, grappling strike lets you grab hold of a foe and hold them where they stand, hell weapon master's strike gives you so many options it almost makes me want to carry a golfbag full of different weapons.

All told, the at-will stances simply, in my opinion, do not stand up to the tactical versatility of the fighter's at-will powers.



Well, keep in mind some simplification was desired here. Numerically, Battle Wrath vs Reaping Strike probably do about the same thing in terms of average damage. And Cleaving Assault, as noted, is basically Cleave.

If those were the only options, you are 100% correct. But those are just the two stances in the preview - once we see them all, I'm sure there will be some more tactical ones there. This is just an excerpt, remember - not the full thing.

Anyway, I'm not saying you are wrong here - I'd just wait to see the full array of options before dismissing the Knight as a step backwards. A PHB Fighter would look pretty boring if all you saw was Reaping Strike, Cleave, and a level 1 Encounter Power.

Now, even with everything shown, will this match up with the full array of options a fighter has right now of At-Wills and Encounters? Of course not - but that's comparing the content of 3 books and numerous articles to a single book. I think the Essentials fighter will retain some tactical complexity for those who want it, once we see the build in full.
4.5 is looking pretty interesting.

Now the question for me is, how are they going to handle feats?  You do all this, but still punish people for not knowing to take weapon expertise, and it's all for naught.
Note the stances. We've got one here that essentially makes your melee basic attack into Cleave. Assuming there are more than just two options, we'll probably see others that give other abilities - your melee basic attacks might knock the enemy back or let you shift around, similar to Tide of Iron or Footwork Lure.

Meanwhile, the Power Strike power at level 1 just gives bonus damage. I expect later versions and upgrades of it will let you trip enemies, hurl them across the field, trap them in place, and other equivalents to Encounter powers.

I think the Knight will be more straightforward - which many people have asked for - but won't remotely just be "I hit it with my sword" for damage and nothing more. Unless, of course, someone specifically builds one to be like that. For anyone who still wants more tactical options, I'm sure the options will be there.



Sorry, but at-will stances are not equal to at-will attacks.  Battle wrath, and for that matter power strike, are both a weak attempt to turn the fighter from a defender into a striker, while cleaving assault, as you said, simply turns your MBA into cleave.  There's no tactical planning involved with any of the powers I've brought up.  Tide of iron and footwork lure both let you become a mobile warrior that moves his enemy around the field.  Crushing surge gives you a buffer of temp hp, grappling strike lets you grab hold of a foe and hold them where they stand, hell weapon master's strike gives you so many options it almost makes me want to carry a golfbag full of different weapons.

All told, the at-will stances simply, in my opinion, do not stand up to the tactical versatility of the fighter's at-will powers.


isn't it wonderful that we will be able to choose between the knight build and the other fighter builds of which you speak?
isn't it wonderful that we will be able to choose between the knight build and the other fighter builds of which you speak?


As long as they keep putting out support for both types, sure.  Cuz they'd never drop a previous iteration of something to focus completely on the newest thing they're working on...
I can't tell why they call it a fighter, other than wanting to claim that it's not a new class and somehow allowing the two classes to share powers (similar to spells being shared between sorcerer and wizard back in 3.5). The knight and the fighters we've seen so far have completely different mechanics, and substantial differences in things like weapon and armor proficiencies and class skills.
isn't it wonderful that we will be able to choose between the knight build and the other fighter builds of which you speak?


As long as they keep putting out support for both types, sure.  Cuz they'd never drop a previous iteration of something to focus completely on the newest thing they're working on...


Thats the real fear around our table. No more support for the 4e Fighter builds in favor of the "Ye Olden Fighter of Yore". We won't be seeing any support for them for at least a year as it stands. Also means nothing new for at least a dozen or so classes.
If today's Class Acts: Rogue is a sign of what's to be supported via D&DI then there's much left to be desired.
isn't it wonderful that we will be able to choose between the knight build and the other fighter builds of which you speak?


As long as they keep putting out support for both types, sure.  Cuz they'd never drop a previous iteration of something to focus completely on the newest thing they're working on...


Thats the real fear around our table. No more support for the 4e Fighter builds in favor of the "Ye Olden Fighter of Yore". We won't be seeing any support for them for at least a year as it stands. Also means nothing new for at least a dozen or so classes.
If today's Class Acts: Rogue is a sign of what's to be supported via D&DI then there's much left to be desired.



Though, question: How much more support does the current fighter need?

PHB, Martial Power 1 and 2, and how many Class Acts and similar articles?

Now, I'm not saying it never needs any more content ever. And I do want to see more content for PHB2 and PHB3 classes and races, I'd like to eventually see an Arcane Power 2 and Divine Power 2 or something equivalent.

So - yes, I want to still see support for non-Essentials content. And I suspect we will indeed see that. But a lack of support for the PHB Fighter, of all things, is not going to be the end of the world!


Though, question: How much more support does the current fighter need?

PHB, Martial Power 1 and 2, and how many Class Acts and similar articles?

Now, I'm not saying it never needs any more content ever. And I do want to see more content for PHB2 and PHB3 classes and races, I'd like to eventually see an Arcane Power 2 and Divine Power 2 or something equivalent.

So - yes, I want to still see support for non-Essentials content. And I suspect we will indeed see that. But a lack of support for the PHB Fighter, of all things, is not going to be the end of the world!


How much more support indeed! Essentials is giving us 2 new builds, not to mention 2 new builds for Rangers and Rogues! I can understand wanting to revamp the Wizard and Warlock, but why not do so in Arcane Power 2 where they can also support Artificers, Bards, Sorcerers, and Swordmages?
Maybe WotC decided that a Wis-based Melee Cleric was needed for balance. Well thats what Divine Power 2 is for! Which allows for further support for the Avenger, Invoker, and Runepriest.

By getting Essentials we're spending months rehashing old classes just to attract people who didn't want to make the switch because 4e wasn't designed around old concepts. 4e's At-Will/Encounter/Daily power model still has so much more room to grow, Runepriests and Monks are proof of that. Just a pity there won't be much game growth for about a year. 
Yeah, people have gotten really weird about the "new feats/powers" addiction.  "It's been like three months since I saw a new warlock feat! WHERE'S MA FIX?!"

IMO, less is more.  There's so many powers already that it's ceased being "oh cool I can do that now?" and has become "do I want to take the power that does 1d8 or the one that does 1d6 but slows?"


Though, question: How much more support does the current fighter need?

PHB, Martial Power 1 and 2, and how many Class Acts and similar articles?

Now, I'm not saying it never needs any more content ever. And I do want to see more content for PHB2 and PHB3 classes and races, I'd like to eventually see an Arcane Power 2 and Divine Power 2 or something equivalent.

So - yes, I want to still see support for non-Essentials content. And I suspect we will indeed see that. But a lack of support for the PHB Fighter, of all things, is not going to be the end of the world!


How much more support indeed! Essentials is giving us 2 new builds, not to mention 2 new builds for Rangers and Rogues! I can understand wanting to revamp the Wizard and Warlock, but why not do so in Arcane Power 2 where they can also support Artificers, Bards, Sorcerers, and Swordmages?
Maybe WotC decided that a Wis-based Melee Cleric was needed for balance. Well thats what Divine Power 2 is for! Which allows for further support for the Avenger, Invoker, and Runepriest.

By getting Essentials we're spending months rehashing old classes just to attract people who didn't want to make the switch because 4e wasn't designed around old concepts. 4e's At-Will/Encounter/Daily power model still has so much more room to grow, Runepriests and Monks are proof of that. Just a pity there won't be much game growth for about a year. 



Essentials is only a few months of release, I thought. I think people can step back and let them market to others during that time - new players, players of older editions, and the current players who find the Essentials content interesting.

Putting those elements in Divine Power 2, etc, misses the entire goal of Essentials. They'll get back to catering to your needs soon enough - begrudging others any content at all, just to get more, more, more, really isn't necessary!


Essentials is only a few months of release, I thought. I think people can step back and let them market to others during that time - new players, players of older editions, and the current players who find the Essentials content interesting.

Putting those elements in Divine Power 2, etc, misses the entire goal of Essentials. They'll get back to catering to your needs soon enough - begrudging others any content at all, just to get more, more, more, really isn't necessary!


Essentials is only 10 products...the big problem though is that they've basically have stated that the essentials design philosophy(as opposed to the original one) is what is going to be used in future products. So.....if you don't like the new design philosophy then there are basically going to be no new classes, sub-classes, or builds that support the design philosophy that you like. So hurray for 3.85!


Essentials is only a few months of release, I thought. I think people can step back and let them market to others during that time - new players, players of older editions, and the current players who find the Essentials content interesting.

Putting those elements in Divine Power 2, etc, misses the entire goal of Essentials. They'll get back to catering to your needs soon enough - begrudging others any content at all, just to get more, more, more, really isn't necessary!


Essentials is only 10 products...the big problem though is that they've basically have stated that the essentials design philosophy(as opposed to the original one) is what is going to be used in future products. So.....if you don't like the new design philosophy then there are basically going to be no new classes, sub-classes, or builds that support the design philosophy that you like. So hurray for 3.85!


It's not even basically stated, it has been stated clearly with the Cleric and Wizard preview.
Yep: this is the design philosophy going forward. If you do not like said design philosophy....well, we'll see how much of it actually carries through into products post-Essentials. I am not thoroughly impressed by the previews thus far, but I'm trying to keep an open mind. 
One of my biggest beefs with the "Essentials" line is that they are dropping my favorite race, the Goliaths, from it completely.

It's just not on the list.

So, apparently the Goliaths won't be getting any support...presumably ever.

Seriously, are they that unpopular or something?
One of my biggest beefs with the "Essentials" line is that they are dropping my favorite race, the Goliaths, from it completely.

It's just not on the list.

So, apparently the Goliaths won't be getting any support...presumably ever.

Seriously, are they that unpopular or something?

Essentials is an analog of PHB/MM/DMG. Were Goliaths in there? Essentials products are apparently geared toward 3.Xe folks who have certain ideas of what D&D is; the Essentials products can then convert those tropes to 4e. Are Goliaths a common 3.Xe trope? Essentials products are also geared toward beginners. Are 12-year olds familiar with the concept of Goliaths from mass media?

Dark Sun seems to feature Goliaths extensively (though rebranded as Half-Giants). It will come out soon.

There is no evidence that there will never be anything ever again for Goliaths, even if they are not in Essentials.

I cannot comment on how popular Goliaths are (because while I have suspicions, I have no idea). People like things that are easy to conceptualize. If you could summarize Goliaths in a couple words, what would they be?

Whatever your feelings, do you think they are as familiar as the Tolkein Troupe? (This includes: People, Small People, Industrious People, Country Elves, Suburban Elves, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" Elves, "Guess Who's Coming as Dinner?" Orcs.)

Do you think Goliaths are as compelling to the average new player as Dragon People, Devil People, and "I'm not bad, I'm just misunderstood because I grew up on the MEAN STREETS!" Inner City Elves?
D&DNext: HTFU Edition
I saw an article a while back that listed the collections of classes and races in each Essentials book (I cannot seem to find this article again >.<). Goliaths were one of the only races currently in the PHs that were not listed, so I'm not sure your "familiarity" remarks fit entirely - While almost anyone would be able to describe an elf or a dwarf, if I said "Tiefling" or "Deva" I would probably get some very puzzled looks.

Goliaths are not Half-Giants at all. they are completely different in appearance, culture, language, origin, and, last and least, mechanics. Half-Giants have been around for a while; Goliaths seem to be a 3.5e creation. Granted, Goliaths may have been partially inspired by Half-Giants, but even if so, they were greatly removed during the creative process.

Just to clarify, I'm not terribly angry that they have been left out. If they're not popular, I could understand that decision. I only have experience with three different groups, so I'm not in a position to say "They're popular!" What ticks me off is the quiet way they were left out - no explanation, nothing. An announcement by omission, essentially.

And, if they aren't popular, it's at least partially a self-created problem. Support for the Goliaths has been quite weak compared to many races, and a lot of people simply don't like choosing a race with limited options.

Ah well.
I saw an article a while back that listed the collections of classes and races in each Essentials book (I cannot seem to find this article again >.<). Goliaths were one of the only races currently in the PHs that were not listed, so I'm not sure your "familiarity" remarks fit entirely - While almost anyone would be able to describe an elf or a dwarf, if I said "Tiefling" or "Deva" I would probably get some very puzzled looks.

Try www.wizards.com/dnd/article.aspx?x=dnd/d... . The other folks left out (From the PHB 1+2) are Reincarnating Angel People, Small Not-Garden Elves, Not-Quite-Weretiger People, and Not-Quite-Werewolf People. 5 outta 6 PHB2 races don't make it. Tieflings have been around since 2e. Folks familiar with D&D know their schtick, and plenty of people like 'em (in my experience). If people don't know 'em, when you say they are Devil People, ears will perk up because that is a compelling archetype.
Goliaths are not Half-Giants at all. they are completely different in appearance, culture, language, origin, and, last and least, mechanics. Half-Giants have been around for a while; Goliaths seem to be a 3.5e creation. Granted, Goliaths may have been partially inspired by Half-Giants, but even if so, they were greatly removed during the creative process.

You may want to tell it to this Thug: www.wizards.com/dnd/files/excerpts/DarkS... . Yeah, I think Goliaths appeared first in Races of Stone, about 6 years ago.
Just to clarify, I'm not terribly angry that they have been left out. If they're not popular, I could understand that decision. I only have experience with three different groups, so I'm not in a position to say "They're popular!" What ticks me off is the quiet way they were left out - no explanation, nothing. An announcement by omission, essentially.

I suspect that they are not popular. If unpopular, who (except a few fans) would even notice their absence, so why would WotC say anything? Only the PHB races and a couple others are included; just as many races (or more!) would be listed as not included if WotC drew attention to it. Since Essentials are like the PHB/DMG/MM, from a certain perspective it's like adding Drow and Half-Victims-of-PCs to the main mix instead of leaving some races out.

What this means for Knights (the topic of this thread):

As we've seen, like races, classes are gonna get "back to basics". So what builds should we expect? I think each class will probably get a couple builds.

Fighter: Knight (sword & board) and Slayer (two-handed War Ensemble guy)
Cleric: Warpriest (melee domain guy with a couple flavors) and... will the flavors be it? A ranged/Healic?
Rogue: Thief (Sneaky Trap-hating Loot-searchin' stabber) and... Head-clubbin' guy?
Wizard: Mage (School Generalist) and... that's it? School Specialists ala Illusionists?
Druid: Beast Form Melee dude and Ranged dude? Animal dude and Plant dude?
Paladin: Melee Martyr dude and Take-it-for-the-team interventionist? I doubt we'll see the mount.
Ranger: Bow and two-weapon builds.
Warlock: Fae and Infernal pacts?
D&DNext: HTFU Edition
You may want to tell it to this Thug: www.wizards.com/dnd/files/excerpts/DarkS... . Yeah, I think Goliaths appeared first in Races of Stone, about 6 years ago.



Ah, I didn't know they had retconned Goliaths to be Half-Giants. That's both a major change, and a disturbing one, since the two were so completely different. That *does* help explain the absence, though - apparently they are becoming like Warforged and Genasi (i.e., existing within a campaign setting book). Thanks for clarifying that; I haven't bothered to look into any of the Dark Sun stuff - I've never liked that campaign setting.

Disappointing to me, but ah well.
They're not retconning it, per say. They're saying "Goliaths don't exist in Dark Sun. But Half-Giants do, and you can use Goliath mechanics to play them."

The Core PHB2 Goliaths are still going to be their own race. They're just having their stats used to represent Half-Giants in Dark Sun. This is similar to the idea being shopped around on the Eberron Forums for Goliath stats being used to represent Eneko from Eberron's continent of Sarlona (Half Giant/Half Ogre mongrels). It's just an "official houserule" so to speak for Dark Sun.

Afterall, Dark Sun existed way before Goliaths. It's not necessary for the setting to include everything that came after it in its update. Hell, 4e Dark Sun is not even going to mention gnomes, because 2e Dark Sun said they were all extinct.

Also, I think you're under the false impression that Essentials aren't compatable with what came before? Essentials is still 4e. You can run a Shifter Barbarian straight from the PHB2 alongside an Essentials Human Knight. They operate and adhere to the same system math.

This isn't a new edition, and I highly doubt Goliaths are going to "exist in a campaign setting book". Goliaths most likely will not have their stats reprinted in the Dark Sun campaign guide. Dark Sun is just going to tell you to use the PHB2 Goliath as Half-Giants.
Planes Wanderer
You may want to tell it to this Thug: www.wizards.com/dnd/files/excerpts/DarkS... . Yeah, I think Goliaths appeared first in Races of Stone, about 6 years ago.



Ah, I didn't know they had retconned Goliaths to be Half-Giants. That's both a major change, and a disturbing one, since the two were so completely different. That *does* help explain the absence, though - apparently they are becoming like Warforged and Genasi (i.e., existing within a campaign setting book). Thanks for clarifying that; I haven't bothered to look into any of the Dark Sun stuff - I've never liked that campaign setting.

Disappointing to me, but ah well.



Not really.  Goliaths aren't going to be detailed as Half-Giants in Dark Sun Campaign Guide any more than Halflings are going to be detailed in it – as murderous savages of the desert, or Elves as desert bandits.  They're more like Shifters in Eberron: an essential race that was a canon-immigrant from Eberron, only to show up in the PH2 first.  All races, remember, have a backstory in the core setting.  Thri-Kreen revere Old Grandfather, one of the Great Elder Spirits, in the core setting, according to the MM3.  Warforged, Genasi, Changelings, Drow, Thri-Kreen, and Mul all are/will be featured in the core setting somehow (Mul are the only one so far not incorporated, but just wait for MM4…).

This is my biggest pet-peeve here: that people somehow seem to think that Essentials invalidates EVERYTHING that came before.  Everything in your PHs are grounded in lore and mechanics as part of 4E going forward, save errata'd material.  Some classes, many of which happened to be iconic classes from earlier editions, needed a lot of help and facelifts.  So put together an iconic races and classes book, with these face-lifted classes and all the errata applied, and we get Essentials!

It's NOT replaces what's come before, dammit.  And there's been NO evidence that races in Essentials are getting special treatment besides their updates being in an actual book rather than just errata. 

If you think what the iconic D&D races are, you'll think Tolkien first – Human, Elf, Halfling, Dwarf.  Eladrin are just High Elves, and Drow are Dark Elves, so those join, especially since Drow have been iconic since Drizzt and Eladrin are one of the three iconic 4E races (that really are facelifted minor races from previous editions).  Half-Elves and Half-Orcs are iconic options that have been with D&D for nearly forever.  And with the new definition of them not being necessarily a first-generation thing, Aragorn would be a Half-Elf (descended from men and elves).

And Dragonborn and Tieflings are the other two most iconic races in 4E.  Think.  Dragonborn and Tieflings – the conflict of their empires, along with the rise and fall of Nerath – are a defining element of Nentir Vale and the PoL setting history.  It would be madness not to feature them. 

Fallen Lands = Heirs of Nerath: the most iconic races of the Nentir Vale = Dwarf, Eladrin, Elf, Hafling and Human.  

Forgotten Kingdoms = Heirs of Bael Turath and Arkhosia: the other iconic races of the Nentir Vale and beyond, in the fallen empires = Dragonborn, Drow, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, and Tieflings.


That does NOT mean the other races are gone.  These 10 are the new definition of the biggest players in the PoL Core Setting, though.  They said that the races in PH1 were the most iconic races, and the PH2 races were more uncommon, and the races in PH3 were downright rare, but not unknown. 

Well, if you had to add two races to the list of "Most iconic" what would they be?  You know who were clamoured for more than anybody else who didn't make the PH1 cut in 2008?  Hint: it's not the Gnome. 

Half-Orcs were ignored back in PH1 due to the problem of their heritage.  But the race is iconic, and if Half-Eves are iconic and common enough, Half-Orcs would be almost as much, especially now they aren't all playing Barbarian. 

Who else would you add?  Well, having access to the other Campaign setting guides… You really don't talk about the split between Eladrin and Elves without mentioning Drow in there somewhere.  They really are the third branch of the story, and to leave them out would be to run them farther into the pit of being monsters-but-not-monsters.  If you're going to make a race mostly evil but with some good heroes shrugging it off, you need to give the race more and more "good" support: that is, good organisations and communities, and if you leave them in the limelight, they won't get that.  Gnolls are in an awkward position right now because they are like what Drow were in the beginning; it's the reason why Githyanki have never gone that way.  They're too evil.  Drow are too, but they have enough iconic heroes (but only in Forgotten Realms) to escape that limelight. 

Drow need more featuring in the Core Setting in order to escape that limbo state between Good and Evil, and establish that they can have Good heroes as well.  I have no doubt with them joining the nine other races in Essentials that we'll be getting a new iconic hero in the Core Novels series that is a Drow.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Also, I think you're under the false impression that Essentials aren't compatable with what came before? Essentials is still 4e. You can run a Shifter Barbarian straight from the PHB2 alongside an Essentials Human Knight. They operate and adhere to the same system math.

This isn't a new edition, and I highly doubt Goliaths are going to "exist in a campaign setting book".

My definition of system is not restricted to "math". Fundamental changes in the way the classes work is a signifcant factor for me. I don't dislike the Essentials design, but I see a significant shift away from prior 4E design, and that combined with the repeated use of "compatible" bugs me. Compatible doesn't mean "the same as" it means "works with", and by not changing the math that is true. But that doesn't mean the differences between 4E and Essentials are not large.
My definition of system is not restricted to "math". Fundamental changes in the way the classes work is a signifcant factor for me. I don't dislike the Essentials design, but I see a significant shift away from prior 4E design, and that combined with the repeated use of "compatible" bugs me. Compatible doesn't mean "the same as" it means "works with", and by not changing the math that is true. But that doesn't mean the differences between 4E and Essentials are not large.



But the fact that they're saying that it's not a new edition means that EVERYTHING released thus far is steeped in lore.  Just because they're changing the way Fighters work from here on out doesn't mean suddenly Tempest Fighters and Brawling Fighters don't exist anymore.  Just because Goliaths didn't appear in either Essentials book doesn't mean we should forget them.  No. 

So yeah, there are fundamental changes in the way some builds of the classes work, but these are new builds, rather than taking an old build, saying that one doesn't exist anymore (like the card set rotations in TCG play), and saying you have to use the new one.  Granted, Knight seems to overlap in theme with Guardian Fighter, and Slayer with the Great Weapon Fighter, and Warpriest with the Battle Cleric, and certain Mage builds with Wizard builds, but they don't eliminate those from existance. 

The most important thing is the all the lore built up by releases up until now remain in the game as usual. 

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Yes. To put it simply, your idea of pre-Essentials stuff no longer being the same edition is largely similar to saying that, from now and until the Essentials release, you're only allowed to play PHB3 races, because they're the only ones currently presented with the variable ability score.

This is a new shift in design philosophy, very much on the same scale as what these new builds are doing for classs. So is the 4th Edition Player's Handbook 3 in a different edition than the 4th Edition Player's Handbook 2? No.

Also, I define "edition" entirely by compatability. Can the new Essentials build be played right alongside the PHB1,2, and 3 classes? Absolutely. Because they are compatable. An Essentials Human Knight can be played right alongside a Dark-pact Warlock, an Swarm Druid from Primal Power, and Warlord using only options from the PHB1.

Thats because they're all 4th edition characters.
Planes Wanderer
My only complaint with Essentials is that having some classes without daily powers is going to be problematic.  For many classes, their daily usage promotes desire to rest over surges.  On another note, often a single daily will "flavor" the entire encounter or make such a difference in the first round (mass turn loss or early monster death) that there's no way At will attacks will keep up.
My only complaint with Essentials is that having some classes without daily powers is going to be problematic.  For many classes, their daily usage promotes desire to rest over surges.  On another note, often a single daily will "flavor" the entire encounter or make such a difference in the first round (mass turn loss or early monster death) that there's no way At will attacks will keep up.



Actually, for normal play, I would word it the other way around - the essentials classes will promote playing on without extended rests.

It has been somewhat of a complaint of mine that there has been no really "simple" character for players to have. Most gaming groups I have played with might like to build a character with all kinds of bells and whistles, but there is always one that never reads his powers, and just swings his beat-stick the same old way every time. The essentials fighter is for this guy - he will no longer be nerfed by doing this, and he will never have to remember who is marked. Hooray - my job as a DM or a player alongside him just got easier.
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