D&D Essentials rules update

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The Rules Updates for D&D Essentials is up.

www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4...

Discuss...politely.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
As a fan of two blade rangers, I applaud this document.
I will be ignoring the rarity system in my games, but other than that part of the document, it also gets a thumbs-up from me.
The two-blade ranger in our game is also very happy. (Or at least he will be when he receives my email.)
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.

I'm laughing so hard it hurts.  THIS is what everyone's been crying about?  How many hundreds of posts have there been declaring this to be 4.5?  And this is the summary of changes?  Unless I'm missing something, I'm very underwhelmed.

Summary

- changes to racial stats (you love it or hate it... easy to ignore if you wish)


- a few changes to class mechanics that are pretty invisible and would easily have slipped through a normal erratta without much comment.  Except for sneak attack output potentially greatly increased, not sure how that will play out. Have to see it in action...

- effect on miss for wizard spells and few damage adjustments. Not exactly a game breaker.

- feat changes.  Hit and miss. I like the scaling NAD bonus feats, melee training change is freaking people out but it's hardly 4.5.  Again, nothing here that really shakes up the game.

- rapiers are no longer superior. This must be version 4.5 !!  Sealed

-  implement proficiency, after a careful read I still can't figure out how this changes the old system to any great degree.  It's certainly not a game changer.

-  magic item rarity,  IMHO the only profound change to the game that we see in this document. Couple this with the (strangely absent) new rules on magic item use and it could really change the way people build their characters.  Does this make the update version 4.5?  Not for me (I love it) but I can see why min/max players would freak out. In reality though, the DM can still distribute magic items in such a way that the old system still works.

- A change to the heal section in divine power.  Uh... okay.

Conclusion:  Are they changing the game? Yes, but they've been doing that every month since this version was released. This feels more like a normal monthly errata update than version 4.5

Final Verdict:  My game barely changes. Wednesday night is safe.

The two-blade ranger in our game is also very happy. (Or at least he will be when he receives my email.)



It definitely gives you a reason to take that feat for sure.

I just realized that these are player oriented errata only.  There's nothing here from the DM guide with regards to treasure distribution. Will there be a part 2 to this document? A version for DM changes?
I just realized that these are player oriented errata only.  There's nothing here from the DM guide with regards to treasure distribution. Will there be a part 2 to this document? A version for DM changes?



Probably will come when the DM Kit comes along (IIRC, that's going to be a month from now or so?) I'm guessing it's player-focused only because the big release is HoFL, and the Compendium doesn't, as I understand, have a lot of discrete rules element things in it to correct. 

Could be wrong, though. 
I just realized that these are player oriented errata only.  There's nothing here from the DM guide with regards to treasure distribution. Will there be a part 2 to this document? A version for DM changes?



This also only has to do with races and classes presented in the first "heroes book". So there will be a part 2 for that. Then there's also DM changes. Then there's stuff they missed in the first pass of part 1 (like the dwarf/eladrin racial feats if they arent supposed to apply to implements either). Then there's more common items.

This is just the start of the Errata due to essentials.
I will be ignoring the rarity system in my games, but other than that part of the document, it also gets a thumbs-up from me.


Yeah, the rarity system is right out. (Bracers of Mighty Striking is a Common, so the Knight, Slayer, and Thief get their +2 damage easily, but Iron Armbands of Power is an Uncommon, so everyone else has to beg ask nicely? Uhkay... )
And the Sling-wielding Rogue [Distant Advantage, Backstabber Feats], Druid [Swarming Locusts, Pounce (with Patient Hunter Feat) At-Wills], and Warlord [Direct the Strike] in the group I DM just had their damage potential boosted a fair amount by the Sneak-Attack-is-now-1/turn change, since it'll go to the Rogue (who pretty much always has Combat Advantage thanks to the Druid) instead of the Ranger or Fighter...
Curious to see what changes will come from Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, since that document pretty clearly only covers Heroes of the Fallen Lands.
“If the computer or the game designer is having more fun than the player, you have made a terrible mistake.” -Sid Meier
Happy with the changes, just wish we could get a preview of a rare item, already.  I can create my own, but I'd like to see the basic power-level and options that will be present.
I'm curious as to how long we'll have to wait for WotC to give me back my Crossbow Rogue, via a feat.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
I'm curious as to how long we'll have to wait for WotC to give me back my Crossbow Rogue, via a feat.



Never. (sarc) Having a decent weapon provide sneak attack would completely break that game.  Can't have that (/sarc).

-Polaris
Yeah, the rarity system is right out. (Bracers of Mighty Striking is a Common, so the Knight, Slayer, and Thief get their +2 damage easily, but Iron Armbands of Power is an Uncommon, so everyone else has to beg ask nicely? Uhkay... )


This is errata for the PHB. Iron Armbands of Power are in AV1. Thus, their rarity has yet to be addressed.
The two-blade ranger in our game is also very happy. (Or at least he will be when he receives my email.)



It definitely gives you a reason to take that feat for sure.




Well, I already took the feat to get access to the defense feat. This is just really nice icing on the cake.
This is errata for the PHB. Iron Armbands of Power are in AV1. Thus, their rarity has yet to be addressed.


No, this is the update for Heroes of the Fallen Lands. It also has changes for things in Martial Power, Player's Handbook 2, and Arcane Power. Some of the items in the list are from Player's Handbook 2 (Magic Totem), others are indeed from the Adventurer's Vault (Defensive Weapon/Staff), and there's at least one from Adventurer's Vault 2 (Symbol of the Holy Nimbus). So, perhaps you missed the first sentence of the paragraph preceding the list of Commons?
Older items, until stated otherwise, have the Uncommon rarity. The exceptions are the following items, which are common. Some of these items appear in Heroes of the Fallen Lands and Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms. Some come from other sources and are intended to supply players with more common items.

“If the computer or the game designer is having more fun than the player, you have made a terrible mistake.” -Sid Meier
I'm curious as to how long we'll have to wait for WotC to give me back my Crossbow Rogue, via a feat.



Never. (sarc) Having a decent weapon provide sneak attack would completely break that game.  Can't have that (/sarc).

-Polaris


Heh, seriously.

Wait, I mean:

Ah, you're right.  How could I have been so blind!  Crossbow rogues were clearly overshadowing Archer Rangers.  They had to be taken out back, and put down.

Violently.


Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
The two-blade ranger in our game is also very happy. (Or at least he will be when he receives my email.)

Yeah, more power to the poor under-performing rangers and a needed feat tax to the over-damaging swordmages Yell

I really hope they don't forget to remove versatile expertise when the final update is released. Yell

Happy with the changes, just wish we could get a preview of a rare item, already.  I can create my own, but I'd like to see the basic power-level and options that will be present.



The existing Holy Avenger from PHB1 is now a Rare item.  So are the Gauntlets of Ogre Power.
im looking at the document and must just be missing where it says the magic system is optional? bc all i see is like 20 items were allowed to buy or make, most of which have feats that outpower them now, such as belt of vim. its probably the biggest change you could possibly make to the game yet there are still people that say 'oh wow see? no big deal?' are you even reading, good lord. it doesnt say 'this is an option'. it says 'Older items, until stated otherwise, have the Uncommon rarity'. that is the rule, period. stop acting like they are giving alternatives to that rule, it is the rule

also to this question

'Happy with the changes, just wish we could get a preview of a rare item, already.  I can create my own, but I'd like to see the basic power-level and options that will be present.'


a rare item is gauntlets of ogre power. try not to get too excited

to be fair, we dont know how much being able to get sneak on opportunity attacks and other out of turn attacks will do to rogue damage levels.
> a rare item is gauntlets of ogre power. try not to get too excited

I have a sneaking suspicion that they're defining these things as "rare" for old-E fluff reasons. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see the Gauntlets of Ogre Power / Girdle of Giant Strength / Hammer of Thunderbolts combination return and part of that would mean labeling all three parts as rare so that the combination can be fluffed as 'special'.

Same goes for something like a Holy Avenger being rare.
This is not nearly as heavy a 'revision' as I was expecting.  Not bad at all, something I can certainly live with.  

I'm glad to finally get my hands on the actual updates; I was getting real tired of trying browsing E-threads, looking for tidbits.

I just came back from the store after buying the red box; just couldn't talk myself out of it ;).  It seems to be a nice introductory product; definitely something I would pick up as a gift for someone else, to spark a potential interest in D&D.

I do get the impression that they will eventually be phasing out the PH, DMG, and MM.  Not sure what this means but at this point, I'll prolly pick up the rest of Essentials and simply make a new start.  That's how I'm seeing DDE right now:  A new start to the game I've been playing all along, with a few light revisions thrown in.

I'm relieved.  I don't have to be concerned about Essentials anymore.  I believe I know what it is and where it might be going.  Essentials isn't 4e but then again, 4e isn't D&D.  Hard to explain but the actual game isn't going anywhere I can't (or won't) follow.

/\ Art 
/\ Art
neut- well, they basically blew up the system bc weakling spineless dms couldnt control their players. that is NOT a good reason to change the entire treasure system. youre saying an added reason will be to capture a retro feel, something i have always been happy that 4e did not contain. i dont want to play older editions or i would.  thats just another reason to hate this rules change. why why why would you blow up the game just bc of weak dms? WHY
The implement rules are a little confusing, not in the new proficiency side of things, but on the line on feats that let you use weapons as implements.

I assume you can take Eladrin sword wizardry and use a longsword as a wand as long as you're proficiency with a wand and othewise meet the requirements of the feat.
neut- well, they basically blew up the system bc weakling spineless dms couldnt control their players. that is NOT a good reason to change the entire treasure system. youre saying an added reason will be to capture a retro feel, something i have always been happy that 4e did not contain. i dont want to play older editions or i would. thats just another reason to hate this rules change. why why why would you blow up the game just bc of weak dms? WHY



Blew up the game because of spineless weakling DM's?

Have you considered not buying essentials?

neut- well, they basically blew up the system bc weakling spineless dms couldnt control their players. that is NOT a good reason to change the entire treasure system. youre saying an added reason will be to capture a retro feel, something i have always been happy that 4e did not contain. i dont want to play older editions or i would. thats just another reason to hate this rules change. why why why would you blow up the game just bc of weak dms? WHY



Blew up the game because of spineless weakling DM's?

Have you considered not buying essentials?




I invoke the Oberoni Fallacy.  The new treasure rules are now official whether you buy Essentials or not.

-Polaris
neut- well, they basically blew up the system bc weakling spineless dms couldnt control their players. that is NOT a good reason to change the entire treasure system. youre saying an added reason will be to capture a retro feel, something i have always been happy that 4e did not contain. i dont want to play older editions or i would.  thats just another reason to hate this rules change. why why why would you blow up the game just bc of weak dms? WHY


How is this going to "blow up the game"? How is that even a remotely reasonable statement?

Did WotC somehow plant explosive chips in all our pre-Essentials books that will go off when Essentials is released?

The designers changed the system because they found the rules to be cumbersome. It's been quoted multiple times already. Please be honest in your posts.
where is the eberron errata? where is the ritual errata? this is not even close to all the rules changes that are coming

and yes igniz, weak dms apparently let their players control the game to the point that MOMMA had to make BABY RULES
tib point taken, blew up the magic system completely not the game. blew up the entire magic system, to patronize weak dms,  but not the entire game
maybe theres no ritual errata bc there are no rituals in essentials? rituals are in the phb, this purports to be phb errata, not a peep about rituals
neut- well, they basically blew up the system bc weakling spineless dms couldnt control their players. that is NOT a good reason to change the entire treasure system. youre saying an added reason will be to capture a retro feel, something i have always been happy that 4e did not contain. i dont want to play older editions or i would. thats just another reason to hate this rules change. why why why would you blow up the game just bc of weak dms? WHY



Blew up the game because of spineless weakling DM's?

Have you considered not buying essentials?




I invoke the Oberoni Fallacy.  The new treasure rules are now official whether you buy Essentials or not.

-Polaris



The entire first five pages of General Discussion have been one big Oberoni Fallacy ever since Essentials was announced.
maybe theres no ritual errata bc there are no rituals in essentials? rituals are in the phb, this purports to be phb errata, not a peep about rituals



From what I've heard, they mention Rituals briefly in the RC (they say they exist and how to use them but don't give an example), but none of the Essentials books contain any actual Rituals.  Instead, the spellcasting classes get class features that replicate what used to be rituals.  I'm not that sure on this one though, so take this as rumor only.
where is the eberron errata? where is the ritual errata? this is not even close to all the rules changes that are coming

and yes igniz, weak dms apparently let their players control the game to the point that MOMMA had to make BABY RULES



There was nothing preventing players from crafting any item of an appropriate level before except the DM saying "no."

For DM's that don't like to say "no" without official back up, now there are rules.

There is nothing allowing a player to create Uncommon items now except the DM saying "yes." If a player asks, and the DM says "yes," then he can create it. The DM can make the "yes" as conditional as he wants to. It can be a whole adventure, or it can be as simple as "here are the materials you need, here is what they cost, have at it."

All the power regarding magic items is now in the hands of the DM, and the rules now back that up.

How is this such a big deal. From the way you are talking, it sounds like an approximation of these rules was already a houserule in your own games, why are you bent out of shape now that your houserules are official?

where is the eberron errata? where is the ritual errata? this is not even close to all the rules changes that are coming

and yes igniz, weak dms apparently let their players control the game to the point that MOMMA had to make BABY RULES



There was nothing preventing players from crafting any item of an appropriate level before except the DM saying "no."

For DM's that don't like to say "no" without official back up, now there are rules.

There is nothing allowing a player to create Uncommon items now except the DM saying "yes." If a player asks, and the DM says "yes," then he can create it. The DM can make the "yes" as conditional as he wants to. It can be a whole adventure, or it can be as simple as "here are the materials you need, here is what they cost, have at it."

All the power regarding magic items is now in the hands of the DM, and the rules now back that up.

How is this such a big deal. From the way you are talking, it sounds like an approximation of these rules was already a houserule in your own games, why are you bent out of shape now that your houserules are official?




It's bad because putting the burden (not "power") of game balance on the DM's shoulders instead of the designers is extra workload for the DM.  One of the original 4e selling points (and one that I really liked) was that it was trying to make things easier on the DM; that's really the entire point of game balance.  You were supposed to be able to follow the rules for how to build an encounter, pick some monsters out of the book, and it would "just work".  The whole reason magic items in 4e were "boring" was also for game balance - you were supposed to be able to put whatever item you wanted at around the correct level, or let the player choose, and the item would be guaranteed to not unbalance the game.

Now, the whole point of rares and uncommons is to let the designers make items without worrying that they will unbalance the game.  Rares were invented just because the designers wanted room to make really powerful items at low levels without needing to worry about how badly they would break things.  The whole point of getting rid of player crafting and buying is that now it's the DM's job to read through everything that WotC releases and try to figure out what's broken on their own, and if they accidentally let a broken item into their game, it's their fault, not WotC's.  There were already lots of people who defended WotC on the board when they'd release something broken by saying "It's your fault if you let it into your game", but at least back then DM's could say that their players would be able to craft it on their own.  Now that DM's don't have that excuse, it's become their job to try and deal with game balance.  And it's really not that easy... if a large RPG company with experience and a playtesting team finds item balance too difficult, then random noob DM is going to have an even worse time of it.
All the power regarding magic items is now in the hands of the DM, and the rules now back that up.

How is this such a big deal. From the way you are talking, it sounds like an approximation of these rules was already a houserule in your own games, why are you bent out of shape now that your houserules are official?




How is that such a big deal?  It's a near total reversal of one of the major design paradigms that went into 4E in the first place.  Unlike all prior editions of DnD, in 4E, the magic items were placed in the PHB and that wasn't an accident.  That's because the design paradigm of 4E was that Players should have access to all the rules and character options that directly affect them including magic items.  In 4E (originally) a player was supposed to have pretty much what he wanted within the total treasure guidelines for his level.  It's also why the Enchant Ritual was written the way it was.

So yes, reversing a fundamental design decision like this is a big honking deal.

-Polaris
Now that DM's don't have that excuse, it's become their job to try and deal with game balance.  And it's really not that easy... if a large RPG company with experience and a playtesting team finds item balance too difficult, then random noob DM is going to have an even worse time of it.


...Which is why the relevant article (and hopefully the book itself!) explains that DMs should think long and hard about the rare items they hand out to their players. Which, by the way, is actually no different than the current system: DMs are still expected to hand out treasure, including potentially unbalanced items.

I do hope that WotC puts sufficient warning labels on rare items, though.
Now that DM's don't have that excuse, it's become their job to try and deal with game balance.  And it's really not that easy... if a large RPG company with experience and a playtesting team finds item balance too difficult, then random noob DM is going to have an even worse time of it.


...Which is why the relevant article (and hopefully the book itself!) explains that DMs should think long and hard about the rare items they hand out to their players. Which, by the way, is actually no different than the current system: DMs are still expected to hand out treasure, including potentially unbalanced items.

I do hope that WotC puts sufficient warning labels on rare items, though.



Yes, and that's the BAD thing; the entire thing my post was about.  I don't WANT to think long and hard.  I do that at my job, and I play D&D for fun once a week when I can fit it into my schedule.  I want the people I'm paying $40 for the book I'm getting to think long and hard so I don't have to.  I have no use at all for a book full of broken items.  I want ones that I can use without having to put on my RPG game designer hat.  The point of paying for an RPG is that you're paying someone else to do the design and balance work for you.
Yes, and that's the BAD thing; the entire thing my post was about.  I don't WANT to think long and hard.  I do that at my job, and I play D&D for fun once a week when I can fit it into my schedule.  I want the people I'm paying $40 for the book I'm getting to think long and hard so I don't have to.  I have no use at all for a book full of broken items.  I want ones that I can use without having to put on my RPG game designer hat.  The point of paying for an RPG is that you're paying someone else to do the design and balance work for you.


And honestly, I agree with you, I'm pretty much the same when it comes to DMing.

Thing is, I know that not all DMs are like me, so when the designers claim they got feedback that prompted the changes, I believe them.

Also, I'd like to point out that we don't know how many potentially "broken" rare items there will be in the book, so the idea that we'd be paying $40 for a book full of broken items is a bit premature.
Now that DM's don't have that excuse, it's become their job to try and deal with game balance.  And it's really not that easy... if a large RPG company with experience and a playtesting team finds item balance too difficult, then random noob DM is going to have an even worse time of it.


...Which is why the relevant article (and hopefully the book itself!) explains that DMs should think long and hard about the rare items they hand out to their players. Which, by the way, is actually no different than the current system: DMs are still expected to hand out treasure, including potentially unbalanced items.

I do hope that WotC puts sufficient warning labels on rare items, though.



Eh, looking at the known rare items of Holy Avenger and Gauntlets of Ogre Power, the warning should be probably say "Warning: Player will probably be unimpressed, wonder why the rules were changed to make these unexciting items less common, and then sell it for 5x the cost he would have before".

It's bad because putting the burden (not "power") of game balance on the DM's shoulders instead of the designers is extra workload for the DM.  One of the original 4e selling points (and one that I really liked) was that it was trying to make things easier on the DM; that's really the entire point of game balance.  You were supposed to be able to follow the rules for how to build an encounter, pick some monsters out of the book, and it would "just work".  The whole reason magic items in 4e were "boring" was also for game balance - you were supposed to be able to put whatever item you wanted at around the correct level, or let the player choose, and the item would be guaranteed to not unbalance the game.

Now, the whole point of rares and uncommons is to let the designers make items without worrying that they will unbalance the game.  Rares were invented just because the designers wanted room to make really powerful items at low levels without needing to worry about how badly they would break things.  The whole point of getting rid of player crafting and buying is that now it's the DM's job to read through everything that WotC releases and try to figure out what's broken on their own, and if they accidentally let a broken item into their game, it's their fault, not WotC's.  There were already lots of people who defended WotC on the board when they'd release something broken by saying "It's your fault if you let it into your game", but at least back then DM's could say that their players would be able to craft it on their own.  Now that DM's don't have that excuse, it's become their job to try and deal with game balance.  And it's really not that easy... if a large RPG company with experience and a playtesting team finds item balance too difficult, then random noob DM is going to have an even worse time of it.





How is that such a big deal?  It's a near total reversal of one of the major design paradigms that went into 4E in the first place.  Unlike all prior editions of DnD, in 4E, the magic items were placed in the PHB and that wasn't an accident.  That's because the design paradigm of 4E was that Players should have access to all the rules and character options that directly affect them including magic items.  In 4E (originally) a player was supposed to have pretty much what he wanted within the total treasure guidelines for his level.  It's also why the Enchant Ritual was written the way it was.

So yes, reversing a fundamental design decision like this is a big honking deal.

-Polaris



This all sounds like "damned if you do, damned if you don't."

The Enchant Magic item Ritual is very open ended, allowing the player with the Ritual to craft any item he can afford of the appropriate level, without restriction. DMs who had difficulty ferreting out broken combos or who don't pay attention to CharOp could very easily be blindsided by an item or combination of items that were overpowered for their campaigns. Rules as Written (Rule 0 aside), there was nothing he could do to prevent it.

DM's who don't say "no" to items being crafted or on wishlists are characterized in this very thread weak (or even stronger language) DMs. Strong DMs are lauded for telling their players that they need DM approval before crafting any item so that he can review it. The folks who are villifying "weak DMs" for not having an "all but the most basic items need to be run by me before they can be crafted" houserule (and therefore ruining the game by forcing a change to the Magic Item rules) are now complaining that "all but the most basic items need to be run by me before they can be crafted" is an official rule."

Wizards is trying to let "weak" DMs become "strong" DMs by empowering them to say "no" when it is appropriate, and giving them rules to back them up when a player tries to browbeat them into allowing it "because the rules don't say I can't."

Yes, it adds an additional burden on the DM to evaluate whether an item the player wants to craft or find will break his game, but now he has to at least consider the possibility where he may not have considered it before.

Of all the changes in this update (not Essentials, because I believe this change would have happened with or without Essentials), I think the Magic Item change is the most important to the long life and continued health of 4E.

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