Executioner Assassin Legal for Encounters S3?

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Link to the Essentials Assassin Playtest Article

Is this playtest build legal for the new season of Encounters, or are we only to use material from the Fallen Lands book (or pregens)?
Link to the Essentials Assassin Playtest Article

Is this playtest build legal for the new season of Encounters, or are we only to use material from the Fallen Lands book (or pregens)?



The assassin would not be officially legal for this season of encounters.  However, if your DM chooses to allow it, that's his/her call. 
Hm, is there something directly stating that gold? 'cause it's on the list of classes on page 32 of HotFL, so I was under the impression that it would be legal.
I'd be very disappointed if the Executioner is not among the allowed classes this season. What better way for Wizard's development team to get a decent amount of feedback for the playtest?
Hm, is there something directly stating that gold? 'cause it's on the list of classes on page 32 of HotFL, so I was under the impression that it would be legal.



I could be wrong!  I was under the impression that HotFL contained only 4 classes - fighter, rogue, wizard, cleric.  To be honest, I don't own the book, so I'm not sure. 
From what I understand this season to be, which is Essentials based, then it would be ok.  However it is only a playtest and usualy the play test not approved.

—Guncici
My reading of the instructions is that the Executioner is not allowed, only classes actually written up in Heroes of the Fallen Lands/Forgotten Kingdoms. Besides, it's a playtest, and Encounters isn't really the right venue for playtesting material.
I respectfully disagree. Encounters is the very place for playtesting, seeing as we playtested dark sun and then we'll be playtesting fortune cards.
I respectfully disagree. Encounters is the very place for playtesting, seeing as we playtested dark sun and then we'll be playtesting fortune cards.



How did Encounters playtest Dark Sun?  By the time Season Two started, the Dark Sun books had already been finalized and put to print.   
Let's not forget the allmighty errata that will undoubtedly change Dark Sun, and whilst nothing could be changed in the final product, encounters players where the first to provide feedback on it.

I just got done reading through Chapter 1 of the adventure, and I got the impression that the Executioner would not be officially allowed in Season 3. However, I personally intend to allow it (if anyone wants to play one)... How else are we going to get good playtest data if no one actually plays the class?

Plus it looks really cool and I really want to see it in play (and see how it does.)

www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/d...
How will character creation work with D&D Encounters: Keep on the Borderlands?

Players can create characters using the D&D Fantasy Roleplaying Game boxed set (A.K.A., the “Red Box”) or the Heroes of the Fallen Lands book. The second book will have more options for players, but both are viable. Both will be available prior to the first session of the season. Once Chapter 3 starts, players can use the Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms book to make a new character or update their existing character if they want.



DDI is not specified as a valid character source.


Red Box, Fallen Lands, or pregen. No assassins.

That's pretty clear to me.
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
Regardless, if a DM wants to allow it, then it's allowed. I'll ask Chris Tulach (the guy that is in charge of Encounters for Wizards) when I see him on Wednesday, or earlier if I get an e-mail from him.
I would say that, officially, it's not allowed.  The reason being that WotC is trying to get new players to D&D with Encounters.  Those new players probably don't have a DDI subscription so allowing classes that aren't available in the red box or HotFL will cause some confusion with those players.
I would say that, officially, it's not allowed.  The reason being that WotC is trying to get new players to D&D with Encounters.  Those new players probably don't have a DDI subscription so allowing classes that aren't available in the red box or HotFL will cause some confusion with those players.



True but it may also be a bone for existing players.

And also an incentive for new players to ask "Where did you get that class" and be introduced to DDI.

Personally I'll be allowing it in the games I'm organizing. 
Planes Wanderer
While I don't think it's allowed, to be honest ... I'm leaning towards allowing it or any other class to sit down at the table. I'm not going to announce or advertise it, but if someone brought a first level Executioner or Shaman, I'd check out the sheet and grant it if there are no pressing errors or problems. I've told all the regulars that they need HoFL-only PCs, and the amount of renown that you get from making your own Essentials-only PC should be enough of a incentive.

I don't know, I keep flip-flopping on the question ... I'll wait and see if it's an actual issue. I doubt it, I'm one of the few at my FLGS with a DDI subscription that regularly keeps up to date on new material. 
I would say that, officially, it's not allowed.  The reason being that WotC is trying to get new players to D&D with Encounters.  Those new players probably don't have a DDI subscription so allowing classes that aren't available in the red box or HotFL will cause some confusion with those players.



Then why give renown for making your character with CB?
To get new players to subscribe to DDI after session one and re-create their character in the builder?  Just a thought.

Joe
True but it may also be a bone for existing players.



Encounters is not aimed at existing players. It makes it very clear that it's aimed at new players and DMs, first and foremost.

And also an incentive for new players to ask "Where did you get that class" and be introduced to DDI.



Executioner is explicitly listed in HotFL, and directs interested readers to DDI to get it.

Then why give renown for making your character with CB?



Executioner isn't in the CB, nor will it be for some time. It's a playtest article right now.
Renown for using the CB has nothing to do with Executioner.

You can make your character with the CB, without a DDI subscription.
People seem to forget that Levels 1-3 are free.

Mind you, they were planning to have Essentials in the CB before the season started.

AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
And also an incentive for new players to ask "Where did you get that class" and be introduced to DDI.

Personally I'll be allowing it in the games I'm organizing. 

What is 'legal' is what is allowed by the DM/organizer.  Without them there is no Encounters.

Yes, the idea of the Season is pure Essentials... however, if the other option is no Season due to players not wanting pure Essentials and not coming out... then what is the sense of arguing 'legal'?

I'm positive WotC would rather a 'non-legal' Encounters be run, and get brand new people to play and buy product, than to not run anything.
Encounters is not aimed at existing players. It makes it very clear that it's aimed at new players and DMs, first and foremost.


To the exclusion of existing players, I would hope not. Yes sometime in the future existing players will get their own thing. So please tell me the harm in allowing existing players, in particular existing players who help and promote the game, the bone of playing with a DDI exclusive "Essentials" build character? In fact I find the timing of this relase for DDI to be quite coincidental with Season 3 kicking off don't you?


I agree with Mr. Hutt.  I cannot think of a better way of showing off DDI then having an Essentials build Assassin at the table.  When the character builder is updated in October, the new Assassin build should be up there.  An other thing, on the renown tracking form the wording is "Create a D&D Essentials Character," which the new Assassin build is.

—Guncici
What better way to show off DDI to someone new to the game by bringing something composed entirely of rules and materials they HAVE NO ACCESS TO and cannot verify/validate.

And no, a DM should not be compelled to get DDI just to accomodate your insistence on bringing unbalanced PLAYTEST materials to an event that's explicitly designed for beginner DMs.

Wow guys. Just wow.
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
Well, WOTC-legal or not, my DM has agreed to let me try out the Executioner in this season of Encounters. The only caveat being that I am restricted to using only material in "Heroes of the Fallen Lands" or the Dragon article "Essentials Assassin".

Here's the build I put together:
Level 1 Executioner Assassin

Sa'Knif, level 1
Human, Assassin
Build: Executioner Assassin (playtest)
Guild: The Red Scales
Background: Occupation - Hired Killer (+2 Stealth)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 12, Dex 18, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 12, Dex 16, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10.

AC: 17 Fort: 17 Reflex: 16 Will: 13
HP: 24 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 6

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +9, Athletics +8, Bluff +5, Perception +6, Stealth +11, Thievery +9

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana -1, Diplomacy 0, Dungeoneering +1, Endurance +1, Heal +1, History -1, Insight +1, Intimidate 0, Nature +1, Religion -1, Streetwise 0 

FEATS
Human: Superior Fortitude
Level 1: Master At Arms

POWERS
Assassin at-will 1: Garrote Strangle
Assassin at-will 1: Kukri Lunge
Assassin at-will 1: Unarmed Throw
Assassin encounter 1: Assassin's Strike
Assassin daily 1: Poison Use: Carrion Crawler Brain Juice OR Id Moss Powder

ITEMS
Leather Armor, Light Shield, Spear, Kukri, Garrote, Dagger (5), Ki Focus, Adventurer's Kit, Camouflaged Clothing, Climber's Kit, Crowbar, Poisoner's Kit


And here's the character sheet in case anyone else would like to try it:
Level 1 Executioner Assassin Character Sheet (right-click, "Save link as...")

(I started a thread in the "Strikers" forum ( 4e Strikers">Executioner Assassin Build for Encounters) to discuss the build, please let me know if you have any advice!)
Nonsense, not every DM can have all material. But you should be allowed to use this material if you have it. I don't know if most DMs check first all character sheets whether erverything is okay with the character buildiing, but I think it would be paranoid. A DM should trust his players that they build a legal character and helps them if they have questions whether an option is legal or not.

That said, I have no problem with restrictions in the Encounters line. But this is that the Red Box is my first DnD "book". So I have no other option than building an essentials character. And the bonus for the renown points should be appealing enough to build an essentials character.

It would be nice if someone official could end this argument abot the assassin. Mr Tulach, how is it intended? What the DMs at home do, is another matter. I mean this all should be about fun, and not follow the law letter for letter!

Best wishes, lars
I already posted the official statement.

Red Box
Fallen Lands
And Forgotten Kingdoms, AFTER it's released.

It does NOT say DDI.
Nor does it say "Any Essentials".

If they wanted DDI in there, they would have said so. Considering how explicit they are about Forgotten Kingdoms and the date it becomes valid, this is not a matter of "being implied".

There's also the fact DMs are expected to have HotFL and the RC, but are not expected to have DDI.
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
What better way to show off DDI to someone new to the game by bringing something composed entirely of rules and materials they HAVE NO ACCESS TO and cannot verify/validate.



Print or am I not allowed to do that either?  Now they have access to it and can "verify/validate."

And no, a DM should not be compelled to get DDI just to accomodate your insistence on bringing unbalanced PLAYTEST materials to an event that's explicitly designed for beginner DMs.

Wow guys. Just wow.



Wow, this is amazing, the purpose of DDE is to have fun. Period. As a DM and as a player that means to me more classes, and as a organizer I will allow the players play it if they want to.  I know all the DM's who are going to be there, all new, and not one of them will have a problem with it.

I already posted the official statement.

Red Box
Fallen Lands
And Forgotten Kingdoms, AFTER it's released.

It does NOT say DDI.
Nor does it say "Any Essentials".

If they wanted DDI in there, they would have said so. Considering how explicit they are about Forgotten Kingdoms and the date it becomes valid, this is not a matter of "being implied".

There's also the fact DMs are expected to have HotFL and the RC, but are not expected to have DDI.



It is not required or expected for the DM to have HotFL or the Red box (I think you meant RB not RC) they need their imagination and a few DM books to pass around.

The new assassin build is essentials, that is what was wanted.  The reason that the FK was dated so they wouldn't get calls like this: 

Person X  "I can't find Forgotten Kingdoms, where is it?"
Rep  "I'm sorry Mr. X it's not out yet."
X  "But the paper said I could use it."
Rep  "You can use it, when it comes out."
X  "So I can use it now."
Rep  "It will be out in November.  Thank you "
X  "So where can I get it now."
Rep  "Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep..."
X  "Booooooooooooorders?"
Rep  "If you would like to make a call..."
X  "Thank you Mr. Rep."

I think we can all agree that is something to be avoided.

—Guncici
Wow, this is amazing, the purpose of DDE is to have fun. Period.



Let me quote Chris Tulach, the Organized Play Developer. I think his word is pretty official on the topic of Encounters, being that it's an Organized Play program.

D&D Encounters: Keep on the Borderlands spotlights the new Essentials products. Going forward, we'd like to be able to tell folks that character creation will include Essentials+, meaning that D&D Encounters will allow use of the Essentials books, plus whatever else is current. For Keep on the Borderlands, we'll be showcasing Heroes of the Fallen Lands and (later) Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, so those products (along with the new Starter Set) will constitute the character creation options for this season.

We will always have pregenerated characters available for those that can't or won't pick up one of the books.

We have programs that let folks drink from the fire hose when it comes to character creation - Living Forgotten Realms is one of them, and we'll be launching another, store-based one in 2011. D&D Encounters is being refined to make it both clear and easy for the players to jump in, and easy to DM, while still letting folks have the ownership of creating their own character.

It has little to do with "compatibility" and more to do with creating a clear on-ramp for playing and DMing in a store. We know what books are positioned as evergreen, and what's going to be new and shiny, and we want D&D Encounters to take advantage of those resources for character creation. Different programs are designed for different groups of players... Experienced players who like the breadth of the 4E rules options have other outlets.



So right off the bat, we have a statement that the purpose of DDE is to spotlight products.
This is followed by stating they want a clear on-ramp for playing and DMing in a store. Playtest articles from DDI are not part of that on-ramp. They want it easy and clear. Notice that "Easy to DM" is mentioned.
He then goes on to say that if you want more variety in character creation options, then you should be doing a DIFFERENT PROGRAM.

The new assassin build is essentials, that is what was wanted.



Mr Tulach differs on that. Would you like to tell him to his face that what he wanted is not actually what he has said?
He EXPLICITLY lists the character creation options for Season 3. He does not say DDI.
It is not indicated nor implied anywhere. You can be sure he was well aware of it in advance.
KotB isn't intended to advertise DDI. It's advertising "Heroes of" and the Red Box - all named.

Yes, the Assassin is branded as Essentials.
However, character options for the season are not "Essentials", but rather a list of specific named products. It's pretty simple and unambiguous.
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!

He EXPLICITLY lists the character creation options for Season 3. He does not say DDI.
It is not indicated nor implied anywhere. You can be sure he was well aware of it in advance.
KotB isn't intended to advertise DDI. It's advertising "Heroes of" and the Red Box - all named.



How can we be sure? This comment of Mr. Tulach is from August 19th. I mean, it would be possible that he didn't know whether the assassin will be ready in time and son didn't mention it. And even if? What is your problem whether people change the published rules of WotC if everybody at the desk agrees and will have more fun this way? I don't understand that.

I mean, I'm a new player, I'll build an essentials character, but I cannot imagine that it'll disturb me if some of my fellow players will bring some character build with Dark Sun, DDI and PH materials.
The question is if the Assassin is "legal" for this Season.

It is not. The material says no, the dev says no, the answer is no.

If some tables wan to ignore that and use other material, I can't stop them.

But that doesn't change the answer to the question. Which is "no".
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!


I mean, I'm a new player, I'll build an essentials character, but I cannot imagine that it'll disturb me if some of my fellow players will bring some character build with Dark Sun, DDI and PH materials.



Stick around the forums... you will be absolutely AMAZED at what disturbs some people...

Stick with your attitude, you'll have less stress and more fun

Welcome aboard!
The problem with allowing the other materials is that going outside of essentials will allow substantially more powerful characters than otherwise possible. The limited selection of weapons in essentials being the most obvious case. It really isn't fun for someone who works within the system to watch the rule breakers get away with getting huge benefits with no penalty. The essentials assassin probably isn't a big deal because it's actually fairly weak without feats from outside of essentials products. It's more of an issue with stuff like a dwarf running around with a gouge and dwarven weapon training at level 1 vs a simple battleaxe.
The essentials assassin probably isn't a big deal because it's actually fairly weak without feats from outside of essentials products. It's more of an issue with stuff like a dwarf running around with a gouge and dwarven weapon training at level 1 vs a simple battleaxe.


This is the approach that my DM has decided to take regarding the Executioner Assassin (i.e., only allowing material from the Red Box, HotFL, and this one Dragon article), with the caveat that if he ends up being far over- or under-powered compared to the rest of the group, I'll switch it out for a pregen on the fly. We're lucky enough to have a regular group that has played every season of Encounters together and are comfortable enough with the system and each other to allow me to bring something new to the table. We also enjoy participating in these "playtests" and offering actual play experience feedback to WOTC, so the Executioner Assassin will fit in very well with us.

I do agree with Palmerkun that currently, by strict rules interpretation, the Assassin should not be included as an option. I checked with my DM first, and he's cool with it. I would caution anyone that is playing with a new group to have a backup character on hand in case the DM decides to hold to those rules.
Moded by original poster, he felt it wasn't needed.

Remember,
Going forward, we'd  like to be able to tell folks that character creation will include  Essentials+, meaning that D&D Encounters will allow use of the Essentials books, plus whatever else is current.


DDI is "current."  Therefore legal.

—Guncici

Remember,
Going forward, we'd  like to be able to tell folks that character creation will include  Essentials+, meaning that D&D Encounters will allow use of the Essentials books, plus whatever else is current.



DDI is "current."  Therefore legal.

—Guncici


Way to completely gloss over the very next sentence which states, "For Keep on the  Borderlands, we'll be showcasing Heroes of the Fallen Lands and (later) Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, so those products (along with the new Starter Set) will constitute the character creation options for this season."

Taken as a whole the first sentence is saying that future encounters seasons will allow essentials along with everything else. The second one says that this season allows only Heroes of the Fallen Lands and the starter set. Remember specific beats general.

Way to completely gloss over the very next sentence which states, "For Keep on the  Borderlands, we'll be showcasing Heroes of the Fallen Lands and (later) Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, so those products (along with the new Starter Set) will constitute the character creation options for this season."

Taken as a whole the first sentence is saying that future encounters seasons will allow essentials along with everything else. The second one says that this season allows only Heroes of the Fallen Lands and the starter set. Remember specific beats general.



Good point.  Palmerkun I am sorry.  I do hope that they will come out and say assassin is legal for encounters.

—Guncici

Good point.  Palmerkun I am sorry.  I do hope that they will come out and say assassin is legal for encounters.

—Guncici



They may wait until the issue is compiled at the end of the month. A lot of times dragon articles changes based on input from the CharOp forum.
Organizers: Assess the desires of your store community and balance that with the ability to remain accessible to new players.

If players are asking for content specifically designed to enhance the books spotlighted during this season, you should feel empowered as the organizer to let your players use it as you see fit, given the spirit of the rules. Therefore, something that directly supports the mage (for example, the pyromancy school) should be fine. The executioner is a little trickier, but it clearly is an Essentials-style build, so that's probably OK, too.

The intent is to keep things in a classic sort of feel, and support the two Player's Essentials books throughout the season. So please keep that in mind when making a decision on what additional Dragon Magazine content you'll let your players access. We'll have more information on integrating Dragon content soon. 

Chris Tulach

D&D Program Manager

Wizards of the Coast  

Chris on Twitter

 

While I perhaps have your ear I'd like to say something frank...

I did go to Encounters and had a really good time...

however it was a near thing me going at all. Only the idea of playtesting the new Assassin and a character idea that popped into my head convinced me of going at all. I thought it very rude of WOTC to exclude gamers who were leery of Essentials design philosophies from potentially participating in a what seems to be WOTC's only major public gaming platform for D&D (LFR being less hands on and in transition and this other "open" program being a phantom at this point). Additionally, because of the length of the season, these gamers could be excluded for months. A change in attitude in simply asking players to create new Essentials characters but not forbidding other characters would have made all the difference in my mind. Or perhaps the communications of these requirements was poor? After all, how can players possibly fail to earn the 5 renown points for making Essentials characters if they are forced to make such characters?

I will say, in case people think I may be overreacting in this, that this perspective has come after a long series of problems with WOTC. First of course is the straightforward problems with Essentials concepts I will not rehash here, but can be seen by exploring the main D&D forums. Another black mark was disallowing special items obtained in Season 1 from being able to be imported into LFR. I remember specifically asking you about this at DDXP 2010 and you stated that special item access would carry over into the main campaign (which I and my roommate thought an incredibly smart marketing idea for LFR and D&D gaming in general). In general, importing from Encounters Season 1 to LFR was poorly handled and I've abandoned those characters. The monstrously miscalculated difficulty levels in some Season 1 fights and all the first Season 2 fights was a terrible blow to my respect for WOTC programs and for local attendance. During Season 2 we lost perhaps half our tables and this was with myself and the DMs doing playtest runs and seeing how we could tone down the fights - in some cases the fights were not salvageable without total rewrites (the battle for the cactus I'm looking at you).

Attendance for Encounters here has gone from 4-5 tables at the beginning of Season 1 to 2 tables barely making in Season 3. I can't but think that this is due to some of the above listed problems. Perhaps a letter in the form similar to the one you sent out after Season 2 began (encouraging people to tone down the brutal Dark Sun encounters) this time encouraging inclusiveness is in order. But perhaps initial impressions are set. I know some people who don't feel like driving 15-30 minutes for a game that is short and perhaps of questionable quality. Sad because I truly liked the possibilities I saw in Encounter 1 of this season. (Even if the initial quest was a bit railroady it was nice having a hub that could be open for roleplay - I even got to ask the potential Big Bad for a loan!)
Last night was my first encounters ever and it was fun. I viewed it as a chance to try out the essentials material. I think it's ok that the "official" rules limited the character choices (thus making the fights easier to balance, which seems to be the main complaint I've read about previous seasons). That being said, I also think it's ok that the DM was willing to bend the rules and allow the players to make other characters. I wouldn't want that decision forced on a DM (especially a new one) by a change in the official rules opening everything up, but if an experienced DM chooses on his own to deal with the extra complexity of allowing other classes I don't see a problem with it.
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