Dungeon 182 - Save My Game: Essentials Survival Guide

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DnDi_Large.pngDungeon 182
Save My Game: Essentials Survival Guide

by Stephen Radney-MacFarland

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few months, you probably know that the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials line is the new hotness. But you may also be asking the question, “how essential is it for me?” This month, I’ll help you answer that question.

Talk about this Article here.
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D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

So the Rules Compendium has all the rules you need in one handy place for DMs and players alike... except the ones it doesn't.  That's disappointing to hear.

I guess I can understand keeping themes and backgrounds (elements that require a list of actual options to go with them) separate, but why vehicle rules?  More importantly, why some weapon properties?  Why ritual rules?  What else are we missing?

I ordered my Rules Compendium because I wanted to finally have everything all in one place, and I've been excitedly waiting for it since it shipped.  Now I'm worrying about what kind of minor, small print bait-and-switch I'm in for.
This article is great content, its wonderful to have some guidance on what to buy.  I think I'll probably get the Compendium, as well as the DM Kit and the 2 player books.  My main motivation: errata.

As for disappointment that a few rules are left out, that's just silly.  There are always going to be rules not included.  Brutal weapons are introduced in a splat book.  So are vehicles.  But what about familiars?  You need Arcane Power to know how to use them, and nobody is surprised if those rules are left out of the Compendium.  At some point rules are too specific to justify putting them into a printed Compendium.

The Rules Compendium always only promised the rules from PH1 and DMG1, plus a few other key ones.   Honestly, I never understood why that was of much value, but I guess I'm spoiled by always having the online Compendium and the Character Builder at my fingertips.  I think we've only looked up rules in a book 2 or 3 times in the past year.  

Now, if the product was called the "Complete D&D Rules Encyclopedia", it'd expect everything.  But that would be both larger and more difficult (and obsolete as soon as something new came out).
DnDi_Large.pngDungeon 182
Save My Game: Essentials Survival Guide

by Stephen Radney-MacFarland

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few months, you probably know that the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials line is the new hotness. 


Good to know O4e is "Old and Busted"
IMHO this article should not be exclusive to D&Di subscribers but a rather a general article.

As for disappointment that a few rules are left out, that's just silly.  There are always going to be rules not included.  Brutal weapons are introduced in a splat book.  So are vehicles.  But what about familiars?  You need Arcane Power to know how to use them, and nobody is surprised if those rules are left out of the Compendium.  At some point rules are too specific to justify putting them into a printed Compendium.

I didn't say I expect to have every single rule that has been and will be written in one book.  I even admit to understanding why some things would be excluded.  I just disagree with some of the stuff that's left out, and its inclusion in a splat book is not reason enough if it shows up in several other books as well.  That's not silly.

I'd group familiars in with themes and backgrounds, which I said I understood being excluded.  Weapon properties, though, I have to continue to still make sense to include.  If they're included in the core book that everyone is expected to reference for rules, that's it.  You print them once and it's done.  By excluding them you now need to include a sidebar or other entry on brutal, stout, etc. in every single book that includes even one weapon with this property.

I think this is the first honest Essentials article I've read so far.  It's at least the first one that didn't have the undertone of a slimy used car salesman.  I think it's funny that the RC has changed from the "complete rules for D&D" to the "grand majority of rules for D&D".  Ooops?  I also like that the author is straight with the reader and specifically uses terms like "change" and "rehash" and even goes so far as to say "there are a lot of updates" instead of sticking to the original marketing line that there are actually no updates and that nothing is changing.  I say make this guy your new head of marketing; I know I appreciate his frankness more than the doublespeak in some of the other articles.
IMHO this article should not be exclusive to D&Di subscribers but a rather a general article.

I suspect it's a marketing decision.  DDI subscribers are already spending a crapton on at least one D&D product annually, so a description of what's in the RC is likely to sway them.  Nonsubscribers who are already on the fence might be convinced not to buy it, instead, because they're a lot cheaper in general.

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

So the Rules Compendium has all the rules you need in one handy place for DMs and players alike... except the ones it doesn't.  That's disappointing to hear.

I guess I can understand keeping themes and backgrounds (elements that require a list of actual options to go with them) separate, but why vehicle rules?  More importantly, why some weapon properties?  Why ritual rules?  What else are we missing?

I ordered my Rules Compendium because I wanted to finally have everything all in one place, and I've been excitedly waiting for it since it shipped.  Now I'm worrying about what kind of minor, small print bait-and-switch I'm in for.

I think you will be 99% happy with it. I'm really happy with it. I noticed the holes in products that affect me the most, but a grand majority of the rules are there, well organized, often clarified, and often augment by brief but enlightening commentary.

It's not worth worrying about.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland Pathfinder RPG Designer
IMHO this article should not be exclusive to D&Di subscribers but a rather a general article.

I suspect it's a marketing decision.  DDI subscribers are already spending a crapton on at least one D&D product annually, so a description of what's in the RC is likely to sway them.  Nonsubscribers who are already on the fence might be convinced not to buy it, instead, because they're a lot cheaper in general.

  

It's a editorial decision to have Save My Game on one side of the wall and not the other. It was my decision to write about Essentials i the column. I just figured it might be helpful to DMs...and that's what I try to do in Save My Game.

No guys in suits were hovering over me when I wrote...I swear!Innocent 
Stephen Radney-MacFarland Pathfinder RPG Designer
I bought the rules compendium pretty much on a whim, while the little red guy on my shoulder was going "no more looking at update pdf's while flipping open the books to look up a rule."

I appreciate the use of the book, its small, handy but I think you missed the worst part of the RC in your article its not hard backed and is already starting to show wear and tear after only a week of reading.

The vehicle rules and weapon properties. Please. We pick up those weapons specifically for there properties and if someone doesn't remember exactly why they picked that particular property it would be a rare event. As far as vehicle rules, another rare occurence. I can remember two fights in 3 years where we had to look up vehicle rules. I didn't even notice they were missing until you pointed them out, thanks for that by the way I second the appreciation of transparency.
It does niggle the concience about what else is missing but after 3 games and prepping for the fourth tomorrow haven't noticed anything significant out of place.

I like the clarification from RC for the everday rules. I like having the rules updates in one place. (Until they get modified in a few weeks ;) )

I would also like the RC portion of this article released to the general public... Its frank, honest and points out the benefits and flaws of the RC.

I still would like someone to explain if Essential Classes are stand alones awaiting future published material or if a Fighter-Knight has a method to pick up Daily Stance like Unstoppable Advance or Persistence of Blades. Are they locked into the Knight Paragon path...

It seems likely but say it ain't so Joe...
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This was a very good and useful article. I'll be ordering the Rules Compendium now while getting that cheat sheet ready for the gaps.
The enemy wasn't men, or women, or the old, or even the dead. It was just bleedin' stupid people, who came in all varieties. And no one had the right to be stupid. - Terry Pratchett Doraleous & Associates : I'll let it speak for itself johnkretzer gave me a . It was chocolate chip and very sweet. Silversword also gave me a . That one was peanut butter!
As for disappointment that a few rules are left out, that's just silly.  There are always going to be rules not included.  Brutal weapons are introduced in a splat book.  So are vehicles.  But what about familiars?  You need Arcane Power to know how to use them, and nobody is surprised if those rules are left out of the Compendium.  At some point rules are too specific to justify putting them into a printed Compendium.

I didn't say I expect to have every single rule that has been and will be written in one book.  I even admit to understanding why some things would be excluded.  I just disagree with some of the stuff that's left out, and its inclusion in a splat book is not reason enough if it shows up in several other books as well.  That's not silly.

I'd group familiars in with themes and backgrounds, which I said I understood being excluded.  Weapon properties, though, I have to continue to still make sense to include.  If they're included in the core book that everyone is expected to reference for rules, that's it.  You print them once and it's done.  By excluding them you now need to include a sidebar or other entry on brutal, stout, etc. in every single book that includes even one weapon with this property.



That seems reasonable to me.  Sorry, silly was a strong word.  

As SRM says, hopefully we'll be 99% satisfied.  That's a good percentage by any measure. 
For those with DDi who have bought the Rules Compendium.
If I have access to the DDi Online Compendium at all times I play, is there any reason to pick up the Rules Compendium book?
Online will always be more accurate, and it's searchable.
Can you tell me an advantage to buying the book?
Any reason to spend the $20?
Viva La "what ever version of D&D you are playing right now!"
Yes, my laptop is 14 pounds and cost over 2k, I will not casually toss it across the table to have a player look up a rule while I continue with the game
Good Point.
However, when I DM I have another player (who is a pretty darn good DM himself) look things up for me.
When I'm a player, I'm the one that is in charge of looking up the rules.

What I'm really asking is if there is anything that is in the Rules Compendium that won't be on the DDi Compendium? I've flipped through it and I liked the examples in there. I felt they covered much more then the PHB1. But is there anything else?
Viva La "what ever version of D&D you are playing right now!"
The only reason I can think of is it expounds on the basic rules being referenced in the DDI Compendium and no trouble with tech like the compendium. Website is down, internet is down, you end up playing in the woods away from Civilization on a rainy day...

For an example of a "tech" problem with the compendium check out the origin on fire bat

www.wizards.com/dndinsider/compendium/mo...

The on-line compendium is a good tool but I don't trust it as blindly as I once did. I have been burnt a few times recently without double checking its data.

I personally would much rather have the PDF's and a kindle or Ipad for all my books, that got updated with errata when the material changed but... In lieu of that I will keep my poor print media handy

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I personally would much rather have the PDF's and a kindle or Ipad for all my books, that got updated with errata when the material changed but... In lieu of that I will keep my poor print media handy




I'm with you there. In fact, after months of using the Kindle with Whispersync software on my iPad, I would love for D&D books to be available through that application. While no digital format is unhackable and probably never will be, I think the .azw format is secure enough for most purposes.

Just so you know, I have no idea what solutions Wizards is pursuing to bring back digital books, but I hope they are at least considering that one.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland Pathfinder RPG Designer