Question About This Season of Encounters and 4E

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Hello all, I am new to the Encounters section of threads, and figured you guys would be best to pose my question to. I am running the 4th season of Encounters here at home for my family. We have yet to create Essentials characters and have been using just the base 4E core books for character creation.

I am wondering if not using the Essentials characters will affect the difficulty rating of the encounters themselves. I am totally unfamiliar with the way Essentials characters function, and so I am not sure if not using them will "un-balance" the encounters.

Currently, the party consists of:
A Minotaur Avenger
A Dragonborn Fighter
A Tiefling Cleric
An Eladrin Wizard
An Elf Ranger

Please let me know if this will throw a wrench in the challenge level of the Encounters Season, and if so, perhaps (aside from outright switching to Essentials made characters) what you would do to adjust them.

Thanks!

P.S. Ahead of time, this is not an anti-Essentials thread. I own the Monster Vault, DM's Kit, Red Box, and Rules Compendium. I have just not purchased the two player supplements yet.

Hello all, I am new to the Encounters section of threads, and figured you guys would be best to pose my question to. I am running the 4th season of Encounters here at home for my family. We have yet to create Essentials characters and have been using just the base 4E core books for character creation.

I am wondering if not using the Essentials characters will affect the difficulty rating of the encounters themselves. I am totally unfamiliar with the way Essentials characters function, and so I am not sure if not using them will "un-balance" the encounters.

Currently, the party consists of:
A Minotaur Avenger
A Dragonborn Fighter
A Tiefling Cleric
An Eladrin Wizard
An Elf Ranger

Please let me know if this will throw a wrench in the challenge level of the Encounters Season, and if so, perhaps (aside from outright switching to Essentials made characters) what you would do to adjust them.

Thanks!

P.S. Ahead of time, this is not an anti-Essentials thread. I own the Monster Vault, DM's Kit, Red Box, and Rules Compendium. I have just not purchased the two player supplements yet.




I am not sure how you got the materials to run it at home since it is restricted to retail locations.

Hello all, I am new to the Encounters section of threads, and figured you guys would be best to pose my question to. I am running the 4th season of Encounters here at home for my family. We have yet to create Essentials characters and have been using just the base 4E core books for character creation.

I am wondering if not using the Essentials characters will affect the difficulty rating of the encounters themselves. I am totally unfamiliar with the way Essentials characters function, and so I am not sure if not using them will "un-balance" the encounters.

Currently, the party consists of:
A Minotaur Avenger
A Dragonborn Fighter
A Tiefling Cleric
An Eladrin Wizard
An Elf Ranger

Please let me know if this will throw a wrench in the challenge level of the Encounters Season, and if so, perhaps (aside from outright switching to Essentials made characters) what you would do to adjust them.

Thanks!

P.S. Ahead of time, this is not an anti-Essentials thread. I own the Monster Vault, DM's Kit, Red Box, and Rules Compendium. I have just not purchased the two player supplements yet.




I am not sure how you got the materials to run it at home since it is restricted to retail locations.




That doesn't answer the question, really. But thank you for replying.
Well to answer the question. Essentials Classes are just as compariable to core Classes, playing at home you should have an advantage to setting up the encounters to challenge your group as they should remain the same. I make changes on the fly all the time, play more aggressive, be more forgiving -- my last groups encounter, they finished bloodied and one character was making death rolls. How it plays out depends alot on how you run the encounters. So if you run one encounter at a time, in the spirit of the enounter season, your group should have a very good time and that should leave you plenty of time to set up challenging enounters.
I have run Essentials Characters and Main 4th Ed Characters in the same game side by side and had it work quite well. There are the issues of Essentials characters are VERY good at what they do, but are very focused. On the other hand, Main 4th Ed characters have LOTS more options and ways to make a more powerful character. Mixing the two systems makes for even more versatility and power. I have an Essentials Rogue and a Main Stream Rogue in the same game and the focused vs versatile issue has come up many times, but one Rogue does not trump the other. I see no reason that having Main Stream Characters in this adventure will be a problem.
I agree with Ramses, non essential classes won't unbalance the encounters. However, if your playing by the rules only content from the two essentials players books and Dragon articles that support those two books is allowed. I suggest you go with essentials characters more or less as an introduction to them and what they can do.

That doesn't answer the question, really. But thank you for replying.


No, but it is important. You are breaking the rules and the store that provided the material can get in really big trouble with WotC. WotC staff have said in the past that they actively look at E-Bay sales and otherwise try to close down anyone that is using their material improperly. The materials should only be used in the manner designed for the program.

If enough people try to break the rules it can jeopardize the program, which hurts a lot of people. Most of us are arguing constantly for WotC to provide pdf versions of the adventure so DMs can prep the adventure more easily. What you are doing is exactly why WotC don't provide pdfs any more. You are hurting the program and our ability to have greater flexibility as organizers and DMs.

I really do recommend you run this at a gaming store, working with the store to do so.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).


That doesn't answer the question, really. But thank you for replying.


No, but it is important. You are breaking the rules and the store that provided the material can get in really big trouble with WotC. WotC staff have said in the past that they actively look at E-Bay sales and otherwise try to close down anyone that is using their material improperly. The materials should only be used in the manner designed for the program.

If enough people try to break the rules it can jeopardize the program, which hurts a lot of people. Most of us are arguing constantly for WotC to provide pdf versions of the adventure so DMs can prep the adventure more easily. What you are doing is exactly why WotC don't provide pdfs any more. You are hurting the program and our ability to have greater flexibility as organizers and DMs.

I really do recommend you run this at a gaming store, working with the store to do so.




Thank you Alphastream, and I appreciate what I consider to be genuine concern on your part. To be frank, I work with a store, and do not DM at that store. I utilize the store copy of the adventure for a home group because it seemed like an interesting story. No harm, no foul.

That doesn't answer the question, really. But thank you for replying.


No, but it is important. You are breaking the rules and the store that provided the material can get in really big trouble with WotC. WotC staff have said in the past that they actively look at E-Bay sales and otherwise try to close down anyone that is using their material improperly. The materials should only be used in the manner designed for the program.

If enough people try to break the rules it can jeopardize the program, which hurts a lot of people. Most of us are arguing constantly for WotC to provide pdf versions of the adventure so DMs can prep the adventure more easily. What you are doing is exactly why WotC don't provide pdfs any more. You are hurting the program and our ability to have greater flexibility as organizers and DMs.

I really do recommend you run this at a gaming store, working with the store to do so.


Thank you Alphastream, and I appreciate what I consider to be genuine concern on your part. To be frank, I work with a store, and do not DM at that store. I utilize the store copy of the adventure for a home group because it seemed like an interesting story. No harm, no foul.


Not to beat a dead horse, but "no harm, no foul" is if you run the game at the store. Anything other than that is potential harm and foul.

Most stores are really working hard to run two tables at a store per Wednesday. Three tables should be seen as real success for most areas in the country.

You basically have one table more that should be taking place at the store, with those individuals creating a relationship with the store (being reported to earn the store WotC program points, buying stuff, learning about new offerings, liking the store, volunteering to DM if someone can't make it, shifting around to help a table of 3 get to play, teaching new players, acting as stewards for the program, etc.). This is simply a store-only program and the store is doing wrong by allowing you to have the adventure. It seems like a little thing, but everyone really needs to take a stand against it to protect the program.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).


That doesn't answer the question, really. But thank you for replying.


No, but it is important. You are breaking the rules and the store that provided the material can get in really big trouble with WotC. WotC staff have said in the past that they actively look at E-Bay sales and otherwise try to close down anyone that is using their material improperly. The materials should only be used in the manner designed for the program.

If enough people try to break the rules it can jeopardize the program, which hurts a lot of people. Most of us are arguing constantly for WotC to provide pdf versions of the adventure so DMs can prep the adventure more easily. What you are doing is exactly why WotC don't provide pdfs any more. You are hurting the program and our ability to have greater flexibility as organizers and DMs.

I really do recommend you run this at a gaming store, working with the store to do so.


Thank you Alphastream, and I appreciate what I consider to be genuine concern on your part. To be frank, I work with a store, and do not DM at that store. I utilize the store copy of the adventure for a home group because it seemed like an interesting story. No harm, no foul.


Not to beat a dead horse, but "no harm, no foul" is if you run the game at the store. Anything other than that is potential harm and foul.

Most stores are really working hard to run two tables at a store per Wednesday. Three tables should be seen as real success for most areas in the country.

You basically have one table more that should be taking place at the store, with those individuals creating a relationship with the store (being reported to earn the store WotC program points, buying stuff, learning about new offerings, liking the store, volunteering to DM if someone can't make it, shifting around to help a table of 3 get to play, teaching new players, acting as stewards for the program, etc.). This is simply a store-only program and the store is doing wrong by allowing you to have the adventure. It seems like a little thing, but everyone really needs to take a stand against it to protect the program.

Alphastream is completely right here.  I didn't want to get into a pissing match about whether it's harm or foul but I can't agree with Alphastream more. 

This is against the spirit of the program.

That doesn't answer the question, really. But thank you for replying.


No, but it is important. You are breaking the rules and the store that provided the material can get in really big trouble with WotC. WotC staff have said in the past that they actively look at E-Bay sales and otherwise try to close down anyone that is using their material improperly. The materials should only be used in the manner designed for the program.

If enough people try to break the rules it can jeopardize the program, which hurts a lot of people. Most of us are arguing constantly for WotC to provide pdf versions of the adventure so DMs can prep the adventure more easily. What you are doing is exactly why WotC don't provide pdfs any more. You are hurting the program and our ability to have greater flexibility as organizers and DMs.

I really do recommend you run this at a gaming store, working with the store to do so.



That's very interesting because I posted a question (community.wizards.com/dungeonsanddragons...) about trying to get the materials last season so I could prep in advance, and my store wouldn't allow me to take them home. I was told over and over again by the people responding in that thread that their stores allow them to take the material home and that DMs are actually allowed to keep the material.
- Rico
You can absolutely take the material home to prep the material. Prepping the material is critical to being a good DM. (But, an individual store may not want that due to a worry that an individual DM may miss a session or quit and then they can't run one table and lose the rewards. The store has the final say here.).

You can absolutely keep the material after the season ends and use it however you would like (with copyright bounds, etc.), because it is your reward for DMing. (The store should not keep the material at the end of the season. If they do, I would report them to the WPN Rep. They may be doing something like selling it on E-Bay, which is something for which WotC would severely punish them.)

What you can't do is take the material from the store and run it at home while the season is ongoing. When you do that, you are taking away from the actual program. The program must be run at stores and comply fully with all aspects of the program. If you need an exception, have the store ask the WPN Rep. (Customer Service is not trained on the intricacies of organized play and often makes mistakes; your WPN Rep will have the right information).

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

You can absolutely take the material home to prep the material. Prepping the material is critical to being a good DM. (But, an individual store may not want that due to a worry that an individual DM may miss a session or quit and then they can't run one table and lose the rewards. The store has the final say here.).

You can absolutely keep the material after the season ends and use it however you would like (with copyright bounds, etc.), because it is your reward for DMing. (The store should not keep the material at the end of the season. If they do, I would report them to the WPN Rep. They may be doing something like selling it on E-Bay, which is something for which WotC would severely punish them.)

What you can't do is take the material from the store and run it at home while the season is ongoing. When you do that, you are taking away from the actual program. The program must be run at stores and comply fully with all aspects of the program. If you need an exception, have the store ask the WPN Rep. (Customer Service is not trained on the intricacies of organized play and often makes mistakes; your WPN Rep will have the right information).


Thanks for clarifying that. The store did not even offer to let me or the other guy who DM'd the table keep the materials.
- Rico
AlphaStream, I can appreciate both your passion and your angst, however, it is my feeling that you are incorrect. WoTC does not provide PDF versions of their materials because piracy on an electronic platform is easy, and people who do not want to pay for retail products (i.e.: the DM Guide, Players Handbook, etc...all of which I own...no really...all of it) can easily download these PDFs. This is a fiscal nightmare for a company which produces a product for profit.

Also, I am not "breaking the system". I did not buy this on e-Bay, it is used by the store on their game day, I am simply utilizing it at home on a non-Encounters day (Sat.) with a group of older gamers who have no interest in learning to use essentials, and enjoy 4E as is just fine. I would not be DMing a group at my store, and am not taking away from anyone's enjoyment there, as they have plenty of DMs for the players, and more waiting in the wings should players join, and the copy which I utilize is not being taken home for reference by the DM who routinely refers to it on Wednesdays.

So yes, no harm no foul, and before we make this into a flame thread or a critical incident a hearty thanks to those of you who answered my question, I truly appreciated the information. Since I have no idea if I am able to simply remove my thread, for my purposes it is closed.
What store did you borrow it from?
   Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the problem with running the module out of store during the season, is that in theory the people COULD have played at the store. Thus, you stealing potential players from the program at the store. The store I run at doesn't allow OTHER D&D 4th Ed games on the same day as Encounters for this reason. It does have Warhammer, Gamma World, Fate, Dresden Files and other games however. 
   While the running the module during the season out of store has not been a problem at our store. The being limited to the specifics of Encounters on the day of Encounters has been a problem. A lot of people really thought that D&D 4th Ed had got a lot of cool concepts recently with Player's Handbook 3. But, they can't use them, because they are limited to Essentials. Sort like having a Cool new Sports Car, but only being able to ride a kiddy pedal car in the actual race. 
   Some DMs, and I am likely to be one of them, are going to run D&D 4th Ed on other days with the Main 4th Ed rules so people can be Psions, Rune Priests, Hybrid characters, Minotaurs, Wilden and soon Shadow Power Characters. The Encounters arrangers are right to be afraid of the competition. Many players are likely to have their game of the week, not be Encounters but a Non-Essentials game. But, then Encounters was supposed to be a recruiting tool. You can't stay in Essentials boot camp for ever.
   
Again, for reiteration purposes, to me, the purpose of the thread is met. I appreciated the responses, but I am not here for argument. I feel I did a good enough job for my own conscience to answer the questions of those who disagree with my use of the adventure. Beyond that, I don't feel a need for further justification.

For me, the thread is now closed. This will be my last post in it. Thanks!
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