New to D&D? Start here!

283 posts / 0 new
Last post
Ok...First off i want to say that i am very new to the game. With that said, I need help. lol...i started out by playing through the "red box" for fourth edition. i have the players handbook and the monster manual. as i try to level up the characters i made using the "red box" i find some...odditties.. In the "red box" my wizard got more then 2 at-will powers and some of the ones he got are not even in the players handbook... Then i went to my fighter..and the same thing happened...it tells me nothing about battle stances and one of my favorite moves "power strike" isnt in there either. am i missing something? i was told 4th was the easiest one to play and all i find are inconsistencies.  what am i doing wrong? thank you ahead of time

-Codinia 

The redbox classes are in Hero's of Forgotten Lands (or Fallen Kingdom, i don't remember), not the player's handbook.

That said, you could still use the player's handbook classes.  You just have to remake your character as one of them.




would they lose all their spells and what not and start over? or do i just keep what they have and use the PH to advance them?
would they lose all their spells and what not and start over? or do i just keep what they have and use the PH to advance them?

You'd have to remake them (if you use the Players Handbook class), but you don't have to start at level 1, and you can keep the equipment if you want.

Or you can start over, with a new character and do the adventure again.
Or you can use the rules for starting at level 2.
Or you can start at level 20, (though it wouldn't be fun to fight level 2 creatures)

It's your game, do whatever you think is fun/fair. 

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

would they lose all their spells and what not and start over? or do i just keep what they have and use the PH to advance them?

You'd have to remake them (if you use the Players Handbook class), but you don't have to start at level 1, and you can keep the equipment if you want.

Or you can start over, with a new character and do the adventure again.
Or you can use the rules for starting at level 2.
Or you can start at level 20, (though it wouldn't be fun to fight level 2 creatures)

It's your game, do whatever you think is fun/fair. 




ok..thank you for the help.....just wanted to make sure
Ok...First off i want to say that i am very new to the game. With that said, I need help. lol...i started out by playing through the "red box" for fourth edition. i have the players handbook and the monster manual. as i try to level up the characters i made using the "red box" i find some...odditties.. In the "red box" my wizard got more then 2 at-will powers and some of the ones he got are not even in the players handbook... Then i went to my fighter..and the same thing happened...it tells me nothing about battle stances and one of my favorite moves "power strike" isnt in there either. am i missing something? i was told 4th was the easiest one to play and all i find are inconsistencies.  what am i doing wrong? thank you ahead of time

The Red Box is an introduction to the 'Essentials' D&D line.  I don't know if you'r familiar with the game's history, but at the height of it's popularity, in the 80s, there was actually D&D, which came in boxed sets and 'Advanced' D&D, which had hardbound books with Player's Handbook, DMG, and MM as its core.  For almost 20 years, D&D followed the AD&D format. 

Last year, WotC put out the Red Box in the old format, to attract returning gamers with kids, and to make 4e 'easier' and more aproachable.   However, the Red Box does not lead into the PH/DMG/MM 'core' of 4e, but into a line more like the old 80s D&D (except not all boxed sets) called Essentials.

Essentials consists of:

The D&D  'Red Box' Basic Set.
Heroes of the Fallen Land
Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdom
DM's Kit
Monster Vault
Rules Compendium
Wilderness Tile Set
Dungeon Tile Set
City Tile Set
& a  Dice Set

Together, HotFL, HotFK, DM Kit, MV, & RC constitute a pretty complete rule set, equivalent to the PH/DMG/MM.  Equivalent, but not identical, because in addition to being a different format, Essentials also contains subtly different (but mechanically compatible) classes.  While all the Player's Handbook classes use one advancement scheme, with class features at 1st level, and powers gained thereafter, Essentials classes use a variety of schemes, with each class gaining features and powers in different orders and proportions.

You've made your D&D experience a little more confusing by going directly from the Red Box to PH, but, really, not all that much more.  The Red Box was sent to the printer before the other Essentials books were finalized, so not only a Red Box classes substantially different from PH classes, they're not exactly like HotFL/K classes, either.

Since you already have the PH and MM, I'd reccomend you stay on that 'track' and get the DMG.  There have been extensive updates to the early core books, and you might want to check them out, some of them do close some of the gap between the PH and Red Box (not much, but some).

As for 'advancing' a Red Box fighter, don't worry about it, just build a PH Fighter at 2nd level (or 3rd if you're third).  You'll have to re-learn a little bit about how classes work, but you'll only have to do it once, since all PH classes follow the same advancement scheme, and all use more or less free-standing powers, rather than basic-attack-add-on powers like the Red Box fighter ('Slayer').  

 



Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

Ok...First off i want to say that i am very new to the game. With that said, I need help. lol...i started out by playing through the "red box" for fourth edition. i have the players handbook and the monster manual. as i try to level up the characters i made using the "red box" i find some...odditties.. In the "red box" my wizard got more then 2 at-will powers and some of the ones he got are not even in the players handbook... Then i went to my fighter..and the same thing happened...it tells me nothing about battle stances and one of my favorite moves "power strike" isnt in there either. am i missing something? i was told 4th was the easiest one to play and all i find are inconsistencies.  what am i doing wrong? thank you ahead of time

The Red Box is an introduction to the 'Essentials' D&D line.  I don't know if you'r familiar with the game's history, but at the height of it's popularity, in the 80s, there was actually D&D, which came in boxed sets and 'Advanced' D&D, which had hardbound books with Player's Handbook, DMG, and MM as its core.  For almost 20 years, D&D followed the AD&D format. 

Last year, WotC put out the Red Box in the old format, to attract returning gamers with kids, and to make 4e 'easier' and more aproachable.   However, the Red Box does not lead into the PH/DMG/MM 'core' of 4e, but into a line more like the old 80s D&D (except not all boxed sets) called Essentials.

Essentials consists of:

The D&D  'Red Box' Basic Set.
Heroes of the Fallen Land
Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdom
DM's Kit
Monster Vault
Rules Compendium
Wilderness Tile Set
Dungeon Tile Set
City Tile Set
& a  Dice Set

Together, HotFL, HotFK, DM Kit, MV, & RC constitute a pretty complete rule set, equivalent to the PH/DMG/MM.  Equivalent, but not identical, because in addition to being a different format, Essentials also contains subtly different (but mechanically compatible) classes.  While all the Player's Handbook classes use one advancement scheme, with class features at 1st level, and powers gained thereafter, Essentials classes use a variety of schemes, with each class gaining features and powers in different orders and proportions.

You've made your D&D experience a little more confusing by going directly from the Red Box to PH, but, really, not all that much more.  The Red Box was sent to the printer before the other Essentials books were finalized, so not only a Red Box classes substantially different from PH classes, they're not exactly like HotFL/K classes, either.

Since you already have the PH and MM, I'd reccomend you stay on that 'track' and get the DMG.  There have been extensive updates to the early core books, and you might want to check them out, some of them do close some of the gap between the PH and Red Box (not much, but some).

As for 'advancing' a Red Box fighter, don't worry about it, just build a PH Fighter at 2nd level (or 3rd if you're third).  You'll have to re-learn a little bit about how classes work, but you'll only have to do it once, since all PH classes follow the same advancement scheme, and all use more or less free-standing powers, rather than basic-attack-add-on powers like the Red Box fighter ('Slayer').  

 






yeah i was thinking something along those lines, but i wasnt sure....thank you much!


Forum needs rep. That was a great explanation Tony!
Hey everyone hope you are doing well. I am really new to the game I just bought the red box and was going through it and tried building a character but im not sure if i am doing it right. Are there videos of how to play the game, since I can't seem to find anyone I know or in the town that plays the game? If not does anyone skype and be willing to teach me how to play and get me going?

Thanks,

Mike 
Hey everyone hope you are doing well. I am really new to the game I just bought the red box and was going through it and tried building a character but im not sure if i am doing it right. ...I can't seem to find anyone I know or in the town that plays the game?

See if there's a location near (I know 'near' is relative) you that has D&D Encounters, it's a great way to get started.  Sit down, grab a pre-gen, have a reasonably experienced DM to help and casual players who will make you feel welcome (in general, there are jerks everywhere, I suppose).

The 'Red Box' is a great, nostalgic re-introduction to the game for people who haven't played this millenium.  Not everyone finds it a great introduction for the total newbie.  You could also try this, it's a free download, a very brief intro.  IMHO, though playing with other people who know the game is always the best way to pick it up - and there's not much point if you can't find anyone to play with, it's just that kind of game.

Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

Hey everyone hope you are doing well. I am really new to the game I just bought the red box and was going through it and tried building a character but im not sure if i am doing it right. ...I can't seem to find anyone I know or in the town that plays the game?

See if there's a location near (I know 'near' is relative) you that has D&D Encounters, it's a great way to get started.  Sit down, grab a pre-gen, have a reasonably experienced DM to help and casual players who will make you feel welcome (in general, there are jerks everywhere, I suppose).

The 'Red Box' is a great, nostalgic re-introduction to the game for people who haven't played this millenium.  Not everyone finds it a great introduction for the total newbie.  You could also try this, it's a free download, a very brief intro.  IMHO, though playing with other people who know the game is always the best way to pick it up - and there's not much point if you can't find anyone to play with, it's just that kind of game.

Thank you
I started playing dungeons and dragons today. Which should i buy first the Heroes of fallen lands or dungeon masters kit ?
I started playing dungeons and dragons today. Which should i buy first the Heroes of fallen lands or dungeon masters kit ?

Hi, and welcome to the wonderful world of D&D!

The DM's Kit is probably not your best first buy; Heroes of the Fallen Lands or Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms would be fair choices - especially whichever one has the character class you most want to play in it.  It may also be worth looking at the Rules Compendium; it's a bit dry - just the rules of the game with no character stuff or what have you - but if you end up playing for a while it's an invaluable reference for "how stuff works".

I also recommend trawling the Features archive, here for free stuff (at least - other stuff too if you decide to spring for a DDI subscription) on classes and such like.  The "old" Warlord, Warlock, Rogue and (playtest updated) Wizard are available, just for starters.
======= Balesir
quick question...  if i make a fighter from players handbook(1) can i use feats from the players handbook(3) or (2)?....and the other way around.. if i make a monk from PH(3) can i use feats from PH(1,2)?


thank you much

-codinia 
quick question...  if i make a fighter from players handbook(1) can i use feats from the players handbook(3) or (2)?....and the other way around.. if i make a monk from PH(3) can i use feats from PH(1,2)?

As long as the game you are in allows those sources (ask your DM), yes, sure.
======= Balesir
I started playing dungeons and dragons today. Which should i buy first the Heroes of fallen lands or dungeon masters kit ?

It depends on the group you're playing with.  If they're using 'Essentials' you'll want to start with the Rules Compendium and either Heroes of the Fallen Land or Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms (or both).  Organized play, like D&D Encounters, always uses Essentials, so it's a safe starting point.  If the group you're joining is using '4e' or an ealier edition (3e, 3.5, AD&D 1st, AD&D 2nd) you'll want to start with the Player's Handbook /for that edition/ - I'm sure they'll be happy to steer you their direction.

Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

This week I decided to buy the red box for my four sons and myself (the perfect sized family for D&D).  We are currently playing through the encounter that came with the game.  But being very busy myself (and the fact that I was designated DM) I have no idea where to take our adventures beyond the starter.  I know we started in a  town called Fallcrest, but as far as D&D lore goes I have no idea where in the "world" this is.  I do not have time to build campaigns so I am interested in the "next chapter" to this thread.

Let's say we finish the red box and are having a blast.  Are there prebuilt campaigns we can pick up with from here that would lead us in a linear and logical path to level 30?  If Fallcrest exists in one plane then is it feasable and logical to purchase premades for level 2 characters that exist in a different plane?  Or is this a nonsensical question because all adventures exist in the same realm?  Are there even premades that can take you to level 30 which build off of previous sets?  I guess what I'm asking is can we get from level 1 to level 30 in a logical way that would make sense from a storytelling standpoint using premade adventures?  If so what are some suggestions?
This week I decided to buy the red box for my four sons and myself (the perfect sized family for D&D).  We are currently playing through the encounter that came with the game.  But being very busy myself (and the fact that I was designated DM) I have no idea where to take our adventures beyond the starter.  I know we started in a  town called Fallcrest, but as far as D&D lore goes I have no idea where in the "world" this is.  I do not have time to build campaigns so I am interested in the "next chapter" to this thread.

Let's say we finish the red box and are having a blast.  Are there prebuilt campaigns we can pick up with from here that would lead us in a linear and logical path to level 30?  If Fallcrest exists in one plane then is it feasable and logical to purchase premades for level 2 characters that exist in a different plane?  Or is this a nonsensical question because all adventures exist in the same realm?  Are there even premades that can take you to level 30 which build off of previous sets?  I guess what I'm asking is can we get from level 1 to level 30 in a logical way that would make sense from a storytelling standpoint using premade adventures?  If so what are some suggestions?




Indeed there is.  You can get `modules ' (as they used to be called) at a gaming store.  Check were you got your Red-Box.  There is also a nice `entry' to Nentir Valley at the back of the Dungeon Master's Guide which starts in Fallcrest.  I know this because we here (there are 6 of us returning to D&D after several years) are in the same place as you, and are now running the Kobold Hall which starts on p210.

Have a great campaign!


 


D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

The BEST gaming mats ever: www.zuzzy.com http://www.amazon.com/Stormwalkers-ebook/dp/B004ULVL08/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318513150&sr=8-1
Are there prebuilt campaigns we can pick up with from here that would lead us in a linear and logical path to level 30?

I'm not sure how many that go from 1 to 30, but they have a bunch of them, as well as some third party ones.

If Fallcrest exists in one plane then is it feasable and logical to purchase premades for level 2 characters that exist in a different plane?  Or is this a nonsensical question because all adventures exist in the same realm?

I don't think there are many that specificly take place in fallcrest (though i'd be surprised if they didn't have something to follow the red box) However, most adventures are fairly self contained, and it wouldn't be hard to either fit the adventure into fallcrest, or fit fallcrest into the new adventure.

Most of the time, you could just do something like... "you go north from fallcrest, traveling in relitive peace for a few weeks, passing over a river and through the wood.  Then one day... (new adventure hook)."

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Let's say we finish the red box and are having a blast.  Are there prebuilt campaigns we can pick up with from here that would lead us in a linear and logical path to level 30? 

If Fallcrest exists in one plane then is it feasable and logical to purchase premades for level 2 characters that exist in a different plane?  Or is this a nonsensical question because all adventures exist in the same realm?

The default setting that includes Fallcrest and the Nentir Vale (aka: the 'Points of Light' setting) is being developed more be WotC, so there may be products specific to it forthcoming.  At first, though, it was kept intentionally vague, to let DMs build off of it without worrying about conflicting with later publications.  

I think I've heard that the adventures that come with the DM Kit and Monster Vault can be used as sequels to the Red Box adventure, but I haven't seen the DM Kit adventure.   The MV adventure is level 4.  

Are there even premades that can take you to level 30 which build off of previous sets?

Yes.  Published adventures or 'modules' have often been done in long series, that cover a broad range of levels.  They typically leave the DM quite a bit of room in how to string them together, so you can skip any you don't care for.  4e has a complete such path for 1-30.  Starting with Keep on the Shadowfell (which is now free on-line)  and continuing with:

Thunderspire Labyrinth

Pyramid of Shadows

King of the Trollhaunt Warrens

Demon Queen's Enclave

Assault on Nightwyrm Fortress

Death's Reach

Kingdom of the Ghouls

Prince of Undeath

Note, I'm not vouching for the quality of these adventures - I did play through the first 3, and they fun at the time, but the game has moved on a bit since then, and challenges that worked for characters built with just the Players Handbook may not stand up now that the game has expanded so much.  But, such adventure-series products do exist.

Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

Thank you for all the replies they are helpful and it is good to know that I don't have to construct adventures for my kids as I just don't have the time. 

Specifically, are there websites or threads I can go to to learn about the structure of the world we play in?  I'm very visual in my learning so it would be nice if I could read up on the D&D world and see maps or timelines of how the world is laid out and how things are structured.  I know this is asking a lot especially when playing a game that encourages as much imagination as this one does, but I would imagine that even in the fantasy world of D&D, WotC has rules for what can be written about their intellectual property.  Much the same way Lucas controls Star Wars or Blizzard controls Warcraft?  Or am i looking at it wrong?  Is the world of D&D a jumbled mass of random places with random events that happen at random times in the history?  I know this doesn't matter much in the realm of just adventuring but I would like to be able to place us spatially in our environments and surroundings.
There have actually been a number of different settings for D&D over the years.  The default 4e setting includes the Nentir Vale in the present, and the historical human kingdom of Nerath, and the vanished empires of Arkhosia and Bael Turag.  There has not been a whole lot of detail.  But, there's been some interest, and rumor has it more will be forthcoming.  At the moment, though, there's just not a lot to 'learn' about it.  I think the world has actually been named (I can't recall the name if it has been), but for a long time it wasn't and the setting was just called 'Points of Light.'  The idea was that the Kingdom of Nerath has long since fallen and civilization is being rebuilt, so it's a dark scary dangerous world punctuated by occassional strongholds of good. 

If you want a more detailed setting, the Forgotten Realms, Ebberon, and Dark Sun have been published for 4e.  Forgotten Realms just got an additional book covering the city of Neverwinter, which I guess makes it the most-supported 4e setting at the moment.  :shrug:   

Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

Wow. This thread is big. Too big. By the time I finished reading it, I forgot what I read in the beginning. And I can't find the few truly useful posts mixed in with all the debates about what to cover, etc. I recommend splitting into at least 3 separate threads - advice for newbies, experienced players debating what to put in the advice for newbies, and questions from newbies (like this post) with responses. Just a suggestion.

Anyway, I'm an old school D&D/AD&D player from the 80's (before that newfangled 2nd edition stuff) who has decided to get back into it and see what D&D is like these days. Hunting the web, it seems there's a few groups in my area, so finding a game won't be much of a problem. I'm just debating what to buy to get started.

The red box seems like the best way to get a taste of the game cheap and easy without buying tons of stuff, but it also seems skippable if I'm going to eventually buy the other stuff. So should I bother with it or skip to buying more stuff? Given the price, and the fact that I'm not sure if I'll like 4e enough to stick with it, or just end up asking around if anyone wants me to DM a 1st edition campaign, I'm thinking of just getting the red box to see what the modern game looks like before committing to buying any more stuff. But before I do that, I have to ask: Does the red box introduce enough to know what 4th edition is really like, or is it so watered down for newbies that it's completely skippable?

I used to prefer being the DM, so if I stick with 4th edition I'll probably end up getting the DM and monster stuff eventually, not just the player books. So it seems the debate is whether to get the hardbacks or the essentials. Also, how well do they mix and match? For instance, could I use the essentials monster vault (which sounds handy, since it comes with tokens and sounds like it covers the most commonly used monsters from the other books) with the Player's Handbook and DMG? Or is it better to stick with all essentials or all hardbacks, rather than mixing the two? And apparently, there's a Rules Compendium that's supposedly quite handy. Could owning that allow skipping any of the other stuff, or is it just an add on?

--BlueGhost

"Carpe DM - Sieze the Dungeon Master!"
Carpe DM - Seize the Dungeon Master!
The red box seems like the best way to get a taste of the game cheap and easy without buying tons of stuff, but it also seems skippable if I'm going to eventually buy the other stuff. So should I bother with it or skip to buying more stuff? Given the price, and the fact that I'm not sure if I'll like 4e enough to stick with it, or just end up asking around if anyone wants me to DM a 1st edition campaign, I'm thinking of just getting the red box to see what the modern game looks like before committing to buying any more stuff. But before I do that, I have to ask: Does the red box introduce enough to know what 4th edition is really like, or is it so watered down for newbies that it's completely skippable?

It should give you a good idea of how 4e plays.  Note that it's still aimed at people who are even newer then you, so it might be a little slow.

So it seems the debate is whether to get the hardbacks or the essentials. Also, how well do they mix and match? For instance, could I use the essentials monster vault (which sounds handy, since it comes with tokens and sounds like it covers the most commonly used monsters from the other books) with the Player's Handbook and DMG? Or is it better to stick with all essentials or all hardbacks, rather than mixing the two? And apparently, there's a Rules Compendium that's supposedly quite handy. Could owning that allow skipping any of the other stuff, or is it just an add on?

You can mix and match just fine, it's just that some stuff is redundant or overlap in places.  Like the rules compendium overlaps with the rules part of the Player's handbook, the rules part of the Dungon Master's Guid (which is redundat with the kit), and the rules part of the monster manual.

I suggest the rules compendium, cause it's covers the rules (in 1 book), is well indexed, and the rules are overall more cleanly written (updated) then the initial rule set.

If you like tokens, i suggest the DM kit over the DMG.  Though you don't specificly need it if you have the rules compendium, it's still a great advice book.

I suggest any of the newer monsters over the older ones, they just got better and more interesting.  Note that while the monster vault contains tokens, it doesn't have very many high level monsters.

And you can really use any of the players books.  Each has it's own style to offer (which is really where most of the debate come in).  Though the (arcane/martial/divive/ect.. ) power books build off of Player's Handbooks (2/3).  So don't get those first.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

I'm very interested in D&D, but it seems that my friends are not.

And in my small town we dont have any gaming clubs or stores with D&D. So I was wondering if it's possible to play online via skype, and if there are any forums or sites that arrange this sort of thing. 
The red box seems like the best way to get a taste of the game cheap and easy without buying tons of stuff, but it also seems skippable if I'm going to eventually buy the other stuff. So should I bother with it or skip to buying more stuff? Given the price, and the fact that I'm not sure if I'll like 4e enough to stick with it, or just end up asking around if anyone wants me to DM a 1st edition campaign, I'm thinking of just getting the red box to see what the modern game looks like before committing to buying any more stuff. But before I do that, I have to ask: Does the red box introduce enough to know what 4th edition is really like, or is it so watered down for newbies that it's completely skippable?

It should give you a good idea of how 4e plays.  Note that it's still aimed at people who are even newer then you, so it might be a little slow.

So it seems the debate is whether to get the hardbacks or the essentials. Also, how well do they mix and match? For instance, could I use the essentials monster vault (which sounds handy, since it comes with tokens and sounds like it covers the most commonly used monsters from the other books) with the Player's Handbook and DMG? Or is it better to stick with all essentials or all hardbacks, rather than mixing the two? And apparently, there's a Rules Compendium that's supposedly quite handy. Could owning that allow skipping any of the other stuff, or is it just an add on?

You can mix and match just fine, it's just that some stuff is redundant or overlap in places.  Like the rules compendium overlaps with the rules part of the Player's handbook, the rules part of the Dungon Master's Guid (which is redundat with the kit), and the rules part of the monster manual.

I suggest the rules compendium, cause it's covers the rules (in 1 book), is well indexed, and the rules are overall more cleanly written (updated) then the initial rule set.

If you like tokens, i suggest the DM kit over the DMG.  Though you don't specificly need it if you have the rules compendium, it's still a great advice book.

I suggest any of the newer monsters over the older ones, they just got better and more interesting.  Note that while the monster vault contains tokens, it doesn't have very many high level monsters.

And you can really use any of the players books.  Each has it's own style to offer (which is really where most of the debate come in).  Though the (arcane/martial/divive/ect.. ) power books build off of Player's Handbooks (2/3).  So don't get those first.

Thanks, mellored. I went ahead and ordered the red box off the internet, since I'm not sure if the stores around here will have it in stock. We actually have a couple of good gaming/comics shops around here that probably carry a load of D&D stuff, but they're both about half an hour drive from me, so I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to go. And I don't want to wait until I get to one of them, just to find out they don't have it, so I figured mail order is the way to go.

Carpe DM - Seize the Dungeon Master!
I'm very interested in D&D, but it seems that my friends are not.

And in my small town we dont have any gaming clubs or stores with D&D. So I was wondering if it's possible to play online via skype, and if there are any forums or sites that arrange this sort of thing. 

I can't point you to any sites, but it's definatly done succesfully.

Often with maptools (www.rptools.com).  They might have a forum for online groups.

Or possibly Wizard's own vitual table (requires a subscription, but you get pretty much all of D&D with it).  Though it's still in beta, so i don't know how well it works.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Thank you for fast reply, But i can't realy say this helps me alot.

Do you know if this virtual table has open games people can join?

If so maybe i should look in to this beta 
Thank you for fast reply, But i can't realy say this helps me alot.

Do you know if this virtual table has open games people can join?

If so maybe i should look in to this beta 



Playing via Skype is a possibility.  I have never tried it, but I have heard of those who have.  I am sure if you google search skype and any number of gaming references, then you will find something

As for Wizards' Virtual Table beta.

I have been a member of the Beta since last November (not long after the beta started).  It is a very functional table, allows for importing of Characters from the Online Character Builder, and importing of Monsters from the Online Adventure Tools.  You can create these by hand if you wish, but it is usually much easier to import them, and then tweak them if you want custom entries.

There are sometimes open games that people can join.  There is a Forum community there, and people are posting about games that they are starting quite frequently.  There is a Campaign Manager as well, that allows for people to mark games as open and let anyone join from the Campaign Manager, but since most of the time these games fail to kick off because 50-75% of the people that sign up never show up.  So most of the DMs that have been there for some time rely on Forum posts and invites from there, rather than opening their table up.  By replying in the forums, it shows some measure of wanting to play, whereas anyone can click a "join" button.

This video was put up last November, so it is from the earliest stages of the VT. 
www.youtube.com/watch?v=5II83LuAElg

While, visually, it is the same table now, we have come a long way on the refinement of it.  but this still shows you generally what you get with the Wizards VT.

If you are interested in the Beta,  you must be a DDI subscriber.  If you do go that route, you can then pop over to the Guestlist post here
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...
and post your request to join the list.
"Five million Cybermen, easy. One Doctor? NOW you're scared!" - Rose Tyler
Anyway, I'm an old school D&D/AD&D player from the 80's (before that newfangled 2nd edition stuff) who has decided to get back into it and see what D&D is like these days.

Welcome back.  D&D has 'evolved' a lot since 1e AD&D, but it's still D&D.  Essentials, in particular, while mechanically very much 4e, aims for the Basic D&D/AD&D feel the game had back when you played it.

The red box seems like the best way to get a taste of the game cheap and easy without buying tons of stuff, but it also seems skippable if I'm going to eventually buy the other stuff.

Both correct.  The Red Box goes out of it's way to feel like classic 80s D&D, starting with the cover art and never letting up.  But, it gives you very little that isn't in other books - and, because it was the first Essentials product to the printer, doesn't even get it all right.  However, if you're in an area where D&D Encounters is being run, there's an even cheaper and easier way to get a taste of the current incarnation of D&D, just grab a pre-gen and play a session...

So it seems the debate is whether to get the hardbacks or the essentials. Also, how well do they mix and match?

The DM resources mix & match pretty well.  There's one controversial element in Essentials on the DM side - item rarity - aside from that, no issues with using the DM Kit vs the DMG.  Similarly, Monster Vault monsters are just fine for 4e or Essentials games - better than the MM, really, if the 4e characters in question are built using all the suplements (the MM1 or 2 might be OK for challenging a PH1-only party, for instance).  It's a familiar phenomenon.  Back in the day, 1e AD&D PCs got more powerful with the release of the original Unearthed Arcana - more options, more power.  The player stuff mixes less smoothly, as there was a sharp change in class-design philosophy between the two.  4e classes are nicely balanced, but sometimes feel surprisingly complex to returning players - because they're all at the same level of complexity, now.  Essentials returns to some classes being much simpler than others (which, in turn, tend to have more potential to be imbalancing). 

It's a bit like AD&D.  In AD&D, Fighters started out pretty useful, and magic-users started out comically vulnerable, as you got levels under your belt, the magic-users came into their own, and eventually gained vast power.   2e was much the same, and 3e was more complex and intentionally 'rewarded system mastery,' allowing a savvy player to 'build' overwhelmingly potent characters by aplying just the right combinations of options.  Essentials isn't that bad, it just has simpler characters with mostly unlimitted-use options that provide a more stable baseline of effectiveness against which more complicated/situational classes under- or over-perform based on how well they're played and how much the DM hoses them - like 3e's 'rewards for system mastery,' only much more muted.  Given 'nice' players or a firm hand from the DM or just players with comparable levels of power-gaming mojo, you'll hardly notice.

Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

So as mentioned above, I mail ordered the red box starter set. It arrived yesterday, and I haven't gotten very far with it yet, but the players book already annoys me. I can see how the "choose your own adventure" method of creating a character might be good for easing kids and total newbies into the game, but as someone who used to play a lot of 1st edition D&D and AD&D back in the 80's, it just annoys me to not have all the character options laid out in one place. They should have added a few more pages at the end of the book with at least an overview of the stuff covered in that book.

I do plan to read through the whole thing (not just following the "choose your own adventure" path), and then I'll move on to the DM book. I know this may include spoilers for the adventure in there, in case I join a group where I'm not the DM. But the local playing groups around here mostly seem to be more advanced than that, so I doubt they'd use that adventure, anyway. And I'd like to think I'm a good enough role player to ignore minor spoilers for an adventure I've read, if the situation comes up. It's not like we're talking about a spoiler for the end of a murder mystery or something like that.

I'm still glad I bought it, though. My old dice were pretty beat up, and it sounds like counters/miniatures are pretty much required for the newer versions. So for $13 on Amazon, I got a new set of dice and a decent sheet of counters, which are worth at least half that much.

So now the big question: If I do want a better overview of at least the core classes and races, should I get the Player's Handbook or Heroes of Fallen Lands? I understand that the PHB has more races and classes in it, which is a bonus. And realize that if I want to play additional races or classes, I may end up having to get the additonal books that cover those (PHB2 & 3, Heroes of Forgotten Kingdoms). But initially at least, I do consider the basic races and classes in the starter set (human, elf, dwarf, halfling and fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard) to be the absolute "core" group, so I want to start by seeing how they're handled in this new version, before looking at the other options.

Actually, now that I look at the choices of races and classes in each book online, it looks like all the races and classes in the PHB are in the two essential Heroes books, except for warlord. And the two essentials books include things like druid, drow, and half-orc that aren't in the PHB. And the two essentials books combined only cost about $4 more than the PHB. So I guess the question isn't so much PHB vs Fallen Lands, it's actually PHB vs Fallen Lands + Forgotten Kingdoms.

Besides the details of which races and classes are covered in each book, it sounds like the Essentials contains some rules updates and errata, so that's another factor, and I have absolutely no knowledge to judge which is better in that regard. Nor do I know what else are the differences between the PHB and Essentials books.

So here's the question: Should I get the Player's Handbook or the two "Heroes of" Essentials books that only cost slightly more combined than the PHB?
Carpe DM - Seize the Dungeon Master!
So now the big question: If I do want a better overview of at least the core classes and races, should I get the Player's Handbook or Heroes of Fallen Lands? I understand that the PHB has more races and classes in it, which is a bonus. And realize that if I want to play additional races or classes, I may end up having to get the additonal books that cover those (PHB2 & 3, Heroes of Forgotten Kingdoms). But initially at least, I do consider the basic races and classes in the starter set (human, elf, dwarf, halfling and fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard) to be the absolute "core" group, so I want to start by seeing how they're handled in this new version, before looking at the other options.

Actually, now that I look at the choices of races and classes in each book online, it looks like all the races and classes in the PHB are in the two essential Heroes books, except for warlord. And the two essentials books include things like druid, drow, and half-orc that aren't in the PHB. And the two essentials books combined only cost about $4 more than the PHB. So I guess the question isn't so much PHB vs Fallen Lands, it's actually PHB vs Fallen Lands + Forgotten Kingdoms.

Besides the details of which races and classes are covered in each book, it sounds like the Essentials contains some rules updates and errata, so that's another factor, and I have absolutely no knowledge to judge which is better in that regard. Nor do I know what else are the differences between the PHB and Essentials books.

So here's the question: Should I get the Player's Handbook or the two "Heroes of" Essentials books that only cost slightly more combined than the PHB?



The biggest difference between the Heroes of the Fallen Lands/Forgotten Kingdoms, and the PHBs are the style of the builds.

PHB (1, 2, and 3) builds give everyone the same* choice/amount of At-Will, Encounter, Utility and Daily powers.  At certain levels you pick a power from a list to add to your repetoire, and at certain levels you have the option to swap out old powers for new powers (not counting retraining).  So, not counting a few exceptions, any PHB classes will have roughly the same amount of powers to use at any given level.

Heroes of. . .  books simplify the builds.  Essentials was geared to help bring new players into the Hobby.  Most of the Classes in those books have a lot of the choices already made for you.  Like the Warpriest, you pick a Domain, and it determines a lot of the Powers you get at any given level, instead of you pouring over a list of 10-15+ powers.

A lot of the melee classes have a choice of stances to enter that affect their attacks, but most of their attacks are just basic attacks each round, whereas the PHB melee classes have a list of powers to choose from for each round.


Both play well together, both are fully functional sets of books, and both make viable PCs.  Essentials classes tend to deal a little more damage round for round than PHB classes do, but this makes up for the fact that a lot of Essentials don't have the same repetoire of Daily attack powers (the real big hitters).

So, the answer to your question is..  see if you can preview them somehow (friend, or a DDI account and use the Character Builder/Compendium) and decide which flavor you like more.

If you want the more simplified entry into the game, go with Heroes of. . . books till you are comfortable.  If you want a lot more choices and options to choose from at each level, and thus more options to do each round of combat, then go with PHB.  Or, pick up 1 Heroes of book, and whichever PHB (1, 2, or 3) that has some of the classes you'd like to check out.
"Five million Cybermen, easy. One Doctor? NOW you're scared!" - Rose Tyler
Thanks, Agonar. I kept seeing stuff that said the big difference between the PHBs and Essentials was the character builds, but until now, I hadn't seen any explanation as to what that meant.

Carpe DM - Seize the Dungeon Master!
So now the big question: If I do want a better overview of at least the core classes and races, should I get the Player's Handbook or Heroes of Fallen Lands?

The PH gives you more classes and races than HotFL, and gives you a better feel for 4e as a whole.  HotFL is a great resource if you're new to RP, as it provides more fluff text to give you a feel for what each race and class represents.  If you're already familiar with the genre and earlier eds of D&D, you'll have most of that down, anyway. 

I kept seeing stuff that said the big difference between the PHBs and Essentials was the character builds, but until now, I hadn't seen any explanation as to what that meant.

The big difference is that 4e classes originally followed a general structure as to how many abilities they gained, when they gained them, and how often they could be used.  It was cool, because it finally made classes broadly balanced with eachother over many levels.  If the class imbalance of AD&D (the way fighters started out butch and wizards vulnerable, and as level increased, wizards and other casters tended to overshadow the non-casters) never bothered you, you might find the 'sacrifices' made to achieve that balance undesireable.  Essentials went beyond the 4e structure to make classes that had more of the feel (and, inevitably, some of the imbalances) of their earlier incarnations.

Specifically, 4e classes all got 4 kinds of 'powers' in addition to class features.  Class features were gained at 1st level, with 'Paragon Path' features gained at 11th and 16th, and perhaps others at epic level depending upon 'Epic Destiny.'  Powers were At-will, 1/Encounter, or 1/Day attacks, or 'Utilities' that varied in useability, but were basically just cool tricks that weren't attacks.  Thus, you'll hear 4e classes called 'AEDU.'  Powers, like features, were gained at specific levels.  So every class got a new Encounter power at level 3, for instance. 

Essentials did away with that.  Martial archetypes - Fighters, Theives, Rangers - don't get Daily powers, at all, and don't get at-will or encounter powers that are labeled as 'attacks' (thus, they cannot use any previously-published Fighter attack powers, giving them starkly limitted choice).  Mages (magic-users or wizards) on the other extreme, get all the power choices as 4e Wizards, can can draw upon all published wizard powers (and wizards can use their powers).  Other classes fall in-between those two extremes.  All Essentials class get at least some utilities (though not always utilities that can be traded out for older ones), and they might get their class features at any levels.




Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

So now the big question: If I do want a better overview of at least the core classes and races, should I get the Player's Handbook or Heroes of Fallen Lands?

The PH gives you more classes and races than HotFL, and gives you a better feel for 4e as a whole.  HotFL is a great resource if you're new to RP, as it provides more fluff text to give you a feel for what each race and class represents.  If you're already familiar with the genre and earlier eds of D&D, you'll have most of that down, anyway. 

I kept seeing stuff that said the big difference between the PHBs and Essentials was the character builds, but until now, I hadn't seen any explanation as to what that meant.

The big difference is that 4e classes originally followed a general structure as to how many abilities they gained, when they gained them, and how often they could be used.  It was cool, because it finally made classes broadly balanced with eachother over many levels.  If the class imbalance of AD&D (the way fighters started out butch and wizards vulnerable, and as level increased, wizards and other casters tended to overshadow the non-casters) never bothered you, you might find the 'sacrifices' made to achieve that balance undesireable.  Essentials went beyond the 4e structure to make classes that had more of the feel (and, inevitably, some of the imbalances) of their earlier incarnations.

Specifically, 4e classes all got 4 kinds of 'powers' in addition to class features.  Class features were gained at 1st level, with 'Paragon Path' features gained at 11th and 16th, and perhaps others at epic level depending upon 'Epic Destiny.'  Powers were At-will, 1/Encounter, or 1/Day attacks, or 'Utilities' that varied in useability, but were basically just cool tricks that weren't attacks.  Thus, you'll hear 4e classes called 'AEDU.'  Powers, like features, were gained at specific levels.  So every class got a new Encounter power at level 3, for instance. 

Essentials did away with that.  Martial archetypes - Fighters, Theives, Rangers - don't get Daily powers, at all, and don't get at-will or encounter powers that are labeled as 'attacks' (thus, they cannot use any previously-published Fighter attack powers, giving them starkly limitted choice).  Mages (magic-users or wizards) on the other extreme, get all the power choices as 4e Wizards, can can draw upon all published wizard powers (and wizards can use their powers).  Other classes fall in-between those two extremes.  All Essentials class get at least some utilities (though not always utilities that can be traded out for older ones), and they might get their class features at any levels.





Tony

Thanks for the summary. 

I'm about to revisit 4e with the acquisition of a PHB1, having bought the (old) starter material and KotS in 2009 or so but never got into it.  As I've been out of touch with 4e since then it's useful to know.

Regards

Edward
Thanks, Agonar. I kept seeing stuff that said the big difference between the PHBs and Essentials was the character builds, but until now, I hadn't seen any explanation as to what that meant.



Just following up a few days later. I bought Heroes of Fallen Lands as my followup to the red box, and I'm trying to read the whole thing cover to cover. I keep skipping ahead, looking at specific things that interest me. For instance, I've got a thief character concept in my head, so I looked ahead to the skills chapter a few times, trying to figure out what all those skill options are. I also glanced ahead to the races before the classes. I do think races should have been before classes in the books, as mentioned in another thread. Yes, class is the bigger decision in creating a character, and then you'll usually pick a race that matches well with it, but the race section is so much shorter, and conceptually just "seems" like it should come first.

Of course, now I'm curious about the differences between the Players Handbook versions of the characters and the Essentials versions that I'm reading about. Knowing me, I'll eventually pick up the PHB, just because I want to see the big picture. That's the real reason I used to always be the DM when I played 1st edition 20+ years ago - I liked reading all the books and getting the entire picture, which the players often miss out on if specific details of the adventure don't come up during their gaming sessions.

I'm still trying to find a game to join. I've got my first meeting tonight with a local gaming group, so hopefully we'll be able to get a regular group organized. With my luck, after I spend all this time learning about 4e as my first D&D version since AD&D 1e, everyone in the group will want to play 3.5 or Pathfinder instead.


Carpe DM - Seize the Dungeon Master!
Of course, now I'm curious about the differences between the Players Handbook versions of the characters and the Essentials versions that I'm reading about. Knowing me, I'll eventually pick up the PHB, just because I want to see the big picture.

The differences are easier to explain going from PH to E than the other way round, but, I suppose, I could summarize it as "PH characters are all Mages."  Well, Mages, but less so...

Each PH class gains class features at 1st, and from their Paragon Path and Epic Destiny choices.  They start with a choice of at will, encounter and daily attack powers, and choose utilities, and additional encounter and attack powers at specific levels.  All the classes are built on the same sort of underlying structure.  Each class also has two or three 'builds' that include distinct choices of features (or how features are used).   The Mage is the HotFL class that comes closest to that structure.  It chooses almost all it's powers (and can choose pre-existing Wizard powers, if available in the campaign), and has feature choices based on school.  The only deviation is that it gains some additional features after first level.

Slayers, Knights and Theives get no daily powers at all, and no choice of their Encounter attack powers, they can avail themselves of Fighter and Rogue utilities, but not attack powers.  Warpriests make one big choice - Domain - that dictates most of their other choices - while Clerics can take Warpriest powers, Warpriests can only take Cleric powers when granted a choice of powers.  All E-classes get some of their class features after 1st level, while all PH classes get all their class features at 1st.


Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!


I'm still trying to find a game to join. I've got my first meeting tonight with a local gaming group, so hopefully we'll be able to get a regular group organized. With my luck, after I spend all this time learning about 4e as my first D&D version since AD&D 1e, everyone in the group will want to play 3.5 or Pathfinder instead.


Man, I called that one. So the group I met with last night is starting a Pathfinder campaign, since that's what the experienced players prefer, and us newbies will learn as we go. So now I need to pick up the Pathfinder core rulebook.

But there's another group that does meetings at a comics/gaming store that's meeting tomorrow, and I think they do 4e. So I'll show up there and see what's up. So I may end up playing both regularly. As a newbie to both versions (remember, I haven't played since D&D/AD&D 1st edition), I'm likely to have trouble keeping the details straight while learning both Pathfinder and 4e at the same time.


Carpe DM - Seize the Dungeon Master!
Hey folks.

I'm a newbie who only played breifly back in the ninties, and I just recently started going to weekly encounters. Primarily because I'm one of the more mature attendees I was thrown into the Lair Assault group, and I'm a little shell shocked as a result. Now I'm trying to figure out how the other players are getting so many powers, themes and weird class combinations. I'm kind of embarrassed to show up with the 5th level character I rolled with my PHB1.

So I checked out this thread in it's entirety, and I'm definetely wondering about the whole Essentials vs Core 4e thing. Seeing as the opinion seems split on t his forum I'll probably get a baseline of which way the folks at my game shop are leaning.

What I'd really like to more about is the DDI Character Builder and Compendium. Unfortunately I can't demo the character builder but it seems to claim I can build charcters using all available sources. Is that accurate? If so the 9.95 a month is sounding better-ish. At least until I figure out what sources I really want to play with, and buy the books. If it is that great I'm wondering why it isn't a three way battle between Essentials, Core 4e and DDI...

What I'd really like to more about is the DDI Character Builder and Compendium. Unfortunately I can't demo the character builder but it seems to claim I can build charcters using all available sources. Is that accurate? If so the 9.95 a month is sounding better-ish. At least until I figure out what sources I really want to play with, and buy the books. If it is that great I'm wondering why it isn't a three way battle between Essentials, Core 4e and DDI...



a DDI account is worth it in my opinion.  And if you pay the year in advance, it's only $6 a month (one payment up front of $70)

With it, you have access to the character builder, that will let you build characters using all the currently released* materials from published books, dragon and dungeon magazine, etc.

The online Compendium has all of the currently released* classes, items, monsters, rules, etc., there in a searchable format.  Typically, material is added to the online tools the day the book is released, barring some exceptions.  hence the * up above.  Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium is currently on hold, because there is a formatting problem, so that material will be online in in the next update.

As for Encounters vs Lair Assault.  I would stick with encounters if you are new to 4e.  Lair Assault is basically harder encounters to try to kill Optimized PCs.  Without access to Themes, and all of the feats and other material that has been released since PHB1, it ptobably won't be too fun for you.
"Five million Cybermen, easy. One Doctor? NOW you're scared!" - Rose Tyler
Just to clarifiy agonar's *'s

Everything get's into the builder.  Just not always right away.  Some (1/3 - 1/4) of the stuff takes a month (or 2) longer.

So I checked out this thread in it's entirety, and I'm definetely wondering about the whole Essentials vs Core 4e thing.

It's a style difference, but still the same game.

Just ignore the classes you don't like and play the ones you do.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Unfortunately I can't demo the character builder but it seems to claim I can build charcters using all available sources. Is that accurate?

If you want to play in a 'drink from the firehose' game like Lair Assault, the CB is a good deal.  There are /lots/ of 4e books, and the most broken best stuff for a given build might be spread out over many of them.  DDI lets you use CB to choose from /all/ those books, and a lot of Dragon mag articles (some of which also have broken **** excellent choices), as well.  It's definitely the way to go for Lair Assault.

I run Lair Assault, and I did give players the option of CB, old (off-line) CB (4e only, in effect), or books only (no errata).  Every player is using the current (on-line) CB, in spite of some of the nerfing done in updates, the sheer range of combos that are open in it is enough to make it the best choice for building customized power characters.

If it is that great I'm wondering why it isn't a three way battle between Essentials, Core 4e and DDI...

DDI is prettymuch Core + Essentials.  It's all in there.  There has been a lot of errata updates for the 4e books, though, so there is a difference between Core and Core+Updates (particulary updates since around the time Essentials came out). 

Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!