What's the point of making Essentials only restrictions of DM's just ignore it?

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The thread title says it all.  I know of people that don't limit characters to just the sourcebooks allowed.  So why bother making those restrictions?
The thread title says it all.  I know of people that don't limit characters to just the sourcebooks allowed.  So why bother making those restrictions?



Because WOTC doesnt have teams of ninjas running around enforcing the rules on the stores.
That doesn't even answer the question.  That's just you attempting to justify the cheating going on.
If you can't figure out the difference between 'cheating' and 'DM fiat' then I don't know what to tell you.

Troll somewhere else.
https://twitter.com/#!/Nullzone42
That doesn't even answer the question.  That's just you attempting to justify the cheating going on.



No its not cheating.  It is the stores organizer making a decision to not limit the fun of some of the more seasoned players they have.  My store only allows Essentials but most of the 4 tables we have are populated by people that have played less than a year. So it is up to each store organizer to make the decision on what is allowed at their venue.
Feyberry,

This is not cheating. I know you feel passionate about this, but slinging that word around is a good way to start a fight.

This is what I tell my people (DMs and Players). I tell them we strongly encourage the use of the offical sources for each season.

However, we allow non-essentials builds with the following proviso, it is subject to DM approval. I have a lot of new judges (sometimes Encounters is the first time they have DMed at all) and I defer to their comfort level on allowing in non-essentials builds. I also have some super vetran judges who can handle non-essentials builds with their eyes closed. The main drive of our game day is having fun.

I also let folks know that if they build a character outside the essentals+ rules that they will in all likelyhood not be able to play them elsewhere (here in Portland, OR we have Essentials running in a lot of our stores).

Now here is my question to you. How does what people do in my store destroy the fun of what you do in yours?

My two coppers,

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus
DDE Coordinator for Guardian Games

As I see it, and I'm by no means an insider or expert, limiting it to Essentials fulfills three purposes:

1) Providing a very balanced game experience where it's difficult to create an incompetent character.

2) Appealing to new players (as Essentials is more accessible than the older 4e stuff).

3) Promoting the Essentials products.

WotC makes this rule so as to play fair to everyone. The best WotC can do is provide a balanced play experience for everyone, and let individual players/DMs make it their own. That's the whole point of DM fiat.

If an individual store or DM makes the judgment call to open up the game to more products, it is that store/DM's call, not WotC's. Enhancing the fun is what you're SUPPOSED TO DO with D&D.

Cheers
Consider also that Essentials characters are arguably a lot easier for the DM to familiarize themselves with, which makes it very easy for the DM to help new players along.  Trying to track and manage every AEDU choice on a traditional PHB class can be challenging.
https://twitter.com/#!/Nullzone42
Consider the challenge of some stores that can generally only scrape one table together, in fact the same table for the last couple of seasons. In order for there to be a game when the occasional new person drops by, they have to keep these advanced players who would otherwise leave Encounters to start a home campaign where they can do whatever they want. 

Can't run Encounters with just the 2 people who walk in off the street wanting to try D&D. So therefore, you have to keep the existing players (and volunteer DM) happy as well in order to keep people there to teach these new players. 

If the DM is new or not comfortable enough with 4e, then keep it to Essentials. But if the players who keep the game going for new people to join are bored stiff, something needs to be done. And not everyone is in it for the story unfortunately, not by far.  
Consider also that Essentials characters are arguably a lot easier for the DM to familiarize themselves with, which makes it very easy for the DM to help new players along.  Trying to track and manage every AEDU choice on a traditional PHB class can be challenging.



This.  I'm a former Encounters DM.  I was pretty new, and I asked all my players to stick with Essentials only.  No complaints and everyone had a great time.  It's just way too hard for a new DM to keep track of 40 classes or whatever.  I agree with WOTC's policy of keeping Encounters geared towards newer/casual players and DMs by limiting the material available for use during the season.
Personally, I don't restrict it but players don't get the 5 points for making their own character if they don't follow the guidelines for the season. The "restriction" is also meant to encourage people to check out new material and give it some in-store exposure, so if I can accomplish that then so much the better.
https://twitter.com/#!/Nullzone42
Personally, I don't restrict it but players don't get the 5 points for making their own character if they don't follow the guidelines for the season. The "restriction" is also meant to encourage people to check out new material and give it some in-store exposure, so if I can accomplish that then so much the better.



That seems perfectly reasonable to me.  I don't expect to have anyone try to play a non-essentials character, but if they do, this will probably be my response.
It's really the DM/store's call...Me personally I would not want to be the DM dealing with non-Essentials characters. But considering most stores will be starting everyone off at lvl 1...does it really matter? I believe the amount of experience you get in one season gets you to lvl 3...that's going to benefit those who make Essentials characters over other builds, imo. From what I've seen, Essentials characters just seem to start off stronger.
Wizard's first rule: People are stupid.
Personally, I don't restrict it but players don't get the 5 points for making their own character if they don't follow the guidelines for the season. The "restriction" is also meant to encourage people to check out new material and give it some in-store exposure, so if I can accomplish that then so much the better.


I like this, if you have enough bums in seats. Sticks to the intent, but doesn't turn off the people who have been keeping the program going, who'll be better able to compensate with other renown gains. 

I organize one of the groups that allows any option. I don't work for the shop, but I organize all the public D&D events, and am happy to do so.

My reasons for allowing any option are several:

1) Players have these options when creating a PC for our non-Encounters public games, so they should have them available for Encounters. Our DMs have to learn how to handle different classes and options, and our players need to be up front about their character weaknesses and abilities that rely on "DM calls." It's the way it is, and we have enough experienced players who will highlight class features as needed that it has worked well for our groups.

2) Some players have spent hundreds of dollars on game books at our store. To then say "you can only use these two books" seems needlessly greedy.

3) Did I say TWO books? Yes, two. Ours is a Core store, but the Neverwinter books finally arrived TODAY. We had the same thing happen last season with Heroes of Shadow. If you want me to be able to make a character using these limited rule books, then MAKE SURE YOUR DISTRIBUTORS SHIP THE RULE BOOKS ON TIME!

We are very clear and up front with our players that they will not be able to play their non-Essentials PCs at other shops. But they get the 5 points of renown for making their own character. Heck, we even give them 5 points of renown if they use the old Character Builder. I even give renown for posting adventure logs and updating the campaign wiki on Obsidian Portal.

We just want them to come in, be involved, and have a fun time. We try not to be stingy with the rewards; in fact, I'm considering doing some prize drawings for the promo cards and rewards from the past seasons, because we have leftovers. If I run out of the reward cards this season, I'll reward players with something else-- tokens from Dapper Devil, or packs of Fortune Cards, or an unpainted mini.

@Dropsonexistence: I think you can, actually, play with the two people who wander off the street, but it's a lot more work for the DM. What some enterprising designer should really do is post easy mechanics NPC characters to fill each role. Hmm . . .

Personally, I don't restrict it but players don't get the 5 points for making their own character if they don't follow the guidelines for the season. The "restriction" is also meant to encourage people to check out new material and give it some in-store exposure, so if I can accomplish that then so much the better.

I like this solution, and it's perfectly valid by the renown system. But don't let it drive people away, either (see below). I do think people want you to abide by the rules, but do make some exceptions for the fun.

3) Did I say TWO books? Yes, two. Ours is a Core store, but the Neverwinter books finally arrived TODAY. We had the same thing happen last season with Heroes of Shadow. If you want me to be able to make a character using these limited rule books, then MAKE SURE YOUR DISTRIBUTORS SHIP THE RULE BOOKS ON TIME!

This is an unfortunate timing issue with trying to release Neverwinter and launch the Game Day and Encounters adventures at all about the same time. And while it was obviously really cool, it does lead to some unfortunate bumps in the road.

Fortunately, applying a character theme from the book is not a time-consuming process. You should be able to take a character someone brings in and apply a theme within 5-10 minutes at the most. Or just don't apply a theme at all for the first session or first chapter (sessions 1-2) and pick one up after.

We just want them to come in, be involved, and have a fun time. We try not to be stingy with the rewards; in fact, I'm considering doing some prize drawings for the promo cards and rewards from the past seasons, because we have leftovers. If I run out of the reward cards this season, I'll reward players with something else-- tokens from Dapper Devil, or packs of Fortune Cards, or an unpainted mini.

If you can afford not to be tight-fisted with the rewards, all the better. I highly support this tactic.

Cheers

Eric, with all due respect: I sincerely hope there is MUCH more to your book than character themes! If themes were all of it, I wouldn't be so ticked off at the distributor. We got those cards in our Game Day kits, after all, and with plenty of time to prep.

I mean, I don't know for sure (because, again-- they arrived today!), but isn't there a new class, some new builds, new options? Some history, some culture... and more?

We have someone wanting to play the bladesinger-- and like some of us, he uses his money on physical books (he's something of a collector). So he's been struggling to decide on his character. It's not that he can't play something else this week and switch next week, but... he's invested in the story, and one character's story is different from the other character's story.

We have DMs who really wanted a better background understanding of Neverwinter, especially given the social and political storylines that run through this adventure. They have to wing it tonight and try to read up throughout the week.

Editing to add: We also have consumers who want to buy the book so the author can get paid..... just sayin'!

And, of course, we have a shop owner who really wanted to have the books for the dozen players who were there Saturday, the 18 or so I expect tonight, and however many come through her shop before Amazon.com can start selling the book for 30% less than she can.

It's not just a problem of Game Day+Encounters+Book Launch coinciding. As I said, we had this problem last season as well, and we've often had trouble getting the books to the shop in time for an event or promotion.

In short (and in reply to the OP): We have a lot of good reasons for allowing a wide range of options in play. We also accept and support Essentials PCs and are happy to do so. Rule 0, FTW.

> If you can afford not to be tight-fisted with the rewards, all the better. I highly support this tactic.

We'll hand them out till we don't have anything left, then bribe with brownies if we have to. We have a table of kids under the age of twelve coming to my games, in addition to poor VileSin's table of optimized Dwarves. Brownies totally motivate.

Feyberry,

So far almost everyone has responded to your origional post in a respectful manner and twice you have repaid that respect with combative and aggressive writing.

Take a time out, inhale and relax. You are not going to win the internets. You are certainly not making any allies or friends here. You have every right to feel what you feel. You have every right to ask the question. You do not have the right to be curt, dismissive and frankly rude when no one agrees with you.

For now, I am done with this thread. The question has been answered and unless WotC decides to chastise us for not coloring inside the lines this topic is done.

Good day, sir.

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus
DDE WPN Coordinator for Guardian Games

The players at my table spent the time to create their characters from scratch.  I reward that by letting them play those characters.  It certainly does not break the game by allowing those characters.

I am most certain that Wizards would rather have those players sitting at the table happily playing than sitting there grumbling the entire time, or worse, not playing at all.

I am sorry if other people having fun spoils your day. 

Celebrate our differences.

The players at my table spent the time to create their characters from scratch.  I reward that by letting them play those characters.  It certainly does not break the game by allowing those characters.

I am most certain that Wizards would rather have those players sitting at the table happily playing than sitting there grumbling the entire time, or worse, not playing at all.

I am sorry if other people having fun spoils your day. 

I know a few players refused to go to the Dark Sun campaign because you couldn't create your own PCs. And when the Essentials classes were new and fresh for Keep on the Shadowfell, I had no problem restricting PC creation to Essentials. But I still had players drop in, with their PH1 PCs, and I didn't have the desire to force them to play an Essentials PC then. And now, three campaigns later, I see no point restricting PC creation to Essentials only. I do see the reason for the rule, but I feel confident enough in my DMing and general game knowledge to ride herd on some of the wackier PCs that wander in, that I would rather let the players play what they want. More fun for all. 

Eric, with all due respect: I sincerely hope there is MUCH more to your book than character themes! If themes were all of it, I wouldn't be so ticked off at the distributor. We got those cards in our Game Day kits, after all, and with plenty of time to prep.

I mean, I don't know for sure (because, again-- they arrived today!), but isn't there a new class, some new builds, new options? Some history, some culture... and more?


I'm sorry not to have been clear--all I was saying was that for the purposes of CHARACTER CREATION, the themes are the most important stuff you need, and you can put them on as late as the beginning of chapter 2. Chapter 1 is mostly just an intro/prologue to the actual season.

As for the actual content of the book, yes indeed, there are a LOT of things. You will (hopefully, he said) not be disappointed.


I absolutely sympathize with your situation, and I'm trying to reassure you that it'll work out.


Cheers

I can't help you with the Cleric Domains, but someone posted the GenCon Level 1 Bladesinger preview up on the GenCon forums, here:
community.gencon.com/files/folders/smp/e...

I used this to build my Eladrin Bladesinger for the WWGD before I was able to pick up my book last Thursday.

This content is now in DDI but you can also build your power cards in this program:
power2ool.com/
Check out the intro video to get yourself oriented and then build away. Power2ool does connect to DDI if you don't want to hand enter the info. But you can then modify it if need be.

Hope this helps,

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus
DDE WPN Coordinator for Guardian Games
The official rule encourages new players to start with Essentials, and everyone to buy the latest thing. It's just good marketing.

Not making it a hard rule (quite aside from the fact it'd be unenforceable), means that Encounters tables can be filled out by people who would otherwise be bored to tears by Essentials-only. 

I gave Essentials more than a fair shot, but after playing a Slayer (deadly boring after two hours), a Knight (boring after a few encounters) and a few Mages (fun, but there's only so many different things you can do with just the HotFL spell choices), I just didn't have anything interesting to do with the ruleset anymore.  If it were a hard restriction, they'd've lost me - and several other players.  By extension, they'd've lost the people we talk into showing up, and had a harder time without experienced players to help explain and demo the game.

Sure, it's a little shady to make a 'rule,' then tell DMs to go ahead and ignore it, but if that's the most sneaky deceptive thing WotC ever does, they'll be a lot more honest than most corporations... ;)

 

 

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

I DM one of two tables where I play. I've been DM'ing Encounters since season 1.

After the first few seasons of comers and goers, the store has a solid group of return players. I think during the third season the players began to complain about how limited their choices were by having to stick to Essentials. To keep the returning players happy, we (the DMs) decided to loosen up and let players create whatever they wanted. Any new players who hapened to join us would be handed an Encounters pre-gen. Not all players strayed from Essentials materials but a few have. Out of the two tables of five players each, there is only one player per table, who is running a character not Encounters "legal."

The other change we've made is at the end of the fourth season, players didn't want to start over at 1st ... again. So we scaled the adventure accordingly. After the fifth season, the Neverwinter GameDay & upcoming Encounters refueled half the players so we are back to one table running lvl 1 PCs while the other just rocked up to 6th lvl after last nights encounter.

Bottom line is we feel it important to keep returning players happy, yet keep a Essentials, low-level table for any new players.
I can't help you with the Cleric Domains, but someone posted the GenCon Level 1 Bladesinger preview up on the GenCon forums, here:
community.gencon.com/files/folders/smp/e...

I used this to build my Eladrin Bladesinger for the WWGD before I was able to pick up my book last Thursday.

This content is now in DDI but you can also build your power cards in this program:
power2ool.com/
Check out the intro video to get yourself oriented and then build away. Power2ool does connect to DDI if you don't want to hand enter the info. But you can then modify it if need be.

Hope this helps,

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus
DDE WPN Coordinator for Guardian Games



Took a look at the Power2ools and it was great ... it's going to help in my game 10 fold!
 

GMT +10 (Aussie, Aussie, Aussie ....)
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