Anyone else upset that Encounters is essentials only?

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Hey everyone,
Am I the only player/DM out here that is angry that the character creation rules for the Encounter seasons only allows for essential PCs?
I'd love to head over to my FLGS and play a casual 2 hour or so session once a week, but I don't want to buy the essential player books, or 'rent' the new character builder. I've already purchased all 3 PHB's, and still have the ORIGIONAL character builder saved on my PC. 
Why is WotC seeming to not allow 'oldschool' 4e players to join in on the fun? 

I don't want to be an edition warrior. I think there was something good and something bad in all the editions I played. I do, however, believe that the game has gotten better over the years (and decades). I hope this holds true into the future.

Peace.

 

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Well, Encounters really isn't "strictly" Essentials-only. Since it's a program aimed at bringing in new players, WotC would like to steer them towards one of their entryways into the game, namely the "evergreen" line of Essentials products.

However, if an Encounters DM feels lenient he/she may allow players to use non-Essentials ccharacters for play. It's not like WotC will send a hit squad to squelch any activity of this sort.

Also, Encounters markets the Essentials stuff as well as whatever the latest hot book is (like HoS, Neverwinter, and the soon-to-come HotF), which are not really Essentials products. So, technically, it's not really Essentials only.

So, to answer the question presented in your title, no, I am not upset. Not in the slightest. 
"Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” ~Mark Twain
Well, Encounters really isn't "strictly" Essentials-only. Since it's a program aimed at bringing in new players, WotC would like to steer them towards one of their entryways into the game, namely the "evergreen" line of Essentials products.



Wa was upset, a year ago, back when they announced this was happening.  I was also upset about alot of other things being done to D&d a year ago.  Now?  Now I'm looking forward to winter 2012, to see if "that thing Monte Cook is working on" is worth my attention.
Absolutely I am. I should be able to use my o4e classes that I spent money on (much like you) at a 4e event, especially since there is this whole "they are balanced and work just fine at the same table' philosophy that WotC and Essentials/post-Essentials class design pundits like to espouse, but whatever. Maybe they aren't as balanced as WotC would have us believe?

Also while HoS, Neverwinter and such may not be 'Essentials' books they do use E-Class design for all the classes. Some of us don't like those builds, don't want to spend money on them, and won't. Thus we are excluded from Encounters events at 99% of places that do them, despite the fact that we've sunk hundreds of dollars in supposedly equivalent 4e books. 

To me this feels liek WotC trying to brush Heinsoo designed o4e under the rug like it never existed and that 4e really started with Essentials. They promised us o4e class design support and they keep promising it, and we have yet to see one hint of it anywhere. Rumors are that Heroes of the Feywild will have some, and if that's the case I will rejoice. If not, well I guess my money stays put for yet another release.       
It's simple: Encounters is a marketing campaign. Nothing more or less. It is designed to sell the newest book. The best way to ensure that the sales focus on that book is by limiting options as much as possible. I've always assumed that's they keep it to HotFL, HotFK, and the book of the quarter. So if limited choice is the price we pay for them to give us free stuff just for hanging out and having a good time for an hour-and-a-half every week, then it's a very small price that I gladly pay – especially since Lair Assault and our homes games are open to whatever so I really can't complain about one game having limited choices.

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Absolutely I am. I should be able to use my o4e classes that I spent money on (much like you) at a 4e event, 

 

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
If I were to play Encounters I'd be bummed, probably. But I don't, so I don't really care right now.

But not being able to play a 4e martial class (which often have my preference) would really suck, as well as a lot of the other more outlying concepts (like the Artificer). 
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yeah if i wanted to constantly start over at level 1 over and over again like groundhogs day i might care
Generally, all you have to do is ask if you can play something else; most DMs are enablers not enforcers.  If you show up with a character and demonstrate you understand how to play it I can't imagine many DMs having a problem with it at all.  We fill about 2 tables of non-Hot*L classes and races every Wednesday night at my FLGS with this exact formula.

On the other hand, if you are the kind of person that actually gets "angry" because you can't play a 1st level Fighter (Weaponmaster) instead of a 1st level Fighter (Knight) to the extent where you feel the need to create multiple passive-aggressive threads and posts about it, I have a feeling you might want to throttle it back a little for public play.

If you really want to do something besides complain and feel you must right the great injustice of a campaign with limited source material, offer to DM a table at your FLGS with the understanding that you will be allowing a more drink-from-the-firehose approach to source material.  Remember, these store owners are looking for ways to get people in the door.  If they are hearing enough customer interest in playing Encounters with expanded source material, the worst that could happen is they let you run it.  Good Luck!  The world needs more DMs!


Just make sure to have every book on hand, and printouts of pretty much every Dragon magazine article.  Because the first character that shows up and seems way too powerful (because it's chock full of poorly transcribed feats, powers and racial abilities) means you will be spending 20 minutes of your 90 minute game session looking things up in them.

INSIDE SCOOP, GAMERS: In the new version of D&D, it will no longer be "Edition Wars." It will be "Edition Lair Assault." - dungeonbastard

It's simple: Encounters is a marketing campaign. Nothing more or less. It is designed to sell the newest book. The best way to ensure that the sales focus on that book is by limiting options as much as possible. I've always assumed that's they keep it to HotFL, HotFK, and the book of the quarter. So if limited choice is the price we pay for them to give us free stuff just for hanging out and having a good time for an hour-and-a-half every week, then it's a very small price that I gladly pay – especially since Lair Assault and our homes games are open to whatever so I really can't complain about one game having limited choices.



This.  just consider it an opportunity to give those E-classes a fair shake. 

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

Not in the slightest.

Because we don't enforce it around these parts.

Talk to the DM at your FLGS, they might feel the same way that we do, that it is more important to fill the table with happy players than it is to mandate a limited game experience (Encounters being levels 1-3 only, over and over again does that just fine on its own). If you don't talk to the DM, you'll never know.
And more specifically, it isn't "Essentials-Only".  It's Essentials + "Whatever new product we're trying to sell you this season".  Case in point, Season 7 allows Heroes of the Feywild, which is not an Essentials book.  Now most stores (mine included) don't enforce the creation rules that come with the Encounters materials (we actually allow anything LFR-legal, since we've started running a Living Forgotten Realms program at our store), but if one doesn't, there are several good reasons why.

1) You don't want new players to feel overwhelmed by a zillion choices.  While you may have a lot of veterans play at Encounters, the program is meant to bring in new blood.  HotFL and HotFK are good "entry points" for the game.

2) Balance.  There's a huge difference between a guy sitting at a table with his Dwarf Slayer precon, and the guy next to him playing a Hybrid Executioner/Warlock abusing Attack Finesse+Eldritch Strike.  As an Encounters DM, it behooves you to let every character shine equally, since this is supposed to be a team exercise.  It's also not fun when one character outshines another.  Balancing this aspect is difficult, and I don't think it's unfair to demand all players play with the same options.  You'll still have characters that are more optimized than others, but you won't have less experienced players feeling like they need to sort through 2000 Feats to be up to par.

3) Encounters is designed for a DM to be able to quickly read a session and run it.  This is easy when you have a good idea what to expect from your players.  If only 12 classes/subclasses are allowed, for example, while there's still a lot of diversity within those 12- it's a far cry from...what are we up to now?  30 something classes/subclasses, without even going into builds of each individual class?

4) Something that Season 6 started doing, and will carry over into Season 7 is trying to better immerse the character into the setting.  The story will say things like "If any of the players are Pixies..."  Or Berserkers.  Or Unseelie Agents (I don't have confirmation on this point, but it's been implied that players will be rewarded for using the new materials).  It makes it harder to throw in cool things like that for a character if they happen to be a Shardmind Invoker.

There are several programs and levels of organized play available for the game right now.  Encounters is the lowest level, by design.  But other options do exist, such as AoA, LFR, LD, and Lair Assault.  I do understand if the only thing available is Encounters, but if you and other players in your Encounters group got together, I'm sure you could find a way to make something work.

        
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
I'm not, but then, I like the Essentials design.

If you're DM, from what I've heard, there's no WotC Ninjas making sure that you're enforcing the Essentials + Product of the Season limitations at your table.

There are several programs and levels of organized play available for the game right now.  Encounters is the lowest level, by design.  But other options do exist, such as AoA, LFR, LD, and Lair Assault.  I do understand if the only thing available is Encounters, but if you and other players in your Encounters group got together, I'm sure you could find a way to make something work.      

LFR is Living Forgotten Realms and you spelled out Lair Assault. I'm not familiar with the abbreviations AoA or LD as organized play options, though. What are they?

I really don't understand why I can't use a PHB Fighter.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I really don't understand why I can't use a PHB Fighter.


     Their event, their rules.
     However, as several point out, the rules are less than strictly enforced.  The odds of you being able to play a PHB fighter is quite high [but not perfect, or I would not be playing a slayer at the moment.  On the other hand, he has been fun.]
I'm not, but then, I like the Essentials design. 

      LFR is Living Forgotten Realms and you spelled out Lair Assault. I'm not familiar with the abbreviations AoA or LD as organized play options, though. What are they?




Ah, sorry, I shouldn't have been lazy.  Ashes of Athas, and Living Divine.  I don't know much about Living Divine other than it exists, though.  

"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
It doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's always easy for me to find something from within those limitations that would be fun to play. Also, if I'm DMing then it means there's less material that I have to keep track, expecially in the case of drop-ins who could be bringing gods knows what and try to pull sh!t over on me with bizarre combinations of Dragon Magazine options.
It doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's always easy for me to find something from within those limitations that would be fun to play. Also, if I'm DMing then it means there's less material that I have to keep track, expecially in the case of drop-ins who could be bringing gods knows what and try to pull sh!t over on me with bizarre combinations of Dragon Magazine options.



Dragon material is supposed to be 100% core and legal. If you are going to stand behind your game and claim that everything is compatible with no problems then turn around and only allow certain things in a sanctioned event starts to make those words ring hallow.
That's specious reasoning, Xun.  Here in the states we have cars that go faster than 55mph, but we still have streets with speed limits.  

I know you're bitter because these sort of events often don't make it over your way, and I feel for you, but don't post nonsense.

INSIDE SCOOP, GAMERS: In the new version of D&D, it will no longer be "Edition Wars." It will be "Edition Lair Assault." - dungeonbastard

Dragon material is supposed to be 100% core and legal. If you are going to stand behind your game and claim that everything is compatible with no problems then turn around and only allow certain things in a sanctioned event starts to make those words ring hallow.



I don't care what people want to do in their home games. I just said that I like the character creation guidelines for D&D Encounters in part because I don't know every feat and power in the past few years of Dragon Magazine.
Dragon material is supposed to be 100% core and legal. If you are going to stand behind your game and claim that everything is compatible with no problems then turn around and only allow certain things in a sanctioned event starts to make those words ring hallow.



I don't care what people want to do in their home games. I just said that I like the character creation guidelines for D&D Encounters in part because I don't know every feat and power in the past few years of Dragon Magazine.



This has nothing to do with home games. Dragon content has been labeled core since the beginning of 4th edition. In previous editions it was only optional.

Wizards has tried to go the extra mile and claim that all the material fits together perfectly but they can't seem to allow everything at their sanctioned games. That would be like me endorsing Rick Perry as the next president of the United States but when voting time comes I vote for someone else.
Ok. Point taken. What does that have to do with D&D Encounters? They aren't saying everything core but no Dragon Magazine. They're saying only content from specific products. They're specifically saying not everything core.
It doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's always easy for me to find something from within those limitations that would be fun to play. Also, if I'm DMing then it means there's less material that I have to keep track, expecially in the case of drop-ins who could be bringing gods knows what and try to pull sh!t over on me with bizarre combinations of Dragon Magazine options.



Dragon material is supposed to be 100% core and legal. If you are going to stand behind your game and claim that everything is compatible with no problems then turn around and only allow certain things in a sanctioned event starts to make those words ring hallow.



Actually, yes, the words do ring HALLOW.  So good of you to notice.  Laughing

-SYB
Ok. Point taken. What does that have to do with D&D Encounters?

Although he won't answer your question, the answer is "nothing". But answering as such will not further the hypothetical rant offered for the purpose of ranting.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
yeah if i wanted to constantly start over at level 1 over and over again like groundhogs day i might care



1st level? That sucks. If I wanted to play one-shots, I'd derive my fun from testing different character builds but that doesn't really work until late heroics.
Hey everyone,
Am I the only player/DM out here that is angry that the character creation rules for the Encounter seasons only allows for essential PCs?  

Not the only one dissapointed.  However, the rule isn't strict.  I haven't played an 'Essentias+' character at Encounter since Phantom Brigade.  The DM has leeway to allow real 4e character in, as well.  Not all of them will, but you can ask.  With the power inflation in Essentials+, though, if you do bring an old-CB character, it had better be pretty well put together...  (And, if they say 'no,' you can always play a pregen - the Mage is pretty decent, and the one E-class that's at least as choice-rich as 4e classes.)

 

 

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It's an entry point and one of the 'Heroes of' books is a better starting point then the old PHBs and they want to sell the most recent books and grab new players. So they're doing the smart financial thing even if most stores ignore the book limitations. As for starting at level 1, same reason, looking for newbie players and people who will try something different like a Pixie.

Nothing is stopping anyone from asking the store owner or someone at the table if they can start a full game on another night. 

Wizards has tried to go the extra mile and claim that all the material fits together perfectly but they can't seem to allow everything at their sanctioned games.



Lair Assault disagrees with you. Wink


Wizards has tried to go the extra mile and claim that all the material fits together perfectly but they can't seem to allow everything at their sanctioned games.



Lair Assault disagrees with you. 




Then they should be just as welcoming at "all" of their games.

Wizards has tried to go the extra mile and claim that all the material fits together perfectly but they can't seem to allow everything at their sanctioned games.



Lair Assault disagrees with you. 




Then they should be just as welcoming at "all" of their games.



No they shouldn't, they should do what they think they need to in order to increase sales of their books. Cycle material out so as to inflate sales, it's a good strategy and they keep a sidline of Lair Assault to keep people who want to use more material.
As a role-player, I'm more interested in creating an interesting personna than having every crunch option available to me. Given that I can play a Fighter, Rogue, Ranger, Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Hexblade, Paladin, and whatever the latest book offers is enough for me to make a PC that fits my character idea.

Beyond promoting the new books, I think the Encounters program is reminding people that you can get a story out of D&D. If you go into it looking for a story and a chance to roleplay, I think you'll find it more satisfying. I'm cautiously optimistic that the hype for the upcoming season (more intrigue, more RP, more story) is true.  

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

As a role-player, I'm more interested in creating an interesting personna than having every crunch option available to me. Given that I can play a Fighter, Rogue, Ranger, Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Hexblade, Paladin, and whatever the latest book offers is enough for me to make a PC that fits my character idea.

Beyond promoting the new books, I think the Encounters program is reminding people that you can get a story out of D&D. If you go into it looking for a story and a chance to roleplay, I think you'll find it more satisfying. I'm cautiously optimistic that the hype for the upcoming season (more intrigue, more RP, more story) is true.  



You can find interesting stories with the Pre-E classes just as much as the E and above. I'm not really sure where your trying to go here.

Wizards has tried to go the extra mile and claim that all the material fits together perfectly but they can't seem to allow everything at their sanctioned games.



Lair Assault disagrees with you. 




Then they should be just as welcoming at "all" of their games.



No they shouldn't, they should do what they think they need to in order to increase sales of their books. Cycle material out so as to inflate sales, it's a good strategy and they keep a sidline of Lair Assault to keep people who want to use more material.



The purpose of Encounters is supposed to be getting in the new people, promoting product should be second. Products don't sell if the people aren't interested and that should be their number 1 priority.

Also, if you want to promote the idea that all the rules work together with no problem then the best way is to start with the new guys because it's going to be confusing as hell to them when they find out there is other stuff that came before.
The thing with Encounters is that its audience includes not only first-timers, but people who just don't have other gaming options. The latter often don't want to stick with Essentials products, and may already have purchased everything that Encounters is showing off. Some people will just never be able to start or find normal gaming groups, but man, being stuck with Brandis forever is a horrifying fate.
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IMO Someone entering in the game will be more concerned by the overhelming ammount of options (All Classes, 8,473+ Powers,  3,123+ Feats etc..) than the different design element compatibility. 

It seems reasonable for Public Organized Play Program to limit material availability for a number of reasons.

 
Promoting products is never second, it's always first and focused promotion works.

Also you don't need to promote that all the products work together. The players in a long term game which is where WotC hopes to shuffle off Essentials players do that for them. They need to focus on the evergreen stuff and the new stuff.

It's more confusing to a newbie to say, here's PHB1 don't forget the errata, and Martial Powers and the Tiefling pamphlet thing, Artificer oh that's in Eberron, you want that power someone else is using, Dragon 389, you'll need DDi, Oh and all that stuff, there's errata for all of that.

Or here's 4 books that are upto date, relatively errata free and easy to use, all you need is one.
But its not merely new players, why should old players be restricted? Push the new Encounters people towards Essentials+ but let the oldguard use their toys too

It just reinforces that essentials and 4e classic are different beasts in the same family.
As a role-player, I'm more interested in creating an interesting personna than having every crunch option available to me. Given that I can play a Fighter, Rogue, Ranger, Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Hexblade, Paladin, and whatever the latest book offers is enough for me to make a PC that fits my character idea.

Beyond promoting the new books, I think the Encounters program is reminding people that you can get a story out of D&D. If you go into it looking for a story and a chance to roleplay, I think you'll find it more satisfying. I'm cautiously optimistic that the hype for the upcoming season (more intrigue, more RP, more story) is true.  



And that interesting persona simply cannot be created with a Sorcerer, to the point where you're willing to prevent me from creating my interesting persona as a Sorcerer?

Or, worse, as a Battlerager or Brawler?  I mean, it's still a Fighter.  You've said it yourself that Fighter is good for interesting persona, why can't it be the grabbing specialist?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Promoting products is never second, it's always first and focused promotion works.

Also you don't need to promote that all the products work together. The players in a long term game which is where WotC hopes to shuffle off Essentials players do that for them. They need to focus on the evergreen stuff and the new stuff.

It's more confusing to a newbie to say, here's PHB1 don't forget the errata, and Martial Powers and the Tiefling pamphlet thing, Artificer oh that's in Eberron, you want that power someone else is using, Dragon 389, you'll need DDi, Oh and all that stuff, there's errata for all of that.

Or here's 4 books that are upto date, relatively errata free and easy to use, all you need is one.



Like I said, you can't sell books without players.

Okay take a look at the threads here and over at EnWorld and you will see a lot of new people asking about Essentials and Pre-E working together and what is the difference.

The problem is that when you look at Pre-E stuff from the beginning and all the way to current you don't have a continuous flow. It's fine until you get to the Essentials line and you start to scratch your head because it seems like the game has taken a turn in a different direction because it actually has. Some people try and explain it away like it's just more splatbooks but it's not.

Encounters "is" about getting in new people to play and while they are at their local FLGS they just happen to see the new product that Wizards has put out along with the new. Also, if the FLGS carries the older 4th edition stuff then I'm sure you will have new people asking about that.
The thing with Encounters is that its audience includes not only first-timers, but people who just don't have other gaming options.

Although these folks are in the audience, it is not the target audience. Captain America is rated PG. The producers did not make it for 6-year-olds, regardless of how many parents bring their 6-year-olds to see it.


  • Encounters was created to get new players into the game and to market the newest release. The producers (WotC) did not make it for experienced players who don't have other gaming options, regardless of how many of them may attend.

  • Similarly, Lair Assault was created to cater to experienced players. The producers (WotC) did not make it for new players, regardless of how many of them may attend.

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.

And that interesting persona simply cannot be created with a Sorcerer, to the point where you're willing to prevent me from creating my interesting persona as a Sorcerer?

 

As a matter of fact, yes. In my offtime from secretly ruling the world, I decided to have some fun and screw with RPGers. 

Or, worse, as a Battlerager or Brawler?  I mean, it's still a Fighter.  You've said it yourself that Fighter is good for interesting persona, why can't it be the grabbing specialist?



Can you describe a fighter whose interesting personna needs for him to grab people? Or an arcanist who has to be a Sorcerer and not a Warlock (Binder)?   

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

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