Starting D&D4E!

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Alright, I am a complete noob. I've never played a tabletop roleplaying game, but I'm trying to get into the mix. I played out of town with a couple friends, who I rarely get to see....I'm trying to start a group with my friends who also, have never played. What im asking, is what would I need to start (books/dice/etc.), and should i use a premade campaign or should I make up my own.

Any other advice would be appreciated!
THANKS!
Alright, I am a complete noob. I've never played a tabletop roleplaying game, but I'm trying to get into the mix. I played out of town with a couple friends, who I rarely get to see....I'm trying to start a group with my friends who also, have never played. What im asking, is what would I need to start (books/dice/etc.), and should i use a premade campaign or should I make up my own.

Any other advice would be appreciated!
THANKS!


I was a 2e player, just started 4e very recently (it's been at least 10 years since I last played).  If you just start with a Player's Handbook, DM Guide and a pre-made adventure, you will probably do okay.  It would be ideal if you could find some people who have played before; that will really help the learning curve.
Major culture shock from what I'm used to, but I like it so far.
As long as you start out with good role-playing and at least some semblance of the rules, you can incorporate more and more until you're running a real game.  At first, just have fun and be fair.  The 'real' rules will come in time. 
I would highly recommend checking out Encounters if you have no exp with table top at all.  The main site can help you see if there is anywhere local that runs a game.  After that a DDI subscription, a Dungeon Master's Guide and some patience will do you fine.  If you wanted to look at adventures to download (with maps and a strong story and creatures already laid out for you) type in "Living Forgotten Realms" into google and go try out one of those.  They have basically everything you need for a good game in compact little modules ready for play.  Also, downloading the PDFs are free.
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Alright, I am a complete noob. I've never played a tabletop roleplaying game, but I'm trying to get into the mix. I played out of town with a couple friends, who I rarely get to see....I'm trying to start a group with my friends who also, have never played. What im asking, is what would I need to start (books/dice/etc.), and should i use a premade campaign or should I make up my own.

Any other advice would be appreciated!
THANKS!


I was a 2e player, just started 4e very recently (it's been at least 10 years since I last played).  If you just start with a Player's Handbook, DM Guide and a pre-made adventure, you will probably do okay.  It would be ideal if you could find some people who have played before; that will really help the learning curve.
Major culture shock from what I'm used to, but I like it so far.
As long as you start out with good role-playing and at least some semblance of the rules, you can incorporate more and more until you're running a real game.  At first, just have fun and be fair.  The 'real' rules will come in time. 



Actually to my experience, former edition veterans are the ones that struggle the most to learn to play 4th edition and it's rules...new people into the genre get into it rather fast...Thought maybe because the ones i know that started on 4e had more videogame experience like strategy turn based strategy games such as Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea and they mastered the game before the veterans could get used to the basic rules of it.
Thanks for all the info! I'm ordering what I need this friday! Excited to get started!
Alright, I am a complete noob. I've never played a tabletop roleplaying game, but I'm trying to get into the mix. I played out of town with a couple friends, who I rarely get to see....I'm trying to start a group with my friends who also, have never played. What im asking, is what would I need to start (books/dice/etc.), and should i use a premade campaign or should I make up my own.

Any other advice would be appreciated!
THANKS!




dekof, you could check out the quick start rules (free)

www.wizards.com/dnd/files/QuickStartRule...

also there is a free starter adventure

www.wizards.com/dnd/files/H1.pdf

character sheets

www.wizards.com/DnD/Tool.aspx?x=dnd/4new...

you will need dice and either a dry-erase battlemat or graph paper, unless you want to buy tiles

you could also check out the red box starter set

those are the dirt cheapest ways
THANKS frothsof, I will look into this as well!

The DMG has a decent first level adventure in the back of the book.  

I have never played the free adventure frostof linked to, but I haven't heard many good things about it.  Mainly that the difficulty level is out of whack.

All of the revised PHB1 classes and paragon paths are on the wotc website as free PDFs in the class compendium articles.  That won't get you races, feats, or equipment.
yeah, i was just trying to give him the freebie stuff so he could get in cheap.
Alright, I am a complete noob. I've never played a tabletop roleplaying game, but I'm trying to get into the mix. I played out of town with a couple friends, who I rarely get to see....I'm trying to start a group with my friends who also, have never played. What im asking, is what would I need to start (books/dice/etc.), and should i use a premade campaign or should I make up my own.

Any other advice would be appreciated!
THANKS!


I was a 2e player, just started 4e very recently (it's been at least 10 years since I last played).  If you just start with a Player's Handbook, DM Guide and a pre-made adventure, you will probably do okay.  It would be ideal if you could find some people who have played before; that will really help the learning curve.
Major culture shock from what I'm used to, but I like it so far.
As long as you start out with good role-playing and at least some semblance of the rules, you can incorporate more and more until you're running a real game.  At first, just have fun and be fair.  The 'real' rules will come in time. 



Actually to my experience, former edition veterans are the ones that struggle the most to learn to play 4th edition and it's rules...new people into the genre get into it rather fast...Thought maybe because the ones i know that started on 4e had more videogame experience like strategy turn based strategy games such as Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea and they mastered the game before the veterans could get used to the basic rules of it.



I think this may be the case.  That's what I seem to be picking up.  Learning is easier than unlearning then learning again.  Seems like first time players pick it right up and I'm over here like, "wait, non-weapon proficiencies are feats?  No, they're skills... wait...!?  Why isn't my AC negative?"
Make up your own campaign setting - it's one of the most rewarding aspects of DMing IMO.

Nobody has a clue which stuff you should buy to start D&D anymore - just randomly pick a few products that have interesting covers and hope for the best.  Any book that says it's essential, probably isn't. 
Make up your own campaign setting - it's one of the most rewarding aspects of DMing IMO.

Nobody has a clue which stuff you should buy to start D&D anymore - just randomly pick a few products that have interesting covers and hope for the best.  Any book that says it's essential, probably isn't. 


Thats horrible advice. He atleast needs the Core books or the Essentials. How would he run a game if he did what you said and came out with a Draconomicon, Adventurer's Vualt 2, and Open Grave? And maybe you don't have a clue on what to buy but so far pretty much everyon else has.

And back to the OP: You need atleast one book for CharGen (PHB 1, 2, or 3, or one of the Essentials, Heroes of Fallen Lands, or Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms), one Monster book (Monster Manual 1, 2, or 3, or even the Monster Vault), and a DMG of some form (The DMG 1, or the Essentials DM Kit). If you get the Essential player's books you will have to buy the Essentials DM Kit as the Essentials Players books don't have magic items in them unlike the PHB 1, 2, & 3.

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

Games I Play:

 

D&D 4e - D&D 3.0  - Pathfinder - AD&D 2e - Call of Cthulhu - Legend of the Five Rings - 13th Age - World of Darkness - PTU - D&D B/X

Heroes of Fallen Lands and Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms included some magic items.
Heroes of Fallen Lands and Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms included some magic items.


Yeah but they were your cookie cutter common ones. No wonderous items or anything very useful. And there were only about 5 (Give or take).

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

Games I Play:

 

D&D 4e - D&D 3.0  - Pathfinder - AD&D 2e - Call of Cthulhu - Legend of the Five Rings - 13th Age - World of Darkness - PTU - D&D B/X

Make up your own campaign setting - it's one of the most rewarding aspects of DMing IMO.

Nobody has a clue which stuff you should buy to start D&D anymore - just randomly pick a few products that have interesting covers and hope for the best.  Any book that says it's essential, probably isn't. 


Thats horrible advice. He atleast needs the Core books or the Essentials. How would he run a game if he did what you said and came out with a Draconomicon, Adventurer's Vualt 2, and Open Grave? And maybe you don't have a clue on what to buy but so far pretty much everyon else has.

And back to the OP: You need atleast one book for CharGen (PHB 1, 2, or 3, or one of the Essentials, Heroes of Fallen Lands, or Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms), one Monster book (Monster Manual 1, 2, or 3, or even the Monster Vault), and a DMG of some form (The DMG 1, or the Essentials DM Kit). If you get the Essential player's books you will have to buy the Essentials DM Kit as the Essentials Players books don't have magic items in them unlike the PHB 1, 2, & 3.



Technically if you are going the PHB route you need 1 and can add 2 and or 3 if you want. 2 and 3 don't explaine what all the words mean and how you use them to build a character.
The sea looks at the stabillity of the mountian and sighs. The mountian watches the freedom of the sea and cries.
Make up your own campaign setting - it's one of the most rewarding aspects of DMing IMO.

Nobody has a clue which stuff you should buy to start D&D anymore - just randomly pick a few products that have interesting covers and hope for the best.  Any book that says it's essential, probably isn't. 

That is bull. Lots of people know what to buy to start with. Of course, most of them have been playing a long time.

The DM needs:

* Dungeon Master's Guide (not 2) *or* Dungeon Master's Kit
* Monster Vault (not Monster Manual) *or* DDI subscription
* Adventurer's Vault (any) *or* Mordenkainen's Emporium *or* DDI subscription
* To be at least somewhat familiar with the players' material

The players need EITHER

(a) Player's Handbook (not 2 or 3) 
(b) Rules Compendium and either Heroes of the Fallen Kingdoms or Heroes of the Forgotten Lands

That's just to start out. Quite a few other books are good, but for just beginning they aren't really necessary and won't replace any of the books listed. 

And I would strongly recommend that players build their first character on paper, not using a Character Builder.

(What to buy next? For most people, and ignoring the longevity question, I would say a DDI subscription and the appropriate material for a published setting the group is playing in. *The group* needs, so everyone has a chance to read: PHB3 for the hybrid and psionic-power-point rules, DMG2 or Dark Sun for the Inherent Bonuses rules... that's all I can think of right now but I'm probably forgetting something.)
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Make up your own campaign setting - it's one of the most rewarding aspects of DMing IMO.

Nobody has a clue which stuff you should buy to start D&D anymore - just randomly pick a few products that have interesting covers and hope for the best.  Any book that says it's essential, probably isn't. 

That is bull. Lots of people know what to buy to start with. Of course, most of them have been playing a long time.




And yet everyone that posts in these threads recommends something different and often contradicts the other posters in the same thread.  You've proved the point admirably with your own post.  The 4e product line is a horrible mess and I feel for anyone that is new to the hobby and trying to figure out what they need to buy.  The responses to this type of thread are usually well-intentioned, but almost all contain flawed advice (yours included - you've left the DM without the core mechanics in some of the options that you've given).  At best it's pure luck as to whether they pick the best advice from a series of confusing and contradictory posts.

My original comment about picking random products was very much tongue in cheek; but it's not a million miles from reality. 
PH1, DMG, Monster Manual, sets of Dice, pencils, paper.
Battlemat and wet-erase markers are good.
Some miniatures are helpful, but you can loot your monopoly set for pieces if you need to.

I find it very helpful to assign keeping track of the monster's damage and conditions to one of the players. DM has enough to do.
Don't bother trying to memorize the player's powers. Let them worry about that.

Check eBay and Amazon for cheap used books.
My original comment about picking random products was very much tongue in cheek; but it's not a million miles from reality. 

Actually, it is.  And that makes it not useful, as opposed to most of the other suggestions, imperfect though they may be.  The truth is different people have different ideas on what is really needed to get started playing, and that's okay.  There isn't one path only to choose, and that's good.

My recommendation would be to pick either the "Core" track or the "Essentials" track to start.  Both tracks use the same 4e rules and both sets of materials can be used together in the same game, but for beginners I think it's easier just to pick one or the other until you get a feel for what's in the different books before you spend your money.  Essentials is mostly softcover, digest sized books which are more up to date and also simplified to the extent that it presents simpler character builds with fewer options for beginners (simpler doesn't necessarily mean less powerful).  The Core track is the first printing of 4e and is hardcover books that have somewhat more complex character builds.

For Players:
Core:  PHB1 and then, optionally, PHB2 and/or PHB3.
Essentials:  Heroes of the Forgotten Realms and/or Heroes of the Fallen Kingdoms

For DMs:
Core:  DMG1 and Monster Manual 1, then, optionally, DMG2 or MM2 or MM3
Essentials:  DM Kit and Monster Vault, then, optionally, other Monster Vaults (Nentir Vale, etc.)

For Everyone: 
Rules Compendium.  It's a must have, IMO, since it's "just the rules" and applies to either track.  Small sized book and very handy to have at the table.  Since it's the latest update of the rules, it has precidence if it contradicts another book, like PHB1.

Some people would recommend the Red Box set to get started, but I just tend to think that it's better to jump right into either the PHB1 or one of the Heroes Of ... books.  But if you want a REALLY simple intro to the game, you could also consider the Red Box.  In it, you play a solo adventure that helps you build a character as you go along and teaches you the basic mechanics of the game.  You also get a map, some counters and some dice to get you started.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Monster Vault is a fantastic deal, one of the best you'll ever get in D&D. It gives you a book with all of the core monsters in it (more than enough to run a campaign), tokens for every monster in the book (so much cheaper than minis and prettier than poker chips), a poster map and a full adventure module.

I recommend this as your monster book over Monster Manual 1. 
The problem of Monster Vault is the horrendous book design...ugh, and i believe it also have less monsters (and flavor text if you dig that kind of things) than MM1

They buffed up all the monsters from MM1...and that's it...it would be a nightmare at low levels for new players that doens't play essential classes (because from the math point of view, they start up better than standard classes), i can't see non essential groups of newbies be able to survive the level 1 solo white dragon on that book on a 4 player group...  They also have some mess up things...like having on a Essentials line book monsters that drop a mark on them...when essential defenders can't mark (MV: ToNV do have abilities that include both mark and defender aura)
The problem of Monster Vault is the horrendous book design...ugh, and i believe it also have less monsters (and flavor text if you dig that kind of things) than MM1

They buffed up all the monsters from MM1...and that's it...it would be a nightmare at low levels for new players that doens't play essential classes (because from the math point of view, they start up better than standard classes), i can't see non essential groups of newbies be able to survive the level 1 solo white dragon on that book on a 4 player group...  They also have some mess up things...like having on a Essentials line book monsters that drop a mark on them...when essential defenders can't mark (MV: ToNV do have abilities that include both mark and defender aura)

Just crossing out the parts that were either inaccurate or pure opinion.

Monster Vault has fewer monsters than MM1. Monster Vault monsters are buffed up in comparison to their MM1 counterparts. The latter is a good thing. The former is just a thing.

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 you're very new to the game, I would MOST HIGHLY suggest Monster Vault : Threats to the Nentir Vale


The only fault I find to it is that the counters are named on the bloodied side (very annoying, but not worth loosing sleep over.) Other than that, it is GREAT for starting out:


- it is very evocative of setting and story


- it is mostly lower level creatures (a good thing when starting)


- it is beautiful


- it has many good tie-ins with novels, adventures and other products; making it feel like there's a cohesive something out-there.


The Monster Vault is also a great idea as it is a very aboundant source of creatures, and offers quality counters (w/o the annoying as heck names!), maps and a pretty cool adventure (which takes place in the Nentir Vale - just saying...)

Everyone here is making this more complicated than it needs to be,

Buy the  4e red box set, and maybe a rules compendium while you're at it.

That's more than enough to get STARTED.  Afterwards all you really need is a DDI subscription and you'll have access to every race/class/feat/etc and monster in the game. Monster Vaults are optional, but recommended (for the tokens if nothing else).
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis

If you're very new to the game, I would MOST HIGHLY suggest Monster Vault : Threats to the Nentir Vale


The only fault I find to it is that the counters are named on the bloodied side (very annoying, but not worth loosing sleep over.) Other than that, it is GREAT for starting out:


- it is very evocative of setting and story


- it is mostly lower level creatures (a good thing when starting)


- it is beautiful


- it has many good tie-ins with novels, adventures and other products; making it feel like there's a cohesive something out-there.


The Monster Vault is also a great idea as it is a very aboundant source of creatures, and offers quality counters (w/o the annoying as heck names!), maps and a pretty cool adventure (which takes place in the Nentir Vale - just saying...)




MV:TttNV have some of the most awesome monsters i have seen...Rogue Mooncalf and Dragonborn Siege Tower being two of my favorite
If you're getting the impression that "what books do I need to play D&D" is a complicated question, that's because it is.   The reason is ironic: WotC got the idea that D&D had become "too complicated" in its presentation to the consumer, to /to simplify it/ they released a new series of products call Essentials, that were neither (or either or both) official replacements for nor supplements to core, but were an alternate core in parallel.  Or maybe not, there's very little agreement on what they are.

Pre-Essentials, to start playing D&D you needed:

- The Player's Handbook.  (not PH2 or PH3)

- The Dungeon Master's Guide.  (not DMG 2)

- A Monster Manual. (any of the three, though MM3 is probably the best)

Post-Essentials you need:

- One of the following: The PH1, or Heroes of the Fallen Land, or Heroes of the Forgotten Kindgom.  But /not/ PH2, PH3,  Heroes of Shadow, Heroes of the Feywild or Heroes of the Elemental Chaos - unless you also get one of the preceding three, or the Rules Compendium.   (You see, the basic rules of the game are set out in 4 different books, the PH1, HotFL, HotFK, and RC - three of which are labeled "Essential" so you buy the same rules 3 times if you 'just buy the Essentials!')  Now, isn't that much simpler!

and 

- Either the DMG 1 or the DM's Kit.  (Again, basic material is duplicated in both, and, also in the RC, though with slight differnces, like how magic items work.)

and

- A Monster Manual, 1, 2, or 3, or the Monster Vault.  The Monster Vault and MM1 include mostly the same monsters, but the MV versions are better.

OR

- The "Red Box" Starter Set, but it only covers levels 1 & 2.



 

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

 

 

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Yeah, just avoid MM1, it isn't terrible but MV is about 900x better. Even if I were only buying the 'classic' 4e PHB1/2/3, DMG1/2/3, I'd STILL buy MV instead of MM1. I might buy an MM2 at some point, and I'd definitely buy an MM3.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Well, this sort of helped me out....SORT OF. I'm actually conused... I'm clueless what to buy and I wish there was a simple answer. With all of these opinions and different books I'm pretty much where I started off at. Maybe this game isn't for me?

Thanks for all the Input though!
Well, this sort of helped me out....SORT OF. I'm actually conused... I'm clueless what to buy and I wish there was a simple answer. With all of these opinions and different books I'm pretty much where I started off at. Maybe this game isn't for me? Thanks for all the Input though!


Forget everyone else.  Their answers might be valid, they might not, but listen only to me, for this is the simple path.  Get the following items:

-Player's Handbook.  The first, not two or three.
-The Dungeon Master's Guide.  The first, not the second(the second is great for later, but leave it be for now)
-A Monster Manual.  I recommend Monster Manual Three(it has the bestest monsters), but one and two are also acceptable if you have to.


Get these things, and some dice, and work with them for awhile.  It'll all work out.  Later you'll have a better foundation of knowledge from which to make future purchases.  You can also feel free to PM me about any questions you have, mechanical or not.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
I will second everything Pashalik just said. Though also be sure to download the errata. Most PDF readers have a means of bookmarking pages, so it's not a huge hassle to double check things.

And now I've invalidated Pashalik's first paragraph, because to listen to him, you must now also listen to me, so you can't just listen to him. =D
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
Nope.  Forget the errata.  Errata is nice, it smooths out some rough edges on the game, but for new players, the complexity of adding it in far outweighs any benefit it provides.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
Forget everyone else.  Their answers might be valid, they might not, but listen only to me, for this is the simple path.  Get the following items:


  • Player's Handbook.  The first, not two or three.

  • The Dungeon Master's Guide.  The first, not the second(the second is great for later, but leave it be for now)

  • A Monster Manual.  I recommend Monster Manual Three(it has the bestest monsters), but one and two are also acceptable if you have to.


Get these things, and some dice, and work with them for awhile.  It'll all work out.  Later you'll have a better foundation of knowledge from which to make future purchases.  You can also feel free to PM me about any questions you have, mechanical or not.

Seconded. This is all you need if you are starting your own game.

If you will be joining someone else's instead, all you need is the Player's Handbook.

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.
Thirded. If for know other reason than this will work great for you (and after all that's what you're really after.) Don't let the rest confuse you--although they aren't wrong, they are all expressing opinion. Don't get overwhelmed. This is a great game and doesn't have to be complicated at all. Get the PHB, DMG, a MM and some dice. Your all set.
Nope.  Forget the errata.  Errata is nice, it smooths out some rough edges on the game, but for new players, the complexity of adding it in far outweighs any benefit it provides.



+1 to this. Errata is totally unnecessary for a new group just starting up. Most of the problems that errata addresses are either high level problems or things that arose from corner case builds that char op used to stretch the system to its limits (feycharger being a good example).

You can play the game just fine without the errata as long as you don't try exploit every loophole in the system.