Clarification for Newbie

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Let me start off my saying that I am new to the D&D tabletop RPG.  I've played many a PC (MMO)RPG games but decided I would like to actually learn and play the roots of these games.

With that said, I have spent several weeks trying to consume, translate and organize ALL of the information possible on D&D from a multitude of sources.  To this day I still feel like I continue to roll a  "1" on the 1d20 with no modifiers when trying to understand it all!!

Here are the items I do not fully understand.
Let me preface this with stating that we have the new Redbox 4e Essentials the kids and I started playing last night.

1) Do we need buy "Adventure Kits" of we want to continue playing with adventures, maps and new tokens?
1a.) If I don't have time to make my own adventures are DM and Monster guides needed?
2) In regards to PHB, do we need every version of that book when they come available?
3) Can we use ANY D&D book to play?
4) Do all books come with maps?
5) What are the different TYPES of books? (e.g. adventure, maps, monsters, guides ...) and what are they used for?
6) How do PC buy weapons and armor?
7) What do PC do with the gold and jewels they win?
8) Since we are using the 4e Starter Kit, should we only buy products labeled with "Essentials"?
9) Since I DM for the family, what kind of rewards can I give the PCs besides their XP?

I know that is a lot of questions that I am positive is answered in many places but would appreciate someone clarifying the details.

In short - I think the BIGGEST struggle is I have no clue on how stuff is organized (especially the books!!!!  See #5 above).  Thanks to all in advance!!!

1) Do we need buy "Adventure Kits" of we want to continue playing with adventures, maps and new tokens?
I wouldn't.  Either make your own or look at livingforgottenrealms or other free sites for maps/adventures.  The only one of this ilk I would highly recommend is either Monster Vault 1 or Monster Vault 2 as it gives you a large number of starting tokens.

1a.) If I don't have time to make my own adventures are DM and Monster guides needed?
Dm guide yes, monster guide is more subjective.  The MV1/MV2 come with books of monsters and you can pay for a DDI subscription to be able to search for any monster in the game.  Say you are building an encounter and you want a level 3 artillery you can just use the adventure tools to look through all the level 3 artilleries in the game and see if you find one you like.

2) In regards to PHB, do we need every version of that book when they come available?
No, you generally want the PHBs that correspond to whatever your players want to play, but it isn't really needed.  I would say pick up PHB1 and a DDI sub (seriously, really useful) and use the online builder to make characters.  It does a good job of walking you through the process (pick DnD home game).

3) Can we use ANY D&D book to play?
You want to stick to the same edition.  Don't try to put Monsters from 3.5 in a 4e game.  You can adapt those monsters to 4e, but it takes a bit of math and is, generally, not worth it.

4) Do all books come with maps?
No, only very few kits come with maps.  What I would recommend for maps is buying a set of wet-erase (not dry erase) markers and a chessex map.  They are easy to use, have a built in grid, can be taken anywhere and are very durable.

5) What are the different TYPES of books? (e.g. adventure, maps, monsters, guides ...) and what are they used for?
Players Handbooks, Dungeon Master Guides, Splatbooks, Class Power, Adventure Guides and Campaign books are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.  PHB, DMG and Adventure Guides are pretty self explanatory.  The ____ Power books are additional source books for different types of PCS (like Divine Power for Divine classes).  Splatbooks focus on one thing and go into great detail about it (The Dragonborn Handbook for instance).  Campaign books do the same thing as splatbooks but for a campaign rather than a race.  There are also the Dragon Magazine articles which can contain as little as a rare item or two, or as much as an entire class.  Again, DDI sub.

6) How do PC buy weapons and armor?
Up to the DM in game.  Some games have a magic Walmart on 2nd and Dragon street, some games have epic quests for +2 swords of McGuffin.  Its up to the DM.  Typically most magic items in my game are either found in the world, bought in major cities or crafted by the PCs.

7) What do PC do with the gold and jewels they win?
Buy stuff.  See 6.

8) Since we are using the 4e Starter Kit, should we only buy products labeled with "Essentials"?
No.  Buy whatever you want.  Essentials classes are very straightforward and have few options for customizing, but in the long run many people find them boring.  Again, DDI sub to get access to everything.

9) Since I DM for the family, what kind of rewards can I give the PCs besides their XP?
You will find a lot of people on here don't use EXP at all, myself included, but rather have the characters level up via storyline objectives.  I have my players make goals for themselves and they level based off of completion or progression towards those goals. As far as extra rewards are concerned you have a good number of options.  Magic items, boons, one-time use things.  I give my players reroll tokens for writing backgrounds, doing recaps of previous adventures and exceptional RP at table.  I also wrote and printed out a deck of cards called Player Reward Cards (which can be found by clicking on my avatar and looking in my photo album) to give the players when they do something especially funny or entertaining in character.

In short - I think the BIGGEST struggle is I have no clue on how stuff is organized (especially the books!!!!  See #5 above).  Thanks to all in advance!!!

I probably didn't get everything you needed in the first go around, but feel free to keep asking.  We are all here for the love of the game mostly .
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
1) Do we need buy "Adventure Kits" of we want to continue playing with adventures, maps and new tokens?
1a.) If I don't have time to make my own adventures are DM and Monster guides needed?


If you don't have time to make your own adventures, yes, you'll need to get them elsewhere.  Many adventures are available online for free, but don't expect to be getting tokens like you have in the red box with everything.
2) In regards to PHB, do we need every version of that book when they come available?

No.  You might want them, but you do not need them.
3) Can we use ANY D&D book to play?

Yes, but be aware that there are multiple editions of D&D, most of which are mechanically different games, so if you end up with something from a different edition, you'd have to convert it, which is probably a bit beyond your level of experience right now(but it can be fun, later). 
4) Do all books come with maps?

Not even close.
5) What are the different TYPES of books? (e.g. adventure, maps, monsters, guides ...) and what are they used for?


Note that none of these are official categories, they're just my explanations.

-Player books detail new player options.  Things like new classes, new races, new abilties for old classes, that sort of thing.  They're good for expanding your options.  Examples include the player's handbooks, Martial Power and Heroes of the Feywild. 

-DM guides help the DM run the game, partially with rules, but mostly with advice.  Examples include the Dungeon Master's Guide, the Dungeon Master's Guide 2, and the DM Kit.  I'd recommend picking up the Dungeon Master's Guide.  It has a lot of good advice.

-Adventure books(often called modules) contain pre-made adventures that you can run with relatively little prep time.  They'll tend to say straight up what levels they're intended for and what setting they're using.  Examples include The Slaying Stone, Keep on the Borderlands, and the little adventure in your Red Box.

-Monster books contain pre-made monsters the DM can toss into his games.  Examples include the Monster Manual Series and the Monster Vault.

-Item books contain pre-made items(mostly magic items) that you can put into the camapign.  Examples include the Adventurer's Vault.

- DM books help the DM to run specific elements within a campaign.  For example, the book Open Grave is all about Undead and is a good resource for DMs looking to make heavy of Undead in their games.  

- Campaign Settings detail specific pre-made worlds that you can run your games in, if you like.  Examples include Dark Sun and Eberron.


6) How do PC buy weapons and armor?

At a shop, usually, or from a craftsman.  There's no hard rules on this.  It's on the DM to make such craftsmen/shops available and to roleplay out the interaction, though the books do list suggested prices.
7) What do PC do with the gold and jewels they win?


Whatever they want.  Buy things, eat the coins, build a tower, buy everyone in town a drink.  Remember that you aren't in a video game anymore.  In a video game, all the content and all the possible actions are premade for you, and you are just interacting with it.  In D&D, the rules are there to help you out and handle conflict resolution, but the bulk of content and possible actions are up to the players and the DM.  If you want to spend a whole night in the tavern, buying ales and talking to random people, do it.  If you want to go order 50 pairs of silk pants from the local tailor, do it.

8) Since we are using the 4e Starter Kit, should we only buy products labeled with "Essentials"?

Your books are also compatible with the rest of 4e.  If you're shopping in a hobby store, the clerks should know enough to answer basic questions.  If you're shopping on amazon or borders, you can always come ask us here.

9) Since I DM for the family, what kind of rewards can I give the PCs besides their XP?

Once you start to get everyone making characters with backstories and goals, and playing in a game with a continuing story, you'll start to have a lot of answers to this on your own.

Also, candy.

I know that is a lot of questions that I am positive is answered in many places but would appreciate someone clarifying the details.

In short - I think the BIGGEST struggle is I have no clue on how stuff is organized (especially the books!!!!  See #5 above).  Thanks to all in advance!!!

No problem, welcome to the hobby.

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.
If you want to move on I would purchase:


  • Either Heroes of the Fallen Lands or Heroes of the Forgoten kingdom, or both.  These are the guides with player options in them.

  • Also you should pick up the Monster Vault and the DM's Kit.  They will give you most everything you need to run the game including some good advice for beginners from the DM Kit.  They also have premade adventures included that can take your characters from level 2 to level 5

  • You also might want to purchase the Rules Compendium.  It is just a book with all the hard rules in it.  Its a great book to have at the table.



Aside from that pencils, dice and one of those big eisles of graph paper (for Maps) are just about all you need.
Thanks to all for the feedback.  I did, indeed, buy the Monster Vault and DMs Kit when I got the Redbox. (Just didn't know for sure at that time)

FWIW, I think most of my question are generated from running the Red box but "being aware" of how the normal game is played.  To my fault, I should have simply stuck with the Redbox THEN researched how the game is normally played.  But alas, I may not have been interested in D&D if I hadn't done my research.  The Paradox of the Red Box!


Thanks again to all.  DYING For the family to get home tonight!
 
Well what can I say that hasn't already been said here? Nothing really... 

But I can still say welcome to the hobby. And though things may seem hard at firsr you'll get the hang of things rather quickly.  Always remember that if you don't like something in the rules change it, that is key to having the most fun with the game.

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

 

Thanks to all for the feedback.  I did, indeed, buy the Monster Vault and DMs Kit when I got the Redbox. (Just didn't know for sure at that time)

FWIW, I think most of my question are generated from running the Red box but "being aware" of how the normal game is played.  To my fault, I should have simply stuck with the Redbox THEN researched how the game is normally played.  But alas, I may not have been interested in D&D if I hadn't done my research.  The Paradox of the Red Box!


Thanks again to all.  DYING For the family to get home tonight!
 

Not to go all stalkerish, but tell us a bit about your family dynamic. Who will be playing? What ages?
The Party:
Son: 13y - Fighter
Daughter: 15y - Rogue
Wife: (would KILL me)  - Wizard
Self: Wife-2y  DM
(2) family pets (for minions and/or mounts)
All family members except the wife have played many (MMO)RPGs on PC.

The Background:
Being a mostly-responsible father I decided to look for a way to get the kids and myself off the laptops, smartphones, and game consoles by trying a social, non-electronic, family event.  Through the magic of Google I was reminded about D&D and that it was born as a tabletop game.  

First Encounter:
Last night we did the first event in the Red Box and the fighter and rogue loved it.  The wizard was fast asleep at the inn and missed the party as it ventured over the horizon to find the lockbox.

Current Status:
Funny thing!  Kids got home about an hour ago, did their chores, finished up their homework and are ready to play.  
 
 
The Party:
Son: 13y - Fighter
Daughter: 15y - Rogue
Wife: (would KILL me)  - Wizard
Self: Wife-2y  DM
(2) family pets (for minions and/or mounts)
All family members except the wife have played many (MMO)RPGs on PC.

The Background:
Being a mostly-responsible father I decided to look for a way to get the kids and myself off the laptops, smartphones, and game consoles by trying a social, non-electronic, family event.  Through the magic of Google I was reminded about D&D and that it was born as a tabletop game.  

First Encounter:
Last night we did the first event in the Red Box and the fighter and rogue loved it.  The wizard was fast asleep at the inn and missed the party as it ventured over the horizon to find the lockbox.

Current Status:
Funny thing!  Kids got home about an hour ago, did their chores, finished up their homework and are ready to play.  
 
 

Yeah, that sounds cool Kids will eat it up. They're still young enough that they'll have fun with a family activity. Sounds like you are pretty much all set, at least for a few months! By then you can either make up some adventures or buy some more/get them online. The RPGA adventures actually are mostly pretty good and they fit together to a certain extent. Gardmor Abbey is also really good and uses the Nentir Vale that the other intro adventures are set in too. I think it is a bit higher level than the last of the Essentials adventures though, so you might need a bit of something to fill in (Monster Vault: Threats to Nentir Vale has some good plot hooks and ideas).
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I'm a bit jealous that your kids are ready to play. Mine are 2 and 4, so hopefully in a couple of years we get some basic adventures underway.
One of the best natural roleplayers I ever met was a 12yr old girl.  So good luck and have fun.  If you run into any issues let us know.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Most of the PHB1 stuff is available on the WotC site as the Class Compendium, I believe. 

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

Let me start off my saying that I am new to the D&D tabletop RPG.  I've played many a PC (MMO)RPG games but decided I would like to actually learn and play the roots of these games.

Here are the items I do not fully understand.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />1) Do we need buy "Adventure Kits" of we want to continue playing with adventures, maps and new tokens?
1a.) If I don't have time to make my own adventures are DM and Monster guides needed?


     DM & monster books are intended to make better adventures, not faster.  They will help with speed too, but you want to get adventure modules for speed.  They are pretty much ready to go right out of the box. 
     You can buy them if you want.  [Get the right level.  Few like getting smashed, and smashing too easy get boring.]  However RPGA and Living Forgotten Realms have batches of modules you can download.  {There are those who insist these are low quality, but that's disputable and the low cost & time to prepare are.}


6) How do PC buy weapons and armor?


     Just do it automatically when they got the coin.  Epic campigns to get something don't work when you are getting something every level.  Save those campaigns for the MacGuffens they will use only once.


7) What do PC do with the gold and jewels they win?


    The standard answer is buy better weapons, armor, and other tools.  Building castles is all very nice, but that +2 sword is actually useful.  Maybe your family actually wants to build a pyramid, and that's fine, but most players will want the "real" game advantage.


9) Since I DM for the family, what kind of rewards can I give the PCs besides their XP?


      You should be able to guess that better than we can, but as said, stuff that will give them game advantage is most likely to work.  [Note that you immediately "take it away" by giving then tougher monsters to keep the challenge the same.]