What happened to Essentials?

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Hi all,

In my effort to teach my children D&D I unwrapped my Essential's collection (sitting shrink wrapped in my closest since... 2010?) and read through the Red Box, popped out all the monsters and started to read the adventures.  I must say this is a great line of products for people like me - introducing D&D to my kids.  And I guess it would work well introducing anyone to D&D.  It does something no D&D product has done before in my opinion (for context I started with the original Red Box in 81) and that is actually teach the player how to play and the DM how to DM in a clear and effective manner.  So kudos to the desingers.

I plan on playing the included adventures back-to-back as the first intro mini-campaign with my kids (9 and 7 year old) and my wife taking them from 0 level (effectively) to level 4.  My question is related to this.  It seems there were no other products published for this line.  No extra adventures for example.  Is this intentional?  Was it always meant to be a limited product line or did something else happen?  

I would have loved to have seen a blue box, green box etc.  Considering how good the re-imagined Red Box is.  On the module side I hazard to guess because you could use straight up 4e modules nothing else was published specifically for Essentials.

Finally, any recommendations on where I can go from the included intro adventures with my family if they take to it?  One of the attractions of Essentials for me (and one of the reasons I have waited so long to dive back in to D&D) is the time commitment as the DM.  It was just too high.  So want to stick with published adventures with minimal prep time for me as the DM.

Thanks in advance.

Essentials is 4e is Essentials.  All the material is intercompatible.  If you want minimal prep time and decent prewritten adventures, I suggest www.livingforgottenrealms.com
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
pretty much what we told ya on the other thread.  livingforgottenrealms has a ton of adventures.

You can also get a DDI account for 1 month (about $13) and download all the online adventures.  It takes a good bit more time to download them all initially, but its a ton of material.  It also gets you access to the character builder (which drastically reduces the time and energy required for making a character sheet). 
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Noted, and thanks.  Getting DDI now.
Seems I cant get DDI, keeps rejecting my paypal and CC.  No idea why.
For some reason too many people seem to have issues using Paypal for DDI.  Skip the middleman and just use your credit card directly if you can.

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Was it always meant to be a limited product line



Yes.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
WotC released 10 SKUs all at one time under the Essentials line and stated at that time they would all remain in print and no more would ever be added. It was intended to be a sort of easy to stock D&D so that a retailer could just get all 10 SKUs and that would be it, they'd have a 'complete' product.

It was a bit of an ill-considered move all-in-all, as the existence of the core PHB etc confuses people. The net result is that 4e is even harder to get into. Truthfully if Essentials had been the FIRST thing that WotC had put out for 4e, and then the PHBs etc were marketed as a more advanced follow-on product that built on that base then they would probably have been pretty successful. As it is they probably shouldn't have bothered and should have just made some more good 4e adventures instead.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
It was a bit of an ill-considered move all-in-all, as the existence of the core PHB etc confuses people. The net result is that 4e is even harder to get into. Truthfully if Essentials had been the FIRST thing that WotC had put out for 4e, and then the PHBs etc were marketed as a more advanced follow-on product that built on that base then they would probably have been pretty successful. As it is they probably shouldn't have bothered and should have just made some more good 4e adventures instead.


Or hired proof-readers and editors.
Or put out more racial splat-books so we'd have more than 2.
Or put more time into play-testing to overcome power-creep.
4e could have been so much more if it had been tested and worked with properly. I do hope a Paizo-like company picks up the core system and all the broken pieces and puts them to good use.

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

 

WotC released 10 SKUs all at one time under the Essentials line and stated at that time they would all remain in print and no more would ever be added.


     This is the sort of statement that is so obviously false it doesn't qualify as a lie.  If Essentials had been successful, there would have been large numbers of additional entries.  WOTC is a business, and not corcerned with the mystic number 10.  If #11 looked like it would sell well, it would have hit the stores no matter how much WOTC had said there would only be 10 entries.  Unfortunately it was a dud, and so any plans for additional volumes died.


Was it always meant to be a limited product line



Yes.



Not a fan of Salla's posts but here goes...

The lonely answer yes is a bit misleading.

The Essentials adventures are a limited line in adventures except that you can run Madness of Gardmore Abbey after the adventure in the Monster Vault- sorta.  It's goes from red box level 1; DM kit levels 2-3; Monster Vault 4th. There's a gap at 5th level. Then Madness at Gardmore Abbey 6-10. So- you'd have to either run a 5th level adventure made up by you or try Madness at 5th.  Madness is created in the Essentiaks mindset so it runs smoothly with Essentials.

Also- Essentials is evergreen for now. So is not a limited in that sense. Once D&D Next is released bye bye essentials. 

This is the sort of statement that is so obviously false it doesn't qualify as a lie.  If Essentials had been successful, there would have been large numbers of additional entries.


Well, it's true when you consider Essentials is the limited list of 'evergreen' products (Red Box, DM Kit, two player manuals, Monster Vault, Rules Compendium, three tile sets, and dice set). The splatbooks, adventures, and tile sets published afterwards were not technically part of that line. Not that it matters any longer, but I thought it was a decent - if ill-timed - plan for such an expansive game.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
The Essentials adventures are a limited line in adventures except that you can run Madness of Gardmore Abbey after the adventure in the Monster Vault- sorta.  It's goes from red box level 1; DM kit levels 2-3; Monster Vault 4th. There's a gap at 5th level. Then Madness at Gardmore Abbey 6-10. So- you'd have to either run a 5th level adventure made up by you or try Madness at 5th.  Madness is created in the Essentiaks mindset so it runs smoothly with Essentials.



I'm not sure that this last sentance makes any sense. It sounds like you are implying Essentials is different to 4E. It's not. The Madness... adventure works great for either a group of characters made with 4E Core rules, Essential rules, or a mix of both. 

Inside the front cover of Madness... there is a little box that says: 

This adventure refers to other DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ®
Roleplaying Game books, abbreviated as follows.
DMK: Dungeon Masters Book (in the Dungeon Master's Kit ™ boxed set)
FK: Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms 
FL: Heroes of the Fallen Lands ™
MV: Monster Vault ™


Which implies that the adventure belongs to the Essentials game. However I also note that part of the reward for Valthrune's quest is that the wizard will perform a ritual on the PCs behalf for free, implying some use of pre-Essentials books (eg PH1). Other than these two tiny (irrelevent) features (which aren't even consistent) there is no distinction between an 'Essentials' adventure and a 4E adventure. 

As Hunterian pointed out the Essentials adventures are:
??? Twisting Halls (Starter Set?) (Not sure about this one) (lvl 1)
Reavers of Harkenwold (DM's Kit) (lvls 2-4)
Cairn of the Winter King (Monster Vault) (lvl 4)
-gap-
Madness at Gardmore Abbey (lvls 6-8 & maybe 10)

This is the list I am going with the kids and wife.  Starting on Twisted Halls this weekend.

Level        Adventure                                    Source                        
Prequel      Solo Adventure (name?)                       Red Box Starter Set
1            Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens           Online Redemption Code
1            The Twisted Halls                            Red Box Starter Set
1            Kill the Messengers                          GenCon encounter        
2            Dungeon of the Ghost Tower                   Dungeon Issue 182
2            Sunderpeak Temple                            The Red Box Game Day Adventure
2(to 3)      Iron Circle (Reavers of Harkenwold)          DM Kit
3(to 4)      Die is Cast (Reavers of Harkenwold)          DM Kit
4            Cairn of the Winter King                     Monster Vault

Play it by ear after that if there is still any interest.
Is the Sunderpeak Temple adventure is available to download for free ?
This is the sort of statement that is so obviously false it doesn't qualify as a lie.  If Essentials had been successful, there would have been large numbers of additional entries.


Well, it's true when you consider Essentials is the limited list of 'evergreen' products (Red Box, DM Kit, two player manuals, Monster Vault, Rules Compendium, three tile sets, and dice set). The splatbooks, adventures, and tile sets published afterwards were not technically part of that line. Not that it matters any longer, but I thought it was a decent - if ill-timed - plan for such an expansive game.

That was the stated intention, just that it was a fixed 10 SKU product, compatible with 4e but stand-alone. The idea was that a book or toy store which would probably not have a person familiar with the product could put those 10 items on a stand, sell them, and keep it stocked. They'd have a complete line of a product that would be self-sufficient and because evergreen you'd never be stuck with overstock of some items and short others.

As for the "well, it is only capped at 10 SKUs because it failed", they said BEFORE they released ANY of Essentials it would never be added to. HoS, HotEC, and HotFW don't have the Essentials name on them and are obviously hardcovers, so clearly there's a bit of a distinction there. Obviously they might have continuted to release similar books if they'd wanted to, but they aren't evergreen and I'm sure if you had a reseller/distributor catalog they're listed as 4e SKUs, not Essentials ones.

Of course the whole "convenience of the book stores" kind of reasoning for Essentials WAS part of the problem. They were trying to solve a business problem more than trying to serve the customer bases needs. I can see why they did it, but it was still a mistake.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
The Essentials adventures are a limited line in adventures except that you can run Madness of Gardmore Abbey after the adventure in the Monster Vault- sorta.  It's goes from red box level 1; DM kit levels 2-3; Monster Vault 4th. There's a gap at 5th level. Then Madness at Gardmore Abbey 6-10. So- you'd have to either run a 5th level adventure made up by you or try Madness at 5th.  Madness is created in the Essentiaks mindset so it runs smoothly with Essentials.



I'm not sure that this last sentance makes any sense. It sounds like you are implying Essentials is different to 4E. It's not. The Madness... adventure works great for either a group of characters made with 4E Core rules, Essential rules, or a mix of both. 

Inside the front cover of Madness... there is a little box that says: 

This adventure refers to other DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ®
Roleplaying Game books, abbreviated as follows.
DMK: Dungeon Masters Book (in the Dungeon Master's Kit ™ boxed set)
FK: Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms 
FL: Heroes of the Fallen Lands ™
MV: Monster Vault ™


Which implies that the adventure belongs to the Essentials game. However I also note that part of the reward for Valthrune's quest is that the wizard will perform a ritual on the PCs behalf for free, implying some use of pre-Essentials books (eg PH1). Other than these two tiny (irrelevent) features (which aren't even consistent) there is no distinction between an 'Essentials' adventure and a 4E adventure. 

As Hunterian pointed out the Essentials adventures are:
??? Twisting Halls (Starter Set?) (Not sure about this one) (lvl 1)
Reavers of Harkenwold (DM's Kit) (lvls 2-4)
Cairn of the Winter King (Monster Vault) (lvl 4)
-gap-
Madness at Gardmore Abbey (lvls 6-8 & maybe 10)




yeah- I meant that Madness at Gardmore Abbey followed the design philosophy of Essentials. It's fully compatible with the core books but it works great as a lead off from the adventure of the Monster Vault (Cairn of the Winter Dude).

I think you were reading too much in what I was saying and injected an edition war meaning that simply wasn't there.

"window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />As for the "well, it is only capped at 10 SKUs because it failed", they said BEFORE they released ANY of Essentials it would never be added to. HoS, HotEC, and HotFW don't have the Essentials name on them and are obviously hardcovers, so clearly there's a bit of a distinction there. Obviously they might have continuted to release similar books if they'd wanted to, but they aren't evergreen and I'm sure if you had a reseller/distributor catalog they're listed as 4e SKUs, not Essentials ones.


     Such "promises" are made to be broken.  Say they sell 100,000 Essentials items.  Now what?  They can insist on keeping their word and maybe sell 10,000 a year thereafter, or they can add an additional item each year or so, sell 10,000 copies of the new item and 10,000 of the old ones.  The choice is obvious.  The only reason not to make the 11th item is that the first 10 sold poorly.
     We look at books and movies, and we see sequels of the successful stories no matter what promises or statements were made.  [The classic case was a romance novel where the second banana died in the story, but a number of readers really liked him and wanted him as the lead in the next book.  The author protested "But he's dead!  I killed him in the big scene."  The publisher answered "So?"  The next book started out   "While recovering from his grievious wounds..."]
     Statements that there will only be X items in a series are meaningless.
Going to use this thread to ask a general 4e question... is there no more encumberance in D&D?
Going to use this thread to ask a general 4e question... is there no more encumberance in D&D?


There is...somewhere in the rules.  But it's stupid, unless you'd rather play accountant than adventurer.

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

Going to use this thread to ask a general 4e question... is there no more encumberance in D&D?


There is...somewhere in the rules.  But it's stupid, unless you'd rather play accountant than adventurer.




It just occurred to me while reading up on the modernized magic items and I noticed the bag of holding but then I couldn’t find any weight/encumbrance info.




Going to use this thread to ask a general 4e question... is there no more encumberance in D&D?


There is...somewhere in the rules.  But it's stupid, unless you'd rather play accountant than adventurer.




It just occurred to me while reading up on the modernized magic items and I noticed the bag of holding but then I couldn’t find any weight/encumbrance info.






I'm pretty sure the PHB has some rules about encumbrance/max load(hehe), but as I said, it's just micromanaging dumb stuff, like counting arrows.  Unless your PCs want to cart around a bunch of lead-anvil-statues-in-safes for some reason, there's no need.  Even then, Endurance checks.

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

What it boils down to is that characters are allowed a certain weight limit. If they exceed it, their speed drops by 1 or they have to make endurance rolls.
Bag of Holding or Handy Haversack can solve this problem for non-strength based characters.

I'm pretty sure the PHB has some rules about encumbrance/max load(hehe), but as I said, it's just micromanaging dumb stuff, like counting arrows.  Unless your PCs want to cart around a bunch of lead-anvil-statues-in-safes for some reason, there's no need.  Even then, Endurance checks.



If you really want to use the rules ...

A PC's standard load is 10 pounds per point of Strength.  A PC's heavy load is 20 pounds per point of Strength.  A PC carrying more than his standard load is slowed (as the standard condition).

But again, unless the PCs are carrying their lucky cinderblocks along for the trip, it's best to just ignore it.  Too much work for too little benefit.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Player's Handbook, page 222.

Or Heroes of the Fallen Lands, page 336. 
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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