If You Have an Unlimited Budget ....

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If you had a (mostly) unlimited budget before you to run D&D Essentials (I assume 4e as well?), what would you buy to enhance the overall PC experience to the game? (miniatures? maps? 3D buildings.....)
minis, maps, the little print-and-build pdf set pieces.

Something for status conditions, a clear plastic grid to put over maps.

One of my friends took a piece of clear plastic, put it on his glass table and aimed a projector straight down from the ceiling for digital maps.  It worked quite well. 
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
A Microsoft PixelSense device.  "Tabletop" gaming with computer graphics!  (effectively a high end version of what Matyr is talking about).
If you had a (mostly) unlimited budget before you to run D&D Essentials (I assume 4e as well?), what would you buy to enhance the overall PC experience to the game? (miniatures? maps? 3D buildings.....)


4e is Essentials, Essentials is 4e...

But anways I would:



  • Download all the Unearthed Arcana Issues of Dungeon & Dragon magazine. If you ask I'm sure someone will give you the Issue numbers. (These add great rules from rules about strongholds, shipbuilding and fighting, henchmen and followers, gambling, 0th level characters, Alien Life, etc)

  • I would buy a real DM screen, not the flimsy piece of paper that comes with the DM kit.

  • Buy the Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale

  • Buy a Rules Compendium if you don't have one yet.

  • Buy The Monster Vault 

  • Buy the Monster Manual 3

  • Buy the Dungeon Masters Guide 2

  • Buy Players Handbooks 1, 2, and 3 (Only if you will allow PHB characters)

  • Buy the Adventurers Vault 1&2

  • Buy Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium 

  • Buy any Players Options Books

  • Buy little props (Little trinkets you can hand out to the players)

  • Buy some minis or tokens

  • Buy Map Tiles

  • Buy Erasable vinyl grid

  • And of course pick up some cool dice


But to be honest if your asking this to get products that will make you an instant good DM then you might as well not even play. Adding supplements and props can certainly add to your game, but when it comes down to it having real DM skills is what it takes.

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A Microsoft PixelSense device.  "Tabletop" gaming with computer graphics!  (effectively a high end version of what Matyr is talking about).

Gonna be honest, I would never want one of those...

Players getting caught up making shadow puppets and lookin at maps Undecided 

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

 

Felorn.... Since 4e is essentials and vice versa. Why would someone not allow characters out of the first 3 players handbooks....do they get more stuff?
As for what I would add. I would get all of the tiles sets and map packs
So here is the complete story .....

I am having an AWESOME time being the DM for the Red Box against by family (3 other members).

I am SO SHOCKED my wife has gotten into this game as well as she has.  She rolled her eyes when I mentioned getting D&D for the kids.  Now she very much into the game.  It's possible the DM had put her player children's PC in danger so she feels obligate to protect them!?!  

I am slowly learning the DM ropes and realize there is a lot to keep track off.  However, I have learned that if I keep the PC interested the game the the game is so FRICKEN cool.

Therefore, I presented the question.... how can I better the environment and experience for the PC.

Side note, we even began playing "D&D" style music "e.g. theme to Conan) and it adds a level of epicsness like no other.  

I am just looking for a way to enhance the overall experience without huring the TRUE experience given by the game.
Felorn.... Since 4e is essentials and vice versa. Why would someone not allow characters out of the first 3 players handbooks....do they get more stuff? As for what I would add. I would get all of the tiles sets and map packs


Because they play very differently. They run on the same system yes, but they feel and play very differently.

I have a feeling that question was meant to be taken as sarcasm though. 

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

 

So here is the complete story .....

I am having an AWESOME time being the DM for the Red Box against by family (3 other members).

I am SO SHOCKED my wife has gotten into this game as well as she has.  She rolled her eyes when I mentioned getting D&D for the kids.  Now she very much into the game.  It's possible the DM had put her player children's PC in danger so she feels obligate to protect them!?!  

I am slowly learning the DM ropes and realize there is a lot to keep track off.  However, I have learned that if I keep the PC interested the game the the game is so FRICKEN cool.

Therefore, I presented the question.... how can I better the environment and experience for the PC.

Side note, we even began playing "D&D" style music "e.g. theme to Conan) and it adds a level of epicsness like no other.  

I am just looking for a way to enhance the overall experience without huring the TRUE experience given by the game.


Well if your talking enhancing the out of game experience like you did with music then candles can work magic. For you to set a tone in the game it is best to set the tone in the room you are playing in. Perhaps in a dark dungeon hit the lights, light some candles, and play some ambients of water dripping and sounds echoing. That can add a new level to your game most certainly. Also like I said above get little props you can hand out, perhaps fake scrolls, wands, gold pieces, jewels, books, pictures, etc.

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

 

Funny that you mention that @Felorn.  Willow, the wife, is a wizard with an orb.  I gave her a contact juggling ball.... she SO got into that.  Then for the warrior I gave him a plastic sword I got from the bar (that holds the cherry in fru-fru drinks) and my daughter, the rogue, a broken sword from a fru-fru drink since she has daggers.  lol

Again, I know the game can be simply played with pencil and paper.  But I love the ability to enhance both in-game and outta-game experiences.

In other words, how do I visual enhance the game beyond storytelling as a DM in the minds eye.
You can make potions for people to drink with something simple + vials + food dye.  There are a couple "how to" youtube videos on this.

You can make your own scrolls and tattered letters to give to players.

Basically what you are looking for is props, and thats a little different from your first question.  There can be tons of crazy props to give your players.  I don't use them personally, so its hard for me to give examples.
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
Felorn. YUP. Lol
If you have a truly unlimited budget, google "custom D&D table" and get lost in the search results.  If you just have a realistic budget, buy more D&D books, maybe some minis.  Fancy dice are a lot of fun.  So are props.
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
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OK, here are some things you might look into:
More music. Need suggestions? Nox Arcana and Midnight Syndicate. A little creepy sometimes, but great. Just about any fantasy movie (inc Jerry Goldsmith's Lionheart--get the 2CD set if you can get it, Highlander 1-3 CD, Hercules and Xena CDs, Army of Darkness, yeah probably LotR, the Black Hole, Battle Beyond the Stars, anything else that tickles your fancy) and video games (Conan Hyborean Adventures has some great tracks). Sure, you might prune a few tracks here and there. And you can build custom playlists for travel, combat, and even specific themes. I creeped the hell out of the players with a custom horror music set during an updated 2nd Ed Ravenloft module.

Miniatures: Heroclix had some great ones. Get an x-acto knife, pry off the old bases, and glue them to 1" disks. All set. More minis is never bad. Look at a lot of different game companies--star Wars Yuzzm Vong make great Shadderkai (no, I can't spell). Maybe even introduce the kids to painting minis when they are old enough.
Battle-mats and wet-erase markers are a serious requirement.
You know those 1" disks I mentioned? get a bunch more. get 3/4" lable circles. print out conditions that frequently come up with your characters (zone, prone, ongoing 5/10/15, bloodied, immobilized, slowed, etc.)

Books: Get them all. Even the ones that suck. They can give you ideas on how to improve something, or create a good house-rule/player option. I'm contemplating making race splat-books based on the two that were actually released.

Want to help keep players engaged? Assign HP tracking (an condition chip tracking) to one of the players. Speeds up combat nicely. Can also give the players refresher notes between sessions. I used to type up session notes from my player's perspective after every session. Needless to say, my contributions were the most important (like failing 7 saves vs the same condition, or rolling four 1's in a row for attacks).
Also, you aren't the DM *against* anyone. You are the DM *for* them. It's a cooperative storytelling experience, and the game will be better for everyone with this in mind.

Has anyone mentioned Essentials and 4e are the same thing?

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

If you have a truly unlimited budget, google "custom D&D table" and get lost in the search results.  If you just have a realistic budget, buy more D&D books, maybe some minis.  Fancy dice are a lot of fun.  So are props.



On An unlimited budget, I would definitely include a custom table, but I wouldn't stop there.  I would want matching shelving displaying my awesome super budget gaming library and lots of cool mini's.  I would also go with some great fantasy artwork to dress up my gaming room.  (Might have to buy a bigger house just to have a "gaming room").  Maybe frame up some maps, like FR or Eberron, depending on what were playing in.


The point is, on unlimited budget, I wouldn't stop at library and accesories, or even the table.  I would go for the whole setup, a whole "lair".  Not exactly practical, but fun to think about. 


TjD

If I had a TRULY unlimited budget?  I'd pay some good technical writers and editors to fix the game, first.  Then I'd buy all the shiny toys.
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.
Miniatures can be cool. OTOH they can get expensive too of course. Still, having some for the PCs and maybe some of the more interesting monsters can be cool. You can also make things like buildings and walls and stuff. There's a lot of ways to do that, but I think the plaster molds are pretty cool. You just fill them up with something like dental plaster, let it set, and do some painting. You can make some pretty nice stuff, though it takes a while to build up a really good sized set. Not everyone wants to go to that much work though.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Felorn.... Since 4e is essentials and vice versa. Why would someone not allow characters out of the first 3 players handbooks....do they get more stuff?



I believe the number 1 reasons is sales. The D&D Encounters program is meant above all else to be an advertising wing of WotC. When Essentials hit the market, Encounters switched to Essentials-Only to make a push for players to buy the new suppliments, even though Essentials-Only is hugely limiting to the game.
Essentials doesn't directly support Rituals at all, though a character of an Essentials class can certainly take Ritual Caster feat or simply use Ritual Scrolls. And Essentials is somewhat incompatible with both feat-based and hybrid multiclassing (a Dragon article reduced this incompatability significantly, but has a bunch of wierdness too, partly from sloppy writing). 

Essentials characters are on-par with other characters overall, but they typically have reduced customizability and from that some of them have reduced top-end optimization potential.

(Also, strictly speaking, only Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms and Heroes of the Fallen Lands PCs are "Essentials" characters. The Essentials line of products is a set of products (including dice, etc.) that are sufficient to get from 0 to playing D&D without requiring any other outside materials (except I think paper and pen/pencil, and probably some furnature like a table and chairs).) 

IMO the only good reason to go Essentials Only (other than WotC's obvious desire to make money from customers who already had PHB 1-3) is to keep things a little simpler at character design time, especially if everyone is learning for the first time. Start with an Essentials only campaign, maybe levels 1-10 or something, and then go back and restart with everything allowed for the next campaign. Some people might still feel a Slayer is their class of choice, but some will want to play with some of the more customizable options.
Please, not the essentials argument again... I've read at least 4 threads that have been destroyed by it.
Let us not retread this yet again.
Please, not the essentials argument again... I've read at least 4 threads that have been destroyed by it.
Let us not retread this yet again.


+1 

It's a shame... A game with an already broken player base between editions should have a split player base within the edition. 

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

 

If i had unlimited budget, i would license 4th edition and the offline character builder and adventure tools, fund a small RPG company and hire small game designers team to develope on it (clean it up, math fix, add new stuff), and sell it on digital distribution, print on demand and support a offline character builder and monster builder, and provide premade macros and assets for free for virtual tabletops such as maptools to promote the game.

Yeah, i know that's not the question...i dont care! >8( 
what would you buy to enhance the overall PC experience to the game? (miniatures? maps? 3D buildings.....)

I effectively have an unlimited budget (10k miniatures and plenty of terrain). Were I to restart from scratch, I'd get:
- Every folding poster map I can find (flipmats, Fantastic locations, etc.). I don't use my Dungeon tiles or 3-D terrain anymore, as they are comparatively just too cumbersome.
- Instead of having a huge miniature collection, I'd just order the DDM pre-painted miniatures I needed one week before each adventure (from Auggies, Troll&Toad or MiniatureMarket)
- Pizza stands for flight bases
- Hair bands to mark conditions on miniatures
- Mini Counters
- Modeling clay
- LFR adventures
I've found that the rings from just under the cap of 2 liters works better than hair bands in most cases.  They are almost exactly 1in diameter and they don't droop or fall off minis.  Also they are basically pieces of trash under normal circumstances.
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
If i had unlimited budget, i would license 4th edition and the offline character builder and adventure tools, fund a small RPG company and hire small game designers team to develope on it (clean it up, math fix, add new stuff), and sell it on digital distribution, print on demand and support a offline character builder and monster builder, and provide premade macros and assets for free for virtual tabletops such as maptools to promote the game.

Yeah, i know that's not the question...i dont care! >8( 



While we're at it, get Chris Perkins to DM and DD, so he can run the game for us, then drive everyone home when they're wasted.

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

If i had unlimited budget, i would license 4th edition and the offline character builder and adventure tools, fund a small RPG company and hire small game designers team to develope on it (clean it up, math fix, add new stuff), and sell it on digital distribution, print on demand and support a offline character builder and monster builder, and provide premade macros and assets for free for virtual tabletops such as maptools to promote the game.

Yeah, i know that's not the question...i dont care! >8( 



While we're at it, get Chris Perkins to DM and DD, so he can run the game for us, then drive everyone home when they're wasted.




I will also hire professional actors and voice actors to RP the NPCs for him too, how do you like that?


I will also hire professional actors and voice actors to RP the NPCs for him too, how do you like that?



Or just have the connections to convince Judi Dench and Vin Diesel to come DM/play (both do, respectively, though I don't know about 4E).
Since 4e is essentials and vice versa. Why would someone not allow characters out of the first 3 players handbooks...



Ask them.  There may be a thematic/setting reason, or there may be a stupid reason.  There is no mechanical reason.

.do they get more stuff?



Nope.  Just different stuff, which is to be expected since they're from different books.  They're all compatible and they're all balanced and they're all *the same system*.
Confused about Stealth? Think "invisibility" means "take the mini off the board to make people guess?" You need to check out The Rules Of Hidden Club.
Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.
what would you buy to enhance the overall PC experience to the game? (miniatures? maps? 3D buildings.....)

I effectively have an unlimited budget (10k miniatures and plenty of terrain). Were I to restart from scratch, I'd get:
- Every folding poster map I can find (flipmats, Fantastic locations, etc.). I don't use my Dungeon tiles or 3-D terrain anymore, as they are comparatively just too cumbersome.
- Instead of having a huge miniature collection, I'd just order the DDM pre-painted miniatures I needed one week before each adventure (from Auggies, Troll&Toad or MiniatureMarket)
- Pizza stands for flight bases
- Hair bands to mark conditions on miniatures
- Mini Counters
- Modeling clay
- LFR adventures


You'd go for hair bands rather than, say, nice magnets to mark conditions?
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.
You'd go for hair bands rather than, say, nice magnets to mark conditions?

Absolutely. I've use those magnets before. I personally hate them in lots of different ways. I've experimented with 2-liter cap rings too, but they were too big (minis were hidden after just a few conditions) and cumbersome to store. ymmv.
You'd go for hair bands rather than, say, nice magnets to mark conditions?

Absolutely. I've use those magnets before. I personally hate them in lots of different ways. I've experimented with 2-liter cap rings too, but they were too big (minis were hidden after just a few conditions) and cumbersome to store. ymmv.



I have one of those huge novelty caribeeners that I clip to the outside of the bag which has all the colored conditions on it.  I never really ran into a problem with characters being overwhelmed with conditions, but that might be that I don't use as many as other DMs more than anything else.  Both are good options.
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
I never really ran into a problem with characters being overwhelmed with conditions

It's common in published adventures (LFR, Encounters, etc.). Example from my last session: several combatants were darkfired, bloodied, poisoned and marked at the same time. This was at 1st level, and it gets worse at higher levels.

I never really ran into a problem with characters being overwhelmed with conditions

It's common in published adventures (LFR, Encounters, etc.). Example from my last session: several combatants were darkfired, bloodied, poisoned and marked at the same time. This was at 1st level, and it gets worse at higher levels.




Ahh, that might be the issue.  At my table the bloodied, darkfired and marked would all three be different marking tools.
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