Is an essentials/4e mix newb friendly?

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Hi, Ive just begun roleplaying with a couple of my friends and we are all newbs. We decided we'd start off with the new Red Box from the essentials line and are now wondering what to move onto. I posted a previous thread asking that exact question, What should I buy next? And I got a lot of of very helpful answers, with the main one being that me and my friends should probably buy a mixture of the essentials line and 4e, but Im starting to wonder if this is feasible for new players who dont really understand many of the rules. Will the two editions mixed together still be easy to understand and play or do you have to have prior knowledge to play this way? And on a side note, will the 4e and essentials stuff make reference to other 4e or essentials books we may not have purchased , instead buying the other version? Any advice would be helpful.
I've been there (probably posted a very similar question) and found the answer a resounding "Yes"

4e and Essentials mix just fine.  
Essentials and 4e are not two different editions.  They are completely compatible sets of books and use all the same rules and can be used together in the same game.  Where any rulebooks might contradict each other, the newer Essentials books will take precedence because they are more up to date with errata and rules changes that came along later in the ongoing development process of 4e.

Essentials was developed later in the life of 4e to create a simplified entry point with fewer character options, simpler classes and less expensive rulebooks in order to attract new players, that's all. 

Lots of people will give you lots of advice about what to buy based on content and price, but I would tell you that since you started with the Red Box, you should continue along the Essentials line since it's cheaper and has plenty of good content.

People who are going to DM should get:

Rules Compendium
DM's Kit
Monster Vault
Both Heroes Of ... books
optionally, a DDi subscription for the Character Builder, Compendium, Monster Builder and other online tools

People who are not going to DM should get:

Rules Compendium
One or both Heroes Of ... books, depending on what race and class you want to be
optionally, a DDi subscription for the Character Builder and Compendium

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

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"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.”

And on a side note, will the 4e and essentials stuff make reference to other 4e or essentials books we may not have purchased , instead buying the other version? Any advice would be helpful.



Depends on the book. Heroes of Shadow has a new build for the Hexblade, first described in Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, and a new school for Mages, the rules for schools being found in Heroes of the Fallen Lands (and, since Mages get access to the abilities of other schools as they level, you will need HotFL as a reference once you get to fifth level).

Heroes of the Elemental Chaos has new Monk builds, which are useless if you don't have the PHB3. Any of the "Power" books will be useless if you don't have the PHB in which those classes first appeared. Primal Power isn't much use if you don't own the PHB2, Psionic Power is the same if you don't own PHB3. And so on.

I would say that DMs-to-be don't really need both "Heroes of the..." books, especially if they have a DDI subscription.

Likewise, if a player wants to use a race/class from one of the original three PHBs, they should work perfectly well alongside the Essentials versions. If someone prefers the warlord or monk (PHB classes not found in Essentials), or the PHB version of the fighter or paladin (who have flexible encounter and daily power options instead of pre-set abilities), or simply prefers the goliath or shardmind to the dwarf or elf, go ahead and use them.

There *are* some differences between Essentials and the original 4E rules, mainly around treasure distribution and magic item creation/use. I prefer the original model to the Essentials rolling/rarity method, but it's simple enough to switch between the two later on.

While many of the rules elements of the original DMG are either duplicated or obsoleted by the DM's Kit, I do feel that the non-mechanics content - it's mostly a manual about game/group dynamics, world building/presentation, and other practical "how to develop and run a game" material - is much better than what you get in the DM's Kit, and it might be worth having for that purpose.
I'm starting to wonder if this is feasible for new players who dont really understand many of the rules. Will the two editions mixed together still be easy to understand and play or do you have to have prior knowledge to play this way?


It could be confusing without context. Telling the players "These are the newer books with the more up-to-date rules; the older books are good for classes/PP/ED, feats & rituals, but defer to the newer books for almost everything else" should mitigate the confusion. Off-hand I know equpment could be puzzling, especially with the oddly written/presented "masterwork armor" in the original books.
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 ****.
Nothing is TOO confusing. If you are in doubt just play it the way that makes sense. Like everyone else says, all the stuff works together.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
If you decide to go with both PHB classes and Essentials classes, bear in mind that...

Several PHB feats are totally inferior to Essentials feats

Essentials martial classes are not built with the At-will/Encounter/Daily model, and require feat expenditure (from a Dragon magazine article) to swap out for PHB encounter powers (and even then can only do so to a limited extent)

Several rules changed from PHB/DMG/MM to Essentials & Monster Vault (e.g stealth, insubstantial, skill challenges, etc.)

PHB casters underwent heavy errata (most commonly in the form of "encounter powers deal half damage on a miss)
PHB casters underwent heavy errata (most commonly in the form of "encounter powers deal half damage on a miss)


Where was this???

--

Anyways, if you are using the online Character Builder, everyone will have access to all the possible feats and powers. Mixing classes from 4e and Essentials will be no problem.
We've been doing that quite a lot recently. Only problem is the insane number feats to sift threw, but other than that it works fine.
PHB casters underwent heavy errata (most commonly in the form of "encounter powers deal half damage on a miss)


Where was this???

--

Anyways, if you are using the online Character Builder, everyone will have access to all the possible feats and powers. Mixing classes from 4e and Essentials will be no problem.
We've been doing that quite a lot recently. Only problem is the insane number feats to sift threw, but other than that it works fine.

He's talking about the fact that in HotFL the Essentials Mage got new updated versions of quite a few Encounter spells with slightly increased miss effects. I don't have any idea what he means by "PHB1 Casters" because this was an E-class. The PHB1 Wizard (Arcanist) DOES benefit from the changes to these spells, since it is sharing the same power list. I don't know of ANY other PHB1 caster that gained anything along the same lines. The Warlock has managed to get a few powers, mostly from the HoS Binder, since Hexblades are pretty much only accessing a small fixed list of built-in powers. The PHB1 cleric gets a few new spells that cross over from the Warpriest, but the power level isn't anything particularly different from what they had before, and the Class Compendium actually HEAVILY nerfed PHB1 cleric builds. Paladins, the only other class that could be considered a caster in some sense, fared about as well as the Warlock, a few things can be cherry picked from the Cavalier but not a lot.

As for @aaronil's other points... There are a bunch of different feats in Essentials which are better than some of the pre-Essentials feats. They are clearly intended to be replacements though, and their main effect is to allow for some meaningful choices amongst the more 'mandatory' feats (IE Expertise and certain defense boosting feats). In some cases characters will still want to take some of the older feats though, like Versatile Expertise and Paragon Defenses.

Martial classes are of course different, they do have fewer choices, but that's not bad. There is really no reason you would WANT to trade out for other powers with the Knight, or Slayer for instance. The whole POINT is playing a character that just hits things. Thus the restricted options of these classes are not something to worry about, rather they are something to be happy about. The nice thing is, a Slayer and a PHB1 Fighter (Weaponmaster) will play similarly enough that nobody needs to worry about it.

I think its more fair to say that rules have EVOLVED since PHB1 rather than that they have changed a lot. The Stealth rule for instance as published in 2008 had issues, and was in fact given errata about 2 months in (those were reprinted along with some other updates in the back part of PHB2 as well as in the errata PDF). Likewise some other fairly minor things. The SC rules have received a whole raft of elaborations and clarifications since release, with DMG2 and the Rules Compendium (plus much errata) over time. Skills themselves and DCs in general have all seen some evolution, as has monster design, etc. The key point though is no new rule has invalidated any existing content, although in a few cases older things have become more or less useful than before (I think there are maybe 2-3 items total that are largely useless under current rules for instance).

Overall though the nice thing is 4e has kept pretty consistent in its approach, even while it evolved a bunch. A basic PHB1-only Warlock will work fine even in a group of characters pulled out of all different sources and using new material.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
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