New players 3-man party, Essentials only

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I've been asked to DM on a low-level adventure to a group of 3, all of them new players, both to D&D as to RPGs in general. I've thought it could be a good idea to limit the material to only the Essentials handbooks, both to not burden them but a zillion options from the get go and for me to check if, really, essentials are designed with the new-player-friendly approach.

I've read about the threads on the optimal 3-man party, the "LSD" and such. They're only 3, essentials-only. AND one of them is a elf lover, a big time Tolkien fan and both she and the SO are dog people, so having an elf or a Sentinel Spring druid, or both, are pretty much a given.

With this, I was thinking this party, which I found very cohesive also:

Half-elf Sentinel Spring Druid
Elf Scout / Elf Hunter (depending on player's choice - melee or ranged)
Human Berserker


So what do you think?
Essentials is advertized as a simplified version of 4E.  Basically take away options and streamline the classes into pre-made packages that are easier for people to handle.  

I personally don't find them interesting and I've always made it a point to throw players into the deep end and help them from that point.  I give them the character builder, links to the handbooks and if they want I help them make their first character.  Then I let them discover at their own pace as much or as little as they want while being there to help them if needed.  It's worked well for me so far.  I would never personally recommend to a DM to limit players to Essentials only content because I would feel that would be a disservice to the players and the edition.

However with that said the classes you've picked should work fine together.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

If you're DMing, you'll need to remember a few things:

3 person party means 2 less than expected.  Keep this in mind for encounters.

No one has Charisma based skills covered, which could make any sort of skill challenge involving those... interesting.

Sentinels are awful.  Like, really, really bad.  Just give that player the Fey Beast Tamer theme and everyone will be a lot happier.

Bargle wrote:
This is CharOp. We not only assume block-of-tofu monsters, but also block-of-tofu DMs.
 

Zelink wrote:
You're already refluffing, why not refluff to something that doesn't suck?
@Noctaem: There's an additional problem, and that's they do not speak english So I just can't let the shuffle through the handbooks or peruse the CBuilder... Also, I'm thinking on using the "inherent bonuses" rule to relieveing me of the burden of finding magic items.

@TheMalteseFalchion: (cool name, btw) Are you sure the sentinel is so bad? Are you referring by itself or compared to another druid/leader chars? 'cause we had one on a gam lvl 1 through 9 and it was a blast. The rogue LOVED the wolf with the fire of a thousand suns. And the Genasi Blaster Mage could get CA also, which is not so easy to get for ranged and Area attacks.
If not a Sentinel, the other leader would be a Warpriest (don't think anyone would consider making a skald) To which deity, do you think? Sun for heals?

and, speaking on sub-par, I was more worried about the Berserker, fearing in the end he would not defend enough nor strike enough...


Thank you!
The sentinel works ok for the first few levels, but then quickly becomes very lackluster because of truly gawdawful powers (compare dual strike with proper leader encounter powers and sentinel dailies to propoer leader dailies and you will see hwta I mean). There is also very little feats/paragon paths etc to redeem the class.  

The party should be fine since it's low level. If the campaign goes on for any length of time, I'd recommend giving them the option of trying other classes as they become more familiar with the game.

Regarding the Berserker, I will say that the one new player I've seen with it was pretty disappointed that he had to choose between defending and using the powers that seemed the most fun, which would end his aura. Basically, someone chooses Berserker because they want to go berserk, so having to hold back a while for the sake of the party can be frustrating.
If you want a simple yet nice defender at low levels you can go with a standard Knight build.
The sentinal works fine for low lvl but I recommend at the very least multi classing cleric (maybe as a free feat ) since the cleric and sentinel minor action heals are the same power. While here is some debate on this I've always ruled the sentenal heal power qualifies for cleric feat support if you take the mutliclass feat or hybrid cleric.
 
The party should be fine since it's low level. If the campaign goes on for any length of time, I'd recommend giving them the option of trying other classes as they become more familiar with the game.

Regarding the Berserker, I will say that the one new player I've seen with it was pretty disappointed that he had to choose between defending and using the powers that seemed the most fun, which would end his aura. Basically, someone chooses Berserker because they want to go berserk, so having to hold back a while for the sake of the party can be frustrating.


Berserkers hit a sweet spot around 7th, when they've had a chance to pick up Curtain of Steel - between that and Battle Awareness, it really does make it difficult for the DM to choose what to do - as long as they don't have teleportation or move-without-provoking.  Picking up Rain of Blows with an MC power-swap is a good idea, incidentally.
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.
TBH, if you're aiming for simple then the Sentinel is also a poor choice due to the added hassle of dealing with the pet.

A bard is probably a better fit to the other two, but a cleric would work too. I'd lean toward an aggressive domain like Storm though.

Berserkers hit a sweet spot around 7th, when they've had a chance to pick up Curtain of Steel - between that and Battle Awareness, it really does make it difficult for the DM to choose what to do - as long as they don't have teleportation or move-without-provoking.  Picking up Rain of Blows with an MC power-swap is a good idea, incidentally.



Curtain of Steel turns off the defender aura for the rest of the encounter, which stinks.
You use it towards the end of round 2.  You have battle awareness for round 3.  You make it very difficult for the DM to decide what to do.

You just have to plan your tactics carefully.  It's not as straightforward (or as effective) as a regular defender, but it is good fun.
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.
@Noctaem: There's an additional problem, and that's they do not speak english So I just can't let the shuffle through the handbooks or peruse the CBuilder... Also, I'm thinking on using the "inherent bonuses" rule to relieveing me of the burden of finding magic items.



As a note- it's not really intended to relieve the burden of finding magic items- it's intended to not need to keep track of a zillion +s and whether they've gotten a new neck/armor/weapon this tier.  Random other items, and specific enchantments, are perfectly rasonable in a system of inherent bonuses.
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