so me and a few mates are starting out D&D 4Ed with the red box (friend owns it) however im likely going to be the DM (and maybe have a character as he will DM sometimes) so what should i/we go for, the essentials range or the Core range?
i heard we can mix the books but could someone please varify that
That is almost asking for trouble on this board: people have very strong and conflicting opinions.
Yes, you can technically use Essentials and Core book classes side by side.
You can run in to some rule conflicts, but not many, and there are a lot of people here who can clarify.
Go for whichever has the classes/races that interest you. You can absolutely mix them no problem. Get a Rules Compendium for up-to-date rules. And if you're the DM: There is nothing wrong with Dragon material.
if you start with the red box, you might want to go into essentials next, simply bc your pcs will convert more easily. here is the conversion document for red box pcs
yes they're compatible, i think it's all pretty good imo, there's no wrong choice there- all the content is pretty good, the original PHB gives you more flexibility, essentials gives you clearer rules, and a more lenient learning curve
The Red Box classes are closer to (but oddly not identical to) the Essentials ones. OTOH there is less difference in most cases than people would like to make out. Get a Rules Compendium, get a Monster Vault, get a DMG1 or a DM's Kit, and if you want, get a PHB1, it has good stuff in it, so do the other PHBs, etc. Don't worry about it though. Buy books that interest you. It will all work together.
ive decided that will be going for the DM kit and monster Vault
in terms of player books (which i will get at some point, but not right now) you guys seem to be encouraging the original PHBs
Good idea. The monster vault is pretty much agreed upon to be the best monster book of the edition. The DM Kit is nice to have as well.
You may not want to get the essentials player options though. They have...balance issues.
They didn't. The essentials characters were just very streamlined classes added into the mix.
Most of the balancing issues in 4e are either non existant, not relevant, or handled by easy houserules (like imp defenses and expertise for free). The few that actually do need to have their wings clipped are errataed or very narrow (Revenants)
You can also find all the updated PHB1 classes in PDF form for free on WOTC's website with the class compendium articles. Here is the cleric for example.
You will either need a copy of heroes of the fallen lands or PHB1 to get things like stats for equipment, races, feats, and epic destinies. Heroes of the forgotten kingdom has that too, but fallen lands is a better book.
And essentials didn't fix the balance issues unfortunately. Most of the essentials classes and builds are roughly the same level of power as the PHB classes, but several of them are far behind the curve, especially once you hit higher levels.
while im still undecided on the player books (we might do both, some buy one book, and il get another)
but in terms of monsters and DM books, after i get the DM Kit and Monster Vault would i still need to buy the other books?
No. You might want to, some of them are great, but you don't actually need very many of the printed books to play.
Personally I think MV1 and MV2 are the best buys for DMs. The sheer number of tokens you get to represent your monsters is mind-boggling.
Dumbed Down or Streamlined character development? You decide.
Essentials: you get _____ to start and _____ when you level up.
PHB: Choose 1 of these 2 builds (other options in other books). choose 2 of these 4 at-wills (2 work better for each build, and more choices in further books). Choose 1 of these 3-5 encounter powers (2 work better for each build, and yes, more choices in further books). Choose 1 of these 4 daily powers (same note). that's first level. Which each level up, you have your choice of one of at least 4 options.
If making decisions is too hard, or you don't have time to look at them all and compare, play Essentials.
Sorry if that seems patronizing, insulting, or over-simplified, but believe it or not, I am trying to achieve clarity without (yet again) kickstarting the argument.
while obviously i would prefer no argument, i really dont minds having the differences spelled out for me, heck that was the first post which actually explained how they were different and i thank you for it
still undecided what i will get but im telling the players to buy those books, im not going to buy everything for them
One problem with the PH books is power creep. PH3 classes are balanced against each other, but not against previous PH characters. PH 2 characters are balanced against each other, but not PH1 classes.
And some classes just seem to be pointless.
Likewise, some builds in the _____ Power books are way stronger than the ones in the PH that introduced the class.
Maybe this is my own bias. Maybe I'm wrong. But this is what my experience has shown.
Here's even more spelling out for you. Here's how each set of books handles different parts of character creation and leveling up.
I like both styles, and have had fun with PHB characters and Essentials characters. A player who likes to have a lot of control over every part of how their character levels up will enjoy PHB. Players who want to just have something that works well without worrying about a lot of character creation decisions will probably like Essentials more.
Most of PH3 is psionics. Their powers run something like this.
You attack me: I get to damage you for attacking (or maybe you actually have to hit) me.
You attack someone else: I get to damage you for that.
You move: I get to damage you for that.
Oh, I can boost some of my powers. Now I have to keep track of what I've used and how that effects the powers.
Only played with two of those classes (battlemind was one of them). Might be being overly judgemental, or just plain snarky, but that's how I felt about it.
PH2: Wardens get to make saves at the beginning and end of their turns. So they might totally ignore any conditions your monsters inflict. There are certain feats that have the same effect, but they are limited to a couple of conditions (Superior will allows Beginning of Turn saves for Daze and Stun, but only Daze and Stun, requires a Wis or Cha of 15, and is a paragon feat). And they get to do funky things to terrain and mark everything adjacent to them, just because.
PH1: Fighter. Gets to attack when marked targets shift away from it, or if monster attacks anyone but him. Get's wisdom bonus to those attacks. Oppies stop movement. Only marks creatures it attacks.
Martial Power fighter builds include the 2 weapon fighter, which has at-wills that let it attack with both weapons, each one does full static bonus. (Even the Ranger, king of Damage Per Round, doesn't get full static when it hits twice).
PH2 Avenger: gets to roll twice per attack roll against 1 targetted creature every time it attacks--that's twice the chance to crit, and half the chance to roll a 1. Limitation: it can't be next to another enemy. Should be simple:surround it with minions. Problem: there are lots of powers that allow the Avenger to move, shift, or teleport, either himself or himself and the target, so that the Avenger can pretty much guarentee being allone with designated target. Oh, and it is easily possible to generate massively more static than any PH1 striker class.
PH1 cleric is still the king of healing, BUT, PH2 bard has way nastier side effects.
PH1 has the melee and the range/devoted clerics. Divine Power adds the Pacifist priest, who seldom does damage, but has such incredible healing that it is truly terrifying. (To give you an idea, there is a now-erratta's paragon power called Astral Flare, which was a Burst 7 (15x15)(now burst 3(7x7)) power that did damage and dazed monsters. It was an encounter breaker, esp vs Demons and Undead. Compared to what some of the Pacifist's powers are, it is nothing, even at burst7.
Again, I am biased by my experience. Maybe not everyone has run into the same thing. All I can say, for example, is that the Avenger in my group has consistently had a base static damage of at least 3 higher than the Ranger or Warlocks, and sometimes nearly double. To be fair, the Warlocks also sometimes get bonuses (bloodied, right spell/feat combo, PrimeShot/Prime Punisher, etc) that almost equal the Avenger's typical static. But of course, Warlocks don't get to roll twice with every single attack.
From lvl4 to lvl21, number of times the Avenger has not had the option of taking the best of the 2d20: 6. Four of those are when it oathed a Quickling who ran out of the room and out of the encounter.
I am not saying that these are bad character designs. I'm saying that they were not balanced with their predecessors.
(what is an Avenger or a Warden anyway? Give me a litterary example. The designers claimed the Avenger was based on Batman. Since when is Batman a Divine-powered character? Moon Knight (one of the many Marvel clones of Batman) might be arguably be Divine, but Batman?)
So enough of my demented rambling. Maybe you can find some clue in all that.
So, after sifting through that it just sounds like you are trying to compare incomparables and make sure it lines up with what you are talking about? I don't know I'm still a little confused.
I could really pick at a ton of what you have said, but I don't think it will do much good. What it sounds like is that you are trying really hard to make a comment about power creep (which, frankly, doesn't exist in the form you are trying to sell it in) make sense by adding in a bunch of really skewed information. That whole post seems directly counter-productive to helping new players get a grasp of what is going on and how everything is balanced.
A good example would be pacifist clerics which are pretty bad overall. Cool, but pretty unhelpful for the vast majority of cases.
Damage-wise, Pacifists suck. Except against minions.
Healing wise... They are amazing. And tons of Temporary Hitpoints.
Side effects of powers--frequently game breakers. Stun all monsters in the encounter for either 1 round or save ends. Make monsters vulnerable all damage (hit it, it takes extra damage. Giving ongoing damage: it takes extra damage. Set it up in a zone that does damage: it takes extra damage). Dismiss 1 monster until it saves (lets you pick on the other monsters or gives the party a chance to recover and set up for maximum damage when it returns.
My observation is that the strikers do more damage than existing ones with each new book.
The Defenders are less vulnerable with each new book or block more of the monster's effectiveness.
The Controllers... actually, no one in any of the parties plays a controller, so I can't comment.
The Leaders get more powerful healing, grant more temps, and have more damaging conditions as the books progress.
Feats get more and more... well, you get the idea.
Let's look at Martial Power 2. There's a paragon feat that allows you (if you are using a shield) to slow any creature you push, and an epic feat that allows you to daze any creature you slow. Since Tide of Iron is an at-will attack that pushes, at lvl21, a shield fighter has an at-will Daze. With a couple other feats, opportunity attacks push (and thus daze), and even miss attacks start to daze. AT WILL. These options did not exist with PH1.
What does any of this have to do with new players learing? Not much. But then the OP asked "Can you give an example of a set of classes that are like this? (example from PHB3 > PHB2 > PHB1)", so I'm trying (perhaps badly) to answer that.
ZezKai, here's the thing about balance. Everyone wants balance, or perhaps more accurately, everybody fears imbalance*. However, most people downright suck at actually judging what is balanced and what is not, especially with that fear in the mix. As a good rule of thumb, don't believe anything you hear about whether something is balanced or not until you can get a consensus on it from more than one or two people. And then, take it with a grain of salt.
That being said, just have your players buy what they think looks cool. 4e, essentials, it's all the same game, it'll all work together. The game isn't perfectly balanced, but as a group of new players, you're a long way from even being able to really tell, and it's just not something you need to worry about at this point in time.
*Blanket statement, exceptions, etc, etc.
I'd recommend both a PH1 and an Essentials 'Heroes' book. The PH1 has the ability score generation methods, multiclassing rules, and magic rituals, while the 'Heroes' books have updated rules and better feats. Eventually, you might want to look into picking up a book of expanded magic items, but otherwise you should be good.
This may seem obvious, but make sure you print out the errata for the books your group gets, whatever they may be. Have fun!
Except that Rangers actually MISS sometimes.
Avengers only miss if both of their d20s are too low--very rare.
YES, the original characters were very well balanced. Sadly, the future character classes were not, or were not balanced with respect to the PH1 core.
As mentioned before, the static damage the avengers do is way beyond anything I have seen any other striker (even rangers) able to deliver. Sure, it takes a combination of feats and the right magic items, but so does every other class.
And only when adjacent to their oath? as mentioned before, between lvl4 and lvl20, this has happened exactly 6 times. Avengers have numerous powers that allowe them to shift or teleport themselves and/or their oath so that they gain said advantage.
So, what you're trying to sell us on is the idea that rolling twice to hit once is better than rolling twice to hit twice?
Either way, you're getting 2 rolls. So whether you're hitting once or hitting twice, the odds of hitting at least once remain identical. So there is absolutely no "greater chance to miss entirely."
Ranger gets a benefit in that there's a chance of doing two hits, whereas Avenger only gets the one hit. Ranger also gets the potential hunter's quarry damage (Avenger doesn't get bonus damage unless the Avenger's Censure kicks in). Avenger also only gets the second roll if they're not adjacent to a target, and rarely gets to use it with ranged attacks (certain attacks, and a feat gives it to RBAs). Avenger does get to use 2-handed weapons, increasing damage (especially if they get a 2d6 weapon).
I've said this 4 times now:
Only when adjacent to their oath is NOT that big a restriction. As mentioned before, between lvl4 and lvl20, this has happened exactly 6 times. Avengers have numerous powers that allowe them to shift or teleport themselves and/or their oath so that they gain said advantage.
Quarry damage is nice, but random unless there's a crit involved.
LVL 20 static for the Avenger in our party is 18 minimum static damage. Under certain (admittedly limited) conditions, it can go up to 52. PER HIT. (normally, somewhere in between). Not counting weapon damage. Can your lvl20 ranger do that?
I could post the full details, but it seems like we are getting away from the OP question.
Well, I did run the numbers. Was rather amusing. But, as you said, is OT, so I'll sblock it....
Off-Topic. Warning, there's lots of numbers! Enter at your own peril! Show
I became curious about which was actually better, when maxing, at first level, barebones.
So here's the assumptions used:
(1) I went with a weighted "target number required" system, figuring that their single-attack accuracy would otherwise be essentially the same. So I have 21 "die result needed" rows, from Over-20 down to 1 (which is the same as 2, but since it does come up it's included), that only takes into account the result needed on the d20, not the modified number. I then calculated the Damage per Attack for each target number. After that, I made two different averages. One is a straight average, which assumes that each target number is equally likely. The other (which I consider the primary result) a bell-curve type average, which assumes that the middle number (11) is most likely to be used, and each step up or down is exponentially less likely; for simplicity's sake, I used the square of the step as they descended (so 11 was weighted 121 times; 10 and 12 were 100 times; 9 and 13 were 81 times; and so on).
(2) The Avenger's Wisdom is assumed to be 20, making the Static Damage bonus +5.
(3) The Avenger's Weapon is either a Heavy Flail or a Maul — 2-handed weapon which does 2d6 damage.
(4) There were two different types of weapons I took into account for the Ranger: a Brutal 2 weapon and a High Crit weapon, both which use 1d8 as the base.
(5) Rounded numbers to 2 decimals.
(6) I did not make any assumptions about feats. Increasing accuracy would shift the weights. There's an Avenger feat which significantly raises the average weapon damage, especially with a 2d6 weapon (Avenging Resolution, treats 1s and 2s on damage dice as 3s). So on and so forth. Not to mention Magic Weapons and Buffs and all sorts of other modifiers. So there's plenty of ways these numbers could be skewed; that's why I went barebones except for the weighting....
Note that at various points on the scale, each does more damage. When accuracy is very low, the Crit Ranger does better. The Avenger does better in the mid-range, and the Brutal Ranger does better when the targets are more easily hit.
I actually suspect that my weighting is centered a bit high — in other words, I think it's far more common to need to get a roll on a d20 in the single digits instead of the double digits.
Anyway, so it's really a matter of preference and feel. There's viability to both claims.
My last OT word on the matter Show
These are the factors for the Avenger in the party. no, I don't have the lvl1 stats, as it is not my character.
These are the static damage modifiers and how they break down.
+7 Wisdom Bonus
+4 Enhancement Bonus (Weapon)
+4 w/ melee attacks (Iron Armbands of Power – Item Bonus)
+3 w/ Heavy Blades (Githzerai Blade Master – Feat Bonus)
That's +18 so far as a base for every attack except a rebuke undead power, then it goes up from there (into the stratosphere!).
+7 w/ first hit on Oath each TURN (Painful Oath feat - but an Unnamed bonus)
+3 w/ Overwhelming Strike (Power Of Strength feat - also an unnamed)
+3 w/ Overwhelming Strike (Power Of Storms – also unnamed, but the damage is "Thunder")
+2 per “Wound” (Punishing Weapon) (Power Bonus - this goes up each time hits an enemy, but resets when attacking somebody else)
+4 w/ Soulforge Hammering (melee attacks only) (fire & radiant damage) (only applied if Soulforge Hammering is 'active', the turn it is first used and the following turn)
+7 IF Iron Mind is active (Iron Hands – unnamed bonus - activated as a free action and least until the end of next turn)
That's up to +26 more IF (that's a big if) a lot of conditions are aligned, and the +2 goes up by +2 more after each turn he hits with the Punishing Weapon - the highest reached so far was last week with +12 (had hit target on 7 different turns without hitting
+4 IF target is bloodied (w/ Gauntlets of Blood – unnamed)
+2 IF target is bloodied (from Arbiter of Justice – unnamed)
+2 IF target is bloodied (from Blood Thirst – unnamed)
That's +8 for just being bloodied.
+8 IF OoE target fled (Censure of Pursuit) (end of turn after it ran)
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />So, that comes from 3 magic items (weapon, hand & arm slots), 8 feats and a class feature (and a racial power that has been augmented by two of the aforementioned feats).
static max (not counting any extra +2 for each hit from the Punishing Weapon) is 58... but that is only if the following
1). Oath Of Enmity
2). I am using Overwhelming Strike (an At-Will)
3). I have Soulforge Hammering active (an encounter power)
4). I have activated "Iron Mind" (which is a Githzerai power that boosts defenses by +2 for one turn - it has been augmented by a feat called Iron Hands that adds WIS bonus to damage while Iron Mind is active)
5). The target must be bloodied
6). The target must have voluntarily moved away on its turn.
While all of those conditions are seldom met, they have all been met more often than the Avenger has not been able to isolate his oath...
Oh, by the way, Favored Soul paragon path, so he can fly too.
I'm sure you can find something even more disgustingly overpowered on the Char-opp boards.
Dammit, I knew I forgot something on that Ranger. I forgot to give him Iron Armbands.
And my last words on the OT.... Show
That's all fine and dandy, Whisper, but that doesn't prove anything. If anything, it disproves your point to a degree, because by your argument — that every newer book brought something stronger than the previous one, causing power creep — a Monk should be even more kick-arse than that, and a Slayer or Thief even moreso than that, and a Scout even moreso than that. You've shown that a very explicit build for a single class has one-upped... nothing, actually, because you never Char-Op'd anything for a Ranger that might be comparable. Pash has at least done that much, and apparently was having success at it too. You (or whoever it is who's character it is) have built the character up over an unknown quantity of time; we're throwing things out in a matter of minutes.
That said, your argument is fallacious anyway, at least as far as I'm concerned.
(1) Your example is nothing more than a single example, not the entire general issue, and (again) isn't against anything specific. Therefor, you're making a Hasty Generalization, if not an outright error in Composition.
(2) Your example, furthermore, is one that you've put up against nothing else specific, leaving it to other people to prove or disprove your position. The burden of proof should actually be upon you, by either proving that (a) you cannot, no matter how hard you try, build a Rogue or Ranger who isn't capable of matching your Avenger; or (b) building a Monk that easily beats your Avenger; or (c) even better, doing both (a) and (b). You claim that there's a Power Creep; therefore, you should be able to prove your statement by min-maxing the other classes just as much as you've done your Avenger.
(3) Finally, your argument doesn't really address why it might be the case, if it is (and I'm unable to say, as of yet, whether it is or isn't true). You seem to be implying that each new book cannot help but introduce power creep by being a new book. However, if you look over the history of 4e publications, they also have spent quite a bit of time actually addressing the issues which the original publication had in it — that would be the Math. The initial set of supplement books address the issue with superior weapons and armor. The 2nd set of Core books addressed the initial math issues with the introduction of Expertise feats and Inherent bonuses. The 3rd set added in superior implements, and also went so far as to re-calculate the math on the opposition side of things. These resolutions were all fairly sound, but introduced something else that people complained about even more than the broken math: feat taxes. This was addressed by the Essentials line: not only did Expertise feats "fix" the math, they also added something additional to the mix, making them more of a carrot than a stick. With the commonly house-ruled "Inherent Feat Bonus" in play, this results in there not being much if any tax at all; but that's neither here nor there. Besides, these thing all can be retroactively applied to the previous books as well. So if there's a "creep" — as opposed to a "fix" — then it floats all boats, not just the new fiberglass ones.
And giving classes different methods of using powers — either Psionics, or the Essentials non-AED stuff — doesn't equal Power Creep, either. I've never seen proven that the newer classes are explicitly, implicitly, or inherently better/stronger/faster than the old ones. They're simply "different." "Different" does not equal "Power Creep."
I don't think anyone else mentioned the option of subscribing to DDI.
Though the Character Builder is a bit clunky, it does give you access to just /everything/. So if someone wants a reasonably complex/interesting martial character, he can build a Warlord or a core Fighter ("weaponmaster"), if he wants a "simple one," with fewer powers & options to keep track of, he can play an Essentials Slayer or Knight. Or, conversely, if a player wants to play an archanist he can dive into a Mage or other Wizard, with oodles of options & complexity, or if he wants something relatively simple, could try an Elemental Sorcerer.
Both are good and works very well together! If I had to pick, I would maybe say the player books from esentials, monster vault(threats of the Nenthir Vale is great!), and the dmg`s from core, at least dmg2, that is maybe my favourite book I have owned from 4e or all the aditions I`ve played from 2nd and up! But this is only my personal opinion, I have enjoyed all the editions I`ve played.
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