Essentials Preview

Finally, some information about what the fuck Essentials is all about. Reception is about what I'd predicted: trolls are crawling out of their bridges, and forums are blazing with excitement, trepidation, and people clamoring that its the second coming of another goddamn Half-Edition (even though none of the actual rules are getting changed and its all backwards compatible).

For the rational, here are some facts.

First, there are going to be ten products that are intended to, "provide a more comprehensive approach to the game rules," adding new options and material without changing the existing rules. So, no, its not 4.5 Edition, and yes, you can still use all the content you have now. There's stuff for veterans and newbies, but from the looks of things its supposed to make it really easy for new players to get into the game (or people who stopped back into the game). Frankly, I kind of wish that they'd done this from the start. :-P

Second, the "heart" of the Essentials line are character classes. From what I've gathered, they are making the newer classes more inline with the structure of past editions, doling out class features at various levels instead of leaving it all to power selection. In the end what we're looking at is alternatives to existing classes: they're different, but not better or worse. Two new types of fighters, the slayer and knight, are briefly mentioned. One is a two-weapon fighter, while the other is a sword-and-board. The only way these differ from the fighter is that each will get class features that the fighter does not, though they can still take feats and powers that are fighter-only. I'm guessing that slayers and knights will lose out on stuff to keep them balanced with the fighter.

They do go into more detail on the warpriest, which is a cleric by another name. Most of the traits are the same, though they do get a +1 to Fort and Will instead of a +2 to Will. As for class features and powers, they start out with healing word but get powers depending on the domain they pick (in this case, Storm or Sun). Apparently your domain determines both at-will attacks in addition to your utility (?) and encounter power. I'd heard that dailies were going away, but they're on the list (levels 1, 5, and 9, par for the course). From a cursory glance it all looks mostly the same...have to wait and see how much domains affect your abilities, as well as what exclusive shit they get.

So, more shit, no new edition. Cool.


  1. >>more shit, no new edition

    Best way to describe it :D

  2. >> I'd heard that dailies were going away, but they're on the list

    Apparently, they will only be gone for certain classes - very likely, the martial ones.

    Also, although the new classes are a very compelling part of this Essentials business, I wouldn't underestimate the impact it will have on the DM'side. For one, the new monster book will revisit many classic monsters seen in the first monster manuals (such as kobolds and goblins, and hopefully chromatic dragons!), providing new versions following the new design philosophy - that could be huge!

    And then, of course, is the part where they offer tons of dungeon tiles and character tokens, which I can't wait to get my hands on, even if I don't know where I'll find the space to keep them...

  3. @Snarls: Yeppers. :-)

    @Perico: That wouldnt surprise me, since there are those out there that are unable to wrap their heads around martial attacks that only occur once per day. As for tokens and tiles...yeah...I gotta get me another set of bins... >___>

  4. And by adding these new class features we might see the addition of the Oriental Adventure and Al-Quadim classes (a samurai is a fighter with special class features; a sha'ir is a shaman with special class features, etc).

    I am still on the fence with whether I will purchase any/all of the Essentials line tho'.

  5. I wish they'd just killed Daily powers altogether, and also putting in a little table with the XP and features pretending that they're AD&D doesn't impress me...I don't see the point over having a unified table like the rest of 4e does. But I'll wait until more of this comes out.

  6. @Wyatt: That confused me too, and made me check the books to see if the XP totals still matched up. Its all still the same, and frankly having a single table detailing when you level up, when you increase ability scores, get feats, etc is much better than printing it again and AGAIN.
    On the subject of dailies, if they'd removed them entirely when 4E was launched I wouldn't have given two shits, but as they are I can work with them just fine.


Powered by Blogger.