This weekend I made my one D&D Essentials purchase, the Dungeon Tiles Master Set. I briefly considered buying the Rules Compendium, even had my FLGS pull a copy for me, but when I got there and I looked at it I put it back on the shelf and left the store with my tiles an a copy of the Orcs of Golarion.
Michael wrote his thoughts on the Red Box and the Essentials line here on the blog. I had not read the Disassociated Mechanics post until I found it on Michael’s post and I found it amazing someone had written so eloquently about one of the things that bother me about D&D 4th edition. Mind you this was not the only thing that made me quit the system, and I’ve said it before the system has many good things; it’s just not the system for me and my group.
I recently read The Escapist’s excellent interview with Mike Mearls and I have to applaud some of the things he’s been doing with the D&D 4th edition rule set. I don’t doubt he, like every other designer before him, truly loves the game and want to see it succeed and grow. I think the Red Box sounds like an excellent idea; a proper introduction to the game like the original Red Box was for me in the 80s. I also believe that the lower price points for many of these books eliminate a major hurdle for the younger generation as well as making them more affordable in these difficult economic times.
I had the Red Box on my hands a couple of weeks ago. I almost purchased it on impulse and nostalgia alone, but after thinking about it I realized I am not a new player, I don’t need to learn how to play D&D 4th edition, I already know how to play. This product is not for me, so I put it back. When I learned the Rules Compendium had arrived I figured I’d like to read it, get and idea of what had changed and see how they present the rules. After all, it was only $20 bucks!
Then when I looked at the book and saw it was just the rules (mind you this was clear from the start in all the promotions for the book, I just did not read up as I should have) and I would have to buy another book for the classes, Heroes of the Fallen Lands, pretty much spending $40 for a slightly modified version of a book I already own, and not even the whole of that book because not all the classes in the Player’s Handbook are in there I opted not to buy it. I realized that I had tried this system and moved on. I was just going to buy this because it was D&D, not because I really needed it.
At least the tile set I can use. So I put down the Rules Compendium, got the Pathfinder RPG orc book and a box of the Lords of Madness miniature set (which disappointed me to no end but that’ the subject for another post). If you like the Essentials books I am glad for you, enjoy! They are simply not for me.
If you are interested in a different take, make sure you read Youseph’s excellent review on the Red Box and watch the unboxing video, different strokes for different folks! What works for me may not work for you, variety IS the spice of life… Have a good day everybody.