Essential classes & Mystara

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Essential classes & Mystara

Postby agathokles » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:51 pm

The four base (sub)classes of the Essential line have been previewed in these weeks on Wizards' site.
It is interesting that these classes tend to restore, at least from a presentation point of view, some of the traditional characteristics of D&D classes -- Fighters (Knights here) wear the heaviest armor and don't have daily powers, Thieves are called Thieves rather than Rogues and can backstab opponents, and Mages memorize most of their powers (moreover, they also have school-based rather than implement-based specializations).
This goes a long way towards bridging the gap between Mystara and 4e, IMO, and Essential classes might be the default classes to use in 4e Mystaran campaigns.

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Re: Essential classes & Mystara

Postby JohnBiles » Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:42 pm

agathokles wrote:The four base (sub)classes of the Essential line have been previewed in these weeks on Wizards' site.
It is interesting that these classes tend to restore, at least from a presentation point of view, some of the traditional characteristics of D&D classes -- Fighters (Knights here) wear the heaviest armor and don't have daily powers, Thieves are called Thieves rather than Rogues and can backstab opponents, and Mages memorize most of their powers (moreover, they also have school-based rather than implement-based specializations).
This goes a long way towards bridging the gap between Mystara and 4e, IMO, and Essential classes might be the default classes to use in 4e Mystaran campaigns.

GP


YEah, I'll have to see the final writeup but that does make sense.
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Re: Essential classes & Mystara

Postby agathokles » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:13 pm

More news: as expected, PHB1/2 races will have stat bonus choices like those of PHB3. For Dwarves, it will be a Str/Wis choice, so the Dwarf is back to his natural Fighter role, though still an excellent choice for Clerics. For Elves, it's announced they'll excel as wizards, meaning likely that they will have a Int/Wis choice. This is especially good, as Eladrin are not anymore needed to represent Elves of any kind in Mystara (they could still be used for Savage Coast and Belcadiz Elves, though), and will be available to represent Sidhe. Also, there is some chance (limited, though) that the new options will improve the Gnome compatibility (currently, 4e Gnomes can be used at most to represent Brownies or the like, certainly not Sky Gnomes or Rock Gnomes...).

Back to classes, the second Fighter subclass (Slayer) is even more reminiscent of the OD&D/AD&D Fighter, as it is a striker similar to the core Barbarian, but with heavy armor and martial powers.

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Re: Essential classes & Mystara

Postby dfryer36 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:03 pm

agathokles wrote: Also, there is some chance (limited, though) that the new options will improve the Gnome compatibility (currently, 4e Gnomes can be used at most to represent Brownies or the like, certainly not Sky Gnomes or Rock Gnomes...).
GP

From what has been announced so far, and by all accounts there are no current plans to go beyond what has been announced, there will not be a reboot of the gnomes in essentials. :(
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Re: Essential classes & Mystara

Postby agathokles » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:43 pm

I don't expect an Essentials reboot, just an alignment of PHB2 races to PHB3/Essentials style. It could come as a Dragon article or just some errata to PHB2.
If Gnomes got, say Int and Cha or Con, one could drop the Cha option and have at least an "Illusionist" Gnome... not much, but better than the current version.

Too bad the CB is not really customizable in this sense, it would not be difficult to create some good gnome variants :(

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Re: Essential classes & Mystara

Postby agathokles » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:06 pm

More previews of the Essentials classes have provided details on Paladins, Druids, and Rangers. None of these classes is especially relevant to Mystara, but the Essential Druid is back to the leader role, and does not focus on the shapechange power, which is more like the OD&D Druid. OD&D Paladins are actually more a Paragon Path or multi-class option, and Rangers are still very different from any similar concept in OD&D (Druidic Knight and Forester), though the Essentials Scout and Hunter are well done (especially the Scout).

I'm looking forward to see if the Hexblade (Warlock subclass) can provide an armored spellcaster to replace the Swordmage as the primary choice for the OD&D Forester/Elf.

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Re: Essential classes & Mystara

Postby agathokles » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:35 pm

Given the Warlock preview, it is likely that the Fey Warlock could indeed be a replacement for the Elf/Forester, even though it would be better to have a different mechanic than the summoned weapon.

However, one consideration that comes to me is that Essentials classes are much simpler -- it is much easier to create new Essentials subclasses than it is to create Core classes, so new builds could be designed to fit the Classic character concepts.

At the very least, Domains for the primary Immortals and Churches should be designed.

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Re: Essential classes & Mystara

Postby Birchbeer » Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:36 pm

There are two more variant hexblades available if you have a subscription:
Star - Radiance based (and with some teleportation moves):
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx ... t/20101105

Fey Variant - Moon based, Radiance damage. You can choose the powers within the article instead of the powers granted by the default Fey Hexblade pact:
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx ... t/20101119

I'm thinking the Fey Variant might be a better replacement for the Elf/Forester then just the default cold based Fey. Then again, perhaps the variances reflect the different type of elven magic in the campaign.
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Re: Essential classes & Mystara

Postby agathokles » Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:38 am

The cool thing with Essentials classes is that, since they are less complicated and require less powers than core classes, it's easier to create and use variants -- and you can plunder the core books for useful powers.

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Re: Essential classes & Mystara

Postby agathokles » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:47 pm

I've received HotFL, HotFK and the Rules Compendium from Amazon today :)
Each Hexblade pact is about 5 pages (of the very large font Essentials text -- those books could have been printed on 2/3 the paper, had they limited the use of large title text!), which means it is not too difficult to make up new pacts, or modify the existing one. I think it would not be too far fetched to allow an individual Hexblade to use different damage types (except perhaps Radiant, which is supposed to be a bit more powerful than the others) instead of Cold, while keeping the same powers as the Fey Warlock.

At a first sight (well, second, since I followed the previews), I do like the Fighter, Ranger, Thief and Mage implementations. I would have like more at-will utilities for the martial classes, and a more radical deviation from the norm for the Mage (i.e., with no Encounter powers but more Dailies).
I find, OTOH, that the Warpriest is disappointing. I'd have structured it like the Ranger, with powers that build over the Melee Basic Attack, and therefore using Strength as the primary ability score, and Wisdom as the secondary. The same for the Paladin, where actually it would have been easier, since it is already Strength based. It feels a bit like each class was developed in isolation, rather than as a clear move towards a different model...

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