Why I hate Essentials

I don’t, really. Except parts of it. Starting with the name.

There’s nothing Essential about Heroes of the Starts-With-F Geographical-Unit books. They contain limited and limiting builds. There’s a good reason for these builds, but they are not in any way the core of the game. If they had put together basic builds that were actually based off the PHB classes — a sword-and-shield fighter with pre-chosen feats and powers — then yes. But these are Essentially Different. The cleric’s turn undead is a melee attack! That is crazy. The warpriest is a good specialized build, but it’s not a good generic build.

I hate that Essentials, overall, was a poorly done rush job. It shows in the Rules Compendium, which has all the weapon rules except several it leaves out — brutal, for example. What happens when a PC is below zero, gets healing that lets him spend a surge, but is out of surges? The Rules Compendium and Heroes of the F* contradict each other on that.

I hate the 6×9 books. Yes, they fit better on a crowded game table. But they don’t stay open, they’re going to come apart, the covers bend when you stick them in a bag. And the real reason I hate them is I love the look of the 30 4e hardcovers I already have, and these books don’t match. We’ve had hardcovers since 1e, and they’ve been great. I want more of them, and don’t expect to get any more.

 

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