Indoctrinating Kids to Devil Worship

Started by Ar Kayon, December 25, 2010, 01:22:25 AM

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Ar Kayon

So I bought the Red Box thinking it was the old school game.  Turned out to be a trick by those 4th edition fuckfaces.  Alright, whatever - I was only going to play the game with my 9 year old niece anyway. 
Got the dice, check.
Tokens, check.
Dungeon Map, check.
I started the pre-made initiation quest to get her acclimatized to the system.  It worked remarkably well: she learned what her stats and skills were for, and ended up making a female elf fighter with a great axe and pink hair.  She also intuitively understood that adventurers are supposed to blindly accept quests from random strangers.  And she really enjoyed slaying a goblin and then trying to intimidate it into giving her info. 
This is great and all, but where the hell are all the rules to actually play the damn game for real??
So now I'm at the book store, and found all these DnD essentials products for 20 bucks.  However, there's like 6 products, and they're all "essential".  I'm not spending 120 bucks for this shit - I would ideally like the least amount of things to functionally play the game. 
Any advice, guys?

Phil K.

The D&D Essentials line is something the D&D community is torn about. Calling it essentials implies that it is necessary when, in fact, it is not. An entire playgroup can get the 4E D&D experience for about $70 - $90.

Anyway, I haven't seen a Red Box's insides so I don't know what's in it. As far as the rule books are concerned, there are two "Heroes" books. Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms and Heroes of the Fallen Lands. Those are books for players; they have classes, feats, etc. All the crunchy bits players need to make a character and enjoy the game. Each book has different classes; one has clerics, fighters, rogues and wizards. The other has druids, paladins, rangers and warlocks. You'll only need one of these and they're each $20.

The Rules Compendium is the most up-to-date printed version of all the rules in 4E; this is something a play group should have on hand, especially if no one has the core Player's Handbook from 2008. This is another $20.

Then there's the Monster Vault. This is probably the product that is most interesting for the person running the game. $30 gets you nice die-cut tokens of dozens of monsters and all their stats. I plan on picking this up at some point. $30 (or $20 from Amazon)

If you want to create interesting environments and 3D dungeons, you can pick up a dungeon tiles master set. They can be put together to create modular 3D terrain. Completely optional and another $20.

Basically, the bare minimum to play is a Heroes book ($20). For more clear rules arbitration, add a Rules Compendium. For some nice visual materials, add Monster Vault and/or dungeon tiles.


PS - Been playing 4E since it came out; haven't done a bunch of Essentials but enough to know what is and isn't necessary.


Hi Ar Kayon,

QuoteI'm not spending 120 bucks for this shit - I would ideally like the least amount of things to functionally play the game.  Any advice, guys?

Heroes of the Fallen Land is basically the new Player's Handbook.  It has the 4 classic classes, and most the basic rules to actually play.    I think you can probably get EITHER the DM's Kit OR the Rules Compendium, since there's a lot of overlap.  And then the monster book, naturally.

4E's rules are the same between core 4E & Essentials- so if you find used 4E core books, you can get those and intermix as necessary.


Ar Kayon

I can see how I might easily develop an addiction to this shit.  I fucking love tiles, cuz I never had them in my pre-teen 2nd edition days.  And I could never find proper figurines - I know they sell official ones too.

Alright, so I'm thinking along the lines of:
Heroes of fallen lands (clerics, fighters, rogues, wizards)
Rules compendium
Monster vault
and Dungeon tiles

Crap.  That's 80 bucks.  Will that support play up to level 15? 

Phil K.


Hi Ar Kayon,

The books support characters from level 1 to level 30, which is the top level for characters.

If you want the absolute cheapest way to get into the game, consider getting a D&D Insider account for a month or two.  It's $10 a month, and includes a character builder and access to the full rules.   (

Map tiles are fun, but you can always get a vinyl map and a wet erase marker, or, many of the adventures online include maps you can print out to play on.

Finally, for mini's, a lot of people have chosen to print out monster and character images, and paste them onto wooden or metal chips or washers to serve as mini's.   Cheap, flexible, and easy to store.  Alternatively, you can still find lots of the pre-painted mini's online for very cheap - a good option for weenie monsters.

This, of course, assumes you end up playing with a full group of kids or friends, to make it worth the investment.  Otherwise, just get a DDI account and find some monsters online and play with your niece and have a good time.


Callan S.

QuoteThis is great and all, but where the hell are all the rules to actually play the damn game for real??
I've bought two of the D&D basic games released in the past.

As I measure it, owning any amount of D&D books (whether it's the players guide+GM guide+monster guide or whatever) doesn't let you play the 'real' game. Neither the red box nor any other D&D book will let you play the 'real' game. None of them are complete.

Or if you don't really want 'real' and just the feeling of it, then the red box is just as capable of doing 'real' play.

This post probably has such a different take on base assumptions that it seems off topic. On the other hand, it's done now *shrug*


Isn't the Red Box supposed to include a DM booklet that discusses developing new adventures and stuff?

Otherwise, just download this: It's the quickstart rules for 4E. You don't really need the Rules Compendium, not to start with at least.

You'll probably need the Heroes of the Fallen Lands book. Cleric, Fighter, Wizard, Rogue, levels 1-30. More than enough play in there to last you a long time.

Monster Vault is probably a must unless you want to figure out how monsters work based on the Red Box and then just build your own...but that can be a pain in the ass. The Monster Vault is a pretty good book anyway.

You don't need the Dungeon Tiles unless you really love them. Just get a battlemat and some erasable pens.
Gregor Vuga

Ar Kayon

Call me old school, but I prefer the tactility of a physical book.

The DM booklet doesn't answer a lot of questions for me.  Like all of them.  Like what the hell bloodied means in mechanical terms.  It's probably in there, but I'm just making an example of the large rules gap in the basics stuff.  I understand the Red Box is supposed to help you learn how to perform Satanic rituals, but I'm already a level 15 DM and want to run campaigns that are fully supported by the rules.

And then there's the lack of equipment lists.  I shorrrre do love my equipment lists...and magic items.

And tiles.  Again: tactility.

Ron Edwards


I ask that you focus this thread a little. The fact is that no one can tell you for sure what texts to buy, we can only guess based on what seems useful to us, individually. No one can know in advance whether you dislike reading on-screen, or do or don't want the tiles.

It also seems like a thankless task on our part. One person did give you some straightforward recommendations, and your reply slapped them down, on the basis of things he could not have known. I'm getting the impression that you are annoyed with the books and line development. I do sympathize with the money angle - that's marketing ass, unfortunately all too common - but I don't think it's fair to take it out on people who are responding in good faith to your request.

I ask that you re-cast the discussion in a more positive way. If someone says, "Try Book B and Book C, but not Book A and for God's sake not Book D," then you might disagree, but you can certainly say "Thanks." And if you've actually come to your conclusion already - which means that no one's post will really be welcome to you anyway - then it would help us to know that too.

I'm not sure what you're accomplishing with the satanic/devil references. As a thread title, it's amusing to me as a fellow gamer. But you mentioned it again in the latest post and I don't know if that's just another joke, or a subtle point of some kind that I'm supposed to be understanding, or what. I ask that you hold off on that content until people get a clearer idea of what you want.

If you're interested in my preferences as a fellow poster here, then I'd like to say that your account of play sounded great, and I would love to know more about how you introduced the rules, what sort of characterizations went on, and anything else about the game itself. Many of us are interested in everything we can learn about how to play RPGs with kids.

What follows is not intended to be a topic of discussion. I'm including it in order to validate what was interpreted as a non-contributing post, to see if I can head off a potential rift among participants, and also in hopes that what I say turns out to be interesting.

Odd as it may have seemed at first reading, Callan's post is incisive - well, once you get more accustomed to Callan anyway. My paraphrase is that one should not ever assume that a given role-playing game text - and I'll go so far as to say especially D&D, any version - literally provides the rules for play which one needs.

There are two reasons. The easy one is that different people need different things, coming to game texts as they do with differing assumptions. It's not like customers of, say, a new board game; everyone who purchases a new board game has a basic, unshakeable, and accurate notion of what this thing is for, well before they know the rules. You can't say that for RPGs. People come with creative priorities

The harder reason is that few game authors think in terms of customer audience. Or rather, the only audience they write to is limited to people very close to them. For grass-roots authors, that means their own play-group and maybe their annoying best friend who keeps saying what they "have" to include. For non-independent, committee-driven authors, that means their various co-flunkies and editors and line developers and people like that. Only quite rare game texts are written toward a specific audience whom the author does not know, but does bear strongly in mind and trusts to exist, and with its (the text's) parts carefully calibrated to be what they need, and not, for instance, what anyone else might need.

All of which is to say, and again this is my intended paraphrase for Callan's post, that even if you did pony up the $120 for "essential" material (which I agree, is economic ass), you might not be garnering the necessary materials and instructions for play. This is not a slam on D&D4E, because I am speaking of any game text, not merely this one, and I strongly emphasize "might" rather than "won't," because I don't know that game or its texts well.

Best, Ron


Just to comment a little on the development of D&D... there is no clear term that designates what books are absolutely necessary and which ones aren't. Core now means "usable in all campaign settings" so all the PHBs are "core" as is the DMG 2... which besides the errata'd rules is essentially a bunch of advice. Essential is a sort of baby step towards 5th addition thats meant to allow the brand to be marketed towards 1) Non-gamers and 2) people who were irritated at the perceived "anti 3e" marketing of the original 4e release. As far as price points are concerned, I'm pretty sure its meant to make the game cheaper to play.

The wizards website has book suggestions, but no bare minimums laid out... I would say Rules Compendium, one of the class books (Heroes of a...) and the DM Kit (this is assuming you already have dice) plus monsters and tiles as needed... so initial buy in, not including the Red Box is 80$, then you can add on stuff as you go.

Also, you could just get the original 4e PHB/DMG/MMl combo and familiarize yourself with the errata. If your new to 4e but not to D&D this might be the best place to start. That will cost you about 100 bucks.

Also, Bloodied doesn't mean much of anything. It indicates that a given character/creature has lost half of their hit points. Some effects refer to the bloodied condition. When they do, its important, when they don't, being at hp or lower doesn't do anything in and of itself until you reach 0 hp.

Ar Kayon

The DnD references to demons were intended to be tongue-in-cheek.  And now that I have to explain it, you've ruined the joke. 

"The wizards website has book suggestions, but no bare minimums laid out... I would say Rules Compendium, one of the class books (Heroes of a...) and the DM Kit (this is assuming you already have dice) plus monsters and tiles as needed... so initial buy in, not including the Red Box is 80$, then you can add on stuff as you go."
Thank you.  This ^^ helps out a lot.

Ron Edwards

This is a moderator post.

1. Everyone who's posted so far has tried to help you. You are expected to respond with courtesy, and not use granting and withholding such a response as a means of subtle slams. That's an internet game honed to a fine art on other websites. Don't do that here.

2. The other internet game you are playing is called "bait the moderator." I'm sure you have reduced any number of site mods to sputtering helplessness elsewhere. It doesn't work here.

3. Learn to accept my moderation with grace. If I say "this is not funny," or "it started funny but now it's weirder or unclear," then that is the way it is. This is a known feature of the site and cannot be socially gamed. You will not succeed in making yourself into the put-upon, victimized, over-moderated victim.

I will not hesitate to close and lock threads if you post in this way again. I am specifically referring to your post to Teataine.

Best, Ron

Ar Kayon

You're an idiot. 

Best (to let you know I'm being courteous),