The Core Worlds

D&D Essentials has failed


OK. I’ve got my urge to rant and troll out of my system with the title, so now I can carry on with the post in a calm, collected manner.

My encounters, over the years, with Dark Sun have been short and fleeting, but the setting has always managed to catch my interest by virtue of being sword and sorcery but unlike just about everything else that falls into the category.

With the release of the new edition of the setting, I thought that now would be as good a time as any to do something about that interest. One nice book with the core of what was needed. Not a fan produced PDF (no matter how good, a book is a more comfortable read), not something out of print and impossible to track down, but a single tome to set the ball in motion.

Wonderful. Setting sorted.

Then I went to look for the rules, and that is when everything started to fall apart.

Six months ago, I wouldn’t have had a problem. Reservations about 4e in general aside, I would have just picked up the cores (helped by the fact that I keep coming across cheap offers for the limited editions of them). Two things are stopping me.

Errata. I gather that there is a big ball of errata out there that has made some fairly major changes to the core.

It doesn’t help when I come across comments such as:

The one thing keeping players sane is the Character Builder. Because it’s constantly updated, we don’t have to worry too much about keeping up with all of the updates. Of course, it makes us look at our core rulebooks and wonder why we bother to carry them around.

Really? I do not play any single RPG often enough to justify a monthly subscription to the rules.

We also have:

WOTC never actually updated the original monsters with the updated math we find in the Monster Manual 3

So, not only is there a lot of errata, but it seems there should be a lot more.

So we reach the second thing which, while being a barrier to me buying the cores, might just provide an alternative. Essentials.

The problem with Essentials is that it just isn’t all that clear if it is going to be enough to run Dark Sun.

I’ve seen forum comments which suggest it is just about possible, but might need a PHB3 to assist.

I’ve noted the utter failure on the part of WotC to mention Essentials on their Upcoming Products page.

I’ve seen the front loading of the product name completely wreck the usefulness of search results on the WotC site (and am having difficulty believing I’m in danger of veering off into an SEO rant on this blog).

I short, I just can’t find any guidance from WotC on the question “Does Essentials have everything essential to make good use of the Dark Sun core?”, which isn’t a good sign for a product that is supposed to make it easier to get into D&D.

I think I might be sticking to my usual system based around a 20-sider. Would anyone like to try to convince me otherwise?