[RPG] the real difference between D&D 4th Edition and Essentials


I've played mostly 2nd Ed. and some 3/3.5. I have a lot invested in those materials. I am intrigued by 4E an Essentials, but am looking for the best way to approach the new editions. Keep in mind I am introducing my children of varied ages to D&D as well. The older ones have limited experience with the game, while the younger ones will be new to it. I am a little confused about the differences between 4E and Essentials. Should I start with Essentials and then move to the core rule books, or just start with the core rules?

Best Answer

The two have the same rule base and are completely compatible.

However, if you are just starting, pick up either or both of the Essentials books Heroes of the Fallen Lands and Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms (depending on which classes/races you are interested in. As a DM, pick up the Dungeon Master's Toolkit, the Monster Vault can wait until you have a few games under your belt and are sure you will be continuing. The Rules Compendium isn't needed as all the rules are in each of the Hero's books.

The main problem with the old trilogy (Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual) is that a considerable amount of errata has been issued since those books were released. I'd recommend skipping them until you have the rules well in hand and can grab those books for any options you want.