" Kick more ass, chew more bubble gum… Bard's suck a noticeably smaller amount... "
Title: Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook 3.5 by Wizards of the Coast
Format: A revised core book for Dungeons and Dragons
Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A
The Hype: We, the gamers, complained…which should not be unexpected as, as gamers, complaining is in our class description. Hell, we even get a +5 complain bonus at 6th level. Nobody blames us for it. And hey, every once in a while, the big men upstairs listen to our loud and frequent complaints and they do something about it. Usher in, then, Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. The new edition of the main books for the D&D playing masses. Will the across the board changes finally take care of the niggling problems that 3rd edition has had? Read on, my fine furry simians, and find out for yourselves.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Drama: As Genghis Kong is so fond of spouting off, to anybody who will listen… (No, seriously. Like from street corners, or from the church pulpit, he doesn't care…) Dungeons and Dragons doesn't really have a story. Dungeons and Dragons, at its core, is a set of rules and guidelines to use and apply to your own story. Be creative, that's the name of the game. And if you don't like that name, well then, that's why there are supplements like Forgotten Realms out there. In any case, this book has almost nothing for story. The character creation gives a couple of snippets about the kind of characters that play certain classes and the roles of said classes in the world. That's it. The rest is up to you. You can either continue to believe that D&D is a mindless hack fest, or you can open your imagination apply D&D's templates and live the adventure Wizards has been hoping you would for a while now. Regardless, since there is no actual story, I can't give points… sorry mates. 1 out of 5
Layout and Presentation: The layout in here is the same you'll remember from the previous iteration. A large well-made table of contents guides you easily through the pages. Most of the artwork is the same, though a couple of the iconic characters have been redone, removed, or updated in some way. And though there is new content, it doesn't disrupt the flow of things whatsoever. 3.5 out of 5
Playability: Have you been playing 3rd edition? Good, you're on solid footing here. The thing is that the changes they made are not going to drastically affect your game play. The core of the rules remains the same. That being said, of the three core books, this is the one that received the largest re-working. Most of the significant changes happened in the class structures. Druids no longer have "animal friendship", they get an animal companion (gone are the days of a druids and their menageries… not that not being a druid has stopped some of my players). This animal companion works a lot like wizard familiars, gaining power and ability as you go up in level. Rangers had a reworking to their favored enemy system that takes a lot of the pressure off, as well as making it more useful to select one. They also get a choice of following the archer's path or the two-blade path. Finally, the woodsmen archers can finally be the archers everyone's always envisioned them to be. Sorcerers and Bards now have the ability to change spells that they've learned. No longer are you trapped with your initial choices in spell selection…so you can finally trade in Evard's Black Crotch Tentacle. The changes, overall, will enhance your character experience. Wizards has really managed to iron out a lot of the little niggling problems that most people were finding with 3rd edition. You'll also find a lot of new magic spells, retooled skills and feats, and a lot of other useful new information. Basically, it plays the same, only better. 4 out of 5
Desired Content: When 3.5 was initially announced, I says to Mabel, I says: "Hey, as long as they can make it so that Bard's don't suck, I'll consider it a job well done." Well, it's mission half successful. Bards get a better spell progression, get some better abilities, but otherwise come out much the same. They're a bit better, a bit easier to play, but they're not the paragon of studly songliness that some poor saps may envision them to be. In a particularly humorous note, Gnomes now have "Bard" as their favored class. And good on 'em, says I! Finally the crappiest race has the silliest class, and they can wallow together (Author's Note: Please send all Gnome loving Chimpan-A hate mail to David@wholikesgnomesanyway.com, or to Dungapult… who loves gnomes… nightly). Otherwise the rules changes they've brought to bear are well tooled and well thought out. Clerics of the Animal realm may be a little disappointed that you can no longer be a druid without being a druid; otherwise most of you should be satisfied with the changes made. A good amount of your questions were answered, fair gamers, be happy. 4 out of 5
|Here we are, 3.5. What's been changed has been changed for the better. What's been left the same wasn't broke. You'll find the vast majority of the rule changes here in the Player's Handbook, so if you're looking for something to teach you how to play- this is your book (durrr…). Some of you may be a little leery of paying for what is ostensibly the same book a second time. Let me assure you, they've changed enough in here, added enough new content, made enough concessions that the trade off is worth it. If you've always felt that there were just a few things lacking in 3rd edition, this should keep you quiet for a while. Of course, we are level 15 gamers… we're always going to complain about something.|
The Good: Kick more ass, chew more bubble gum… Bard's suck a noticeably smaller amount...
The Bad: There is a lot of reused material here. Maybe you should try to trade in your old PHB, try a Half Priced bookstore…
The Overall Ugly: Seriously, Gnomes suck. I mean, they wish so hard they were as cool as dwarves, but they never can be...
What it's Worth: Market price.