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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most eagerly-awaited book in roleplaying history is here
So here we have it, the roleplaying equivalent of The Phantom Menace in all it's hardbound glory. Wizards of the Coast had very hard task ahead of them when they started work on 3rd Edition; re-writing the first and argueably most popular RPG in the world. Somehow, they've pulled it off. The first thing you notice is the presentation. It is designed to look like the...
Published on 25 Aug 2000

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BUT WHAT YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW IS...
Is it better that 2nd Edition? Well, Yes and No. Basically any old rules that have been updated are faster and simpler but the new rules added tend towards the WOTC card game style. i.e. complex and possibly overdetailed.
I love the stats and saves, each step up is rewarded instead of just when you hit 15 (16 for Str), 'AC' and 'ToHit' are beautifully simplistic,...
Published on 5 Nov 2000 by shadow@verm.freeserve.co.uk


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most eagerly-awaited book in roleplaying history is here, 25 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook (Hardcover)
So here we have it, the roleplaying equivalent of The Phantom Menace in all it's hardbound glory. Wizards of the Coast had very hard task ahead of them when they started work on 3rd Edition; re-writing the first and argueably most popular RPG in the world. Somehow, they've pulled it off. The first thing you notice is the presentation. It is designed to look like the tome of some wizard. The cover looks like an ornately-bound fantasy book and the inside is dotted with Leonardo DaVinci-style drawings. Even the text is surrounded bt feint lines, like someone has drawn a guide onto the paper before starting to write. Everything is illustrated, from character races to equipment, meaning you don't have to guess what everything looks like from text descriptions as is the case in many RPG's. The illustrations have moved away from the usual medieval style and are reminiscent of the D&D Planescape setting, or WotC's Magic: The Gathering card game. The book is also accompanied by a CD-ROM with a character generator program and a number of other extras. This simplifies character creation no end and is a great bonus. The rules have been greatly simplified. In 2nd Edition the game's wargaming heritage was all too apparant with the number of different mechanisms for different actions. This time they stripped the rules down to the elements that make it D&D and then built it up again around the d20 system, where there is only one roll required for each action. It does involve a lot of tables full of modifiers and I can see it being hard for the novice player who doesn't have any instruction. It improves no end on the old system whilst retaining the D&D feel. In many ways 3rd Edition goes back to it's roots. The return of monks, half-orcs and the Greyhawk world as a kind of 'default' campaign setting all hails back to 1st Edition. In other ways it consilidates. It shifts the focus from it's historical roots to a more fantasy flavour, with the popular barbarian class in the main rulebook and the weapon selection becoming more fantastical, (Earlier editions had their weapons based on historical ones. For example, while a real-life warhammer is a fairly small, armour-piercing weapon, a fantasy one is a huge, heavy thing, the new rules have changed to accomadate this.) It simply brings things together from numerous supplements and the feedback from fans. But it also reaches into the future, with the sorceror class, the new weapons, the rule restructuring and the new style. The fact that it brings these elements together so well is a testimony to the skill of the writers and the overall quality of the book. WotC couldn't have done much better.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to understand and practical, 24 Jan 2002
This review is from: Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook (Hardcover)
As a new convert, my opinion is probably not worth much, but I wanna do it anyway!
The Complaints:
Some people who have posted reviews complain about how difficult it is to read because of text wraparound of illustrations and illustration lines behind the text. Imo, text wraparound is no problem if you have even a merely basic grasp of spacial relationships; and it is not the lines that are the problem, but the text font, which is a little on the small side for my eyesight and I would have preferred the font to be sized up one level.
I have only one other gripe: I would have preferred ALL the info pertaining to a particular race to be in one place, rather than having to flip from the race chapters to the class chapter.... but I guess the book would have to be MUCH bigger to do that, with even smaller text, so I'm not shouting TOO loudly!
The Praise:
I love the illustrations! And very useful is the drawing showing each of the races in their comparative sizes: it gives you a much better feel for the race of the character you are creating.
Also particularly good are the detailed descriptions of each racial type, which gave me a strong desire to play some I would not otherwise have considered.
I am used to playing PCRPGames and was not aware of how much I was missing when it came to character development. The descriptions of the classes, skills, feats, equipment, etc, were a real eye-opener to me.
And at last I really understand what the arcane symbols 2d4+2, 4d6, etc, really MEAN! (Yeah, well... I'm a bit stupid, ya know!)
I can strongly recommend the book for all newbies, and I suspect even seasoned players find it invaluable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Almost fantastic... needs more artwork!, 23 Oct 2003
This review is from: Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook (Hardcover)
D&D version 3.5 is a bold, fresh move forward by Wizards of the Coast (the company that bought the game from TSR, the original creators).
First impressions of the Player's Handbook is that it looks quite amazing. The cover is dark and brooding which gives the book an expensive feel. Every single page of the manual is in full colour and designed to look like tired parchment (a nice touch). So top marks go to the designers for putting in the effort to make the new rules look aesthetically pleasing.
The game rules are clear, understandable and reads very well; the updated rules ARE an improvement on the old. Some die hard fans might disagree but the designers have taken a lot of players comments to the drawing board. They have created a game that is still recognisable as D&D but with a lot of old creases ironed out of the system.
However, I was a HUGE fan of the old D&D artists, such as 'Elmore' and 'Boris'. The manual only gets 4 stars because the art director should have been FIRED! Although the illustrations in the Player's Handbook are great, there simply is not enough of them. There a sections of the book that are just pages and pages of pure text and tables, nothing else. I can imagine that this is very intimidating, especially for new Players and Dungeon Masters. The old artwork was part of the game and are SORELY missed, the new rules are no where nearly as atmospheric as it's former friend. Detailed illustrations are needed to aid the imagination, new players will definetley suffer from the lack of quality art.
Hope this review helps...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Almost fantastic... needs more artwork!, 23 Oct 2003
This review is from: Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook (Hardcover)
D&D version 3.5 is a bold, fresh move forward by Wizards of the Coast (the company that bought the game from TSR, the original creators).
First impressions of the Player's Handbook is that it looks quite amazing. The cover is dark and brooding which gives the book an expensive feel. Every single page of the manual is in full colour and designed to look like tired parchment (a nice touch). So top marks go to the designers for putting in the effort to make the new rules look aesthetically pleasing.
The game rules are clear, understandable and reads very well; the updated rules ARE an improvement on the old. Some die hard fans might disagree but the designers have taken a lot of players comments to the drawing board. They have created a game that is still recognisable as D&D but with a lot of old creases ironed out of the system.
However, I was a HUGE fan of the old D&D artists, such as 'Elmore' and 'Boris'. The manual only gets 4 stars because the art director should have been FIRED! Although the illustrations in the Player's Handbook are great, there simply is not enough of them. There a sections of the book that are just pages and pages of pure text and tables, nothing else. I can imagine that this is very intimidating, especially for new Players and Dungeon Masters. The old artwork was part of the game and are SORELY missed, the new rules are no where nearly as atmospheric as the old.
Overall, this manual is detailed and a great read. However the artwork isn't a scratch on the old rule book which is a raw shame. The Players Handbook definetely needs more illustrations to help along the imagination of the players.
Hope this review helps...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Was it worth the wait?, 12 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook (Hardcover)
Was it worth the wait? In my opinion,the answer to the quesiton in a resounding yes.
The book is beautifully laid out - attractive artwork, clear tables and so on. The text itself is also clear and unambiguous and answers (for me, at least) many rules disputes that kept cropping up during the 2nd edition game. No doubt, though, as time goes on (and as more books are published . . . WoC, please don't!) inconsitencies and grey areas will begin to appear.
The PHB seems to cover pretty much everything in the 2nd Ed rules, albeit often simplified and streamlined (a good thing!). Sub-races have been removed (then again, they weren't in an other PHB either - does this mean more books?), and ability score bonuses have been standardised very nicely, although there is a small bone that I would pick with that particular mechanic - what is the point of the ablity score itself? Only the +/- associated bonus matters, so why not have an ability score that simply assumes the same rol as that bonus? Instead of knowing that a score of 12 gives a +1 bonus, why not just rearrange the mechanics of the game so that the ability scor itself is directly applied to rolls, negatng the need for two numbers, one seemingly redundant. Pedantic, I know.
Other changes - monk and barbarian classes are back at last! The races seem to be differentiated a bit more in their ability score adjustments (standard seems to be +/- 2, which helps make the races individual). The multiclassing system is beautuful to behold - simple, elegant, yet supremely flexible. The skill ranking system is, for want fo a better word, tidy if not original, and the feats (who came up with that name? ) are interesting. On these last two points, though - I don't think that there are enough skills, and I can't see the logic in the decisions made as to wheter some abilities were skills or feats - 'Track', for example, seems to me to be more a skill than a feat. A minor niggle, though.
Equipment and weapons - there a fewer weapons (but who used to use them all anyway?), some nice little additions like shield spikes and so on. Overall simplified but tidy and efficient.
COmbat is certainly more elgant. The new initiative system is simple - no weapon speeds or casting times, everyone just takes turns in order of an initiatiive roll made at the beginning of the encounter. At first I was somewhat dubious about this - but, having played about with it, I have been won over. There are a number of basic combat maneuvers (the interesting moves are found in the feats section) - disarm, trip etc. There's no block option, although there are a couple of defensive AC-affecting options.
Spell pointa are gone, to be replaced with the old slot-based casting method (with an interesting and, I thought, clever justification) although there are a couple of tweaks to this. No major changes, though. There is just one spell list, all spells listed alphabetically, with entries in the spell description for level (sometimes varies by class, so more than one level is often given - eg Wiz 3, Cler 2).
And that's about it. All in all, a jolly good show! Now for the DMG . . .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply a much better game, 14 Sep 2000
This review is from: Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook (Hardcover)
The proof of the pudding is, as they say, in the eating. I liked the book, it's an excellent read, but how does the game actually play?
Well, I've played 6 sessions now, as DM, and I have to say that it surpasses all expectations. My players agree. Combat is a delight to run. The skill system is totally transparent and it's very, very easy to improvise in unusual situations. I would now not consider running a previous version of D&D - this game is everything D&D should be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ITS GREAT!, 17 Aug 2000
This review is from: Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook (Hardcover)
This is what all us poor players of 2e have been waiting for.. the PHB for 3e! It is fantastic... The art, the full colour, the diagrams and descriptions are all fabulous. The rules themselves are so versatile and and enormous improvement on the 2e rules. This is a must-have for anyone who likes RPGs and plays D&D.
Now all we need is the DMG and MM, then the adventuring can begin.
PS: We all know rangers were done over!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent system - Poor book layout, 16 Oct 2000
By 
This review is from: Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook (Hardcover)
I agree totally with the review from Manchester. They have gone too far with the artwork in this book, lots of tiny lines behind the text and most chapters start with a brown page which makes the black text difficult to read. The pictures are great but the text wrap is distracting. On a positive note; The system is brilliant, with some excellent changes including the combat, which adds more detail and control. I think the combat is very miniature based, in fact you loose out without figures, some of the detail especially opportunity attacks and judging who is within your threat area would be difficult to manage without some form of figures or counters. The character classes are also excellent with nice skills, special abilities and feats that make each character class very unique and interesting. My small group of role-players are on their sixth 3rd addition session with me as a GM and it has been a pleasure to run.

Finally the low cost makes this a must buy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BUT WHAT YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW IS..., 5 Nov 2000
This review is from: Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook (Hardcover)
Is it better that 2nd Edition? Well, Yes and No. Basically any old rules that have been updated are faster and simpler but the new rules added tend towards the WOTC card game style. i.e. complex and possibly overdetailed.
I love the stats and saves, each step up is rewarded instead of just when you hit 15 (16 for Str), 'AC' and 'ToHit' are beautifully simplistic, play is fast and every character feels unique and special. 1st level Wizards / Sorcerers now have plenty of spells too, so they are a match for Frong the mighty barbarian istead of just being pancaked at a glance.
The Proficiencies Suck. Royally. Everyone starts with free weapon profs. in appropriate weapons, but the traditional ways of fighter improvement have vanished, even specialist (now a 'feat') only gives a +2 damage. Not to mention it's hard to get. Basic two weapon use is now -6 to your 1st hand and -10!!! to your 2nd. Even an ambidextrous, two weapon specialist ranger gets penalties! Non-weapon (now skills) aren't as bad but since most character types have about 20 free to start with you're going to be filling a whole sheet up on this. Very WOTC.
It's hard to sum this up in a sentence so I'd advise you simply to buy it, it is good. But don't throw away your 2nd edition yet, for that matter go find a 2nd hand copy if you don't have it, just to show yourself that there are other ways of playing this game. I know 3 stars is a bit harsh, but so much was already provided for in 2nd Ed that... well... personal opinion y'know.
Anyway, stick to the motto of 2nd edition, and you won't go wrong: if it spoils the game or you simply don't like it, then DON'T USE IT!!!
Master Dungeon-Smith Sean 'Mandrake' Hill (DM for 15 years and now 5 various D&D editions)...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Alright, so we've had months of hype..., 30 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook (Hardcover)
Alright, so we've had months of hype, leaked snippets and feature presentations, but how does D&D3 actually play? In a word, brilliantly. The new 'heroic' focus is a shot in the arm, magic-using is bolstered, and basic combat is streamlined - it's 2nd Ed. with the 5, 000-odd lines... removed. But, there are complications... The combat system as a whole is now, in my opinion, a bit too complex - it seems to be designed for miniature-based play (stress is on positioning and range, now), which really ticked me off until I realised that this is only really an issue in big fights. Still a pain, though. Also, the 'move-equivalent actions' seemed a bit overboard - unslinging a weapon takes as much time as it does to move 30 ft.? - but overall, the system is very good at what it sets out to do: beng a fantasy game. Use pen and paper rather than overpriced D&D minis to track combats, and you're laughing.
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Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook
Dungeons and Dragons: 3rd Edition Player's Handbook by Wizards of the Coast (Hardcover - 11 Oct 2000)
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