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Player's Handbook, Version 3.5 (Dungeon & Dragons Roleplaying Game: Core Rules)
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Product Description

This Revised Edition (also called 3.5) of one-third of the Dungeons & Dragons trinity of core rulebooks (the other two being The Dungeon Master's Guide and The Monster Manual) contains errata, rules updates, and outright changes to the already-published Third Edition rules. The majority of changes are made in a quest for the holy grail of game rules: balance. To prevent boredom and enable creative choices, no single ability, spell, character class, or weapon should have an overwhelming advantage over another. So what has changed?

  • The spells Harm, Heal, and Haste have been toned down. Other spells have been adjusted or renamed.
  • Weapons are classified by the Size of the intended wielder, not the size of the individual weapons. A noteworthy effect of this new weapon size system is that Small characters can wield small-size greatswords, longswords, longspears (with reach), and other two-handed weapons.
  • Classes have been tweaked. Bards and rangers received the most changes.
  • New feats have been added (some original, some from the builder books), and some feats have been altered (a Power Attack now gives double benefit for two-handed weapons).
  • Redundant skills have been rolled into one (such as sense motive and read lips) while others have been renamed (such as "wilderness lore" becoming "survival"). Skill synergies have been expanded and knowledge skills now include appropriate monster lore.

In addition to outright rules changes and tweaks, much of the core rule content has been clarified and updated with 3E errata. The combat section, in particular, is organized much better. Even the dreaded grapple rules are now relatively clear. A much-appreciated import from the D&D Miniatures game are new and simple rules for cover and line of sight, as well as clear photographic illustrations of the concepts of facing, attacks of opportunity, and reach.

All in all, 3.5 is a welcome update. The typographical errors are forgivable, given the extent of the update. The new options available to players (in the form of new class features and feats) make the play experience more fun. Veterans will enjoy re-learning the game they love and exploring all the new character possibilities. Perhaps more importantly, they'll find that introducing new gamers to the admittedly formidable D&D ruleset is easier with 3.5 than it was with 3E--call it a +2 circumstance bonus. --Mike Fehlauer

Endless adventure and untold excitement await! Prepare to venture forth with your bold compaions into a world of heroic fantasy. Within these pages, you'll discover all the tools and options you need to create characters worthy of song and legend for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game.

The revised Player's Handbook is the definitive rulebook for the Dungeons & Dragons game. It contains complete rules for the newest edition and is an essential purchase for anyone who wants to play the game.

The revised Player's Handbook received revisions to character classes to make them more balanced, including updates to the bard, druid, monk, paladin, and ranger. Spell lists for characters have been revised and some spell levels adjusted. Skills have been consolidated somewhat and clarified. A larger number of feats have been added to give even more options for character customization in this area. In addition, the new and revised content instructs players on how to take full advantage of the tie-in D&D miniatures line planned to release in the fall of 2003 from Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Customer Reviews:

  • The essential D&D book
    If you want to play D&D, you need to buy this book. This book has the basics for any player. It has a good variety of classes, races, and items. It has helpful reference for playing the game, and is good for people of all skill levels. In my opinion, 3.5 is more balanced than version 4. This is a great investment. ...more info
  • Another Update...
    This is the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5th Edition Players Handbook, the latest version of the game. It is also called the Core Rulebook I. This book tells you how to create and play your character. This is the only book required for the players. You will also need a special set of dice and paper/pencil, and in some campaigns, a figure to represent your character in the game. This book has everything you need to flesh out and equip your characters as well. A very nice table of contents. And is a well-made hardcover book, if you plan to run a campaign you will need as a minimum everything listed above plus, The Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual.

    This update from the 3rd edition is more than just some clarifications, which are included. But there are also significant rule changes. And there are more options available to players. Even though this edition still has typographical errors, it is a better game.
    ...more info
  • It serves it's purpose, and it does it well.
    I'm going to tell you right now, that I've only been playing D&D for about 2 months. I grew up as apart of the Nintendo generation in a Christian home where quite a few people in my church looked down at this game because of things they had heard from a friend of a friend of a relative... or something to that effect. The first time I became interested in RPG's was when I heard one of those "Adventures in Odessey" tapes say anything about it, and even though it was written to scare children, it only made me interested in trying it.

    This was well over 8 years ago, and though I had wanted to try the game in high school, I was actually disallowed to play because I was a girl, at least, that was the excuse I was given. It would have turned me off the game if I hadn't met the right people or started going to conventions. That's where my vague interest turned into a passionate desire to find out what D&D really involved.

    It turned out that a few of my friends were also interested and one of them had even played before (2nd Edition). We started a group and have been playing since then. We attended and enjoyed D&D day and more recently we were a part of a 1st edition campaign.

    A limited comparison:
    -Yes, it has changed, whether for good or bad is your own decision.
    -No, the 1st edition is NOT better, but then again, neither is 3.5. It's like comparing "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". It's the same concept with different visions, both have their own unique/good/redeeming qualities.
    -Personally, I found 3.5 to be a better intro game then 1st edition. But the truth is, no matter which version you play, you will probably NEED someone to be there and help you as you make your first character and play your first game. But that shouldn't be a problem as this game relies on interaction between humans. Whether your DM has played before or your local gaming store rep goes over the rules and guidelines with you, someone should be there to help you along.

    Could the book have been more helpful? Probably, but it isn't meant to be used by itself. If you don't have all three of the core rulebooks, you are missing something. The reason the books have been separated is that most people wouldn't buy a 960 page book, especially if it would cost $60-$90. That might be fine for a few people, but it's a good way to turn a lot of other people off. In my honest opinion, this was a smart publishing move that they continued from previous editions.

    Overall: I like this edition; it works for what it's meant for. It's a dream to think there will ever be an "end all" edition. There will be good/great editions, and there will be mediocre/bad editions. It will always be a better experience if you are playing a bad edition with a good group and a good DM, as compared to a great edition with a mediocre group and a bad DM....more info
  • Might as well call it something other than D&D
    Excerpt from a Gamespy 2004 interview with Gary Gygax, creator of the original Dungeons & Dragons:

    Gamespy: Have you had a chance to play or even look at some of the current Dungeons & Dragons games?

    Gygax: I've looked at them, yes, but I'm not really a fan. The new D&D is too rule intensive. It's relegated the Dungeon Master to being an entertainer rather than master of the game. It's done away with the archetypes, focused on nothing but combat and character power, lost the group cooperative aspect, bastardized the class-based system, and resembles a comic-book superheroes game more than a fantasy RPG where a player can play any alignment desired, not just lawful good.

    Gygax's feelings pretty much sum up my own. As someone who was first exposed to D&D in the late 70s, I have to say that this game is not what it used to be. Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 (I love the contemporary "3.5" denotation as if this is computer software) is obviously aimed at the adolescent, power-gaming, comic book-reading gamer. Even the style of artwork suggests it, the D&D of today looking more like an extension of the comic book realm, with superhero player characters and roided out warriors who look like they're out of the pages of Spawn.

    It's with a long, wistful sigh that I remember the days of DM manuals with cheesy homebrewed art and the beautiful Erol Otus covers on the game modules. It was the days when D&D was spoken of by the general public as if it was the dangerous pastime of Devil-worshippers and cultists. It was a mature, intelligent game that drew heavily upon the great fantasy realms of Tolkien, Howard, and Leiber, not to mention centuries of old folklore and mythology. Even the language used in the manuals was sophisticated and not easily digested by someone with less than a college reading level. It was a game of substance, a game with real soul. It was geeky and esoteric. It was a lot of fun. You played wizards and warriors, clerics and thieves, and each class had its own drawbacks and advantages. Some were even plainly more powerful than others. That's just the way it was. There was no obsessive attention paid to making every class so perfectly balanced, into turning AD&D into egalitarian fantasy, but since when is everyone in life so equal? Wizards were pathetically weak early on but then turned into the most dangerous of characters at higher levels, undoubtedly wielding the greatest power in the game. Cavaliers were unbalanced too, and barbarians. Yet at the same time the game wasn't so crazy like the D&D of today where suddenly everyone has loads of skills and super abilities and anyone can do anything and the object seems to be making your character into a superhero. But I suppose that's what everyone is looking for nowadays, Diablo II with pens an paper. A pity, because so much richness has been lost over the past 20 years, ever since TSR started cleaning up its image in the mid-eighties and marketing its games towards teenage gamers. That's what big business is about though, and how can a company reap big profits nowadays without going mainstream and catering to the lowest common denominator? And profits are obviously WOC's primary concern. It really breaks my heart though to see what's become of a game that once meant so much to me. At least I still have all my old 1st and 2nd edition books and they'll always be there.

    Let me close by saying this to everyone: No one's forcing you to be sheep and run out and spend money on this crap. If you're happy with what you're playing then what's the need to ever "upgrade"? Why not do the truly creative thing and stop buying this garbage that Wizards of the Coast is churning out and use your old stuff (be it 1st or 2nd edition or 3.0) and make your own adventures? And who needs a company's house rules when any decent DM can make up his own? Give me a break people. Think for yourselves and stop being victims of consumerism and slick marketing....more info
  • What can I say... it's the PHB.
    The Player's Handbook (PHB) for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 is a great work, and contains the majority of rules for a D&D player. It has good writeups for when you want to take the time to read about a topic, and a simple layout with good tables for when you need a quick reference.

    But it could be the ugliest collection of letters and lines ever printed, and if you're going to play D&D you're going to have to get a copy of the PHB. :) For what it's worth, it's a well done manual....more info
  • Coming of age of the genre
    I definately feel that the 3.5 edition marks the coming of age of the D&D genre and makes a very nice addition to the arsenal of any pen and paper adventuring party. The artwork definately feels more refreshing than the second and third editions, ofcourse nothing beats the artwork in the original first edition. The rules have been refined more to make the game more elaborate and I feel that this brings more depth to the adventuring. ...more info
  • This book got me interested in D&D again
    I have not had much D&D experience. I only played the game a few times with friends when I was a kid. Now as an adult out of college I am revisiting my childhood games.

    I am coming from 2nd edition D&D. Let me tell you this book is a big improvement over 2nd edition. Studies have shown that gifted and bright kids tend to play D&D after you have played the game a few times you will to see why. This is not an easy game to learn. There are a lot of rules, a lot of stuff to try to remember, this is something that really discouraged me as a youth from it. Since I have always notoriously had a bad memory this game was hard for me to learn back then. I always had to look up stuff in the rulebook, because I couldn't remeber. This slowed down the game a lot. With the few games I played with friends I fudged a lot of the rules and left out a good chunk of them just to speed up game play.

    The new 3.5 rulebook is a blessing to me. I find it much easier to learn, since I never really learned D&D back then. A lot more easier to learn. Here are a few things I find easier with 3.5 edition.

    1) Although I prefer The old 2nd edition savings throw method, the new savings throw method is a lot easier to learn.

    2) Movement is a lot more logical now I think and answers so many questions I had from 2nd edition. Movement in combat in 2nd editon made no sense! You could move 120' in one round and attack! This was so unrealistic. I like the 5' system a lot better. This visually makes a lot more sense and is easier.

    3)Improved minature rules! They also tied up a lot of loose ends with minatures and how to move them in this edition which helps a lot. The rulebook in 2nd edition didn't explain minatures all that well or how to move them, this book makes things more clear.

    4)Hex paper. Ok in 2nd edition as a kid I was really confused how to use the hex paper and how to layout the maps. 2nd edition didn't explain this at all I don't think. This edition makes the use of hex paper a lot more clearer to the reader.

    5)Available help. The internet has been a blessing in so many ways; I can now ask for help online. The online forum is the biggest blessing to me! So many questions I had about how to be a good dungeon master have been answered on those forums. I can great advice from veterans on how to construct an adventure.

    6)Better written adventures. I have to say in 2nd edition the premade adventures that a player could buy were confusing. There were a lot of questions not answered and many adventures were too open ended. I find adventures published for 3.5 are a lot more clear, less confusing, and less open ended. Clearly a lot better written too, in my opinion.

    7) Improved character class progression. Hey I like the way they tried to make all the classes more even. The wizard was so problematic in 2nd edition for me. This is one thing that fustrated me about the baldurs gate games; playing a wizard. Wizards started out too weak, leveled at a much slower pace then everyone else, and were hindersome to the party. With everyone leveling at the same experience rate this is such a blessing for both the player and the dungeon master. This was so fustrating to me as a DM. Trying to remember all the different level progressions. It made the game interesting, however really hindered game play and therefore needed change.

    Overall I think Wizards of the Coast did a great job at cleaning up TSR's flawed, confusing, and difficult rulebook. This game is now easy to run, easy to learn, and Dungeons and Dragons has regained it's popularity....more info
  • Player's Handbook
    The drawings are a little cartoonish...but still a great book. Now I just have to find some Die Hard D&D players....more info
  • A must have for D&D players
    I have only recently started to play D&D and I have found that having a copy of the Player's Handbook has made playing much easier. This book provides most of the information that is essential for players to start out with. Information covered includes the basic races of D&D, classes, skills, feats, equipment (non magical), combat information, adventuring, magic, and spells....more info
  • Slightly Improved Reference Book
    I picked up a copy because I joined a campaign set in the 3.5 environment. Essentially it's the same book with a couple of the more confusing rules getting a little needed details.

    Except I still don't know the grappling rules if you want to put manticles on someone!...more info
  • Sad! Very Sad!
    First let me start with the things that I found to be improvements over 2E. Expanded character classes. These were great, though they were mostly a rehash of 1E, and could be found again in 2E rule supplementals, but it was nice to bring them all back into one book. The new combat rules and armor class rankings were very helpful. The D20 systems definitely has its many advantages. The reworking of feats and skills, from proficiencies was also very nice. The class skills were also a nice addition. However, the praise ends there.

    The format of the book was horrendous. In 1E and 2E everything was more or less linear, there was not the constant need for flipping back and forth. Most of the nice player friendly rules and changes were in fact almost standard "house rules" that had been around since 1E, and TSR(the original publishers) never felt the need to put into print(such as critical hit on natural 20) and so forth.

    The spells have been made considerably weaker. A Fireball used to be almost certain death, now it only does a good bit of damage, thus making the Mage one of the most undesirable classes around. It used to be that you became a Mage because if you could survive to about 7th level you could then start to take serious revenge all those who previously tormented you. Now we have the sorceror who is far more powerful than the mage, with no apparent weaknesses(again in terms of survivability I have to ask why be a Mage?) thus creating an unbalanced character.

    The leveling of experience/level system I find to also be troublesome. Mages are not as likely to be able to survive as long as Warriors, but still have to earn just as many points to advance, again taking away one of the great trade offs in becoming a non-warrior class.

    Then there is the new saving throw system... it is wofully unbalanced. Take for instance that to make a succsess full saving throw against an Ancient Red Dragon's breath weapon, you need(with bonuses a roll of 36) which means up until you reach about level 15 you will have to roll a perfect 20 to make it and possibly survive. This make work in the Dragon scarce worlds of the Realms, Ravenloft, and Lankhmar. But in the Dragonlance setting in a world such as Krynn where adventurers rarely go a day without meeting a Dragon or two or three... this is quite easily the death of the party with nothing to save them.

    Finally my biggest gripe with 3.5E is the same as that with 3E it is not at all compatible with 1E and 2E. So for those of us who have been long standing D&D fans, who have invested large sums of money into adventures, campaign settings, and other supplements, this comes as a real slap in the face. Understanding that in bringing D&D into the D20 system of play required a fairly major overhaul, they should have at least given a system to convert old characters and old campaigns into 3.5E....more info

  • D&D
    the book came really fast and it was brand new!!! i am very pleased with my order....more info
  • Everything as it should be
    Really it doesn't need reviews by me, there are plenty. If you're ordering it you've probably already held one and you know what it does and what is in it.
    All I can really say is that Amazon shipped it out fast, UPS (or who ever delivered it) got it here in 2 days, regular shipping, and it was in perfect condition. ...more info
  • All the info you need
    This book did its job. I wanted to know how to play D&D and it gave me the basics.
    Pretty much got what I expected.
    So good stuff.
    Horay...more info
  • Yet more of the same from WotC
    It seems that Wizards of the Coast has an obsession with balancing. The company will not be satisfied until every class is equivalent to every other class at every level. The idea that a high level Wizard or Sorcerer should be more powerful than a high level fighter is somehow immoral.

    One of the wonderful things about earlier editions of D&D and AD&D was that, like most other "old school" RPGs, each class was as powerful as was reasonable. Hence those who could control magic eventually became superbeings, while the melee characters had to settle for commanding armies. That was the beauty of the system.

    WotC, however, with the new generation of gamers that has been weened on MMORPGs and Diablo II in mind, has decided that if the classes are not all equally powerful at all times, then players will play as just one class.

    What they seem to forget is that true role playing differs from roll playing: role players don't just choose the most powerful options, they choose the options that they think would be entertaining.

    WotC leaves that all behind in these new editions of the core rulebooks, continuing a trend that was first evident in the feats section in the Epic Level Handbook. Spellcasters are being further and further weakened in comparison to the other classes. Spell resistance is becoming more common and effective, characters can eventually learn to deflect SPELLS back at the caster with their bare hands, and spellcasters' favorite spells have been weakened to the point of uselessness. The Sorcerer, already a victim of weakening before the release of 3.0, has been further weakened by the inclusion of extra wording that didn't make it into the 3.0 text. The Ranger class was made needlessly complicated.

    Furthermore, there are tons of subtle changes to the stats and mechanics of various spells, so while you may think that you know how a given spell works, considering that you've been casting it for a year, you can't be sure of anything anymore. You may find that the duration of one of your favorite spells has been cut to one sixtieth of its original length - no joke. Not only that, several spells have been completely renamed. For example, Random Action has become Lesser Confusion. This might actually create lesser confusion in the real world.

    WotC also seems to want you to play with miniatures, as all combat measurements are in squares - as in squares on a map.

    Weapon categorization makes little sense now: whereas it used to be the case that a longsword was effectively a greatsword for a small character and a shortsword for a large one, now there are different sizes for each type of weapon, e.g., small longsword, medium longsword, large longsword, etc. It's complicated and gets in the way of having fun.

    Some of the changes made are actually beneficial, such as reducing the cost for Wizards to scribe spells into their books, giving Sorcerers the ability occasionally to swap a few of their lower level spells for more useful ones, or having the Druid's animal companion advance with the character. These are good things....more info

  • Long Live The King!
    Forget 4th edition - it's an de-evolution of the RPG.

    While there are many who will argue there are plenty of problems with the 3E version of the game, the truth is that 3.5E is the culmination of the D&D game; the largest number of options, the most varied way to play and handle anything in the D&D game. It has a solid mix of in-combat and out-of-combat options to allow for nearly any play style one wishes to pursue.

    It's completeness is, in some ways its own downfall. The sheer volume of material available for 3E can bankrupt an individual. There are rules for everything, and just about anything can be quantified if you look hard enough. DMing for 3E can be quite a chore at the higher levels and it doesn't work so well after 10th level (but no edition of D&D ever really has, truth be told).

    With the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual, you have enough for nearly endless hours of gameplay....more info
  • Excellent gaming for everyone from newbies to old pros
    Dungeons and Dragons 2E was needlessly complicated, counter-intuitive, and elitist. That's right, I don't like 2nd edition. You needed a frickin math degree to figure out certain rolls. Many of the concepts were extremely limiting such as the multi-class system. Many of the stats and rolls were illogical. Save vs Death and Save vs Wands for example. Who has the innate ability to save against wands?!! Fortitude, will, and reflex are a much more logical way of handling saves. If a character has quick reaction time and dexterity, his ability is reflected by his reflexes. Finally, the complicated nature of 2E made it unappealing to many new gamers. Since RPG players are not immortal, it is nice to be able to bring new blood into the game. I have served as both player and game master for many RPGs including White Wolf, Call of Cthulhu, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Traveller, and GURPS and I find D&D 3E to be one of the easiest and most enjoyable to play and DM. As for it being a "super-hero" game because of the capabilities of characters (particularly at high levels) I seem to remember a small party fighting off a few armies of orcs in a certain book series by J.R.R. Tolkien. That's not superheroic?
    D20 is one of the easiest systems to use with both new players and veteran gamers. With the care given to balancing the classes, races, and feats, new gamers can create a character without having to worry about being totaly out of their league. The sheer amount of available options allow veteran gamers to create exactly the character they want while still giving the Dungeon Master a controlling ability. The classes are still diverse enough that, particularly at higher levels, each character plays very differently. Wizards may no longer be able to obliterate everything they see before them at high levels (although a well-played wizard is still a terrifying force to be reckoned with. Everyone griping about the "underpowered" mages in 3E might consider using the intelligence that is supposed to be the mark of a wizard. But of course, that would be role playing). Unlike 2E, high level fighters don't have to be satisfied "commanding armies" (yeah, that's real exciting. Let me roll a few hundred attack rolls real quick...) but can instead throw themselves into the fray as their weaker companions back them up.
    Their are a few things that I don't like about D20 that keep me from giving this product five stars. One is the class based system. While the class based system is nice for easy character creation and balance, it does somewhat limit the tweakinng available to each character (BESM D20 is an excellent resource for those looking for some wilder options). The other complaint is somewhat limited number of revisions between D&D 3.0 and 3.5. A cheaper book containing just the revisions would have been nice for those of us who own 3.0 books.
    Bottom line: If you don't own D&D Edition 3.0 and you want to play an enjoyable, addictive, easy to learn, and, above all, fun role playing game, pick up Dungeons and Dragons 3.5....more info
  • Excelent
    Ok, if you want to have some fun (well, not some, a lot), you have to buy this book.

    Years and years of gameplay, always with something new, diferent, interesting... all just with this book.

    Stop reading this review and buy it NOW!!!...more info
  • Necessary
    If you wish to play DnD, this book is necessary in order to play. You simply cannot play DnD (ver3.5) without this book....more info
  • Good game Improved
    I enjoyed the revised 3.5 version of D&D enough that I went and purchased a copy for my girlfriend to use in our games....more info
  • Versions don't matter
    My group started out with AD&D. We've upgraded from time to time. When we found things we liked, we used them. With 3.0 rules, we managed to exploit the rules to get 2-20 critical threat ranges. With 3.5, we uncovered the might of wielding Large rapiers to increase damage. The main thing I have to say is this: Adapt rules. We've taken rules and converted them. We mostly use 3.5 but we've used others. And don't complain about nerfed spells. Just get to epic level, learn Vengeful Gaze of God, and kill anything. Period. And as every good spellcaster knows: Always clone yourself before an adventure. Did they need to make 3.5? No. Is 3.5 better? Not really. Take the rules and change them. Adapt, alter,amend, and, alliterate. Don't whine. Just play however your group wants to. ...more info
  • Bringing Pen and Paper RPG to the Masses
    Over the years I have played a lot of different RPGs. Many of them leave you asking, "Now what do I do?" D20 D&D really seems to spell it all out and make the Pre-video game rpg reachable to people other than the extreme nerd. ...more info
  • Newer's Better...Right?
    After reading the 3rd edition (sorry 3.5 edition) Players Handbook, and subsequently the DM's guide, I am still not convinced that this is indeed a superior edition to the previous ones (i.e. 1st and 2nd edition, heck, probably even the Basic edition.) I think that much of the information presented therein is not of any real use in gaming D&D - that is, does it make playing the game a richer experience the gamer. From what I can discern, the answer is no. It seems all that has been done is the rules have simply been reworded (like referring to things with hip catch phrases such as calling extra-planar creatures "outsiders") and the game mechanics have been unnecessarily tinkered with (like how AC is dealt with, ya, the old way was clunky but so what). I do not think I need "Feats" to make playing better. They, and the d20 system as a whole, gives this version of D&D a feeling like it has been reduced to being a game wherein player tries to turn their characters into some kind of superhero. Granted, players have always tried this since the dawn of gaming, but now it is officially sanctioned. The design and artwork in the books is overblown, cluttered and lacks character. It gives me the impression that I'm playing a game based on comic books, or maybe even their abyssmal movie and, so-called, "novel" spawn they produce, rather than being derived from such talented writers as Robert E. Howard, Fritz Lieber and Lovecraft. Also, I hate the idea of being force-fed their official D&D deities - deities that are vapid and uninspiring.

    More importantly, what I gather from the PHB 3.5 is that they have attempted to rectify every imbalance from the previous editions. Thus, the mechanics and rules of a PC class have been altered so that these perceived deficiencies of imbalance not longer exist. But, I ask you the gentle reader, were these so called "imbalances" of the previous edition a really a major problem? Does it matter that some classes (in older versions) were more powerful than others? And, I believe this to be the most important question concerning whether I should or should not buy this newer D&D version: does its quantitative improvements qualitatively increase that amount of enjoyment of the game? That the 3.5's rule manipulations to give more power to PC's (feats, mages with greater spell ability at low level, etc.) seem as if they were the result of consolations given to poor players from an even poorer DM after the players had harped about not being able to keep their low-level mages alive long enough to reach higher levels. However, these type of players have failed to realize the full potential of what it means to actively play a character and not to passively react to what the DM says. Thus, these players fail to realize that at higher levels the advantages that other classes possess over the low-level mage, or some other class like a monk, is negated and even surpassed by their awesome powers. That is, so long as a player understands how the class is played to their best advantage given its innate limitations. Therefore, this class manipulation and the restructuring of other components of the game (like the groupings and classifications of the various monsters in the MM) are unnecessary if you have understanding how the previous editions work in the first place. And you don't need to be a genius to figure that out.

    In the end, the alterations of game mechanics are irrelevant because all versions are still role-played the same. But, should I spend my money on the PHB 3.5 and the whole slew of new (and newer is better, right?) products? Many of these being simply rehashed, reworded copies of books that I already possess or that are utterly useless because its contribution to a campaign is paltry at best. If you have your 2nd edition books, just stick with them. Your missing nothing worth wile here. I am not advocating a wholesale reversion to the old form, I just think 3.5 is not worth it for me.

    ...more info
  • D&D Player's Handbook gets 5 stars
    I recently bought this product for use playing Dungeons & Dragons with my friends. The book is extremely well-written and even though D&D can become very immersed in technical rules at times, the book does an excellent job of explaining everything from creating your first character (and his/her background, characteristics, physical features, etc) to an entire list of spells and their descriptions. Updated for play using version 3.5 rules, so you'll be up-to-date with everything new. The book is littered with colorful and well-done drawings of the material which ranges from visual depictions of weapons and armors to individual races and classes.
    Whether you're new to the game or an experienced veteran looking for the basics, the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook is an excellent choice to get into the game. ...more info
  • worth buying new
    I bought my copy of the 3.5 PHB at my local hobby shop. It's actually the special edition printing, but with the regular cover, so it was a good deal and has all but the most recent errata included in it.

    I played 2nd edition ad&d in the 90s and played one campaign of 3rd edition when it first came out in 2001, but I stopped after moving to New Zealand, so fortunately I missed the whole controversial conversion from 3.0 to 3.5 and all that.

    I didn't play 3.0 long enough to really be able to say whether 3.5 is an improvement or not, but I can say it's definitely an improvement on 2nd edition, at least in terms of gameplay. Don't forget, though, that 2nd edition was also revised shortly before TSR went under. Not many people seem to know/remember that.

    I do have one complaint with the 3.5 books, though: the illustrations aren't nearly as high quality as the 2nd edition ones were. Many of the illustrations in the 3.5 books are fairly cartoonish (not at all what you'd expect for 'epic fantasy'), and there are practically no full page ones, which is disappointing. With 2nd edition, you'd buy the books as much for the artwork as for the rules ... You certainly can't say the same for 3.5 books. I guess WOTC couldn't afford the 2nd edition artists' prices.

    If you want to play d&d 3.5, get this book. Hopefully you'll get a special edition printing in the regular binding like I did. If you don't like 3.5, just dig out your old rulebooks or go find some secondhand ones....more info
  • D&D PHB
    This book is great. I found it an improvement over the 3.5 rules, though I did think they nerfed some things a bit too much....more info
  • It's good, but it could have been great.
    I liked this update, it saved the ranger. But it didn't do hardly anything for the beleaguered fighter and sorcerer, nor did it curtail the out of control codzilla (the cleric and druid classes, which are considered by many to be overpowered). This version also seems to be heavily based on minis, which not all of us in nerd-land collect them.
    All in all, however, it's good. Those classes that did receive updates are better for it....more info
  • Not Very Authentic Version
    These rules are cumbersome and don't really capture the spirit of the original game.

    Rather than inspiring creativity, the rules cover too much. The bizare character feats and options will mean the DM will spend hours trying to roll up an NPC. Creating adventures is a nightmare and combat in this rule version is slow with an overemphasis on miniature wargames.

    The rules have the atmosphere of medieval superheroes or computer games rather than the original settings based on the writings of authors like Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber and others.

    The artwork, while well drafted and in colour, has the feel of a video game.

    They are very poor value for money, especially as the rules changed from edition 3 after only 3 years.

    If you want to get into Dungeons and Dragons try getting hold of the 1st edition AD&D books. If you want to learn the game, try the D&D basic rules from the 1980's - they're actually much better....more info
  • Seeing the new system made me realize how much I like this one
    The 3.5 system allowed for massive customization and character creation, as long as you have an imaginative group and a DM who is good with making house rules to bring things down to earth, then this was the best D&D system to date.
    The forth edition really seems set to drain the money out of one's pockets. There's the miniature push, the web site subscription that should help you to solve problems that the books themselves create, oh and the common place D&D material that was left out of the basic books to lure one to have to buy the additional books, hooray.
    I'm glad people are this interested in this system and I hope more people discover it....more info
  • Great source!
    If you play D&D, you know this is a must have book. If you are just getting into D&D, you will need this book, unless you plan on using the slightly outdated 3rd edition. Either way, you need a PH to play. Very easy to navigate and helps you out step by step. This, coupled with a DM guide, a pencil, and some dice will be all you need to start adventuring. ...more info
    First..shipped sooner than expected..I ordered another book so shipping was FREE and THEN!..I paid MUCH LESS THAN REG.RETAIL!..WOOFERS!!!!!

    Iam looking for what other titles I want!!!...more info
  • A must for any player
    This is the say all end all when it comes to D&D. With character creation, detailed explanations of combat, skills, feats, and an impressive starting spell library, this book is a must for all players.

    If you're new, this is a wonderful text to get a feel for the game. As reference material, I give it an A+ (yes, even for Dungeon Masters)....more info
  • A horrible introduction for beginner RPGers
    If you want a review of the rules and playtests, go to another review. This review is from a beginner's perspective.

    For an experienced gamer who has played 1e and/or 2e AD&D, it's everything you'd expect. Nothing surprising. In fact, I didn't even feel compelled to write a review b/c it would have been redundant... until I read the D&D Player's Handbook from a beginner's perspective.

    The first few pages ask the player to design a character with abilities and feats that haven't even been discussed yet. On top of that, the instructions refer the player to race and ability modifier tables elsewhere in the book. In fact, every step in the character setup section pretty much has the player flipping to different chapters in the book, making this book more a reference guide than a handbook. You're asking, "So what's wrong with that?" There is no context. There is no sample to look at. What is a newby going to learn by filling out a character sheet with points that he/she doesn't understand? What if the player doesn't know any RPGers and wants to start a game from the ground up? (For example, "What's the difference between Wisdom and Intelligence?")

    In the Class section, terms are thrown around left and right without explanation. Difficulty Class and Saving Throws, for example, are not defined until 20 pages after they are first mentioned. From a technical writer's perspective, that is a crime! If you want to alienate or frustrate your audience, this is the best way to do it. And I think DC is new to 3e, which makes it even more of a crime that it's not defined earlier.

    For those of you who bemoan the decline of pen & paper RPGs, you have to wonder if this book is going to be able to pull Generation Y away from their Playstations. I can tell you right now: It won't.

    What this book needs: A better overview/introduction from the beginning. Also, maybe a narrative of action that takes place within a sample adventure from a fictional character's perspective; this should be followed by a dialogue transcript of how that action would mechanically transpire within the game between the PCs and the DM, including dice rolls, etc. (this could be in the appendix or maybe even a cheap supplement). Then the player could see how imagination can really take over in a well-run D&D game. There are sample transcripts in the Player's Handbook, but they are too short; an afterthought and useless to experienced gamers and to novices.

    Also, since the d20 open game license specifically requires THIS BOOK to run any of the d20 games out there, don't you think the d20 logo should be on this book... you know, to help newbies connect the dots? I was in a comic book shop last year and remember some kid asking a clerk where he could find the d20 manual. I laughed at him then, but now I wonder how many clueless kids are out there like him who want to get into D&D.

    I went to the Wizards of the Coast website to see if they would have an online tutorial to supplement the Player's Handbook. They don't. Perhaps the PHB isn't the place to hold hands for new players, but where else can they turn? The WotC website advertises that a Basic Set is coming out in August. Uhh... how long has the 3e PHB been out? A little late, guys. And how hard would it be for WotC to do a Flash online tutorial? Honestly. I challenge you to search Amazon and try to find a d20 beginner's book published by ANYBODY, let alone Wizards of the Coast.

    Conclusion: Wizards of the Coast has published a non-user-friendly handbook that, without a local RPG support system, could never hook the average kid nowadays. I guess Wizards is counting on Generation X to support their products... Gen X who all have jobs and may have families, but don't have a lot of time to be playing games for hours on end. If Wizards wants to pass the torch to Gen Y, they had better do a better job at selling their analog game in an entertainment market dominated by digital games.

    I recommend first-time RPG'ers to grab the "Call of Cthulhu" d20 handbook published by Wizards of the Coast. It is better written, better organized, and is a far better tutorial/introduction to the D&D rules than the PHB. "Call of Cthulhu" has: better explanation of rules, better examples, and even sample DM/PC transcripts....more info
  • never recieved said order
    not much to say, e-mailed the company twice and they never sent the book, but they sure took the cash for it. would not tell any one to order from this company, and if you are a service personnel dont waste your cash with this company....more info
  • 3.5 or 3.0? That is the question.
    If you have never played D&D this is the edition you want to pick up. It has all the basic information you need to play or run a Dungeons and Dragons campaign/adventure. Of course more books won't hurt either, but this book is all you need. I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons for about 16 years. I've played first, second, and 3.0 editions. 3.5 is by far the best edition to date. This edition is really easy for a new gamer to pick up and play. This edition is also complex enough to peak the constant-gamer's intrest. The difrence between 3.0 and 3.5 is not that big, but what difrences there are are good changes to a great edition. I will say that by the time you read this review Wizards of the Coast will most likely have a new edition out, and we''ll all have to go upgrade again. Until that happens though 3.5 is the best and most recent edition to date. All of the new material that comes out from WOTC is 3.5 so you might as well join in the fun of discovering the difrences between 3.0 and 3.5....more info
  • Still the one
    Dungeons and Dragons is still the best and most popular table top role-playing game on the market today. My only complaint about this book and the game in general is the sheer volume of companion books you have to get in order to play the game. It'd be nice for them to break down one day and make a good all-in-one product for a change....more info
  • This is a great book
    I'm back to D&D after many years of not playing. I think the 3.5 players handbook is very well done. The writing, graphics, and organization are excellent. I can't think of any ways to improve it. It's full of useful stuff and well-written!...more info