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Reviews of 'Player's Handbook: Core Rulebook I'

Player's Handbook: Core Rulebook I

by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams
D&D 3.5 Core Books, Volume 1

Reviews of 'Player's Handbook: Core Rulebook I'

Here are the visitor reviews we have of Player's Handbook: Core Rulebook I. For more information about this title, please visit the item detail page.

Reviewer: Matt

Rating: Stars

If you follow the gaming community at all or play the Dungeons & Dragons game, you've probably heard about the forthcoming revised core rulebooks. The new books are part of the D&D 3.5 rules, a refresh of the original 3rd Edition rules that were released in the fall of 2000. After three years and a lot of hours logged by thousands of players around the world, these revised rulebooks have expanded and refined the rules to in response to overwhelming real world feedback.

The Player's Handbook, or PHB is perhaps the most well-known and well-used of the three core rulebooks: every player and DM should have a copy in their library in order to truly understand the rules of the game. The new PHB has been expanded from original 3rd edition's 288 pages to 320 pages in the revised edition (not including the "Survival Kit" in the back for those copies of the PHB that were released before the 3rd Edition Dungeon Master's Guide was printed).

The list of changes, especially in the PHB, is extensive. All of the character classes experienced some revisions—from minor alterations to the fighter to a near overhaul of the rangers—which should make the game more balanced and enjoyable for players adventuring in those character classes. A number of feats and skills have been eliminated, folded into others, or clarified. The list of feats has been expanded as well to include feats that have been introduced in later products.

Spellcasters should take note: there have been a great number of changes to the spell list. A number of new spells were added to the game, some changed schools, and many spell descriptions, effects, and durations were altered. Some spells were removed. A number of spells were renamed, generally to better reflect the purpose of the spell: Change Self to Disguise Self, for example.

Perhaps the most visible change in the revised PHB, however, is the revised and expanded section on combat. The new combat take into account the fact that many DMs run their games utilizing a grid and character miniatures or markers to accurately position the PCs and their adversaries on the combat grid. The revised rules detail exactly what "line of sight" means (in grid terms), how diagonal movement works, and provide color diagrams on grids that illustrate most of the actions that can be taken in combat-reach, withdrawal, cover, ranged attacks, and flanking, to name a few.

The most important question with regard to the new rules, however, is whether or not they should be used in your campaign, and whether or not you should purchase the revised core rulebooks. The final decision on any of these questions should be determined by the individual players and DMs—but the revised PHB has a number of significant additions and changes that will make life easier and will clarify a number of issues that weren't black and white in the 3rd edition of the rules.

For those that choose not to add the 3.5 PHB to their library, Wizards of the Coast will be publishing a free 3.5 Accessory Update on the Internet, but the update will only cover some of the basic changes to the PHB and does not include any of the combat diagrams or changes, and includes only lists and not details of major revisions to spells, feats and skills.

Overall, the 3.5 PHB is excellent and includes a number of changes that will take the Dungeons & Dragons game to the next level, and eliminate some of the ambiguity from certain aspects of the original 3rd edition rules. While the 3.5 PHB isn't an entirely new game system, it provides enough new information and refinements to make the purchase of the new book worth the investment.

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