Customer Reviews: Dungeons & Dragons V.3.5 Core Rulebook Set (Dungeons & Dragons d20 3.5 Fantasy Roleplaying, Three Book Slipcased Set)
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on May 23, 2004
Ok. I'm not going to compare this with the older eds. I'm just going to say for new people joining the game this is alot easier. The set up is quicker, the rules are better, the game is balanced better. This edition is easier to learn from scratch and is better at getting new people in because more is spelled out....
The only complaint... my dice roll low and they need to roll high for everything in this ed. :)
This set is the complete set for the game. If you already have someone running the game then you only need a player's guide to start. If you want to run a game... well.. hopefully you've at least played it before. To run a game you could conceivably need every book imaginable, but many of the rules were traditionally the dm's call.. so just the DM's guide and player's guide is a must. The monster manuel just makes it all a bit easier.
It's fun. It's incredibly interactive and there is tons on the internet to spice your game up. You can even get the character sheets needed online for free.
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on November 30, 2004
Having rediscovered D&D a little over a year ago, I have to say that I like most of the changes they've made since I last played in the mid-80s. To be honest, most of the differences people have pointed out don't even ring a bell for me; they just feel right, suggesting a natural evolution of the game. It's definitely much more complex now, with an intense attention to detail that can be intimidating, but it's all designed in a way that lets you customize the game to your own liking.

And, most importantly, it's still fun to play. Unlike video games, most of which are designed around an individual experience, a D&D game is a collaborative effort that encourages creativity and social interaction from every player. The only boundaries are those of your collective imagination.

This gift set is the perfect way to get back into the game, too, combining the three core books that include all the information you need to create characters, design adventures and populate them with an array of monsters to slay. There's even information on incorporating miniatures into the game, offering a visual aid for those who can't fully make the leap from video games.

Don't make the mistake of thinking D&D is either too complex for kids (my 9-year old niece plays), or too simple for adults (I'm 35). It's a highly-flexible system that can be easily tweaked for the enjoyment of all ages.

The occasional typo aside, the books themselves are well-designed hardcovers and the authors present the material in an engaging way that goes beyond simply explaining the rules of the game. All three books actually represent entertaining reads in and of themselves, something that's not always the case with role-playing publications. These are the cream of the crop.
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on December 1, 2003
This gift set is a collection of the 3 core rule books needed to play 3.5 edition dungeons and dragons. Note that each of these books has a suggested retail price of $30. This set is priced at over $90 at the local bookstore. Amazon sells each of these individually for about $20 - so getting all 3 for $54 is simply the best value I have found anywhere on these books (plus shipping was free!). The slipcase is cardboard, with nice artwork. The books fit very snug inside.
Note that these are the newer, 3.5 edition books - not to older
(obsolete?) 3rd ed. books.
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on December 10, 2003
The artwork is well executed. The layout of the books is not unfamiliar; even though it is 20 years since I last played. This collection was the least expensive way I could review all of the changes made in that time. It saved me just under $40 dollars to local retail sales. The box is nicely laminated; easy to remove the books from, and slip back in for storage. The colors are subdued and tasteful, and will not look garrish or inappropriate on any shelf. This contains the Dungeon Master's Guide, Player's Handbook, and Monster Manual in 3.5 Edition rules. (And I started in the construction paper bound set. My! have we changed.)
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on August 25, 2004
D&D 3rd edition was a radical revitalization of the D&D Game.

D&D 3.5 edition is not so much a new edition, as it is a refinement of 3.0 after expensive playtesting by the wolrd at large.

Rangers are now actually worth playing.

Monks get there abilities in more logical order.

Damage resistance was changed to more playable.

More Feats, More Spells, More Prestige classes, More Magic items, etc..

The Monster Manual now lists Flat Footed and touch armor classes for all the monsters, and the monsters have more skills and feats than they did in 3.0.

The Dungeon Masters guide is more logically layed out than it's 3.0 counterpart and is filled with extra material.

All of the books wnet up to 320 page count and all gained additional source material.

Simply put 3.5 charecters have more to choose from and are all better off than their 3.0 counterparts.

A sound investment, and at Amazons Discount price it's like getting one book free.
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on June 9, 2005
I've been playing D&D (or more precisely, AD&D) and other RPG's for a significant portion of my life, so I think it's fair to say that I know what I'm talking about. Third edition, or more accurately, 3.5 now and coming up on 4th, is both a blessing and a curse at the same time. It is getting a whole new generation of people into the RPG world. However, it is, as some people have already said, a less intelligent version of TSR's previous work.

Perhaps the biggest issue I have is with the "balancing" of the character classes. Designed so that all character classes are "equally powerful" at all times, what Wizards of the Coast has effectively done is gut the classes in favor of cookie cutter standups. Now, a wizard and a fighter stand on even ground throughout their careers, as long as they both choose the propper "feats" to give their character those special abilities. In 2e, the classes were balanced much more realistically. A wizard was capable of raining fiery death upon his opponents, but he made some serious trades for that power. A fighter couldn't cast a spell ever and was likely to be dumber than a brick, but there was never a time when he wasn't ready to go with armor, sword, or spear. Paladins, arguably an over-powered class in previous editions, certainly had a significant level of ability, but the trade-offs for that power were severe to say the least. The third edition paladin is barely a shadow of his former self and there's no longer any draw whatsoever to play one.

Combat was redesigned, and admirably I might say: however, there's nothing there that any 2e DM worth his salt hadn't already instituted in his game previously. They got rid of THAC0's and flipped the AC chart, but more DM's than I can count knew how to do that when 2e first came out! After that, there are loads of idiotic rules that make no sense except when you realize that the new edition is designed so that you almost can't play without spending bundles of cash on miniatures. Creatures now have no "facing" (i.e., there's no front and back in combat, it's all the same). Initiative is now static, which totally disallows for any sense of the heat of battle (an easily fixed rule perhaps, but stupid nontheless). In order to actually figure out what your character is able to do within the space of a round, you absolutely must have a gridded off map and a miniature for yourself and everything else in the room. The chaos of combat that comes from not knowing precisely where everything is at any given moment is stripped away because now you are forced to view the battle as a general rather than your own character.

The system does more than just encourage "roll Playing" over Role Playing, it down right demands it. With skills such as "sense motive" and "gather information," third edition has effectively taken out of the players' hands the responsibility to actually perform some of these tasks themselves. Instead of actually talking to townsfolk to find out what's going on, you can make a roll of a 20 sided die, do a little bit of math, and find out everything you need in order to go kill the bad guy, which is what it amounts to.

The revamped XP system is designed so that no character will ever face anything that is overly challenging to them. There's a specific "window" in which optimum XP is gained for fighting certain monsters, but anything over or under that results in no XP or less. This creates a video game type atmosphere in which the characters are just challenged enough to keep on going just as in Mario Brothers, the monsters get a little tougher after every level.

In order to keep up with everybody else, you're forced to run out and purchase new supplements every month or so, each costing about $30 or more. There are no soft cover supplements anymore that you can pick up for less, so it's easy to see that Wizards of the Coast is gouging players in order to turn a profit.

Despite all the negative, there are some positive aspects to the game as it stands.

1) Clerical spellcasting has been "fixed" as I see it. Now, instead of cookie-cutter clerics (as they often were in 2nd and 1st edition), now every priest has the opportunity to specialize in "domains" that grant specific spells and abilities.

2) The world of magic item creation has been opened up to lower level player characters, letting wizards of even 1st level create scrolls and potions on occasion rather than waiting until 9th level. Of course, this comes at the heaviest cost of all, XP, but trading a few hundred XP for a permanent magical item might be very tempting to a player.

3) As I mentioned, the official switching of AC and THAC0's is a good thing.

4) The simplification of many complex rules invites many new comers to the game.

5) The atmosphere can be there, as long as you have a good DM at the helm who knows how to do more than just drop monsters and traps in front of you and watch you whack them. Again, this is where imagination comes in, just as it did in all previous editions.
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on June 26, 2004
Ok, if you, like me, have finally decided to crack down and upgrade with the rest of the gaming world to the new 3.5 edition rules for D&D, this is probably the way to go. Gripes about the short time between the release of 3e and 3.5e aside, this is the easiest and by far cheapest way to go. If you purchased each of the core rulebooks individualy you would shell out between $30-$40 per book, thats $90-$120 depending on where you buy! But at $63 you save a bundle and get the whole thing in one fell swoop. So if you are a veteran of 3e (or before) and are looking to update to 3.5, this is the way to go. If you are new to the roleplaying scene this bundle may be too overwhelming, and I would suggest to simply buy the Players Handbook.
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on August 22, 2006
I've been playing D&D for about 20 years now. I stopped playing in 1996, then a couple of years ago I reunited with a few of my old gaming buddies, who introduced me to version 3.5.

The first thing that I'll say is that I like the direction the game has headed. There are a great many improvements in 3.5. Prestige classes, a revamped combat system, and feats are all great additions. But I also have a couple of gripes.

From my experiences so far, I've come to the conclusion that spellcasters have gotten shafted in this edition. A high-level mage used to be so powerful that he could single-handedly take on most monsters in the game. They would balance this out by being incredibly weak at low levels. Now, 3.5 wizards just don't harness the power they used to have. WOTC has limited the damage from spells (i.e. a fireball does a max of 15d6) when it used to be limited only by the level of the wizard.

With the right feat selections, fighter types are now the powerhouses in the game, and always seem to beat wizards who are close to their level, or even those who are a few levels higher. Additionally, if the opponent who the wizard is fighting is high level, most likely he will make his saving throws against the wizards spells, which ensures the spells will only have 1/2 the effect or even no effect at all. So basically this means the wizard is running around "half-powered" against most opponents he'd face at that level.

Armor classes also seem to be a little off. It is pretty easy for a dextrous fighter who wears light armor to have as good or better AC than a slower fighter who wears a suit of heavy armor. I think to counterbalance this WOTC should add damage reduction for armor. As it stands now a guy in full plate armor takes as much damage as a guy in leather armor. I don't think this is right and should be changed.

But of course, all of these things can be countered by applying house rules -- i.e. rules that the DM changes or makes up to suit his own campaign.

Overall I really love the product, and the books are beautifully made. One other point I'd like to make is that WOTC are putting out 2-3 books a month, and I think the quality is starting to slip on the supplements. They should really limit their releases to one book every couple of months. That way all the books (and not just the core rulebooks) will have the exceptional level of quality we consumers expect.
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on November 12, 2005
As a long time player and avid D&D fan, I rushed out an purchased 3rd edition nearly as soon as it came out and was, not surprisingly, very disappointed. Many of the rules were re-written for what seemed to be no reason, much of the material was cartoonish or "action-oriented" rather than story driven, and a lot of the core ideas of D&D were dummed down (or "streamlined for new players" as WotC put it). The Ranger class was neutered as a viable playing option. I was unhappy.

Then, in what seemed to be just a few months, 3.5 came out. I was stunned that a new edition was coming out right on the heels of the changes already made. Thankfully, I decided to purchase it anyway, being the obsessed fan I am, and was pleasantly surprised. Some of the complicated rules that I enjoyed from 2nd edition were brought back as optional rules, the Ranger was made into a great class once again, and to top it all off, humans became a viable player race.

My group and I now play 3.5 exclusively and are enjoying every minute of it. Combat is 10 times easier, and many of the rules really are streamlined for ease of play (skill checks, thieves abilities and spell resistance are vastly improved, just to name a few). I whole-heartedly recommend this to older fans of the original all the way to those casually interested in high fantasy.
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on February 24, 2006
My wife picked up a box set of the new D&D 3.5 game, the abridged rules and first adventure with pre-roled characters and miniatures to boot. After playing over the Christmas break, I ordered myself the Gift Set as a belated Christmas present and am happy that I did.

I last played AD&D about 20 years ago and figured I would just buy the latest version because the abridged version just wasn't satisfying my desires. The price was right for the box set.

I've read all the other reviews and suppose if I had been playing steadily for the past 20 years I'd probably find some negative comments to say. But, overall I'm enjoying the purchase. I would say that if you do not have prior experience with AD&D (or other RPG) then you may have some difficulty finding the guidance you need. For instance, it took me about 3 or 4 gaming sessions to figure out what the initiative rule was... And I'm still not sure I have it right - point is, I decided on an interpretation of the rule that works for our game.

I've been playing the game with my wife and daughter once a week or so... When I am not able to find the rule to answer the situation then I just make up something reasonable or something fantastic (to delight my daughter). It is just a game afterall.
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