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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Ideas
The Player's Handbook 3 is Wizards of the Coast's latest Dungeons and Dragons player supplement. Like the Player's Handbook 2, it introduces the player to new classes, races, feats, items, and character generation rules. While these rules are well-implemented and generally thoughtful in concept, a few oversights decrease the book's overall quality.

The PH3 adds...
Published on March 19, 2010 by TheScientistDM

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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 4E Players Handbook 3
Looking over the players handbook I was impressed with some aspects and also a little disappointed with others.

Races:
In my opinion half the races presented in this handbook were a great addition while the other half were not up to par. Since starting gaming many years back I have had many players ask me if they could play a minotaur, but it being a EL8...
Published on April 15, 2010 by Jubbs71


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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Ideas, March 19, 2010
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This review is from: Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook (Hardcover)
The Player's Handbook 3 is Wizards of the Coast's latest Dungeons and Dragons player supplement. Like the Player's Handbook 2, it introduces the player to new classes, races, feats, items, and character generation rules. While these rules are well-implemented and generally thoughtful in concept, a few oversights decrease the book's overall quality.

The PH3 adds the long-awaited Psionic power source to the player's arsenal, and this new resource is very different from the past 4e power sources. Every role is filled, and the overall game mechanics are changed notably by three of these classes in order to provide a unique play experience. Instead of gaining encounter powers, Ardents, Battleminds, and Psions gain power points, a per-encounter resource that can be used to augment many of their daily powers, replaceable at-will powers, and even item powers. These augments might change the range, damage, or control effects of a given power. While it may take a while to fully understand the balance implications of these revisions, at first glance this mechanic appears fresh and useful.

To complement the new classes, WotC included four races for player use. The Githzerai, Minotaur, Shardmind, and Wilden are all in this source book, and are given PH2 style racial paragon paths. These races fit the new classes well, and as usual grant the player a +2 to two ability scores. The twist is that, in all cases, the player is given a choice between two ability scores to increase. For example, the Shardmind always receives a +2 to Intelligence, but the player can choose between Wisdom and Charisma as a second ability score bonus. This flexibility increases the player's control over the character and provides more possible variety in the race roster.

In terms of feats, items, and skills, it appears that the PH3 has the usual fare, with one notable exception. Skill powers allow players to swap utility powers for new powers that correspond to trained skills. This new option is flavorful and makes your character's skills more useful both in and out of combat. As usual, expect to find interesting new items and feats that work well with the new classes and races.

Perhaps the most far-reaching development in the PH3 is the addition of Hybrid class rules. These rules allow an effective combination of character classes starting from level one, and result in more of a 50/50 split between the 2 classes than the PH1's multiclass rules. Every class is given a hybrid write up (features only, so you still need another source for powers), and the player is given rules for picking two of these write ups and combining them into one class. Many notable class features are lost, but some can be regained through the Hybrid Talent feat and more powers and features can be gained by forgoing a Paragon Path (much like Paragon Multiclassing). Hybrid rules do not stop a player from multiclassing into a third class, and this feature could result in some truly interesting three-class characters. Indeed, these rules will strongly affect every player supplement released in this edition of D&D, as every new class and class feature will need a hybrid version printed to be compatible with this rule.

Finally, I have a few critiques to note. First, as I read, I ran into many powers and class features that are not well-edited. The Battlemind in particular may have real problems if the DM does not allow for some slight rule flexibility to make his features work as the rules clearly intend (if you are curious about a lot of these issues, I encourage you to check out the D&D forums). Second, a major inconsistency really bothered me. The Monk, a psionic striker in this edition, does not follow the power point rules that every other psionic class follows. While the Monk has its own interesting mechanics, it could have easily fallen under the martial source given its nature, and it's very disappointing to me that no striker exists that uses power points. Third, and probably most important, the Runepriest and the Seeker feel like filler classes. While they may be robust and interesting in terms of gameplay, they do not fit the psionic mold of the book, and unlike the PH2, the PH3 only adds six classes. These strange new divine and primal additions simply feel out of place, and I think the PH2's approach of adding four classes from one source and two from two others made it a better read.

The PH3 is a buy for players who enjoy D&D and want psionic options, or even for those who just care about hybrid rules. The new player options are plentiful and are sufficiently different from past material that a simple reflavoring of other power sources will not do psionics or hybrid rules justice. A few implementation problems keep these great ideas from perfection, but I certainly hope WotC continues in this general direction for future supplements.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very cool new classes and powers but not for beginners., June 6, 2010
This review is from: Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook (Hardcover)
Summary:
Like Player's Handbook 2, PHB three offers a wide variety of new character options. There are 4 new races, 6 new classes, prestige classes to go with these, 6 new Epic destinies, a slew of new feats and a bunch of Magic items. New to PHB3 are rules for Hybrid Characters and Skill Powers.

The new races are Githzerai, Minotaurs, Shardminds and Wilden. The Shardminds have to be the oddest race released so far for any edition. They are made up of living crystal that shattered off of the gate to The Far Realm. Odd just odd. The Wilden remind me of Dryad's from Warhammer Fantasy as they can take on different aspects based on the seasons. The Githzerai and Minotaurs are old races that it's nice to see get the 4e treatment.

The new classes are Ardent, Battlemind, Monk, Psion, Runepriest and Seeker. Most of these are psionic classes and full rules for how psionics work are included. Basically you get a set of power points that renew each short rest. You use these to improve your powers (augment). Instead of getting encounter powers your at-will powers have 3 different power levels each, a basic 0 cost version and then versions that cost 1 or more power points. It's an interesting change from the old Psi point system to be sure.

The new psionic classes are the Ardent, Battlmind and Psion. The Ardent is a psionic leader. The Battlemind a psionic Defender. The Psion is a psionic controller and has many of the powers from the orgiinal psionic handbooks (Id insinuation ring a bell?).

The Monk has a psionic power source but doesn't use powerpoints. At first I thought this was odd but then when you think of a Martial Artists focusing of Ki it actually does fit the psionic theme. Monks are quite a bit different from previous editions but do keep their mobility and things like Flurry of Blows.

Two non-psionic classes fill the last two spots. The Runepriest is a Divine Leader and the Seeker is a Primal Controller.

Hybrid character rules allow players to make what would have been a dual class character from previous editions. This is more in depth and more of a mix of two classes then the previous multiclass rues where you used a feat and got to select some powers from another class. These rules fully integrate two classes into one new class. Basically there is a hybrid version of each character class that gives you so many hit points, specific skill training, proficiencies, defense bonuses and powers. You chose two of these and combine the powers, bonuses and abilities from both. There are also suggestions on how to make an effective hybrid character.

The chapter on skill powers gives all characters of all races and classes new options. Skill powers are utility powers that you can take when you would normally gain a utility power for your class. These are all based on being trained in specific skills and allow you options based on that training. There are multiple levels of power for each possible skill. There also is also a feat in the feat section of the book that lets you take a skill power without using up one of your 'class based' utility slots.

Next you will find a ton of new Feats, most of which are specific to the races and classes in this book. Feats are followed by new magic items. What's interesting here are the new Ki Focuses and Rune powers which are totally new types for this book. There are some new expendable items as well. Also included are enhanced implements. These rules compliment the rules for special weapons and armour released in previous books (e.g. Adamantine Armour)

A summary of how to read a power finishes the books. There are some rule updates in here as well mostly dealing with Implements and Weapons as Implements.

The Good:
I love the Skill Powers section! There are so many great character options here and they are open to any character of any race and class. They give some great alternative powers to the ones offered by the classes. They also really let you compensate for a characters weaknesses or even more so a parties weakness. For example: if you have no Leader in the group but you have characters trained in Heal, then have everyone train on the Heal Skill Powers Healers Gift and Physician's Cure. The Endurance Skill Powers are especially juicy finally giving reason for characters to train in what was an undervalued skill.

The new classes, at least the ones I have played or played with are really great. They really offer a lot of options and combos on the battlefield. I personally love my Ardent that I put through Dungeons and Dragons encounters. I really liked all the reactive things I could do and the buffs I provided the party as long as they stayed close. I'm also a real fan of the Monk, I've played with two different players playing Monks and they have impressed me each time. I really like the way the Runepriest works as well getting two options an aggressive one and a defensive one with most powers really open up the options. If Darksun wasn't the next encounters campaign I would be trying out a Runepriest.

The Bad:
All of the included classes are more complex then the base PHB classes and are more suited to experienced players. All of them have a lot of options in their powers and most give a wide range of temporary buffs and de-buffs that need to be tracked. This is great for players who want more options but I suggest avoiding these classes for new players.

I'm not sold on the Shardmind. It's just too odd. A living piece of a shattered gate bent on destroying Aberrant creatures. The whole 'every shardmind has a different view on how to fight the abyss' thing seems forced and a cop out for why they don't just all get together and fix the gate. This seemed to me to be a race better suited to Dragon Magazine then a core rulebook.

I did not like the way the rules changes were just there mixed in with all the re-stating of existing rules in the 'how to read a power' section. It would have been nice to highlight where rules have been enhanced or clarified. I almost skipped over this section except for the fact that I knew ahead of time that there were some rule changes.

The Ugly:
I'm not a fan of the Hybrid rules. This seems like something WotC put in because fans wanted to play their old Fighter/Thief from previous editions. It just doesn't seem to mesh well with the other class rules and seems like it could be widely unbalancing in both making characters too weak and too powerful. I had no problem with the feat based multiclass rules and think they sufficed. Not that I should be complaining that a company is catering to their fans but these rules seem unneeded by 4th edition.

Overall:
I know it looks like I had more bad to say then good this time around but that's not the case with my overall impression of this book. The new races are cool enough (except for the Shardmind which is just too weird) but the new classes are excellent. I really like the way psionics are handled and I like what they did with the old favorrite The Monk. The rules on Skill Powers really top this one off as a great book. I personally don't like the Hybrid rules but I'm sure there are gamers out there that have been waiting for these rules since 4e was released. A word of warning for new players though, these new classes are quite a bit more complex then the basic ones in the PHB and I recommend skipping this book until at least your second character.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing your game, April 16, 2010
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This review is from: Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook (Hardcover)
As usual, Wizards of the Coast has released another book with more fully-playable races and new classes for Dungeons & Dragons. There's nothing really different, except for the Hybrid character options that allows to combine classes to make a more sophisticated PC that can sustain one or two of the roles of each class, or at least change its aproach to its primary role.
Something that seems very interesting is the introduction of Skill Powers, which represent specific ways of using one of the skills your character have in form of in-combat powers. This seems like a nice way to increase your hability roster, besides giving options that enrich greatly your role-playing during combats.
There are, however, some flaws on this book. The races featured are the Minotaur, the Githzerai, the Wilden and the Shardmind. These Shardgminds and Wilden are new races, and I do find them interesting both. However, why did they choose the Githzerai and the Minotaur? I'm not complaining, but of the great array of creatures that D&D has featured along four editions, a larger selection could have been presented in the book. Why the Minotaurs and Githzerai, then? Why not the Gnoll (also explored thoroughly in Dragon Magazine), or the Aasimar from past editions? Why not all six, to say something, or another six?
The classes in this book are all nice; however, some of them are more appealing than others. The Monk (striker) and the Psion (controller) are, I believe, the main course in the book, but also the Runepriest has a certain charm, being a Divine Leader that uses runes to achieve its goals. The Seeker is a controller-role version of a Ranger, or at least it feels like it, and the Battlemind is a Psionic Fighter/Paladin. The Ardent is a Psionic Leader, but the concept itself is kind of blurry. It senses and enhaces emotions, or something like that.
I have little more to say... more feats, more items... the Psionic powers are played in a different way (augmenting At-Will's instead of using Encounter's). This is a nice book. Maybe not all of the stuff will be as good as the Monk or the Psion, and you may feel the same thing I do about the races, but don't worry. I'm positive there will be another Player's Handbook in a few months.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Campaign Gold, June 8, 2012
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This review is from: Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook (Hardcover)
While not sharing the variety in and of itself that the previous books had, the race/ class mix in the PH3 allow for an enormous amount of variation for any game. The addition of the psionic power source gives storyteller DMs like myself an infinite range of possibilities. Well worth the effort from players who want to inject something new into their game as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice addition, April 8, 2011
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This review is from: Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook (Hardcover)
The PHB3 for 4E DnD showed up very quickly and in very good condition. I've just recently started playing 4E with my group; they were very reluctant to give up 3rd edition. One of their common complaints among them were the lack of choices for their characters. This book adds some very good new material and updates some old 3rd classes that appealed to some of my players. Overall, very good book, invaluable for 4E especially if you want to use psionics.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 4E Players Handbook 3, April 15, 2010
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Jubbs71 "Jubbs71" (Eau Claire, WI USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook (Hardcover)
Looking over the players handbook I was impressed with some aspects and also a little disappointed with others.

Races:
In my opinion half the races presented in this handbook were a great addition while the other half were not up to par. Since starting gaming many years back I have had many players ask me if they could play a minotaur, but it being a EL8 didn't allow them to until far into the campaign. The addition of this race and the gith were good. The Shard-whatever and the wilden-leaf/stick people were to a bit of a stretch, they just seemed strange and weird (not that their abilities or stats were bad).

Classes:
Overall not bad, some were interesting. There's much controversy in my gaming groups about whether or not the monk should be psionic... I see both arguments so I guess I just don't really care either way.

The addition of the hybrid characters was to me awesome. It in a way brought back multi-classing... At least I feel it's closer to multi-classing from 3.0/3.5.

The girth of the book was a bit small but there is good information in it. It is just starting to feel like Wizards is pumping off books for quantity and no longer for quality/length. On another note, pathfinder has completely captivated my attention, a nearly 600 page book for practically the same price as one (when comparing prices on amazon).
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4.0 out of 5 stars This was good, June 22, 2014
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Carrie Grice (Starkville, MS United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook (Hardcover)
For a novice, I expected more of the basics to be covered. I wish they would understand that the younger audience has not ever played before.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, June 12, 2014
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This review is from: Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook (Hardcover)
Exactly what i wanted and was super excitd when it came cant wait to start building characters to play with
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5.0 out of 5 stars good buy, March 8, 2014
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Stuart Anderson (SAINT PAUL, MN, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook (Hardcover)
A must have for any DND player. Saves time looking up things online to create and level a character. Worth getting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars If you want more classes and races, this book does that., March 26, 2013
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This review is from: Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook (Hardcover)
Overall I liked the new classes (especially the monk who offers a truly mobile play style) and the new races where okay if slightly boring. It's a decent expansion to the game but you won't be missing out on anything too awesome if you decided to save your money.
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Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook
Player's Handbook 3: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook by Bruce R. Cordell (Hardcover - March 16, 2010)
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