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Unearthed Arcana (Dungeons & Dragons d20 3.5 Fantasy Roleplaying) Hardcover – February 1, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Andy Collins's most recent credits include the Epic Level Handbook, Draconomicon, Complete Warrior, and contributing to the D&D Player's Handbook v.3.5.

Jesse Decker has written numerous articles in relation to the D&D game, and his most recent credit is the D&D Arms and Equipment Guide.

David Noonan's most recent credits include the D&D accessories Stronghold Builder's Guidebook, Hero Builder's Guidebook, Complete Warrior, and the Urban Arcanaª Campaign Setting.

Rich Redman's most recent credits include contributing to Deities and Demigods, Defenders of the Faith, Monster Manual II, Savage Species, and the D&D Arms and Equipment Guide.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (February 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786931310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786931316
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.7 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Noonan's most recent credits include the D&D accessories Stronghold Builder's Guidebook and Hero Builder's Guidebook and the Urban Arcana Campaign Setting.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Overall, I'm pleased that I bought this one, though it is far from perfect. Perhaps the Hit-or-Miss quality of the text, though, is derived not so much from poor conception or execution, but rather from the opposite; after all, this text attempts to collect some of the more interesting "house rules" variants out there, and by definition, different variants would seem to appeal to different gamer-geeks.
Cool Things:
--sections on "reducing level adjustments" (buying off LA with XP later on) and "bloodlines" (adding a touch of bizarre ancestry to a PC) are well thought out.
--in terms of class variants, some of the wizards are decent, but the paladin (i.e. of any alignment) really shines.
--the "character traits" (personal quirks added at generation, a la *Fallout*) and "character flaws" (taking penalties at generation to add bonus feats, a la White Wolf) are long overdue to this system; the "spelltouched feats" (adding event-specific magical abilities) are also fertile.
--the "defense bonus" variant (a level-contingent statistic like attack bonus), "armor as damage reduction" (self-explanatory?), and "damage conversion" (armor changes lethal damage to non-lethal) are all great; the "variable modifiers" variant (instead of BAB +4, say, one would instead add d8 to the standard d20 roll) is also smart.
--many of the magic variants are useful, such as "summon monster variants" (individualized or themed lists), "metamagic components" (such feats have costs in this case), "item familiars" (why not? there's tons of intelligent constructs otherwise), and "incantations" (complex magickes that can be cast by anyone).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
- First: Don't buy at full price. Some Amazon marketplace sellers are selling this as low as $9. I was expecting disappointment based on the low-balled price, but I was wrong!

- Second: Don't confuse this with TSR AD&D 1st Ed Unearthed Arcana or Sword & Sorcery Arcana Unearthed. Both cool books.

- Third: Don't read the Amazon description. It makes you think this book is all about strongholds for some reason...

- A minor annoyance is that WOTC already have a DMG2 released and a Player's Handbook 2 planned, and the material herein would be better placed/organized into a larger 500+ page Player's Handbook and larger 500+ page DMG respectively or just merge all these things entirely. Monte Cook did it with a huge Arcana Evolved. Why can't WOTC do this? Why all the individual books (this one is barely 200+ pages)? It's stupid to flip through 100 different books to see all the different classes and races available, make 1 race book, 1 class book and so on...Everyone else is doing it (Moongoose, Green Ronin) but WOTC. I think Hasbro has enough money.

- Its variants, house rules, and draws from a variety of sources and influences old and new as others have suggested. You have race variants (desert elf, aquatic gnome, etc. not terribly exciting), class variants (new paladins, etc., cool), Gestalt classes vs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll agree with a few other reviewers that the price can seem high, and much of the content is available elsewhere. However, if you're no longer a HS/university student long on time, short on money, I think the book is well worth it. With a personal life, career, family and home, I don't have the time I used to have, so having this nice little compilation of options (some are very similar to ones already in use by my group) is worth the $20some I spent on it. I'd rather spend my precious free time creating a good adventure for my players than on creating optional systems for everything, and that also goes for scouring the web and bookshelves for the tweaks and options in this one book. It's like going to Jiffy Lube; sure I can change my own oil, but for $20 I'll go across the street and hit the bank, get a coffee and otherwise enjoy my free time while they handle it :)
I'm sure someone will flame me for being lazy or uncreative, but hey, my time, my money, my game. But if you're like me and struggle to find the time to do the big stuff (adventures, plots, maps, NPCs, backstory) as it is, this book is likely going to work for you.
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Format: Hardcover
Unearthed Arcana opens with these words and no phrase has ever been more appropriate. This is not a standard core rule book, where the DM can just say yay or nay on whether or not they're using the material. Unearthed Arcana is not even trying to be that kind of book. Unearthed Arcana is a collection of dozens (hundreds, if you count like a marketer) optional rules, many of which conflict with one another. This book has something for everybody and everything for nobody.

If you buy this book thinking your getting another normal core rule book, you're probably not going to like it. If you buy this book hoping to find individual rules to liven your campaign, you'll probably like it very much.

Chapter 1 contains racial rules. These rules are the most niche oriented of the book. For instance, the first section involves environmental racial variants (like desert elves). Honestly, I don't think I'll ever use these unless I do an extremely theme oriented campaign (like a home grown Dark Sun). This is followed by elemental variants, which are even more niche-like (air elves). Then come bloodlines, which are fairly interesting, if you allow this sort of thing. Bloodlines allow you to introduce racial traits without saying a character is half something. If great great grandmama had strange thing for minotaurs or demons, these rules can help your character reflect that (and give the family something not to talk about). Finally, this chapter finishes with what most will think is its most useful section, the racial paragons. These are three-level prestige classes which grant bonuses that emulate the most stereotypical traits of a race (Stonecutting and constitution for dwarves, for example).

Chapter 2 is all about the classes.
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