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Rules Compendium (Dungeons & Dragons d20 3.5 Fantasy Roleplaying) Hardcover – October 16, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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About the Author

CHRIS SIMS is an associate editor who works in Roleplaying Games R&D at Wizards of the Coast, Inc. His previous design credits include the Secrets of Sarlona(TM) supplement for the Eberron(R) campaign setting.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078694725X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786947256
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.6 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Bode on October 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"All the Rules of the Game... In one Awesome Book" is the back cover's tagline.

It is not. The list of official rules it doesn't include could be a compendium in itself-- No "Races of" books, no "Complete" books, no "Heroes of" books, no "Tome of" books ad infinitum.

The Rules Compendium is a collection of some of the SRD rules (mainly from players handbook) that the developers thought were important, sorted alphabetically. You won't find even many of the rules in the DMG such as wealth by settlement size or creating magical items. Some rules from players handbook were apparently thought too trivial to include such as rules for using profession skills and the clarification-worthy crafting rules.

It DOES include all the combat-specific special actions such as bull rushing, grappling and fighting defensively. It has a whopping 9 pages devoted to movement. It has everything you'd need for an encounter plus some extras like the rules for dealing with the environment from Sandstorm, Stormwrack and FrostBurn.

Expectations aside, I love the format. The rules each have their own page and are well organized. The layout is clean and free of clutter. There's no more decorative border and the page has an open feel which makes the original core books look cramped by comparison. Provided the rule you want is in here, lookup is a snap. My hope is that this will be the concept going forward in 4.0.

There's some designer commentary in the sidebar that ranges from somewhat insightful commentary on design to amusing recounts of play testing. I'm a fairly avid reader of the "behind the curtain" sidebars and found these to be more personal than informative.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up the D&D Rules Compendium (ordered fairly cheaply from Amazon). This is by far the best rules-related purchase I've made in a while for D&D. Wizards took all of the various core rules introduced throughout 3 and 3.5 books over the past 7 years and organized them alphabetically by topic with extra clarification, simplified explanations, and side comments from the rule designers. Topics like the Bull Rush and Charge combat actions each get a full page of explanation and clarification -- without adding complexity. Grappling, of course, gets 2 pages :)

The book focuses only on the core mechanics and does not include spells, class descriptions, equipment descriptions, magic item creation, feats, skills, etc. This is perfectly fine with me since many of those topics are not the kind of thing I, as a DM, necessarily need at hand.

It's possible that a DM will get much more use out of this book than a player. By having it on hand during game play, finding obscure or seldom used rules is much easier. So far I've only noticed one design choice that seems slightly inconsistent. Most topics get their own entry in the book, but all of the movement related topics, like flying, running, and overland movement, are grouped under a single Movement topic. Fortunately, there is a detailed topic index at the front of the book (which should have been at the *back* of the book, that's where an index belongs, but this is a minor quibble).

This book would make a great electronic download in searchable format, like a self-contained wiki. In fact, if it had been a free resource on the new Wizards D&D/Gleemax community site, they might have bought themselves back a little love from those of us who think next year's 4th edition D&D is about 5 years premature.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Rules Compendium is one of the best hardbacks that WotC has put out recently. It is aimed at providing a resource for quickly resolving GM (and player) actions, and features a wealth of rules in a relatively concise format. The topics are (sort of) arranged alphabetically, and it is relatively easy to find what you're looking for.

The book includes good sections on attacking, actions, conditions, and all of the other things that a GM needs to be aware of during an encounter. While it does not include rules for building characters or encounters, it provides everything one needs for resolving the encounter. Concise descriptions are complemented by useful diagrams, and the tables combine elements from the DMG, PH, and many other books.

As a GM, I had started working up a rules summary to have behind my GM screen. Now, with this book, a lot of what I had been creating has been done for me. Kudos, WotC!

There are a few gaps. It would be nice if the various skills had gotten more exposure. For instance, it would be nice to have an exhaustive list of DCs and modifiers for the Climb check, for instance. Some of the optional uses of skills from the various books could have complemented this. The book is short, so this material could have certainly be added.

The only other gripe I have is that the Rules Compendium has been published near the end of the 3.5 publishing cycle. The advent of 4th edition makes this book great for those who plan on staying with 3.5, but gamers who plan on adopting 4th edition will find this book of limited usefulness.

However, the combination of useful and well-organized rules, good diagrams, and extensive tables make this book well worth the money. As a nice touch, the developers and editors liberally insert commentary, referring to personal adventures or why rules were developed the way they were. It was a nice touch, giving the gaming community a rare glimpse into the design process. Kudos again!
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