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Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook: Core Rulebook 1 Hardcover – August 1, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 421 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Core Rule Books Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition Player's Handbook contains all the rules you need to create characters and begin adventuring with the world's most popular role-playing game. Newcomers to the game will appreciate this book's clear explanations, effective examples, pleasing layout, elegant rules, and brilliant art. It's never been easier to create and role-play a heroic human ranger, cunning elf wizard, or any other fantasy character from the game's 7 races and 11 classes.

Old-school players will likewise be pleased, as the outdated AD&D rules system has been given a thorough overhaul. Gone are almost all the old restrictions on race and alignment. Halfling sorcerers, half-orc paladins, dwarf barbarians, and gnome monks are now possible. THACO, negative armor class, funky saving throws, inflated ability scores, heat-based infravision, and just about every other needlessly complex rule has been reworked into a faster, more consistent, and more fun system. Players can choose unique special abilities for their characters as they gain levels, which means that even two fighters of the same race and class can have very different abilities. The end result of all these changes is a dynamic game with more customized characters.

Almost every page has some form of new artwork, and the art almost always serves to explain a concept or illustrate a point. The book is filled with example montages that help to show the difference between human, half-elf, and elf, or relative size differences between creatures, or what the various levels of cover and concealment look like. These illustrations make the rules much more clear. The style of the artwork is consistent throughout the book and is a definite departure from older editions of AD&D. Instead of the classic medieval artwork of Larry Elmore, the new book has the spiky, leathery, Mad Max-meets-Renaissance look of the Magic: The Gathering card game.

We would have preferred less radical artistic changes, but we love everything else that Wizards of the Coast has done with Dungeons & Dragons. The rules are fast and clear, and the characters--including the new sorcerer class and the return of the monk, barbarian, and half-orc--are fabulous. If you're new to the D&D game, then this rule book is the perfect introduction. And if you're an old-school gamer who played D&D back in the day, then welcome to the new era of D&D. You won't want to go back. --Mike Fehlauer

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; Third Edition edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786915501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786915507
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (421 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. B. Levenstam on August 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The new Player's Handbook (PH) D&D Design Team has created a marvelous product--filled with generally clear writing and excellent artwork--containing a major change in game mechanics. The PH nonetheless manages to retain the spirit of the D&D game created by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974.
The 3rd edition replaces the old movement system, denoted in confusing scale inches--which goes back even before D&D to Gygax's Chainmail rules for medieval combat--with a clear system of speed denoted in feet. Yet the 3rd edition includes familiar races and character classes. It retains the bard, cleric, druid, fighter, ranger, rogue, paladin, and wizard, and resurrects the barbarian, monk and half-orc.
Fans of clerics and druids will cheer the addition of 8th- and 9th-level spells. Clerics will love the 9th-level Miracle spell, similar to a Wish. Barbarian fans will rejoice that the 3rd edition removes the unplayable restrictions of the original barbarian, even at the cost of somewhat reduced physical prowess. Fans of the monk and druid will celebrate elimination of limited levels.
Each class now requires the same amount of experience to advance in level. Regardless of which class you choose, your character initially will advance rapidly because reaching the lower levels requires relatively small amounts of experience; earning a mere 1,000 experience points, for example, will gain your character second level. The 3rd edition grants each 1st level character full hit points. Combining easy advancement at lower levels with full hit points at 1st level will help keep characters alive through their fragile early days.
The 3rd edition introduces a sorcerer class.
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Format: Hardcover
Well met! Gary Gygax's magnum opus, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, is somewhat akin to holy writ in the world of fantasy RPGs. And needless to say, the Wizards of the Coast were a little squeamish to tinker with the very best game of all time! It seems heretical - like trying shave off Zeus' beard, to see if he looks better without it. But, they made the right choice - instead of arbitrarily implementing a drastic system overhaul that nobody wanted, they implemented a drastic system overhaul that *everyone* wanted. By having this system play-tested, co-designed, torn apart, and rebuilt by hundreds of fanatical players and DMs, and giving the fans a loud (yet cohesive) voice in the reconstructive process, WotC have done the impossible - Dungeons & Dragons (farewell, "Advanced") is now far superior to any other previous incarnation of itself.
The first thing that strikes you when you crack the cover is the bold new artwork. If you've played Magic, or love the convoluted machinations of Planescape, you will be delighted. Fans of older, more conservatively heroic styles (like me) will dearly miss the graceful touch of Larry Elmore, or even David Trampier. But the new look is infectious, and it (a) is evocative enough to get you into the mood for a game, and (b) actually illustrates key points in the internal logic of the rules. That's a huge bonus.
The bad news? Anyone who's played since 1st Edition (or before) is going to have a stroke. Ability scores have been stratified and cleaned (dare we say scoured?); bonuses and penalties are different from what they were before, Exceptional Strength is gone, Strength now progresses way beyond 25, Charisma actually matters, etc.
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Format: Hardcover
It's not easy overturning 25 years of role-playing history, but the 3rd edition PHB takes on the job of cleaning up the most-played RPG in the world. It doesn't do too bad a job, either. Gone are the bizarre 18/% Strength rules, the 1-hit point/1 spell "magic user", and negative armor classes. Any race can now be any class, but bonuses come from the right combinations.
The real downside to the book is that it isn't very well suited for beginners. There's a lot of assumption of familiarity with earlier versions, and this can lead to confusion for new people. For example, a character's alignment is mentioned quite often in the character creation chapters, but isn't actually defined in depth until page 87. Granted, there is a nice glossary in the back that defines most terms, but unfortunately, it's not cross-indexed with the main text.
It is a good deal for the money, though. It weighs in at 228 clay-coated pages, fully illustrated, for a mere $19.95. If you're a long-time player, it could be just the fresh start you need. There is a free conversion guide on their website for owners of the older editions, so you won't have to toss all of your old 1st/2nd edition stuff. (Some stores have paper copies of this that you can get free with purchase.) The book also comes with a CD_ROM (Win 9x only) of a demo character generation program.
So pull out your swords and your Cheetos, and kill some Friday nights with the new version of the grand-daddy of RPGs!
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By A Customer on August 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
At first, when 3rd edition was announced, I was suspicious of WotC. I had thought it was just ruse for a money-making opportunity on a game that was slowly but surely being replaced by other table-top RPG's. But now after reading through the Players Handbook, I am impressed at how much better of a game they have created. The exceptions are far less and instead of telling you what your characters can't do, they tell you what abilities the diverse characters can have (particularly with new concepts such as skills and feats). Through this book, the new rules are very easy to learn thanks to the easy rule layout and the consistency of the various checks you make which are all made with the d20(instead of d10 for initiative, percentile for thieving, etc). Also the larger numbers are always better so you don't have to worry about going down in Armor Class or Thac0(the latter which doesn't exist and is replaced by an nicer check called the attack bonus). At the end of the book there is a character generation program on CDROM and a 3rd edition Character sheet (for photocopying purposes). For their great work, I congradulate WotC and can happily say that this book is precise, entertaining and obviously had a lot of thought and effort put into it. There is no doubts in my mind that it won't live up to the players expectations. If you are a player, new or old, I really recommend that you check this one out (you'll be surprised at how many people have reverted back to D&D from other tabletop RPG's!) All it takes is couple minutes playing and you'll wonder how you ever stood 2nd edition. Try it out...you'll see.
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