Of all the recently-released Premium Edition Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 books to be released, I think the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide are the most important. Of course if you add the Spell Compendium or the Monster Manual you’ll have plenty of things to add to your game, but these two books are what you really need to get down to playing a session of D&D.
These two books were among the first to be reprinted in the new Premium Editions, and they set the standard for what Wizards of the Coast had planned for the 3.5 ruleset. Each of the books comes with a brand new cover, complete with new textured art that looks great. After receiving both of these new books in I wanted to take a quick look at what separates them from the current standard 3.5 rulebooks.
The Player’s Handbook
This updated version of the original Player’s Handbook 3.5 adds all sorts of things players will find useful. First off players will notice that there are many more Feats and Spells to choose from when creating your character. Along with these new additions are complete descriptions of what they do, and compared to the older book the descriptions are much clearer and more concise. Some of the classes got tweaked as well, as the barbarian, bard, druid, monk, ranger, and sorcerer have all gotten some new features that didn’t exist before.
New tables have been added to the book that offer more options when it comes to skills and spells, which is very helpful. On top of this, the skills section has been overhauled with better descriptions of what the skills do. This makes a big difference when both choosing what skills you have and when to use said skills. Overall the Premium Edition Player’s Handbook 3.5 is the best replacement for something you currently have, and a great tool for getting started with new players.
The Dungeon Master’s Guide
No matter what game you’re into, if you’re running it you’ll need some sort of manual. That’s where the Dungeon Master’s Guide comes in. This book has it all – treasures, how to set up adventures, rules for creating non-player characters, and much more. If you’re thinking of running your own Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 game this is the first book you should look at. The Premium Edition of this book adds much more than you’d think to the already hefty amount of knowledge the original one possessed.
First off, the encounter tables have been revised. This was all done based off feedback to better reflect how the game is actually played. They put focus on explaining the difference between regular and tailored encounters and provide details on how to create both. Then comes the magic items section, which so many DMs covet highly. Dozens of new magic items and special item abilities have been added. This helps DMs tailor their adventures, adjust rewards, and offer many new levels of fun for their campaign. In addition the number of prestige classes has increased, and magic item creation rules have been refined. The Premium Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide 3.5 has a brand new look, and better formatting than ever before.
If you’re looking to jump back – or jump into – the world of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, this is a great time to do so. These new Premium Edition books, while a bit more expensive than normal, add plenty of revisions to make the game flow better. Tables are easier to read, classes offer more features, and finally the skills are better detailed to explain just how to use them. If you see these books on the shelf I’d grab them quick, as I don’t think they’ll stay for long.