Player's Handbook by James Wyatt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I haven't played D&D since they brought out 3.5 edition way too soon after 3.0 and said piss on it. I've been eyeing this book from afar for a couple years and jumped on it when it got marked down to around 16 bucks for Black Friday.
I don't know when I'll ever get to use this with no gaming group and an autistic three year old running around but I enjoyed thumbing through it. Obviously, it's an RPG manual so I didn't read EVERY page but I read enough to digest the mechanics.
The book was organized fairly well, although explanation of advantage/disadvantage before they were repeatedly mentioned would have been nice instead of saving it for the abilities chapter. The art pretty good but not anything I feel compelled to get tattooed on my back. There's even a nice appendix of recommended reading material in the back.
Everything about this edition seems to be geared toward simplifying things and spending less time making characters and more time playing, which I love. So many hours of potential gaming have been lost when somebody can't decide what skills to take, etc.
There aren't as many skills and feats are optional so character creation is sped up quite a bit. I like that race, class, and background all contribute to a character's skills, languages, starting equipment, etc. I thought 3.0 had too many choices and this reins things in a bit. Hell, there's even a quick build if you really don't want to put much thought into character creation.
I was skeptical about the new Warlock class but it's different enough to be interesting now, a spellcaster who gets their powers from a pact with an extradimensional creature is right up my alley. The monk feels more like the 1st edition monk than anything else but also has some cool features as you advance. While I'm on the subject, the way characters have ability choices as they advance is pretty cool. Wizards and Sorcerors now have a d6 hit die instead of a d4 and rogues are now d8s. That should make for fewer deaths at low levels.
I'm not crazy about what Tieflings have become since 2nd edition but I guess it's not that big of a deal. The new Dragonborn race has potential for abuse but seems interesting enough. I'm sure there are more optional races and classes than you can shake a yew wand at in later supplements but I'll have to wait until those drop into my cheapness zone.
Four out of five stars.
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