Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook

Product– Player’s Handbook

Producer-Wizards of the Coast

Price– $50 here

System– Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition)

TL; DR– D&D are back!  100%


Basics-Its back!  The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons was launched at GenCon.  This book covers character generation, character backgrounds and personalities, adventuring, the basic rules of the game, and magic.  If you’ve seen one player’s handbook, you know what’s going to be in any of them.  But, not really!  This book also covers gods of the multiverse, planes of existence, and the creatures your character can often work with. You’ve seen the basics on the PDF reviewed here https://throatpunchgames.com/2014/07/05/ring-side-report-rpg-review-of-basic-rules-for-dungeons-and-dragons/  Lets look at the book.


Crunch or Mechanics-The basic rules are online, and I loved those.  But, this book adds TONS to the game.  This book adds dragonborn, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, and tieflings.  All these are great additions to the game along with the additional classes of barbarians, bards, druids, monks, paladin, rangers, sorcerers, and warlocks.  Even the classes from the basic document get amazing additions like the arcane trickster and the AWESOME eldritch knight!  I can’t wait to bring back my 4e sword mage as a fifth edition eldritch knight!  All these classes feel different, yet balanced.  I don’t feel like I have to be any one class to be a good character.  The one topic in the new book which was not presented in the basic rules is feats.  The feats are all surprisingly well balanced and useful.  There is room for expansion in everything, but the base rules give enough to make almost every character you could want.  I love what I see, and can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. 5/5


Theme or Fluff– This book feels lived in.  I loved fourth edition for what it was, but the book felt sterile.  The book was well written, but its style was very much like that of an IKEA instruction manual.  Well done to get a point across, but it feels cold.  This book is very much alive.  Even the parchment-color background of every page makes this one feel like it’s alive.  Besides that, the art and the text makes the world come alive.  Every class, background, and concept gets art and story.  This book makes me feel like I’m stepping into a world that already exists, and that is amazing. 5/5


Execution– So the art is good, the layout is good, and the text is fun to read and invites the reader to keep reading.  You’d expect that.  But there is one thing I want to point out, and it is the honest to goodness best part of the book.  This book features the two best charts in the existence of D&D-page 12 and page 45.  My wife pointed these out to me since I am someone who is a bit jaded when it come to the tables in books, but once you see these and really look, they are amazing.  Page 12 gives a simple summary of abilities, the skills, the races and how they all work together.  It’s amazing in its execution and how much of the book it encapsulates on one chart.  Page 45 give a really quick, one sentence summary of each class, the hit dice, primary ability, its saving throws, and its weapons.  Again, this chart is an amazingly simple description of most of the book.  And that sets the bar for the whole book:  simply amazing. 5/5


Summary– If you want a review of the system, check out my review of the basic game here https://throatpunchgames.com/2014/07/05/ring-side-report-rpg-review-of-basic-rules-for-dungeons-and-dragons/  .  The system is good, great even, but this book is better.  This book is an amazing piece of art, math, and storytelling that sets up an infinite number of other stories.  Like every other RPG geek out there, I’ve been waiting for the new edition as I played in the play test.  I submitted my ideas and feedback.  What came out might not have been my exact perfect RPG, but what did emerge might be my favorite RPG.  Go check this one out NOW! Even at $50, this book is worth the price. 100%

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