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Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Reviewed 125

WorselWorsel writes "The new edition of the seminal Dungeons & Dragons paper-RPG comes out this Friday and has this review. This is the first new edition of D&D since Hasbro acquired Wizards of the Coast. The last edition came out almost two years ago, and this time around the prices of three core books are up by $10 each. Since these are partially incompatible with older 3rd edition books, WotC is printing/making downloadable a short booklet explaining some changes." In addition to being a product review, it's a good overview of what's changed since 3rd edition, and really helps one decide if the changes are important enough to rebuy the core rulebooks.
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Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Reviewed

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  • Price Up? Hardly (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ondo ( 187980 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:08PM (#6401208)
    this time around the prices of three core books are up by $10 each

    Up $10 over the price of the old books when they were first released. Exactly the same price as the old books have been selling at since January 2001.
  • by cheezus ( 95036 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @01:14PM (#6401262) Homepage
    Back when I played (years ago), we had the rulebooks, and used them as a guide, but didn't actually stick to most of the rules. we found that when we did most of the time was spent looking stuff up and rolling a lot of dice. Our game ended up being mostly a storytelling game, and pretty much the only rules we used were for combat.

    There was still a lot of min/maxing and THAC0 manipulation going on... i can't imagine how bad it would have been if we were actually following the rules!
  • (I'm always amazed by how much /. ignores this.)

    D&D has been, since 3.0 came out, the lead-runner in "Open Gaming."

    Go to this page on WotC's website [], and you can get quite nearly every rule in the core 3.0 books--soon to be quite nearly every rule from the core 3.5 books.

    The only rule that's really missing is awarding XP--and there are easily a half-dozen ways to find that on the web.

    (So, everyone who's complaining about a 3 year turnaround for a revision--do you complain about how quickly Linux gets a new kernal, or how swiftly Mozilla moves from 1.0 through 1.4?)
  • by Elwood P Dowd ( 16933 ) <> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @04:58PM (#6403079) Journal
    You should have played The Extraordinary Adventures []
    of Baron Munchausen, a much superiour game, with many fewer encumbrances.

    It's basically a lying contest. It takes a bit of practice before you're any good, but once you're good... you're great. Fantastic game.
  • by XO ( 250276 ) <{blade.eric} {at} {}> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:03PM (#6403121) Homepage Journal
    I NEED to point this out.

    I see a TON of messages on this subject talking stuff like "I played D&D 1st edition, before it was AD&D .." ...

    Advanced Dungeons and Dragons IS the first edition. It was simply called "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons". Dungeons & Dragons came out -after- that as they tried to simplify the concepts to attract new players.

    So, REAL AD&D players know that the first edition is AD&D not D&D.
  • Re:Special Ed. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by August_zero ( 654282 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:04PM (#6403129)
    Not really. The differences between 3.5 / 3.0 and the bulk of the precessor versions are easily as noticable as the differences between D&D and any other RPG

    I didn't say they were the same, but mechanically they are. Examples? Armor class, 1/2 ed you have a number that starts at 10 (unarmored man sized target) that decreases as it gets "better" AC -10 is very well protected, etc. You have a THAC0 score, that gives you a number, the lower the better, that you subtract the targets AC from to arrive at the roll needed to hit them.To hit an AC 10 target with a THAC0 of 20 (1st level character) needs to roll a 10 or better

    In 3/3.5 ed they just combine the THAC0 and the AC to just straight out give you the same value. AC 10 is the base, and the number increses as protection gets better, but the number is the same, 3rd ed just does the math for you.

    In either edition, a first level fighter needs to roll a 10 to hit the naked guy, a 15 for that naked guy in chainmail, or a 17 if that naked guy invests in platemail. 90% of the weapons and items in 3/3.5 have the same effect as they did in 1/2 ed (long sword does 1d8, mace does 1d6) So the framework is the same.

    Even skill checks are basically the same. In 2 ed you had NWP's (skills) that had a target number that you had to roll under on a d20. Guess what, 3/3.5 is the same thing, but once again the math is reveresed. an average task has a DC around 20. Well? a 4 in the skill means I need a 16 or better on the roll, or I have a 20% chance to success. in 2 ed If I have a 4, I have to roll a 4 or less, which is OMG! a 20% chance.

    What 3/3.5 did was change saving throws, and introduce feats, and prestige classes which were positive improvements.

    Call it semi-professional interest, but what exactly are you finding "unbalanced" about the game? Sure you're reading the rules right?

    My first reaction to that statment is that you were trying to insult me. Perhaps you just haven't played the game enough to know all the ins and outs.

    3 ed gave people a lot of freedom in their character design, but the problem is, that there are a lot of feats that are very powerful, and in certain combinations they can be used to make hideously powerful characters. (the Ranger/Rogue dual-weilder springs to mind) Other feats on the other hand, are boderline useless (most of the Meta-Magic). As a DM I never let people just build and pick whatever feats and prestige classes they wanted, because it got out of control all to quickly. You would end up with a super tank melee guy, that in order to challenge them, you need to throw things out that could ahniliate the other characters instantly. Throw in some of the optional texts that gave new races and classes and good luck keeping things reasonable if you don't tone it down. I forced my players to work their characters training into the story and I even forced them on quests and so on and this went a long way to keeping things honest.

    thats all the energy im going to waste on this.
  • Re:Not a Huge Change (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:08PM (#6403151)
    Bah. I don't need a .5 release to fix what's wrong with 3.0. Here goes:

    1. Allow skewed flanking (the three squares opposite you are all considered flanks.)

    2. Cut the XP rewards to about one-fifth where they are in 3rd Ed. It's supposed to be D&D, not NWN.

    3. Allow magic bows to penetrate DR just as well as magic arrows.

    4. Give the sorcerer some charisma-based skills.

    5. Increase the Bard's skill points, and come up with some more interesting song effects at high levels.

    6. Burn all the munchkin books, and play out of the core rules only.

    7. Create a "Combat Aim" feat, similar to Combat Casting, to allow the use of ranged weapons without provoking attacks of opportunity, at a -4 penalty to hit.

    8. Pull out the old 2nd Edition Legends and Lore book, and re-introduce "granted powers" to clerics who dedicate themselves to a specific god, perhaps at the cost of other feats. It was a feature of 2nd Edition that made clerics a lot more colorful and interesting.

    9. The moment a player in your campaign pursues a "prestige class," beat them senseless.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:30PM (#6403297)
    the odds for each of these is, what? About 3.5%?

    One in seventy-two.

    Slightly higher, but not enough to completely destroy the game balance.

    You're ignoring the stuff in the middle. What's the chance of rolling an 11 on a d20? 5%. What's the chance of rolling 11 on 3d6? One in twelve. Significantly higher.

    The d20 system was carefully weighted so that you have about a 50% chance of doing almost everything.

    Which is, of course, no fun at all for anybody.
  • I'll post the same thing here I did on the WOTC forums. In fact ... I'll cut and paste!


    Two reasons, I suspect.

    1: The pricing for books in America is so skewed that rebates for printed paper simply aren't workable.

    2: You can get every last changed rule in the SRD. Think of it as "the mother of all eratta."

    Don't pirate the books--just get the rules, honestly, from the source:

    (Oh, and there IS a rules-conversion guide, which you'll only really need if you play in a mixed system. 3.0 is still the exact same game it ever was, after all...)

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre