Saturday, March 10, 2018

Read for Fun: Dungeons and Dragons - player's manual (version 3.5)

I bought this some time ago for research purposes and I finished reading it last year. Since then, I have also read "Complete Divine" and I'm in the process of reading "Heroes of Battle". For a world-building nut like myself, this stuff is like a triple chocolate sundae with sprinkles for my mind. It's not a novel so I'm not going to use my usual grading scale.

Note: I read on Tvtropes that different versions of the game have their own divided fanbases just like different volumes of a novel series. This is the only version I've read about so I don't have anything to compare it to.

There's lots of stuff here that I recognize without reading it before. Talking Is A Free Action, for instance, is a trope on Tvtropes. The idea of quests for treasure and such is much older than D&D, of course, but I see here the modern template.

Then there's influence I see in video games. I know that turn based combat in video games came from board games like this but now I see that "successful attack role" meant that out of a series of attacks, one or more or them was successful. The in-universe combat does not stop. Also, I see that consoles in video games do the dice-rolling calculations that players do. A D&D board game is like a video game without the restrictions (assuming a sufficiently flexible/skilled/adaptable DM, of course).

I quickly saw how useful this could be for creating characters in a novel. Everything one needs for player building can be repurposed for character creation: background, abilities, religion, language, naming conventions, motivations, culture, behavior etc. This is the foundation for making a character more a collection of facts just as it is for making a character more than a collection of stats.

The spell list! Wow, the spell list is a significant chunk of this manual. Lots of different spells and their uses and their requirements and limitations; a minute magic system. It inspired me. Seriously, this helped with the development of a plot.

There were a few typos here and there but those are inevitable in something this long. I count about a dozen across three hundred pages.

Trickster Eric Novels gives "Dungeons and Dragons Player's Manual 3.5" a +

Click here for my thoughts on other D&D manuals: Heroes of Battle and Complete Divine

Click here for the next book review (for fun): Magic, Magic Everywhere

Click here for my previous book review (a request): Nosferatu Chronicles: Origins

Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

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