Player's Handbook (D&D Core Rulebook)

Player's Handbook (D&D Core Rulebook) - Wizards RPG Team The 5th edition player's handbook gets 3 stars for the rules system and the flavour material in the book itself, and an extra star for being an absolutely beautiful book. For a long time now i've collected Roleplaying books as much as works of readable art as for the games within, and the new edition of the oldest RPG of them all doesn't disappoint in that regard - the binding is tight, the paper is good quality, and the artwork is superb - particularly the full-page art spread throughout the book.

The system - with 5th edition, WOTC have definitely taken a step back and "gone back to the roots" so to speak. The rules have been streamlined significantly, much of the complexity that was a hallmark of 3rd edition, for good or bad, is gone. Even character progression is seriously streamlined, with very little choice to be made level to level. One notable exclusion now is the lack of skill levels - every skill you possess you are equally competent with, and that base competency rises consistently are character levels do.

I'm not sure i'm entirely comfortable with just how streamlined it is, as it does flatten the game out a lot mechanically and lead to it being difficult to differentiate between two characters of the same class in many cases.

On the flavour and narrative side, they have abandoned Greyhawk as the default D&D setting and the game is now set firmly in the Forgotten realms by default. I think this makes sense, as the Forgotten realms is certainly the most well known setting, and the setting of 90% or more of the computer games (now a massive part of the brand) and I suspect, the setting of their most popular novel lines. If they had to pick just a single setting to focus on, the Forgotten Realms is a safe choice, being well known, popular, and consisting of enough diversity to allow games of all different kinds to be run.

It's not difficult to see, after the fairly lacklustre reception 4th edition recieved, why 5th edition has sparked so much excitement and debate. There may be a lot i'm not yet comfortable with, but there's a lot to love about it as well. Time will tell.