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ok, so I didn't expect 45-50 replies... I've been out of the dnd… 
20th-Jul-2006 11:15 pm
ok, so I didn't expect 45-50 replies...

I've been out of the dnd loop for over a year, being off in Korea teaching, so I'm behind on the products. I used to go check out a good bookstore/gaming store to see what new books were coming out, but that has closed since I left. So now i'm looking for something to help me figure out what books I want to order before actually place the order. I'm wary of PHB II and DMG II....is it the same thing with added crap from previous books and tossed into a washer and put on spin?....ooooo look new book, must buy. shiny!

I found MM III disappointing (I think) so i'm curious if MM IV is the same.
21st-Jul-2006 02:17 am (UTC)
In general, I allow: PHB, DMG, MM, MMII, CC, CCII, CCIII (You cna ignore these. They're setting-specific), XPH, CAr, CD, CAd, CW, CP, RoS, RoD, RotW, RotD,

Basically, core three, Completes, Races, and Psionics.
21st-Jul-2006 02:21 am (UTC)
you lost me after CCIII (I think I have the first 2....somewhere)
21st-Jul-2006 02:25 am (UTC)
The creature collections? I love Scarred Lands. So much.

Expanded Psionics Handbook, Complete Arcane, Complete Divine, Complete Adventurer, Complete Warrior, Complete Psionics, Rases of Stone, Races of Destiny, Races of the Wild, Races of the Dragon.
21st-Jul-2006 02:27 am (UTC)
ok, i'm stupid...but I could blame the beers I had tonight....I should have know most, if not all of them. We don't deal with Psionics, but the rest of those books we use...I think.
21st-Jul-2006 02:25 am (UTC)
Personally I was disappointed by MMIV. They should have called it MM I 2 as it was more of original monsters repackaged and presented with class levels and the like than new monsters. It was almost like a hardback cover of web updates and whatnot... Kind of a let down, but what do you expect when you start scraping the bottom of the barrel?
21st-Jul-2006 02:28 am (UTC)
thats why I don't want to order it without seeing it and having a good idea whats inside.
21st-Jul-2006 02:30 am (UTC)
Both the PHB2 and DMG2 have generally got good reviews, and I (personally) think they're good books.

MM3 was disappointing (especially given the amount of errata) - MM4 is a 'different' kind of book with many mixed views on it - there are a number of classed creature entries (e.g. Orc Warrior, Drow Wannabe) and the book features the Spawn of Tiamat which aren't to everyone's taste.
21st-Jul-2006 02:32 am (UTC)
I didnt' see much in the DMG2 worth picking up... what did I miss?
21st-Jul-2006 02:36 am (UTC)
There's a review on slashdot (of all places) that touches on a lot of the things that I think the DMG2 did well:

21st-Jul-2006 02:31 am (UTC)
Players Handbook 2 is actually worth the paper its printed on.

I really like the class variations.. (instead of a familiar, a sorcerer can get THIS or THAT).. I really, really like the coordinated skills... (groups that practice and have certain skill levels can do certain things in concert and get better results)... I like some of the new feats and spells...

All-in-all I found it to be an excellent new "Complete" book.
21st-Jul-2006 02:34 am (UTC)
Aw, man. I was reading comments on your last entry and it went poof. :)

I like those discussions.
21st-Jul-2006 02:36 am (UTC)
Wow, I wasn't even aware of a MM4. x_x

I think they even kicked me out of the out-of-the-loop.
21st-Jul-2006 02:40 am (UTC)
I haven't looked at the DMG2 yet, but in my opinion the PHB2 is definitely worth it. I'm iffy on the MM4; it's half decent stuff and half monsters from MM1 packaged with class levels. I agree that MM3 sucked.
21st-Jul-2006 04:22 am (UTC)
I think I'm in the minority, but I really disliked the DMG2. It seemed mostly fluff, and boring fluff at that. I don't need to buy a book to tell me how to design a character background, or interact with others at the table. When I read wizard's preview that said it would have rules for designing PrCs I was really excited. Much to my dismay when they just had stupid analysis stuff like ("a +5 BAB requirement means a character needs to be 5th level!"). I had figured out everything they mentioned on my own. Most of the "crunch" stuff (like organizations) seemed more like something I could easily make with a houserule. The only think I really like is the Mob template--I copied that from a friend and use it all the time.

I was skeptical about the PHB2, but from reading reviews (and flipping through the book) I'm coming around. The classes seem more and more interesting the more I hear about them (even the Dragon Shaman), and the feats of course look very nice. Of course, the sections about how to build a character and the "starter packages" are pretty worthless to me. I think that a lot of the class varients are interesting (I like the existence of the varients in UA, even if some of the execution I don't agree with), though I didn't really look closely at them.

I don't have a lot of disposable income, but I bought Tome of Magic because I think that Pact Magic looks awesome, and I like the roll-to-cast system of Truename magic. I also got Stormwrack, because I'm going to run a naval adventure. Actually, in general I think the environmental series look pretty interesting, but only if you plan on using the material. I think a Sandstorm campaign or a Frostburn campaign sound like a lot of fun.

The Complete Series seem pretty eh to me. I like some of the PrCs from flipping through the book, but taking a PrC requires a new character and reaching 7th level, neither of which happen very often for me. I keep thinking "if this character gets to 7th level I'll go buy that book," but it never happens.

The Races books do nothing for me. I make up my own personalities and societies. That and more base races means more civilizations and more racial interactions, so I try and tone down the numbers.

I don't get the Monster Manuals either since I figure I can make up my own creatures. I look through the online galleries for creature inspiration. But the monster focus books (Draconomicon especially) are pretty nice. I like Draconomicon's descriptions of how to fight with a dragon so that you use all it's abilities. That and a lot of the new dragons are fun so that people don't go "oh, it's a black dragon. Watch out for the acid."

Psionics and Unearthed Arcana are online in the SRD, so you don't need to buy them unless you're sure you like the system and want the book to look stuff up in.
21st-Jul-2006 05:03 am (UTC)
I found PHB II and DMG II completely worthless. If I had never played dungeons and dragons before ever in my life, and was elected dungeon master, then perhaps DMG II would be valuable. I've been gaming for 12 years and I found it ... well, simple. I'd definately visit a real bookstore and look through them before you even think about ordering them.
21st-Jul-2006 08:11 am (UTC)
The thing I loved about PHB2 which everyone seems to miss are the quick chargen tables in the back. They're designed for speed, but they take the descision time out of filling in feats, skills, spells, high-level equipment, etc. for your character. Very useful for any DM, or a player who needs a new character before the session ends. If you're stumped, it can even generate a personality and background for your character.
21st-Jul-2006 10:32 am (UTC)
I've both bought and enjoyed both the DMG2 and the PHB2. I run two games and find myself and my players using both, as well.

If your local store is closed (sad, that) Amazon has their preview feature that allows you to look at some of the highlights. Of course, that's the publisher telling you the best parts of the book, so it's a bit unbalanced.

Other than reviews from other gamers, I honestly don't know of a way to preview a book. If it were me, I would only buy a new book if it appeared to offer things my game needed. Shiny and new are always neat, but unless you've got the money to chance a useless book you're better off staying with the core books.

I do wish you luck!
21st-Jul-2006 12:22 pm (UTC)
I like the phII and dmgII. I didn't like the MMIII but I do use the MMIV
22nd-Jul-2006 02:44 am (UTC)
You can skip the DMG2, but I absolutely loved the PHB2.
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