Let's talk about D&D books!

JoeslopJoeslop Registered User regular
edited November 2006 in Critical Failures
There's some D&D threads, but not one about the actual books. As in, one where we discuss what's good and what is utter crap.

But first, I have a different question. This is supposed to be the Planar Handbook, but THIS is the picture according to Wizards.

Did they change the cover art at some point and the eBay auction is using the only art, or is this some weird foreign book? I ask because it's only $14 with shipping.

EDIT: Also, has anyone used the Ghostwalk book? The idea seems neat at least.

Joeslop on

Posts

  • ArkadyArkady Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    My opinion is that the new books, by and large, are relatively shitty. I absolutely loathe how they do classes and prc's on things now (now being a relative term for everything post races of stone). It kills me that I dump 30 (well 20 on amazon) bucks for a book with 8 prcs and 15 feats, half of which are reprints when you used to get 30 prc's per book and, well, they still reprinted some feats. Maybe it's just personal bias and experience, but I don't buy books for fluff. I have absolutely no problems making my own fluff and none of the DM's I play with have ever turnwed down anything I've come up with fluff-wise, as long as it isn't something insane like a transgendered ooze mephit cleric. But homemade crunch? That shit never flies. Hell, half the time they won't even accept dragon magazine material. So for me, I've always bought books for crunch, and the crunch has been extremely lacking of late.

    That said, I am greatly pleased with the new systems books they've put out. Expanded psionics is leagues ahead of the original. Tome of Magic, Magic of Incarnum, and Tome of Battle are all exceptionally good books, with interesting mechanics that are fairly well balanced (minus a couple hiccups, truenamer I'm looking at you). It's jus tthe races, complete, and environments series that have been lackluster as of late.

    Arkady on
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  • piLpiL Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Only official non-FR/Ebberon/Campaign setting 'fluff' book I've enjoyed was the original Planar Handbook, but I haven't bought books since 3.5 core. Still, the Planar Handbook was some interesting reading, and the complete books are relatively useful. Races of Blah, and whatever stuff they're toting out now reeks too much of topping something with something else than being condusive to a good game. Maybe I've just become jaded, however.

    piL on
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Arkady wrote:
    My opinion is that the new books, by and large, are relatively shitty. I absolutely loathe how they do classes and prc's on things now (now being a relative term for everything post races of stone). It kills me that I dump 30 (well 20 on amazon) bucks for a book with 8 prcs and 15 feats, half of which are reprints when you used to get 30 prc's per book and, well, they still reprinted some feats. Maybe it's just personal bias and experience, but I don't buy books for fluff. I have absolutely no problems making my own fluff and none of the DM's I play with have ever turnwed down anything I've come up with fluff-wise, as long as it isn't something insane like a transgendered ooze mephit cleric. But homemade crunch? That shit never flies. Hell, half the time they won't even accept dragon magazine material. So for me, I've always bought books for crunch, and the crunch has been extremely lacking of late.

    So we can all pretend I just said this? Please?

    I especially agree with crunch/fluff comments. While I think fluff does have a place in published material I have no fucking clue why they devote 2/3rd of a generic book to fluff. None of it is going to be as universally used as the crunch bits and anybody with half a brain can usually write stuff that better suits a specific campaign. WotC fails hard in that regard.

    Also re:crunch at least the new books are willing to break new rules ground. Too many 3.0 and early 3.5 PrC's were 'ability x +1' or a remix of often used mechanics. Now not all of these have come off well (or you know, not hidiously broken at least) but I'd rather see them try then more of the same. WotC, knock of the 'stupidly good things for turning attempt' feats. Please? Turning feats make turning extremely front loaded and often let you get something for nothing. Bah.
    That said, I am greatly pleased with the new systems books they've put out. Expanded psionics is leagues ahead of the original. Tome of Magic, Magic of Incarnum, and Tome of Battle are all exceptionally good books, with interesting mechanics that are fairly well balanced (minus a couple hiccups, truenamer I'm looking at you). It's jus tthe races, complete, and environments series that have been lackluster as of late.

    I should really read Incarnum and Tome of Battle. They are however a large, complex system and would probably take a large amount of effort to understand. Someday...

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • ArkadyArkady Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I should really read Incarnum and Tome of Battle. They are however a large, complex system and would probably take a large amount of effort to understand. Someday...

    Incarnum is actually really simple, the rules section is maybe 9 pages long, if that. It's also a delightfully flexible systemas presented (i.e. with the 3 base classes provided you can often accomplish multiple roles with any of the 3) and also excellently balanced. Tome of Battle I still havn't looked at in depth, mostly because I don't own it, but having had opportunities to skim it, it seems more complicated than incarnumbut it also seems way more interesting. Also, the crusader and warblade classes immediately leapt out at me as "good" and interesting, I can't say the same for the incarnum stuff (not until I went through what the soulmelds actually did anyway).

    And for the record, Tome of Magic is worth it for the binder class alone. It's been ages since I had as much fun in a D&D game than I am having with my binder right now. Not only is it the most flexible class I've ever played (it ranks up there with the chameleon), but it offers such awesome roleplaying opportunities (see failed binding checks).

    Arkady on
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  • DeVryGuyDeVryGuy Registered User
    edited November 2006
    I know they put out too many damn books, but I do kind of like that no matter what character I have in mind, there is probably an official published class for that character out there somewhere.

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  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    DeVryGuy wrote:
    I know they put out too many damn books, but I do kind of like that no matter what character I have in mind, there is probably an official published class for that character out there somewhere.
    This is what gripes me a bit about prestige classes. There are so many of them and so many seem to be very specific in the type of character they portray that for most multi-class combinations there's going to be a better prestige class out there. It seems especially unbalanced when for certain combinations there's no reason NOT too take the prestige class. Want to play a Fighter/Wizard? Why would you not take Eldritch Knight? Same for Cleric/Wizard and Mystic Theurge. I know that these multiclasses are somewhat weak in the first place but I just wish there was a way to remedy it without these Prestige Classes.

    Back on topic, outside of the core books I've only felt drawn to others for fluff purposes, but then I do only play VERY rarely, I'm mainly in it for for the fluff. Manual of the Planes does look intriguing though, is this about as close as I'll get to Placescape for D20?

    SUPERSUGA on
  • piLpiL Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    As for the first one, because there are entirely better base classes and prestige classes that let you wear armor as well! Which is my rub about the PrCs: they have that DBZ Rifts thing going where so many PrCs are crap and many are just better in every way than another. The two PrC you listed are in the DMG, and the ones there I don't really mind. I think those with maybe about ten others from other places would be sufficient for most things. As far as the Mystic Theurge goes, it seems overpowered, but its recooping a loss basically: even if you could cast equal level spells of cleric and wizard, you're not that much more powerful in any given round than a cleric or wizard (and definately not if your two spell levels lower than your character level would suggest at any given moment). Meanwhile a fighter/rogue or ranger/monk, or any other crazy class combination doesn't lose as much as spellcasting classes do (well, maybe the ranger/monk does, also paladin and ranger spells don't count because they kind of suck). The classes you listed play a role in balancing the multiclass for casters, and they're the ones that actually help everyone from being straight wizard or straight sorcerer or straight cleric.

    That said, as far as books go, they keep compounding the PrCs and adding and adding and ultimately they're trying to encompass every single possible idea. That is something that lends itself better to pointbuy than to levels.

    piL on
  • SonarSonar Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    I'm kinda curious as to why all the artwork has gotten ultra gritty hardcore slam you in the face with a bat full of nails grunge rock death metal.

    Looking at the Monster Manuals it seems less fantasy and more punk horror.

    I blame Eberron.

    Sonar on
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  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    The Book of Exalted Deeds

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  • thorpethorpe Registered User
    edited November 2006
    The Book of Exalted Deeds

    Something I've always wondered about; why is it labeled "18years+"?

    For the Book of Vile Darkness I understand, but Exalted Deeds is good guys.

    thorpe on
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  • DeVryGuyDeVryGuy Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Sonar wrote:
    I'm kinda curious as to why all the artwork has gotten ultra gritty hardcore slam you in the face with a bat full of nails grunge rock death metal.

    Looking at the Monster Manuals it seems less fantasy and more punk horror.

    I blame Eberron.

    If your going to blame Eberron for something, blame it for being the best thing to happen to D&D in years.

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  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    thorpe wrote:
    The Book of Exalted Deeds

    Something I've always wondered about; why is it labeled "18years+"?

    For the Book of Vile Darkness I understand, but Exalted Deeds is good guys.
    Because there's a feat with a requirement that you need to maintain an intimate relationship with a fey with to get or something. :P

    INeedNoSalt on
  • thorpethorpe Registered User
    edited November 2006
    thorpe wrote:
    The Book of Exalted Deeds

    Something I've always wondered about; why is it labeled "18years+"?

    For the Book of Vile Darkness I understand, but Exalted Deeds is good guys.
    Because there's a feat with a requirement that you need to maintain an intimate relationship with a fey with to get or something. :P


    Aah, you mean boobies.

    thorpe on
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  • JoeslopJoeslop Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Book of Erotic Fantasy.

    It's supposed to be 18+, but the only kinds of people I could imagine buying it for something besides shits and giggles are 13 year olds.

    Joeslop on
  • DeVryGuyDeVryGuy Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Joeslop wrote:
    Book of Erotic Fantasy.

    It's supposed to be 18+, but the only kinds of people I could imagine buying it for something besides shits and giggles are 13 year olds.

    It probably plays more to the angsty Vampire crowd who are also interested in D&D than typical D&D players.

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  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    DeVryGuy wrote:
    Joeslop wrote:
    Book of Erotic Fantasy.

    It's supposed to be 18+, but the only kinds of people I could imagine buying it for something besides shits and giggles are 13 year olds.

    It probably plays more to the angsty Vampire crowd who are also interested in D&D than typical D&D players.

    It doesn't play to anyone except people who want to pretend to nail eachother with magical dildos.

    INeedNoSalt on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited November 2006
    DeVryGuy wrote:
    Joeslop wrote:
    Book of Erotic Fantasy.

    It's supposed to be 18+, but the only kinds of people I could imagine buying it for something besides shits and giggles are 13 year olds.

    It probably plays more to the angsty Vampire crowd who are also interested in D&D than typical D&D players.

    It doesn't play to anyone except people who want to pretend to nail eachother with magical dildos.

    That book is crazy fucked up.

    Rolls to see if you get caught wanking by the campfire during your watch shift?

    Yeah, thanks, but I think I'll just ad-lib that situation if it ever comes up.

    Rankenphile on
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  • ArdentArdent Down UpsideRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    DeVryGuy wrote:
    Joeslop wrote:
    Book of Erotic Fantasy.

    It's supposed to be 18+, but the only kinds of people I could imagine buying it for something besides shits and giggles are 13 year olds.

    It probably plays more to the angsty Vampire crowd who are also interested in D&D than typical D&D players.

    It doesn't play to anyone except people who want to pretend to nail eachother with magical dildos.
    Actually, before the BoEF one of my mage characters crafted a spell called Darkheart's endless release. It basically threw the target into perpetual orgasm (requiring Fortitude saves versus dying after the first five minutes) if they failed their Will save.

    It was actually -- ironically -- one of the better spells in his arsenal (which was primarily illusion/phantasm stuff). He had several other spells that used sex against the victims, but it wasn't any serious ploy to drag sexuality into the game...it just made sense from a descriptive point of view. It was really hilarious when applied to drow.

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  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    DeVryGuy wrote:
    Joeslop wrote:
    Book of Erotic Fantasy.

    It's supposed to be 18+, but the only kinds of people I could imagine buying it for something besides shits and giggles are 13 year olds.

    It probably plays more to the angsty Vampire crowd who are also interested in D&D than typical D&D players.

    It doesn't play to anyone except people who want to pretend to nail eachother with magical dildos.

    That book is crazy fucked up.

    Rolls to see if you get caught wanking by the campfire during your watch shift?

    Yeah, thanks, but I think I'll just ad-lib that situation if it ever comes up.
    I haven't read it, but I've heard of things.


    Like the Sex Golem.

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  • DJ EebsDJ Eebs Moderator mod
    edited November 2006
    Heroes of Battle is really well thought out and executed.

    DJ Eebs on
  • Anthrax! Please.Anthrax! Please. Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Geebs wrote:
    Heroes of Battle is really well thought out and executed.

    AGREED. I hope you're being serious because I am actually a very big fan of the book. The magic items, prestige classes, and combat rules are very good for making a game based in mass combat. Complete Warrior covered it pretty well, but it is not, obviously, an entire book dedicated to it.

    I also like both the Tome of Magic and the Tome of Battle (the book of nine swords), and Magic of Incarnum, because they all offer a degree of flexibility with respect to class powers. You've always got a different repertoire to bring to each fight, which is very nice. Binders can alter up their vestiges in a pinch. Incarnum people can give themselves cool tricks too, and Tome of Battle is a brand-new (mildly overpowered) book of tricks for melee fighters.

    Good stuff.

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  • Legoman05Legoman05 Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Tome of Battle and Spell Compendium are the only things I'd personally consider buying.

    For anything else, go to a bookstore, flip through the feat section, and jot down the stuff you like. If you go to Barnes and Noble, they don't care, just pick up a book, go to the included Starbucks, grab some coffee or something and just write about interesting things.

    Tome of Battle just makes combat so interesting and awesome, and the Spell compendium has so many cool things that you'll either want to memorize or make one-of scrolls for. Hell, the book is worth it for Assay Resistance alone. (1 Swift action for +10 to CL checks against SR? YES PLEASE!)

    Legoman05 on
  • DeVryGuyDeVryGuy Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Legoman05 wrote:
    Tome of Battle and Spell Compendium are the only things I'd personally consider buying.

    For anything else, go to a bookstore, flip through the feat section, and jot down the stuff you like. If you go to Barnes and Noble, they don't care, just pick up a book, go to the included Starbucks, grab some coffee or something and just write about interesting things.

    Tome of Battle just makes combat so interesting and awesome, and the Spell compendium has so many cool things that you'll either want to memorize or make one-of scrolls for. Hell, the book is worth it for Assay Resistance alone. (1 Swift action for +10 to CL checks against SR? YES PLEASE!)

    Wow, that's a really cool spell. That'd make a nice Eternal Wand

    EDIT: Er, it would, if it was a third level spell

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    DeVryGuy wrote:
    Wow, that's a really cool spell. That'd make a nice Eternal Wand

    EDIT: Er, it would, if it was a third level spell

    Also if it didn't become a standard action to use from a wand.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • DeVryGuyDeVryGuy Registered User
    edited November 2006
    DeVryGuy wrote:
    Wow, that's a really cool spell. That'd make a nice Eternal Wand

    EDIT: Er, it would, if it was a third level spell

    Also if it didn't become a standard action to use from a wand.
    :oops:

    DeVryGuy on
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  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited November 2006
    Fuck, I'm still trying to get the idea of a sex golem out of my brain.

    Rankenphile on
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