Pyramid Review: Hero Builder's Guidebook (for Dungeons & Dragons)

Pyramid Review

Hero Builder's Guidebook (for Dungeons & Dragons)

Published by Wizards of the Coast

Written by Ryan Dancey, David Noonan, and John D. Rateliff

64 ppg.; $14.95

The Hero Builder's Guidebook is a companion to the 3rd Edition D&D Player's Handbook, and that alone set my teeth a little on edge when I first took a look at it. TSR's seeming marketing strategy throughout the 1980s and 1990s -- release as many books as possible, charge about $20 for each, and tell the fans that every one of them would be indispensable -- may have looked good on paper, but it only drove me even further away from the game than its antiquated rules set and overly rigid concepts had already done. With Wizards of the Coast at the helm, 3rd Edition D&D has already enjoyed its share of controversy, but my big question ultimately was how they would approach the release of supplements: would the game stand alone? Would new supplements be optional, but of high enough quality to make them appealing despite the cost? Or would they continue the shell game, the Supplement Shuffle? I saw the Hero Builder's Guidebook as a good test of that question. And to my mind, Wizards passes the test. At least for now.

Although it never says so explicitly, the Guidebook is written for beginning gamers. From the Introduction on, it assumes nothing about the readers except that they've read the Player's Handbook: the Introduction starts with notes on what sets . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: January 26, 2001

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