Hands on With the Player’s Handbook 2

I was planning on picking up a copy of the Player’s Handbook 2 at our local game store yesterday but when I stopped in I didn’t see any copies. It’s possible they weren’t out yet or I missed them but after getting back to my house and having two of my players bring copies, a third mentioned they had one on order, and a fourth said they would probably pick up a copy at some point, I decided that spending the money for a copy of my own just felt like throwing money away.

The book should be even less necessary once the Character Builder and Compendium get updated. I wanted to own my own copy but since one of players was nice enough to leave his copy at my place for me to look at (mentioning that he only plays D&D at my place right now anyway) I figured that would be good enough for now.

There are basically two things I wanted to say about the PHB2:

  1. There are no great surprises to be found within its pages.
  2. This book is far more interesting and useful than the PHBs of the past.

Really I think that sums up my impression of this book. I like it, it’s amazing in that it adds a lot of new options for players as far as classes and races go and I think this is a great thing.

I am a firm believer that the classes in 4th edition feel different from one another and I love this fact. In previous editions the differences felt mostly cosmetic and too often the new class was just:
Class A - one aspect of Class A + one aspect of Class B = Brand new class!

Essentially this book does exactly what it should, it gives players more options. I am so glad that there are now three controllers to choose from, even though no one is currently playing a controller in my game, and the new feats in this book expand past the new classes and give new options for all players.

While this doesn’t give you a very detailed description of the book I haven’t read the whole thing and would not feel comfortable trying to review it as such. What I wanted to say was that this book does what I personally wanted it to do and while it didn’t surprise me, I am very happy with it.

Feel free to agree or disagree below!


    I’m not picking up a copy for the exact same reason you are, the Character Builder will update and I’ll have a copy. In my mind I’ve already paid for it.

    Matt Says:

    There is something to be said in having a physical copy of the book in my hands then just relying on the Character Builder. While it’s basically the same, I like flipping through the book first and absorb everything in there. From there I just use the builder as a tool once I already know all the information. Also I have to jump on Josh’s bandwagon of Physical vs Electronic media. There is something unknown that just makes me feel better holding the book then reading content on a screen. Also there is the fact that in our group we’ve found countless bugs and typos in the Character Builder and not that the book is immune to this, it just feels more reliable right now as the source of the most correct information. Also there are other things to consider such as buying the book from the local game shop to support it during the troubled economy (another past hot topic here) and because I never DM I feel like having the basic player materials on me fulfils some of my obligation as a player to my DM.

    As far as the book itself is concerned I was pleased to see how different the races and classes were from the original book. Also I have a thing for divine characters for some reason (no, I’m not a religious person) but I’ve always liked Clerics and Paladins and to see a Controller and Striker version was nice. Although so far my favorites out of the book are the Shaman and Warden. It was nice to also find some great feats that can help my current character (Cleric – Angelic Avenger). It helps fixes one of the main problems playing a divine character (especially with ranged abilities), not enough feats. I also like they collected the rules changes that have been made since PHB1 and they added them to this book.

    jim Says:

    still not to many wizard feats. and while the if you hit with X type power you get +1 to hit with teh next X type power is nice. it’s just not that good. unless your wizard character focuses on a specific damage type.

    that being said. I do like the new races and classes. the different feats available for those classes are also very nice. the new destinies are nice as well. i like the racial paragon paths:)

    oh josh if you need a copy I think Borders near the game store has copies. turns out the store ordered 100, and only got sent 30. out of which they had set a reserve list. so most of the copies they had were ended up going to reservists. they did mention they were getting more copies on 3/20/09.