Last Orders Gentlefolk Please!

I came to D&D Third Edition quite late. It is strange but however much you enjoy something, on occasion you don’t get around to it and D&D became a bit like that for me. Bringing up my step-daughter and keeping my former wife in the manner she was accustomed to meant I ended up limiting my gaming to a night a week. D&D couldn’t figure as Adrian’s long running hybrid campaign took precedence. With demanding wife now ex-wife and with step-daughter all grown up and moved out I was able to dedicate more time to my hobby and I started playing and enjoying 3.5 with Chris and other old gaming buddies.

4.0 Came Too Soon

I wasn’t ready for 4.0 in so many ways. Keeping it roleplaying rather than bitching at WOTC, I’ve played Warriors and Clerics, a few mixed classes, a Necromancer, an Assassin (formerly gestalt) and am sizing up Rogues and Bards. I have dabbled with Exalted and Unspeakably Evil but barely poked the surface of prestige classes. I cracked at Christmas and treated both myself and Chris to the corrupting power of the 4.0 Handbook only to find myself totally unmoved by it. No doubt I’ll vent at some point but for now I’ll carry on with my original point about availability of 3.5 books.

Buy Buy Bye!

Now I’m lucky I suppose in that I am an old git and therefore have a bit of spare cash to splash. Having said that I’m not rash and until 4.0 came around I bought the 3.5 books as I needed or wanted them. I won’t list them endlessly, but I collected the core books, a few “Completes” and the good and evil pair. Now whilst I have watched 4.0 from afar, I’ve kept an eye on the 3.5 market and here is my summary for what it is worth.


Yes, they are going out of stock fast and my long sought out fall on the second hand market was short lived. Obviously the USA is still the place but the UK main retailers are about done. I have managed to pick up the Complete Champion, Adventurer, Mage and Scoundrel at about GBP12 new ($12) from a gaming shop but they are getting rare.

Older Publications

One book I really wanted was Libris Mortis. I managed to order one from the USA for about GBP20 (I’m still waiting for it) but prices are really scary. There are currently no copies on EBay UK and 2 on the US site starting at $10. But if this is your baby bag it now because on a big UK book price comparison site they start at GBP22 and reach the unfeasible heights of GBP74!

The Weird Stuff

I managed to rein in my panic at a spend of about GBP100 (probably about $110 or $200 just before Christmas – and yes I am so very bitter). But not before I found a load of odd little soft back books I’d missed. I cracked and spent a tenner on Song And Silence which I’m pleased about. The trap section is really good although I’m sure it will all be helpful

The 3.5 Bucket List

So what do I really need? I am sure all you wizened and hardened 3.5 veterans have an opinion and I’d welcome it. I feel the Complete Arcane is a necessity but I’ve not tracked one down yet. After this, my hit list is blank but I am sure there are some essentials you can recommend. What I do know is that 3.5 has a lot of playing left in it and whilst I’ll probably dabble in 4.0, WOTC will not be retiring on my purchases for a fair while yet.


  1. I really enjoyed the Completes Series (Arcane, Divine, etc). Outside of that and the Core Books, there wasn’t a lot I used an awful lot. Dieties and Demigods 3.5, I guess, and Heroes of Battle wasn’t bad…

    Zachary´s last blog post..I am an Adversarial DM.

  2. The Third Edition books I got more mileage than any others by far are:

    1) Ptolus. Big. Expensive. Worth every penny.
    2) Worlds’ Largest Dungeon. This became our zero-preparation happy hunting ground for more gaming hours than I can count. I sited it under Ptolus then scattered a few mystical fountains that ‘ported anyone who bathed in them to the surface for 12 hours before pulling them back into the dungeon. This meant we could combine urban adventures with dungeon bashing, and the characters could restock as required. As the campaign progressed, these fountians became Very Important Indeed.
    3) Monster Manuals. Whether they’re “official” tomes from Wizards’, the Tome of Horrors or the Monsternomicon, I love ’em all (well, apart from MM II, which sucked). Given that monster building in 3e is Darned Hard To Do, the more pre-built critters I could lay my hands on, the better. Proud to say that one shelf on my bookcase contains nuthin’ but monsters. Bwahahahaha, etc.

    And that’s pretty much it. We generally preferred mixing up the Core classes than using new ones, though we’ve seen a fair few psionics (the Expanded Psionics Handbook is excellent) and Catfolk (from Races of the Wild, I think), and that’s about it. We like to keep it simple 😀

    Ah, happy times.

    greywulf´s last blog post..Leopard Women from Mars

  3. My recommendations:

    * Savage Species. Everything you need for hacking monsters.

    * Stronghold Builder’s Guidebook. Everything you need for hacking buildings.

  4. Thanks for your feedback guys. I must admit you have all made suggestions of books I have not really delved into. I’ve avoided the monster manuals apart from the original because I got into the habit of only using them when I’m running something. This makes new monsters more of a challenge.

    Both Savage Species and Stronghold builders Guide are books I was aware of but never looked into, I’ll do so now.

    Finally, Ptolus and The Worlds Largest Dungeon are completely new to me so I’ll do some serious digging.

    Thanks again guys and any lurkers out there, please feel free to add to this list. I’m planning years of gaming fun off the back of this post!!!!

  5. The range of 3.5 support material was very varied in quality. The terrain-specific guides were a bit of a waste of space but books like Libris Mortis and Heroes of Horror provided an excellent read.
    Its this last point I would like to expand on. Often – with my DM hat on – I am unhappy about the mass of new spells, feats and classes introduced in books like the complete series. I feel a burden of allowing for the possibilities they present in my designs and feel guilty if I am forced to deny an option to a player in one of my campaigns. Whether I use the rules or not though – these books can be more than a folio of numbers – they have a role in inspiring players/DM’s and evoking a certain ‘spirit of the game’ which is way more valuable for my motivation than yet another prestige class design. It would be good if moving forward a clearer division could be made between books of rules and books of ideas. Ideas are after all timeless and can stay in print regardless of the underlying rules edition. It might also mean that when working out what feat your character wants you may be able to read a big book of feats rather than sitting beneath a huge stack of hardbacks looking for a feat you barely remember.

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