Player's Handbook

James Wyatt

Book cover

When I was growing up, one of my favorite books was the Monster Manual from 2nd Edition D&D. The weird thing is that I never once played D&D, nor really had any particular desire to. I must have just found the book in a bookstore and my parents noticed me looking at it so much that they just bought it for me. I guess my experience of reading it was similar to the enjoyment of reading a book of mythology, or maybe looking through an atlas–a spur to the imagination.

Later on, when we got a computer, it came with a multi-CD set of the game Baldur’s Gate, which is based on the 2nd Edition D&D rules. I really loved playing that game, although I didn’t really connect it to D&D at all. I didn’t play it any more once I went to college, but a few years back, when the “Enhanced Edition” was released, I bought that too and have played it a fair amount more (as well as the sequel, which I never played as a kid).

Then last year, I actually played “pen & paper” D&D for the first time, playing through the 5th Edition intro adventure, “Lost Mines of Phandelver,” with three friends (I was Valerian, a wood elf monk). It was a lot of fun, and made me a little sad that I didn’t play until age 30! But it’s something I’ll continue to enjoy. I think the 5th Edition ruleset is very nice; conducive to an open and permissive style of play that really takes advantage of the freedom of an in-person game vs. a computer game. Although I don’t buy books much anymore, I’ve made an exception for several of the 5E rulebooks. This year, I started DMing a campaign (Curse of Strahd) for the first time, and am also loving that! Elise makes fun of me for spending so much time “studying” with my books spread out all over the table.

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars