View Full Version : The PHB
Sat, 2nd Mar '02, 1:24am
Is it just me or do the illustrations in the PHB really suck? I mean WotC is a pretty big company and they should earn aleast decent amounts of money, couldnt they have hired a real artist with a deep knowledge of the rules and different DnD worlds?
Overall I was pretty disapointed at the book, it is barely enough info in it to really understand the game and the rules and teh way it is written on is not top of the line.
IIRC the old rule books were really fun and interesting to read but this new one, nah!
Sat, 2nd Mar '02, 3:19am
I thought it wasn't half bad. However, the book did seem to focus less on what DnD is, and more on the rules of the game.
Sat, 2nd Mar '02, 12:09pm
Check out other companies' illustrations, then say that again. Basically, pictures in rpgs have never been that good (there are some exceptions), but D&D definitely is on top of the heap.
Sat, 2nd Mar '02, 1:09pm
The really good artists would charge WotC so much money that the cost of the books would be prohibitive.
If you want to buy a book of fantasy pictures then buy a book of fantasy pictures.
As for the PHB focusing more on the rules, I think that it does a fairly good job of presenting the game. It has to focus on the rules and information, without them the game cannot be played. If you are looking for a version that better explains how to play the game, I suggest getting the basic boxed version, called 'Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game'. The boxed set is a much better place to start if you are new to the game.
[This message has been edited by Baldak Oakfist (edited March 02, 2002).]
Sun, 3rd Mar '02, 3:42am
I think they suck, hands down. The character portrayals tick me off, especially the thief and the wizard, and the color is a little monotone. I do like the fact that they include sketches describing weaponry (even though I disagree with some of them) and sizes of humanoids and whatnot.
Sun, 3rd Mar '02, 4:50am
Well, I don't think they're *that* bad. Compared to the black-ink sketches that were in the earlier versions, these are great. Even the cover illustrations of those early versions were pretty awful: http://www.geocities.com/bartholope/old.html
And Baldak's got a really good point. The high-quality art you see elsewhere would really boost the cost.
But I think they could have been written better. I like the rules-based descriptions, but some of them are very unclear. I think they put more effort into making it look good than in making sure they were clear and concise in their meaning. But overall, none of the manuals are really that bad.
Mon, 4th Mar '02, 2:44pm
I'm not a huge art critic so my opinions isn't worth that much but the pictures in the PHB didn't offend me. But I didn't buy it for the art. I bought it for the rules and I like them. So if you want to say that the art is bad so what. The rules are what they focused on and that is what I use every week when I play D&D.
A book with bad art and good rules makes a good system. A book with good art and bad rules makes a nice picutre book and little more.
Mon, 4th Mar '02, 5:55pm
Didn't like the thief picture? That's possibly the best picture in the book, from an artistic point of view.
You forgot a few, Voltric:
A book with good art and good rules makes heaven. A book with bad art and bad rules makes a generic universal role playing game ;)
Mon, 4th Mar '02, 8:20pm
I didn't make myself clear enough in my criticism.
Artistically speaking, the pictures are top-shelf. I agree, even, that the thief is one of the best. Actually, after looking at it long and hard, the thief is damn good her pose is even natural.(Except for her nose, why is it so red?) The other's poses seem a bit stiff and unnatural.
My main gripe is they way the different classes are portrayed. I understand that there are many different possible representations of each class, but I think, for the example pictures should have stuck with something a little on the generic side (knightly paladin etc.) The paladin looks like a ranger, the ranger looks like a fighter, the druid is just odd, and looks like something from a different system. The wizard looks druidish, the bard looks like a thief (Where's his bardic stuff, musical instrument, all that?). When I got this book and saw the pics, I immediately pictured them in an adventuring scenario, like running through a dense dimly-lit forest, or doing a belly crawl through the sewer of a castle, and it just didn't work. Some of the clothes annoy me too, but I won't get into that, I'm just nitpicking.
I think the overall layout of the book is great. I really do like the way many of the rules have illustrative sketches, I like that they show different sizes of things (horses, swords, races), and I like that they illustrate some of the equipment.
To further clarify my point, some of the art is well done on all levels, and some of it just bugs me. Only my opinion.
Oh, and I do like the way it's written. Easy to pick up the gist of the rules, and packed with useful tidbits. Still, the best way to learn is to play, learning as you go, using the book to clarify and guide.
[This message has been edited by Damona Silvercloud (edited March 04, 2002).]
Mon, 4th Mar '02, 10:05pm
Volar Blackmane, I hope that wasn't a cheap shot at GURPS. :) GURPS happens to be my favorite gaming system. I totally agree the art is awful but the rules are the best in the gaming industry.
Tue, 5th Mar '02, 5:40pm
Hmm, weird. You're actually the first person who has claimed to me they like the rules. Not that I'm saying that it's a crappy game, I actually like the idea of being able to play any sort of game with the same rules. I have to confess I'm not too fond of even the D&D rules (it's the classes and levels that do it, I hate the restrictions), I'm more fond of systems like the ones in any Chaosium game for instance (Stormbringer, Cthulhu, Nephilim... The rules are basically the same in every game).
Damona, notice the snow in the background of the thief's picture? The red noce really makes it look like there's cold out there, and provides some colour and a central point for the picture.
But I have to agree on some of the pics, the ranger just looks a bit... wrong, the paladin looks more like a mercenary (that piece of scalemail that hangs in front of him looks more like it would hinder him than provide any protection. And that tattoo doesn't fit with the picture at all.) And when looking at the mage... Well, I always thought elves were beatiful and wouldn't have a weirdly shaped head with a pair of huge, pointy ears. (At least it isn't as bad as the pic on page 13... The elf in there has a face like Yoda.)
Wed, 6th Mar '02, 1:33am
Yeah, I see what you mean, with the snow and all that, but jeez, her nose? Why not a little blush across her cheeks and nose, or something? It just looks a little odd, is all.
Wed, 6th Mar '02, 1:47am
Are these pics the same as are on the NWN-vault. Some of them sound awfully similar. If they are then -
1)The bard has a lute strapped to his back if you look closely
2)I agree on the Paladin and Ranger
3)I think the druid looks very "druidic", but I don't know the background of the system all that well (or at all)
4) The wizard's an elf? With his stance making him look shorter, his pointed little goatee and his funny Jan-style goggles I thought he was some sort of demented gnome.
[This message has been edited by Ironbeard (edited March 06, 2002).]
Thu, 7th Mar '02, 1:49am
Volar, funny that you would say you don't like restrictions but you don't like GURPS. The point buy system lets you make any type of character you want. No classes, levels or templetes to hold you in place. It's all about freedom. I'd check it out if I was you. I think you may like it after all.
Thu, 7th Mar '02, 11:43am
Some of the characters look a bit bad... but some others, for example the thief really look great.... The Paladin sucks though... :)
Fri, 8th Mar '02, 3:15am
Most class pics were all right, except for the ranger and the paladin, of course. However, I really like the Barbarian and Druid ones. As for the spell listing section, that part looked like they had a bunch of second-rate drawings throwing in at the last minute . . .
Not that I could do any better, though . . . ;)
Fri, 8th Mar '02, 6:50pm
There are two pictures of a wizard, the other is a female elf and the other is the 'demented gnome' you're talking about.
Maybe I should, Voltric, but the bad thing is I don't know anyone who GMs gurps, and I'm not going to buy it, as two persons with very much the same taste as I claimed the rules are bad. One of them told me the supplements are a good buy, though, if only for the information they contain.