The Best & Worst of 3rd Edition: SINGLE BEST Product of 3rd edition (poll closed)

Choose the single one you like best

  • Draconomicon (WotC)

    Votes: 46 6.2%
  • Eberron Campaign Setting (WotC)

    Votes: 124 16.8%
  • Magic Item Compendium (WotC)

    Votes: 37 5.0%
  • Player's Handbook II (WotC)

    Votes: 81 11.0%
  • Spell Compendium (WotC)

    Votes: 45 6.1%
  • Unearthed Arcana (WotC)

    Votes: 81 11.0%
  • Complete Book of Eldritch Might (MP)

    Votes: 13 1.8%
  • A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe (XRP)

    Votes: 35 4.7%
  • Midnight (FF)

    Votes: 31 4.2%
  • Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords (Pz)

    Votes: 83 11.3%
  • Ptolus (MP)

    Votes: 104 14.1%
  • Tome of Horrors I (rev.) (NG)

    Votes: 38 5.2%
  • I want ZAZ, and they ain’t got it.

    Votes: 19 2.6%

  • Poll closed .


5ever, or until 2024
The 7th and final poll on the “best and worst” of 3rd edition.

This is for all the marbles. The SINGLE BEST product of 3rd edition.

The list includes the top 6 from the WotC poll and the top 6 from the 3rd party poll. (these thresholds where chosen to given an even 12, ensure a variety of products, and avoid some ties farther down in the 2nd round results).

So please vote, and feel free to let us know what you think.

EDIT: This poll has been contentious enough, and close enough, to demand a sequel. This poll will be closed, and a new one for the finalists opened.

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As much as I wanted to vote for Eberron, Spell Compendium has been the most useful book in that list for my groups, hands down.


Of these, I'll say Complete Book of Eldritch Might has probably added the most to my game.

I won't feel bad if Unearthed Arcana wins, though. ;)


3rd Edition Player's Handbook.

It represented such a huge shift towards consistency, balance and thoroughness from 2nd edition that every product afterwards became derivative. Other books reached greater heights, but they stood on the strong, strong shoulders of the 3e PHB.


First Post
That'll teach me to not carefully read all of the options...

I should have voted for Unearthed Arcana, but I am not sorry for giving a vote to the PHB2 (so far the only one).

Granted, I am a player most of the time and while I adore the Spell Compendium and the Magic Item Compendium I think the PHB2 has done more than either to open up options for players and make the game the game more fun (for me at least). I use stuff out of there more then I use stuff out of UA.

Yeah, I think UA is better - but I am happy to represent PHB2 and make sure it gets through with at least one vote.



I voted UA after asking myself, "what kind of book do I hope they release for 4e." Fluff is easy to come by, well-balanced system variants ain't.


Front Range Warlock
I voted for UA as, of all the books listed, it provided the most in the way of rules modifications that allowed one to tweak the core system to taste.

blargney the second

blargney the minute's son
Wow, that was a tough choice. In the end I had to go with UA because it gave me the tools to make each campaign run the way I wanted it to run. Game customization for the win!


First Post
I thought the breakout was interesting. Of the top 12 products, 8 were system/rules books, 3 were setting books, and one was a hybrid adventure path/setting. As I'm more and more leaning toward rules lite systems, I voted for Midnight, my favorite setting of the 3.0/3.5 era. I enjoyed Ptolus, thought it was the most professionally done book, best layout, etc, but it didn't fire my imagination and change the way I played more then Midnight.



5ever, or until 2024
With 114 votes, Unearthed Arcana has a pretty strong lead, but this vote is not over yet

Unearthed Arcana (WotC) 20.18%
Ptolus (MP) 14.04%
Eberron Campaign Setting (WotC) 13.16%
Midnight (FF) 12.28%
Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords (Pz) 7.89%
Player's Handbook II (WotC) 7.02%
Draconomicon (WotC) 6.14%
Spell Compendium (WotC) 5.26%
Tome of Horrors I (rev.) (NG) 5.26%
Complete Book of Eldritch Might (MP) 3.51%
Magic Item Compendium (WotC) 1.75%
A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe (XRP) 1.75%
I want ZAZ, and they ain’t got it. 1.75%

Unearthed has been strong in all these polls, but some products: PHB II, CBoEM, MIC, that did well earlier not so much now. Good but not great?
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I'm really surprised by Unearthed Arcana's popularity. I've had a hard time justifying the expense of that book because I never use that much of it, only a few pieces here and there if that much.

Additionally, since it's OGL, Jans Carton including most of its rules contents on under the Variant Rules section, which makes it easily printable and distributable to a gaming group when one of those rules is adopted. Granted, the availability of those rules in as open content would have never come about unless the book was published to begin with.

Still, I remember a lot of people disliking the book simply because it was too much that could never be used in its entirety. I guess the popularity of gestalt rules says otherwise.


amaril said:
I'm really surprised by Unearthed Arcana's popularity. I've had a hard time justifying the expense of that book because I never use that much of it, only a few pieces here and there if that much.
I concur. It's a cool book, but a lot of the ideas have cascade effects, and some have proven less than stellar. The few things we've used in our games we eventually dropped.

Again, it's a neat book, just not a very useful book, IME.


5ever, or until 2024
I use a couple of things from it, a dm I know well has used some others, I have seen lots of campaigns that use yet some other ones....Given that a lot of people have books on their shelves where they got just 1 feat or 1 spell, it does seeme pretty usefull.

And I think ENWorlders are the types that would like reading through a crunchy toolkit and seeing all the variants, even if they only use a few. I know I read more of it then just about anyother non-core WotC release.

But I will agree, definately not my top choice.
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This was really a hard choice,
Draconomicon, PHBII, MIC, see much regular use in my games

Unearthed Arcana, Midnight, MMS:WE have all been offered as options, some used others not, and included in my conception of my HB world.

I went with draconomicon, its the only book I did not have to tinker with. Also its just really pretty.

the PHBII was very close on its heels.


First Post
I went with UA, because of the incredible versatility of its components. I have used quite a bit of it in my 3E and D20 games: Action Points, Weapon Groups, Players Roll All The Dice, and so on. It's just the most versatile and useful book of the bunch. (Although Tome of Horrors did come a very close second for me...)

With Regards,

Greg K

amaril said:
I'm really surprised by Unearthed Arcana's popularity. I've had a hard time justifying the expense of that book because I never use that much of it, only a few pieces here and there if that much..

I use several things. Off the top of my head are the following:
- Environmental Racial Variants
- Class Variants: I don't use all of them, but I do use many of them. I especially like the Barbarian Hunter, Battle Sorceror, Combat/Martial Rogue, Wilderness Rogue
- Favored Terrain
- Specialist Wizard Variant Abilities
- Weapon Groups
- Action Points
- Death and Dying variant: I still think this is much better than the preview of 4e negative hit points.
- Spontaneous Divine Casting

Epic Threats

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