We know that you're curious, excited, and concerned about what's going on behind the scenes in the preparation of D&D 3.5. The last thing we want is for anyone to lose sleep over this (unless it's because you stayed up too late playing the game). Adequate rest is essential to good health. In an effort to promote healthy gaming, therefore, we're going to present weekly answers to some of the most-asked questions about D&D 3.5.
Our guest physician is Ed Stark, RpD (doctor of roleplaying) and D&D design manager. We'll be talking to Ed a lot over the next few months -- as much as his patience allows.
Now, on to the symptoms.
Q: I'm nervous about the label "3.5." It implies that this upgrade will move us halfway toward a completely new version 4.0. Why was this number chosen, as opposed to 3.01 or 3.1?
A: We actually talked about this quite a bit. We feel the changes we're making to the D&D RPG are important enough to warrant the "3.5" label, but not nearly significant enough to be a 4th edition. We also want to send the message that this is an upgrade, not a new edition. Whether we're "halfway" to a new edition, I couldn't say. I will say that I would have a hard time backing any upgrade beyond this that wasn't a new edition. A "3.1" label might imply there could be a bunch more upgrades before 4.0, and we don't want to imply that at all.
Q: Will there be a rebate program for previous owners who buy the new books?
A: Not to my knowledge. Your 3.0 rulebooks should work very well with any support product that is post-3.5, and vice versa. The older books won't be useless, but they won't be perfectly up to date, either; there will be changes. Anyone who wants to investigate the changes before purchasing new books can download the upgraded SRD. You can do that for free.
Q: What will be the new page counts?
A: All three core books will be 320 pages.
Q: Will the books have better bindings?
A: I hope so.
We thought that the books had great bindings to start with, and we were dismayed to hear that the second printing of the PH had lower-quality bindings than the first printing. My books have held up well, and I use them literally every day (and night) as part of my job. Still, we're going to make sure the 3.5 books have the best bindings we possibly can.