The Player's Handbook, also known as Players Handbook in 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D), is a book of rules for the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). It does not contain the complete set of rules, but only those for use by players of the game. Additional rules, for use by Dungeon Masters (DMs), who referee the game, can be found in the Dungeon Master's Guide. Many optional rules, such as those governing extremely high-level players, and some of the more obscure spells, are found in other sources.
When I first started playing D&D, over twenty years ago, I quickly fell in love with the Bard character class. In the core books for D&D 4th Edition, I felt the omission of this lute-wielding troubadour a glaring and unconscionable oversight. In the Players Handbook 2, the Bard is back, and for that reason alone I believe this book is worth the price of admission. I understand, of course, that not everyone holds the same view here... even so, the Players Handbook 2 offers up so much delight, both nostalgic and innovative, that is definitely a must-have tome for any serious player. There's a new source of power - Primal - fuelling classes such as the Druid and the Barbarian. Half-orcs and Gnomes make a welcome return to the available races. Backgrounds, first introduced in the Forgotten Realms Players Guide, make a core-rule début. That said, even with all these new options, I'm sure to be spending a fair chunk of my future role-playing sessions searching for markets that sell mandolin strings.
In 1983, TSR changed the cover art of the Players Handbook, although the interior contents remained the same. Printings with this cover also bear an orange spine that fits in with other Advanced Dungeons & Dragons books.