What are they and why did I buy them?
They were the supplemental class books beyond the D&D 3.0 core rules which offered MOAR OPTIONS!?! to players. And that’s exactly what they provided.
Instead of reviewing every single Wizards of the Coast classbook I purchased during the Heady Days of D&D Third Edition, I’m lumping them all together:
Defenders of the Faith (for clerics and paladins)
Masters of the Wild (for rangers and druids)
Song and Silence (for bards and rogues)
Sword and Fist (for fighters and monks)
Tome and Blood (for wizards and sorcerers)
The Hero Builder’s Guidebook (a really lame book which repeated how your roll up a character, but gave options for your character’s background)
The only book missing is The Arms and Equipment Guide, because I didn’t buy it. I had the rest.
Why did I sell these books?
Shortly after D&D 3.5e came out they ended up on the Used Book Store Pile.
Why? I barely got any use of these books. Neither did my players.
Much of the material and concepts had been recycled from AD&D Second Edition (Bladesinger, Alienist, Pale Master, Urban Ranger, Hunter of the Dead, Knight of Chalice, Warpriest, Thief-Acrobat, Cavalier, Gladiator, etc.) and all of it would get recycled again in D&D 3.5e.
The books had some cool material. In Tome and Blood the Blood Magus prestige class has special power of teleporting in and out of other people using their blood. The Dragon Disciple slowly turned into a half-dragon–one of players ran one.
And yet, if you a GM, you had watch players like a hawk so they wouldn’t game the system with all those extra feats and spells. One player in my campaign picked the Energy Admixture Feat from Tome and Blood so his wizard could cast a Fireball which could do fire and cold damage–but he conveniently didn’t mention his character did have all the prerequisites to do them.
Another player, running a ranger, tried to convince me to let his character have the Monkey Grip Feat, which lets a character wield a Large weapon one-handed but with a -2 to attack. Hence, his character would wield one Greatsword in each hand.
Most DMs I knew at the time banned these books; they were still trying to figure out the intricacies of the Core Rules first. I was one of the more lenient ones.
And as more and more prestige classes were added to the mix, I started wondering if any player would run a character from Levels 1-20 without a deviating from a basic class (e.g. playing a straight fighter through 20th level and not becoming a Gladiator or a sorcerer and not switching to the Blood Magus).
It was too much. Too soon. In a too short amount of time.
So long. Goodbye…
…Until I went insane bought the D&D 3.5e splatbooks which replaced them.
What was I thinking?!?