Written by Mike Mearls, Rob Heinsoo, and Robert J. Schwalb

Over the past several months there's been an awful lot of conjecture out there as to what's going to be in the upcoming Player's Handbook 3 that's scheduled to come out next quarter. From the moment it was announced, everyone had their own idea of what races and classes to expect, what the distribution would be of the three power sources, and what powers they would have. In addition, there would of course be new rules and other material introduced and everyone seemed to be guessing at what those might be as well.

Out of all the conjecture, opinions, and debate floating around about what to expect, one article certainly stood out as the most entertaining. Check out the Witchalok class. (This is not an actual class).

What Came Before

The original Player's Handbook had eight races, eight classes, and was described as having Arcane, Divine, and Martial heroes. The classes presented consisted of two divine, four martial, and two arcane. Player's Handbook 2 added five more races, eight more classes, and was described as having Primal, Arcane, and Divine heroes. The classes presented consisted of four primal, two arcane, and two divine. That gives us four divine, four arcane, four martial, and four primal classes.

From that we can make some guesses as to what to expect from the third book. The first set of races and classes were the easiest to put together as they had the most game history and available information. The next book did a pretty good job of keeping the volume of material up even though it must have taken more work to assemble. I expect that the third book will take considerably more effort to put together as the races and classes aren't as predefined. Due to that, I would expect four races and six classes. As it turns out, it appears that is what it looks like they will be releasing. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

What We Actually Know

Here's what's listed on the Wizard's of the Coast website:

Player's Handbook 3

Rules for psionic, divine, and primal heroes.

Player's Handbook 3 expands the range of options available to D&D players with new classes, races, powers, and other material.

This book builds on the array of classes and races presented in the Player's Handbook and Player's Handbook 2 core rulebooks, presenting old favorites and new, never-before-seen options to the game. Player's Handbook 3 also adds the psionic power source to the 4th Edition D&D game, along with several new classes that harness this power source.

More Info

Additionally, Wizards of the Coast has been releasing tidbits here and there. Most of this appeared in the D&D Insider. I think we have a pretty good idea of what to expect now.

It looks like there will be four new races: Githzerai, Minotaur, Wilden, and one other that hasn't been identified yet.

There will be six new classes: Ardent, Battlemind, Artificer (Hybrid), Monk, Psion, and Seeker.

Also, there is a bit of info on some new Skill Powers.

Until it actually ships, we won't know for sure what's in it. But the above is a pretty safe bet given what's been said on the WotC website.

The 4th Edition Player's Handbook 3 is scheduled to ship on March 16, 2010. You can preorder it now, at considerable savings!