There are differences among printings of the Player's Handbook which are not captured in the errata, as came up when recently discussing Druidic Foci and Arcane Wards.

How do I know which printing I have? How many printings which incorporate changes have there been? As some of the differences aren't identified as errata, is there a sense as to whether one printing or another is controlling?

I'm envisioning a situation at a table where two players are looking at the same page, seeing different text, and there's no mention of it in the errata. How to even know which is more-recent?


Somewhat oddly, your question is answered by the Sage Advice Compendium document which was first released as part of a Sage Advice article by Jeremy Crawford on the official D&D website entitled Rules Roundup.

This document says the following on the first page, under the "Errata" heading:

A corrected version of the book includes the following text toward the bottom of its credits page:

This printing includes corrections to the first printing.

At the time of writing this answer, there have only been two printings of the Player's Handbook: the original, and the latest which incorporates the errata updates. Any rules clarifications which are not considered errata are going to continue to be found in the updated versions of the Sage Advice Compendium document. The latest version is always accessible from the official D&D website, and includes a version number both in the file name and in the footer of the document. The latest version always takes precedence over previous versions. Note that the errata document can also be distinguished from later updates by its version number, which is also contained in the file name as well as the footer of the document.

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    \$\begingroup\$ + \infty for being able to find anything on dnd.wizards.com \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 4 '15 at 12:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that the DMG and MM (per dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/errata-may-2016), actually have two different variations on the “This printing includes corrections” text; one for the 6th printing of each, which include (as of the date of this comment) all errata, and another for the intermediate printings, which include all but the most recent errata. However, this answer is still accurate for the PHB, as it did not receive additional errata in May 2016. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Henderson May 25 '16 at 17:39

Look at the Copyright page. Near the bottom, under where it says "First Printing: August 2014" is a string of numbers, starting with 9, like "9 8 7 6 5 4 3". The last number in the string (or the first, if it counts up instead of down) is the printing number. My copy reads "9 8 7", so I must have the seventh printing.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My PHB copyright page has "9 8 7 6" but incorporates the changes in the 6th printing according to the version 1.22 Errata. So I think the last number is probably the printing. \$\endgroup\$ – R. Ski Mar 11 '18 at 16:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ The PHB I just bought (it arrived in the mail today!) has just the numbers 9 8 on the copyright page below the `First Printing: August 2014 (This printing includes corrections.)" text. Does that mean it's the 7th printing or the 8th? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 28 '18 at 20:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would assume that @R.Ski is right and I'm wrong, and that you have the 8th printing. That's how everyone else does it. It's just that I was convinced I had the sixth printing, and there was no seventh printing when I purchased my PHB… \$\endgroup\$ – Calion Mar 29 '18 at 13:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Given R. Ski's comment, I changed my answer. I must have been wrong about what printing I have; it makes no sense that Wizards does this differently than everyone else in publishing. \$\endgroup\$ – Calion Mar 29 '18 at 13:59

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