Earlier this month, Wizards of the Coast, in partnership with Curse, announced the development of Dungeons & Dragons Beyond (D&D Beyond), an official digital toolset for use with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.
The partnership promises to “take players beyond pen and paper,” providing a digitized rules compendium, character builder and sheets, monster guide, and more. This will make game management easier for both players and Dungeon Masters who often build highly customized characters and craft elaborate encounters.
In the past, Wizards has published similar tools to help game management (most recently, D&D Insider for 4th Edition), but these tools were clunky, difficult to navigate at times, and restricted to desktop. In their official announcement video, D&D Beyond shows prototypes of a mobile app in progress, which is very exciting.
Imagine being able to search your character sheet just for the right spell on your phone, rolling the dice, and having the application do the dice math for you, taking into account your abilities, items, and special conditions. This opens up the possibility of playing D&D 5th Edition in non-traditional settings, like underneath a palm tree on your beach blanket (confession: that’s my ultimate fantasy play setting for just about any tabletop game!).
Long story short, the idea of playing D&D on the go is a great leap forward for a company that is traditionally known throughout the game industry for their “pen and paper” products.
Nathan Stewart, Senior Director of Dungeons & Dragons, said in an official statement, “D&D Beyond speaks to the way gamers are able to blend digital tools with the fun of storytelling around the table with your friends. These tools represent a way forward for D&D, and we’re excited to get them into the hands of players soon!”
These are the first days of launch for Phase One of D&D Beyond open beta, which has launched the Compendium, Listings, and Forums. You can reference all basic rules listed in the Compendium, the three major Listings (Spells, Magic Items, and Monsters), and share feedback in the Forums.
At the time of this writing, all of the content I accessed was purely reference material (and incomplete at that – for instance, not all of the artwork has been uploaded for magical items). There is no actual character-building at the moment, but I thought I’d share a few screenshots of potential spells I might use for my future Bard:
Phase 2 (Character Builder and Character Sheet) and Phase 3 (Homebrew Integration and Campaign Management) will soon follow over the course of Summer 2017. Regarding the player material that will inevitably be generated during these beta phases, Wizards promises that there are currently “no plans to ‘wipe’ anything that you will create or use during the beta before launch.”
A native mobile app and an “omni search” feature are currently in the works, though the site has so far proven to be mobile-responsive on phones and tablets. As always with betas, users are encouraged to report bugs or anything that “doesn’t look right” on the forums. If you’re curious, sign up for the beta!
I look forward to providing more news on D&D Beyond as more changes, upgrades, and improvements happen over the summer!