I stumbled on this story today: D&D Beyond

I’ll spare you from reading the entire article and sum it up for you: Wizards of the Coast is making a D&D app (called D&D Beyond) aimed at completely removing books and paper from table-top role-playing.  Whoa!

As an old-school gamer, with an aversion to apps, my first thought was, “Wtf?!”; but as a semi-objective quasi-blogger, I’ll try to give it a fair roll-of-the-d20 before I trash the entire concept… so lets do it!

According to the article, D&D Beyond is expected to release with three specific tool-sets:

  1. Digital compendium of rulebooks
  2. Digital character sheets
  3. Collected “homebrew” content

Lets take a moment to expound on each feature.

A Digital Compendium of Rulebooks

This feature is simply a collection of D&D content, compiled in one place, instead of spread across many different rulebooks.  I can already see many benefits to this.  Imagine every D&D spell listed in a single table that can be sorted by level, class, effect, etc.  That would be quite a time-saver and an easy way explore everything that D&D has to offer!  Now expand that to also include tables for all of the classes, races, monsters, weapons, armor, feats (does D&D 5e still use feats?), etc.  One of the biggest inconveniences of D&D is the need to often scour multiple source-books in order to find the rules for some obscure spell or feat.  Not anymore, thanks to this app!

MY d20 RATING: Natural 20… Crit hit!  Take that you dastardly goblin!

D&D books
“Which book had the rules for Evard’s Black Tentacles, again?”

Digital Character Sheets

According to the article, the goal of this feature is to make character creation, and tracking, more streamlined for new players, who often find the process cumbersome.  As a high-level dork, I really enjoy character creation, and I’ve never found it difficult to track my character on a piece of paper.  However, I can definitely picture a group of new players being overwhelmed by the process and benefiting from something like this.  It can literally take hours for a group to make characters which may turn some new players off; so I can understand the desire to avoid that.  With that being said, Rogue Hippo will stick with his trusty pencil and paper and leave this feature to the noobs.

MY d20 RATING: 9… better hope your target has a low AC.

Young woman using a tablet on the sofa
“Only one more level until I gain the Bone Breaker feat!  Dathrannen will be unstoppable!”

Collected “Homebrew” Content

This feature allows players and DM’s (that’s Dungeon Master, for the uninitiated) to create, and upload, their custom spells/monsters/weapons/etc; which are then accessible to anyone using D&D Beyond.  Just imagine the collected works of the world’s finest Dungeon Masters!  Such a collection would be (interesting, awesome, terrifying?) to say the least.  D&D folk are generally quite creative; so I can only assume that the ability to tap into the minds of a million dorks will be hilarious, at the very least, if not extremely beneficial.  The ability to constantly get new, unique content should benefit virtually everyone.

d20 RATING: 19… that’s a hit almost every time!  Roll that 2d6+1 damage!

Man Bear Pig- half man, half bear, half pig

Overall, I feel these features will be quite valuable to many D&D players; but, as expected, Wizards of the Coast ain’t giving the loot away for free.  Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect to pay for the different levels of D&D Beyond:

  • FREE– Basic rules, Character Creator, digital character sheet (up to 6 characters), can create your own content (but can’t see other people’s created content)
  • Hero Tier ($3/month)- unlimited character sheets, access to other people’s created content
  • Master Tier ($6/month)- Specifically designed for DM’s, allows the DM to share purchased content with other players in the campaign so not everyone has to buy it
  • Source Books ($20-$30 each)- This is how you add the traditional D&D Source Books (Players Handbook, Monster Manual, various adventure modules, etc.)

There you have it!  You know what’ll work for you, and your group; so buy as much, or as little, as you want and game on!

Game On!
“And the dragon goes, “RAAAWRRR!” and shoots a cone of fire at you!  Make a dexterity save!”

Here’s a link for the D&D Beyond app, which is currently in beta testing.

Until Next Time,

Rogue Hippo

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