D&D’s New Digital Toolset Is A Convincing Argument Against Pen And Paper Purists
An official digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons called D&D Beyond has been announced, first at PAX East and now on the D&D website.
D&D Beyond is set to include a host of features that will be useful for players and GMs alike. A built-in compendium should make it easy for people to refer to tables and lore as needed. A character sheet manager will mean that you’ll have much less paper to shuffle around. Players can even pop onto official Dungeons & Dragons communities or check out the latest news from the wider world of Dungeons & Dragons. A trailer showcasing the company’s vision for the service was released alongside the announcement:
The information we have about D&D Beyond states that it will be set in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. It’s also stated to support homebrew content; the robustness of this particular feature is likely to be of some importance to Dungeon Masters new and old alike, if only for the ability to create custom content for their campaign
The official website doesn’t detail the pricing model, but a comment on Reddit’s r/Games subreddit from Adam at Curse has laid out some of the details of the pricing and functionality. It’s going to be a web application, but it will nonetheless have offline support. The tool is being developed by Curse, but it won’t be tied into the Curse app which is currently undergoing a relaunch and rebrand as the Twitch Desktop App. A subscription fee will be necessary for managing “more than a handful of characters” and to enable features such as homebrew content integration.
Additionally, thanks to a comment from Adam over at ENWorld we know that this is not going to be a VTT (Virtual Table Top):
D&D Beyond is intended to enhance gameplay around a table (virtual or otherwise) – we intend this to be completely complementary and have no intention of creating a VTT.
The demo trailer certainly shows a clean experience, it’s the features and how well they work that is likely to determine how successful D&D Beyond will be. If you’re interested in checking out more and signing up for the beta you can head over to the official D&D Beyond website.
Having used Fantasy Grounds and Tabletop Simulator quite a bit, I think that D&D Beyond is going to be fighting an uphill battle. I have the feeling that they may be reluctant to support older versions of Dungeons & Dragons, and I personally know dozens of players of the classic tabletop RPG that have very few kind words to say about 4th or 5th edition. There’s also the issue of cost – we don’t yet know what this will cost exactly, but there are plenty of free tools that can do the job. It will need to compete against the stuff already out there that can be picked up for a one-time cost (if not entirely free) and it will have to provide a better level of functionality. In any case, hopefully Wizards can bring D&D 5th edition into the 21st century with this service.
What do you think of D&D Beyond? Do you think this is something that many Dungeons & Dragons players will be using? Let us know in the comments below!