D&D Beyond Launches -- Electronic Tools For D&D Are Here!

D&D Beyond, the official online toolkit for 5th Edition D&D, is now live - just in time for Gen Con! With a character builder, online rules compendium, digital character sheet, and more, the software has been in beta testing for a while. D&D's relationship with electronic tools has never been an easy one -- Master Tools, Gleemax, DungeonScape all being failed initiatives - but D&D Beyond looks like it might be the one which actually breaks that curse.


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Here's their launch announcement:

This morning, we launched D&D Beyond - an official digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition.

For over 40 years, Dungeons & Dragons has been bringing players together at tables all over the world. D&D Beyond, our new digital companion web app, aims to enhance the D&D experience by making game management easier by putting all of the game information you need to tell fantastic stories with your friends into a digital format, eliminating the need to manually search through books, and taking the load off of players through other features.

At launch, D&D Beyond offers a compendium with all the game rules, lore, and adventures, as well as sought-after tools like a character builder and an interactive digital character sheet. It’s built with official D&D content and the ability to create and add your own custom homebrew spells, magic items, and monsters. Groups can play with digital versions of every official D&D sourcebook within the compendium. They can build characters using all the material published by Dungeons & Dragons for fifth edition, while adding custom magic items or spells created using the homebrew system. That homebrew content can then be shared with the community for other players to use in their own games.

We never could have gotten to where we are without the incredible support of over 200 thousand beta testers. For all of the help, for enduring "Basic Rules only" content and the accompanying forum posts for all these months, we sincerely thank you. You have already built nearly 300 thousand characters and 25 thousand homebrew creations. You have shared feedback that has been vital to the development of the toolset, and we have taken great strides to build confidence that we not only listen to that feedback, but we move quickly to act on it when it's needed.Our team has an extensive roadmap for D&D Beyond, including implementing features such as a native mobile app, monster and encounter building, digital dice rolling, combat tracking, and much more. D&D Beyond is excited to continue to work closely with the D&D team at Wizards of the Coast to introduce all new adventures and rules material into the toolset, such as Tomb of Annihilation and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything coming this fall, the new mystic and artificer classes and other Unearthed Arcana playtest material, and Adventurers League support.

With the launch of the toolset, we are also excited to also unveil our new video and content initiative. We have a vision for DDB to be your hub for all things D&D - your companion both at the table and between sessions - whether you're looking up spells or watching Mike Mearls geek out about ogre magi. We'll tell the story of Dungeons & Dragons and help you play out your own D&D stories. We can't wait to see where all of it leads.

This truly is only the beginning for us and for what D&D Beyond will become in the upcoming weeks, months, and years. We welcome you to the adventure. Pack your gear and let's hit the trail!


Check it out over at the official website.

The pricing is subscription based, with costs ranging from $2.99 per month to $5.99 per month, depending on the features you require. You also buy official D&D content (rulebooks and adventures) for $24.99 for adventures and $29.99 for rulebooks, or you can engage in micropurchases and grab single classes, races, feats, monsters, etc. for $1.99 to $3.99. Full pricing info can be found here.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Patrick McGill

First Post
Well... I will say after looking over it briefly, the character builder has improved since beta, particularly in regards to equipping your character. I already have an OP subscription, but am suitably curious about the campaign manager portion of D&D Beyond. Has anyone messed around with it enough to form an opinion?

It's very basic at the moment, I'm not too impressed. It's a rich text document without the ability to add more pages or what have you. Right now I just have my campaign pitch on it. I'm guessing the tools they do down the line will improve it, but I don't see it replacing Obsidian Portal for me.
 

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kenmarable

Adventurer
I’ve been really excited about this. I have been wanting a good online resource like this for a while (I tend to sneak in some game prep at work and that’s easier with a good online reference than physical books). ;) What really sold me on it, however, is that my son and his friends just started D&D, and with this I can buy the books and a Master Tier subscription, and then share all of it with them. So they each get a copy of the online books (which being teenagers, they prefer) at no cost to them. Seems like a great way to draw in new gamers!
 

Rygar

Explorer
I’ve been really excited about this. I have been wanting a good online resource like this for a while (I tend to sneak in some game prep at work and that’s easier with a good online reference than physical books). ;) What really sold me on it, however, is that my son and his friends just started D&D, and with this I can buy the books and a Master Tier subscription, and then share all of it with them. So they each get a copy of the online books (which being teenagers, they prefer) at no cost to them. Seems like a great way to draw in new gamers!


If what I read is true, there's a really good chance they just shot themselves in the foot.

I'm reading that they're charging something like $1.99 per magic item and forcing people to rebuy books they already own which wasn't a good move. There's a fairly decent number of gamers who are *adamantly* against microtransactions, and the manner in which this was done has a lot of potential to push people away since it is pretty much a laundry list of all the problems people have with microtransactions. The Reddit Games thread has a fair bit complaining about that already.

Requiring a Twitch account was also a really bad idea. Twitch is very polarizing, it's going to be a deal breaker for some number of people. Forcing people to sign up for social media sites, especially single purpose sites whose popularity may very well be only due to people dreaming about being the next Pewdiepie, isn't a selling point.

So I'm really not seeing the "Killer app" here, I don't think there's a large number of people who wanted to play D&D but chose not to because it involved books. Especially since the last time I looked Ebook penetration plateaued and hardbacks were outselling it. Of those who would be interested, I don't think there's a large number interested in paying a fair bit of money to rebuy the books they already own, and I don't think there's anyone who is going to be willing to pay $1.99 to look at a magic item.

So I'm really not sure who this product is meant to be marketed to, I really can't see any way in which it will draw in new customers.

I'll reiterate, if WOTC wants to expand the customer base, it's time for them to figure out how computers work and release a functional proprietary virtual table top device instead of messing around with a mobile app with no clear market. Make the game easier to play by using computers to enhance the experience, computers have more uses than creating images of books.
 

Ristamar

Adventurer
Requiring a Twitch account was also a really bad idea. Twitch is very polarizing, it's going to be a deal breaker for some number of people. Forcing people to sign up for social media sites, especially single purpose sites whose popularity may very well be only due to people dreaming about being the next Pewdiepie, isn't a selling point.

Twitch is polarizing? I'm not crazy about Twitch, but it makes sense since they're planning on integrating streaming features.

I'm just glad it doesn't require a Facebook account.
 

T

TDarien

Guest
If what I read is true, there's a really good chance they just shot themselves in the foot.

I'm reading that they're charging something like $1.99 per magic item and forcing people to rebuy books they already own which wasn't a good move. There's a fairly decent number of gamers who are *adamantly* against microtransactions, and the manner in which this was done has a lot of potential to push people away since it is pretty much a laundry list of all the problems people have with microtransactions. The Reddit Games thread has a fair bit complaining about that already.

The microtransactions are only there because people requested the ability to buy a specific item without having to purchase the entire book to get it. So, if the only think out of the DMG you want is a +1 sword, you can purchase that, instead of having to pay $30 for the whole book. On top of that, any individual purchases you make are credited towards the cost of the entire book. So if you bought just the magic items out of the DMG for $13, you'd only have to pay $17 for the rest of the book later. They've said themselves they don't imagine the individual items will be very popular.
 

kenmarable

Adventurer
To touch on a few of those points:

1) Microtransactions - These are really an annoying problem for games that use this as an ongoing and primary means of revenue. That is not true here. They are not making you pay $1.99 anytime you want a magic item. It was an option offered after people requested it. If someone is mainly playing just one character or two, they said they did not want to buy the entire DMG just to have a magic item. So it’s perfect for them. More common example might be buying a single race rather than all of Volo’s Guide. A lot of people in Adventurer’s League will only want a few options and not every book. It’s not for everyone, but it is for some people. Plus, each purchase goes towards the cost of the full book (sort of like “Complete my album” with iTunes - also added at the request of people). So if you are going to use more than a handful of magic items, then just buy the book. These aren’t even close to the same realm as the micro transaction based games were you have to keep paying $5 here and there week after week, month after month, year after year in order for you to viably play the game (and the business to viably survive). It’s an entirely different system, and one I’d guess would be pretty rarely used, but handy for the handful of people who want it and requested it.

2) They are owned by Twitch. Why wouldn’t they require a Twitch login rather than creating an entirely separate one? And like Ristamar said, at least it’s not a Facebook login. :p *blech*

3) It doesn’t have to be a competition between ebooks and hardcovers. Both are viable options for many people. Some prefer ebooks, some prefer hardcovers, some prefer both. Personally, I gave a reason above why I prefer ebooks that has nothing to do with “choosing not to play D&D because there are books.” Where did you hear that? No one claimed that to my knowledge. Even if hardcovers outsell ebooks, that doesn’t mean an ebook market is not existant. Not to mention the utility of full Compendium searches and integration into the tool sets - there are benefits here that a lot of people are willing to pay for. Maybe it’s not for you. Doesn’t mean there’s no market at all.

4) I just mentioned in my comment you quoted how 1 customer (me) is helping to pull in a half dozen new gamers with this product. I’m sure I’m not alone and others will be drawn in as well for various reasons. Just because you fail to see it doesn’t mean we don’t exist. Again “not for you” =/= “there’s no market.”

5) I agree that a lot more can be done with technology and gaming, but if you think this is just “images of books” then you haven’t looked at it at all. May not be for you, but it is certainly more than just “images of books” and has potential for even more growth into greater utility.

I guess it will come down to whether there are enough people like me who want a system like this. Considering how many put down almost $300 today for buying all of the books on first day (at a discount, which yet again, they added at the request of the fans), I’m thinking Curse will be alright.

FYI: Curse has been excessively responsive to fan requests. Most features I see someone complain about is something someone else specifically requested and they added - and nearly always as an additional option on top of the existing options.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
It'll be a little bit before I start throwing money at it (unfortunately), but I like what I've seen so far and look forward to additional functionality as it comes along.
 


fantasmamore

Explorer
I wish that there was the same subscription model for DDI back in the day. I payed hundreds of dollars over the years for content that I cant access anymore. My only concern is that the offline content is going to be available through a mobile app. See, if it was computer software I could create a partition in my hard drive and keep an outdated OS just to run the specific app. I am kind of doing the same thing by having a virtual machine running Windows XP in my Mac in order to use Masterplan. Even if Masterplan is no more compatible, say, with Windows 10, I have a licence for Windows XP plus the install files so I can use it anytime. But a mobile app is different. If Curse goes out of business (hopefully after decades) will I be able to re-download the app? Can I even save the .apk that I 'll download from the Play Store? If my phone/tablet makes an update and the app doesn't work anymore will I be able to return to the previous version of android OS?

I guess we'll see. Right now I am just happy that there is the option of buying the content so I'll have access to it after one year without having to pay again.

P.S. Having something "forever" is kind of impossible. Recently I renew my DDI subscription for a month, just to create some PCs for my new players to choose from, and I found out that Silverlight plugin is no longer compatible with most browsers... That's the only thing that the dinosaur that is PDF does better. For good or ill, it remains almost the same...
 

lkj

Hero
If they can find a way for all of this to function with Roll20 i'm in.

I'm eager for this as well, though my ambitions are more modest-- being able to export characters to roll20. They've said they are developing export to roll20 and FG. No idea where that fits in their timeline or how good the export will be. But that would a 'killer app' for me.

AD
 

dropbear8mybaby

Banned
Banned
For those who find the prices insulting like I do, there are tools online that are free that do most of what D&D Beyond does you just need to spend some time finding them instead of cash.

Promoting the use of illegal tools. Well done. Excellent observation. That you can get away with not paying to support your hobby. Awesome work.
 


Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
Does it have a monster builderincluded or is that planned for the future?
Yes, there's a "Create a Monster" option which lets you create a new creature from scratch, or by modifying an existing one. Once created, you can also choose to submit your critter to be considered for the "Homebrew Monsters" section, which means it gets shared with everyone.
 

Ricochet

Explorer
Tried running my Out of the Abyss session last night with the digital tools. Was very handy to have it all on-screen, with monster stats when I moused over things etc. :)

Perhaps a way to pin bits of the module would make it even better, because I ended up opening three distinct tabs to have everything on-screen at once.

In any case, initial impressions are very good for me! This will save me a ton of time and page-flipping !
 

dave2008

Legend
If what I read is true, there's a really good chance they just shot themselves in the foot.

It looks like you need to read more carefully. The microtransactions are option and the go the purchase of the whole book. You can use it free, or purchase the books, or add a subscription, or purchase via microtransaction.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Tried running my Out of the Abyss session last night with the digital tools. Was very handy to have it all on-screen, with monster stats when I moused over things etc. :)

Perhaps a way to pin bits of the module would make it even better, because I ended up opening three distinct tabs to have everything on-screen at once.

In any case, initial impressions are very good for me! This will save me a ton of time and page-flipping !

So far I've bought only the three core books. Thanks for sharing your experience about running an adventure. How accessible are the maps? What resolution are they?
 


Ricochet

Explorer
So far I've bought only the three core books. Thanks for sharing your experience about running an adventure. How accessible are the maps? What resolution are they?

So far, I haven't found the maps very cleverly implemented.

I can view them in a standard galleri-like feature where the surrounding webpage fades somewhat. Not particularly helpful. No map tools or seperate views for DM and player maps. There is zoomed parts of the maps though in seperate images. They look quite nice for the dungeon parts for instance. Overall quite lackluster though to be honest, and resolution isn't the greatest either.

Unlike other images on the site, I can't seem to open the images in the adventure in full screen either, but that might be due to my incompetence. :)
 

ddaley

Explorer
Wait... I thought reddit was polarizing? I guess I don't know enough about Twitch to be polarized by it.

Requiring a Twitch account was also a really bad idea. Twitch is very polarizing, it's going to be a deal breaker for some number of people. Forcing people to sign up for social media sites, especially single purpose sites whose popularity may very well be only due to people dreaming about being the next Pewdiepie, isn't a selling point.
 

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