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[UPDATED!] D&D Beyond: An Official D&D Digital Toolset & Character Builder

D&D Beyond has just been announced! Coming this summer, and billed as "Your digital D&D source", it has a compendium of official content, character builder and manager, the ability to use home-brew content, D&D forums, and is usable on any device. A 1-minute announcement trailer can be seen below. D&D Beyond is produced by a company called Curse Inc, owned by Twitch. Right now, there's a signup for the Beta version. More info as/when it becomes available! [UPDATES: The D&D Beyond folks have offered some more info, which I have included below; I will be chatting with them later this week, with luck!]

"We are excited to announce development of D&D Beyond, an official digital toolset for use with the Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition rules. We have partnered with Curse to take D&D players beyond pen and paper, providing a rules compendium, character builder, digital character sheets, and more—all populated with official D&D content. D&D Beyond aims to make game management easier for both players and Dungeon Masters by providing high-quality tools available on any device, empowering beginners and veterans alike!" goes the official description.

"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,”
said Nathan Stewart, Senior Director of Dungeons & Dragons. "These tools represent a way forward for D&D, and we’re excited to get them into the hands of players soon!"

The company, Curse Inc., is owned by Twitch, and is based in San Francisco, with offices in various countries. They produce tools and communities for gamers - up until now, mainly video games. They started as a way to organise the founder's World of Warcraft add-ons about 10 years ago, and grew into a multinational company from there. The company makes a desktop app called the Curse Client, along with community driven wikis, tools, guides, and databases for games like Minecraft, Diablo, Countersrike, Overwatch, and more. In 2016, it was announced that Twitch would acquire Curse.

Features, from the website, include:

  • D&D Compendium with Official Content
  • Create, Browse, & Use Homebrew Content
  • Manage Characters - Build, Progress, & Play
  • D&D News, Articles, Forums, & More
  • Access Anywhere, Anytime, on Any Device
That last item makes it sound like it'll work offline, which will be a popular move. And the home-brew content mention is also important, especially because WotC supports DMs Guild.

UPDATES: I checked with WotC's Greg Tito who confirmed "D&D Beyond will work without an internet connection. That's a big deal for the devs!"

Adam over at D&D Beyond confirmed a little about the pricing model:

"At launch, players will be able to access SRD content and build and view a small number of characters with a free D&D Beyond account.

We don’t have exact pricing nailed down, but you will also be able to buy official digital D&D content for all fifth edition products with flexible purchase options. You can pay only for the D&D content you need. If you only play fighters, for example, you’ll be able to just pick up the stuff you need to track swinging that giant two-handed sword.

A small monthly subscription will be needed to manage more than a handful of characters and to enable more advanced features, like homebrew content integration. At this time, we don’t know exactly how much the subscription will cost."


He also confirmed that the pricing structure is not about microtransactions: "I'm about to get on a plane so I've got to be brief, but I wanted to check in and make it clear that "microtransactions" were not mentioned and are not what the model is about."

And also that D&D Beyond is definitely not a Virtual Game Table (VTT): "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."


[video=youtube;Dn8Kpmm_aJA]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn8Kpmm_aJA[/video]

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Lanliss

Explorer
Not really. They've mentioned that you'd be able to enter your own stuff in other responses and I'm pretty sure it was without subscription. I can try to dig up the quote.

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The last quote I remember actually said the opposite, that Homebrew would be behind a subscription. Most people made the (logical) argument that, if Homebrew was free, it wouldn't be long before someone had written out all the PHB content as a "Homebrew" doc, giving everyone free access to content that should be paid for.
 

Lanliss

Explorer

Remathilis

Legend
Update from Dragon+

Such a wealth of features and convenience naturally comes at a price, but Bradford is keen to let fans know that D&D Beyond has something for everyone. A number of different subscription options are available, including a free version. “Players who don’t subscribe can create and manage up to six characters, create private homebrew content, and view and use any of their unlocked content throughout D&D Beyond—including any digital purchases of official material.” 

“Players will also have flexibility when purchasing official digital content. You can buy the content at the sourcebook level for a discount, but some content will also be bundled in smaller packages, including down to individual elements. If you want to use the tabaxi race but don’t want to buy the entire Volo’s Guide to Monsters, you will be able to purchase the tabaxi by itself.”

For those seeking more depth, the Hero Tier subscription is aimed primarily at players, allowing them to manage unlimited characters and share and use public homebrew community content. The most fully featured Master Tier is reserved for dedicated DMs and allows them to gain twelve campaign character slots which they use to extend invites to free player accounts. “With a Master Tier subscription, players can use all of the DM’s unlocked content for their characters,” says Bradford. “So if the DM has unlocked Volo’s Guide to Monsters, any players with free accounts that are part of the DM’s campaign can create a tabaxi sorcerer that has a gazer familiar.” 

Exact pricing details have yet to be announced, but D&D Beyond’s primary goal is to grant players flexibility and control of what they purchase and use. “Some players will be able to do everything they want to do without a subscription,” says Bradford, “while others will find value in one of the other two subscription tiers.”
 

darjr

I crit!
Is any of this a change? I can't tell. It sounds cool.

I love the DM option. Though I'd like an option geared toward tabletop players/DM's and or AL DM's. I really don't have a need for players to keep their characters in my place or online really.
 

speculart

First Post
Update from Dragon+
Yeah that sounds pretty great!
I was hoping that they took a leaf out of Roll20s book and offer free admission to players on the back of the dms master sub..and it looks like they are looking in that direction.
This gives me confidence that they are on target.
 

Gardens & Goblins

First Post
Is any of this a change? I can't tell. It sounds cool.

I love the DM option. Though I'd like an option geared toward tabletop players/DM's and or AL DM's. I really don't have a need for players to keep their characters in my place or online really.

This will be the challenge - how to make a resource essential, when so much is available for free. If it's not essential, then it'll remain a novelty.

Ideally it should be as boring and useful as a hammer :)
 


Patrick McGill

First Post
I might be being obtuse, but the way I'm reading it I'll need to purchase content and have a subscription in order to access stuff as a DM?

Or will paying for, say, the Master tier sub give me access to PHB/MM/DMG content as long as I subscribe?
 

lkj

Adventurer
I might be being obtuse, but the way I'm reading it I'll need to purchase content and have a subscription in order to access stuff as a DM?

Or will paying for, say, the Master tier sub give me access to PHB/MM/DMG content as long as I subscribe?

No. The subscriptions serve an entirely different purpose. You can buy official content. Those are one time purchases. You always have access to them. Also you can make your own homebrew content for free and you'll always have access to that. The subscriptions basically allow you to share content and get access to other people's content (in addition to giving you more character slots). So the Hero Tier gives your more character slots, access to other people's homebrew content, and the ability to share your own homebrew content. The Master tier lets you share all of your purchased content with up to 12 other players (who don't have to pay a thing).

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Patrick McGill

First Post
No. The subscriptions serve an entirely different purpose. You can buy official content. Those are one time purchases. You always have access to them. Also you can make your own homebrew content for free and you'll always have access to that. The subscriptions basically allow you to share content and get access to other people's content (in addition to giving you more character slots). So the Hero Tier gives your more character slots, access to other people's homebrew content, and the ability to share your own homebrew content. The Master tier lets you share all of your purchased content with up to 12 other players (who don't have to pay a thing).

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Ah, so I was being obtuse! Thank you for clarifying.

I think my preference would be to pay a sub to get access to the data ala 4e's Insider, but I suppose it depends on how much they are charging for the content.
 

lkj

Adventurer
Ah, so I was being obtuse! Thank you for clarifying.

I think my preference would be to pay a sub to get access to the data ala 4e's Insider, but I suppose it depends on how much they are charging for the content.

And, I should say, that the article doesn't rule out getting access to official content with another kind of subscription. They just don't mention it. So I have a feeling that option won't be there. But who knows. In the end, I'm guessing-- especially with allowing offline access-- that one time purchases will be simpler to manage.

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