“D&D Beyond” is a new push from publisher Wizards of the Coast to make Dungeons & Dragons a more accessible experience through technology.
The classic role-playing game is finally emerging from the pages of books to the face of your smartphone. The table-top game famously vilified in a 1980s panic that misunderstood mathematics and imagination as occult ritual has emerged into the mainstream; from the growing live-play phenomenon that is Critical Role, to a central metaphor in the blockbuster Netflix series Stranger Things. (I heartily recommend both, if you’re nerd enough.)
Now, the house that D&D built is finally ready to embrace technology that will make its epic adventures in imagination easier to approach for new players and more manageable for veterans like yours truly. According to a statement by Wizards of the Coast, D&D Beyond will include a rules compendium for the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
It will also feature a character builder, digital sheets to help players keep track of their character’s statistics and equipment, as well as a suite of tools to help Dungeon Masters — the game’s moderators — create and manage their own “homebrew” rules and content. Furthermore, it will provide access to official D&D supplementary content by way of articles and access to the official forums.
But it’s not just a smartphone app. D&D Beyond touts “access anywhere, anytime, on any device.” That means storytellers will be able to reference it on their computers, while players seated around the table can find quick answers on their phones when necessary.
In the official statement, Senior Director of Dungeons & Dragons Nathan Stewart said:
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!
Will this finally provide the right balance for Wizards of the Coast, who were burned at their previous efforts to provide electronic content by online piracy? Are long-time tabletop gamers ready to set down actual pages for digital ones? We’ll find out this summer when D&D Beyond makes its public debut.
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