D&D Beyond has an official launch date now, as well as a pricing guide for current and future content.
In a cavern sit three women, a quietly bubbling cauldron nearby. They are withered, their bones gnarled and hair whitened by the passage of time. The cauldron begins to overflow. One stirs the brackish purple liquid, gazing within. “I see Beyond… the curse-wrought beast shall sleep, ’til Birnam Wood has come to Dunsinane.”
Much like a certain Scotsman, that time is close at hand. August 15th, the day which brought about the ruin at the end of that Scottish Tragedy, will also unleash the future of Dungeons and Dragons. Well. Look D&D Beyond is coming out the day Macbeth died is what I’m trying to say.
It’s okay, he only died in one timeline, but after he converged the other two in, he reversed the temporal anomaly and passed the test that Q set out in the 1st Episode.
Some might regard that as an ominous portent–but it’s also the same day that Pope Sixtus IV consecrated the Sistine Chapel. And it was the day of the beginning of the battle of Cer, which was the first allied victory in WW1–gonna give that one a mixed omen. The Wizard of Oz premiered–all of which adds up to about the same sort of reaction the news has been getting around the internet.
On the one hand, people have been enjoying the functionality of the app. Here at BoLS we’ve been employing D&D Beyond–there are definitely quirks to it. But if you’re looking for a good character builder, or something to help manage your campaigns, then D&D Beyond is a fantastic app. It’s also got all the rules packaged in, so you can easily look things up–but this is where the app starts getting a little clunkier. It shines when the rules are all indexed and you can immediately see status effects in spells and the like, but actually picking out options is trickier–basically. But all in all it’s a great app for keeping your game moving.
On the other hand though, you’ve got the people who are hung up on the whole idea of the pricing for the app. While not representative of everyone using the app, there’s are a pretty vocal segment who aren’t thrilled about the idea of paying money for a digital version of something they (maybe) already own.
We’ve got those details as well–the basic app will be free, which includes all of the rules that are currently in the beta test (so the basic rules/SRD as well as the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion. This gets you 6 character slots (more than enough), access to all the rules, the ability to join campaigns and receive content that’s been shared with you. You’ll also be able to subscribe either at the “Hero tier” for $3/month, which gets you unlimited characters and access to a wealth of homebrew content, or at the “Master tier” which costs $6/month, and allows you to share paid content with up to 12 other accounts. One Master Tier subscription to rule them all, and so forth.
But wait, paid content–what do you mean? I’m glad you asked, theoretical yet rhetorically helpful reader. Much like with services like Fantasy Grounds or Roll20 you’ll be able to buy digital versions of the books for use with the app. Digital Sourcebooks like the Player’s Handbook, Volo’s Guide to Monsters, or the upcoming Xanathar’s Guide to Everything will cost $29.99 (though during launch week you’ll be able to pick up the core content–the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual–for $19.99 each.). Adventures like Storm King’s Thunder or the upcoming Tomb of Annihilation will cost $24.99.
So it’s a little pricey to pick all of that up, especially if you’ve already purchased the physical copies of the books–but if you have one Master Tier account you can share your content with your friends, so you can at the very least share the burden. Once you have them you have them, and they plan on continuing work on the D&D Beyond app, incorporating things like automatic combat tracking (where the app auto-integrates status effects and keeps your sheet updated round to round), or Twitch integration, D&D Beyond is looking to make itself an indispensable part of your game, wherever you happen to play.
How do you feel about the new pricing information? What features would you want to see added to D&D Beyond?