Today we go on Campaign with D&D Beyond. Check it out!
Yesterday we talked about how D&D Beyond lets you manage characters, including gears, spells, and other fiddly choices. Today we’re going to go over how D&D Beyond helps you manage whole campaigns, with the help of my trusty randomly generated NPC test dummy, Ghevarax.
First of all, from either side of the screen, joining a campaign is easy. You just send someone a link and then the prospective player clicks, selects a character, hits that big blue beautiful button, and boom, campaign joined. It’s super fast whether you’re a player or a GM. Now there’s a lot of initial work that goes into creating either. Players will have to update their sheets and the GM will actually have to populate their campaign with what they want visible. Right now, there’s just a couple of fields where you can write out notes for the players to be aware of.
I’ve been using this as a way to help keep players apprised of plot developments, rumors, quest hooks, etc. It’s a good way to remind your players of what’s going on in the world, so they can take a look at the notes and remember, “OH RIGHT that’s what we were doing.”
The fantastic thing here is that, as DM, you can help yourself out as well. There’s another section entirely for DM Notes which you can use to remind yourself of plot developments you want to have happen, or as a quick and easily accessible place to store names and the like. In the image above, you’re seeing the campaign page from a player’s perspective. But let’s hop over to the DM side of things and see what secrets this campaign is keeping.
And now I don’t have to remember my to-do list for this session. I already know I’m ready to get out there and TPK!
Now as of yet, there’s no way to make a note private to one player or another–I think this might be a cool feature to add at a later date–but for now, the fields you have to work with really help it fulfill it’s function of all-in-one player/dm aid. Where the app really shines is when you’re needing information. I had occasion to cast Evard’s Black Tentacles and here’s how it helped
Each of the relevant keywords is highlighted from the spell’s page and you can see what they do if the spell inflicts some kind of status effect. This app is great at handling information–so long as you’re good at entering it. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but it really does put control of the campaign in your hands. As a DM with D&D Beyond, you’ll be able to access the sheets of your players, so you can check up on armor, adjust current hit points, lookup saves, and remind yourself of the things your players think are important.
Here’s a sample overview of the player’s sheet from the DM’s perspective.
I can see what their ability scores are, what their skill ratings and proficiencies are, access their attack bonuses, lookup information about their backstory, or check out the player notes on their allies–or their enemies. You can even make changes–just out of view (cropped so as not to overload your screens) is a quick summary of AC, Hit Points, Passive Perception and the like. And as a DM I can just go in and adjust the numbers as needed, or look at how often they’ve used spells/what they have remaining, etc.
All this can help balance the game–you’ll know when PCs are low on hit points and hit dice, or when their spells are nearly empty, etc. But it’s reliant on everyone in the party using the app to keep track of this stuff in the first place. I imagine it’ll take a session or two to get everyone in the groove of updating these sheets–but–once you do the app opens up.
There’s some other functionality in the works. When they release the official content, DM’s will be able to share books they’ve purchased with people in their campaigns, you’ll be able to add to your own campaign, and will have an unlimited number of slots (though I think you’re fine with just the normal amount that comes with the free account).
The other exciting thing they’ve mentioned is Twitch integration–so you’d be able to include characters on your stream and let the audience click on them to view their sheets, look at who’s suffering what and have rules questions answered. All in all there’s some neat ideas here. Again, I highly recommend putting this app through the paces right now and getting your feedback over to the folks at Curse.
This is a fantastic chance to try and get the app we need–and this one’s pretty close, so head on over and give it a try.