Dungeons & Dragons doesn’t exactly have a lack of third-party apps to help out in character building, DM’ing, or just general advice. So, true to form, Wizards of the Coast has announced their own official digital toolset for D&D 5th Edition, called D&D Beyond.
Unveiled at PAX East and in the trailer below, D&D Beyond will essentially be a rulebook, monster manual, character creator, management suite, a fluid character sheet, and reference guide all in one.
It’s not like D&D doesn’t have a surplus of tools already. Roll20 already covers a lot of the ground that Wizards is hoping to hit with D&D Beyond, although from a corporate standpoint it makes sense for Wizards to have their own in-house product. Fantasy Grounds also has an awful lot of support, and it’ll be a challenge for Wizards to convince fans to switch over – especially if they’ve spent a lot of time customising for homebrew campaigns – to Beyond. Wizards of the Coast partnered with Fantasy Grounds a couple of years ago too, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens there in the future.
You can recreate a D&D environment in Tabletop Simulator as well, which gives you the advantage of animated monsters, heroes, and environments. You don’t need any DLC to get RPGs going in Tabletop Simulator, but with a bit of work, some imported 3D assets and some forethought, it’s possible to create some alluring campaigns.
Beyond officially launches in the winter, but the beta will be out sometime before then. You can sign up for the beta through the Wizards of the Coast website now.