Hey game fans, we’re back with a second look at the D & D Beyond digital tools for Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition. If you dig way back into our archives from a couple of years back, you’ll notice that we reviewed D & D Beyond and weren’t real happy with it. Since we are looking at getting into online games and playing over the internet, it was time to take a second look at the tool kit.
On second look, I came to a couple of different conclusions. First, my cell phone weighs a lot less than my Player’s Handbook and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. That alone is an improvement for the days when I am playing outside of my home. I can use the website version on my laptop when I am playing at home, so it’s got a lot of different uses for me.
Second, and this is more of a downer, is that it doesn’t have a couple of things that I would love for it to have. I don’t expect it to have a fully completed virtual tabletop client, but I would love for it to have an integrated dice roller so I wouldn’t have to tab back and forth between applications or websites. Those are two of the things that stand out in my mind, but let’s dive into why I ended up buying some things on this platform and dig in a little deeper.
First off, with the basic functionality of the SRD I could make a first level character in about twenty minutes. Now I have experience with the system and that helps a lot but the way the character builder is laid out is very straightforward. Each step on the way leads you to a new set of choices to make, and the program/app/script on the page prompts you to any decisions you need to make. This is really handy for anybody who has to flip back and forth to remember details about the characters they are building.
Another thing I found very helpful with the program was leveling my character up. It took me less than a half an hour to level up my brand new bard character from level 1 to level 9 and I think that’s a record for me. The digital tools covered everything I needed to know and when I leveled up it prompted me to make the appropriate changes or choices to get my character ready.
One of the more interesting things I’ve noticed since I changed editions is that I thought I was going to be more annoyed by the attunement rule. Having perused the equipment lists for D & D 5th edition, I am pleasantly surprised that is not the case. My highest level character on the site right now (Rikard) is a 14th level character and only attunes to a couple of items. I am sure it’s more of a problem for other players, but so far I have not had any problems.
So after I made my first baby character I looked at the tools and decided that I was going to end up experimenting a lot with character builds and I wanted to be able to save more than 4 characters to the site. One feature that I wish the program had was that it would let me pull up a character at a specific level so I could grab a pre-gen and go.
I did end up buying Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and the Player’s Handbook because those two books represented almost all of the interesting options I wanted to chase down. Next month I may end up grabbing the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and the two setting books (Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica and Wayfarer’s Guide to Eberron) just to have all of the character options available. I may end up grabbing the DMG at some point, but that’s something for further down the road.
Honestly, I don’t plan on picking up the big adventures because A, I don’t want to have that information easily accessible by me, and second, I figure if I end up playing in one of those mega-tomes, the DM will probably include me in the campaign group, and that should give me access to the information I need. That’s just my perspective though, and I am sure that there are going to be DMs that grab ahold of them.
So let’s do a quick recap of the things I like and the things I would like to see
1. Easy as pie character creation that allows a player to get into the game in record time.
2. Additional books unlock a much broader pool of knowledge for a player without being overwhelming.
3. The Tool-tip game is strong
4. The subscription at my level is a cup of Starbucks a month
1. The system doesn’t have an integrated dice roller or virtual tabletop client. The second is less frustrating than the first. This means I have to switch back and forth between apps or windows, or bring my own dice.
2. I wish I could save my characters by level, so I can grab a pre-gen and run with it for a one shot or something else.
3. Where is my precious artificer?
4. I would like to be able to custom insert my own background traits for my character, especially if none of these fit.
All in all, these are very minor gripes and complaints compared to the wealth of options and resources that this provides a D & D player.
The next question I have for the folks at D & D Beyond is how long before it has an automated tracker for Adventurer’s League sheets so that I don’t have to bring my phone and a sheaf of log sheets to Tuesday night mayhem?
Anywho, Game Fans, that’s our second look at D & D Beyond, and we’ll be putting up a link to it so you can take a look at our precious disaster children and hopefully I can have a little fun with a game or two in the near future. I am looking for an online game or two around the beginning of March, so if you are interested, drop me a line and let me know.
Game on, Game Fans
By the way, go check out D &D Beyond Here