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  #1  
Old 04-24-2019, 08:51 AM
Paul7926 Paul7926 is offline
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D&D Beyond - opinions wanted.

Hi all

I'm getting back into D&D and have really caught the bug again after a lot of years out of the scene. Thanks in a very large part to finding and participating in this site.

Just recently I've been messing around with the site 'D&D Beyond' and I have to say that I do like the character creation and the way it helps the user through the process. It even caught a misconception I had about proficiency so at least I'm doing that right now. I have however just stumbled across my first problem. After creating a few characters just for the experience I decided to put some actual characters into the system. This is where I discovered that to use all of the content from the players handbook I'm going to have to buy it again to unlock it on the site.

Now I'm not after a debate about the pricing model or the optional subscription system on the site. That is what it is. Yes I'm slightly unhappy that I bought my players handbook less than a month ago but that's just life. I'm also aware that I could just unlock specific parts cheaper but to be honest I'll end up wanting all that material if I do stick with the site anyway.

So what I'm really wanting to figure out now is if I should 'go digital' or being the ancient that I am stick with the physical books. You see I hope to start being a DM soon as well as a player so I'll be in the market for a few more of the books. I'm sure you can understand that the more books I end up getting in physical form the less attractive it becomes to use D&D beyond in the future.

Does anyone know what sort of features it implements for DM's? There is a 'create campaign' option but all that seems to do is allow me to add characters to it and have a few text boxes for notes. I'm really not sure that is very useful. Is it any more than a digital character editor or is there more to it?

Thanks
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Old 04-24-2019, 10:15 AM
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There isn't too too much to it outside of just that.

If you get the master's plan ($5USD, monthly) then you are freed from the 6 character limit and you can share any digital resources you might have with others. You also can create/share homebrew content for your games through it.

An alternative is if you start a campaign and someone joins and has the masters plan they are capable of sharing what digital content they own with that campaign. When that happens you can gain access to all the source books they shared with you both on the site and the mobile app.

Personally I like the ease of it but its not an absolute game changer.
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:08 PM
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I have the 11 core and supplemental 5E books already. I got most of them used on Amazon and eBay, for 10 to 15 percent off the cover price, while a few others were gifts. I have several adventure modules too, but these typically add a couple of new magic items each, and not much else, so I can live without.

The value proposition of D&D Beyond just isn't there for me. I can get all the 5E content for $60 per year, but they release the supplemental rule books about two times per year for $30 each. For example, the next book, Acquisitions Incorporated, comes out on June 18. Before that, The Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica book was released in late November 2018.

At this point, owning and renting 5E materials for my games costs about the same, so I'd rather own. Starting out fresh, with nothing, I'd still probably buy the 11 books, for about $300 used, altogether. The rest of the features on D&D Beyond (aside from copyrighted game rules and content) are unremarkable or available elsewhere for free.
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Last edited by GallupsMirror; 05-10-2019 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul7926 View Post
So what I'm really wanting to figure out now is if I should 'go digital' or being the ancient that I am stick with the physical books.
I've never DM'ed a game in the play-by-post format but there's something really quite nice about being able to flip through the physical books. My brother tried to get our parents to play a one-shot over Easter and if you're just scrolling through a PDF on your phone or a laptop it's easy for people to get distracted, and tiny screens aren't very conducive to learning.

My two cents: Go for physical copies.
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Old 05-26-2019, 08:36 PM
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I've really enjoyed DNDBeyond's compendium on my tablet. I find it a lot more convenient to be able to read wherever I might have a few minutes on my phone too.
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:16 AM
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I'm a veteran of many editions, many character sheet generators, many different methods of obtaining legal digital copies. Suffice to say, if D&D Beyond had existed at the advent of 5e, I would not have physical copies of any books.

The character creation and maintenance is to-die for. I can literally make a level 20 melee character in 5 minutes and think nothing of it, which is invaluable. If you want to put thought into your character, it's highly effective. Every 5e character I have for RPGX uses DnDB sheets now.

But beyond that, the reference material is better than even illegal sites that provide the information in SRD format. It's quick, effective, aesthetically pleasing, and sure, you have to pay for it, but that's not a bad thing. The community is nice, the articles are written by a pretty cool guy, and the presentation of the books is really quite effective. I have Tomb of Annihilation on there and it's quite easy to flip through it, read it, etc. That said, the Core supplements is a little harder.

I want the mobile version to be better and they're developing it. The subscriptions are worth it if you have a group, and especially if it's an online group for something like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds. Or if you just like making a backlog of endless characters. I haven't tried the Encounter Builder beta yet but I hear good things.

I do like a physical copy, don't get me wrong. But I haven't been to a physical session in a while that required physical books. And I don't regret it. D&D Beyond is very worth it.
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Old 05-28-2019, 12:53 PM
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I don't have experience using DnD Beyond, so take whatever I say with a huge grain of salt.

If I had much money to spare at the moment and if I were playing in more 5E games (just a matter of time), I would definitely use it, even if I still kept physical copies of books. I much prefer the business model that Wizards has got going now, even if that means a monthly membership. The splatbook days of 3.5/4E where Wizards was shitting out books like crazy and, once they had run the well dry, just decided "Welp, okay, then, let's throw everything out and make a new edition!" really soured me on the company. The fact that they seem to be trying to build a good edition and community while finding other ways of generating revenue is something that I'd love to support.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unko Talok View Post
The splatbook days of 3.5/4E where Wizards was shitting out books like crazy and, once they had run the well dry, just decided "Welp, okay, then, let's throw everything out and make a new edition!" really soured me on the company. The fact that they seem to be trying to build a good edition and community while finding other ways of generating revenue is something that I'd love to support.
A fine sentiment, but the cynic in me is pretty certain that D&D 6.0 is going to be a thing within the next decade.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:07 AM
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I think that's a reasonable concern, ruffdove... I guess I'm thinking that it might not be the case, because the way they're releasing materials looks like they've still got several years in them. Putting out a few more "core" supplements while publishing setting-specific books like the upcoming Eberron hardcover, a similar one for Planescape and maybe Spelljammer... Not to mention the large adventure-path like route they're taking. I could see them continuing with 5E for a while.

But even if they do jump ship and make 6E: From 3 to 3.5 was 3 years. From 3.5 to 4E was 5 years. 4E to 5E was 6 years. We're already coming up on 6 years of 5E, and it seems like there's more to come. So I'd say that they're doing better than they were. Looks like the longest time between editions was ~12 years, from ADnD to ADnD2E (though I don't know how similar those were-- maybe that was akin to 3E and 3.5E). If we make it to 2022 without them publishing 6E, I'll be pretty satisfied.

Anyway-- that was a long digression! Sorry to derail the thread.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:49 PM
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D&D 2E apparently set out to fix all the things that were NOT wrong with AD&D. In this it was wildly successful.

2E was a part of the reason I walked away from RPGs for ten years. Together with the ridiculous 3.0/3.5 reboot it's also the reason that I played AD&D for another decade when I eventually did come back. Finally someone clued me in to Pathfinder... which has now, of course, done its own "New Coke" reboot to an inferior version.

It's an interesting facet of RPGs and the RPG industry that a player basically could have played and enjoyed AD&D (or any version of the rules) for the rest of their life with only ever purchasing three books, a few reams of graph paper, and a set of dice. Given the social nature of the game, you're not even guaranteed that every player will buy all the books. Now some pastimes are so ubiquitous that an industry can survive the fact that in general participants will only make a few purchases in a life time (baseball gloves for instance), but RPGs were never so popular that a couple of purchases by a participant in a lifetime could support it. So I get WHY they do it, I just refuse to participate anymore. Unfortunately, the problem exacerbates itself because each time a new version comes along, the fanbase fragments and the money gets even tighter.

And the thread jack was all my fault, so I apologize.
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