Wizards of the Coast has announced a new set of digital tools for D&D 5th Edition: D&D Beyond. Beyond will include several much-desired digital resources like online character sheets, a digital spellbook, and a digital version of the Monster Manual. There's quite a bit for Dungeon Masters and players to be excited about.
Seriously, the prospect of being able to quickly filter through monsters and spells in a browser without lugging out a book and reciting the alphabet under your breath... it's appealing. And it hopefully will make D&D a little less intimidating for new players, especially those who may feel overwhelmed by the spellcasting classes or character sheets in general.
Many D&D devotees who follow the Unearthed Arcana playtest materials, however, have some potentially good news. For those not in the know, Unearthed Arcana is a collection of D&D classes and play options publicly published by Wizards of the Coast for players to playtest and provide feedback.
A representative from Wizards of the Coast confirmed that Unearthed Arcana will not make it to the first release of D&D Beyond, "since that's more playtest material."
However, the wording was careful to mention UA would be absent in the first release — which gives some hope that future iterations of D&D Beyond may have Unearthed Arcana playtest options built in. And, in the future, we should expect print-ready iterations of UA options to be available on D&D Beyond: "Once anything is published into book form, it will be supported."
Now that we've seen some refined Unearthed Arcana options published in book form, like the Sword Coast Adventurers' Guide, we can also assume that more UA options will be available in book form in the future and thus on the D&D Beyond service.
The D&D world has never been more visible than it has been over the past few months. Geek & Sundry's Critical Role is reaching record subscribers and has spawned a spin-off talk show, Wizard's of the Coast's own Dice, Camera, Action! show is starting its second season, and Penny Arcade's Acquisition's Incorporated is spawning it's own spin-off too. This dive into a new digital toolset is only adding to D&D's recent momentum in the digital space.
Details are still sparse about the full rollout of D&D Beyond, but you can sign up for the beta now and the beta testing will begin on March 20th, 2017.