Back in March, Wizards of the Coast announced a new digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons that would eliminate the agony of paperwork in the pen-and-paper game. Players can still gather around a table and roll their own dice, but the web-based D&D Beyond will handle all their characters' stats, skills and modifiers to streamline play. Today, the toolset is available for everyone with both free and paid tiers. Time to assemble a party, adventurers.
When we peeked into D&D Beyond, we liked what we saw: Finally, you can parse through the game's Fifth Edition rulebooks and search for particular terms, which is a godsend for anyone who's gotten lost in the official tomes. The step-by-step character creation process is great for players new and old, especially since you can fold in your own homebrew rules.
Best of all, you can use D&D Beyond without paying a dime -- though there are benefits to subscribing. The ad-supported free tier grants most of the service's features including the full site tools and access to the community forums, though it caps users at a 6-character roster. For $3 per month, the first paid option gives unlimited characters and allows users to load public fan-made content (spells, monsters and the like). The pricier $6 tier is for more serious party-forming players and dungeon masters, granting them bonus official materials.
While it's currently only on the web, Wizards plans to expand D&D Beyond to mobile apps for an even more manageable experience. While the ultimate goal is to fully transition the game's manuals and documents to digital platforms like D&D Beyond, they'll keep printing books so long as the demand exists. After all, there's nothing like cracking open your heavily-tabbed Monster's Manual to find the next beast you'll throw at your unwitting party...