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Check Out Our Overview Of D&D Beyond Beta Phase 1

Check Out Our Overview Of D&D Beyond Beta Phase 1

D&D Beyond, the new official D&D 5E digital toolset, launched on March 21st, and is the first phase of three phases leading up to the formal launch later this year.

Announced on March 12th, the D&D Beyond (DDB) digital toolset is being created by a partnership between Wizards of the Coast and Curse, a global multimedia and tech company specializing in products for gamers. With the DDB Phase 1 rollout, D&D DMs and players have quick access to the D&D rules provided in the System Reference Document 5.1 in a digital, searchable, and clean-looking format.

The DDB is broken down into Compendium, Spells, Items, Monsters, and Forum sections, all freely available to everyone. The Compendium houses all the D&D basic rules, including combat, spells, equipment, ability scores, and more. Each topic is held in its own little box section, with links to quickly and easily get the info you need. There’s not yet a (global) search function on this page, but according to DDB Staff Forum Moderator BadEye, this function is scheduled to be added before the formal launch.

The Spells section has currently 16 pages of spells listed, and easily searchable by class, name, level, casting time, and a host of other filters. The individual spells are listed in a bar format, where casting time, duration, range/area, attack/save, and damage/effect can be quickly seen. Clicking on an individual spell opens up a more detailed spell description. Each spell also has a View Spell Page button that takes you a page with its own unique URL, handy for linking to and sharing.


The Items section holds listings for magic items, sectioned similarly to the Spells page. There are direct links to armor, potions, scrolls, weapons, and other items, and multiple filters for the search function. The quick read bar format here shows name, type, attunement, and notes, and each individual item also has a View Item Button that takes you to the item’s unique URL page.

The Monsters page is similar to the previous two, with direct links to monster type across the top, and various filters and quick read stats beneath those. Detailed descriptions can be accessed by clicking on the creatures window, and each also has a View Monster Page button.

The Forum section is where you can read and post about all things D&D. There are sections for DDB (including news and announcements and beta feedback categories), general D&D discussions, and a class-specific section.

So that’s just a quick walkthrough of what DDB Phase 1 offers. I got in right when it was made available online, and poked around in it most of launch day. By reading forum and social media posts, and in chatting with fellow D&D players, the general consensus seems to be highly positive for this phase, and I concur.


I didn’t see the DDB site go down all day due to an influx of traffic all day, as I was expecting. That in itself is impressive. And I’m happy with the overall look and feel of the site, with its’ minimalist and clean UI and easy access to everything D&D. Well, almost everything.

The first spell I searched for was Hunger of Hadar, and, lo, it’s missing from the list. In fact, Arms of Hadar is also missing. Which makes me wonder what the DDB devs have against Hadar’s spells that they would be glaringly missing from the spells list? I jest, of course, and I’m pretty sure they’ll be added in soon.

There was also an amount of contention from people about having to login with Twitch credentials, and I was among them. This was addressed in a forum post by DDB Staff Forum Moderator Molster, who stated that Curse is part of Twitch, and all Curse sites will be switching to Twitch logins. Understandable, for sure, but still no reason not to have other more popular login options available, such as Google + and Twitter. I do have a Twitch channel, and was able to login without a problem, but it isn’t connected to what I do with D&D, in the way that my Google + and Twitter are. Hopefully this error will be corrected in the near future, as well.

Aside from those gripes, I like what DDB is, and the potential of what it’ll be when phases 2 and 3 roll out. Still no official word on when that will be, nor is their official word on if there will be a pay subscription model initiated. I’m also eager for word on what if anything will be done with Dungeons & Dragons Insider, the digital toolset for D&D4E, which was subscription-based. And does WOTC/Curse have any plans to fold our Wizards Accounts into here? I have no doubts those questions will be answered in due time. Meanwhile, I’ll be happily using DDB in all my D&D sessions, and sounding off about my experience with it on the DDB forums. See you there!

What do you think about D&D Beyond Phase 1? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Featured Image Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Image Credits: Wizards of the Coast & Curse (Screenshots by Jim Moreno)

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