Beyond the screen: D&D Beyond

Published 12/20/20

Digital DMing

I have for the majority of my life been a proud bookworm. Preferring the physical feel of turning pages. Many of my manuals have post- it notes of various sizes and loose leaf papers stuck in between pages with important notes and reminders. Colored post-its helping me find spots to reference made pages took over and made things look messy and frustrated me when things fell out.

D&D Beyond has made my life so much more organized and things simpler when it comes to being the DM in front of the screen. All of my sourcebooks, adventures, reference materials, homebrew creations can be easily ported from game table to game table using my computer, phone and/or tablet.

The Pros

  • Accessibility and sharing content

  • Character storage (unlimited for paid subscriptions)

  • Very active community- with articles, YouTube, discord and forums

  • Rule changes updates in Sage Advice and edited online materials written by Jeremy Crawford

  • Book marking abilities

  • Homebrew: storage and searching through other's creations

  • User friendly

  • Amazing for beginners to the world of D&D

  • Great search bar

The Cons

  • Price: Subscriptions and physical copy doesn't have a digital counterpart

  • Only 5 shareable campaigns (COVID has it up to 5. Usually only 3)

  • When playing in person it can be cumbersome if everyone has a large screen in front of them

  • No page turning (can be a pro as well, but book worm likes page flippies)

Digital Dice

My players and I have a love hate relationship with the digital dice. I will give them credit that the dice indeed are random. There are days where there are five natural twenties shared amongst the players while other nights nothing above a 10 is rolled. It is a pity that DMs don’t get a chance to really use the digital dice since the monsters are not digital dice inclined but they are nice to have. For players it is great that you can just click on the things on. your character sheet such as initiative, spells, weapons, saves, etc., and D&D Beyond will do the rest. I enjoy watching the dice roll across the screen and see in the bottom corner with all the math.

D&D Beyond also has a range of digital dice for purchase to satisfy dice goblins needs from $7.96 to $14.99. Most are packs that come with numerous colors with the exception of the more expensive Mythic Dice Set. Many pre-orders also come with special items, which sometimes means dice. For example when I pre-ordered Tasha's Cauldron of Everything I received the Cauldron Dice set and the Glacial Dice set came with Rime of the Frostmaiden.

Now digital dice is even available in the mobile app along with the browser version.

Accessibility and Content Sharing

An important part of gaming is accessibility to my players. D&D Beyond has opened many doorways for my 5E gaming groups due to the ease of information with the online site and the DM's ability to content share. As DM, I took up the mantle of buying all the books (minus the Stranger Things since I haven't watched the series) making sure that my campaign slots have the ability for my players to access all of my marketplace purchases. My players have been able to create some interesting and genius character builds by doing this, some of these characters wouldn't have existed if it was up to my players to purchase all their own materials.

Table top gaming is not a cheap hobby. Books, miniatures, resources, dice, accessories... everything adds up. When in person gaming happens for my groups, we have a session zero at my place to make sure all printed materials could be accessed. When I go to other locations to DM, I go with a suitcase of books loaded up and a bag with the minis and accessories. D&D Beyond has made the ease of access much better for my back and easier for my players you can log in at any time from any location to read my materials.

Character Storage

No more can a player say that they have forgotten their character sheet. Any device from phone, tablet to laptop can be used to edit, view or create character sheets on D&D Beyond. There is an app that can be downloaded for just character sheets or you can access all your materials using a web browser on mobile devices.

There are a lot of things that I appreciate as a DM when it comes to character storage and D&D Beyond. Frist. I like being able to access, and when needed help edit, character sheets linked to my campaigns. If a player cannot make a session I have access to the character instead of hiding the player in the bushes till next session. It is also great to have player sheets up for prep work and during the session to help bring out players strengths and answer character related questions.

There are different subscription tiers with D&D Beyond. The free tier lets you have up to 6 characters. Paid subscriptions have unlimited amount of characters that can be used.

DM Wolfsfox's Personal Use

Two years ago I became a D&D Beyond user and I can't imagine what it would have been like with out it, especially now that with COVID all my gaming groups are online.

I currently have all 5 campaign slots for content sharing in use; three of them for my bi-weekly campaigns. D&D Beyond has made life so much easier to keep things organized and is used to make the running of these frequent groups easier. I have all my compendium books downloaded on my tablet for reading ability when internet isn't available (like when I'm on my lunch break and trying to read and prep). I have DDB Player App downloaded on my phone and the favorites bar on my laptop and pc both have DDB starred.

I love how active of a community there is. Even the main rules designer for 5th edition, Jeremy Cawford, answers questions and gives updated rules in the area called Sage Advice. The Articles, YouTube and Todd Talks have great information as well for players and DMs alike.

I have used D&D Beyond to teach new players how to play 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. It is user friendly and has many more pro's than cons. I love that D&D Beyond has allowed for digital bookmarks, and has the ability to create labeled folders for those book marks as well. It is so quick and easy to search for answers and materials that it has helped cut prep time down slightly as I can use the search bars rather than page through tomes for what I seek. I would like to point out I do have a physical copy of almost all the books that I digitally own as well. The book worm in me doesn't allow for digital only, but what I have tried to do is get the special covers for the physical covers and then the digital copy to pair with it on D&D Beyond.

Disco Wizard

Have you and your party found the dancing rainbow wizard? This secret little dude makes everything colorful and disco when he is clicked.

All pictures and images on today's blog were taken from Wolfsfox's D&D Beyond account.