“Dungeons & Dragons” New Edition (Formerly “Next”) Gets Release Dates, Cover

dnd_products_dndacc_playershandbook_pic3_enFor over a year now, I keep hearing the same questions among my D&D-playing friends. “When is the new D&D coming out?” “Will it be any good?” “Are you excited about it?”

The answer to the third question was easy (Yes!) but the first was a crucial detail still missing, until today. There were early leaks suggesting that there would be a new starter box in July and then the PHB (with likely all the rules you need to play) in August, just in time for Gen Con, and that has been confirmed.

For all the news, product descriptions, and covers, I turn your attention to the breaking news compilation over at ENWorld. The Player’s Handbook will be released in August (and be available at Gen Con), followed by a staggered release (like 3rd edition had) with the Monster Manual in September and the Dungeon Master’s Guide in October. As the early leaks suggested, each book will be a hardcover 320p book for $50 MSRP, which (give or take) is largely the cost of doing business these days.

In October of 2013, we saw the final playtest packet release, when changes were still be made and experimented with. Afterwards, more of the game was locked down so that the internal R&D team could flesh everything else out and work on smaller, more targeted groups for various options in the game. The product descriptions for the new Dungeons & Dragons boasts that over 175,000 people contributed playtest data, which undoubtably shaped a better product, as well as being smart marketing. How the final game will end up, though, is known only to Wizards of the Coast R&D.

One noticeable difference between this launch and the one of 4th edition was how much WotC has embraced licensing out products that are important to the business. The news of a partnership with WizKids for D&D minis (and Dungeons & Dragons Attack Wing) has been known for a while now and makes sense. However, the news today of fan-favorite Kobold Press (makes of Open Design products and formerly Kobold Quaterly) developing the core release adventures is a surprise, and a pretty smart move. How much this edition will embrace the open concept and letting others develop for it without a licensing agreement is still undeclared, however.

Regardless, while there are some open questions still, this is concrete news that Dungeons & Dragons (no longer Next, or even 5e, just Dungeons & Dragons) is coming soon. The most important question, of course, is if the game is worth it for you, which we won’t know until the game is closer to release. But at least we know when that is, and I for one am still excited to see it come.

About Dave

Dave "The Game" Chalker is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Critical Hits. Since 2005, he has been bringing readers game news and advice, as well as editing nearly everything published here. He is the designer of the Origins Award-winning Get Bit!, a freelance designer and developer, son of a science fiction author, and a Master of Arts. He lives in MD with e, the Geek's Dream Girl.

Comments

  1. Traci Wells says:

    Do you know if there will be a beginner box available like 4e’s Red Box?

  2. I cut my teeth on Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition. It was a great way for myself to get into the hobby. Years of playing later, I have tried out many gaming systems and for a couple of years now have been in love with Swords & Wizardry, which is based on 0D&D.

    I love Swords & Wizardry, but I really want to be playing a game called ‘Dungeons & Dragons’. I was optimistically hopeful that this new version of Dungeons & Dragons, with it’s roomered modular rules design would have a version of the game that felt more old school along the lines of Swords & Wizardry.

    From the roomers I had been reading on line, I got into my head that these books would me physically modular. That they would come in a three ring binder with the very basic rules set. Then, through the purchasing of modules you could add more advanced rules to the binders as the owner saw fit.

    Perhaps this is no longer the game plan or I was mislead from the get go. Maybe all versions of these modular rules are included in these books. I don’t know and just have to wait and see.

    $150 bucks for three books is a bit steep. Though, who really plays MSRP for books these days?

    I want this version of Dungeons & Dragons to be the version that brings me back to the brand and keeps me there. I am holding out hope that this game is going to rock. But I am so worried it wont. I think i need more information and all I can do for now is hurry up and wait for that info to get released.

    Thanks for the post and the image.

  3. aetherealdirges says:

    I love that they’re working with others on design.

    What I’d really like to see is that it’s not just the core books that will get dropped out for playtest. I want to see a playtest community show up on a broader scale for D&D. I know they won’t do it, but I think beta testing the stuff would make the games so much better.

  4. Well, looks like the starter box is the way to go. I’d like to see a free rules sample doc (pre-fab characters, basic adventure, sampling of the broader rules but not fine grained, you know, the standard), but a ~25$ CAD demo isn’t too bad. It is WotC afterall.

  5. I playtested D&D Next (back when it was called Next) with a varied group of players. Out of the players I played with several of us had been playing since 1st edition, the others were pretty diehard 3rd edition players. I believe I was the only one that had played every edition-including 4th. There were plenty of things that I didn’t like about it and it seemed like it was kind of all over the place. It had a bit of all editions in it (and I’m not a lover of 4th edition), but I felt a little “nerfed” by it. I played a Cleric and my fellow players played the various other classes. The various updates and changes were hard to keep up with and it got a bit frustrating. That being said…I am excited and very anxious to see where they finally went with it. The thing that I really highly enjoyed was being able to grab old modules like 1st edition’s ‘Keep on the Borderlands’ and run through it with very minimal changes. When WotC started reprinting their old modules and releasing e-versions, this opened up a lot more variety. $50 is a bit steep, but I guess that’s pretty much the cost in today’s market for a print game. Hopefully local hobby shops will support it and they will do a D&D Game Night like the current D&D Encounters that has been occurring every Wed.

  6. DocTruthyness says:

    They killed it.
    This edition of D&D had to have one goal: bring millions of twelve-year-olds into the hobby. Without that feat, there simply aren’t enough aging geeks left to sustain the hobby.
    Three 300+ page books at $50 each is a recipe for disaster. Both the size and expense present insurmountable barriers to adoption of the system by new players.
    This was D&D’s last chance. And they failed.

    • Except that the rules PDF will be free, so millions of twelve year olds can try it, and if suitably impressed, save their money or ask for the books as gifts. Fifty bucks today is about 25-30 1984 dollars, which was when many of us aging geeks were spending our allowance on 2nd Edition hardcovers.

  7. Yikes! That’s quite a premature sentencing! I think we should be presented with evidence first, no?

  8. DarkplaneDM says:

    Great to see more posts here at Critical Hits. Keep em rolling. I echo your excitement. Can’t wait to hear and see more. Hopes are high for the best edition yet.

  9. DarkplaneDM says:

    Also, hooray for better art! MtG is sharing some of its terrific aesthetic.

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