Wizards of the Coast have pulled the wraps off Dungeons & Dragons 5E, or simply “Dungeons & Dragons”, as they’re calling it (we’ll keep calling it 5E to distinguish it). Six books have been announced, with release dates spread all across the second half of 2014. Here’s what to expect from the release dates, along with the pricing:
- July 15 — Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set, USD $19.99 / AUD $24.95
- August 19 — Player’s Handbook, USD $49.95 / AUD $59.95
- August 19 — Hoard of the Dragon Queen, USD $29.95 / AUD $34.95
- September 30 — Monster Manual, USD $49.95 / AUD $59.95
- October 21 — The Rise of Tiamat, USD $29.95 / AUD $34.95
- November 19 — Dungeon Master’s Guide, USD $49.95 / AUD $59.95
According to Wizards’ Mike Mearls, the reason behind such a staggered release window for the core rulebooks is to ensure quality control remains strong. “Player’s Handbook / Monster Manual / Dungeon Master’s Guide releases were split because stacking them causes big quality issues, a la the 4e errata,” confirmed Mearls on Twitter. “Too much work at once.”
New look, new cover art
The new logo for the game is intended, much like the rules themselves, to provide a mix of the old and the new. Check it out below.
There’s also cover art for the six announced titles. Click below to enlarge.
The starter set, somewhat crucially, only contains enough rules to get players from levels 1-5. Wizards describe it as “ideal for a group of 4-6”, and it includes a 64-page adventure book with everything the DM needs, a 32-page rulebook that covers characters, as well as all the reference material you’ll need (and six dice).
At $19.99, this is definitely a great place to get started, but what about going further? Mearls has reassured players that you will be able to kick off and run campaigns right away, without needing to wait for the Dungeon Master’s Guide or the Player’s Handbook, saying everything you need is in the Starter Set.
“You will not need the Monster Manual or Dungeon Master’s Guide to run a campaign. Or the Player’s Handbook or Starter Set to make a character,” said Mearls. “You will definitely be able to make characters when it comes out,” he added.=
Long-time D&D players will of course note that the cover to the Starter Set is an homage to the iconic Red Box.
Kobold Press on board to write launch adventures
Third-party publishers Kobold Press, who are most well known for their excellent Pathfinder supplements including the Midgard setting, have been signed up to write the first two adventures in the launch schedule: Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat.
Veterans Wolfgang Baur and Steve Winter are behind the two adventures, and describe themselves as “honored” to be a part of the experience. Wizards’ Mike Mearls is even more complimentary, saying that he loves the way Baur and Winter are approaching “the traditional adventure format”.
“While the episodic structure makes it easy for DMs to trace the campaign’s humble beginnings to its epic conclusion, within those episodes is a level of flexibility and freedom for DMs and players that places this among the great D&D campaigns.”
Changes since beta test
If you’ve already played the open test rules of Dungeons & Dragons 5E, not much has changed. According to Mearls on Twitter — yes, this is where we get all our insights — the core rules are “pretty similar”. “Mostly tweaks to monster HP (went up), added warlock and sorcerer, and balanced out classes,” Mearls confirmed. Stay tuned for more D&D 5E news as we head into July.
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