As of today, pen-and-paper adventurers the world over can now take to the Internet to experience official Dungeons & Dragons content in a brand new way. Virtual tabletop platform Roll20 has announced a licensing deal with Wizards of the Coast — the folks behind the popular role-playing game — to bring the iconic franchise to more people than ever before. Finally, playing D&D over the Internet will be simple.
Beginning with the Lost Mine of Phandelver and continuing with the September release of Storm King’s Thunder (which you can pre-order now, WotC will continue to supply the web’s best virtual tabletop site with some of the best official D&D content on the market.
For Those Unfamiliar With Roll20
Begun in 2012 as part of a Kickstarter campaign, Roll20 aims to bring role-players from every corner of the world together for some good, old-fashioned 20-sided fun. Since then, the free service has attracted more than 1.6 million users to its easy-to-use platform. The inclusion of D&D content will see Roll20 double down on that desire to deliver tabletop role-playing games to the masses.
Roll20 itself is basically a combination of all the tools previously used by Dungeon Masters (DMs, for those in the know) to get a group of friends together to play the venerable game in a digital setting. Prior to the site’s founding, dealing with players on opposite sides of the country was a technical nightmare often plagued by multiple physical maps, lost character sheets, and dropped Skype calls.
The first WotC adventure released on Roll20, Lost Mine of Phandelver (which was originally a physical module, and costs $19.99 on Roll20), was designed as an introduction adventure for four to six level one players. Conveniently enough, it’s also been crafted to play very well with the Basic D&D Handbook (which you can find right here. The module includes everything you need to get started, even if you’re completely new to tabletop. Pre-generated characters, images, maps, and tokens are all there to help players get their adventure off the ground sooner rather than later.
Of course, just because there’s a short gap between logging on and rolling the dice doesn’t mean that Lost Mine of Phandelver is a walk in the park. The multi-award winning title has a reputation among players for being a harrowing, yet engaging affair. The goblins, for example, are particularly cunning.
The Future of ‘D&D’
It’s going to be a big couple of years for Dungeons & Dragons (and its legion of fans). The enduring pen-and-paper game has maintained a cult following in the decades since it was released, but D&D just might be staring at something of a re-emergence in popular culture. In an attempt to get long-distance players throwing the dice at the same table, Wizards of the Coast has partnered with AltspaceVR to bring D&D into virtual reality. Warner Bros. has also gotten in on the fun, announcing a new Dungeons & Dragons film adaptation last fall.
Of course, the core D&D experience remains at the heart of Wizards’ growth. “Were always looking to broaden access to Dungeons & Dragons, and Roll20 already plays a significant part of that expansion,” says Greg Tito, Communications Manager at Wizards of the Coast, in a press release. We are excited to see what the future brings.
A Short Note to Super-Late Adopters
Roll20 specializes in making it incredibly easy to engage in a pastime that, once you get past the initial learning curve, can be incredibly engrossing. If you ever read a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book as a kid, it’s like that, but you can play along with your friends.
This announcement shouldn’t just be exciting for those brave few who happily spend their Friday and Saturday nights gathered around a table, drinking heavily, and pretending to be a knight. Don’t get fooled by the fact that you have to write; pen-and-paper gaming is a blast, and it doesn’t come better crafted than content from Wizards of the Coast.
Photos via Roll20.net