Big news in the realm of Dungeons and Dragons over the last week. Wizards of the Coast made a number or announcements, each one seemingly more impressive than the last.
- First up. Details on what products for D&D will be released in the upcoming months. Check out this page for more details (You may need to click on the TRPG link on the page to see the info): D&D Product Info.
Highlights for me included info on a Starter Set in July, and the PHB in Aug (probably available starting GenCon weekend).
Unlike previous Starter Sets, this one will include info on playing characters through 5th level (clearly someone took a look at the Pathfinder Starter Box).
- If that wasn't enough, a few days later, they released info on the future of their Organized Play program. This is the umbrella for such in-store programs as D&D Encounters, and the defunct D&D Lair Assault.
Going forward, the program will be known as the D&D Adventurers League, and will include three different options. One, Epics, seems to be something like the multi-table events they've run in the past (the Candlekeep adventure at last year's GenCon, and the Vault of the Dracolich come to mind). The second option, Expeditions, harkens back to the old days of the 4 hour convention adventure. And lastly, Encounters follows the very successful 1 hour event, where you can come back week after week and over a few months get a complete story.
I personally look forward to playing and running these events at a local story.
- And finally, the latest and most pleasantly shocking announcement. Starting along side the July release of the Starter Set, Wizards will be releasing what they call D&D Basic (but don't let the name confuse you, it's not a return of the D&D Basic/AD&D divide back during first edition). This new D&D Basic will actually be enough rules for Player to run a character from 1st to 20 level. For DMs, the Basic package will have enough monsters and items to run a campaign.
Best of all, D&D Basic will be a FREE PDF download. Yes, that's FREE. No cost. Now while it will have rules for classes from 1st to 20, it will only have the core four, and while it will have items and monsters, it won't be as extensive as the upcoming DMG or MM.
I think this is a great way to get new players to try the game, or get lapsed players back into D&D with no initial investment on either a Player or DM. And later, if said Player or DM wants more options, they can opt-in to the appropriate book(s).