Dungeons & Dragons mainly has DLC now, and it’s glorious

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Dice and a miniature beside a wax seal of the D&D logo on the lid of a Mac notebook.

Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

Dungeons & Dragons is experiencing an unprecedented renaissance, with extra individuals than ever earlier than selecting up and having fun with the unique role-playing game. Published adventures are simple to return by, and you may even discover starter sets and dice on the shelves at your local big box retailer. But do you know that D&D now gives what quantities to downloadable content material, a few of which you’ll be able to seize totally free? Here’s the way it works, plus some picks for the easiest downloads accessible.

D&D writer Wizards of the Coast gives one thing referred to as the System Reference Document, or the SRD. It incorporates nearly every little thing you must play a primary model of D&D, and you may obtain it totally free on the firm’s web site. However, it’s probably not meant to be a starter set. Wizards makes the SRD accessible underneath the Open-Gaming License (OGL) as a way to present a template for different firms to publish games and dietary supplements utilizing the D&D ruleset.

One of the options of the SRD is that no matter you make with it, isn’t allowed to exist contained in the canonical worlds of D&D. But, the identical guidelines don’t apply to the Dungeon Masters Guild, a partnership between Wizards and OneBookshelf that started in 2016. The DMs Guild is a web based market the place you’ll be able to put up fan-created content material, and that content material could make use of the established canon of the game. At the DMs Guild you’ll find supplies which might be appropriate with Wizards’ Forgotten Realms setting, but additionally Ravenloft, Eberron, and even Magic: The Gathering’s plane of Ravnica.

An alternate cover for Eberron shows an airship sailing of an exotic, gilded city at sunset.

Vance Kelly/Wizards of the Coast

“The Dungeon Masters Guild was an idea that I had back in 2010,” says Wizard’s Chris Lindsay, the creator of the DMs Guild. “The goal was to create a place with little or no barrier to entry for fans who wanted to create content and show it off to the world, and perhaps even make a few dollars off their creations.”

Wizards even publishes templates in order that every little thing seems similar to the official books that it sells on retailer cabinets. The result’s a complete library of contemporary content material — every little thing from single magical items to hundreds of new playable races — that’s simple to combine into your property marketing campaign.

My first correct introduction to the DMs Guild got here once I was in search of a fast one-shot journey to run for my pal’s birthday. That’s once I stumbled upon The Wild Sheep Chase, a easy module with a hilarious comedy hook and nice role-playing alternatives. Best of all, it’s accessible totally free.

You may even search by means of the DMs Guild by the marketing campaign setting that you simply’re working for the time being. One of the largest alternatives is for the city of Waterdeep, the setting for two official 5th edition modules. Most not too long ago I spent $10 to obtain the ground plan for the fifth version model of the long-lasting Castle Ravenloft. It’s made my life a lot simpler as a DM making an attempt to steer a bunch by means of depend Strahd von Zarovich’s lethal lair. I’ve taken to slicing the items out and mounting them on black foam core for ease of use on the desk.

Lindsay says that the easiest stuff within the DMs Guild comes from his retinue of Guild Adepts, which doubles as a farm staff for Wizards itself.

“These are folks that have become prominent contributors to the Dungeon Masters Guild,” Lindsay stated. “I have basically put together a digital writer’s room and I give them advanced views of our content and let them go crazy.”

Returning Adepts embrace M.T. Black, James Haeck, James Introcaso, Rich Lescouflair, Ginny Loveday, and Ashley Warren. New additions for 2020 embrace Stacey Allan, Celeste Conowitch, Ashley Michaela “Navigator” Lawson, and Hannah Rose. Searching for his or her names within the DMs Guild will return loads of glorious modules so as to add to your game.

Here’s some highlights, hand-picked by Lindsay himself:

  • Down Came A Blackbird by Stacey Allan is a four-hour journey excellent for characters under fifth stage. Imagine if Alfred Hitchcock had written a high-fantasy thriller and also you’re heading in the right direction.
  • College of the Opera provides D&D’s basic Bard class an thrilling and highly effective new subclass that makes use of the singer’s voice as a spell-casting focus. Written by Hannah Rose and Kelli Butler, it’s additionally accessible in Spanish.
  • If you’re leaping into Wizards’ latest marketing campaign setting, Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, Lindsay recommends Taverns, Inns, and Taprooms: In Hell. Written by DropTheDie, Blinne Emersyn, Celeste Conowitch, and James Woodman, it consists of a number of new areas excellent for locating sidequests whereas tearing about the Nine Hells in a demon-powered war machine.
  • If you’re in search of one thing a bit extra substantial, Lindsay recommends Complete Adventures of M.T. Black Vol. I. It gathers collectively 14 completely different adventures from one of many Guild’s finest and most skilled writers.
  • Finally, Wizards runs an organized play sequence often known as the D&D Adventurer’s League. You can discover all of its previous fifth version content material on-line, accessible for a nominal value. It’s among the many most polished content material on the DMs Guild, with playtesting offered by prospects at game shops all over the world.