Best part of D&D Direct? The new player onboarding site

Earlier this week Dungeons & Dragons held a “direct.” These events are about announcing new product. It was a bit odd to see a D&D Direct already, since the full slate of hardback books for D&D is already known. So what did Wizards of the Coast show the fans?

A lot, much of it not related to the game of D&D, but to the brand of D&D.

But for me the winner was about the game — there’s a new onboarding site for players. This is obviously launching because the highly rated movie Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is out in theaters on March 31.

  • Dungeons & Dragons Comes to Minecraft – read more at Polygon and get new monsters on D&D Beyond.
  • Honor Among Thieves trailer and a Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair.
  • Hasbro March Monster Madness – new toys and stuffed animals with D&D themes are fine. I’ll probably get one or two (Kristin you didn’t read this)
  • New Life-Size D&D Figures from Wizkids – I’ll probably get one of these too.
  • R.A. Salvatore on Drizzt and a Neverwinter Module – The Neverwinter MMO is starting to feel like forever winter. The staying power of the game is impressive
  • D&D Virtual Tabletop – read more at EN World
  • Joe Manganiello’s 50th Anniversary D&D Documentary
  • A Look at Future D&D Sourcebooks and Adventures – there’s a lot to take in, from four more books coming out this year, plus hints at new books over the next two years. Many were thrilled to see Planescape’s coming art.
  • D&D Play Events at Local Game Stores – I like this because FLGS need more support than ever, but also because it helps new people discover the game.

I love adding new people to D&D.

It makes me feel good knowing that this once niche hobby where I was constantly mocked and derided is now popular.

More important than me feeling good is that new players mean new stories.

More players = more stories

I can’t tell you all of my stories, let alone tell you everyone else’s story.

The only route to more stories is more players. By finding new people the original, the mix and the remix at each table is amplified. Playing with the same people all the time is a great way to retell their stories. But the power of life, the power of roleplaying games is story — big, fat, emotionally loaded stories from all the varieties of people in the world.

Story creep is always better than power creep.

That’s why Tasha’s was good. That’s why Radiant Citadel is excellent.

Learning D&D can be hard. There’s no hiding from that. Finding ways to teach new players, especially those not joining a current table is the hardest thing facing any RPG.

The cover image of The words "Welcome to the world of Dungeons & Dragons" and "Begin your adventure" sit over a cavern with burning embers floating through it.

This is a brilliant onboarding portal that addresses the most common question I get from the now-hundreds of people who have asked me about Dungeons & Dragons “Where do I start?”

You start at It starts with an intro video.

The Starter Set of course!

But maybe those five characters aren’t right for you. PlayDnD has 11 pregenerated characters. Clicking on those pulls up a fully filled out page on D&D Beyond with a video tour of the character page!

There’s also three adventures, for free!

  • Lost Mines of Phandelver (which is about to have another sequel, this time in hardback, later this year). This is a mini-campaign
  • Frozen Sick is a first level adventure
  • Prisoner 13 is a multi-session adventure set in the prison Revel’s End. Revel’s End is part of the Honor Among Thieves, part of Rime of the Frostmaiden (and co-developed by John Francis Daley who co-wrote and co-directed Honor Among Thieves) and part of Keys from the Golden Vault

The first two can be run by people only semi-familiar with D&D and other fantasy tropes. Prisoner 13 is better for a more familiar DM.

Maybe you need help building a your own character? There’s guide to that.

There’s the prequel to Dragons of Stormwreck Isle as a pick-your-path adventure with a d20 called Before the Storm. If there’s one negative it’s that Before the Storm is so far down the page.

After that is a bundle to get the Dragons of Strormwreck Isle in both digital and physical at the same time.

There’s a final carousel of clickthroughs that includes ads for D&D Beyond, the D&D Discord, and another item that makes me very happy — help finding your local gaming store.

Play D&D and discover stories of heroism, of diversity, of found family. It just got a lot easier.


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