We all know it has been in the works for several years now, but earlier this past week Wizards finally announced the official release of the all the new game materials. As I had originally suspected the release all seems to be centered around Gencon in mid-August, so those of you making the trek to Indianapolis this year can expect to get an eyeful and an earful while you are down there. Apparently it will not be called "DnD 5E" and "DnD Next", but just Dungeons and Dragons. I wonder if that naming convention will stick or will the fan base settle on its own designation.
There has been a lot of playtest material over these past few years so while there have been a lot of hints as to what will be included I am not sure anybody really knows except for the writers. I suspect there will be much more printed on this as the summer passes.
|DnD Starter Set|
As an introduction a DnD Starter Set is being released on July 15 (Amazon). There are apparently no character creation rules included, but that's OK, it's not the point. The Pathfinder Beginner Box was excellent ... they could do much worse than just emulating that.
|Icons of the Realms|
Wizards has decided to get back into the miniatures market with Icons of the Realms: Starter Set, to be released in July 2014 (I did not see this on Amazon ... that doesn't mean it isn't there). The remaining miniatures are to be released in Mid-August (Icons of the Realms: Tyranny of Dragons) in booster boxes of four units per box.
The official release date of the Players Handbook (Amazon) is August 19, which is right after Gencon, but I have to believe these will be very plentiful for those who are making the trip. For those of you who are curious but don't want to look it up: $49.95.
|Hoard of the Dragon Queen|
Also to be released immediately after Gencon is an adventure module Hoard of the Dragon Queen (Amazon). Between the miniatures and the adventure modules there is a very dragon oriented theme, so at least from a marketing (and artwork) perspective they really are picking a theme and sticking to it.
The Monster Manual (Amazon) is to be released on September 30. No Dragon on the cover, but the Beholder presented there looks pretty scary and not cartoonish like in earlier depictions ... so much for the consistent dragon theme.
|The Rise of Tiamet|
The adventure module follow-up that continues the dragon theme is The Rise of Tiamet (Amazon), to be released on October 21.
|Dungeon Master Guide|
The third book of the DnD gaming trilogy is the Dungeon Master Guide (Amazon), to be released November 18 ... three months after the release of the Players Handbook. I had read they wanted to avoid releasing all three at once like they did with 4E ... still, three months is a big separation. I suppose they did get everything released in time for Christmas though.
I haven't perused every possible web site for discussion material, so I don't know what they are going to be doing about their licensing, and I don't know what they will be doing about electronic tools (character builder). It was the restrictive licensing issues that drove a lot of the third party material providers to Pathfinder, but I think that somehow the licensing issue is more likely in the hands of the Hasbro lawyers and not the design team. I also haven't seen any word of PDF releases, but Wizards has been releasing PDF version of their old classics for a while now (DnD Classics), but I don't know if that really portends a shift in their thinking on the topic. Regardless, these kind of things can generally be found in the darkest corners of the internet if one is game to go there.