D&D Beyond Launches

Wizards of the Coast and Curse fired over the expected announcement earlier today that their digital toolset D&D Beyond has officially launched, offering dungeon masters around the world another choice for more efficiently running their Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition campaigns. To celebrate, they've released a pair of videos on character creation and magical items hosted by D&D senior manager Mike Mearls:

A sampling from the transcription offered for the initial video:
Mike: A lot of games ask you to make optimal choices, and the point of the game is to solve the puzzle, the game, and say, "What's the most efficient thing to do? What is going to give you the most victory points with the fewest resources?" But that's not what a role-playing game is. A role-playing game much more about, how can you go into this fictional world and do interesting and fun things that advance your character, and that advance the story?

Mike: The advice I would give anyone making a character is, what's your character's flaw, and how are you going to bring it into play in a way that's not obnoxious to the other players. 'Cause, to my mind, the most interesting characters are the ones that don't just serve as playing pieces for the player. What's the most optimal way to spend my resources to get the most experience points, or to whatever? They're the ones that feel like characters you're playing from a story.

Mike: I think that is what makes role-playing games distinct because the game isn't an algebraic equation. You can't solve it. It's not quite a story in the sense of, it's a script and you know exactly where it's going to end. So to me, those two things combine where you have a lot of room to do interesting things, unexpected things, and funny things, dramatic things. That, to me, is what makes a fun character.

Mike: I'd say, start with your flaw, and then think about, how are you going to portray that flaw without being obnoxious and distracting to the other players. 'Cause that's the pitfall. Oh, my character just loves violence, and that's my flaw, so whenever we meet someone, I just attack them.’ That's just ... You're stepping on everyone else's space. So, how can you manage that while also working within the confines of a group?

And then there's the official press release, which I'll leave you with below:
Curse Launches an Official Digital Digital Toolset for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

Huntsville, Alabama. – August 15, 2017 – This morning, Curse launched D&D Beyond - an official digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition.

For over 40 years, Dungeons & Dragons has ruled the TRPG market, bringing players together at tables all over the world. D&D Beyond, our new digital companion web app, aims to enhance the D&D experience by making game management easier by putting all of the game information you need to tell fantastic stories with your friends into a digital format, eliminating the need to manually search through books, and taking the load off of players through other features.

At launch, D&D Beyond offers a compendium with all the game rules, lore, and adventures, as well as sought-after tools like a character builder and an interactive digital character sheet. It’s built with official D&D content and the ability to create and add your own custom homebrew spells, magic items and monsters. Groups can play with digital versions of every official D&D sourcebook within the compendium. They can build characters using all the material published by Dungeons & Dragons for fifth edition, while adding custom magic items or spells created using the homebrew system. That homebrew content can then be shared with the community for other players to use in their own games.

The team at Curse has an extensive roadmap for D&D Beyond, including implementing features such as a mobile app, encounter builders, and combat tracking. D&D Beyond is excited to continue to work closely with the team at Dungeons & Dragons to implement all new adventures and rules material into the toolset, such as Tomb of Annihilation and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything coming this fall.

With over 200K active members in the beta, D&D Beyond’s rabid community has already created more than 240 thousand(!) characters and are already bringing the new modern era of D&D to their tables.