Update 9/15/2014: The Dungeon Master's Guide has been delayed.
Update: Details continue to emerge, with an organized play program and information about some of the rulebook being free.
Update 1:55 PM EST: Wizards of the Coast has released a set of images to accompany the game, including the new logo:
Release dates for the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set, Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, Dungeon Master's Guide, and various adventures unveiled.
Update 12:25 AM EST: Kobold Press has confirmed that they are the design studio behind the new adventures, and Wizards of the Coast will simply publish that material. In a joint statement, Dungeons & Dragons R&D member Mike Mearls said that Kobold Press writers Wolfgang Baur and Steve Winter were "at the top of his list" for writing the new D&D adventures. "What I love about Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat is how Wolfgang and Steve Winter have approached the traditional adventure format. While the episodic structure makes it easy for DMs to trace the campaign's humble beginnings to its epic conclusion, within those episodes is a level of flexibility and freedom for DMs and players that places this among the great D&D campaigns." From that information, it appears that the new adventures will have an episodic format within individual books, meaning that both adventures may include multiple mini-adventures within them.
Original Story: Wizards of the Coast has revealed the covers and release dates for not only the core books of the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons, but the adventures and miniatures that will accompany the release later this year. In addition to the previously revealed dates for the Player's Handbook and Starter Set, we now have dates for the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master's Guide for a three month window after the release of the Player's Handbook in August. The covers, prices, and details were revealed via Wizards' website product listings, as well as on Amazon. Among the new reveals are two adventures, Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat, both intended as part of Wizards' Tyranny of Dragons story event for D&D. Regarding the extended game launch window, Wizards of the Coast's Mike Mearls said that the development team wanted to ensure that each book was as high quality as possible.
Much of the same information as was announced by Wizards of the Coast has been posted to multiple listings on giant online retailer Amazon.com. Most of that information is duplicated, but it does include the details that the Adventures for the new D&D are designed by Kobold Press, a popular third party RPG publisher that makes material for a variety of fantasy roleplaying games.
The products announced are:
- Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set (July 15, 2014); Fantasy Roleplaying Fundamentals; $19.99; Will include six dice, a 64-page rulebook with adventure, rules for characters levels 1-5, and 5 pregenerated characters.
- Player's Handbook (August 19, 2014); Core Rulebook; $49.95; Looks like the same book it has always been - learn the game's systems from it, but it includes only basic rules.
- Hoard of the Dragon Queen (August 19, 2014); Tyranny of Dragons Adventure; $29.95; The first of the Tyranny of Dragons adventures, looks like the kickoff of the big event at 96 pages. The Amazon listing says that this one was designed and developed by Kobold Press, a third party firm.
- Monster Manual (September 17, 2014); Core Rulebook $49.95; Bills its game statistics as "easy to use" and is supposedly full of "thrilling stories to feed your imagination" - same old, same old with a chance of increased game fluff.
- The Rise of Tiamat (October 21, 2014); Tyranny of Dragons Adventure $29.95; Looks like the battle against Tiamat will become "increasingly political" - which would be an interesting twist for a second game adventure. Also designed by Kobold Press.
- Dungeon Master's Guide (November 18, 2014); Core Rulebook $49.95; Full of "inspiration and guidance" as well as the optional rules modules we've been hearing so much about, as well as all the magic items - so not an optional book at all.
- Deluxe DM Screen (January 20, 2015); $14.95; This one is listed at Amazon without details and not yet listed by Wizards.
Dungeons & Dragons, to be released later this year, will be the fifth official edition of the fantasy roleplaying game. It went through an extensive public playtest in late 2012 and early 2013, and has been in private development ever since.
Posted alongside the releases were two new miniatures products which by the familiar look of the sculpts are part of the line of miniatures produced by WizKids that were previously announced:
- Icons of the Realms: Starter Set (July 14, 2014); Miniatures; $19.99; Described as a starter pack and clearly including figures intended as adventurers. Described as including "the dwarf cleric, human ranger, halfling rouge[sic], northlands fighter, elf wizard, and the famous drow ranger, Drizzt Do'Urden."
- Icons of the Realms: Booster (July, 2014); Miniatures; $15.99; A box of four blind miniatures "inspired by the Tyranny of Dragons storyline" and almost definitely catered to go alongside the starter set and first adventures including "dragons, kobold fighters, bugbears, wraiths, mind flayers, and many more iconic D&D characters."
Trevor Kidd, Wizards of the Coast's community manager, also posted a mockup of the book's spines.
The products are listed on the Wizards of the Coast website.
What does all of this mean? Check out our article on whether or not D&D's release plan is botched or brilliant.