Wizards of the Coast and SmiteWorks have released a new series of content packs for the digital role-playing software Fantasy Works.
As much fun as a live session of Dungeons & Dragons can be, the process of actually arranging one can often be a pain in the butt. First you need to find a place. Then you need players. And then, finally, you need to arrange a sizable chunk of time when you can all come together to play. It's an act of coordination that can bring a game to it knees before it even begins. Luckily, there are a some nice digital tools out there geared toward giving gamers options to meet up and play from the comfort of their own home.
Fantasy Grounds, for instance, is a piece of software that dungeon masters and players can use to role-play together online while also automating many of the more tedious element of gaming (a.k.a. math). Today, Wizards of the Coast has announced that it's releasing new Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition expansion packs for Fantasy Grounds. The new content packs, developed in cooperation with Fantasy Grounds maker SmiteWorks, will make it possible for players and DMs to load up 5th edition rules, classes, monsters and adventure modules complete with official artwork from Wizards of the Coast.
The first round of 5th edition content will be split into three packages. The D&D Complete Core Class Pack will cost $49.99 and includes "twelve core character classes, class descriptions, special features, spells and abilities, as well as customization options such as equipment and feats." Accompanying that will be the D&D Complete Core Monster Pack which will also cost $49.99 and give DMs access to all of the monsters featured in the 5th edition D&D Monster Manual. Finally, Wizard is also releasing Lost Mine of Phandelver, 5th edition adventure that can be purchased and played for $19.99. Smaller, individual class and monster packs can also be purchased for a variety of more affordable prices. Fantasy Grounds itself can purchased on Steam for $39.99.
While I personally applaud any efforts by Wizard or anyone else to make the process of role-playing easier, I do have to say the costs of these new Fantasy Ground expansions strike me as being potentially prohibitive. Granted, if you're a player you could just buy whatever class pack you need for your character. That said, if you're a DM, you're probably going to want the wider suite of options which, with Fantasy Grounds itself, will cost around $140. When you compare that to other free digital platforms like Roll20, we could see many players just opting to do a little more work and use their books.