Roll20, the industry-leading virtual tabletop suite, is partnering with the Dungeon Masters Guild, the officially licensed storefront for fan-made Dungeons & Dragons content. The announcement, made on Monday, will soon unlock a treasure trove of digital material for players and Dungeon Masters alike.
Roll20 is a fully-featured tool for playing tabletop role-playing games online. Players can join a session just by clicking a web link, on a PC or a mobile device, and communicate face-to-face using built-in video conferencing tools. DMs can plan elaborate scenarios, including maps and markers, as well as simulated lighting and line of sight. There are even digital character sheets that allow for virtual dice rolling and more. The platform has been the go-to resource for online play since it launched on the back of a Kickstarter campaign in 2012. Later, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic supercharged its business, adding more than five million new users.
The Dungeon Masters Guild (DMs Guild), on the other hand, is a partnership between D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast and OneBookShelf, owners of a number of online storefronts including DriveThruRPG. Launched in 2016, the DMs Guild allows fans to sell their own D&D content — including monsters, adventures, and even entire campaigns — using a licensing system that is slightly different from Wizards’ traditional Open-Gaming License. Nevertheless, it enables would-be designers to build on the foundation of the world’s most popular RPG, and earn money from the sale of those materials.
The partnership between Roll20 and DMs Guild means a larger addressable market for up and coming D&D designers, and a much easier way forward for harried DMs.
“DMsGuild creators will soon be able to create Roll20 content in the form of modules and add-ons that will unlock for users with the purchase of their DMsGuild adventure content, providing additional value for online play,” Roll20 said in its announcement. “Roll20 users will be able to access those maps and handouts available from DMsGuild in the virtual tabletop without additional set-up work.”
The larger implication here, however, is that this partnership brings Roll20 ever closer to working directly with Wizards and, by extension, its parent company Hasbro. The Rhode Island-based game and toy manufacturer has been on a bit of an acquisition streak lately, picking up a video game studio as well as D&D’s leading digital toolset, D&D Beyond. The addition of a proper virtual tabletop owned and operated by Wizards would fulfill a promise made in the back pages of the 4th edition Player’s Handbook published way back in 2008.
Update: After this article was published, a representative of DriveThruRPG reached out to clarify the structure of the creator licensing agreement with Wizards of the Coast. This post has been revised, including a link to the appropriate FAQ document.