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The back cover of the alternate art Candlekeep Mysteries features a gold leaf embossed beholder.
Back cover art from the collectors’ edition of Candlekeep Mysteries.
Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

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D&D 5th edition comes to a close in 2023 against a backdrop of fan anger

One D&D playtesting will run throughout the year alongside several major 5th edition releases

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Dungeons & Dragons is currently in a state of transition, with a set of new core rulebooks expected for release in 2024 to mark the 50th anniversary of the seminal tabletop role-playing game. The next version, dubbed One D&D, is designed to be fully backward-compatible with the existing 5th edition ruleset, so players don’t need to fret about books they buy this year becoming obsolete.

That’s a good thing, because Wizards of the Coast has revealed a very full release schedule for 2023 packed with new adventures and resources for Dungeon Masters. Third-party publishers are also making plans of their own as the fiasco surrounding Wizards’ proposed changes to the Open Gaming License made their future uncertain.

Here’s a preview of what you can look forward to adding to your home game.

Keys From the Golden Vault

The first major D&D release of 2023 arrives on Feb. 21. Keys From the Golden Vault follows the anthology format of Candlekeep Mysteries and Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, with all the adventures based on heists. D&D story architect Chris Perkins describes it as a Dungeons & Dragons version of Ocean’s Eleven.

Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants

A giant stays the hand of a colleague, his gigantic knife poised over a helpless traveller — Volo, exploring and learning about giants.
Cover art from Volo’s Guide to Monsters.
Image: Tyler Jacobson/Wizards of the Coast

A companion to Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons, this giant-focused sourcebook for Dungeon Masters will be released in spring 2023. Expect official versions of the new giant-themed subclasses and feats playtested in May’s Unearthed Arcana: Giant Options.

Phandelver Campaign

The original 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set introduced brand-new players and DMs to the game with The Lost Mine of Phandelver, a short campaign based around a miniature dungeon crawl. It also served as the starting point to one of the most popular actual play series around, the McElroy family’s The Adventure Zone series of podcasts and live performances. It proved so popular that Wizards is expanding it into a full campaign book in summer 2023.

The Book of Many Things

Ellywick Tumblestrum, a planeswalker and a character from The Wild Beyond the Witchlight dances through the forest, a card from the Deck of Many Things ticked into her lute.
Ellywick Tumblestrum, a planeswalker and a character from The Wild Beyond the Witchlight dances through the forest, a card from the Deck of Many Things ticked into her lute.
Image: Anna Steinbauer/Wizards of the Coast

One of the most beloved and unpredictable artifacts in D&D history is the Deck of Many Things. Drawing one of its cards could grant your character’s wish or destroy all of their treasure. This player-focused book launching in summer 2023 will introduce creatures, locations, and other content tied to the risky magic item. It will also likely contain some of the new spells previewed in Unearthed Arcana: Wonders of the Multiverse such as Spray of Cards, which lets a caster use a deck of cards to blind or cut their enemy.


D&D is reviving the 1994 Planescape setting — the same setting that inspired the classic computer role-playing video game Planescape: Torment — with a three-book box set. It’s similar to the treatment it gave Spelljammer: The fall 2023 release will feature a campaign, a guide to the setting allowing players to hop between D&D’s planes, and a bestiary describing all the weird creatures that live in the other worlds and the interplanar nexus of Sigil. New character options tailored to the setting were tested in July’s Unearthed Arcana: Wonders of the Multiverse and include a Planar Philosopher background perfect for being part of one of Sigil’s 15 ideological factions, plus Glitchling — a rogue creature from the lawful plane of Mechanus.

One D&D

Wizards of the Coast is accepting feedback for its revised species rules and updates to the cleric class through Jan. 20. New content will be released roughly every month through D&D Beyond at least until the end of the year, with topics spanning classes, subclasses, and new game mechanics.

Third-party releases

The leaked draft revisions to the OGL caused some of the leading publishers of third-party 5th edition materials to revise their plans for 2023 and start planning for a future where they no longer need to deal with Wizards of the Coast.

By far the biggest sea change among independent publishers is the announcement of the Open RPG Creative License, or ORC. Paizo, maker of Pathfinder and Starfinder, has vowed to foot the bill of creating the ORC and potentially litigating any fallout with Wizards. So far Kobold Press, Green Ronin, Legendary Games, Roll for Combat, Rogue Genius Games, and Chaosium have thrown their support behind the initiative.

Wherever the chips may fall, it’s going to be an interesting year for folks rolling 20-sided dice at the table.

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