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D&D’s 2024 revision of 5th edition won’t be complete until 2025


D&D’s Vecna and his eponymous Hand, a magical item from the world of the Forgotten Realms. It is gold with red jewels. Image: Wizards of the Coast
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Wizards of the Coast has been teasing the next revision of the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition ruleset since at least 2022. At the same time, it’s been working to temper fans’ expectations while managing multiple controversies — including, but not limited to, the OGL debacle, a particularly heinous round of holiday layoffs by its corporate owner, and a complicated recall of defective products. It also assured fans that the rules will be backward-compatible and player-focused, with lots of good guidance for novice Dungeon Masters. Also? They aren’t going to be complete until 2025.

The seminal role-playing game’s official 50th anniversary was last month, and it passed without much fanfare from its owner. Then, on Monday, Wizards shared a news briefing containing a partial release calendar for the next 12 months. Buried at the bottom is the fact that Monster Manual, the third and final book in the new set of revised 5th edition rulebooks, won’t be available as a physical product until Feb. 18, 2025 — over a year from now. That means fans won’t have the full complement of revised core rules until after D&D’s 51st birthday. For comparison, the original 5th edition Monster Manual arrived in the same year, 2014, as the other two core rulebooks.

Making matters worse, that date further complicates the revised edition’s proposed naming convention. It, perhaps erroneously, started out being called One D&D and shifted to be known as the 2024 revision. But that’s largely academic at this point.

Here are the highlights from the announcement, including details on a few new adventures and a history book:

  • First up, the Player’s Handbook (2024) is expected to release on Sept. 17, 2024, followed by the Dungeon Masters Guide (2024) on Nov. 12, 2024, and Monster Manual (2025) on Feb. 18, 2025. According to Wizards, all three will have the now customary two-week digital pre-release window for those who pre-order it through D&D Beyond. That means you could potentially start playing with the revised rules for characters, combat, and adventuring by Sept. 3, 2024.
A cover image for Vecna: Eve of Ruin featuring Vecna casting a spell.
The standard cover for Vecna: Eve of Ruin.
Image: Wizards of the Coast
The hand of Vecna adorns the collectible cover of Vecna: Eve of Ruin, rendered in bold line art.
Alternate art cover, available only at local game stores.
Image: Wizards of the Coast
  • Vecna: Eve of Ruin is a campaign for characters starting at level 10, and tops out at level 20. It’s set to arrive as a physical product on May 21, 2024, and as a digital product for those who pre-order two weeks ahead of time. From the official description:

A high-stakes adventure in which the fate of the entire multiverse hangs in the balance. The heroes begin in the Forgotten Realms and travel to Planescape, Spelljammer, Eberron, Ravenloft, Dragonlance, and Greyhawk as they race to save existence from obliteration by the notorious lich Vecna who is weaving a ritual to eliminate good, obliterate the gods, and subjugate all worlds.

  • Quests from the Infinite Staircase is another anthology, a format that Wizards has excelled at in the past with hits like Candlekeep Mysteries and Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel. Expect it on store shelves July 16, 2024, and as a digital product for those who pre-order two weeks earlier. The official description reads:

This anthology weaves together six classic DUNGEONS & DRAGONS adventures while updating them for the game’s fifth edition. The Infinite Staircase holds doors leading to fantastic realms. It’s home to the noble genie Nafas, who hears wishes made throughout the multiverse and recruits heroes to fulfill them.

A golden D&D ampersand on a red cover. Image: Wizards of the Coast

The ultimate book showcasing D&D’s inception, including Gary Gygax’s never-before-seen first draft of D&D written in 1973, a curated collection of published fanzine and magazine articles contribute to D&D’s origin story. Each document is introduced, described, and woven into the story by one of the game’s foremost historians, Jon Peterson.

The news release teases a few more things to come in 2024, including projects that have yet to be announced. Highlights include a return of adversarial, tournament-style play common to the original version of D&D. There will also be “footwear and apparel from Converse, an official LEGO(tm) IDEAS building set complete with minifigures, and delicious treats suitable for snacking around the gaming table from Pop-Tarts.” More convention appearances by the D&D team are promised, as is the rollout — in some form — of the highly anticipated 3D virtual tabletop.

For more, check out the D&D Beyond website.

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