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An official D&D virtual tabletop system is being developed in Unreal Engine 5

A pre-alpha image of the Dungeons & Dragons digital tools for 5th edition.
(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)
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An official digital toolset and virtual tabletop for playing Dungeons & Dragons is on the way. During an event today, Wizards of the Coast showed off some in-engine footage from the toolset's pre-alpha phase. 

The software, which Wizards refers to as an "early-in-development D&D digital play experience," will work with the existing D&D Beyond digital tools and the updated ruleset on the way (which is basically D&D 5.5 Edition). (opens in new tab) Wizards says it will "offer players and Dungeon Masters full immersion and rich 3D creation tools."

The D&D digital play experience is being developed in Unreal Engine 5. Among other reasons, Wizards chose the engine to help "make it look dope," according designer Kale Stutzman in a video about One D&D, which is what Wizards is calling "the next generation of Dungeons & Dragons."

Aside from looking dope, the goal is to build an easy-to-use official virtual tabletop that will include "all the tools" needed to play a D&D adventure, and that will work together with other D&D tools developed for mobile and PC. You might buy a premade adventure on D&D Beyond, possibly bundled with a physical version, and get that playset on digital with terrain and NPCs, for example. You could then use it as-is or take it apart and reuse those digital assets and rules for custom scenarios.

The virtual playspaces are meant to look like sets for miniatures, not like real spaces.

 "The tilt-shift camera was really chosen so that people understood that this wasn't a videogame, but it is a digital experience," said Wizards.

The isn't the first time Wizards of the Coast has attempted an online service, subscription, and digital toolset for D&D. The ill-fated D&D Insider, tools that used Microsoft Silverlight, and D&D Virtual Table were developed during the 4th Edition era, but after four years of teasers Virtual Table was cancelled before public release. That was in part due to low subscription numbers, but the number of active D&D players has grown by an order of magnitude in the 5th Edition era and shows no signs of stopping.

You can learn more about the digital toolset at DnDBeyond.com (opens in new tab), and you can learn more about One D&D right here (opens in new tab), as well as D&D's 2023 releases including Planescape. (opens in new tab)

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.