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D&D Hybrid Print/Digital Bundles are LIVE

But only on the Wizards of the Coast online store.

When Wizards of the Coast acquired popular online D&D support tool D&D Beyond, they signaled that the future of tabletop roleplaying is digital.  Wizards revealed then that as part of their One D&D initiative, future sourcebooks would be available in hybrid digital/print bundles.  No more paying full price for the physical book and then paying full retail for access to the same on D&D Beyond.  Wizards promised these bundles would only cost a small amount more than the a la carte items.

What D&D products are included?

Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen

The first product to get the hybrid treatment was the upcoming Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen adventure module.  Available only on the Wizards of the Coast website, the basic digital + print bundle costs only $59.94 (with free shipping in some countries).  By comparison, the hardcover copy of Shadow of the Dragon Queen on its own costs $44.96.  On D&D Beyond, the digital version of the module costs $29.99.  That’s about a $15.00 savings if you buy the hybrid bundle straight from Wizards of the Coast.

The caveat: hybrid bundles are not currently available at your friendly local game store.  Despite the growing presence of digital tools like D&D Beyond at in-person tables, Wizards has left their loyal retailers in the cold on digital merchandise.  To date, no plans to make hybrid bundles available through local game stores have been announced.

Say what?!

D&D Hybrid Creature Bundle

Now Wizards is offering the Campaign Case products on their website bundled with digital copies of sourcebooks.  D&D Campaign Case: Terrain Bundle comes with both a digital copy of the D&D 5E Dungeon Master’s Guide and the physical case + tiles product already available at your FLGS.  The D&D Creatures  Bundle comes with a digital copy of the D&D 5E Monster Manual.  Other issues aside, the decision to include the Monster Manual with the Creatures Bundle is confusing since Monsters of the Multiverse rendered most if not all of the content in that sourcebook obsolete.

D&D Hybrid Terrain Crate

These are test products though, right?

Will hybrid D&D bundles ever be available through your FLGS?  Wizards has not been clear on that.  With the exception of promotional codes in prerelease kits and prize packs, Wizards has left WPN stores in the cold on Magic Arena.  Only one Secret Lair product has been released in WPN stores as of the writing of this article.  Given that precedent, it seems unlikely that stores will ever receive hybrid bundles.  TTRPG sourcebooks are a staple of FLGS product offerings.  Unlike Magic: The Gathering, digital copies of D&D modules and sourcebooks are as useful if not moreso at an in-person table.  At my own tables, I encourage players to bring tablets or laptops to easily manage their spells, refer to rules, and reduce the amount of stuff they have to cart back and forth to session.  More and more tables are opting for the same.

This could be bad for local game stores.

I dislike being the voice of doom and gloom, but if Wizards does not include local game stores on the paper to digital conversion, shops will suffer.  Traditionalists will still buy hard copies at their FLGS and pay the extra money to get digital copies on D&D Beyond or their virtual store of choice, but budget-conscious hybrid players will opt to purchase their bundles directly from Wizards.  Not immediately, but over time, national and international retailers may limit the availability of physical copies of sourcebooks – or get rid of them entirely.  That worst-case scenario is unlikely, but conceivable if Wizards doesn’t put hybrid D&D bundles in stores.

What do you think?  Are digital sourcebooks the future of tabletop roleplaying games?  Do you use them in your own games?  Am I overreacting to the test run of these hybrid products?  Drop me a comment or hit me on Twitter @LiteraryMagpie and share your thoughts!

About the Author
Silver has been playing Magic: The Gathering and other trading card games off and on since 1999, and is a lifelong roleplayer. They believe in Rule 0 and The Rule of Cool, and that the gaming table should be a safe space for everyone.

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