Tomb of Annihilation on DnD Beyond

Posted on October 2, 2017 by

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I’ve already reviewed WOTC’s latest adventure offering, the epic and pulpy Tomb of Annihilation, but now I want to look at the DnD Beyond version.

Please note, this is not a review of the DnD Beyond app in its entirety, as I haven’t really delved into it too much.

WOTC describes DnD Beyond as:

D&D Beyond, Curse’s new digital companion web app, aims to enhance the D&D experience by making game management easier by putting all of the game information you need to tell fantastic stories with your friends into a digital format, eliminating the need to manually search through books, and taking the load off of players through other features.

I’m currently running two ToA games, one face to face game, the other over the fantastic roll20 app. It’s worth noting that Roll20 also offers Tomb of Annihilation electronically, but it is locked into the roll20 platform, and is not transportable. You use it there, and that’s it. I did not purchase ToA on roll20, so I can’t speak to its quality–although based on other purchases I’ve made of WOTC material on roll20, I bet it’s excellent.

So what’s included in the DnD Beyond version of ToA? Everything the book includes, and more. And I’m not kidding. Take a look at the table of contents.

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 9.33.13 AM

So all the book’s text is included, all the unique monsters are included, and every piece of art from the book is included. Even the cover. All downloadable, obviously. Maps, handouts, NPC portraits–everything that was created for this book is here.

And the maps? They include the book version and player’s versions. What? Yes. Unkeyed player maps. Start printing DMs, the quality is very good.

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 9.34.46 AM

So what does this mean? It means I can grab all this content and print it out for my table, but I can also add it to my roll20 game. I have to admit, it’s pretty useful to me, for both my games.

As far as the adventure itself, once you click on a specific chapter, the entire chapter appears on the page, so you don’t have to keep clicking to get to subsections. It’s all open right there all at once. You can also click on monsters that are part of the text and depending on whether or not you either own that content, or it’s part of the 5e SRD, it’ll open in your browser (or pop up basic stats–except combat actions). It even includes the Dramatis Personae page, all linked to the NPC’s section or stat block.

Lets talk price, and this is where my decision to go with DnD Beyond over just roll20 was made easy…

For the Tomb of Annihilation on DnD Beyond, including all the artwork, DM & Player maps, and all the adventure text, I paid $24.99. Half the cover price of the printed book.

And you can run this adventure off DnD Beyond without needing the book. There’s no need for the book once you purchase this, the only drawback is that you need an “always on” internet connection. So your game store better have WIFI if you run this outside the home.  This was an issue to me during Hurricane Irma–I didn’t have the book yet, and I lost internet. Couldn’t run it.

Roll20 charges $49.95 for the book’s content, plus additional roll20 features like Dynamic Lighting, Rollable Tables, all the tokens with stats built in to them, etc… yes, the roll20 features are GREAT, but for half the price my choice was easy. I can take the time to prep my roll20 game using the Beyond content on an as-needed basis. (I don’t need to load the content for the final dungeon now, for example, nor do I use dynamic lighting).

Worth noting that Fantasy Grounds (another digital tabletop, one which I know nothing about and have never used), also charges $24.99 for ToA content.

So what do I feel I’m paying for? The adventure text in a portable format for a device I’m always carrying in my pocket, all the art suitable for print, player maps also suitable for print, and content I can take and upload to my digital tabletop game. Not bad for $25–and I can tell you that just having access to the book’s text on my phone has been invaluable while I’m sitting in waiting rooms or having lunch by myself.

So do I recommend it over a book? Well, I have the book… I like books. But if you’re a DM comfortable with swiping, clicking and reading off a screen, there’s no reason to not recommend it. It’s just like having the book, except for the poster map, you’d have to get that printed yourself. Just make sure that where you play has an internet connection.


If you would like to support NewbieDM.com, perhaps you’d consider visiting Amazon.com for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

D&D Tomb of Annihilation Dice

Dungeon Master’s Screen Reincarnated

Tales from the Yawning Portal

D&D: Tomb of Annihilation

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Posted in: 5e D&D, Gaming