Dungeons & Dragons’ 50th Anniversary Brings Back Vecna

Dungeons & Dragons turns 50 this year, and as you’d expect, Wizards of the Coast is marking the anniversary with big announcements—some of which look to the tabletop roleplaying giant’s rich past. Announced today: six book releases, upcoming gaming events, and brand collaborations that run the gamut from “makes sense” to “huh?”—with more to come.

The celebration, which kicks off in earnest in March, will bring an official Lego Ideas set (including minifigures), a line of shoes and apparel from Converse, and some kind of tie-in with Pop-Tarts that we can only hope will include dice-shaped breakfast pastries. No additional Pop-Tarts details yet, but we do have some on the books being released, including the trio of primary rulebooks that will bring Dungeons & Dragons into its next era, with a new Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide releasing in 2024, and a new Monster Manual a few months after in early 2025. Here’s the scoop:

Vecna: Eve of Ruin alt cover

Vecna: Eve of Ruin alt cover
Image: Wizards of the Coast

  • Vecna: Eve of Ruin, an Adventure Campaign for characters of levels 10-20, is described as “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 the realms of Planescape, Spelljammer, Eberron, Ravenloft, Dragonlance, and Greyhawk as they race to save existence from obliteration by the notorious lich—and now of course, Stranger Things star—Vecna who is weaving a ritual to eliminate good, obliterate the gods, and subjugate all worlds.” It releases May 21.

Image for article titled Dungeons & Dragons' 50th Anniversary Brings Back Vecna

Image: Wizards of the Coast

  • The Making of Original Dungeons & Dragons: 1970-1977. Billed as “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. It releases June 18 and is available to pre-order on Amazon.
  • Quests From the Infinite Staircase, an Adventure Anthology for character levels 1-13, “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.” It releases July 16.
  • Player’s Handbook (2024). “Take your game to the next level with the revised 2024 Player’s Handbook. More player options, enhanced organization, and engaging additions to the fifth edition rules make this a must have for your next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.” It releases September 17.
  • Dungeon Master’s Guide (2024) “It’s never been easier to become the Dungeon Master than with the revised 2024 Dungeon Master’s Guide. Learn the craft from the experts in a cleverly crafted and accessible approach to running your own game. With more tools than ever before, becoming the master of your own multiverse will be a snap.” It releases November 12.
  • Monster Manual (2025) “The revised 2025 Monster Manual brings you the greatest selection of foes to face off with your player’s characters than ever assembled in the history of the game. More options at all levels of play means more ways to provide the challenges that will keep them coming back to the table again and again.” It releases February 18, 2025.

In addition to stuff you can buy, Dungeons & Dragons will also be offering more interactive ways to celebrate; in March, “fans all over the world will be able to play the same adventure together inspired by the Dungeons & Dragons creators’ love of tournament-style play.” The event will highlight an excerpt from upcoming title Descent into the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth “in game stores, at community centers, libraries, conventions like Gary Con and PAX East, on kitchen tables and painted scenery, in video chat rooms, and on D&D Beyond. Dungeon Masters will be available wherever fans want to play.”

Wizards is also teasing “new ways to improve immersion with a 3D virtual tabletop and remove barriers to play through new features on D&D Beyond” as well as an enhanced presence at shows and fan conventions all year long.

D&D has a rich history, an exciting present, and a great future,” said Kyle Brink, the executive producer of team D&D at Wizards of the Coast. “This year we’ll be celebrating all three with the 50th anniversary of the first publication of Dungeons & Dragons. We’ll take you through the making of the game, bring some of the classic adventures to today’s play, visit the most iconic settings in the D&D multiverse, and kick off the future of the game with the new 2024 core rulebooks that are the heart of the game. We’ve been building up to this for a while now. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Visit D&D Beyond for updates.


This article originally appeared on io9. Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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