D&D reveals the cover art of its revised 2024 Player Handbook—a sweet reminder that not all dragons are trying to eat your face, plus some deep-cut callbacks

D&D’s revised ruleset—previously OneD&D, or 5.5—is difficult enough to explain that I’ll need a couple of sentences to get through it. It’s not a new edition as per its creator’s insistence, however, it’s a rehash of the existing, soon-to-be decade-old 5th edition ruleset that’s also mostly backwards-compatible with existing 5th ed content. 

Despite my misgivings on how to explain the dang thing to the uninitiated (as well as its flashy digital tabletop), however, I’m cautiously optimistic for it, especially having seen its new cover by virtue of GameInformer’s deep-dive into the art of the upcoming revised Player’s Handbook.

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast via GameInformer / Art by Tyler Jacobson)

The cover art features a party of heroes facing off against a horde of kobolds, backed by a large and regal gold dragon. It’s a fun counterpoint to the trio of core rulebooks from 5e’s initial release, which showed adventurers fighting a beholder, a lich, and a giant—a reminder that all of the big beasties in D&D aren’t always out to hurt you.

In case you’re wondering why a dragon’s getting all lovey-dovey—good-aligned dragons have been a thing in D&D lore forever, namely the ones of the metallic variety. The choice of a gold dragon here is especially cute, since D&D is having its 50th anniversary this year. In other words, its golden anniversary.

The party itself is full of callbacks, too, as GameInformer reveals. Strongheart the “Good Paladin”, Elkhorn the “Good Dwarf Fighter”, Mercion the “Good Cleric Female”—it was, uh, a different time—and Molliver the “Lawful Thief” all make an appearance here. They’re characters from the AD&D days, based on a set of toy figurines. Yolande the Elven queen from the Greyhawk setting is also here to blast some fools.

A cute detail highlighted by GameInformer is “a separate piece of art on the reverse side of the Player’s Handbook”, which features an unnamed second party of heroes riding on the gold dragon’s back. Sort of a coy passing of the torch.

The revised Player’s Handbook will be available for pre-orders alongside the new Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s guide June 18, though the Player’s Handbook will be the first to actually release September 17, followed by the Dungeon Master’s Guide November 12. 

The Monster Manual will trail in early 2025, February 18, though as previously mentioned all of this stuff should still be backwards-compatible for the time being—so your group won’t be short of monsters to brawl while they get used to the remixed ruleset.

I’ve been a bit of a curmudgeon about this upcoming not-exactly-a-new-edition, but this cover objectively slaps, and it has me excited to see what else Wizards of the Coast has cooked for its other three books. I can only hope the rash of Hasbro’s layoffs late last year don’t unduly impact its overall quality.

PCGamer.com

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