Usually when you sit down to play Dungeons & Dragons you’re not competing against anybody real, except maybe the Dungeon Master (depending on your DM’s particular philosophy). But a new competitive version of the popular tabletop roleplaying game called Dungeons & Dragons: Onslaught is on the way set in the Forgotten Realms narrative. There’s no firm release date, but the game is supposed to come out some time in the third quarter of this year.
The news came from a since-deleted tweet from game designer Nicholas Yu (via Comic Book) who claimed to be one of the designers on the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Onslaught. According to Games Radar, the company developing the game, WizKids, initially retweeted Yu’s announcement which lent credence to it. Onslaught is described as a “competitive skirmish game” which will not only pit players against monster, but “rival adventurers.” Another group trying to get their hands on your treasure? Roll initiative!
Dungeons & Dragons: Onslaught will include 21 miniatures — 12 adventurers and 9 monsters. With Nicholas Yu’s initial tweet deleted, it’s difficult to get all the details, but the game will include some kind of new way — called the Combat Dial System — to track character stats, as well as something called a Goblin Guard card. Regular updates and expansions are planned, to give players new ways to compete against each other. Tournament and “in-store” play is planned, and we’re guessing plenty of sign-ups at gaming conventions all over the place.
The adventurer minis included with Dungeons & Dragons: Onslaught give a clue regarding the game’s central conflict. The 12 adventurer miniatures will apparently be split between the fictional Forgotten Realms factions of the Harpers and the Zhentarim. In the Forgotten Realms narrative, the two factions aren’t very friendly with one another. The Harpers are those who more closely represent what you expect heroes from fantasy fiction to be about — they care deeply about nature and the balance between it and encroaching civilization. The Zhentarim, also known as the Black Network, are the kinds of thieves and killers who you don’t want knowing your name. If the Harpers are like the Fellowship of Lord of the Rings, the Zhentarim are like the Assassin’s Guild of John Wick. Sure, certain members of both will be protective of puppies, but otherwise they’re not going to get along.
In his deleted tweet, Nicholas Yu said Dungeons & Dragons: Onslaught is available for pre-order already, but it doesn’t seem like there are many ways to do that online. Game Nerdz currently lists a pre-order option for the core set of the game for $104.97, apparently discounted from $139.99. It also lists the expected release date as October 31. For now, the smartest option may be to talk to your local game store and find out what they know and if you can get it through them.
In the meantime, get ready for another kind of onslaught of Dungeons & Dragons media. Chris Pine will star in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie next year which we’re all praying will be better than the movie from 2000, and there’s a live-action series on the way. Not to mention the D&D based game Baldur’s Gate 3 is expected to release in 2023.