New D&D rulebooks have 96% new artwork, and everything else we found out at Gary Con

Panelists at GaryCon 2024 in front of a screen which reads "50 Dungeons & Dragons"
(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

New D&D core rulebooks are fast approaching, and publisher Wizards of the Coast just dropped a ton of new info on these highly-anticipated updates. We were on-hand at Gary Con to fill our spellbooks with those juicy details, so we've listed everything we found out here.

There's certainly enough to go over. Whether it's new tools to help you create your own campaigns or some surprising cameos in the revised D&D rulebooks, it feels like these updates are really going to shake things up despite us not getting a new edition in the traditional sense.

For example, 96% of the art across these new rulebooks will be new. In addition, they'll be longer on the whole... but will still cost the same price. Thought these would be repackaged version of old books from one of the best tabletop RPGs? Think again.

Player's Handbook

Wizard from the 2024 D&D PHB (Player's Handbook).

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

The Player's Handbook is the one of the best D&D books for new players to dive into, as it provides many of the essential foundations for hopping into your first campaign. As a result, this was the first core rulebook that the team started revising and is what'll serve as the backbone of the 2024 revisions.

Here's what you need to know about the new Player's Handbook:

  • First of the new rulebooks: Releasing in September 17 but a tad earlier on DND Beyond and local games stores (September 3). 
  • More subclasses, same number of classes: Rather than developing extra classes, which could overwhelm players, WOTC opted to instead create more subclasses of existing classes. This will be done with the view to expand player choice without the need for extra sourcebooks. The only class that will see a reduction in its number of subclasses is Wizard, which will have four subclasses in the 2024 PHB.
  • All subclasses have artwork: Rather than being left blank as before, each subclass will have its own piece of artwork in the Player's Handbook. Wizards of the Coast's research says that visualization is key to players deciding what they want to be, so have leaned into that.
  • Alphabetical rules glossary: Making rules-lawyering just that little bit easier, the 2024 PHB will come with an alphabetized glossary of common rules questions players tend to face in game. 
  • Backwards compatibility: 2014 and 2024 classes can play together in the same campaign. This may also mean that players could multiclass into classes from different PHBs.   

Monster Manual

Burnt looking wolf humanoid monster

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

The Monster Manual will be the final of the three new core rulebooks to be released, only hitting shelves at the start of 2025. While it might not be as foundational as the Player's Handbook or the Dungeon Master's Guide, it's still a valuable resource for developing your campaign encounters.

Here's what you can expect:

  • Releases on DND Beyond and at local games stores February 4, but wide release is February 18.
  • Bigger, more expansive Monster Manual with more high-level monsters for advanced adventurers to go up against. 
  • Existing high CR (Challenge Rating) monsters are getting beefed up to be more of a threat. 
  • Some new monsters hinted at include a CR 20 ooze called the Blob of Annihilation and a creature called an Archhag.

Dungeon Master's Guide

Once you've experience D&D as a player, it's only natural that you'd get bitten by the DM bug eventually. The updated Dungeon Master's Guide will make some improvements that should make the process of DMing more hassle-free.

Here's the changes that were announced:

  • You can pick up the new 2024 DMG at your local game store October 29, and November 12 everywhere else.
  • Lore glossary: In a move that will prove exceptionally useful for new DMs, 2024's Dungeon Master's Guide will include a helpful outlines of aspects of D&D's worlds like deities, figures, and locations. These lore explanations will help DMs to draw from existing campaigns without having to have prior experience of them.
  • Campaign setting and poster map: WOTC have really locked in on the whole learning by doing approach and introduced a built-in campaign setting for DMs to get started with. 
  • Random generation tools: Great news for those who enjoyed The Deck of Many Things, the 2024 DMG will have elements of procedural generation for your campaigns. It wasn't confirmed exactly how that'll manifest in the final product, though.
  • Star-studded help: As it turns out, D&D royalty Matt Mercer and Deborah Ann Woll consulted on the new Dungeon Master's Guide.

Vecna: Eve of Ruin

Vecna surrounded by cultists

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

We've already got something of a sneak peek of what we can expect from Vecna: Eve of Ruin. What was outlined at GaryCon confirms a lot of what we know already, including how Vecna poses a threat to everything single D&D world.

Some other aspects of the campaign that were confirmed were:

  • Players will travel through different planes and regions within these planes, and for the most part will do so in a specified order. The first piece of the Rod of Seven Parts is found by Mordenkainen in the Underdark, and the other pieces reveal themselves sequentially. 
  • Each piece of the Rod of Seven Parts is a powerful magical item in its own regard and as such, adventurers will have to not only fight to find these components but also to ensure they don't fall into the wrong hands.
  • The campaign will feature over 30 pages of Bestiary content with new monsters like a Hertilod and a Deathwolf.

Quests from the Infinite Staircase

Cover for Quests From the Infinite Staircase, showing a moustachioed genie

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)
  • Hits local games stores and DND Beyond July 7, whereas its wide release is July 16.
  • An anthology of six classic adventures updated to 5th edition, these include: The Lost City (Basic D&D), When a Star Falls (AD&D), Beyond the Crystal Cave (AD&D), Pharaoh (AD&D), The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (AD&D), and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (AD&D).
  • Nafas the genie will guide players through their journey across the Infinite Staircase and its many doors. 
  • Alongside mechanical refreshes to these campaigns, there are a number of new story additions like the introduction of a creature called a Memory Web (which consumes the memories of those it kills).  
  • Apparently, there is now a goat milking mechanic. Don't ask us what happens when you fail a check while milking a goat.

We'll have plenty more news on upcoming D&D releases but in the meantime, why not find another superb TTRPG to sink your teeth into? Our list of the best tabletop RPGs is the perfect place to start. For more recommendations, give one of the best board games a try.

Abigail Shannon
Tabletop & Merch Writer

Abigail is a Tabletop & Merch writer at Gamesradar+. She carries at least one Magic: The Gathering deck in her backpack at all times and always spends far too long writing her D&D character backstory. She’s a lover of all things cute, creepy, and creepy-cute.

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