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Books for D&D’s newest edition pay homage to classic heroes of the RPG’s past

And its villains.

Image credit: Wizards of the Coast/Tyler Jacobson (Via Game Informer)

The books for the newest edition of Dungeons & Dragons will directly reference classic heroes and villains from the tabletop roleplaying game’s past.

Artwork for the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide for the next edition of D&D have been revealed. (Thanks GameInformer.) Illustrations featured in both the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide will include modern depictions of characters from across the roleplaying game’s 50 year history, such as the characters found on the front cover of the Player’s Handbook.

According to the article the artwork was revealed in, the cover illustration for the Player’s Handbook for the new D&D edition features the likes of Yolande the Elven Queen - a character introduced within the Greyhawke setting of Dungeons & Dragons, a queen of the kingdom of Celene - Strongheart the Knight, the founder of the order of Valor’s Call and member of the 1980s line of D&D action figures, Elkhorn the Dwarf Warrior - another entry in the classic toy line and one of the first notable ‘good’ dwarves in D&D history - cleric Mercion, a human who follows no particular deity but believes in helping those around her - and the goodhearted thief Molliver, another entry in the ‘80s toy line.

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Almost all of these characters are members of the Valor’s Call, a group of morally good adventurers whose duty is to aid those who need it. Strongheart the Knight has made appearances in various classic adventures released for the fantasy RPG such as the Quest for the Heartstone - which was released for the Basic Rules of Dungeons & Dragons in 1984 - and 1983’s Shady Dragon Inn supplement. The knight has had a long-running feud with the character of the Warduke, one of the TRPG’s most iconic villains.

Several of the characters featured on the front cover of the next D&D Player’s Handbook were somewhat recently banded together in the adventure book for Dungeons & Dragons 5e: The Wild Beyond the Witchlight. Set in the faerie realms of the tabletop RPG’s world, Wild Beyond the Witchlight included appearances from Strongheart, Elkhorn, Mercion, the Warduke and Molliver, who now identifies as non-binary.

Artwork for Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook 2024.
Image credit: Wizards of the Coast/Tyler Jacobson (Via Game Informer)

According to studio art director Josh Herman, the new D&D Player’s Handbook will contain a multitude of artwork depicting various characters. “Almost every chapter opening features a different hero, or group of heroes in a different setting. So, you’ve got Dragonlance, and other ones, like Ravenloft; you’ve got a whole suite of them.” Herman also confirmed that the Dungeon Master’s guide for the next edition of D&D will be “all about villains. [...] you get to see a lot of our famous locations and some of our famous villains.”

The Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook will be released on September 17th, with the D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide arriving on November 12th, both in time to celebrate the TRPG’s 50th anniversary this year, before the Monster Manual - a book featuring a rogue’s gallery of enemies - releasing on February 19th 2025.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.

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