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At least once, I have encountered comments on answers suggesting that D&D Beyond is not official.

It is also not listed in Where do I find the “official” rules for D&D 5e? (it was asked and answered well before D&D Beyond launched officially though and is not considered official site policy anyways).

So:

  • Is D&D Beyond considered an authoritative source for rules and references?
  • If so, is it authoritative and official in the same way as the published books?

Since D&D Beyond hosts multiple types of content answers should be clear what they are referring to and what the difference in official status is between them:

  1. Source books (PHB, DMG, MM, etc.)
  2. Basic Rules/SRD*
  3. Unearthed Arcana (School of Invention Wizard eg)
  4. 3rd Party (Blood Hunter eg)
  5. Homebrew (feats eg)

For related reading, see the RPG Meta question: Stance on using D&D Beyond for references?

*It appears that D&DBeyond combines the Basic Rules and SRD into one section even though they are separate entities.

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I believe it should be treated as an official rules source on par with the books.

Firstly, WOTC considers D&D Beyond to be an official digital toolset for the game (though it's worth reiterating that it isn't made by WOTC directly, but licensed through them):

This morning, Curse launched D&D Beyond—an official digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition.

Secondly, the books on D&D Beyond are considered to be 'digital sourcebooks', which, on their own site, are defined thusly:

A digital sourcebook is a completely digital version of one of the published books, such as the Player's Handbook or adventures like Curse of Strahd. You will get the book re-created in digital format, as well as unlock all of that book's content for use throughout the toolset - both for current tools and anything on the roadmap (such as encounter building/ combat tracking, etc.).

As they are considered a 'completely digital version of one of the published books', I'd say they're as official-source-worthy as said books.

In addition, BadEye (Adam Bradford, D&D Beyond product lead at Curse) also calls D&DB an official source, mentioning that their site is meant to be kept up to date with the rules as new changes come in:

Errata will be incorporated as it comes in. As an official source, it's important that we always stay current.

Ultimately, due to the above, I feel D&D Beyond's version of the content should be considered as official as the books themselves. If there's a discrepancy between their content and the most recent errata/printed version of a book, then the book (plus relevant errata) is the 'most canonical', sure, but I don't think the potential for that kind of mismatch/data entry/out of date error would make the rules from the site overall considered 'unofficial'.

Disclaimer: The above only applies to content on D&DB from the official sourcebooks. D&DB also hosts various things that shouldn't be considered official, such as usermade homebrew, forum posts, and unofficial sources such as the Blood Hunter class from Critical Role/Matthew Mercer- these are usually kept separate in the site's navigation. The SRD & Basic Rules are also hosted there in a combined section, but even the WOTC-hosted PDF/printed versions of the SRD is considered unofficial.

The sword of sharpness deals an extra 14 slashing damage when you roll a 20 on its attack roll. The SRD incorrectly says otherwise. Note that the SRD is not an official rules source for D&D. #DnD

@JeremyECrawford, 9:54 PM - 4 Jan 2018

In addition, applicable Unearthed Arcana content is hosted there (for the UAs released on and after Jan 8, 2018), which should be treated the same 'officially unofficial' way any other UA content is treated.

(On the topic of "what's considered an official sourcebook?", @nitsua60's longstanding question/answer "Where do I find the “official” rules for D&D 5e?" is worth a read as well.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would probably add a note that the forums on D&Dbeyond are not official sources. But if the D&D team comments those could be used as clarification on rules. But you're average person there isn't going to be an official source. \$\endgroup\$ – chaoticgeek Feb 6 '18 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for noting that the SRD is not considered official. That Sword of Sharpness thing set off a firestorm on Facebook because the original poster used the SRD, asking about doubling the dice due to sneak attack. The SRD has extra dice for the sharpness damage, not simply a +14. \$\endgroup\$ – Carey Sauerbrun Feb 6 '18 at 19:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @chaoticgeek Is there any reason to believe WOTC employees would make official statements through the D&D Beyond forums? D&DB is not a WOTC-owned company, and WOTC has their own official channels to make statements through. I'd also hesitate to add a warning that the forums aren't official because it seems unnecessary to warn that user forum posts on a website not owned by WOTC are not WOTC-official rulings, content, or statements. I'll put it in to be safe, but I wouldn't expect someone to make that mistake. \$\endgroup\$ – CTWind Feb 7 '18 at 3:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, but possible. See every twitter link ever posted on this stackexchange though for precedence in that very likely possibility. \$\endgroup\$ – chaoticgeek Feb 7 '18 at 14:04

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