I want to start a D&D club at my school because I've always wanted to play. I wanted to buy a Dungeon Master's Guide to see how much it is and other sorts of stuff when I realized there were two versions. One was a 'Physical Book' for 24.92 $ and the other one was 'D&D Beyond Digital Code' for about five dollars more. I was wondering what this means and if it's worth it. It seems like it's an extra code in the book, but I can't find any info about it online. Also, it's 25 dollars. Would it be better to borrow one or get it on BuyNothing?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm sure someone will be along soon to give you a proper answer about what D&D Beyond is, but this other question might help you get an idea of what you need to get started with your school club: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/56252/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 3 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know what it is, I've seen the website. I started it but my Dad said he had to 'check the website' or whatever first. I just don't know what the digital code does and if I should buy it. Also, thank you for the link! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 3 at 20:11

2 Answers 2


It is a code that lets you access the contents of the book on your D&D Beyond account

As per the D&D Store FAQ, it is a code that is sent to your email address and which you gives you access to digital version of the book’s content on your D&D Beyond account.

Whether it is worth it, it’s quite subjective and depends primarily on whether you plan on using D&D Beyond as your virtual tabletop. I’m not very familiar with D&D Beyond but I know a lot of players like it and you can do things like share your bought content with other players if you have the subscription so if this is something you are planning to do, you might find it worth it.

Personally for me, it would not be worth it if you’re already purchasing the hard copy, it’s basically paying twice for the same content, just in a different format but this is something you have to decide for yourself.

If you are just starting to play and have an option of borrowing the DM’s Guide for free then I would hold off on purchasing it for now, wait until you have decided it is something you enjoy and want to do long-term. Plus there is a new release of DM’s Guide planned for November this year so it might make sense to wait for that.


There are physical books and then there are digital books

Yes, you can buy physical books (obviously) through a variety of sources.

There are also digital books

Almost any book you can buy physically, you can buy digitally. Specifically, you can buy them on D&D Beyond, which is the official online portal for D&D.

There are a lot of advantages for using D&D Beyond, including:

  • digital character sheets
  • mobile version
  • online access to classes, spells, monsters, adventures, etc

You don't have to buy anything to try it out though

There are a lot of resource for free, for instance, the Basic Rules.

Warning, there's a revision coming

If you look at D&D Beyond, you can't help but note that they are about to publish a revision to the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual, starting in the fall of 2024.

My advice

Take a close look at the free resources before spending any money. In particular, the Basic Rules contain excerpts from both the Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master's Guide.

Also . . . if you're starting a D&D club at your school, don't you need a sponsor? At least that's the way it seems to work from a few other questions posted on here. That sponsor may have some suggestions. I know some schools actually get access to digital resources through the club.

Hard to say what the relative value is

It's kind of complicated.

If you're just sitting on stacks of cash and really trying to figure out ways to spend it, throwing it at D&D seems reasonable.

However, if you're trying to watch your money, you might look at a digital-only or digital and physical bundle for the new Player's Handbook.

Also, maybe you're only ever going to play D&D with physical resources, so you'd never need digital. However, for me and for many people, having access to digital resources is literally a game-changer. In so many ways, playing electronically, is just different. Like acoustic guitar and electric guitar.

Finally, D&D can be really quite expensive, depending on your definition of "quite expensive". The "Master Tier" and all the extra books is many hundreds of dollars a year.

So . . . take a look at what you can get for free, and see where you want to spend your money.


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