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I have seen this referenced in several questions. I've actually seen people use links into the DDI website in their answers that I can't get to since I don't have a subscription. I know its an online resource for D&D material.

What exactly is it? Is it more than an online rulebook?

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DDI consists of several different parts, each of which are imho quite worth the money. If you have a subscription to DDI you get:

  • Access to the Dungeon and Dragon magazines. While the individual quality may vary I've found both magazines a very good resource for ideas, both as a player and a DM.

  • Access to the Compendium, a web interface to all published races, classes, items, monsters, and rules. You get the full text, including any errata, without having to haul your books around.

  • Access to several other tools. These include the Monster Builder, a program for the DM to customize his monsters, as well as some Flash utilities useful to create ability scores and build encounters.

  • Updates for the Character Builder. This is probably the single most valuable point of all advantages. The CB makes building legal characters a breeze since the program takes care of checking feat prerequisites and other calculations for you.

  • And last but not least a nifty icon next to your name in the official forums. ;)

I personally find DDI to be a valuable resource although it is definitively not required. It makes many things easier (building characters, customizing monsters, checking a feat or item without having to browse through a dozen books to find it, ...) without invading too much into the game.

One "disadvantage" should be noted, however: new material always appears one month after the book's release date in DDI - after all, WotC needs a motivation for people to still buy their books. ^^

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The "Learn More" links on the subscribe page are informative.

Note that some of the features, such as the Character Builder, are Windows-only, so Mac and Linux users are out of luck.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And they are not cleanly enough coded to run in Wine. (See appdb.winehq.org/… for details) \$\endgroup\$
    – aramis
    Oct 3, 2010 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ That link appears to be for a 3e character builder, and the more specific problem than "unclean code" for the 4e character builder, is that it was built using dotnet 3.5 which does not run in wine. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2010 at 17:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Technically-minded Linux users might want to look at Mono for running the .Net 3.5 DDI apps—if they're not working now, then possibly in the future. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 4, 2010 at 7:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is no longer the case. The Character Builder is now written in Silverlight, which also works on Mac OS X and at least some Linux systems. The other Adventure Tools are due to be released as web applications soon, as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – rjbs
    Mar 16, 2011 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rjbs does the CB work on some Linux systems, or just Moonlight? Last I heard, things didn't yet work on Linux. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 16, 2011 at 21:33

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