Dungeons & Dragons to Introduce New Social Mechanic in Upcoming Book

Dungeons & Dragons is building out the importance of social interactions in an upcoming campaign setting book. This weekend, Wizards of the Coast is hosting D&D Celebration, a streaming event featuring panels of D&D experts and previews of upcoming D&D books. Yesterday, Wizards of the Coast published a panel on Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos, an upcoming D&D campaign setting book that details the magical college of Strixhaven. The panel revealed several new details about the book, including a tease at some new mechanics related to the social pillar of gameplay.

During the panel, Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos lead designer Amanda Hamon discussed the role of extracurricular clubs and activities in the setting. Player characters can join up to two clubs (or an extracurricular club and a job) that gives them the chance to interact with one of nearly 20 different NPCs. As players build their relationship with these NPCs and spend time at the extracurricular activity, they can earn a "student dice," a dice that players can add to certain skill checks associated with that activity. For instance, participating in the Live-Action Roleplaying Guild will give players a student dice that can be used on Animal Handling and Performance checks, while joining the Intramural Silkball Club will reward players a student dice that can be used in Athletics and Intimidation. 

While the full ruleset surrounding student dice and other social mechanics won't be revealed until the game is released in November, it's interesting that Wizards of the Coast is looking to flesh out optional rules to encourage players to roleplay or gain mechanical benefits from engaging in social encounters. While Dungeons & Dragons has a robust combat system, the social aspects of the game rely heavily on roleplaying and using checks to gain some sort of advantage in persuading an NPC or figuring out the truth behind veiled meanings or lies. That isn't necessarily a bad thing - Dungeons & Dragons is a roleplaying game after all - but adding optional rules like this can make the game experience feel a bit more cohesive and provide players with more opportunities to use social encounters to build into other aspects of the game. 

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Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos will be released on November 16, 2021.