D&D Beyond Helped Me Set Myself on Fire and it was Great

Why I Need D&D Beyond

I’m a relatively new Dungeons & Dragons player. I wanted to get into it for a long time, but with low vision and no friends running games, my remaining option was to show up at a comic book store and meet some strangers. Being the newbie at the table interrupting everybody, because I don’t know the rules yet is bad enough, but I didn’t want to add all the issues that come with low vision to that. Sorry, what can my cleric do here? Also, where’s my cleric? Also, what’s this thing? Oh, sorry for pushing your character away, I didn’t see it. Nope.So I’m playing online using Theatre of the Mind and digital character sheets and reference documents. I don’t even have to be wearing pants!

Why I Need D&D Beyond, Instead of Just a Regular Character Sheet

Digital documents and Theatre of the Mind solve the issues around low vision, but they do nothing for being a completely ignorant newb. These are the advantages of a sophisticated platform like this:

  • I don’t have to go through the Player’s Handbook, because I can build my character with a wizard (even if I’m building a wizard);
  • I don’t have to do any math (I already do enough of that for work);
  • I don’t need to keep track of all my equipment and stats (nobody likes doing inventory anyway);
  • I don’t have to keep asking about the rules, because they’re all right there!

Yes, yes, but what about that clickbait title? Well, my level 2 chaotic good rouge is in a battle royale scenario where players will come back for another round after they die. My character has the Freedom ideal. So what do I want to do to ruin my DM’s day like a good little rouge? D&D Beyond helpfully lists all my equipment for me and I find two flasks of oil (that can do damage), a candle and a tinderbox. Yes, that’s where this is going.

Why I Hate D&D Beyond

I’m using it with a forced dark mode (get with the times, people) and magnification.Starting with character creation, I don’t know where the “next” button keeps going – I don’t even know why it would move at all.I get no feedback when I click to add a Personality Trait or Bond or whatnot. My rouge really wants to be the best thief that ever lived. Five times, in fact.As far as playing with a character, I’m not sure what text fields are editable, because I have to pick between getting my sensitive retina burned and squinting at a very light border if I turn off dark mode, or just guessing. There’s always small buttons to contend with, but I lost the energy to complain about those a long time ago. Interestingly enough, the top of the page is dark, while the sheet is light, so when I invert the colors, I still have to put up with more light than I’d like – thanks, guys!

Why My Blind Friends Loathe D&D Beyond

It doesn’t work. That’s all, really. Somebody asked if it was any better with screen readers these days, so I checked it out with VoiceOver on macOS. I can (just about) see some fancy looking switches that act like checkboxes, but the screen reader can’t. If they were basic HTML checkboxes they could still be styled with CSS and they’d work just fine, but they’re a breathtakingly gorgeous JavaScript abomination that took longer to design and they don’t even work.When you get home, imagine your front door was replaced by an incredible painting of the most beautiful door you’ve ever seen. Let me know how much you like it, after you sleep in your car, you wonderful functional-eye-having-person, you. I’d set it on fire for you, but I’ve used up all my oil flask.

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