NEW D&D LogoIn yet more news about this summer’s launch of the new Dungeons & Dragons game, Wizards of the Coast announced today that a fully playable version will be available as a free download coinciding with the release of the D&D Starter Set.

Recall that the Starter Set will include pregenerated characters and an abbreviated form of the Dungeons & Dragons rules, covering just character levels 1-5. Basic D&D, however, will include character creation; the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard classes; humans, dwarf, elf, and halfling races; advancement rules through level 20; and most everything else need to run a game, except setting material. Monsters and magic items will be added when the Player’s Handbook is released in August.

As WOTC releases game supplements, such as the Tyranny of Dragons adventure series, it plans to publish in PDF form any additional material needed to play with Basic D&D.

While other publishers have released System Reference Documents (for OGL-licensed games) or free lite versions of their games, WOTC’s announcement seems to go a step further. Basic D&D looks to provide a free game that can be used both as an introduction for new gamers and a reference for ongoing play.