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Dead By Daylight DnD mode stars Vecna, and you can play it now

Dead By Daylight is adding DnD villain Vecna as a Killer, plus a new map, survivors, and dice-rolling treasure chests - here's how to play.

DnD Dead By Daylight chapter - Publisher promo graphic showing the face and hand of DnD's Vecna, an evil lich wizard

Fans were left guessing after developer Behaviour Interactive teased a Dead By Daylight DnD crossover last week, but now we know all about it. An official live stream revealed DnD’s Vecna as a playable Killer, two variant Survivors, a dark fantasy map, a treasure-themed game mechanic, a release date, and – best of all – a PC public test build, which the dev says you can play via Steam right now.

All the original teaser video showed was a dank, dungeon cell containing an angry-looking DnD Beholder, but that was more than enough to set Dungeons and Dragons fans’ tongues wagging about what actual gameplay this unexpected Dead by Daylight / DnD crossover might entail.

On Tuesday, though, Behaviour revealed all via a Twitch livestream celebrating the game’s eighth anniversary. Alongside an upcoming Castlevania-themed chapter, new game modes, spin-offs, and other goodies, the stream unveiled Dead By Daylight’s new DnD-themed chapter in full, including its brand new playable Killer: none other than the powerful arch-lich and sometime Stranger Things villain, Vecna. He’s even being voiced by Critical Role superstar Matthew Mercer.

The chapter also includes a new Survivor (a DnD Bard with both an Elf 5e and Human 5e variant); a dark-fantasy map the dev describes as “an underground lair of terrible experiments and horrifying secrets”; and a new dice-rolling, treasure-collecting mechanic that joins the game only when you play against Vecna.

Behaviour has also shared the DnD content release date: it’s coming to PC, consoles, and mobile on June 3, 2024. That’s not far off, but PC players don’t even need to wait that long, as the PTB (public test build) for this expanded content is available to play on Steam now. We don’t know how much the chapter will cost yet.

DnD Dead by Daylight Chapter - Developer promo graphic showing the Vecna Killer's spell abilities

As for gameplay, Vecna looks to be true to his nature as DnD’s Undying King – a potent undead mage, with godlike talents for seeking out, pinning down, controlling, and destroying enemies. In-game, he can fly over obstacles; spit ghosts straight through obstacles to hurt you; send out a DnD Mage Hand spell to passively stop you building defences; and summon a moving sphere that works like a magical UAV.

DnD Dead by Daylight Chapter - Developer promo graphic showing the Bard survivor character perks

The DnD Bard survivor seems to play a support role, able to dish out skill check buffs to teammates based on a D20 Bardic Inspiration roll (neat) as well as highlighting key resources nearby after they’ve stayed still a few seconds.

Their third ability – conjuring an illusory copy of themselves to distract the Killer – might sound more akin to a DnD Wizard, but in fact the Mirror Image spell has been available to Bards for ages via the Magical Secrets 5e rules.

DnD Dead By Daylight chapter - Behaviour Interactive promotional graphic showing a screenshot of the DnD inspired map, featuring a ruined tower and burning tree

The treasure-hunting mechanic that kicks in when playing against Vecna sounds like a mischievous melding of Baldur’s Gate 3’s D20 dice rolls and COD Zombies’ magic box. Seven treasure chests spawn in hidey-holes around the map, and on opening one you’ll roll a D20 on screen.

Roll a natty-20, and you get one of two top-tier magical items – pieces of Vecna, in fact – that’ll let you turn invisible temporarily, or teleport between lockers. Roll between 4 and 19, and you equip a lesser DnD magic item that protects against one of Vecna’s spells. A 2 or 3 gets you a regular Dead By Daylight item – and, Behaviour gleefully reveals, a natural one will grant you “a nasty surprise”. We really want to know what that is – we suspect it might have a very large number of eyes and teeth.

DnD Dead By Daylight chapter - Behaviour Interactive promotional graphic for the 8th anniversary showing the logo and a cluster of skulls

None of the Wargamer team are regular DbD players, we confess – but we’re certainly keen to venture into The Fog to try this one out. It’s likely to be many moons before we see another DnD videogame as good as Baldur’s Gate 3, but in the meantime morsels like this seem well worth tasting!

For more regular Dungeons and Dragons content, bookmark our DnD news homepage or follow Wargamer on Google News. Alternatively, you can learn to make your own character with our guides to the DnD classes, all the playable DnD races, and our tutorial on how to play DnD.