Backward Compatibility

With the recent playtest and the continued express commitment to backward compatibility on the 2024 rules release, by whatever name. I'm wondering if backward compatibility from One D&D back to 5E will truly work. The changes being tested seem to indicate not.

Grappling not using ability checks to grapple makes useless abilities, feats etc. that relate to those checks. (including for the Plasmoid published this past week).
Crits, you could always do the way you want but IMHO this playtest represents a less fun option, and where do I recycle my Adamantine Armor?
Backgrounds having feats. What if you already have that background but not that feat. Is your character still compatible? If backgrounds can be customized, then every background shouldn't need a feat, especially with feats having been an optional rule in 5E. what if you're the variant human with a feat that is no longer 1st level?
Why rewrite feats that players like? It raises the question, 'If I have Alert already and want to keep it, it my character still valid by the new PHB? Will legacy options be available? What about the half races? Same question. If I like my half orc character and like Relentless Endurance do I just lose it? What if my dwarf likes the existing stone-cunning? or if I want mountain Dwarves to be different from Hill Dwarves.
Does the wording on natural 20s and ones call out that some things are going to be impossible regardless of the roll. (and they should be).
I'm sure there are other things, but if backward compatibility is going to be anything other than a lie, we're going to need a lot of this very limited playtest to be revisited. i.e. Have grappling include things to do that will use an ability check, like pinning an opponent, let crit restrictions be optional or drop it. make customizable background options that don't include a feat or include an alternative benefit.
drop the level prerequisite or allow 1st level to trump the prerequisite.
drop the re-write of feats like alert or lucky and re-write ones that nobody takes, ever. I'm looking at you weaponmaster. Stop trying to fix the wrong problem and simply edit the PHB with changes that do not hurt backward compatibility. Start with options that no one uses; bad feats, useless spells, unplayable sub classes, features that players or DMs ignore now. That would boost sales of the new book(s) because fans have been hoping for those fixes in official rules for years.
 

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Not doing rules upgrades would be a mistake. I think you are way overestimating the problems.
I may be but if Crawford and his staff are serious about this not being a whole new edition, these kinds of issues are going to keep coming up. If they are being truthful about the intent, I hope they have an editor in charge of backward compatibility.
 

I think the idea of backwards comparability means that characters could be made under the old rules and still play. Some things would have be updated, however, and some builds might not work as well (such as expertise in Athletics for a grappler). Items would use the newer version, so Adamantine Armor would obvious do something else instead.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
from the FAQ of the One D&D test pages on D&D Beyond
What does backward compatible mean?

It means that fifth edition adventures and supplements will work in One D&D. For example, if you want to run Curse of Strahd in One D&D, that book will work with the new versions of the core rulebooks. Our goal is for you to keep enjoying the content you already have and make it even better. You’ll see this in action through the playtest materials, which you will be able to provide feedback on.
My take on this (I just put up a video on YouTube on the it) is that the rules in the 2014 Player Handbook and DMG are not compatible with the corresponding 2024 books.

So feats, grappling, crits etc will not work as in the new books but that the adventures and supplement books will be compatible.
So my guess is that classes, subclasses, spells, and backgrounds will largely work with the new 2024 PHB but it may require that one does a little bit of tweaking.

So if you have a class built under the existing ruleset and were using feats you replace the feats with their new equivalents as per the new rules. The starting ASI have already been incorporated (for practical purposes) and you are good to go but the game is played under one or other rules set. You cannot play a hybrid 2014/2024 ruleset (at least not officially)
In my opinion if one was to play a 2014 race with in a 2024 table it would probably work. As long as the character has the feats and tool proficiencies from the new rules. Languages are pretty much an edge case.

Similarly if one was to create a new 2024 character but use a subclass and background from a prior book it should work as long as you addin the missing bits from the background. (ASIs, feats, tool usage)
 

I may be but if Crawford and his staff are serious about this not being a whole new edition, these kinds of issues are going to keep coming up. If they are being truthful about the intent, I hope they have an editor in charge of backward compatibility.
Depends, how you define edition.
I think after 10 years, a rules upgrade with that much compatibility as already shown is good and necessary. Of course, some things will be slightly off... but what do you expect?

10 years is 1/4 of my whole life... I think not improving something once in a while is the best way to get pushed out of the business...
 
Last edited:

D1Tremere

Adventurer
With the recent playtest and the continued express commitment to backward compatibility on the 2024 rules release, by whatever name. I'm wondering if backward compatibility from One D&D back to 5E will truly work. The changes being tested seem to indicate not.

Grappling not using ability checks to grapple makes useless abilities, feats etc. that relate to those checks. (including for the Plasmoid published this past week).
Crits, you could always do the way you want but IMHO this playtest represents a less fun option, and where do I recycle my Adamantine Armor?
Backgrounds having feats. What if you already have that background but not that feat. Is your character still compatible? If backgrounds can be customized, then every background shouldn't need a feat, especially with feats having been an optional rule in 5E. what if you're the variant human with a feat that is no longer 1st level?
Why rewrite feats that players like? It raises the question, 'If I have Alert already and want to keep it, it my character still valid by the new PHB? Will legacy options be available? What about the half races? Same question. If I like my half orc character and like Relentless Endurance do I just lose it? What if my dwarf likes the existing stone-cunning? or if I want mountain Dwarves to be different from Hill Dwarves.
Does the wording on natural 20s and ones call out that some things are going to be impossible regardless of the roll. (and they should be).
I'm sure there are other things, but if backward compatibility is going to be anything other than a lie, we're going to need a lot of this very limited playtest to be revisited. i.e. Have grappling include things to do that will use an ability check, like pinning an opponent, let crit restrictions be optional or drop it. make customizable background options that don't include a feat or include an alternative benefit.
drop the level prerequisite or allow 1st level to trump the prerequisite.
drop the re-write of feats like alert or lucky and re-write ones that nobody takes, ever. I'm looking at you weaponmaster. Stop trying to fix the wrong problem and simply edit the PHB with changes that do not hurt backward compatibility. Start with options that no one uses; bad feats, useless spells, unplayable sub classes, features that players or DMs ignore now. That would boost sales of the new book(s) because fans have been hoping for those fixes in official rules for years.
Do you really think any of this effects backwards compatibility? It seems like a minor effort to work with any of this.
 



At the moment it seems about 99% compatible once you introduce a commonsense ruling or two like that the "background features" of older backgrounds can be replaced with feats. Given how out of touch they seem to be with players, I'd rate it a coin flip whether WotC would formally endorse such commonsense compatibility fixes, but that's mostly besides the point.

I have a lot of trepidation about radical class design changes that might be introduced going forward, so I won't make an overall compatibility judgement yet, but with the materials so far you could play with a group of half playtest characters and half proper 5e characters using playtest rules or (with some sort of tweak to inspiration) standard 5e rules and it really wouldn't present any difficulties except in a few edge cases.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
At the moment it seems about 99% compatible once you introduce a commonsense ruling or two like that the "background features" of older backgrounds can be replaced with feats. Given how out of touch they seem to be with players, I'd rate it a coin flip whether WotC would formally endorse such commonsense compatibility fixes, but that's mostly besides the point.
I am not too sure that WoTC is out of touch with players. If anything it is us that are likely to be out of touch. WoTC has access to sales data, user surveys and now data from D&D Beyond. We also do not know what if any data sharing occurs between Roll20 and FantasyGrounds and WoTC but even with out that Wizards have access to a lot of data.


I have a lot of trepidation about radical class design changes that might be introduced going forward, so I won't make an overall compatibility judgement yet, but with the materials so far you could play with a group of half playtest characters and half proper 5e characters using playtest rules or (with some sort of tweak to inspiration) standard 5e rules and it really wouldn't present any difficulties except in a few edge cases.
This I completely agree with. Without some indication of upcoming class design it is very difficult to make a compatibility claim.
 

I am not too sure that WoTC is out of touch with players. If anything it is us that are likely to be out of touch. WoTC has access to sales data, user surveys and now data from D&D Beyond. We also do not know what if any data sharing occurs between Roll20 and FantasyGrounds and WoTC but even with out that Wizards have access to a lot of data.
I was speaking flippantly about a complicated matter. Obviously they have lots of data. But I think, for all their data, that they get feedback from and playtest with an atypical sample-set of players. The average player is simply not going to answer a survey. I also suspect, based primarily on the new crit-rules, that they have begun to undervalue a core edition value of simplicity and accessibility in favor of a, to my mind, quixotic quest to fix the CR system this second go around, when I think most players have just made peace with a broken CR system and it really shouldn't be a priority.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I was speaking flippantly about a complicated matter. Obviously they have lots of data. But I think, for all their data, that they get feedback from and playtest with an atypical sample-set of players. The average player is simply not going to answer a survey. I also suspect, based primarily on the new crit-rules, that they have begun to undervalue a core edition value of simplicity and accessibility in favor of a, to my mind, quixotic quest to fix the CR system this second go around, when I think most players have just made peace with a broken CR system and it really shouldn't be a priority.
I have no idea either and the CR system may just be an obvious chafing point that annoys the designers as much as it does others.

However, D&DBeyond will massively improve the quality of data they have and throw in a VTT, even if it has only a small userbase it will give valuable data on party composition, the characteristics that identify active PC builds from PCs built for fun or curiosity.
If the encounter tools are on D&D Beyond and not the VTT they will also get a lot of valuable information there also. It will not match the kind of data that MMO companies get nor can they do A/B testing with quest or encounter design like and MMO but I think that the VTT could be producing valuable customer data even with a relatively low user uptake.
 

GreyLord

Legend
I may be but if Crawford and his staff are serious about this not being a whole new edition, these kinds of issues are going to keep coming up. If they are being truthful about the intent, I hope they have an editor in charge of backward compatibility.

Oh, remember when they said 5e would be easily compatible with any edition? Or at least that was the rumor?

Yeah...not so much.

If they try to keep backwards compatibility alive as much as they did with that idea/rumor with which 5e was made...

I can see it not having quite as much backwards compatibility as those who want backwards compatibility between 1D&D and Original 5e to have, and perhaps having to much resemblance to 5e than those who want 6e to have it have.
 

I think that it will be possible to play a 2014 character with 2024 rules, but it will be clunky. So clunky that once the dust has settled most tables will only allow characters made using the latest PHB, and perhaps a carefully selected subset of character options from other 5E books.

The tables that do allow mixing and matching will either be the ones super dedicated to proving that backwards compatibility works, or the ones that don't pay much attention to rules and numbers in the first place.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
> What if my dwarf likes the existing stone-cunning? or if I want mountain Dwarves to be different from Hill Dwarves.

> Start with options that no one uses; bad feats, useless spells, unplayable sub classes, features that players or DMs ignore now. That would boost sales of the new book(s) because fans have been hoping for those fixes in official rules for years.
This right here is the issue.

You have given us a list of the things you think shouldn't change because you like them... while listing a whole bunch of things you think WotC CAN change because "nobody uses them".

But what makes your opinion on what is okay to change and what isn't okay worth more than anyone else's? You might have a list of "unplayable subclasses" that you'd be happy to see "fixed" and thus wouldn't complain about any backwards compatibility issues... but what if those don't match up with other people's? Would they then be wrong if they claimed something was no longer "backwards compatible" because it was changed from something they liked even though you thought it was a fix long overdue? Who is correct here?

If the decision-making process is that changes a person likes are "needed fixes" and changes they don't like are "breaking backwards compatibility"... then not a single one of us should ever expect backwards compatibility. Backwards compatibility is statistically impossible because there will never be a single change that will be embraced by 100% of the playerbase.
 


This right here is the issue.

You have given us a list of the things you think shouldn't change because you like them... while listing a whole bunch of things you think WotC CAN change because "nobody uses them".

But what makes your opinion on what is okay to change and what isn't okay worth more than anyone else's? You might have a list of "unplayable subclasses" that you'd be happy to see "fixed" and thus wouldn't complain about any backwards compatibility issues... but what if those don't match up with other people's? Would they then be wrong if they claimed something was no longer "backwards compatible" because it was changed from something they liked even though you thought it was a fix long overdue? Who is correct here?

If the decision-making process is that changes a person likes are "needed fixes" and changes they don't like are "breaking backwards compatibility"... then not a single one of us should ever expect backwards compatibility. Backwards compatibility is statistically impossible because there will never be a single change that will be embraced by 100% of the playerbase.
My definition of backward compatibility is if a change is usable in ongoing play. Not just changing things I don't like. I like the paladin smite, and if the smite is changed, then I can still use it as long as the paladin has a smite at all. That's not a backward compatibility issue. If hypothetically, I like the 4 Elements Monk and it works well in my game, I could in principal still play one using the new rules, even the same character and that wouldn't be a backward compatibility problem, not even if I don't like the re-write, and even if legacy options are not allowed in my game. I can still do so without starting a new character. The problem is that if changes, regardless of my preference make older material no longer possible to use. If the Alert feat or a race is changed, they may or may not still allow legacy options RAW but if the change makes abilities that exist in 5e now cease to exist in the game world, it fundamentally re-writes the character and funamentally changes that world. If grappling rules are changed, characters can still grapple of course, and we can use the new rules, even if I don't like them, but if existing abilities are made obsolete by the rules change then that obsolete element needs to be re-written as well. The Plasmoid is an example of this. If grappling is re-written to not use an ability check, then their racial ability published the same week as the playtest is no longer applicable and a re-write is needed on the Plasmoid's ability to affirm what it gets in regards to the new grapple rules. No change will be 100% embraced for certain, but this test includes changes that lend themselves to a whole new edition, not just a revision. BTW I don't say no one lightly. If anyone has been a 4 elements monk in play, at all, please share the experience. Ever taken Weapon Master? Please advise why you took it. Ever once cast True Strike or Find Traps in actual play? Tell the story. If the intent is to publish a whole new edition, so be it, but it's been emphatically stated that the intent is for full backward compatibility.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Is there any question at all that the following books are "supplements" for 5e and therefore should be included in the backwards compatibility statement of, " backwards compatible with the adventures and supplements?"

Xanathar's Guide to Anything
Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

Anyone questioning that those are supplements and therefore One D&D is supposed to be "backwards compatible" with both of those books?
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Is there any question at all that the following books are "supplements" for 5e and therefore should be included in the backwards compatibility statement of, " backwards compatible with the adventures and supplements?"

Xanathar's Guide to Anything
Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

Anyone questioning that those are supplements and therefore One D&D is supposed to be "backwards compatible" with both of those books?
In my view, I agree, they should be considered for backwards compatibility.

Now, existing feats are not, per say, backward compatible so; either One D&D will replace all existing feats or give some instructions concerning them. It looks like some existing feats, like bountiful Luck and similar racial feats may be incorporated as racial traits and may not exist going forward.
I would expect that the existing subclasses to work as is.

Overall, in my view, if we get a list of feats that can be added to existing backgrounds (where a feat is not already listed in the supplement), replacements for existing feats and we can use the subclasses then backward compatibility has been met.
 

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