D&D (2024) New One D&D Playtest Document: 77 Pages, 7 Classes, & More!

Updated classes, spells, feats, and more!

There's a brand new playtest document for the new (version/edition/update) of Dungeons of Dragons available for download! This one is an enormous 77 pages and includes classes, spells, feats, and weapons.

In this new Unearthed Arcana document for the 2024 Core Rulebooks, we explore material designed for the next version of the Player’s Handbook. This playtest document presents updated rules on seven classes: Bard, Cleric, Druid, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, and Rogue. This document also presents multiple subclasses for each of those classes, new Spells, revisions to existing Spells and Spell Lists, and several revised Feats. You will also find an updated rules glossary that supercedes the glossary of any previous playtest document.


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That's kind of the point. Cantrips are lifting so much weight that casters don't have the free capacity to lift more with something else (ie better weapons/wand shaped weapons or limited slots/items) and the design of cantrips themselves severs them from any sort of split in character build/equipment load to fork apart into separate paths

Somewhere along the lines someone at wotc asked a question like "what would be a cool thing for casters to do when they aren't casting leveled spells". That got a list

  • A minor spell with unlimited use
  • A minor spell that does damage somewhat comparable to martial damage but
  • A minor ability to reliably deal some damage using the casting attribute
  • A minor spell that doesn't require a charged item
  • A minor spell that doesn't require getting the right loot to fuel it's growth with character levels
  • Etc

Then they took the best of all six and dropped all the mitigating factors in the process. Simply linking the cantrips themselves to items that a character needs to wield and upgrade over time (even mundane OTC level gated ones) would allow the fork that leads to those scimitars rapiers and short swords being meaningful to be placed on meaningful weapon switching limits without impacting math and carrying capacity of the monster hp&PC dpr numbers themselves.
Yes, there's simply no design space left with the 5E cantrips.

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WotC's chosen solution is simple. Too simple, and sloppy, and uncaring for what it means to world building.

They could easily have recognized how innate unlimited scaling cantrips completely out-compete all but the best weapons.

Make it so you need to hold something in order to pew pew (could be a wand but could be anything). That something can then be taken away. That's a good thing, since now prison guards don't need to cut off your fingers, they only need to confiscate your pointy thing.

Make that something not-a-weapon, so you don't count as armed (you don't provoke attacks of opportunity, and no, only people trained in unarmed combat should be able to make opportunity attacks while unarmed).

Rebalance the game so cantrips don't outclass weapons. Currently cantrips deal far more damage at far greater range than daggers. d6 cantrip damage should be considered great, not mediocre. Drop the idea cantrips get your best mental stat as a bonus to damage; if you want a bonus to damage, consider cantrips to be finesse weapons and have wizards live by the same rules as rogues and bards.
Don't they need a spell casting focus to cast cantrips?


They could stretch out the advancement so it caps at a lower damage level and add some feat enhancement instead.
I don't think that would do much until it starts creating problems. Yes cantrip scaling is pretty good, but the class features & spells are dialed back in order to make room for cantrips. Simply dialing back cantrip damage scaling does nothing about cantrips where some or all of the package it offers is a benefit other than damage & opens the door for problems if other class features are not dialed back up to mitigate the loss.

The reason moving cantrip access out of class designspace into physical equipment like wands staffs & so on often comes up whenever talk of doing something about cantrips comes up is because it allows any combination of the six points they carry to get moved to something linked to "what is in your hand" and encumbrance subsystems without having to rebalance everything else. It also has the secondary benefit of giving casters more reason to care about treasure & even allows creating space for things like the return of somewhat readily available scrolls & such. Of course this is still difficult because there is a lot of classA/classB subclass & even feat balancing where extra cantrips are granted & that creates an endless list of edge cases where something is getting nerfed or given an even bigger benefit that simply ignores the initial movement of cantrips to equipment

Don't they need a spell casting focus to cast cantrips?
Often only under the most tortured reading of the rules. In 2e & 3.x it might have even been a bit of an extreme case of rules lawyering to claim that. Here are the relevant rules. It starts out with some talk about action costs & similar but nothing relevant to focus items so I'll skip ahead to where it begins to near focus items.

A spell's components are the physical requirements you must meet in order to cast it. Each spell's description indicates whether it requires verbal (V), somatic (S), or material (M) components. If you can't provide one or more of a spell's components, you are unable to cast the spell.
Thank you Mario but the princess is in another castle! This says almost nothing mechanically so far.
Most spells require the chanting of mystic words. The words themselves aren't the source of the spell's power; rather, the particular combination of sounds, with specific pitch and resonance, sets the threads of magic in motion. Thus, a character who is gagged or in an area of silence, such as one created by the silence spell, can't cast a spell with a verbal component.
You can't be silenced or gagged if the spell has a verbal component. This leaves out the important bit that past editions made sure to be clear on though & says nothing about loudly strong voice or so on & as a result practically begs for a battle between player & GM if the player really really wants free silent spell by simply declaring they want to whisper the verbal component if the GM disagrees. Still nothing about focus items.
Spellcasting gestures might include a forceful gesticulation or an intricate set of gestures. If a spell requires a somatic component, the caster must have free use of at least one hand to perform these gestures.
Again nothing about focus items. You are left a free hand while wielding the vast majority of weapons, so far almost the entire "casting a spell" section has been useless words for the sake of words & even the sections covered tend to create as many problems as they solve.
Casting some spells requires particular objects, specified in parentheses in the component entry. A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus (found in “Equipment”) in place of the components specified for a spell. But if a cost is indicated for a component, a character must have that specific component before he or she can cast the spell.

If a spell states that a material component is consumed by the spell, the caster must provide this component for each casting of the spell. A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell's material components -- or to hold a spellcasting focus -- but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components.
Player:"well I have a component pouch on my belt & my rapier leaves me with a free hand so I'm good right?" -> facepalming GM:..
Component Pouch. A component pouch is a small, watertight leather belt pouch that has compartments to hold all the material components and other special items you need to cast your spells, except for those components that have a specific cost (as indicated in a spell's description).
No. You do not need a focus to cast spells & even spells with a somatic or a material component you only need to have a free hand & a component pouch in your pack/belt. Without once present elements like ASF & ACP that connected to some of those three VSM components it's almost guaranteed that nobody is tracking what gish friendly spells use what parts of VSM & nongish builds aren't considering how they would be impacted to not just equip their PC under the time saving assumption that all spells use all parts of VSM so it probably doesn't even matter what a spell uses as long as the caster is proficient with their armor choice.

Again, this might be an interesting debate when we start designing 6e, but giving classes back their iconic weapons doesn't' require that. Even if they are subpar choices, they should remain choices. But WotC thinks every class should either look like a warrior or a mage.
And that all casters should be either arcane, divine, or primal. And that almost all characters should be either full casters, half-casters, or not cast. And they tried to make everyone a textbook prepared caster.

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