'One D&D' Takes 5E to New & Digital Places

The biggest news coming out of today's Wizards Presents is the announcement of One D&D, which includes the development of a new digital playspace, along with more information on the evolution of D&D.


One D&D Logo.png



Throughout 5th Edition the D&D team has talked about “the three pillars of D&D” being combat, role-play, and exploration. The One D&D initiative is borrowing that three pillar structure, only for One D&D the three pillars are:
  • An updated rule set that is still 5th edition but reorganized and with new character options
  • D&D Beyond as the base of its digital tools
  • A fully integrated playspace, which is currently in early development.

Fans have been speculating for awhile that WotC/Habro would buy Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc. so they could offer online play. That speculation increased after the purchase of D&D Beyond. Instead WotC is using Unreal Engine to create a fully integrated digital playspace so players and DMs don't have to cobble together solutions from multiple apps an digital tools.


Wizards Presents Key Art.jpg



The preview of the digital space utilizes a tile-shift camera to purposely make things look small, like miniatures on a table. This way it's a digital version of the view players have at a game table and can't be confused with a video game.

When an “evolution of D&D” was mentioned at D&D Celebration last year lots of people jumped to the assumption that they meant a 6th edition. Once again, the D&D team is refuting that idea and examples presented by Jeremy Crawford, Game Design Architect for D&D, at a press preview on August 16 make it clear that 5th edition is here to stay, just reorganized and with new options, and that the anniversary editions will be fully compatible with 5th Edition as we currently know it.

“We did a smart thing with 5th edition, by listening to fans,” said Chris Perkins, Game Design Architect for D&D, “and what came out of that process was a system that is stable, that is well loved, that incorporates the best elements of earlier editions. Now that we have that we are no longer in the position where we think of D&D as an edition.' It's just D&D.”

One example presented by Crawford involves the alternate method for character creation presented in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything where players assign the ability score bonuses as it fits their character concept instead of being stuck with how they were assigned in their character's race. In the first playtest package on character options, Crawford showed that it had been moved from character race to character background. They're testing giving character backgrounds a more significant component of character creation and one that can grow as the character does.

At they same time, they want players to create their own backgrounds, using the examples provided as a frame work. And as I predicted in my Spelljammer: Adventures in Space, review, it appears that getting a feat at first level as part of a background could become standard.

They're also considering feat levels and viewing them as class features that aren't tied to a class. To avoid the confusion of “wading through a forest of feats” as Crawford said, there will be a list of first level feats that are appropriate for beginning adventurers and still useful as they grow up in level.

The Alert feat has been re-imagined to be more useful to the group. It will still boost the character's initiative but additionally it will allow the character, at the start of combat, to swap initiative with one other player. The rationale is that the first person was so alert they were able to warn the other person so they could act quickly. The new Healer feat has a Battle Medic option to provide healing and the ability to reroll Healing rolls.

In addition to the existing Backgrounds, some new ones are also coming, like Guard. However, they really want players to make their own Backgrounds, with DM approval.


Guard background.PNG


Another example of changes they're considering that don't fundamentally change 5th is tweaks to the Tiefling. In addition to the infernal legacy already in the Player's Handbook, the playtest adds abyssal and chthonic.

Similarly, they're testing an expansion of the “choose your size” option fairies have in Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse. Humans would also be able to choose between being small and medium to reflect the fact that some humans in the real world are small.

Another option being tested would be adding the Ardling, an upper plane equivalent to Tieflings. These would represent people with ancestors from the upper planes who are anthropomorphic animals. One thing Crawford said they've learned over the past several years is that players love animal-inspired humanoids like Tabaxi, Giff, and Tortles.


Ardling Slide 1.PNG



Ardling Slide 2.PNG



“The sort of change you're going to see isn't about taking anything away. It's much more about giving you more, giving you more options, more choices, more character types you can play, more spells you can cast. We're basically very happy with the game as it is today. We just want to build on that,” said Ray Winninger, Executive Producer of Dungeons & Dragons.

Speaking of spells, Crawford talked about how spell lists will be reorganized. Instead of picking a spell from the cleric list, you would be able to pick a spell from a divine magic list. , Spells would be categorized into lists for arcane, divine and primal magic. These categories have previously existed in story terms, but now, Crawford said, they're giving them more teeth.

Another focus is reorganizing material and integrating methods to help new players and DMs.

“One of my focuses, specifically, is the Dungeon Master's Guide. I'm going to make some structural changes to make it more friendly to new DMs,” said Perkins.

Playtesting starts today. Go to D&D Beyond to download the first playtest packet.
 
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Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels

Chaosmancer

Legend
They would need to buff the monsters more than the PCs to level the playing field.

Um... not for 1st level play.

Sure, maybe they'd need to buff the CR 9+ monsters for mid and high level play, but I've had to walk on eggshells not to blenderize 1st and 2nd level characters. And frankly, if getting something like Alert or Tough at first level throws your entire game out of whack... it was already poorly balanced.

Additionally, there are a ridiculous number of things you are expected to do for monsters to buff them without needing to change any rules at all.
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
This new race 'ardling seems fair to the good ole' aasimar.


I'm pretty sure they said the same with the release of 5e as well. That's why they called the playtest version "D&D Next", because they didn't want to put a number on it. Apple does the same with their IPads, it's always just "the new iPad" and if differentiation is needed they use the release year. I guess it's just a thing with some marketing people.


Many of them already did, e.g. tieflings and drow.

The way I understand it, the game mechanics aren't going to change much (though there will be some changes as shown by conditions and possibly different rules for crits and such), but character creation will. Basically, take the following encounter description from Waterdeep: Dragon Heist:

When the characters arrive at her home, Grinda is holed up inside, having barricaded the doors with furniture. Trying to break down the doors are four members of the Xanathar Guild (CE male human bandits) under the command of a dwarf enforcer named Noska Ur’gray (see appendix B). A merrow also under Noska’s command swims beneath the docks. It surfaces to attack when the characters arrive.
That's still going to be a perfectly valid description of an encounter. It's just that the stats for the bandits and the merrow might not be quite the same.
Yes, like what happened with the change from 3.0 to 3.5.

Once you can have characters that no longer can be created by the system, it's at least a half edition shift.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
If they are buffing PCs, they should buff the monsters to level the playing field.
They would need to buff the monsters more than the PCs to level the playing field.
I know you guys probably haven't bought the recent books because you hate the new direction of D&D and all . . . but that is precisely what they have been doing. In Monsters of the Multiverse, they buffed a lot of the monsters by giving them bonus action and reaction abilities, got rid of the Magic Weapon trait in favor of just changing the weapon's damage type (normally to force, the best damage type in the game), and altered their Multiattack to let them do more on their turn than they used to be able to.

So . . . yeah, the monsters are mostly more powerful than before. Some got a bit weaker because they were ridiculously powerful for their CR before (Korreds and Zariel) or had full Spellcasting which was changed into Innate Spellcasting, but overall, the monsters are more powerful than they were before.

I fully expect them to do the same for the 2024 Monster Manual.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I know you guys probably haven't bought the recent books because you hate the new direction of D&D and all . . . but that is precisely what they have been doing. In Monsters of the Multiverse, they buffed a lot of the monsters by giving them bonus action and reaction abilities, got rid of the Magic Weapon trait in favor of just changing the weapon's damage type (normally to force, the best damage type in the game), and altered their Multiattack to let them do more on their turn than they used to be able to.

So . . . yeah, the monsters are mostly more powerful than before. Some got a bit weaker because they were ridiculously powerful for their CR before (Korreds and Zariel) or had full Spellcasting which was changed into Innate Spellcasting, but overall, the monsters are more powerful than they were before.

I fully expect them to do the same for the 2024 Monster Manual.
I really don't like the way they did it, though. I'm against losing full spellcasters, and homogenized damage types, senses, and "spell but not-a-spell" actions just makes the monsters less interesting.

I did generally like the changes to multiattack though.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
I really don't like the way they did it, though. I'm against losing full spellcasters, and homogenized damage types, senses, and "spell but not-a-spell" actions just makes the monsters less interesting.
Then keep full spell lists. You have the old version. They're changing it to make it easier for new players. You're not a new player, so use the old version of you like it.

"Homogenized damage types"? What does that even mean? I don't know what you're talking about for changes to senses, either. And "spell but not a spell" actions have been a part of 5e since the very beginning. Monsters have always had access to magical abilities that PCs don't get access to. Mind Flayers, Aboleths, and other monsters, for example.
 



Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
This hits me like the subscription and "microtransaction"-ing of D&D.

And those of you who complained that 4E was too much like an MMO - geez, it's literally a video game now.

Strangely I am not seeing it as "evolution" of D&D. It is just another product. Online play was useful at the time of covid but I fully expect not to spend the rest of my life unable to gather and play. I can see the use for people living in area where they can't find a group, but to me online play is a distinct activity from roleplaying in person. I can see WotC branching out to reach this (probably lucrative) market, but... even if it is microtransactioning I wouldn't be affected. I however fear they'd really consider this an "evolution" and drop the physical books going forward as they did with PDF. Well, "to fear" is a strong word: I consider I might not be interested in the offering they'd make as I won't pay for something linked to online play.

Ok at first I was like cool then I was lost at feats no longer being optional.

If the new version is granting feats and characteristics bonus within background, and yet is "fully compatible with 5e", I'll gladly take the 5e racial ASI by being a classical elfe and combine them with a background granting ASIs too.


op said:
Humans would also be able to choose between being small and medium to reflect the fact that some humans in the real world are small.

Since it's often better to be small (if only to get partywide flight around level 1 by having a familiar carry a bag of holding to and fro while you can fit inside) because sure, some humans are small, I expect them to be overrepresented around powergaming tables.
 
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Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
What I would.moat like to aee is subclasses at level one for all classes. In many respects, the delayed subclass is my single biggest tripe with 5e.

I'd also like to see more distinct and discrete spell lists for different classes, but it looks like maybe they're moving in that direction.

So I'm optimistic overall, as long as they still have printed books in addition to the digital stuff.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
So, character creation at the least is no longer compatible. Some old characters can no longer be created as they were witht he rules they are saying.

I'm fine with an actual edition shift. Each one has brought new things to the table, and I like the trend they have gone. But this "it's still 'just D&D', but your books are out of date" is just a heaping pile of crap. Be honest.

Even if I like the changes they are making, they tainted it all by pretending it's not an edition change. Removing all the spell lists, and seperating a primal, arcane and dine. Cool move, but THAT'S A FREAKING BIG CHANGE.

Call it what it is and I'd be for it. But their current approach has steam coming out of my ears and reminds me that if any time I can break free from the tyranny of the masses in terms of what RPG I can find the players for, it's during a move like this.

Yes, changing all races, massively beefing up backgrounds, making feats mandatory, and totally reorganizing spells count as change, maybe even core change. At least a .5 change. Even a 1e to 2e change. And they are not done yet. They are just getting started.

I am not steaming, because I knew they were going to do something. They weren't going to have all this hype just to add some errata or fix witchbolt.
 

Not sure I agree with the "animal races" being popular....Was reading the spelljamer book recently....Space hamsters and Flying monkeys? What next Ozspace?!
Animal races are plenty popular. See: Minotaurs as the obvious example, but the various bird people, Tabaxi and Tortles are all popular, plus there's a call for Lupin to get re-added (frankly I prefer wolf lupin over the 'here's stats for literately every single type of dog' lupin, but, they're still a thing. actual mythological critter, y'know, the lupin)

and well, flying monkeys have been in D&D canon forever. Since Basic. Heck, they were even playable. They were called the Tabi. Nagpa liked them. They got player stats back in Top Balista, alongside harpies, sphinges, nagpa, gremlins, gnomes, and a few others
 


So, character creation at the least is no longer compatible. Some old characters can no longer be created as they were witht he rules they are saying.
I don't see it as no longer compatible. You could play characters created under this playtest with current 5e rules with little issue (a few things, like the musician feat, wouldn't fit quite right). If you played them alongside characters made exclusively with the 2014 PHB the only radical difference would be that they have a feat instead of a mostly useless Background Feature. If you played them alongside characters with newer, feat-giving backgrounds like those in the Strixhaven or the Dragonlance UA there would be little meaningful difference. So far a "players bring any 5e or OneD&D materials you want" game basically works. Let people swap out old Background Features for Level 1 feats and it works better.

I would call it a new edition in most contexts of the word "edition". Unfortunately D&D has a habit and history of calling almost completely incompatible games that are more like spiritual sequels new "editions", and this is not one of those.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I don't see it as no longer compatible. You could play characters created under this playtest with current 5e rules with little issue (a few things, like the musician feat, wouldn't fit quite right). If you played them alongside characters made exclusively with the 2014 PHB the only radical difference would be that they have a feat instead of a mostly useless Background Feature. If you played them alongside characters with newer, feat-giving backgrounds like those in the Strixhaven or the Dragonlance UA there would be little meaningful difference. So far a "players bring any 5e or OneD&D materials you want" game basically works. Let people swap out old Background Features for Level 1 feats and it works better.
Which is why I didn't say that the math changed and you couldn't play them, I said that the character creation changed and you couldn't create the same characters anymore. Please stay on topic and don't try to move the goalposts.

If there is just one arcane spell list, that means wizards and bards and artificers and sorcerers all have the same options, which will either be a huge list that includes much it didn't before, or there will be options you can no longer get. And trust me, the bard spell list was very different in play than the wizard one.

With ability score modifiers move from races to backgrounds, then trying to recreate the same character could have radically different ability scores.

Some feats are changing, they gave examples of how Alert is different.

None of these changes are bad, but we have a precedent for this - a half edition. 3ed to 3.5ed.

But trying to say that it's all 'just D&D' and there are no editions is dishonest. Implying that I can completely use my current PHB of the current edition and someone else can use their 2024 PHB of the current edition, and there will be no rule conflicts is dishonest. This is not the same edition when you make significant changes to character creation/advancement, the mechanics that are central to every player.
 

I'm very excited about the Ardling. An ancestry that can have any animal traits, or maybe even any combination of animal traits, is perfect for furries. Having an ancestry like that showing up in the Player's Handbook is more than I could have hoped for. It really increases the chances of being accepted into a gaming group when something is in the core books.

I've been very disinterested in 5th edition so far. I'm one of the few who loved 4th, but the changes being made are at least making me consider playing 5th again. It's the first time I've thought of D&D in a positive light for a while. It's a nice feeling.
 

Argyle King

Legend
Making balancing monsters easier and giving them more recharge abilities to function in a similar role as Crits do for PCs.

I'll reserve judgment until I see the implementation.

My concern is that the monsters which are already bloated HP bags will be more-so in combats where there's literally zero chance of landing something to change a static battle.

I support redesigning monsters. However, what I would like to see as part of that redesign would be a big enough departure to warrant an actual new edition.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
I'll reserve judgment until I see the implementation.
So am I. I was just explaining it how WotC did.
My concern is that the monsters which are already bloated HP bags will be more-so in combats where there's literally zero chance of landing something to change a static battle.
I share that concern. But, from what they said, it sounds like they're trying to make Recharge abilities be the main parts of dynamic boss monster fights.
I support redesigning monsters. However, what I would like to see as part of that redesign would be a big enough departure to warrant an actual new edition.
This isn't an actual new edition, though. And monster design has changed a bit since 2014 started, through Monsters of the Multiverse.
 

Which is why I didn't say that the math changed and you couldn't play them, I said that the character creation changed and you couldn't create the same characters anymore. Please stay on topic and don't try to move the goalposts.
Disagreeing with you on what compatibility means is neither changing topic nor moving goalposts.

Since evidently you are the king of what is and is not the topic of this thread I will defer to your regal request, and go to a different one.
 

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