D&D (2024) '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

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He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
So, the pillars of combat, role play, and exploration are clear to me since 5E launch. Im not sure how they translate here to;
  • 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.
What am I missing?


So, the Ardling is basically the celestial version of the Tiefling? Strange, the Assimar was pretty much supposed to be that technically. Then again, I know there are beast celestials and what not so the Ardling could represent those with the Assimar still being the Assimar.
This new race 'ardling seems fair to the good ole' aasimar.

This bit of marketing hype-speak made my eyes roll. Microsoft once told me that Windows 10 would be the last edition of Windows, too.
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.

So now, many of the races (species really) are able to cast some spells regardless of class.
Many of them already did, e.g. tieflings and drow.
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.
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.

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