'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

Retreater

Legend
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.
I think most of my playing will stay online for the foreseeable future. I'm in a small town and there's almost no interest in organized play or meeting at a game store with strangers. My peers are either busy doing other things or live too far away.
I hope that D&D continues to be supported without D&DBeyond and their Unity VTT. It seems too closely tied, too graphical, too "microtransaction-ly."
If not, I'll have no reason to follow, regardless if I love the changes.
This talk about specifically calling out D&DBeyond as the only online tools suggests pulling support from other VTTs.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
They've been trying to get people to do this since the launch of 5E, and we still have a situation where even half the DMs on this board, who are some of the most expert/experienced DMs, still profoundly do not get that the DEFAULT is "Custom", that "Custom" should be normal, and the fixed backgrounds are merely examples. Sheesh even with the DMs I play with, one of them was like "Wait you're using a custom background, is that allowed?!" and I'm like "Sigh...".
I think re-framing it the way we see in the UA will work much better. First, because it presents the exact rules for how to create a background first and then presents the sample backgrounds as examples of backgrounds you can make with those rules, instead of presenting the samples first and then telling you “you can make changes to them if you want.” Second, because it standardizes backgrounds more - they all get one language, one tool instead of some getting two of one and none of the other, and the starting equipment is always worth 50 gold total. And third, because they got rid of bespoke background features and sample traits/ideals/bonds/flaws, which were difficult to invent from scratch.
 

Retreater

Legend
What's the reasoning behind critical hits only being for players?
Because, as he (JC?) said in the video, critical hits can be scary and unpredictable - as if those are bad things in a game of thrilling action and adventure.
Honestly, today's videos made me feel as excluded from the community and company as much as the 4e reveal did with the nerds in the basement confusing the Cheeto for a troll. (I think that's what happened anyway.)
Today's theme has been "our D&D is the proper D&D." There's been no effort to say "keep this stuff you liked" or "we're going to also support traditional play."
In short, very disappointed.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
Because, as he (JC?) said in the video, critical hits can be scary and unpredictable - as if those are bad things in a game of thrilling action and adventure.
That's not what he said. He said that they were expanding Recharge abilities for Monsters and using them to replace crits.
Honestly, today's videos made me feel as excluded from the community and company as much as the 4e reveal did with the nerds in the basement confusing the Cheeto for a troll. (I think that's what happened anyway.)
Today's theme has been "our D&D is the proper D&D." There's been no effort to say "keep this stuff you liked" or "we're going to also support traditional play."
In short, very disappointed.
You know all of this is experimental, right? The fact that they're experimenting with changing the rules up a bit is enough to exclude you?

And, yes, they did say that you can keep the stuff you liked from original 5e. They explicitly state that in the playtest document. They state multiple times that a lot of the mechanics are up to the DM and players on how they use them (changed backgrounds and ASIs, for example).
 

Retreater

Legend
That's not what he said. He said that they were expanding Recharge abilities for Monsters and using them to replace crits.
No. He gave the example of the existing recharge mechanic for a dragon's breath weapon and said nothing about it being applied to any other creatures. And he said "that's enough" and said more damage was "too scary."
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
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.
I think people are jumping the gun on this. The video makes it clear that what they’re doing is giving spells one or more tags from arcane, divine, and primal so they can have magic initiate let you gain “an arcane, divine, or primal spell,” which is evergreen instead of “a spell from the wizard, cleric, or druid spell list” and having to make a new, similar feat for artificer spells or whatever other new thing comes out. But he did hint that classes will probably have other ways of gaining access to spells beyond these three general lists.
 



Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
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.
Ah, personal attacks. A last refuge when neither rhetoric nor facts will support a point.

When you reply to my comment, and ignore the point I made to make another point, you are in fact moving the goalposts. You were and are perfectly free to just go to the end of a page and hit reply to respond to the post as a whole and present your opinion on what compatibility means. However, when you specifically pick a post and reply to it, what you type should be a response to the comment you are replying to. This is common forum etiquette.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
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.
I was hopeful but not optimistic that this would be a thing. After seeing the UA though, it seems more likely to me that they’d be willing to experiment with a structural change like that.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
What's the reasoning behind critical hits only being for players?
What They Said: recharge abilities already provide monsters with a way to create dramatic, scary moments like critical hits do, in a way that the DM has some degree of control over, but still has an element of randomness and surprise to it.

What That Means: Nobody wants to lose their 1st level character because of a random crit from an Ogre.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I think people are jumping the gun on this. The video makes it clear that what they’re doing is giving spells one or more tags from arcane, divine, and primal so they can have magic initiate let you gain “an arcane, divine, or primal spell,” which is evergreen instead of “a spell from the wizard, cleric, or druid spell list” and having to make a new, similar feat for artificer spells or whatever other new thing comes out. But he did hint that classes will probably have other ways of gaining access to spells beyond these three general lists.
Could be. I hope you are right. For example how the wizard list differed from the bard list gave the two a very different feel.

Still, character creation is changing in ways that some characters couldn't be recreated. Moving the +2/+1 from racial (or floating) to defined by background now strongly links backgrounds to classes in ways that they weren't before. I've had a weathermage (sailor sorcerer) and a swashbuckler (sailor dex fighter battlemaster) - the +2/+1 for the Sailor background can not apply in the two different ways I applied their racial mods.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
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.
I would love a furry race in the PHB. But I would want such a race to actually have traits that made them feel like animal-people, instead of being able to grow spectral wings for a turn a couple times a day. Ardlings’ furry-hood is pure fluff, mechanically they’re just another version of Aasimar, and that to me is deeply dissatisfying.
 

Ah, personal attacks. A last refuge when neither rhetoric nor facts will support a point.

When you reply to my comment, and ignore the point I made to make another point, you are in fact moving the goalposts. You were and are perfectly free to just go to the end of a page and hit reply to respond to the post as a whole and present your opinion on what compatibility means. However, when you specifically pick a post and reply to it, what you type should be a response to the comment you are replying to. This is common forum etiquette.
I was taking issue with your condescending tone. Your response is clearly to just get much more condescending. Charming.
 

Argyle King

Legend
So am I. I was just explaining it how WotC did.

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.

This isn't an actual new edition, though. And monster design has changed a bit since 2014 started, through Monsters of the Multiverse.

I've noticed changes.

They're different than what I believe needs to be changed. I believe that the core design philosophy behind monsters and their role needs to be rethought. Doing that would require essentially rewriting the entire CR system and changing how encounters are designed.

I don't forsee that being possible in the context of 5e while retaining backwards compatibility.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Could be. I hope you are right. For example how the wizard list differed from the bard list gave the two a very different feel.

Still, character creation is changing in ways that some characters couldn't be recreated. Moving the +2/+1 from racial (or floating) to defined by background now strongly links backgrounds to classes in ways that they weren't before. I've had a weathermage (sailor sorcerer) and a swashbuckler (sailor dex fighter battlemaster) - the +2/+1 for the Sailor background can not apply in the two different ways I applied their racial mods.
Remember that they’re emphasizing create-your-own-background as the default and the pre-written backgrounds as examples (which isn’t really a change, because customizing your background has always been an option, but is a useful shift in emphasis). Yes, the example sailor background gives +2 Dex and +1 Wis, but if you want a background that gives +2 Cha and +1 Con or something but is otherwise identical to Sailor? You’re allowed - nay, encouraged, to do so. Or if you’re happy with the ASIs but would rather have Skilled instead of Tavern Brawler, or you’d rather get a hemp rope instead of a silk one and save the extra GP, or spend it on something else, or if you want to speak Elvish instead of Goblin, or... Ultimately, everyone gets a floating +2/+1 or +1/+1/+1, two skills, a language, a tool, a 1st level feat, and 50 gp. Backgrounds are just flavorful pre-packaged sets of the above you can take if you don’t want to make all those choices yourself, or modify to your liking.
 


I would love a furry race in the PHB. But I would want such a race to actually have traits that made them feel like animal-people, instead of being able to grow spectral wings for a turn a couple times a day. Ardlings’ furry-hood is pure fluff, mechanically they’re just another version of Aasimar, and that to me is deeply dissatisfying.

I agree to an extent. I'd personally much rather play a Tabaxi than an Ardling, but the Ardling supports a much wider array of furry concepts in a single entry than traditional races. If the developers included traditional furry type races in the Player's Handbook the most I think we could expect would be a feline based one and a canine one. With the amount of customization included into character creation already, combined with the open ended nature of the Ardling itself, most furry concepts can easily be created out of it. I don't think we should be so focused on the perfect solution that we miss the massive increase in inclusiveness the Ardling represents.
 


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