'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

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
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.
I get where you’re coming from, I just feel like the thematic link between anthros and the upper planes is weak, and the spectral wings feels so, so blatantly Aasimar. I’d much rather we got something like 4e’s hengeyokai for furry representation. That was a catch-all furry race that felt really thematically cohesive.
 

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payn

Legend
I read you in my Dragon mag back in '82
Lying awake, intent at tuning in on you
If I was young, it didn't stop you coming through
Oh-a, oh-a
They took the credit for your second campaign symphony
Rewritten by machine and new technology
And now I understand the problems you can see
Oh-a oh-a
I met your game group
Oh-a oh-a
What did you tell them?
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
3D Pictures came and broke your heart
Oh-a-a-a oh
And now we meet in an abandoned gaming studio
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago
And you remember the dice jingles used to go
Oh-a oh-a
You were the first one
Oh-a oh-a
You are the last one
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
In my theater of mind and in my car
We can't rewind, we've gone too far
Oh-a-aho oh
Oh-a-aho oh
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
In my theater of mind and in my car
We can't rewind, we've gone too far
3D Pictures came and broke your heart
Put the blame on VTT
You are a RPG star
You are a RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
 


What That Means: Nobody wants to lose their 1st level character because of a random crit from an Ogre.
See, the thing is, that while I don't want to actually lose my character that way, I do really want to feel my character is at least a little at risk from that.

The real risk of basically any encounter ending you is, other than the sense of possibility and zero to hero potential, the main thing that keeps low level play compelling for me.

A more interesting alternative approach, given that they are revamping Inspiration, would be if players could spend their inspiration to cancel enemy crits.
 


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
The first AP I heard of 5e the GM and a few (maybe 4?) players were playing Phandelver. Spoilers to follow about the very first encounter.

In that module, the very first encounter is an ambush by some goblins. In the AP one of the goblins got a critical hit on the cleric or the mage and dropped him. Very soon thereafter, the rest of the party gets dropped, and as the wizard is running away gets an arrow in the back. TPK. All because of that first monster crit.

TPK is very much on the table at those early levels in any game, imho (except maybe not in Witchlight or other non-combat games). And one monster crit can definitely turn the tide and send an early 1st level encounter into TPK territory.

However, I have noticed that by 3rd level when all characters have their subclass; and definitely by 5th level when spellcasters get access to 3rd level spells - at that point PCs are pretty super-heroic, and you'd really need to send them into a pretty high CR encounter or they would have to be pretty depleted to get a TPK.

On the other hand, my players learned how to navigate through the world when they were little 1st level fragiliings. Which means they tend to be overly tentative. I mean, TPK is not my goal; but sometimes I'd wish more action and less faffing.

So, I'm willing to try no crits for monsters and then if it's not working, maybe I'll just add it up to PC level 3 or so. Or maybe CR1 monsters and below can't crit, but higher CR monsters can. No matter, can always house rule something.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
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.
Actual spellcasters didn't have them, at least not much.

My comment on damage types refers to them changing damage from natural weapons to be various forms of magic damage, but still having it narratively represent claws and fangs. How does that work exactly?

As for the senses, they replaced various bonuses to different checks related to having keen hearing or smell to a simple Perception increase. I generally don't like it when things become less granular, even if it makes them stronger.
 

I read you in my Dragon mag back in '82
Lying awake, intent at tuning in on you
If I was young, it didn't stop you coming through
Oh-a, oh-a
They took the credit for your second campaign symphony
Rewritten by machine and new technology
And now I understand the problems you can see
Oh-a oh-a
I met your game group
Oh-a oh-a
What did you tell them?
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
3D Pictures came and broke your heart
Oh-a-a-a oh
And now we meet in an abandoned gaming studio
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago
And you remember the dice jingles used to go
Oh-a oh-a
You were the first one
Oh-a oh-a
You are the last one
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
In my theater of mind and in my car
We can't rewind, we've gone too far
Oh-a-aho oh
Oh-a-aho oh
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
In my theater of mind and in my car
We can't rewind, we've gone too far
3D Pictures came and broke your heart
Put the blame on VTT
You are a RPG star
You are a RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star
Digital killed the RPG star

Good, but you should have gone with Tabletop Star. :p
 

OakenHart

Adventurer
I'm just going to throw out that my young nephews/nieces do a lot of socializing with each other and kids their age over VR. A lot of this digital stuff isn't aimed at us necessarily. I'd be surprised if whatever they're doing for the VTT isn't eventually worked to allow for some sort of interaction in VR in the future.

I don't see anything about any of this that prohibits playing this "the traditional way". It's just expanding options and future proofing for how younger folks may want to get into playing the game.

SIDE-NOTE: I'm loving a lot of what they're proposing for the new not-new edition, especially the background and feat changes.
 


The first AP I heard of 5e the GM and a few (maybe 4?) players were playing Phandelver. Spoilers to follow about the very first encounter.

In that module, the very first encounter is an ambush by some goblins. In the AP one of the goblins got a critical hit on the cleric or the mage and dropped him. Very soon thereafter, the rest of the party gets dropped, and as the wizard is running away gets an arrow in the back. TPK. All because of that first monster crit.
TPK is very much on the table at those early levels in any game, imho (except maybe not in Witchlight or other non-combat games). And one monster crit can definitely turn the tide and send an early 1st level encounter into TPK territory.

My very first group also got dropped in that first encounter. But there were no crits involved, as I recall at least. It was mainly an issue of them thinking it was the "go kill some sewer rats" first tutorial encounter of every video game, combined with the enemy using basic cover tactics while the players didn't really know how to use their characters yet.

I think no monster crits is nonsense game design. The issue isn't that it is inherently bad design numbers-wise, the issue is that it runs counter to the role the d20 has in D&D culture and the intuitive way people use it and want to use it. It's weird that they bowed to this pressure in finally making nat 20s and 1s magic on all player d20 rolls and yet in the very same document think they can get people to stop having monsters crit on a 20. The result will be many if not most tables having the monsters crit on 20s anyway, on top of whatever new abilities they give monsters to compensate for no crits and the deadliness of low levels being amplified.

I think a better approach to dampening the deadliness of the lowest levels (if you want to do that), would be to attack the real problem, which is the "enough damage to do max hp below zero kills you outright" rule. I love this rule in principle, but in actual play it only kills low level characters, and causes a lot of confusion for new players since negative hit points are otherwise not a thing in 5e. It is simply a special, tier one play only, abrupt death rule.

They could also attack the other problem, which is that the simplest health potion is far beyond the means of a level 1 character. I see the value in making them less than plentiful, but perhaps one should be standard starting equipment, or perhaps they should be plentiful but burn hit dice.
 
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Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
Actual spellcasters didn't have them, at least not much.
Sure they did. All of the Drow Mages had special abilities before Monsters of the Multiverse, as did the Volo's Mages, and the ones from the adventures. The Mage and Archmage from the Monster Manual didn't . . . but quite a lot of the other mages did.
My comment on damage types refers to them changing damage from natural weapons to be various forms of magic damage, but still having it narratively represent claws and fangs. How does that work exactly?
Magic. It's magic. They only do it on the attacks that were magic before, so the changed damage types is the representation of the magic.
As for the senses, they replaced various bonuses to different checks related to having keen hearing or smell to a simple Perception increase. I generally don't like it when things become less granular, even if it makes them stronger.
So . . . very few monsters in the book that actually had Keen Sense had a sentence removed in favor for just proficiency in Perception. That's an extremely minor change to the monsters that seems like it's so minor that most DMs wouldn't even notice it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
See, the thing is, that while I don't want to actually lose my character that way, I do really want to feel my character is at least a little at risk from that.

The real risk of basically any encounter ending you is, other than the sense of possibility and zero to hero potential, the main thing that keeps low level play compelling for me.
Hey, I hear you. I’m actually in the same boat. But I recognize that my preference in that matter is not aligned with the majority of the 5e playing community’s. I think monsters not critting is probably the better design choice for 5e (though it wouldn’t be for some other systems). Though, I also very much doubt it’s going to make it through playtesting because I think people generally like the idea of crits more than they dislike the effect they have on gameplay, and part of that idea is the symmetry between PCs and monsters.
A more interesting alternative approach, given that they are revamping Inspiration, would be if players could spend their inspiration to cancel enemy crits.
That’d be cool.
 

Akrasia

Procrastinator
I don't like feats at all and don't use them in my 5e Greyhawk campaign. So I'm disappointed that they now seem to be no longer optional in the play test document.

Likewise, I don't like inspiration and don't use it in my game. But it now seems to be required for humans at least.

I use some modest tweaks (no feats, no inspiration, no dragonborn or tieflings, etc.) to maintain an "old school" and moderately "gritty" feel to my games. I'm concerned that this may be harder to do in 5.5e. But perhaps my worries will prove unfounded.

Of course, I can just house rule what I like, stick with "my version" of 5e, etc.
 

antiwesley

Unpaid Scientific Adviser (Ret.)
But I recognize that my preference in that matter is not aligned with the majority of the 5e playing community’s.
It's not the community you're not aligned with, it's WoTC's desire to make more money on an older product.
One thing I heard mentioned was that "you can still use adventures from X years ago."

Before long, adventures will be treated like card sets in Magic: The Money Pit. If the adventure you want to play uses out-moded rules or cannot be adapted to the modern setup, you'll have to play it on a table, not their virtual scam setup.

I also took great offense at being labeled a "lazy DM" as they seem to believe most DM's are.
Having been a retailer back during the 4th Ed push, I sat and listened to WOTC roll out blather after blather about
stuff 'they' were doing to promote and build up the new edition. It mainly involved them doing things in Seattle, and there was NOTHING to help the retailers themselves. I sat there and wasted 6 minutes of my life listening to today's pablum pukers spew out the same type of garbage that I heard others spew with 4th Ed.

It's all part of the current mindset when someone takes over an established product. We see it in TV shows, movie franchises, books, and yes, even RPGs. The current team wants to make the product THEIR product. This isn't Gary and Dave's DnD, this is whomever the current generation of, as William Gaines once put it, "the usual gang of idiots."

Don't like it? Don't use it.

But don't be surprised in a year or two when none of this product will be available in a dead tree format.
Don't use electronics at the table? Learn to use it now, or else you'll be left behind, sucker!

I pity the generation that will be suckled on this new teat, for when the power is off or the Internet is down, they won't have two d6 to rub together and even know how to play on a tabletop.

And like fools, many will suckle at this new teat, and claim it's the best thing since sliced bread, and they don't know how they ever lived without it. We call them "suck ups" or "consumer zombies."
3rd Ed was the greatest thing since sliced bread until 4th came along, then that was the hot sh!t. Then 4th Ed was 'too simple' when 5th Ed was released, and now "One DnD" is going to be the ham-fisted hot buttered bob until they can't make any cash from it, and 6th ed will be introduced.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
It's not the community you're not aligned with, it's WoTC's desire to make more money on an older product.
One thing I heard mentioned was that "you can still use adventures from X years ago."

Before long, adventures will be treated like card sets in Magic: The Money Pit. If the adventure you want to play uses out-moded rules or cannot be adapted to the modern setup, you'll have to play it on a table, not their virtual scam setup.

I also took great offense at being labeled a "lazy DM" as they seem to believe most DM's are.
Having been a retailer back during the 4th Ed push, I sat and listened to WOTC roll out blather after blather about
stuff 'they' were doing to promote and build up the new edition. It mainly involved them doing things in Seattle, and there was NOTHING to help the retailers themselves. I sat there and wasted 6 minutes of my life listening to today's pablum pukers spew out the same type of garbage that I heard others spew with 4th Ed.

It's all part of the current mindset when someone takes over an established product. We see it in TV shows, movie franchises, books, and yes, even RPGs. The current team wants to make the product THEIR product. This isn't Gary and Dave's DnD, this is whomever the current generation of, as William Gaines once put it, "the usual gang of idiots."

Don't like it? Don't use it.

But don't be surprised in a year or two when none of this product will be available in a dead tree format.
Don't use electronics at the table? Learn to use it now, or else you'll be left behind, sucker!

I pity the generation that will be suckled on this new teat, for when the power is off or the Internet is down, they won't have two d6 to rub together and even know how to play on a tabletop.

And like fools, many will suckle at this new teat, and claim it's the best thing since sliced bread, and they don't know how they ever lived without it. We call them "suck ups" or "consumer zombies."
3rd Ed was the greatest thing since sliced bread until 4th came along, then that was the hot sh!t. Then 4th Ed was 'too simple' when 5th Ed was released, and now "One DnD" is going to be the ham-fisted hot buttered bob until they can't make any cash from it, and 6th ed will be introduced.
You sound bitter.
 




doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
No such thing is present in the new UA.
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.
This is a conclusion you are jumping to, not something present in the actual playtest document.
With ability score modifiers move from races to backgrounds, then trying to recreate the same character could have radically different ability scores.
This isn’t a thing. ASI’s are chosen as the first step of making your background. Your character will have the same ability scores unless you choose otherwise.
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.
Because some feats might be rewritten?
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.
But you…can.
This is not the same edition when you make significant changes to character creation/advancement, the mechanics that are central to every player.
Literally the only difference that actually has any effect on a group is that one PC will have a level 1 feat. That’s it. So just, add level 1 feats to characters using older options. 🤷‍♂️



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.
No. That isn’t what is happening.
So glad they gave me 5e, which brought me back to the game after a 30 year absence. I will continue to play the game/books I have, but will not be following to the "new edition."

And sorry, but in my game, goliaths will continue to have a strength advantage over halflings.
Okay.

Why are you “sorry”? Do you think people are upset about it?

I assure you, absolutely no one is bothered.
 

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