'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

Argyle King

Legend
I think it's cool that the people who want digital tools will get them.

For the people (like myself) who prefer sitting down with friends at a table and doing things analog, what does D&D76 do to improve the experience?
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
No such thing is present in the new UA.
Please, take my wood elf hermit monk and rebuild him mechanically the same using the UA. Ability score modifiers in the same place*. Mask of the Wild wood elf subrace feature to hide. Same Discovery hermit feature. Longbow proficiency for a good ranged option.

*I understand that I can give up my background, create a custom background that covers the exact same narrative space as an existing background, and shift around the ability score modifiers. That still is a change. And also doesn't grant me the feature, some of which like our Urchin in a Ravnica game I played where quick travel through a city gets used every session. And it does grant me a feat, which is also a change.

Literally every single section presented in the UA can and usually does differ from the existing character.

I'm not saying any of it is bad. I'm also not saying a 2014 PHB character can't adventure alongside a 2024 character. What I said is that you can't recreate the same character and have the mechanics match. This isn't debatable, the mechanics in the document differ from the PHB. Trying to say they don't is ignorance or a baldfaced lie.
 

My suggestion is.

The virtual miniatures can work as "virtual avatars" of the players, at least because some streamers would use it to create machinima version of their actual-play shows.

Other option is to can "solo games" based in quests created by other players. It would work in a way close to the old gamebooks style "Endless Quest" or "Choose your own adventure".
 




I mean, yours were condescending too.
Huh, well I was going for more sarcastic than condescending, after feeling condescended to, but I suppose we don't always hit our targets in these games of words.

In any case, I blocked him. Lecture me once, probably shame on me, lecture me twice, you had better be a moderator.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Huh, well I was going for more sarcastic than condescending,

Mod Note:
So, you publicly admit to engaging in problematic discourse. That makes my job easier.


Lecture me once, probably shame on me, lecture me twice, you had better be a moderator.

Hi there! You rang?

How about EVERYONE here remember that respect will be the word of the day pretty much forever, and that if you treat folks badly, you are going to end up locked out of discussions.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I'm not saying any of it is bad. I'm also not saying a 2014 PHB character can't adventure alongside a 2024 character. What I said is that you can't recreate the same character and have the mechanics match. This isn't debatable, the mechanics in the document differ from the PHB. Trying to say they don't is ignorance or a baldfaced lie.
I mean, you're right, but I'm just struggling to see why that matters. There's two ways to make a wood elf, the 2014 way and 2024 way. Both are relatively balanced, and both can be played at the same table.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Trying to say they don't is ignorance or a baldfaced lie.
Mod Note:

You know what else isn't debatable? Whether or not you are correct, calling people ignorant or bald-faced liars poisons them against the actual content of your post. By adding in the insult, you turn the point of interest away from the facts, and towards the fact that you just called them liars.

So next time, resist the urge. It isn't working for you, and if continued will end badly.
 


caudor

Adventurer
I'm trying to decide whether to slow down on my Fantasy Grounds purchases since WotC is bringing in a new VTT. It seems like it might still be a long way off though. Also, DMsguild has hooked up with Roll20, which adds another dimension to the dilemma. I'll still be able to play my current content on FG, but the future of VTTs is cloudy at this point.
 

Jimmy Dick

Adventurer
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
Nope. Not even close. Digital helped to save the RPG star during the pandemic. Now that the pandemic is over, live play is once again what the majority of the players want. Digital is great for a pretty decent sized number of people who meet one or more of the following conditions:
1. Live in rural area with few to no players within a 30 minute drive.
2. Physically handicapped to the point where reaching a store is extremely difficult to do and in some cases actually dangerous to you.
3. Socially awkward/inept individuals who are unable to play in a live setting. Often they are able to play online and in some cases begin to overcome the issues that prevent them from playing in a live setting.
4. Transportation problems regardless of physical environment.
5. Friends/family players who were part of your group have moved away beyond their or your ability to physically play together. Digital gives your group the ability to continue to play together and stay connected. You can still play live and meet new players at your local venue too.
6. Experience a greater number of people around the globe who share common interests. It is wonderful to meet new people, share similar experiences, learn different things, and enjoy the game everyone at the table enjoys.

I'm sure there are more conditions that others may have for why they play digitally. Digital play enabled a lot of groups to continue on during the pandemic. For Pathfinder and Starfinder, this was critical to their Organized Play campaigns. They survived and even thrived thanks to the digital access. Again, now that the pandemic is over, many of those players have returned or are returning to live play. We even gained some players as a result of the digital environment as a result who are now in our live groups rolling the d20!

Digital play is an asset which helps to expand RPG play both live and online.
 

payn

Legend
Nope. Not even close. Digital helped to save the RPG star during the pandemic. Now that the pandemic is over, live play is once again what the majority of the players want. Digital is great for a pretty decent sized number of people who meet one or more of the following conditions:
1. Live in rural area with few to no players within a 30 minute drive.
2. Physically handicapped to the point where reaching a store is extremely difficult to do and in some cases actually dangerous to you.
3. Socially awkward/inept individuals who are unable to play in a live setting. Often they are able to play online and in some cases begin to overcome the issues that prevent them from playing in a live setting.
4. Transportation problems regardless of physical environment.
5. Friends/family players who were part of your group have moved away beyond their or your ability to physically play together. Digital gives your group the ability to continue to play together and stay connected. You can still play live and meet new players at your local venue too.
6. Experience a greater number of people around the globe who share common interests. It is wonderful to meet new people, share similar experiences, learn different things, and enjoy the game everyone at the table enjoys.

I'm sure there are more conditions that others may have for why they play digitally. Digital play enabled a lot of groups to continue on during the pandemic. For Pathfinder and Starfinder, this was critical to their Organized Play campaigns. They survived and even thrived thanks to the digital access. Again, now that the pandemic is over, many of those players have returned or are returning to live play. We even gained some players as a result of the digital environment as a result who are now in our live groups rolling the d20!

Digital play is an asset which helps to expand RPG play both live and online.
Not according to many on these very forums. Folks cant get anybody to show up for face to face. I, for one, welcome our new digital overlords.
 

Hussar

Legend
Not according to many on these very forums. Folks cant get anybody to show up for face to face. I, for one, welcome our new digital overlords.
I mean, heck, try having small children. Or anyone who has an odd work schedule. All I hear, over and over, and have heard, for years, is laments about how people can't play regularly and only get together once a month or once ever two weeks.

I've gamed pretty much weekly, sometimes twice a week, for the past twenty years. Rarely missed a week. I could game more if I wanted to and had the time. The fact that I have a bizarre work schedule means that face to face gaming is pretty much straight out the window.

I've never understood the hostility about online gaming. If you don't want to do it, that's groovy. Totally fine. No skin off my nose. But, why people seem to feel the need to poo poo it as "inferior" or whatever just baffles me. If it wasn't for online gaming, I'd have left the hobby decades ago. (YAY, good riddance ya bastard! - you be quiet back there) Online is a fantastic way to game. I really don't see the problem.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Overall I'm feeling good about this. A better organized DM's guide would alone make me buy the new one. More evergreen organization of class spell lists is a good move--though I wish they would make the schools of magic more clear, distinct, and obvious. I like that you have more options to roll your own character origins, though I do hope that they keep standard, traditional templates as an option for those who want more traditional race and class combos.

As for the VTT, hmm. Will have to wait and see. I'm a cynic with VTTs. I run my games exclusively online these days and have used a lot of different VTTs over the last five or so years. Have yet to find the goldilocks VTT for 5e. What they showed looks kinda neat, and I could see running a WotC advanture all prepped for it. But that type of 3D visuals will make it hard to just throw up a map and play. I imagine it would take more prep time than I care to expend to run third-party and home-brew adventures in it. Also, what I really want more than anything in a VTT, who would REALLY help this lazy dungeon master, is easy, smooth, rules-compliant automations of tracking buffs and conditions, applying area-of-effect spells and automating the saves and damage, tracking spell durations, prompting concentration checks, etc.

I'm not getting my hopes up with the VTT, but I'll keep my eyes on it. I AM worried that with their own VTT that WotC may try to make it much more difficult to import your DnD Beyond content into other VTTs or to buy official WotC content in other VTTs. I hope they compete on the quality, features, and performance of their own VTT rather than on making it the only place to easily get official content legally in a VTT.
 



payn

Legend
And thus, the ancient conflict known as the Edition Wars was rekindled. Warriors chose their sides and flamed their enemies with vitriol and bile. And the gods wept, because all they wanted was for the people to play games together and have fun.
Wrong war, this one is about technology.
napoleon dynamite technology GIF
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Please, take my wood elf hermit monk and rebuild him mechanically the same using the UA. Ability score modifiers in the same place*.
Easy. Choose the same ASIs. That is literally the default option in the new options.
Mask of the Wild wood elf subrace feature to hide. Same Discovery hermit feature. Longbow proficiency for a good ranged option.
Sure, if you pick the new wood elf you’ll get some spells instead. So…don’t, if you prefer the other set of features. 🤷‍♂️
*I understand that I can give up my background, create a custom background that covers the exact same narrative space as an existing background, and shift around the ability score modifiers. That still is a change.
It’s the default.
And also doesn't grant me the feature, some of which like our Urchin in a Ravnica game I played where quick travel through a city gets used every session. And it does grant me a feat, which is also a change.
So, you’re describing a new option.
Literally every single section presented in the UA can and usually does differ from the existing character.

I'm not saying any of it is bad. I'm also not saying a 2014 PHB character can't adventure alongside a 2024 character. What I said is that you can't recreate the same character and have the mechanics match. This isn't debatable, the mechanics in the document differ from the PHB. Trying to say they don't is ignorance or a baldfaced lie.
Literally no one said that they don’t, so I’ve no idea what you arguing so forcefully against.
 

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