'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
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.

I'm still playing catch-up today (it was a very busy day) but I think you are fundamentally misunderstanding the goals of the spell list. If you read the document it says

"There are now three main Spell lists in the
game: Arcane, Divine, and Primal. In future
Unearthed Arcana articles, we’ll show how
Classes use these lists and how a Class or
Subclass might gain Spells from another list."


So, what does this mean? Well, we don't entirely know, but it could be HIGHLY possible that the goal is that you will still have class spell lists, but you will ALSO have these generic lists. What this could mean is that the Wizard, Artificer, Sorcerer, Warlock and Bard get access to the same pool of Arcane Spells, then the Bard gets a list of specifically bardic spells. Or maybe, I heard one person say, the change will be that Bard's get magical secrets earlier, and will be able to snipe healing spells from the Divine List. But, here's the real kicker that I think was the point. I'd bet that the Bard is going to have Magical Secrets that say "Pick X spells from the Divine or Primal Spell list" but they WON'T be able to grab from the ranger or paladin spell lists. This gives some additional ways to prevent unintended cross-over.

Also note, that the Arcane list doesn't include Eldritch Blast. This is important because it means you CAN'T take a feat that gives you eldritch blast. You need to be a warlock to get it. So no more having a Sorcerer take Magic Initiate Warlock and getting Eldritch Blast, or any of the other cheese things that came from being able to grab specific spells meant for specific builds. This also means that an Eldritch Knight can just get "Arcane Spells" instead of being limited to "Partial Wizard list"

Yes, this does mean that certain specific builds are now possible that weren't possible, or are not possible that were possible. But I don't think the goal is to have only three spell lists, not with the blatantly obvious ommisions from the 1st level spells and the missing Eldritch Blast.

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

Only if you choose to do it that way. They explicitly say you can modify the backgrounds, just like Tasha's allows you to modify the races. This isn't a real concern unless you refuse to allow that customization on either end. And the UA is explicit by listing two different ways to customize the backgrounds. Customizing them will be core.

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.

There will be rules conflicts, but I think the bigger question is where those conflicts appear.

Sure, Tavern Brawler 2014 is different than Tavern Brawler 2024. That's not a "rules conflict" any more than taking the Beast of the Sky for the Beast Master ranger is a "rules conflict" with the PHB Beast Master. It's just a new version, new option. Most of the character creation is going to look identical between the two editions, with the 2024 having +1 Language (total three), +1 Tool, and the feat. Easy things to convert.

The bigger changes come on the DM side. Changes to grapple, adding slowed, changes to unarmed strikes, These are deeply significant changes... but entirely on the DM side. These changes aren't going to make the character you build look significantly different. And that's no different than the DMG allowing for proficiency dice, or Theros giving us the Piety system.
 

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Dire Bare

Legend
Wrong war, this one is about technology.
napoleon dynamite technology GIF
The warriors of each new phase of the neverending Edition Wars always think, "This time, it's different . . . I do not war for the same reasons as those who have come before, as my cause is just and righteous."

And yet, the wastes left of message boards and game tables always look the same . . .

Plus, have you read this thread? Yeah, some folks are all afeared of the new digital options coming our way, but more folks are arguing over changes to the actual rules of the game.

War, war never changes.
 

Bolongo

Herr Doktor
I mean, I kinda like the idea of feats for everyone at level 1 instead of the previous flavor abilities from the backgrounds. Because the later seldom saw any actual use, and the game sorely needs some way to distinguish characters of the same class and level from each other.

The actual examples of level 1 feats are badly unbalanced, though. And I'm still waiting to see what happens after level 1. Guess we'll have to wait another month and see if the next UA shows what they're thinking about classes.
 

Nickolaidas

Explorer
I think I like what I hear and read. Basically, the way I see it, if I have to be 'up to date', rules wise, I have to put away my three core rulebooks and use the new ones.

However, every single adventure/campaign book of 5th Edition can be perfectly played and used in this next edition of D&D, which is just amazing for me.

Is the new Dragonlance book based on 5th Edition or the new one?
 




Nickolaidas

Explorer
So you think a book released this year will be written for the rules that won't even be ready for another 2 years?
Person, I was kidding. I didn't know the rulebooks' release date - for all I knew those books would be coming in December of 2022.

That said ... Hoard of the Dragon Queen released without the DM Guide, so it would be funny if this time they would release their first 6th Edition Campaign/Adventure book without any rulebook officially published.

Would make for a good way to prove full backwards compatibility, that's for sure. :ROFLMAO:
 

Hussar

Legend
I think I like what I hear and read. Basically, the way I see it, if I have to be 'up to date', rules wise, I have to put away my three core rulebooks and use the new ones.

However, every single adventure/campaign book of 5th Edition can be perfectly played and used in this next edition of D&D, which is just amazing for me.

Is the new Dragonlance book based on 5th Edition or the new one?

Honestly I think this is the healthiest way of looking at it.
 

payn

Legend
The warriors of each new phase of the neverending Edition Wars always think, "This time, it's different . . . I do not war for the same reasons as those who have come before, as my cause is just and righteous."

And yet, the wastes left of message boards and game tables always look the same . . .

Plus, have you read this thread? Yeah, some folks are all afeared of the new digital options coming our way, but more folks are arguing over changes to the actual rules of the game.

War, war never changes.
Not my fault you wasted peace time not preparing for this. 🤷‍♂️
 

Jimmy Dick

Adventurer
I play both digitally and live. Both have strengths and weaknesses. I am glad to have digital available to me for the times when I cannot play due to various conditions I mentioned. If a live GM is struggling to find players for a game they are running, they first need to consider whether or not various conditions are the reason why. After that, they need to consider why people do not want to play their game live. There's a reason.

If a person refuses to play in digital space when the rest of the players need to because of the various combination of conditions, then don't blame the players. Blame the person who refuses to play online. They made their choice and have to abide by the consequences. Adapt to reality.
 

eayres33

Explorer
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 don't think they are moving the goal post I just think they have a different definition/expectation from the phrase "backwards compatible,". Same thing came up with Level Up where some people thought the minor differences made it not compatible with standard DnD and some felt having to making small adjustments to the game was backwards compatible as most tables already make small adjustments to the rules already.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I don't think they are moving the goal post I just think they have a different definition/expectation from the phrase "backwards compatible,". Same thing came up with Level Up where some people thought the minor differences made it not compatible with standard DnD and some felt having to making small adjustments to the game was backwards compatible as most tables already make small adjustments to the rules already.
All I know is that many people on this forum expected these changes to be smaller than they were, just an integration of the recent books with the new core. Now that it is clear the changes are at least somewhat more expansive than that, those same people are changing their tune and saying the changes aren't really a big deal to them rather than just admitting that they guessed wrong.
 

eayres33

Explorer
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.
You replied to what you see as a personal attack with a personal attack and again seem to represent what the poster and I see as a reasonable response as moving the goal post and then give a lecture on what you believe to be proper etiquette with out ever once addressing the actual facts presented by the poster.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
All I know is that many people on this forum expected these changes to be smaller than they were, just an integration of the recent books with the new core. Now that it is clear the changes are at least somewhat more expansive than that, those same people are changing their tune and saying the changes aren't really a big deal to them rather than just admitting that they guessed wrong.
And you were complaining about even those small changes being made and wanted the game to change more substantially like Level Up. And the changes are more substantial than "just the Tasha's and Monsters of the Multiverse changes", a lot of ways that improve lackluster features from the previous iteration of 5e.

Some people thought it would just be Tasha's and Monsters of the Multiverse changes. I would have been fine with that, but I wanted more. This playtest is proposing bigger changes, which makes me ecstatic.

What do you hate so much about this playtest?
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
And you were complaining about even those small changes being made and wanted the game to change more substantially like Level Up. And the changes are more substantial than "just the Tasha's and Monsters of the Multiverse changes", a lot of ways that improve lackluster features from the previous iteration of 5e.

Some people thought it would just be Tasha's and Monsters of the Multiverse changes. I would have been fine with that, but I wanted more. This playtest is proposing bigger changes, which makes me ecstatic.

What do you hate so much about this playtest?
The fact that they're not treating it as a new edition, and making changes to the game accordingly to suit the modern gamer. That's really it. Most of the stuff they're doing reads as fine, but not far enough to suit me. Its the wrong amount of change.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
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.

I agree that the Wodd elf losing Mask of the Wild bothers me. I get they are moving that concept into the Pass Without a Trace, but I wish the Wood Elf kept the mask. The losing of longbow proficiency is a thing I'm less upset about. There were parts that made it make sense, but also parts that I didn't like about it. Mostly, it just didn't matter. Monk is one of the few places where it is actually an option. Then again, maybe your feat is something like weapon master. Not currently an option, but you ARE trying to convert.

But the loss of the Hermit secret? I think that's actually a BONUS.

See, the Hermit's secret was always an incredibly difficult thing to force into the game. I could make it utterly worthless (You know the secret of the Queen of Air and Darkness's true name, now, let's continue with this story about a war against an Lich's empire that never effect fey) or I could make it key (You know the location of the Lich's Phylactery) which fundamentally changes the campaign. Compare that to Urchin which allows you to move double speed in cities.... which often involve no attention paid to speed at all, and is weird when growing up in Baldur's Gate means that you know the secret ways of the City of Brass.

Or Sage giving you "you know where to look for information" something that never comes up. Because, surprise surprise, if there is plot critical information the PCs need to look up... they also know where to go. Or Sailor in a game that never goes to the sea.

A LOT of those background features were noise and never applied.


So, I agree. The rules are not identical. But that doesn't mean that it isn't for good reasons.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
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.
I would not worry about it yet. It is not known if digital D&D will support any game other than D&D or any ruleset not on D&DBeyond. In which case would would these VTTs stop existing. Not all their installed player base are D&D players nor will they all migrate to Digital D&D. There is no incentive for WoTC to stop their licence agreements with these companies. D&D got a considerable reputational hit before my mucking about with licencing that lead to the creation of Pathfinder. There is no evidence that they are going to repeat that.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
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."
That is not what he said, or rather he did say that but said a lot more than that also. Starting about 52 minute mark they talk about crits. Initially about weapons and spells.
talk on crits for monsters begins at 54:58 Initially about the swingness of low level monster crits. Some remarks about the use of static damage and then he get in to that
"monsters already have their own built in crit like mechanic and that is the recharge mechanic. "We (designers) use recharge abilities to deliver those scary massive strikes. Think of the dragon's breath weapon, when that happens everyone is put on notice, and that is the scary moment. The DM decides when to use it. So, the dm can make an informed decision when to crank up the difficulty in a battle. The Dm has no control over a critical hit. Now, uncertainty is also fun, because we like DMs being surprised but that is where the recharge roll comes in. Because when the DM decides, essentially to press the 'things are going to get real button' they are not sure when they get the button back. So there is already uncertainty purposefully built into the recharge mechanic. What we are exploring is this notion of really monsters don't need crits.... "

By God! Jeremy is long winded. From that I would expect all monsters to get a recharge mechanic going forward.

Given the reduction on the swingness of the player crits and the elimination of monster crits they could reduce monster hit points. Tune the recharge mechanics and pretty much improve the CR system by a lot in the one pass.

The loss of omph on the players side would be compensated somewhat by the inspiration mechanic and the mosnters would be scary because does the recharge kick in before the party wins.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
So, I agree. The rules are not identical. But that doesn't mean that it isn't for good reasons.
I agree, never said the changes are bad - I went out of my way t say I wasn't jusding that. I like many of the changes.

My point has been that characters are central to what the players do, and we have a precedent for that changing being a half edition, 3.0 to 3.5. Saying it's one edition when the original core books of that edition and the new books "of that edition" would not be able to reproduce the same character mechanically.

My point is that this is a half edition change (at least), and is not the same edition as came out in 2014.
 

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