OneD&D Character Origins summary

First, to anyone who's seen this mentioned but doesn't want to watch an hour long video, you get the new D&D playtest packets on D&D beyond here. (Yes, I know, old news - but the direct link is surprisingly hard to find). I've been through it making notes, in part so no one actually needs to dive into the currently 27 page thread.

Jumping straight to the meat this is an unearthed arcana that works with races and backgrounds and there are simultaneously some very big and minor changes.
  • Ability score bonuses are now a feature of your background not your race. This of course means that new style and old style characters are effectively even but the politics is less of an issue. It's also explicit that if you get ability scores from your race you don't get them from your background so you can mix and match.
  • Long Rests are defined and any combat interrupts them. Short rests are mentioned only for this interruption.
  • All natural 20s are successes - and grant Inspiration as their kicker bonus.
  • Critical hits only affect weapon damage (alas, poor rogues unless it's a class feature). And are only for PCs
  • There's a new condition in Slowed.
  • Backgrounds, instead of a cute special ability all get a feat from the first level feats list. Feats come with explicit levels now - and feats are by default part of the game.
  • Backgrounds are by default Custom Background (+2 to one ability, +1 to another or +1 to three abilities, two skills, a tool, a language, a first level feat, and 50gp of gear). The listed backgrounds are now just suggestions.
  • Half-races other than Halflings are gone.
  • Two new default races
    • Aardlings (Aasimar mixed with animals)
    • Orcs
  • Races are tweaked and things like multiple subtypes of dwarf and halfling have been dropped (halflings are now all lightfoot and get stealth proficiency rather than hiding behind other people. All weapon and armour proficiencies have been dropped
    • Humans are all vumans now - but have the same stat bonuses as anyone else. They've gained Inspiration every long rest - but can explicitly only take first level feats. So no Great Weapon Master, Polearm Master, or +1 to a stat.
    • Dragonborn are nerfed back to their PHB level of use of breath weapons (i.e. full action, 15ft cone) but at least now have darkvision. It's still a horrible nerf that needs playtesters to tell them to stop the nerf
    • People who get free non-cantrip spells get a free cantrip at L1, a first level at L3, and a second level at L5 - in line with Monsters of the Multiverse
    • Tieflings now have access to Abyssal, Cthonic, and Infernal bloodlines by default. They all get thaumaturgy - and an attack cantrip by default.
  • There are by default Arcane, Divine, and Primal spell lists. It's implied that e.g. all arcane casters have access to the entire Arcane list plus additional class spells based on what they are.

Feats are all explicitly first level. This has a lot of implications including hopefully some really powerful L16 feats.
  • There are no feats that gain +1 to a stat - at least not that first level characters can take.
  • There are almost no "power feats" like Great Weapon Master or War Caster. There are a couple that have been nerfed.
    • Lucky only gives advantage (post-rolling) rather than super-advantage if you already had either advantage or (worse) disadvantage, and works proficiency times per long rest. There's no roll disadvantage, get a 20 and a 3, and then use lucky to take the 20.
    • Alert is only proficiency bonus to initiative - and instead of the other effects you can swap initiative
  • Healer's been reworked - it now helps magical healing (reroll 1s) and when you use it for battle medic it lets a creature spend a hit dice then you add prof bonus to the hit points recovered
  • Magic Initiate only allows access to the core Arcane/Divine/Primal lists but allows any mental stat. To me the power pick is Primal for Shillelagh and Healing Word - although Arcane for a couple of utility cantrips and Shield looks awesome for a cleric. And a lot of people will take Magic Initiate for a pair of cantrips and Find Familiar. Or Hex. (As a DM the only one that worries me is the cleric with heavy armour, a shield, and Shield)
  • Craftsman and Musician are excellent new additions; both of them fluffy but with a kicker. And some interesting consequences
    • RAW all musical instruments are 20GP. This includes grand pianos, pipe organs, penny whistles and your own voice
    • Gaming Sets are tool proficiencies meaning that the relevant feat for a gambler is Craftsman. This says interesting things about crafters - and possibly justifies the Crafter's discount
  • Tavern Brawler gives a shove not a grapple. It also no longer gives +1 to a stat - but its rivals as combat feats are Tough and Savage Attacker. And Monks now have a good reason to take for the free shoves and rerolling 1s on the damage dice.

My take is that I really dislike the Dragonborn being nerfed almost all the way back to 2014. There's a bit of polishing I'd suggest in other places (notably 20% reductions from the Crafter feat). Vumans being nerfed is irritating but very much for the best. It's a hefty polish/errata but I don't actually see fundamental changes.
 

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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
If they’re letting feats scale now (especially with prof bonus), my expectation would be that GWM/SS go to -prof/+2*prof instead of -5/+10.
 

Savage Attacker (already bad lol) also got nerfed. It still applies to 1 attack/turn, but now only applies when you take the Attack Action, so doesn't apply on Bonus Action attacks, or more importantly, Opportunity Attacks, taking a 3/10 Feat to like, 2/10.
Can't agree with you at all here I'm afraid. What makes Savage Attacker into complete trash in the 5e PHB is that it's competing with feats like Great Weapon Master, Polearm Master, and Sentinel. It's also competing with feats that raise your damage by giving you +1 to your primary stat and that do something else like Heavy Armour Master (or from Tasha's Cutter/Crusher/Piercer).

Meanwhile in this playtest document Savage Attacker is a first level feat. It's not trying to compete with any of the above feats I've mentioned - and is the primary extra damage first level feat (the only other two options are Tavern Brawler and arguably Lucky). And it's otherwise competing with feats like Durable or even Magic Initiate for combat capability and in a group where Skilled isn't a bad choice.

Does that make it a good feat? No.. But if it's moved from a 3/10 feat to a 2/10 feat when compared to all feats (I'd argue it's stayed unchanged) when we look at it in the context of first level feats it's a 2/5 feat (or a 3/5 feat) because none of the power picks are allowed at first level.

And then given it's the best feat available to do a common primary thing that people want and ties in with their concept I'd give it at least half an extra point and possibly even a full one. Putting it up to 3.5/5 among first level feats, which isn't too bad.

Of course it's still a 3/10 feat that no longer gets the bonus if you take it at a level where there are power picks.
 

Does that make it a good feat? No.. But if it's moved from a 3/10 feat to a 2/10 feat when compared to all feats (I'd argue it's stayed unchanged) when we look at it in the context of first level feats it's a 2/5 feat (or a 3/5 feat) because none of the power picks are allowed at first level.

And then given it's the best feat available to do a common primary thing that people want and ties in with their concept I'd give it at least half an extra point and possibly even a full one. Putting it up to 3.5/5 among first level feats, which isn't too bad.
I understand your reasoning here but I fundamentally disagree and I'm going to use the T-word. Trap Feat. Sorry. That's what it is - "Are you too simple for mathematics? Do you not understand planning a character? Are you terrible at assessing the real game value of stuff? Do you want slightly complicate your character for a gain so small it's hard to even measure? If so here's a Feat for you!"

It's so bad that it's a goddamn Trap Feat.

And it's up against feats like a BETTER version of Magic Initiate, Lucky, Alert, Skilled. Those are also first-level Feats. All but Magic Initiate make sense for the same kinds of PC as Savage Attacker. It's awful. Even Toughness would be a better use of your L1 Feat.

Like, if we score L1 Feats from 1-5 as you suggest, it is absolutely not a 3.5/5 Feat, because that means pretty much every single other L1 Feat has to be a 4, 4.5 or 5 lol.
 


So I spent a bunch of my Summer helping little kids make D&D characters. There's a lot I like here from an introducing new players perspective, but on that front I really dislike first level feats tied to backgrounds as presented. It's great for new players that want an existing background. But the thing is that a lot of new players would rather just come up with their own background. This is not an advanced option to me, so much as something to facilitate accessibility and decision making for people who don't want to read through pages of backgrounds. With an experienced player's help someone can just say "I want to be a swamp dweller" and they can make up that background.

Now on the one hand it is easier than ever to create a custom background with the flavorful but useless background features and equipment removed. I applaud this move. But, now the background has to have a feat, which ties in a whole, much more complicated system.

It used to be that when a kid said something like "swamp dweller" as their desired background, I would just help them think of two suitable skills, and two suitable tools or languages, and then ignore the pointless background ability and crappy random equipment. Now there's a damned feat involved.

I think it would be easiest for new players, and those helping them, if they just got a feat giving expertise in their background skills by default (I think people should be experts in the things they did their entire life until they became adventurers anyway, and especially since the background skills often don't tie to a characters prime stat, it's hardly overpowered). Then, as an advanced option this could be swapped out for other "level one" feats.

I think first level feats tied to backgrounds is a great idea, but a simple, catch-all default option that doesn't require understanding the feat system would make it much more accessible for new players.
 

I also dislike the presentation of language as another momentous decision characters have to make. It just seems keyed to overwhelm new players for something that often won't matter much. And what's with all adventurers being trilingual minimum now? I realize the average number of languages known probably isn't really any different than current 5e, but monolingual characters should be a possibility.
 




DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
So what is WoTC's excuse for nerfing the Dragonborn's Breath Weapon back to the PHB version? curious
Probably to find out how many people own Fizban's and liked the power-up the breath weapon got. The survey will tell them whether most people were appreciative of the Fizban boost, or if most people didn't really care either way.

So folks should make sure to fill out the survey if they want to see the Fizban level maintained.
 


Savage Attacker (already bad lol) also got nerfed. It still applies to 1 attack/turn, but now only applies when you take the Attack Action, so doesn't apply on Bonus Action attacks, or more importantly, Opportunity Attacks, taking a 3/10 Feat to like, 2/10.
Kinda came here for this. Even moving it among some of the weaker feats (plus Lucky), it's still garbage. IMO Lucky probably needs to be pulled off the lv 1 list, but I do like the change to Proff instead of a flat 3.
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
Savage Attacker (already bad lol) also got nerfed. It still applies to 1 attack/turn, but now only applies when you take the Attack Action, so doesn't apply on Bonus Action attacks, or more importantly, Opportunity Attacks, taking a 3/10 Feat to like, 2/10.
So far, I agree. But it feels like something wonky is happening with crits behind the scenes.

It's odd because it feels like everything crit related is being nerfed but...against players since monsters can't crit anymore? Weird, wonder what they're getting at.
 

Not sure if I like ANY combat interrupting a long rest. DMs can already interrupt your rest by suggesting more enemies are nearby. The rule seems like it's going to be used in a somewhat negative or annoying way more often than a suspenseful or meaningful way.
 

Setting aside the Asian nesting doll issues regardless of how they choose to address race or lineage, it's a pretty solid mix of good mediocre and bad.

I'm really curious if they're going to move feats from optional to core how much time they're going to spend balancing in them. They gave up halfway through next for good reasons.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Not sure if I like ANY combat interrupting a long rest. DMs can already interrupt your rest by suggesting more enemies are nearby. The rule seems like it's going to be used in a somewhat negative or annoying way more often than a suspenseful or meaningful way.
There is nothing WotC can do to stop an irritating DM. Annoying DMs and going to annoy regardless of the rules. WotC cannot make all their design decisions around trying to stop those people.
 


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