One D&D Will Evolve The World’s Premiere RPG in 2024

One D&D Will Evolve The World's Premiere RPG in 2024 2

Don’t call it a new edition—Wizards of the Coast is looking to transcend generations with One D&D, a three-pronged revitalization of Dungeons & Dragons.

Rumours of a new version of Dungeons & Dragons have been swirling for a while now, speculated to be either a Sixth Edition or even a 5.5E. However, the next big thing for the game, as announced today during the Wizards Presents livestream, is One D&D, a threefold evolution and less of a distinct generational gap.

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The first part of this new initiative is a retooling of the game’s base rules and the core rulebooks—the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual—to incorporate years of feedback and fine-tune the mechanics that drive the entire game. The revised books are intended for release in 2024, and until then, players can participate in the playtesting process, starting today. The first packet of this beta material includes new rules for character origins: races, backgrounds, starting languages, and feats.

A similar feedback initiative helped shape Fifth Edition a decade ago, and recent products like Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and Monsters of the Multiverse have started to incorporate some of these changes to player races. According to lead designer Jeremy Crawford, the intent is to deconstruct the rules, examine playtest responses both from the new material and from the last decade, and reconstruct the game, so it feels like an improved version of the game players currently enjoy, yet is future-proofed for the next decade.

Pre-Fifth Edition playtest packets essentially contained the entire core rules in each iteration, but for One D&D, the packets will be smaller and more focused. These will work in conjunction with existing rules; you can use the first packet to change how you build a character’s race and background, and still use modern adventures.

In this first packet, for instance, the Tiefling race gets rounded out with new legacy options. Now they’ll be able to hail from other Lower Planes with the Abyssal and Chthonic legacies, and use the different innate magic and damage resistance those offer. Their supernal cousins, the Ardlings, are being added to the game as well, with three legacy options of their own corresponding to chaotic good, lawful good, and neutral good alignments.

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Other subtle changes in One D&D will continue the game’s initiative to be more racially sensitive. Ability score bonuses are no longer tied to race, a motion that began with recent books. Tieflings, humans, and many races can also choose to be either Small or Medium, more accurately portraying the range of heights in real-world humans.

Characters’ Backgrounds will see many welcome updates in One D&D. They’ve always been somewhat underwhelming in Fifth Edition, but now will serve as more than a roleplaying seed and a couple proficiencies. They will provide bonuses to two abilities (+2 for one, +1 for another), two skill proficiencies, one tool proficiency, a free feat, and will also be the source of a player’s three spoken languages and starting equipment—although, of course, this could be rebalanced by the time the final product is published. To accompany this shift, existing backgrounds are being expanded and complemented with even more options, alongside tools for players to customize their own.

Feats will also see an overhaul as they become more prevalent in character creation. Many will be repeatable, allowing players to essentially level up or improve those benefits.

Rule changes are the cornerstone of the One D&D initiative, but not the only aspect. The second pillar is integration with the D&D Beyond service. Wizards of the Coast purchased this service from Fandom earlier this year and is wisely bringing it closer into the fold. Digital/physical bundles will be available for new content starting with December’s Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen adventure, a change that fans have long requested. It seems these bundles will come at a slightly higher price point, though that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

If you already have a D&D Beyond account, you’ll be able to access the playtest packet today through this redemption page on their website.

The third pillar of the One D&D initiative is a full digital play-space. Third-party tools such as Roll20 and a bevy of fan-made Kickstarter products have existed for a long time, but Wizards of the Coast is bringing their own version, D&D Digital, to the equation. Their goal is ease of use, giving players and Dungeon Masters all the tools they need, at their fingertips.

One D&Amp;D Will Incorporate A Digital Tabletop Tool, Utilizing Unreal Engine, To Bring Adventures To Life And Put Tools At Your Fingertips.
One D&D will incorporate a digital tabletop tool, utilizing Unreal Engine, to bring adventures to life and put tools at your fingertips.

As shown in the reveal trailer, this 3D digital tabletop uses the “tilt-shift camera” to give the feeling of looking at an actual board with miniatures and scenery. They’re utilizing Unreal Engine to, quote, “make it look dope.” DMs will be able to take premade elements and reconfigure them for their own use, and players will be able to customize their character’s appearance. The software looks impressive, and with the advent of D&D Beyond, the prospects are promising.

The dev team at Wizards of the Coast looks at One D&D as building on top of Fifth Edition, and as such, all existing content will be compatible. By the time the revised rulebooks are finished and published, Fifth Edition itself will be ten years old, so it’s a great opportunity to rebalance it—improving the experience for veterans, and making it inviting for newcomers.

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