In case you didn’t know, Dungeons and Dragons (commonly referred to as D&D or DnD) is a Fantasy Tabletop Roleplaying Game that was first published in 1974.
It’s gone through a fair few rule changes over the years, with the current edition, known as Fifth Edition or 5e, first coming into play in 2014. Under a brand new initiative by Wizards of the Coast, the makers of D&D, the game is set for yet another update due to come into force in 2024 – one decade after the release of Fifth Edition.
This initiative is codenamed “One D&D”, and it comprises three pillars – An overhaul of the rules to bring it more in line with the world we live in today, integration of the more digital aspects of D&D via D&D Beyond, and a brand new digital playspace.
Wizards of the Coast acquired D&D Beyond earlier this year, and it is the go-to tool for a lot of players when it comes to character creation, campaign maintenance, and homebrewing items. The books can be purchased digitally via D&D Beyond, allowing any additions from that book to be used in the tools that the site offers.
Wizards are now looking to integrate this further into the Dungeons & Dragons world, and the first major sign of this comes with the release of Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen, which will have a physical and digital bundle – the preorder of which gives you the campaign digitally two weeks early.
In addition, D&D beyond will be the location of the public playtests for One D&D and any new rule changes that may be proposed.
The world has changed a lot since 2014, and Wizards of the Coast have this in mind when creating the updated ruleset. A lot of the typecasting has been removed – for example, races will no longer give stat bonuses, this will instead come from the player’s background, with backgrounds also receiving a major overhaul.
It’s important to Wizards that your race determines what you are, not who you are – and so your choice of race will affect things like your physical ability (can you fly, what elements are you resistant to, do you have any innate magic, etc) but will have no bearing on your choice of class or personality. Races are also being expanded with some new features, and new races are even being added, including the Ardling – the angelic equivalent to the Tiefling, which might have the head of your favorite animal.
It’s not just character creation that’s seeing a change – in the current proposal feats are also being changed, becoming more like class features that don’t belong to a specific class. They now level up, and some have been completely rewritten or changed to make them more useful. The healer feat for example, a feat that typically was chosen by characters who didn’t have healing in their kit, will now allow you to reroll any 1s when you might roll when casting a healing spell.
There will also be a background creation tool, allowing you to create your own custom background, and spells will no longer be linked to classes specifically – rather they will belong to one of three spell lists.
Other features and rules have been changed too, either to make them more relevant and balanced or to incorporate rules which everyone agrees on and uses despite them not being official. A new “D20 Test” now officially makes 1s automatical fails, and 20s automatic successes, provided you don’t breach limitations such as range and line of sight.
Additionally, rolling a 20 now gives a character inspiration, which can be passed on to other players. Humans will get inspiration when they long rest as part of their racial bonuses, supposed to emulate the so-called “X-Factor” that humans so often have in sci-fi and fantasy.
It’s important to understand that these rule changes are proposals and they aren’t set in stone – player testing through D&D Beyond, which is available from today by the way, will shape the future of the updated rules.
In addition, the new ruleset isn’t a brand new game – it’s more like Wizards zooming in on specific pieces of content to see how they can get more from it, and taking into account feedback that has been acquired over the years from the Fifth Edition ruleset.
The final pillar of One D&D is an “early-in-development D&D digital play experience that will offer players and Dungeon Masters full immersion and rich 3D creation tools.” DMs will be able to import and customise 3d playspaces for their campaign, including miniatures of the characters and enemies in question.
These miniatures will be able to move around and explore the space, much like the tabletop battle map that many groups are currently using. Wizards are hoping this will make the experience more modern, immersive, and enjoyable for veterans and new players alike.
One D&D is already on its way, meaning you can head to D&D Beyond today to sign up to join the public playtests.