Wizards Lay Out The Future Of D&D With One D&D Playtesting

August 19, 2022 by brennon

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Wizards Of The Coast yesterday dropped the big new roadmap for what's coming to Dungeons & Dragons over the next few years. 2024 will signal the release of new core books for D&D but they were quick to say that this isn't a new edition in the traditional sense. Instead, we have One D&D which will be the future of the game going forward.

One D&D Logo - Wizards Of The Coast

One D&D // Wizards Of The Coast

Playtest One D&D

As you'll see in the trailer down below, One D&D is their move to get rid of the idea of editions (although I feel they'll be hard pressed to convince others to stop naming them so!) in favour of a set of iterating rules that use the basis of 5th Edition as what drives them.

One D&D - World Reveal Trailer

What does that mean? Well, everything that is coming over the next few years when it comes to playtesting and eventually in the new books will be compatible with all of the books that have been released so far for 5th Edition. Yes, there will be changes (which we'll go into later) but at its heart, this is more of a 5.5 than anything radical. It feels a little bit like the shift from 3rd Edition to 3.5 Edition rather than the HUGE changes made in 4th.

However, similarly to how the 5th Edition came to life, One D&D is going to be a collaborative process that involves the players of the game as much as it does the designers. They have already begun offering up playtesting material for One D&D that you can use in your campaigns right now. Feeding back to the designers will then help them shape what One D&D eventually turns into when the new books arrive.

Playtesting One D&D - New Rules, Classes, Races & More

As I mentioned above, yes, there are changes. You can find them over at D&D Beyond in the first of their Unearthed Arcana Playtest documents but I'll summarise them here as well. You can also watch them talking about it in the video below!

Unearthed Arcana: Character Origins | One D&D

So, what's new? Well, for starters the traditional racial bonuses for Dwarves, Elves, Humans and the like are no longer tied to their lineage. Instead, the bonuses to your statistics that you get during character creation are intertwined with the new way Backgrounds work in D&D.


This, when you think about it, makes more sense. What you did before you became an adventurer informs what you're good and bad at far more than what the race that you happened to be born into. This builds on changes that had already been introduced as options in previous 5th Edition books but now makes it the standard rather than an option. Don't worry, you can still make your wise and tough Dwarf, you just have the option to go down a different route.

Backgrounds are also, as standard, custom. So you are allowed to put your pluses and such wherever you like and tailor your characters to fit your vision. Backgrounds will also give you a 1st Level Feat (which is a big bonus!) and the Skills that they used to offer in 5th Edition.


Talking of Feats, they have now been updated to have levels. This means that when you're starting out you won't have to pour over an exhaustive list but instead just hone in on particular levels that apply to your character in the moment. Feats have also been given a boost so that they just do more. They have also been tailored so that they work well for particular Classes but could also be taken by anyone should they wish. The examples they used were Alert being better for Rogues now and Musician working well for Bards.


So, what does your Race give you now? Well, for the majority of Races nothing much changes. However, some have been updated. As they explained in the video, they want the mechanics you benefit from when choosing a Race to make you "the Dwarfiest Dwarf" or "the Elfiest Elf". To that end, things like Dwarf Stonecunning have been updated to give more tangible and useful mechanical in-game benefits.

There is also a new Race, the Ardlings! Ardlings are linked to Divine beings and will have access to spiritual wings that will offer them short periods of flight. They can also be tied to a particular Legacy which offers up interesting aesthetic options. Ardlings, like many divine beings within our own myth and legend, often take on the shape and form of animals in some way. So, you might have the visage of a pig, cat, crocodile, bear or whatever takes your fancy. Kinda funky!

Mechanical Changes

There are a few more elements of One D&D to drill down into but I'll leave that for you to explore. It should be noted however that there are some changes to the way the base mechanics of the game work. We start with Inspiration.

Inspiration was an often overlooked element of gameplay (a pocket "Advantage" roll that you could save in your back pocket). Inspiration can now be gained whenever you roll a natural twenty on a test! Pretty cool that you now get an extra bonus for doing well.

Talking of the natural twenty, this now applies to every roll. It used to be that a Critical would only trigger in combat but it now applies to all rolls in the game. Critical Hits in combat have also been changed so that they now only apply to weapons and unarmed strikes in combat.

As an interesting change, Monsters can now also no longer Crit. This was changed to match the use of static damage by a lot of Dungeon Masters and to make the Recharge abilities of larger creatures now far more of a focus. The Dungeon Master now controls when the damage lands rather than the dice. An interesting change!

These are just some of the changes that you'll be able to playtest in your D&D games. There are many, many more coming.

What do you think so far?

"These are just some of the changes that you'll be able to playtest in your D&D games. There are many, many more coming..."

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