Playtest material is rolling out for the next great edition of Dungeons and Dragons – this time with the project name “One D&D” (for 5th edition it was D&D Next).
We have perused all playtest material and below is everything we know about the upcoming edition of Dungeons and Dragons or One D&D.
You can find current the current playest material on D&D Beyond and participate with your feedback.
This article is based on the information from:
Is this a new edition of Dungeons and Dragons and will it be called 6th Edition?
This will in fact be a new edition of Dungeons and Dragons, but unlike the shift from 4ed to 5ed (or from 3ed to 4ed), this will be a more gradual shift and the gap between 5 edition and 6 edition Dungeons and Dragons will be much smaller. It might not even feel like a new edition, but more like what happened with Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 (sorta of the same system, but a lot of big updates).
Some of the rules we have seen in recent books (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything springs to mind) will be the style and the way forward. So if you play with every new book, the jump from 5ed to the D&D One will be much smaller.
The “D&D One” is likely mostly a project name, just like D&D Next was the project name for 5 edition. Based on the information so far, we think it is likely it will not be called Dungeons and Dragons 6 edition officially.
They want to make this a gradual shift in edition, so they will like to downplay how big an impact it will have on your current books. It also seems like they want to break with the tradition of big edition changes from the past, so making a big “this is now 6 edition” will not be the best idea. This way of thinking is nice on paper, but it can lead to some major headaches in terms of compatibility and errata with older books…
Will my 5 edition Dungeons and Dragons books be obsolete when the new edition comes out?
Wizards will very much like you to think that all books will be valid and good, so you can keep on purchasing stuff even while the D&D one playtest stuff is in the works.
And yes, the new edition is supposed to be “compatible” with older books. But what exactly that means no one knows, and everything is guesswork right now.
What we do know is that the new edition will be in the same “framework”. So feats are still a thing, just like they are now. They might get reworked in balance, how you get them and so on but they are still “there”. The same with skills, stats on so on. So while you can still use an old version of the “Fighter Class” from your old book, it might have an errata and updates that you need to be aware of.
My guess on how all this will work out (based on Dungeons and Dragon 3.5 and how this goes down in other game systems)?
We will get a new version of the Players Handbook, Monsters Manual and the Gamemasters Guide. Once they land (might not be at the same time) a big update via an online FAQ/Eratta/Update will happen for all the old books. While you can likely still use your current 5ed Players Handbook, it can be nightmare to update everything in it. So by an large the new books will replace the old books once they get a new version. Some books might be super easy to use in the new system, others might feel like you can just as well throw them out.
Whether or not this makes your old books worthless or obsolete is very much a matter of interpretation. My own style: I will not buy any new books before the new edition lands. I have been burned too many times with books that are more or less paperweights only months after release (looking at you Games Workshop…).
What we know about Races in D&D One
It is clear that they will like to rebalance Races in such a way that they no longer provide stat points to specific stats (so much like the rules we saw in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything).
Some people will be up in arms over this. From a rules perspective, I very much like it. There is no reason that the race, which is very much a roleplay part of your character, had such a big influence on the mechanical aspects of what Class you could (efficiently) play.
It is also clear that they want to completely remove any sort of value-based/cultural ideas connected to races (so Drows as a race are not inherently evil and so on). As it is stated they want to take out the cultural aspect of races, so they can work in any sort of setting or system.
So no Hill dwarf because it is a cultural thing and it not something that exist in every setting. The “Culture” will more be related to the Background you pick.
So the races in the Players Handbook will likely be somewhat generic, but in other setting books they might have specific subraces that are more specific and grounded in the lore of that particular book.
Races will still give some sort of bonus, but it seems they are working toward a system where the race gives small bonuses and nothing major.
They are also working towards a new type of race in the Players Handbook, the Ardling. We will see if it makes the final cut. Oh, and the Orc will be standard Players Handbook fare (yeah!).
Backgrounds in the next edition of Dungeons and Dragons
A major idea is now at the forefront: by default you create your own background and backgrounds should all give the same set of bonuses.
In the test material right now the Make Your Own Default Background gives:
- +2 to a stat you select and +1 to another stat you select or you get +1 to three different stats you select (so the bonus from Races is moved to Backgrounds)
- 2 Skills proficiency
- 1 Tool proficiency
- 1 Language
- 1 First Level Feat
- Starting Pack (all packs are worth exactly the same now)
If you select a Background from the list of various Backgrounds it gives you specific skills, stats, feats and so on. But the list of Backgrounds should now be understood more in terms of examples. Very nice, like this system way better.
The biggest thing to note here is the term “First Level Feat” and the fact that you are getting a feat from first level no matter what you do. It looks like they want to make Feats a much bigger part of the game, instead of the weird “optional rules” place it was in before. A big yes from me!
What is happening to Feats in D&D One?
It looks like Feats will become a bigger and more integral part of the next edition of Dungeons and Dragons. They will become part of the core rules and every character will get a Feat at level 1.
Feats will also have a level requirement to take, wich will be a big improvement on how they originally worked. It used to be that you got a feat and you looked at the biiiig long list of feats and tried to pick one. The power level between feats was huge and that only escalated with the release of more books and feats.
They are working towards making sure Feats provide a bigger bonus than they used to and be more helpful overall. Reading the list from the Origins playtest, a lot of the feats would be ones that I would be excited to pick, and that was generally not the case with the feats from 5ed.
They describe feats as: a smaller class feature, locked to level, but not locked to a class. We will see revised feats and brand news feats.
If you get a spell via a feat, you will now be able to upscale it via your normal spellcasting class and spells.
Spells in D&D One
They are looking at dividing spells into 3 lists and giving a class access to a specific list. This makes sense, as it makes it easier to understand and it makes it easier to integrate new classes into the system.
The 3 lists are:
The list was sorta how it was structured before. This keyword now also makes it possible to give bonuses to casings of specific types of spells and so on.
Rolls of 1 and rolls of 20, Critical Hits and Conditions
A roll of a 1 now is always a failure and a roll of 20 is now always a success. Maybe that is not new to you, because that is how a lot of people played 5ed – but it was actually not totally correct.
The most interesting thing here is that you gain inspiration when you roll a 20. I like this rule very much and it looks like they are looking at ways of making inspiration a bigger part of the game (inspiration stuff is also mentioned in the Feat section of the Origin playtest).
Critical Hits are also looking to be changing slightly. It is now a function of Weapons or Unarmed strikes and you roll the damage dice of the weapon a second time. This will preclude Sneak Attack and the like from being rolled extra on a crit. It also looks like they are making crits a Player thing and not something Monsters can do. We will have to see where this one lands.
They are also looking at tweaking the various Conditions, but nothing very interesting from the first Origins playtest material.