Earlier this summer 2022, Wizards of the Coast made a few announcements. One of them was for the next iteration of Dungeons & Dragons. Instead of going with a new number as they previously did, they opted for rebranding it as One D&D, a backward compatible edition that built on the feedback and rule additions in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, and other minor tweaks since the 2014 release of D&D 5E. As always, the playtest material they released is still just that –for playtesting and not a final edit. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a peek
Apparently I had more to say about it than I initially imagined, so I’ve broken it down into three parts – What I likes, With this I took issue, and Wait and find out.
WHAT I LIKED …
Characters start with Common, a language from their background, and a language of their choice.
With everyone fluent in Common and access to spells like Comprehend Languages, language proficiencies often seemed more flavour than crunch. I admit, I like that flavour and anything that gets more languages out there is for the better. Languages can be a prompt for a background experience, a means of secret communication, and even a modifier to social interaction rolls if the DM approves. That language of choice also fits into the current paradigm of keeping race / lineage separate from cultural heritage as most of the races in this document do not start with a language.
Side note – They have included a Common Sign Language as part of the Urchin Background and Standard Languages. It’s an interesting move towards inclusivity.
More diverse abilities based on Race
Ardlings and Tieflings are resistant to more than just fire. Dragonborn join the many with dark vision. Dwarves have a limited tremor sense. Orc traits are rebranded.
- Dwarves are the big winners here, with more flexibility on what tool proficiency they gain and the limited tremor sense uses per day.
- Of the races described in the document, the non-darkvision races now number ardling, human, and halfling, which still isn’t the lowest percentage of core races lacking improved vision of some sort.
- Gnome tinkering is better defined, but perhaps too tightly defined in this version.
- Orc history still acknowledges the ‘Gifts of Gruumsh’ and the traits sound less savage. However they no longer have that bonus damage die on a critical hit.
- We have an official pronunciation for TEEF-lings J. Previously published material on Tiefling lineage has been included so expect to see it in the New Edition in 2024.
Limited uses based on proficiency bonus and long rests
In general, I’m in favour of this shift. The recovery of abilities over a short rest felt imbalanced between certain classes. I remain curious what changes will be made to the warlock class as a significant amount of the mechanical appeal came from their spell slot recovery over a short rest. It hits the Fighter Battle Master just as hard if their superiority dice only recover after a long rest. We will have to see how other classes might get adapted as well.
Feats at first level
Characters start with a specific feat derived from their Backgrounds.
When running a game at my table, one of the house rules is to start with feat at first level. Feats are cool and they add an opportunity to craft your character a little bit different from other characters even if you are both playing the same class. For those first few opportunities for a feat or stat increase when levelling up, it is rare to ignore improving that class’s primary stat and instead opt for a feat.
Slow has now been defined as a condition and Grappled means more than just a speed of 0.
It’s about time for this change. I’ve had a post it note of the effects of slow on my DM screen for some time now. Meanwhile, my table has played around with many house rules with grappling to make it meaningful (for example, we added the opportunity to attempt as a second grapple action to impose the Restrained condition). I’m also a fan of making the DC to escape something more static (the 8 + Str Mod + Prof makes it akin to a spell save, but also means fewer Dex grapplers unless there is a feat introduced that allows for it) and have tried that at our table.
I’m currently on the fence about making the escape a saving throw rolled at the end of a creature’s turn. It means that a PC gets to attempt something rather than potentially failing to escape as their action and having a very boring turn. But there is something that feels like that isn’t how the action economy should work.
There are changes here that I approve of, primarily bringing more options to creating those first level characters. A few things I didn’t go into detail on involved just cleaning up the language and inclusion of things that appeared in the expansions. It certainly isn’t perfect …
Stay tuned for With this I take issue …
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