Lords, ladies, lads, and lasses, here we go again. It’s difficult as a gamer in my age bracket to not think that a new version of a TTRPG isn’t more than a money grab. That was my initial reaction. I’m still not convinced it isn’t true.
5th Edition D&D came out in 2014. With the 10th anniversary of this edition, and the 50th anniversary of the game as a whole, there will be a lot hype between now and then. Our weird fandom is now considered mainstream. I’ve watched the announcement video and the plans they have for it: Doing away with editions, having their own Virtual Table Top (VTT) using the Unreal engine, and expanding their use of D&D Beyond to include hardbacks alongside the PDFs of new books. The next preorder campaign is priced at $59.99 and is set in the Dragonlance setting.
I don’t blame them. I understand the need for growth, at least in the way a company says it. Will they truly make the new stuff backwards compatible? Will old players call it One D&D, D&DOne, or 5.5? I don’t know, and I won’t be a gatekeeper. It’s D&D! Pass me my dice and let’s roll!
Prepping for the new Players Handbook, which is slated for 2024, has already begun. The 1st Unearthed Arcana article under the One D&D banner is out, and it covers Character Origins. This is playtest material, and my friends and I will be doing just that.
Racial choices do not have statistic increases tied to them. You pick a race and it gives you some mechanical features like spells, special senses, or even a breath weapon. You can even be of mixed lineage. Half-orcs and Half-elves are gone. Instead any humanoid race can have a child together. you pick which parent you get your mechanical features from, average their lifespans, and finally describe your aesthetics as a mix of the two.
Second you choose your background. Rather, next you customize your background. They have emphasized making the choices you want to make: What attribute bumps you get (+2/+1, or +1/+1/+1), 2 Skills, 1 Tool, 1 Language, 50gp worth of gear, and 1 first level feat. Feats are getting a retooling. A select few are in the current UA, and they all have some interesting twists.
The magic system has been recategorized: Arcane, Divine, and Primal. No more spell lists for exclusive classes. There’s a glossary explaining some familiar terms that now have unfamiliar meanings.
The big stink among my friends seems to be how critical fails, successes, and damage are handled. All 3 types of d20 tests can crit fail or succeed, be they skill, attack, or saving throw. Critical damage however has gotten a serious nerf, though.
Weapons and Unarmed strikes roll twice the number of dice on critical hits. No spells, smites, or sneak attacks are mentioned. Make of that what you will. As for me and my friends, we will continue to play Weapons and Unarmed strikes roll twice the number of dice on critical hits. No spells, smites, or sneak attacks are mentioned. Make of that what you will. As for me and my friends we will continue to play and have fun while we argue over the new RAW versus RAI.
Live, laugh, loot!