Dungeons & Dragons Moves Beyond Editions With One D&D

Dungeons & Dragons Moves Beyond Editions With One D&D

Dungeons & Dragons’ fifth edition days are finally numbered, as Wizards of the Coast has unveiled the “next generation” is currently codenamed One D&D.

Described as being a move beyond the numbered, discrete editions that have defined D&D for decades, One D&D is taking a “three pillar” approach to its player experience and development processes.

Revealed at Wizards Presents, One D&D isn’t quite the Sixth Edition or ‘5.5’ many players were expecting. Instead, it will be building on the foundational work Fifth Edition has developed in its ten-year history, with senior game design architect Chris Perkins describing it as “we are no longer in a position of [thinking] of D&D as an edition. It’s just D&D”.

Launching sometime in 2024, One D&D will feature “structural changes” to D&D’s rules, which will be fully updated in new core books (the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual). Perkins, whose primary focus is on the Dungeon Master’s Guide, says that the goal is to make DMing more accessible for newcomers, without overly changing how it works for existing, established players.

We can see some of these changes already, with released products like Monsters Of The Multiverse. We’ll also be seeing it in frequent playtesting through “Playtest Packages”, which are similar to the existing Unearthed Arcana, but are focused on testing concrete rules changes coming in One D&D. The first of these packages is available today, bringing multiple changes to existing character races such as Humans and Tieflings, while also introducing a new one to try out.

One D&D is being designed under a ‘three pillar’ philosophy, with the aim of reflecting how players access D&D today. The first pillar is backwards compatibility, with One D&D being fully compatible with all campaigns, adventures, characters, and resources introduced for Fifth Edition.

The second pillar is digital play. Following its acquisition by Wizards of the Coast earlier this year, D&D Beyond is becoming the primary digital hub for the game, with all the tools players and DMs need being integrated into a single service, instead of stretched out across disparate sites. We’ll be seeing the first real push towards this later this year, when Dragonlance: Shadow Of The Dragon Queen will offer bundles that give players both the physical and digital copies of the book at the same time.

While D&D Beyond is offering digital tools for physical play, the final pillar of One D&D is the “D&D Digital Experience”. Built in the Unreal Engine and designed to “take care of the Lazy DM”, this will be a tool that will allow DMs to build dungeons and environments, as well as manage their games in a tabletop-like digital space.

Wizards is keen to impress upon people that this isn’t a game, and isn’t a single-player adaptation of D&D. Instead, it’s a way to bring D&D’s usual tabletop gameplay in an enhanced digital space, with digital editions of campaigns including assets that can be freely moved from campaign to campaign, just as you could a physical miniature.

One D&D will be released in 2024, with testing taking place over the next year available through D&D Beyond.

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