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One D&D Changes

One DnD 2024 Core Rules

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One DnD 2024 Core Rules

What’s Changing and What to Expect

Despite the claims that 5th edition will only be growing rather than updating to a new edition, dungeons and dragons is still getting a new set of core books in 2024. Is One D&D really 5.5? Is this just a bunch of new stuff for 5th? Will all my old builds, monsters, and adventure paths still work in this brave new world of TTRPGs? Grab your character sheets and your big pouch of shiny math rocks as we go through everything you need to know.

One D&D Changes

Caveats and Best Guesses

Before we get too far, at the time of this writing WotC has been very hesitant to confirm or deny much of anything about One D&D. The interviews and videos they’ve released have been frustratingly vague and while we can glean quite a bit from the Unearthed Arcana playtests we have no confirmation on what will make it into the final products from those playtests. Everything we currently have is at best, educated guesswork. 


What are These New Books?

We don’t have official names for them yet, but we know WotC is working on functional replacement/upgrades for the player’s handbook, the DM’s guide, and the monster manual. Functionally, these three books represent the “core rules” of dungeons and dragons, and in any other situation we’d be considering this a new edition. They keep promising however that this will be a sort of “updating” or “upgrading” of 5th edition rather than a new edition, but the reality remains to be seen.


Fundamentally this means a complete overhaul (or at least upgrade) to character creation, base mechanics, and monster designs.


When Do New Books Come Out?

Even this is quite hazy. We have multiple announcements and advertisements that say all three of the new core books will be released “in 2024” which is uncharacteristically vague. Previous releases have given us firm release dates months in advance so this may be hinting at a very late 2024 release.


We did get a leak however. An official image and tweet that was very rapidly taken down advertises that the new core books will be releasing on May 21st 2024, but that date has been scrubbed from the website. We’ll see if that date was taken down because of delays, or if they were just jumping the gun on the announcement. 


Will I Need These Books to Play D&D?

Nothing is ever going to stop you from playing D&D 5th edition as it is now. The books aren’t going to disappear and all the content you already own will still work just fine. You may need to buy these new core books for any new content released after it though.


Based on what we’ve seen so far, they’re attempting to integrate this new content rather than replace the old content, but regardless of their claims most of what we’ve seen consists of functional replacements. This means that for any adventure paths or supplements we’ll see after these new core books come out will use them as a foundation.


What About the New Virtual TableTop?

WotC has been working on its own virtual tabletop version of D&D for a few years now. Virtual tabletops are typically system agnostic, but this one will be decidedly D&D exclusive. It’ll also be the new D&D exclusive on release, so if you’re planning on booting up the shiny new VTT, expect to need a few new books along with it.


Based on what we’ve seen this new VTT will likely be quite good, but it’ll also likely carry a monthly subscription fee. Keep that in mind when you start considering what system to run after the change over.


What is Actually Changing?

You’ll have to take all of this with a grain of salt since it’s not actually released yet, but we can still run down all the things that have been strongly hinted at and how they’ll affect your games.


Background Ability Scores

Something they’ve openly talked about is switching your starting ASI (ability score increase) from a racial feature to a background feature. Functionally many builds will stay as they are but you’ll get a lot less pressure to select specific races for classes that use their boosted ability score. It also makes a bit more sense that your early life and career makes that difference rather than just what you were born as and helps cut down on biological determinism. 


Aardlings

It seems that aasimar are no more and are being replaced by the aardlings, animal-headed celestial creatures either born on the higher planes or with angelic ancestors. Weird choice here, but I highly suspect that it has something to do with the fact that WotC doesn’t own the word aasimar and can’t copyright it, but they’ll own these angel animals whole cloth.


Ability Score Increases are Feats Now

This is less of a change than you’d think, but the fiddly “trading” your ability score increase for a feat has been made into simply gaining a “feat” with the “ability score increase feat” as the default option. 


Bastions

Basically a base-building mechanic, this will seem very familiar to players who remember strongholds and they seem to be picking up a lot of those old ideas. Bastions are structures that grant bonuses for resting in them and build up special points the players can spend to essentially gain resupplies and reinforcements.


Classes are Getting Overhauled

Every class has been combed through and updated. Some are functionally about the same, while some have been completely reshaped into something new. There are far too many changes to go over them all here, but I can at least list some of the most drastic changes.


Druids started the playtest VERY differently, but they seem to have settled on relatively minor changes to how wild shapes work. Druids will now get to wild shape as a bonus action by default, but in exchange they’ll only be able to select a few wild shape options rather than having the whole monster manual on their roster.


Sorcerers are getting a bunch of substantial tweaks, and the one I’m most excited for is that converting your sorcery points into spells no longer takes a bonus action. We’re also messing a bit with the sorcerer archetype progression, so it’ll be strange to see how they consolidate that with older sorcerer archetypes.


Warlocks are surprisingly similar to their current state but practically all the invocations have gotten tuned and altered slightly. We’re also getting some limited capacity to regain spell slots (thank god) and you’ll find a lot of the language in pact magic has been cleaned up.


Class Groups

This is sort of an internal change that won’t affect play much, but all the character classes are getting placed into one of 4 class groups: experts, mages, priests, and warriors. This may seem familiar if you played back in 4th edition, but essentially some abilities and effects would only be usable or only apply to certain classes. A good current example of this are all those magical items that are usable by “spellcasters only”, in One D&D “spellcasters” will instead be the “mage class group”. 


For players this will only really be a guideline for what general battlefield role they can expect each class to take, and what powers they can expect to gain as the class advances. 


Level 1 Feats

Practically every background printed in 2023 had this already and had to make caveats for “if you’re not playing this way”. It is all but confirmed that once the new books roll around every background will also provide a feat at 1st level. It looks like most backgrounds will provide a specific feat, but some will give a choice between a short list of feat options.


Level 20 Capstone Feats

While most games don’t reach level 20 anyway, they are trying to make reaching that high bar a bit more enticing. In addition to having a unique capstone feature, One D&D will introduce “epic boons”, extremely powerful feats that can only be taken at level 20, or potentially at post-20 gameplay.


Functionally, this does make your capstone feature more flexible, but 20th-level games are so rare to begin with this isn’t likely to make much of a difference at your game tables. That being said WotC has hinted at trying to make extremely high tier play more workable, so we’ll see if “epic adventures” and their epic boons stick the landing.


Spell Lists

Rather than having a unique spell list for each class, we’re now dividing all spells into three spell lists, arcane, divine, and primal. On one hand this removes some of the uniqueness of each class, but on the other it really does streamline things quite a bit. Arcane, divine, and primal do a good job of laying out the general behind-the-scenes divisions we already had anyway and makes looking up spells much simpler.


Weapon Mastery

Every weapon category is now getting a “weapon mastery” that can be unlocked through class features “mainly from the warrior classes”. For example, the weapon mastery for great axes is called “cleave”, which allows you to make an additional attack at an adjacent creature once you hit the first one with your mighty swing.


This is a fun idea that gives weapons more utility and more powerful options when in the hands of characters that are specifically trained in them, without just locking other characters out of using the weapons.


In the ever-evolving landscape of Dungeons & Dragons, the anticipation surrounding One D&D 2024 Core Rules is palpable. So, ready your character sheets and brace yourselves for the dawn of a new era in tabletop roleplaying. May your quests be epic, your battles legendary, and your stories unforgettable. Until then, let the anticipation fuel our imaginations as we eagerly await the next chapter in the saga of Dungeons & Dragons.

 

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