The New Evolution of Dungeons and Dragons
Wizards of the Coast, the owners of D&D and Magic TCG, had a plethora of announcements for both the role-playing game and the Magic card game. The current fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons is a major success for the brand. In the past couple of years, more people have been playing D&D than ever before in-person and even digitally online. Many have questioned what form the next edition will bring and it looks like it's coming. Named "One D&D", the new evolution of the ruleset is mysteriously referred to as edition-less.
We did a smart thing with fifth edition by listening to the fans. And what came out of that process, is a system that is stable, that is well-loved, that encorporates the best elements of earlier editions. Now that we have that, we are no longer in a position to think of D&D as an edition. It's just D&D.
Three-Pillars of One D&D
According to the annoucement there are three pillars of One D&D:
Ruleset built upon 5th edition
- based on 5th edition but updated
- supplements in the past 10 years will be compatible
- expanding the tools now that Wizards has acquired D&D Beyond
- physical/digital bundles for books and supplements
D&D Digital Play-space
- full play-space experience using Unreal Engine
- provide maps for new supplements and books
- ability to create your own maps
The ruleset of 5th edition, regardless of any opinion, has been the most popular edition that has really launched D&D into mass popularity. We can probably expect a lot of the expanded rules in some of the recent books to be included in this new One D&D ruleset. In the announcement, they mention they don't want to take anything away but give the players more. It's possible that One D&D can be flexible enough to bring in elements from previous editions that are more crunchy for those who want it and also have the flexibility to reduce complexity for a better roleplaying aspect. The modularity of the ruleset can be a powerful feature in this new edition if done right. The announcement states a 2024 release and they are already releasing playtesting content via their experimental Unearthed Arcana.
Integrated Digital Tools for Roleplaying
D&D has really evolved into a multiplatform game, especially in the past couple of years. Multiple tools and apps have been created to meet a need that wasn't there before for remote play. The D&D team has already taken steps to fully acquire D&D Beyond, the most popular online toolset so far. Now, they're trying to fill the last piece of the puzzle in digital play with their D&D Digital Play-space. Looking like a direct competitor to apps like Roll20, this new application looks to be an integrated experience for maps, miniatures, and live combat. Using the UnReal engine, it looks like they are fully invested in this experience, and is a really exciting feature.
A big pain point for many fans is having to buy both the digital supplement on D&D Beyond and the physical book separately. The announcement that Digital/Physical bundles are coming soon since they now completely own D&D Beyond. With a lower financial burden, instead of just sticking to digital or physical, the barrier of entry is open and we can see many more people stepping into both realms of play now.
An Exciting Time for D&D
This new One D&D ruleset is really exciting especially if they continue using the fans as a resource by utilizing Unearthed Arcana playtesting. Flexibility is key in this new edition and if done right, can appease both old-school and new players alike. So far, the announcement has been met with great excitement from both players and fans of the game.Playtest One D&D Here