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As part of a new publishing initiative, Wizards of the Coast plans to make a number of changes to Dungeons & Dragons, which includes the introduction of an official virtual playing space, physical/digital book bundles, and an eventual 2024 re-release of the core D&D rule books.

This initiative, “One D&D,” marks a significant move by Wizards of the Coast to move Dungeons & Dragons into the modern gaming landscape, in what D&D‘s design architect Jeremy Crawford calls “the start of a new generation.”

Around the start of 2021, there were a lot of resources online for anyone who wanted to play D&D over a Zoom call or via a shared virtual space, but comparatively few of them were official Wizards of the Coast products. One D&D, to some extent, is an attempt to change that.

Under One D&D, Wizards plans to release its own virtual play space; restructure and streamline the game’s rules; and try to organize all of its the digital play tools for D&D together into a single place.

What One D&D definitely isn’t, however, is a totally new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Speaking at an advanced press briefing via Zoom call on Tuesday morning, Wizards’ designers were careful to note that One D&D is “building on top of 5th edition,” rather than replacing it in any significant way.

Instead, the plan is to restructure and reorganize the game’s core rules, based upon what Crawford calls “the lessons learned from the last decade.” This will be done over the course of the next year with a series of open playtests, which is planned to lead to a re-release of the three main books for D&D–the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Monster Manual–in 2024. This also coincides with the 10th anniversary of D&D‘s 5th edition.

Back in April, Wizards’ parent company Hasbro acquired the popular digital toolset D&D Beyond. Now that Beyond is an official D&D affiliate, Wizards plans to make use of it as a direct digital storefront, through offering deals that bundle a physical book together with its digital edition via D&D Beyond.

(Wizards of the Coast Image)

The first product to make use of the deal is the December Dragonlance adventure Shadow of the Dragon Queen. Players who buy its physical/digital bundle will get the ebook two weeks early on Nov. 22 via D&D Beyond, followed by the physical edition when it releases on Dec. 6. The bundle’s deluxe edition (above) also includes the board game Warriors of Krynn and a special Dungeon Master’s screen.

Another pillar of One D&D is Wizards moving into the digital playset arena, alongside competitors like TaleSpire and Tabletop Simulator. D&D Digital is a “future-facing aspect” where players can make, create, and play with all-virtual miniatures sets and dungeon maps.

D&D Digital is currently being made in-house with the Unreal Engine (“to make it look dope,” according to the project’s vice president Chris Cao) and is in early development.

A virtual miniature from the official D&D Digital play space program, currently in early development. (Wizards of the Coast screenshot)

The rules changes that are coming with One D&D are intended to, as Crawford puts it, “integrate lessons learned from the last decade” of their work on the game. The team plans to restructure and expand the core rules of D&D 5th edition, with revisions, new versions of playable races, and many new options like special backgrounds or feats that can only be taken at first level.

These changes will be in open playtest for the next year, with each new set of rules dropping monthly as “Unearthed Arcana” on the official D&D website. The first batch of new rules focuses heavily on the character creation process, with Crawford citing the recent sourcebook Monsters of the Multiverse as an example of Wizards’ intended direction.

After the playtesting process, this will lead up to new, restructured 2024 editions of D&D’s Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide. The new rules are designed to be “backwards compatible” with all currently available 5th edition products.

Other announcements made during the first “Wizards Presents” conference include:

  • Keys from the Golden Vault, a winter 2023 anthology, is a collection of adventures that are all organized around a heist.
  • The Book of Many Things (summer 2023) is a sourcebook that revolves around the infamous magical item the deck of many things.
  • A new book in the summer of 2023 will follow up on the starter adventure The Lost Mines of Phandelver, expanding it to the point where it could make up an entire campaign.
  • One of the most famous campaign settings in D&D, Planescape, is planned to return in the fall of 2023. Planescape is set in D&D‘s elaborate afterlife, the Outer Planes, and in the free, neutral city of Sigil that exists above them. The setting debuted in 1994 and became particularly well-known due to Planescape: Torment, a 1999 PC game by Black Isle Studios that’s widely regarded as a classic.
  • As part of the return of the Spelljammer setting, Wizards quietly released a full album of original music, Spelljams, on Tuesday morning. A physical vinyl edition is available for pre-order now.
  • The next franchises to cross over with Magic: The Gathering, as part of its Universes Beyond imprint, are Warhammer 40K (Oct. 7), The Lord of the Rings (the Tales From Middle-Earth set, Q3 2023), and Doctor Who (Q3 2023). The latter set will be part of the official celebration of the Doctor Who franchise’s 60th anniversary.
  • Magic‘s 30th anniversary hits in 2023. This will include a special event in October 2023 in Las Vegas and several unspecified promotional tie-ins.
  • Magic begins a new story arc in September 2022 with Dominaria United, a new card set that involves a war between the planes of Dominaria and Phyrexia. The story is planned to continue into The Brothers’ War (Nov. 2022), Phyrexia: All Will Be One (Q1 2023), and March of the Machine (Q2 2023).
  • The classic Magic settings of Eldraine and Ixalan will both be revisited with new card sets in late 2023.
  • 2023 also marks the 35th anniversary of D&D signature character Drizzt Do’Urden, who first appeared in the 1988 novel The Crystal Shard. Wizards will mark the occasion with a new print run of R.A. Salvatore’s novels, which will sport new covers; a new Visual Dictionary for the Drizzt series; and a forthcoming webcomic starring Drizzt’s teenage daughter Briennelle (first seen in the 2020 novel Relentless), as she “borrows” Drizzt’s sword and goes on an adventure of her own.
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