The changes to rolling natural 1s and 20s that were initially suggested to appear in the upcoming tabletop roleplaying game One D&D, are already being rolled-back by its creator.
In a recent Unearthed Arcana video published on the official Dungeons & Dragons YouTube channel, it was revealed that the changes outlined with the initial reveal of the newest version of the tabletop RPG – that rolling natural 1s and 20s would always result in an automatic fail/success, even outside of combat – are being reverted to the rule presented in the 2014 Player’s Handbook for D&D 5E.
With the announcement of One D&D, the unofficial name of the next version of the TRPG, certain rule changes featured in the new release surrounding the die results of 1s and 20s were outlined. The suggested changes included making the automatic success of rolling a 20 and the automatic fail of rolling a 1 in combat, be applied to the entirety of the game – meaning that all player characters’ actions would be affected by rolling a natural 1 and a 20.
However, the most recent update coming via Unearthed Arcana, which is a playtesting programme for dungeon masters and players to try out suggested changes before they’re officially added to the fantasy tabletop RPG, will revert this change back to the original 2014 Player’s Handbook rule which means natural 1s and 20s only affect actions made during combat.
Another playtest alteration related to rolling natural 1s and 20s was revealed during the latest Unearthed Arcana video. With the announcement of One D&D, it was unveiled that rules surrounding inspiration would be changed. Rather than enabling DMs to grant players inspiration – which enables them to roll with advantage in a later attack roll, saving throw or ability check – whenever they feel like it, the change coming in One D&D would see players gaining inspiration whenever they rolled a natural 20.
The latest Unearthed Arcana video sees Wizards of the Coast, the studio responsible for publishing D&D and trading card game Magic: The Gathering, altering this change in response to player feedback. Rather than a player gaining inspiration by rolling a natural 20, players will instead be granted it by rolling a natural 1 – offering a potential upside to an otherwise unlucky situation, similar to how experience works in Powered by the Apocalypse games.
The changes introduced in the most recent update to Unearthed Arcana may not become permanent alterations to the upcoming One D&D version, as Wizards appears to be testing out a variety of new content via the playtesting programme.
Other changes to be introduced in the upcoming Unearthed Arcana update will involve what Wizards is calling “expert classes”, which is a term used to describe rogues, rangers and bards, possibly in reference to the fact that they’re best known for their large amount of skill proficiencies and regular improvements to ability scores.
The other classes found in Dungeons & Dragons – such as barbarians and sorcerers – are also sorted into their own class groups in D&D. Each of these groups will possibly receive their own collective changes in the future, with Wizards currently playtesting the concept of all classes in the expert group receiving the Expertise feat, which allows the player to double the proficiency bonus on selected skills and/or tools, meaning that the ranger class will get this for the first time.
Players will also be able to view sets of suggested spells for every level between one and 20, for every spellcasting class, in order to help them choose which spells to pick or prepare. The suggested spell sets will be shaped by which spells are seen as the most “iconic” for each class, with players still able to change their spell lists after a long rest – if their class allows them to do so. Rituals have also been changed, with characters being able to cast a ritual spell as long as they know how to cast the spell, rather than needing a specific feat that allows them to cast ritual spells.
According to Wizards, over 40,000 people completed a recent Unearthed Arcana survey on the proposed changes, with a “record-breaking” number of people downloading the One D&D playtest found on the D&D Beyond website.
The upcoming launch of One D&D – which is set to take place in 2024 with the release of the core rulebooks – will spell the end of new editions for Dungeons & Dragons. Rather than having major changes and additions be introduced via a new edition of the game, as they have in the past with the release of titles such as D&D 5E, changes will be made gradually in response to player feedback. Now that Wizards owns D&D Beyond, the digital platform that features all content released for D&D 5E, it is possible that changes may be implemented via that and the upcoming D&D virtual tabletop – once the One D&D rulebooks have been published.
The playtest material featuring the new changes is now available to download for free on the One D&D section of D&D Beyond.