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Latest One D&D playtest update features new versions of druid and paladin classes

Both receiving some serious upgrades.

D&D Rules Expansion Gift Set artwork
Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

The latest update to the One D&D playtest features new versions of the druid & paladin character classes, alongside one of their subclasses.

Found on the D&D Beyond website, the One D&D playtest provides dungeon masters and players with free materials they can use in their campaigns and games of the tabletop roleplaying game. Preceding the release of the latest – possibly last – edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 2024, the One D&D playtest has gradually been updated with fresh content for players to try out: with the latest update featuring versions of the druid and paladin characters classes that might be featured in the fully-released version.

The latest update contains a new version of the druid, a class best known for its spellcasting and shapeshifting abilities. Proposed changes to the class found within the latest One D&D playtest include level 1 druids gaining the channel nature ability, which enables characters to perform a number of different actions: including the druid’s iconic wild shape ability. Whereas druids can’t wild shape until second level in the current iteration of the fantasy RPG, the One D&D version will be able to transform right from the get-go.

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Besides granting wild shape, channel nature grants several other abilities to first level druids, such as being able to speak the druidic language and cast a set of prepared spells like cure wounds and thunderwave. Channel nature will be akin to the cleric class’s channel divinity, with a number of abilities that druids gain throughout their class levels coming under the channel nature banner. The latest update to the One D&D playtest cites previous playtest materials enabling clerics to use their channel divinity abilities a number of times equal to their proficiency. However, this will be changed to a set number in a future update, with druid’s channel nature abilities set to use the same system.

Other changes proposed to the druid class in the latest playtest update include players unlocking more specific abilities when they level-up, rather than just being able to take something from their chosen subclass – like in the iteration of the class in the current version of the tabletop RPG. Specific unlockable druid abilities include might of the land, which upgrades a druid’s animal of the land shape, gaining an aquatic form and eventually the ability to rapidly switch between wild shape forms.

The druid subclass featured in the latest One D&D playtest update is circle of the moon. By the looks of it, the circle of the moon subclass will remain largely the same: with the subclass keeping its combat wild shape, elemental wild shape and thousand forms abilities. The changes to the subclass come with the addition of the elemental strike ability at 10th level – which grants a druid the ability to add an elemental damage type of their choice to their bestial strikes – and the removal of the circle forms ability: presumably because all druid types now have access to various wild shape forms.

Image credit: Wizards of the Coast/Antonio José Manzanedo

Overall, it looks like the druid class is going to be more strongly focused on its iconic wild shape ability, if the latest One D&D playtest update is anything to go by.

The paladin D&D 5E class is one that’s most well-known for combining cleric elements – such as channel divinity – with more combat focused aspects. A number of changes to the paladin class are proposed in the latest update to the One D&D playtest, namely the additions of several abilities.

New abilities that paladins gain access to in the proposed One D&D version of the class include a faithful steed at 5th level - which allows players to call on the aid of an otherworldly steed to ride – the ability to overwhelm foes with a divine awe that inflicts the dazed and frightened status effects at 9th level, the option to add an extra 1d8 radiant damage to attack rolls at level 11, an improved version of lay on hands when they hit level 15 and the chance to regain a use of channel divinity when rolling for initiative at level 18.

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The paladin subclass featured in the One D&D playtest is the oath of devotion path, with several significant changes to which abilities they get and the spells they can cast. As an oath of devotion paladin, players can no longer use the turn the unholy ability: which knocks back undead creatures and deals damage to them. Oath of devotion paladins also no longer have access to the purity of spirit ability that granted permanent protection from evil and good spells. New abilities oath of devotion paladins can gain include smite of protection – which gives temporary hit points to allies whenever the player uses their divine smite ability – and a switch around in the spells they have access to such as adding aid and aura of vitality.

Overall, it appears that though certain paladin subclasses have been scaled back – if the changes to oath of devotion are any indication – but the class in general is getting more powerful in the upcoming tabletop roleplaying game version.

Besides the two featured class updates, the latest One D&D playtest includes a comprehensive overview of divine and primal spells – two categories closely tied to druids and paladins - set to be contained in the new version of Dungeons & Dragons. The list of spells and their descriptions is extensive, with every single spell included within the playtest update having its own description and attached stats.

Players can review all the proposed changes via the free-to-download playtest document found on the D&D Beyond website.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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