Posted in: Dungeons & Dragons, Games, Tabletop, Wizards of the Coast | Tagged: d&d, dungeons & dragons, wizards of the coast, WotC
A Slightly Deeper Dive Into The Dungeons & Dragons 2024 Rules
We do our best to give a simplified version of what Dungeons & Dragons will be doing with the 2024 Core Rules update.
One of the biggest questions from last year's Wizards of the Coast presentations is, "Why exactly does Dungeons & Dragons need new rules for 2024?" We were recently invited up to Seattle to participate in a special presentation where the people behind D&D chatted with media members about a myriad of topics. Two of the biggest subjects are what exactly is going on with the game following the OGL fallout and getting clarification on what's happening with the updates happening in 2024. We already talked about everything they revealed about what's coming in 2023, so today, we're chatting about the new rules and what is happening to the three main books for the TTRPG.
So let's sum up what this is in the most basic terms. Because even to us when the updated rules were announced, we were confused as hell, even with decades of playing this game under our belts. The best way for us to describe this to people is to think of it as when Advanced Dungeons & Dragons were introduced during 2nd Edition. This will be an entirely updated set of rules for old and new players who wish to get into the game in 2024, giving you an updated guide to the game. However, much like AD&D, if you already owned the original rules and guidebooks to D&D's 2nd Edition, you could still play the game. It is NOT a requirement to own these. So those who were dooming over the idea that everything they own from the past decade is useless, the reality is they're not. You can choose to play 5th Edition with the 2014 rules or the 2024 rules; it doesn't matter much, like there are people still playing 3rd and 4th Edition. The biggest thing to know about this change is that they are still continuing 5th Edition. This is NOT 6th Edition. The 2024 rules are STILL 5th Edition and are compatible with all 5E content, with a conversion system in place when you get them to use on the older books, Including having old names for items cataloged for easy reference.
The primary goal of the 2024 Dungeons & Dragons Rules Update is to make the core books easier to navigate, both for current and new players. This includes now adding the ability to look things up in an alphabetical glossary for easier access and knowledge, so anyone at any skill level can find things easier. New content will be added to the books for character expansions, such as Weapony Master properties and a change to Wildshape to make it easier to utilize. A good chunk of the changes are designed to help first-time players approach the game better and not be bogged down in items that they don't care about immediately. More effort on a show-and-tell aspect within the books to give players examples of what they can do. Essentially, the team are taking all of the lessons they've learned from the past and making an effort to refine the game and make improvements, ensuring the content isn't stagnant while giving it a quality-of-play upgrade. The key thing to remember is that the rules are coming up on being a decade old, one of the longest stretches in the franchise's history without an update. And as one last upgrade, much of the artwork in the main three books will be updated, including characters you'll be familiar with. Sadly, that means we'll probably have to say goodbye to our favorite hidden joke… Gaston.
Going through each book as it is explained to us through a Q&A session, we'll start with the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook. This book will be bigger and heftier than before, with more images, shortened text, and designed to be more appealing for first-time players. The book comes with 12 Classes and 48 Subclasses immediately available for you to look up and play, with over 144 origins options to make unique characters. This means if you were to utilize every single option at your disposal, you'd have nearly 83,000 different full-character options (82944, to be precise, and nearly 165k with split-classes, but that's another topic) in a single book. They've changed a few things around, like adding some stuff to the Bard from classes such as the Wizards and others, but everything has now been balanced out so that every Class now has at least four subclass options available. Plus, every Class will come with new features, spells, weapons options, and a feat at the first level!
One of the biggest changes to the book is that Race will be eliminated from the language moving forward and has been changed to Species. One of the many changes that have been made as they will not be making it a focus but a piece of the role creation. The system is now class first as opposed to species first, but they will return to much the way they used to be in 2014, giving people a steady state like they were initially built. You'll have Origins divided up into a few aspects, including Background, Species, and Alignment, although there won't be a heavy focus on Alingment like there was in the past. Gender identity and pronouns will be mentioned in the book to allow players to create the characters they want, another move forward to let players of all kinds know they are welcome in the game. And then, finally, Spells and Weapons in the book will be given an update, as there will be an upgrade for most everything in the book, as well as Weapon Mastery to add a new element to make a character more proficient in the game. Weapon Mastery has made it so the weapons you specifically use act differently from each other.
Moving onto the Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide, this is basically the overhaul they wanted to make in 2014 but couldn't do in 2014 with the smaller staff they had at the time. This thing has been given a front-to-back revision that will no longer feel like a burden with additional references and more of an indispensable resource that is both friendlier and easier on new DMs. This book will give a greater effort on show than tell, as it has been designed to provide DM's with examples to utilize, as well as a sample campaign setting that can be fully customized and serve as a jumping-off point for your game. The content in the book has been reshuffled around to have a better user experience so that the basics are at the front. With topics such as using dice, explaining the DM screen, finding players, planning schedules, having disruptive players, whether or not knowing the rules is super important, and more. Ultimately, the book is a learn-by-example guide now as opposed to rules-as-written. It will also come with a ton of magic items, more than the previous book, as well as ready-to-use maps that will serve as a large expansion so people have options to use in the game or examples of what can be utilized.
Finally, we explore the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. This will be the biggest guide to monsters for D&D ever made. According to the team, the biggest one to date. Everything from the past, present, and new creatures in the future, as they have over 500 monsters in this new version. More high-challenge rating monsters with bigger bad guys, as well as creatures who have new "boss mode" versions they never had before. There won't be any challenge rating changes for monsters already established, just changed up to make them either more creative or formidable in different ways. But they will have new stat block updates. There will also be a sample NPCs appendix with improvements and expansions, which they discovered was one of the most used parts of the book, so you have more options to make more normal characters and evil characters. Groups of NPCs will be given a place in the book as well. Instead of randomly grouped characters, there will be levels of the same group (such as pirates) that you can put into the mix. Monsters from the past couple of Monster books will stay where they are, while the new Monster Manual will have a more robust set of content for monsters in the 2014 book, with additions based on those creatures.
While everything presented to us seems on the up and up, we totally get why Dungeons & Dragons fans were hesitant to accept change immediately, especially after the OGL issues. It felt like they were scrapping what worked so well for nearly ten years. Now we have a far better idea of what to expect, but still, we haven't seen it yet and won't for another year. We'll keep an eye on it and see what the changes hold, but for now, this seems far more promising than it sounded when first announced.
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