• Laser Craft Workshop 768x60 Banner Ad

One D&D Playtest Update: Species, Clerics and More!

The third part of the One D&D Playtest  has been out for a few weeks now.  With the holidays at last behind us, I had some time to take a look at them and wow is it interesting.  Cumulative with parts 1 and 2, One D&D Playtest part 3 brings us updated species, further updated terms and keywords and, our very first look at the newest iteration of the Cleric class.

Spell it out for me like I’m five.

There are some really neat tidbits hidden in the glossary section of the Unearthed Arcana.  Many of these are purely revisions of previous One D&D Playtest changes.  What really caught my attention overall is that the definitions focus on clarifying exactly what each type of action – attack, help, hide, and so on – means.  My tables tend to have a lot of newer players at them, and so having the options spelled out will be helpful.

Take the Hide action, for instance.  I had an argument with a new-to-rogue player a few weeks ago over the need for something to hide behind.  As he pointed out, however, the 5E Player’s Handbook doesn’t specify a need for any sort of cover at all.  The PHB just says to make a stealth check “following the rules for hiding.”  Whether this is actually spelled out in the PHB or Dungeon Master’s Guide at some point doesn’t really matter, because when I was double-checking on the spot and when I just tried to confirm again the definitions all sort of seem to go in a circle.

The One D&D Playtest materials spell it all out very clearly.  You have to make a DC15 stealth check.  You have to be behind cover or obscured.  And you have to be out of line of sight.  This makes my life as a DM so much easier, because it leaves very little wiggle room for the players to go “okay, but what if..?”  The new version also defines the DC for spotting you.  Whatever stealth you rolled to hide in the first place is the DC for detecting you.

So no, CC.  You can’t hide while you’re standing right next to the monster with nobody near you and nothing to hide behind.

On the Origin of Species (One D&D Playtest Edition)

Social media likes to make mountains out of molehills.  It won’t come as a shock to any reader by this point that when Wizards announced a shift from the word “race” to “species” in the One D&D Playtest materials, it caused an uproar.  Unfortunately, narrow-minded bickering drowned out some of the coolest playtest updates I’ve seen from One D&D so far.  I speak, of course, of the updated and expanded version of the Goliath species.

Goliath, from Monsters of the Multiverse

Monsters of the Multiverse recently tweaked Goliaths to fit in with the new origin format debuted with Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.  It did my giant-born dirty though, in that it left them with a scant few sentences about their history and proficiencies.  Currently, Goliaths are only broadly giant-adjacent.  Nothing about them links to the greater variety of Giant subtypes or lore in the multiverse. 

The One D&D Playtest materials expand on Goliaths broadly, providing features and descriptions for Cloud, Fire, Frost, Hill, Stone and Storm giant ancestries.  Each ancestry has its own limited use heritage ability.  Hill Goliaths, for example, can choose to knock a creature prone when they hit and deal damage with an attack roll.  No save required.  And they can do that a number of times equal to their proficiency mod per long rest.

Dragonborn and Ardlings round out the species visited in this third update to the One D&D Playtest materials.  Both options have nicely fleshed-out flavor choices, and they’re well worth a look.

Clerics in the One D&D Playtest

One of the big things One D&D is trying to do is make Dungeons and Dragons more approachable to complete outsiders.  The new description for Cleric spellcasting says right up front: “You have the following Spells prepared: Cure Wounds, Sacred Flame, Shield of Faith, Spare the Dying, and Thaumaturgy.”  You can change those spells out, of course, but those are the recommended spells at creation.  Similarly, the One D&D Playtest materials list additional spells to have prepared at each level.  Yes, players have always had the option of checking out suggested builds online, but having them included in the player handbook itself will make it feel like a lot less “research” is needed to get up and going in the game.

My favorite part of the One D&D Playtest Cleric rules is the Holy Order you select at 2nd level.  Similar to fighting styles, these help you set the flavor of your character early on and give you nice boosts to the sorts of things you want your character to be good at.  Protector gives you martial weapons and heavy armor training.  Scholar gives you additional proficiencies, and lets you add your wisdom modifier to checks with those skills.  And Thaumaturge gives you an additional cantrip, plus the ability to regain a charge of your Channel Divinity after a short rest.  At 9th level, you get to add a second Holy Order for some additional flexibility. 

I would be willing to wager that there will be Feats to add an additional Holy Order, or with additional options, down the road.

Clerics: Masters of Divine Magic

Feedback is important!

Take a look at the new One D&D Playtest Materials and tell me what you think! Hit me up on Twitter or in the comments below and let me know what has you excited. And don’t forget to fill out Wizards of the Coast’s playtest survey after you do. One D&D is still early in its playtest phase, and now is when Wizards is most keen on taking advice from players. Don’t miss your chance to contribute and be heard!

About the Author
Silver has been playing Magic: The Gathering and other trading card games off and on since 1999, and is a lifelong roleplayer. They believe in Rule 0 and The Rule of Cool, and that the gaming table should be a safe space for everyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *