Wizards of the Coast has released a new video explaining some of the changes coming to Dungeons & Dragons when it gets new core rulebooks next year. The 12-minute video is a chat between D&D content director Todd Kendrick and game designer Jeremy Crawford, and covers the past year of playtests for the updated version of 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. They also talk about why the One D&D initiative has led to an updated 5th Edition, not an entirely new edition like we originally guessed.
"5th Edition continues to grow, so there is no reason for us to stop it and all sorts of reasons for us to continue it," says Crawford in this video. The new books will update 5th Edition to what Crawford says is the "current state of the art" to prepare it for what the D&D team hopes will be another decade of 5th Edition. At nearly 10 years old already, 5th Edition is already the longest that Dungeons & Dragons has ever gone without a new edition release or an update—both 2nd and 3rd editions had major revisions released by this time in their lifespan.
In the interview, Crawford says the team will "build the 2024 versions of the books with the goal that they will be usable with the 5th Edition adventures you have now," emphasizing that their hope is that changes will be apparent and obvious. "In the end, the books themselves will tell you how they work with the 5th Edition books you already have, books that by the way continue to sell well. That's another reason why we don't want to invalidate the 5th Edition libraries that people already have," he says.
The latter parts of the video talk about changes in how the rules are presented, a perennial bugbear among D&D players who like to argue about words and how they're shown—myself included. One major tweak is in how things are capitalized, or not, depending on what role they serve in the game versus general use in the English language.
"We've actually reduced the number of terms in the playtest process that we capitalize, but it's still more than people are used to seeing in the 2014 core rulebooks, and the direction we're heading in is definitely more capitalization than what was in the game previously, because it helps signal to the reader when are they reading a proper noun—the name of something—versus just a general English word," says Crawford.
Crawford uses the word "poisoned" versus the game's "Poisoned" condition as an example.
Crawford's also clear that once the 2024 core rulebooks are released, they'll stop referring to them as the 2024 Core Rulebooks. Those will then become, well, just the Core Rulebooks. They'll only include the year if they need to differentiate between the 2014 and 2024 releases.
Of course that's not the only stuff changing—some game mechanics are getting new names. The term "race," for example, is being replaced with "species." Crawford and Kendrick don't touch on any changes like that in this latest video, however.
This interview about the state of the revised rulebooks comes just a few weeks after we got a first look at D&D's upcoming official virtual tabletop, which looks pretty slick.