What is One D&D?

Source: D&D Beyond

Source: D&D Beyond

Dillon Metcalf, Writer

Over the last six years, Dungeons and Dragons have seen a massive increase in sales, with sales in 2020 that grew by 33%. This massive increase in new players to the long-existing game prompted Wizards of the Coast to update the rules of the game to be more streamlined and accessible to its customers. This new edition of the game will be called One D&D and has a planned release in 2024.

The future of D&D is bright. The community has never been more connected and lively. With One D&D around the corner; it seems to only become more and more. Players of the game eagerly await this “next evolution”, as Wizards of the Coast is calling it, that will revolutionize Dungeons and Dragons for the foreseeable future. 

This newfound success, to no surprise, is due to the major success of the Netflix series, Stranger Things (2016-present). The show had allusions to Dungeons and Dragons creatures such as the Demogorgon, the Lich Vecna, and the Mind Flayer. The show was a science-horror drama that followed the journey of young teens that end up saving their hometown. This show was massively successful with a total of 1 billion watch hours in its entire lifetime. Many watchers of the show wanted to try the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest roleplaying game” for themselves.

Source: Stranger Things Official Twitter


Source: Board Game Quest


As the game became more popular, it became a common pastime/hobby for many young teens and young adults. In 2015, the D&D show Critical Role began to air on Geek and Sundry. This LA-based group of popular voice actors, including Laura Bailey and Matthew Mercer, was well known for games such as The Last of Us or Overwatch, respectively. This show became very popular among the community and quickly gained traction beyond existing D&D players. Critical Role was well-written, organized, and fun. However, new players thought they could instantly participate in a game as successful as Critical Role, whose players have decades of experience. To new players’ surprise, D&D is complicated and harder than they originally thought. 

D&D 5e, the most recent version of the rules, was already streamlined from the previous D&D 4e or D&D 3.5e, yet players are still confused by 5e’s current structure. With more commercial success, the issue of complicated rules and intricate systems will continue to be a common turnaround for those wanting to join the game. 

Existing players are not excluded from the overwhelmed demographic. Since 2015, nearly six books have been published a year, with each book bringing new content and rules. Keeping track of every update and every rule has become increasingly difficult with each release. Players’ shelves have become stocked with the 48 books that have been released, and the flow of content does not seem to be slowing down in the coming two years. 


21/ 48 of the D&D Books
Source: r/DnD Reddit

In a 2022 announcement showcase, Wizards of the Coast announced the next evolution of D&D. One D&D will be designed to be backwards compatible with current products of the game while also updating the rules to be more new-player friendly. One D&D would also provide a large set of digital tools including a digital theater using the Unreal Engine to portray a virtual tabletop. Digital libraries of books, tabletop miniatures, dice, and terrain pieces were not the only things coming with One D&D. With the acquisition of D&D Beyond in early 2022, Wizards of the Coast will be able to connect large amounts of players online using digital forums and content sharing tools. This change would connect both old and new players in a more inclusive community. 

“I’m excited for updates to classes and backgrounds. I’m under the impression that means there will be new classes or new features added to existing classes which sounds so cool.” Jess Brann, a senior at Pentucket High and five-year Dungeons and Dragons veteran, stated during an interview. Although she is not going to take on Dungeon Mastering, those that know rules and organize games, she is excited for DMs that will be able to access these new online tools.


Source: PC Gamer

However, these changes are not all on the positive trend. There is an underlying fear in players that many of the features in One D&D will be locked behind paywalls, monthly subscriptions, or other fees. In recent playtest material, players saw early drafts of how the new rules will look in the future. Fear of the new character options outpowering older character options became very real.  As the new rules make characters much more powerful than they ever have been in earlier editions of the game, players worry that existing characters will become outdated and detrimental to play. Only time can tell how these worries will hold up with the release of One D&D in 2024.