Next year, all three core Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks will receive revised editions that will update the Fifth Edition (known as 5E) to make a host of tweaks and improvements. IGN was invited to Wizards of the Coast HQ for an early look at what's to come, and here's a comprehensive list of all the biggest changes we saw.
The Player's Handbook will now teach you how to play D&D
On the face of it, this is a pretty big improvement. One of the biggest obstacles to getting into D&D is that you mostly need to "meet a guy". If you don't know someone who is already familiar with the rules, getting started can be extremely difficult, as the Player's Handbook mostly just lists rules but doesn't offer much advice on actually setting up, running or participating in a game session .
In the 2024 version of 5E, there will be a section focused on teaching you how to play a tabletop RPGForasks you to create a character. This is the first time such a chapter has existed in D&D and should be a welcome change for newcomers.
Several subcategories, evenly spaced
The imbalance between 5E's 12 character classes becomes immediately apparent when you look at the number of subclasses on offer. For example, wizards in the current version have a whopping eight subclasses to choose from, while bards only have two.
But Jeremy Crawford, game design architect for D&D, tells IGN that this imbalance will be fixed in 2024's 5E, as all 12 classes will now have four subclasses each.
They also just add more subcategories in general, with a total of 48 available onPlayer's Handbookwhen it premieres next year.
An overhaul of backgrounds and elements
One of the biggest changes that Wizards of the Coast revealed was a new work on backgrounds and origins, which can already be seen in the Unearthed Arcana sample content already available online.
Backgrounds and Origins have now been folded into a new chapter in the book called "Character Origins", which takes several character building elements and combines them. The chapter is used to answer the question, "Who was your character before they became an adventurer?" and has 144 pre-made options that can be expanded and customized through home brewing.
Going forward, the player's backgrounds will now include a first-level achievement, primarily because this addition allows future setting material to create new backgrounds that include perks exclusive to those backgrounds.
The section previously referred to as "Race" has also been renamed "Items", based on player feedback that the latter is more favorable (and accurate) than what is actually chosen by the player. While Race was an entire chapter, Species will now be folded into the Origins chapter.
Greater focus on social interaction
While 5E has always been great for combat, the other two pillars of the game (social encounters and exploration) often feel much less developed. Wizards hopes to change that at least a little bit, as they told IGN that "every class that previously didn't have utility outside of combat is gaining it in some way because we want to make sure that every character has the ability to shine.”
Some classes, like the bard, already have a lot of tools for non-combat games, so they won't get new options, but many of the non-magical classes will be updated. This includes barbarians, who already have a new ability in the Unearthed Arcana preview that gives them out-of-combat advantages using their rage ability.
IGN also confirmed that the champion subclass for the fighter is getting some additions to address the current non-fighter gaps.
A more focused Dungeon Masters guide
It's no secret that the current version of D&D 5E includes a lot of detail while leaving out some very basic things that any Game Master will likely be dealing with, such as how to find players or what the main game screen is and how to use it or how to deal with difficult players. These are all things that any GM is likely to face during their tenure, and that the current edition leaves GMs to figure out for themselves.
However, in the 2024 version, these types of questions will be explicitly answered as a means of a more hands-on approach to guiding game administrators. There will even be sections dedicated to the creative part of running a game, such as writing adventures, creating settings, and more.
There may be a new chapter on base building
One thing teased by Wizards was a new chapter at the end of the Dungeon Master's Guide called "Bastions," which appears to provide rules and mechanics for players looking to create a base of operations for their characters in a campaign. . It is possible that the module will contain content similar to third-party 5E expansions such as Matt Colville's Strongholds and Followers, which offer this as an option to players unofficially today.
Unfortunately, the Wizards team kept their cards pretty close to their chest when pressed for details, refusing to confirm any real details at this point, but it certainly sounds like something any die-hard D&D fan will want to keep an eye on.
The Monster Manual will have more villains than ever before
According to a Wizards spokesperson, the new version of the Monster Manual "will be the largest treasure trove of monsters the game has ever seen" and will feature new and returning monsters with a total number of stat blocks higher than any previous version.
No current monsters will change their challenge score (a score that helps GMs navigate difficulty), but since not all monsters meet the challenge level promised by their CR, some monsters will have their stats and abilities adjusted to fulfill their assessment.
In terms of new monsters, Wizards will be giving more demanding monster ratings to existing enemy factions, with one representative specifically calling out a high CR creature, a super powerful Arch Hag, and a CR 20+ monster.
The core rulebooks will not be released at the same time
While all three core rulebooks are being revised at the same time, they will not debut together. According to a Wizards spokesperson, this is a limitation based on the extremely high volume at which they print their books, and their printing partners would not be able to handle that many copies at once.
Instead, all three books will have staggered releases next year (though the exact dates remain unknown). When asked about digital editions, which don't have the same supply chain constraints as physical books, Wizards simply said they weren't ready to discuss that yet.
And there you have it! These are all the big changes confirmed to be coming to the core 5E Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks in 2024. For a comprehensive look at all the rulebooks coming out later this year, check outour destruction.
Disclosure: This news was received during a recent Dungeons & Dragons event hosted by Wizard of the Coast. IGN's airfare and lodging were paid for by Wizards of the Coast as part of the event.
Travis Northup is a writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter@TieGuyTravisand read hisgame coverage here.