Recently I printed out the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition (or DnD “Next”) Playtest, and I noticed some very obvious changes, for those of you who haven’t had the time to check yet, I’m gonna give you the low-down!

Hit Points are now a lot more like third edition, only a few classes seem to have an upgrade in hit die, however we are back to the old system many of us grew to love before fourth edition. The previous “Healing Surges” are gone and replaced with “Hit Dice”, which is simply the act of taking a short rest you will gain your Hit Dice, meaning if you are a fourth lvl wizard with 4D4 hit points, you would roll that amount to see what you gained back, if you are only first level, you roll one Hit Dice (1d4) and you gain that amount of hit points back, making hit points more of a commodity and forcing lower level parties to be more cautious, instead of charging around with healing surges galore while fighting four goblin parties a day, or something equally ridiculous. This means a potion does not force you to use a surge, a potion actually heals you without exerting any of your uses of anything. Hurrah!

Surprise! Were you scared? Thought so, but now you can roll your usual initiative and take a regular turn, well that’s after the surprise round of course, where the monster will get to go before you, but lets say you roll a natural 20, well then on the next round you will likely be going first.

Ranged attacks vs Melee, this rule of provoking an opportunity attack no longer applies to spells unless the spell is FURTHER than 5 feet of the mob closest to you. If you are using an AOE the mob within 5 feet of you must be included in the AOE in order for you to not provoke an attack.

Contests, this is a new rule that allows you to contest another player, mob, or npc. I.e. in situations such as you are trying to hold the door shut but the other person is trying to open it, you would then be opposing each other with a strength role. Each of you rule, and highest wins, of course! In other situations such as someone trying to see through a disguise, you would obviously roll two different checks against each other.

Armor and Weapons show a huge difference, and your ability to not be hit doesn’t seem to rely as heavily on AC, so Armor is not the “End all”, they’ve also added a few new awesome sets of armor, such as dragon scale. Depending on the type of dragon scales your armor has, will allow you to have a resistance to that element, such as poison, fire, etc. They also added Displacer Hide Armor, which is just a bit better than leather.

Instead of having penalty checks all negative or positive influences in game have been categorized as “Disadvantages” or “Advantages”.  When you have an advantage, lets say you have an advantage in an attack, you roll your initial D20, then you roll an extra D20 and you pick the higher of the two numbers. If you have a disadvantage, you do the same only you choose the lower of the two numbers. No matter how many advantages or disadvantages you have stacked in a single attack or roll, you only roll one extra die.

When choosing your race, races now affect your ability modifiers. These are no longer as fixed and dormant as they have been in the past, they do advance with level, race choice, and class choice. The human, for example, gives you a bonus of +1 to all your ability scores, and +2 to ONE of your choosing, where most other races only allow +1 to certain abilities, though they have special unique abilities of their own. Subraces, such as Woold elf, High elf, dark elf, etc. have their own special abilities, it is not standard “Elf” “Dwarf” etc. anymore, each is unique.

All the alignments from third edition are officially back, and they included the “Unaligned” feature as well.

They have also changed exchange rates, and added electrum in between silver and gold.

There is also now a list of builds, such as “Thug” or “Archer” that will allow you to further customize your class, this basically helps give you a background, suggested weapons, feats, and special abilities. Backgrounds also affect your special abilities, though are optional.

There are other various changes, though all in all it feels as if they are sticking closer to third edition type ruleset, while adding some simplicity and some of the silver lining from fourth, and giving us more diversity by adding things such as “Contests” and special abilities for sub-races, I’m really enjoying my stroll through the new edition playtest, and I’ll keep you updated on more changes or variations as they come along! Happy Gaming!


Note: In order to get your own DnD playtest packet, download it here!