2024 DnD Rules Previews: What We Know as of July 8th and What it Means

Throughout June and July, the Dungeons and Dragons design team is revealing content and rules changes in the upcoming 2024 DnD 5e rules. Below we’ve collected the changes revealed in these videos and explored their mechanical implications.

Table of Contents

Species: Some New Faces, Some Face Lifts

The Aasimar, Goliath, Orc have all made their way into the core rules. The Aasimar makes sense alongside the Tiefling. The Goliath has been a community favorite since at least 3.5. Bringing the Orc into the Player’s Handbook makes sense after the removal of the Half-Elf and the Half-Orc. I’m excited to see the core roster of species continue to expand beyond the Tolkien-esque line-up of previous editions.

As we saw in the Unearthed Arcana playtest, all of the species have gotten updated mechanics. Many 2014 core species fell out of favor as newer, more powerful options were published, so I’m excited to see what WotC does with these iconic options.

The Aasimar’s transformation has been updated to allow you to choose which transformation you use every time that you use it, which is a huge upgrade. Based on the Unearthed Arcana version, the Dragonborn has also gotten some major upgrades.

We don’t know how subraces will be handled yet. Post-Tasha’s materials published new subraces like the Astral Elf as standalone race entries, so it’s reasonable to assume that subraces like the High Elf and the Wood Elf will have independent traits rather than being added onto the base Elf traits. But until we know more, we can only speculate.

Legacy Species

Species from older books are usable with the new rules, but species which are included in the new PHB (dwarf, goliath, etc.) are intended to replace the older versions. If your species hasn’t been updated, the PHB contains a sidebar explaining how to handle those species.

Based on the custom origin changes introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and the knowledge that ability score adjustments are now part of backgrounds, we can make some educated guesses. Ability score improvements will be ignored, and you’ll likely be locked into any proficiencies provided by your race.

Backgrounds: The New Heavy Hitter

Backgrounds introduced in the years following Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything began to grant players feats at level 1. This sought to address the fact that almost all backgrounds provided a feature which amounted to the ability to couch surf.

In the new rules, backgrounds all provide an “Origin Feat”. From what was said in the videos, some feats are only available from one background, while others like Alert and Skilled are available from multiple backgrounds.

In addition to the feat changes, backgrounds now also determine adjustments to your character’s starting ability scores. Each background specifies three ability scores, and you can choose +2 to one and +1 to another or +1 to all three.

Backgrounds? In my Character Optimization? Preposterous!

The changes here make backgrounds a massively important decision point when building a character. Just as races/species have historically been locked into certain class choices, backgrounds will now be locked to specific classes.

Legacy Backgrounds: What Do We Know?

We don’t yet know how backgrounds from the 2014 rules will be handled. Adventures like Dragonlance and Strixhaven allowed players to choose backgrounds which didn’t grant feats, then let players choose feats from a tailored list. Eventually this list was pared down to Skilled or Tough, so it wasn’t a great list, but we also didn’t have a pre-made list of Origin Feats.

We don’t know anything for certain, but we’ll likely get guidance allowing players to pick an appropriate origin feat and to work with their DM to pick three appropriate ability scores. The idea of customizing backgrounds hasn’t been discussed, so I’m not certain if that will remain an option.

Feats: Origin or Otherwise

We’re getting a new group of feats called “origin feats” which are available at 1st level from your background. You can still choose Origin Feats whenever you would get another feat. Origin Feats are just a subset of the overall selection of feats which are available at level 1.

Characters can now select an Epic Boon feat when they reach level 19 in a class. These feats include an ability score increase which can go past the maximum of 20, and according to Jeremy Crawford they go beyond what feats can normally do.

Boon of Combat Prowess: Once per turn when you miss, you can decide to hit.

One unnamed boon gives you Truesight, while another lets you teleport when you take the Attack action or Magic action.

As in the 2014 rules, players who sit at level 20 long enough can accumulate enough experience to get more Epic Boons, potentially raising their ability scores to 30.


  • 1. Rage. Persist Rage by forcing saves or by spending a Bonus Action.
  • 2. Danger Sense. No longer requires you to see the source of danger.
  • 3. Primal Knowledge. Different from Tasha’s. Use Strength as the ability for certain ability checks with non-Strength skills like Intimidation.
  • 9. Brutal Strike. Replaces Brutal Critical. Drop Advantage from Reckless Attack to add a rider effect on hit. Combos with Weapon Mastery are expected.
  • 11. Relentless Rage. Now heals you for a few hit points so that you don’t immediately drop when you get hit again.


  • Crawford acknowledged that Frenzy’s Exhaustion effect made people unwilling to use it. Main goal was to redesign Frenzy.
  • 3. Frenzy. If you use Reckless Attack, you deal more damage once per turn.
  • 6. Mindless Rage. Now ends charmed/frightened effects rather than simply suppressing them.
  • 10. Retaliation. Moved from 14th level to 10.
  • 14. Intimidating Presence. Moved from 10th level to 14 and buffed. Previously targeted one creature. Now as many targets as you want within 30 feet, and it’s a Bonus Action.

Wild Heart

  • Formerly “Totem Warrior”
  • “Even more flexibility than before”
  • For two of the decision points, choose them every time that you rage
  • For the other, change it every time you Long Rest
  • Animals renamed to not share names across steps because players got confused and thought they were locked into one animal for their whole career

World Tree

  • Allows teleportation at high level
  • Support party by giving themselves or allies temporary hit points
  • Grab enemies with the roots of the world tree
  • Extend reach with melee weapons
  • “Fiddle around” with weapon mastery properties
  • Sounds very close to the UA playtest version


  • Jeremy Crawford does not like features that rely on you dying (me too!), so Zealot got some redesigns.
  • 3. Warrior of the Gods. Previously just made it easier to raise you from the dead. Now it gives you a pool of dice to heal yourself, similar in concept to Lay on Hands, but only for yourself.
  • 6. Fanatical Focus. Now also grants a bonus to the reroll.
  • 14. Rage of the Gods. No longer requires dropping to 0. Now you can activate it when you Rage. Flight, damage resistance, and thwart allies’ deaths as a Reaction.


  • 1. Primal Order. Warden gets medium armor and martial weapons. Magician focuses more on spellcasting; gets an extra cantrip and adds Wisdom to Arcana and Nature checks.
  • 1. Druidic. Now also lets you cast Speak With Animals.
  • 1. Spellcasting. Spell list expanded and reviewed.
  • 2. Wild Shape. Major changes.
    • All Druids Wild Shape as a Bonus Action
    • Druids can speak in Wild Shape
    • Gain temporary hit points
  • 2. Wild Companion. Same as Tasha’s.
  • Wild Resurgence. Spend a spell slot to regain a Wild Shape use as often as you want. Once per long rest, turn a Wild Shape into a spell slot.
  • 7. Elemental Fury. Pick between weapon use or spellcasting similar to Primal Order, but Primal Order doesn’t force your choice here. Add damage to weapons or add damage to cantrips with Potent Spellcasting.
  • 15. Improved Elemental Fury. Improves options chosen at level 7. More weapon damage or extend cantrip range.
  • 20. Archdruid. When you roll initiative, recover a use of Wild Shape if you don’t have any. Upgrades ability to convert Wild Shape into a spell slot. No more infinite Wild Shape.
  • New Cantrips
    • Elementalism. Shape elements in various ways.
    • Starry Wisp. “Ranged cantrip” but no more details.

Circle of the Moon

  • Still focused on Wild Shape
  • AC is more reliable. Beasts have terrible AC, which was a big problem. Now AC is 13 + Wisdom modifier or the beast’s, whichever is higher.
  • Gain more temporary hit points from Wild Shape than most druids
  • No more using the beast’s separate pool of hp
    • Caused issues in other parts of the system when you dropped to 0 hp (no examples given, but Disintegrate is an example)
  • No longer knocked out of Wild Shape when the temporary hp are depleted
  • Circle of the Moon Spells
    • New subclass spell list for Circle of the Moon
    • Includes Cure Wounds, Moonbeam, Starry Wisp, Conjure Animals, Font of Moonlight, Mass Cure Wounds
    • Can be cast while in Wild Shape
  • At higher levels, Wild Shape attacks can deal radiant damage
  • Enhanced saving throws
  • 10. Moonlight Step. Teleport as a Bonus Action. Doesn’t rely on Wild Shape.
  • 14. Lunar Form. When you attack in Wild Shape, deal extra radiant damage. When you use Moonlight Step, bring a friend.

Circle of the Land

  • Still focused on spellcasting
  • Now lets you change your chosen land on a Long Rest, changing the subclass spell list that you get each day
  • Improved subclass spell lists to make them more appealing
  • Land’s Aid. New. Gives you a new way to use Wild Shape. Burn Wild shape to cause damage to enemies and heal an ally.
  • Natural Recovery. 2014 allowed recovering spell slots. Now lets you cast one of your level 1 subclass spells without a spell slot.
  • 10. Nature’s Ward. Damage resistance associated with your land type. Immune to Poisoned condition.
  • Nature’s Sanctuary. Another use for Wild Shape. Cause plants to give you and allies half cover and share your damage resistance from Nature’s Ward.

Circle of the Sea

  • New! Focused on the magic of oceans and storms.
  • Storm component was crucial to avoid “an Aqua Man problem” where the character has nothing to offer without a nearby body of water
  • 3. Wrath of the Sea. Bonus Action to spend Wild Shape to manifest a stormy ocean spray aura around themselves. Once per turn, force a target to make a Con save, taking cold damage on failure and potentially push them away.
  • 6. Wrath of the Sea gets bigger by 10 feet. Gain a swim speed.
  • 10. Stormborn. While Wrath of the Sea is active, you gain a fly speed and resistance to cold, lightning, and thunder damage.
  • 14. Oceanic Gift. Manifest Wrath of the Sea around another creature.

Circle of the Stars

  • Largely the same as in Tasha’s

Fighter: Refined and Expanded, but Still Accessible

  • Second Wind is usable more often.
  • 2. Tactical Mind: add a die to a failed ability check
  • 5. Tactical Shift: when you use Second Wind, move half speed without Opportunity Attacks.
  • 9. Tactical Master: Replace a weapon mastery option with Push, Sap, or Slow.

All of the new Fighting Style options introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything are now in the PHB. Protection style has been improved. You can change your Fighting Style when you gain a Fighter level.

Battle Master

Making maneuvers a core Fighter feature was considered, and that was originally the plan for 2024. They walked that back because it removed the ability to support multiple levels of complexity and multiple play styles within the same class. Basically, anyone who didn’t want to play a Battle Master wouldn’t be able to play a Fighter.

  • All of the maneuver options introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything have made it into the Player’s Handbook.
  • Student of War: Now also grants a skill proficiency to help them feel more well-rounded.
  • Redesigned “Know Your Enemy”: Now has a clearer use in battle, allowing you to discern a creature’s immunities, resistances, and vulnerabilities.


Trying to appeal to players that want a simple Fighter but also want it to be satisfying for players who like tactical options. Crawford put a lot of time into this one personally because he wanted Champion to be more fun.

  • 3. Remarkable Athlete: When you score a critical hit, you can move without provoking Opportunity Attacks. Advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks and on initiative rolls. We know that grapple/shove work differently now, so Advantage on Athletics is going to be less useful than in the 2014 rules.
  • Additional Fighting Style moved from 10 to 7.
  • 10. Heroic Warrior. Champion starts every turn in combat with Heroic Inspiration.
  • 18. Survivor: In addition to previous benefit, Advantage on death saves, and you heal to 1 on an 18, 19, or 20.

Eldritch Knight

  • No more school of magic restrictions (same for Arcane Trickster!)
  • Can use arcane focus now
  • War Magic. Now longer eats your Bonus Action. Instead, replace one attack with a cantrip.
  • Improved War Magic. Now lets you replace 2 attacks with a level 1 or level 2 spell.

Psi Warrior

Changes are just wording changes to fit the new rules.

Ranger: Oh Look, Controversy

Rangers have struggled throughout 5th edition. The 2014 Player’s Handbook version of the class was riddled with issues and weak subclass options. Many of the class’s features were heavily situational, so big parts of your class never mattered in most campaigns. It was consistently among the lowest-rated classes, occasionally trading places with the Monk.

Over the past decade we’ve seen a fully revised ranger in Unearthed Arcana, then a pile of replacement features in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, then finally several rounds of revisions in the 2024 playtest process, all seeking to find a very narrow sweet spot for the Ranger. The post-Tasha’s Ranger was a major improvement, especially with the powerful new subclass options, but the core of the class still had a lot of rough edges.

The online response to the 2024 reveal video for the Ranger has been largely negative. In Crawford’s words, “The Ranger, more than any other class in the new Player’s Handbook, is a new class.” That oversells the changes, but the changes are still significant. All of the Tasha’s optional features are now permanent, and several of them were improved further. Spellcasting moving to level 1 makes level 1 much more satisfying, and Weapon Mastery adds some great tactical options, especially for melee builds where two-weapon fighting was previously both expected and also very difficult.

The biggest worry I see is over-reliance on Hunter’s Mark as a central mechanic of the class. The 2014 Ranger depended on it as a crucial damage boost to the point that you often couldn’t use other spells in combat. Tasha’s shifted that a bit by adding Elemental Weapon and Magic Weapon to your spell list, but it just meant that now you have a different spell monopolizing your Concentration to the exclusion of any other options.

The 2024 Ranger apparently goes back to over-reliance on Hunter’s Mark. Getting some free castings each day helps a bit, but it doesn’t solve the Concentration issue. High-level features and at least one subclass feature all tie into Hunter’s Mark, further locking you into the spell. Even the Ranger’s capstone ability is now a modest buff to Hunter’s Mark, which is probably better than the 2014 Ranger’s capstone, but the bar is on the floor.

I think it’s likely that the updated Ranger is much more satisfying to play than the 2014 version in several ways. I’m frustrated by the choice to lean even harder into Hunter’s Mark since we’ve known the issues with Hunter’s Mark since 2014. But until we get the 2024 rules, we can’t know for certain.

  • 1. Spellcasting at level 1. They want people who are new to the class to immediately acclimate to the Ranger’s martial/caster hybrid nature. Can change one of their prepared spells on a Long Rest; previously they could only retrain one on gaining a Ranger level.
  • 1. Favored Enemy. Reworked again. Hunter’s Mark prepared for free, and a few free castings per day. Hunter’s Mark is central to the Ranger’s capabilities and concept, and they wanted the resource cost to be easier, especially at low levels.
  • 1. Weapon Mastery!
  • 2. Deft Explorer. Updated from the version introduced in Tasha’s. Expertise in one skill and 2 languages.
  • 2. Fighting Style. No more restricted, curated list. You can also take Druidic Warrior instead of a Fighting Style.
  • 6. Roving. +10 ft. speed in non-heavy armor, climb speed, and swim speed.
  • Expertise in 2 more skills. Unclear when in the level progression.
  • 10. Tireless. Updated from the version introduced in Tasha’s. Give yourself temporary hit points a few times per day, and whenever you finish a Short Rest you remove a level of Exhaustion.
  • 13. Hunter’s Mark improves. Damage can’t break your Concentration.
  • 14. Nature’s Veil. Turn invisible. Appears to be identical to the version introduced in Tasha’s.
  • 17. Hunter’s Mark improves again. Constant Advantage on attacks against your target.
  • 18. Blindsight 30 ft.
  • 20. Hunter’s Mark damage increases to 1d10.

Beast Master

Once again described as a brand new subclass, but it sounds like they just kept the Tasha’s updates.

  • Command your beast as a Bonus Action instead of as an Action.
  • Uses 3 generic stat blocks (air/land/sea) like they did in Tasha’s
  • Share Spells sounds like it hasn’t changed
  • Hunter’s Mark now benefits your beast, too

Fey Wanderer

It appears that the Fey Wanderer has changed very little. It was already fantastic, so I’m fine with this.

Gloom Stalker

This one got a lot of discussion, but very few specific details. It sounds as though changes were made to Dread Ambusher, but they were incredibly vague about what they were. I think it’s likely that the feature was nerfed. People are going to be understandably upset about that, but hopefully the updated feature will still be fun.

  • 3. Dread Ambusher. Extra damage is no longer restricted to the first round of combat. They wanted the subclass to continue to matter beyond turn 1. There’s apparently a damage boost which works a few times per day, but Crawford and Kenreck sound excited about the size of the damage boost.
  • Maintains their improved Darkvision and their invisibility to creatures relying on Darkvision
  • Gains some ability to make them better on initiative rolls, but the specifics weren’t discussed
  • “Various mental defenses”
  • 11. Stalker’s Flurry. Psychic damage improves, and the can “exude mass fear”
  • 15. Teleport out of harm’s way when attacked.


  • 3. Hunter’s Lore. When a creature is marked by Hunter’s Mark, you now know its resistances, vulnerabilities, and immunities.
  • 3. Hunter’s Prey. 2014 had 3 options. They narrowed it to “the best choices”, and now you can change it on Short or Long Rest. If they reduced the list, but it’s still plural, there are now 2 choices.
  • 7. Defensive Tactics. Same deal as Hunter’s Prey.
  • 11. Superior Hunter’s Prey. When you deal damage to a creature with Hunter’s Mark on it, you can also deal the damage to another nearby creature.
  • 15. Reaction to give yourself Resistance to one damage type “until the end of your current turn.” I’m hoping that Crawford misread that, because that timing doesn’t make sense.

Monk: Focused and Deadly

The Monk has struggled to be functional since at least as far back as 3rd edition, which is to say nothing of the long-standing cultural issues. The 2024 version of the Monk makes some ambitious changes to the class, making it a terrifying competent martial threat. The core mechanical functions of the class are largely the same, but everything works much better than it did in the 2014 rules.

Players who followed the 2024 rules Unearthed Arcana changes will recognize many of the changes, but even the most-recent version of the UA Monk saw additional buffs. Sadly, they didn’t get Weapon Mastery.

We got a smattering of details from the preview video, but despite 40 minutes of discussion, Crawford and Kenreck couldn’t cover everything. We did get much more detailed information on DnDBeyond.

  • 1. Martial Arts
    • Monk weapons selection expanded to all simple weapons and martial weapons with the Light property.
    • Make the Bonus Action attack without taking the Attack action first.
    • The changes here benefit from the core changes to Unarmed Strike, which now allows you to grapple/shove. Monks get to use Dexterity instead of their Strength for the grapple/shove DCs.
    • Martial Arts damage die is one step higher through the full level range
  • 2. Monk’s Focus (Formerly “Ki”)
    • Now called “Focus Points”
    • Flurry of Blows. 1 FP. 2 attacks as a Bonus Action. No longer requires you to Attack first.
    • Patient Defense. Disengage as a Bonus Action. 1 FP to also Dodge.
    • Step of the Wind. Dash as a Bonus Action. 1 FP to also Disengage and double jump distance for the turn.
  • 2. Uncanny Metabolism. When rolling initiative, regain all of your FP and some hp. Once per Long Rest. FP still recharges on Short Rest, but this will do a lot to help with resource starvation.
  • 3. Deflect Attacks. Replaces Deflect Missiles. Deflect attacks which deal bludgeoning/piercing/slashing damage as a Reaction, reducing damage by 1d10 + Monk level. If you reduce damage to 0, spend 1 FP to damage another creature. Upgrades at level 13 when you add Deflect Energy. Allowing Monks to massively reduce damage from one attack will make them exceptionally deadly against single foes. With decent AC, Monks may be functionally untouchable for many enemies even if they have multiple attacks.
  • 5. Stunning Strike. Now only usable once per turn, but if the target succeeds on their save, their speed is halved and the next attack against them has Advantage. This will prevent Monks from spamming Stunning Strike, which was something I actively advocated for because against important enemies it’s a winning strategy. Now we’ll have to actually exert some effort.
  • 5. Empowered Strike. Choose to deal Force damage instead of your usual damage type. It seems like making attacks magic to overcome damage resistances is less of a thing. I’m curious to see what monster stats look like.
  • Disciplined Survivor. Reroll saving throws. Level wasn’t mentioned.
  • 10. Heightened Focus.
    • Flurry of Blows. Three attacks instead of 2.
    • Patient Defense. Grants temporary hp.
    • Step of the Wind. Bring a friend with you. If you grapple, you may be able to bring additional friends, turning the Monk into the party’s preferred method of transportation.
  • 10. Self Restoration. At end of turn, end charmed/frightened/poisoned conditions. No action cost. Also, you don’t need food or water.
  • 13. Deflect Energy. Use Deflect Attacks on any damage type.
  • 15. Perfect Focus. Backup option for Uncanny Metabolism. Guarantees that you start every fight with 4 FP.
  • 18. Superior Defense. Spend 3 Focus Points at the start of your turn to gain resistance to all damage types except Force for 1 minute. Appears to replace Empty Body.
  • 20. Body and Mind. +4 Dex and +4 Wis. A huge mathematical boost for what is still the most MAD class in the game. Monks who managed to hit 20 Dex and 20 Wis will suddenly enjoy AC of 24 and save DC’s of 21.

Warrior of Mercy

  • Flurry of Healing Hands can now be used a number of times per Long Rest equal to Wisdom modifier rather than as often as you can afford to use Flurry of Blows.

Warrior of the Elements

  • Way of the Four Elements was often the lowest-rated subclass in the 2014 PHB
  • 3. Elemental Attunement. Increase reach of their unarmed strikes
    • Cast “Elementalism”
    • Elemental Strikes. Spend FP to activate. Deal elemental damage instead of normal unarmed strike damage, and force the target to save or forcibly move them.
  • 6. AOE elemental damage.
  • 11. Fly speed and swim speed while running Elemental Attunement.
  • 17. Elemental Epitome. Elemental damage resistance which you can choose at the start of each of your turns, cause damage as you move around the battlefield, deal additional elemental damage once per turn.

Warrior of Shadow

  • Pass Without Trace and Silence have been removed
  • Opportunist feature has been removed
  • 3. See in your own Darkness spell.
  • 11. Improved Shadow Step. Can now spend 1 FP to start or end the teleportation outside of dim light or darkness. Make an unarmed strike immediately after teleporting.
  • 17. Cloak of Shadows. Spend FP to turn invisible, become partially incorporeal. Pass through occupied spaces and use Flurry of Blows without spending FP.

Warrior of the Open Hand

  • Open Hand Technique blocks Opportunity Attacks rather than all Reactions
  • 6. Wholeness of Body. Now a Bonus Action instead of an Action, and can be used multiple times per day.
  • Fleet Step. When you use a Bonus Action for anything except Step of the Wind, you can also use Step of the Wind.
  • Quivering Palm. Now deals damage instead of dropping the target to 0. Deals lots of damage on a failed save, deals some damage on a successful save.

Paladin: More Accessible, but Less Bursty

The paladin splash art is an orc paladin with flowing red hair and a glowing sword. I love it.

  • 1. Spellcasting at level 1. In the 2014 rules, the Artificer was the only half caster that got spellcasting at level 1. I’m curious to see how this affects multiclass spellcasting.
  • 1. Weapon Mastery!
  • 1. Fighting Style has changed for the Paladin. No more restricted, curated list! You now get all the same options as the Fighter and you can skip a Fighting Style and take 2 cleric cantrips.
  • 2. Divine Smite is now called “Paladin’s Smite”. Divine Smite is now a spell. Divine Smite lets you have it prepared permanently, and you get one free smite per day. Since Divine Smite is now a spell, you’ll only be able to use it once per turn, so no more bursting enemies down with multiple smits in one turn.
  • 3. Channel Divinity. Paladins now get 2+ uses per day and recover 1 on a Short Rest; 2014 only got 1 per rest.
  • 3. Divine Sense is now a Channel Divinity option, and lasts 10 minutes rather than 1 round. The design team wanted it to be useful in social situations, which typically take several minutes.
  • 5. Find Steed prepared for free, and you can cast it once per day without a spell slot.
    • Find Steed gets more powerful with higher-level spell slots, and has its own stat block rather than starting from a monster stat block. We saw this in the Unearthed Arcana playtest, and my group brought it into our ongoing game. It worked very well when our paladin remembered that he had a horse.
  • Abjure Foes. Use Channel Divinity against enemies. Based on several similar subclass features.
  • Paladin’s aura is now a single aura that gains additional abilities rather than multiple auras, sometimes with different sizes. The aura now uses a new type of AOE called “emanation”. These AOEs existed, but never had a shared name like “sphere” or “line”.
    • Yes, Pathfinder 2e has had this for several years.

Oath of Devotion

  • Activate Sacred Weapon as part of an attack. Doing it as an Action was so costly that many players never used it.
  • 3. Replaced Purity of Spirit with Smite of Protection. When you use Divine Smite, you and allies inside your Aura of Protection gain half cover.
  • 20. Holy Nimbus. Now a Bonus Action rather than an Action.

Oath of Glory

  • Peerless Athlete now lasts an hour rather than 10 minutes.
  • Aura of Alacrity now applies to allies that pass through your aura rather than only those that start in the aura.
  • Oath of Glory gets the new spell “Yolan’s Regal Presence”

Oath of the Ancients

  • Aura provides resistance to necrotic, psychic, and radiant damage.
  • Nature’s Wrath range increased
  • Undying Sentinel now allows you to heal to half hp

Oath of Vengeance

  • Vow of Enmity. No longer a Bonus Action; you use it when you take the Attack action. You can also transfer it to another target after killing your target.
  • Avenging Angel. Now a Bonus Action rather than an Action, and it lasts for an hour so that you can chase your enemies if they flee.


  • 1. Rogues get Weapon Mastery.
  • 1. Thieves’ Cant now gives you an additional language on top of Thieves’ Cant.
  • 3. Steady Aim. Now a permanent feature.
  • 5. Cunning Strike. The big new feature; big hit in the Unearthed Arcana series. Trade some Sneak Attack damage dice for other effects. Eventually add multiple effects.
  • Reliable Talent at lower level.
  • Slippery Mind. Now proficiency in both Wisdom and Charisma saves.

Arcane Trickster

  • Minor modifications to integrate with other rules updates
  • Spellcasting no longer restricted by school of magic, and can use an arcane focus
  • Can now use Mage Hand with Cunning Strike to trip enemies


  • 2014 version struggled in play because Surprise was so difficult. Surprise rules have changed, and they want Assassin’s features to be more reliable.
  • 3. Assassinate. Advantage on initiative. Extra damage doesn’t rely on surprise, just on the target not having acted yet.
  • You now get tool kits when you get proficiency with them.
  • Infiltration Expertise. Still includes some mimicry, but now also allows you to use Steady Aim while moving.
  • Envenom Weapons. Boosts the poison option of Cunning Strike.
  • Death Strike. No longer relies on Surprise; just needs to hit target before they act in combat.


  • Can now use psychic blades on Opportunity Attacks
  • Psychic blades have the Vex Weapon Mastery property


  • Fast Hands. Can now activate magic items as a Bonus Action. This was a common mistake in the 2014 rules, and it felt like an obvious thing which Fast Hands should allow.
  • Second-Story Work. Now use Dexterity instead of Strength for jumping, and now gives you an actual climb speed.
  • Supreme Sneak. New Cunning Strike option, allowing you to attack while hidden and remain hidden.
  • Use Magic Device. Attune to up to 4 items, chance to use charge items without spending charges, and use spell scrolls. This appears to replace the old version, which had a very high chance of never having any effect.

Warlock: Now Even More Customizable

  • Yes, they still have 2014 Pact Magic
  • 1. Eldritch Invocations. Moved to level 1.
    • Some invocations had their level prerequisite lowered
    • Many invocations had a level prerequisite added so that level 1 dips weren’t as tempting
    • Pact Boons are now Invocations
    • Pact of the Blade. Invocations to heal yourself with attacks. Not much detail here yet. Bladelock builds are much more viable with just the bas class.
    • Pact of the Chain. More familiar options including slaad tadpoles, skeletons to, and the new “sphinx of wonder” to cater to more patron types
    • Pact of the Tome. Enhanced, but they didn’t go into detail.
    • Options which previously only applied to Eldritch Blast (Repelling Blast, etc.) can now apply to other cantrips.
    • Invocation to get more Origin Feats
  • 2. Magical Cunning. Recover some spell slots.
  • Added a way to directly talk to your patron
  • Class spell list expanded (apparently true for everyone). Not as long as the Sorcerer or the Wizard. Interactions with Pact Magic mean that they need to be cautious when adding them to the Warlock.
  • Subclass spell lists now let you prepare those spells for free instead of just expanding your spell list

Archey Patron

  • People loved the theme of the Archfey, but not the gameplay
  • All in on teleportation
  • Allows you to add extra effects when you use Misty Step either from the new “Steps of the Fey” feature or if you spend a spell slot
  • 3. Steps of the Fey
    • Teleport and gain temporary hp
    • Teleport and give someone Disadvantage to attack anyone except you
  • 14. Bewitching Magic. Whenever you cast an enchantment or illusion spell, you can Misty Step for free.

Celestial Patron

  • Celestial Resilience now works with Magical Cunning in some way*
  • 14. Searing Vengeance now applies to you or an ally. Previously only worked on you.

Fiend Patron

  • Of the 2014 subclasses, this one has the most of its features in tact, but they’re all enhanced
  • Dark One’s Blessing. You now also gain the benefit or if someone else kills an enemy nearby.
  • Dark One’s Own Luck. Usable more often.
  • Fiendish Resilience. Magical weapons no longer bypass the resistance.
  • Hurl Through Hell. Clarified.

Great Old One

  • Rebuilt from the ground up
  • Can cast Summon Aberration; one of the options is now a Mind Flayer
  • Awakened Mind. Create a connection to another creature’s mind.
  • Create Thrall. No details.
  • Psychic Spells. Can turn your damage into psychic damage.
  • Clairvoyant Combatant. Relies on Awakened Mind.
  • Eldritch Hex. Disadvantage on saving throws against a certain ability.


  • Spellcasting versatility and collecting spells are central to the Wizard’s concepts
  • Many of the new spells are for the Wizard
  • 1. Can now change a cantrip on every long rest (no one else can do this)
  • 1. Ritual Adept. New (sort of). Allows Wizards to cast any ritual in their spellbook. Not actually a new capability, but many players overlooked it in the Spellcasting feature.
  • 2. Scholar. Expertise in a skill from the specified list (Arcana, etc.)
  • 5. Memorize Spell. On a Short Rest, swap one of your prepared spells.

On a personal note: A lot of folks joke that I love wizards because they’re the best at everything. They are, but that’s not why I love them. It’s the versatility. I’m thrilled to hear that the D&D design team sees the Wizard’s versatility as its greatest strength, and that they’re leaning into that instead of trying to put them at the front of a damage output arms race.


  • Many spells changed schools to become Abjuration spells
  • The “X Savant” features were reworked for all subclasses. 2014 version was generally forgotten and rarely helpful. Now gives you 2 more spells of your school at level 1, then another of your school for free whenever you gain a Wizard level.
  • 3. Arcane Ward. Resistance/immunity now applied before Arcane Ward takes damage. 
  • 10. Spellbreaker. Always have Counterspell and Dispel Magic prepared. Cast Dispel Magic as a Bonus Action. If you cast either and fail, the spell slot isn’t consumed.


  • Divination Savant updated
  • 10. Third Eye. Can now be used as a Bonus Action. Darkvision option now 120 feet. Some options combined into casting See Invisibility without spending a spell slot.


  • Evocation Savant updated
  • 3. Potent Cantrip. Formerly only worked on cantrips which called for saving throws, but there weren’t enough of those. Now applies to all damage cantrips. Also moved down to level 3.


  • Illusion Savant updated
  • 3. Improved Illusions. Can now cast illusions without Verbal components. Illusion spell ranges increased by 60 feet. Minor Illusion with vision+sound at the same time, and can cast it as a Bonus Action.
  • 6. Phantasmal Creatures. Summon Beast and Summon Fey always prepared. Can change spell school to illusion. Can cast each once per day without a spell slot, but they have half hit points.
  • 10. Illusory Self. Can recharge with a spell slot.
  • The rules glossary now includes advice on how to handle illusions, answering common questions about illusions, which should make gameplay for illusionists more consistent and less subject to the DM’s whims.

Weapon Mastery: The Shiny New Toy

For classes with the Weapon Mastery feature, Weapon Mastery options now add a rider effect when you hit with a weapon. This adds some much-needed tactical versatility to martial characters.

Very easy to miss among all of the other information: Todd Kenreck and Jeremy Crawford clarified that while the Nick mastery allows you to take the additional attack from two-weapon during your Attack action, it doesn’t prevent you from making another attack using your Bonus Action. This means that a level 1 character wielding a weapon with Nick, such as a dagger, could attack three times in a turn. This is surprising, and I’m curious to see if they misspoke.

Rangers get mastery in two weapons at a time. Fighters get more, and their number increases with level. Rogues get Weapon Mastery based on a discussion of the Vex mastery.

Crawford specifically discussed using two-weapon fighting to perform combos using weapons with different masteries, such as using Vex to gain Advantage on the attack with your second weapon.

We saw two rounds of Unearthed Arcana documents with versions of the weapons table, including Weapon Mastery. Based on the discussion in the video, it sounds like the masteries work as they did in those documents. 

Jeremy Crawford ended the video on Weapon Mastery by discussing the fact that Weapon Mastery can apply on every attack. Because it can apply so often, they needed to keep the complexity low to avoid bogging down the game. For comparison, Tales of the Valiant’s “Weapon Options” system requires you to use the Weapon Option instead of dealing damage, so Weapon Options are more of a precision instrument than a button that mash every turn.

The complexity of Weapon Mastery slowing down combat was one of my biggest concerns when Weapon Mastery was introduced, but I’ll withhold judgment until I get more time playing with Weapon Mastery. It’s almost certainly worth the added complexity to make martial characters more exciting, but it’s not going to address the long-lived criticism that D&D combat takes too long.

Surprise Rules: No Longer a Win Condition

Changed to no longer prevent combatants from acting for a turn, unbalancing the game in some circumstances by trivializing encounters when players surprised their enemies. Instead, surprised creatures now have disadvantage on initiative rolls.

Changes to Spell Lists

Spell lists are now in the class’s description, rather than being in the Spells chapter. These tables also detail the spell’s school, its components, and whether or not it requires Concentration, making these tables a useful reference table rather than simply a bulleted list.

Crawford also hinted at new spells on the spell lists. We saw a couple new options in the Unearthed Arcana playtest documents, but we don’t know what has made it into the final version of the book.

Changes to Spells

According to Crawford, the 2024 Player’s Handbook includes at least 30 spells not in the 2014 PHB, and every spell from the 2014 PHB has been revisited. Answers to common questions about spells have often been included in the spells’ updated descriptions, so they’re easier to understand without actually changing. Some spells have had their wording shortened to simplify them without changing their effects.

The Spells’ descriptions now also list what classes have that spell on their list so that you don’t need to flip around as much. The Ritual tag has been moved within spell descriptions to make it easier to find. In general, it sounds like the formatting got a nice quality of life improvement.

Some high-level damage spells had their damage increased so that they’re more satisfying to use. Flame Strike was listed as an example. High-level spells were also updated to make their effects clearer in many cases.

Healing spells have been upgraded to make them feel more satisfying to cast, but we didn’t get details on how. Casting Cure Wounds only to have an enemy stab your target for the same amount of damage has felt awful for as long as DnD has had magical healing, which is why so few people are willing to cast anything except Healing Word during combat.

The wording of many spells has been standardized to make their effects easier to understand. The new “emanation” AOE will cover a lot of spells like Word of Radiance and Spirit Guardians.

Shapeshifting spells like Polymorph have been updated so that they no longer grant a secondary pool of hp. Instead, they give you temporary hit points. We’ve seen the same change with Wild Shape in the Unearthed Arcana documents. I’m excited to see how this will affect spellcasters like the Wizard who don’t have as much hp as the Druid to fall back on.

Summoning Spells

The excellent summoning spells in Tasha’s were brought into the PHB, and some of them got new options. Many of them now have art. Kenreck mentioned summoning a construct, which wasn’t an option in Tasha’s.

Conjure X Spells

The 2014 versions required hunting for stat blocks, added a bunch of creatures to the battlefield, bogged down play, and made DMs sad. They’ve all been redesigned.

Instead, these spells now summon spirits that help you in some way. Crawford said that the response to those versions in Unearthed Arcana was positive, so I imagine that there were very few changes. I remember those spells all being worse versions of Spirit Guardians, so I hope that they at least feel more distinct now.

Other Spells

Many spells were brought in to support specific subclasses, such as the new Elementalism for Warrior of the Elements Monk and Dragon Breath for the Draconic Sorcerer.

We’re also getting some new spells that we’ve never seen before, often tied to established DnD canon characters. Yolande’s Regal Presence and Jolarze’s Storm of Radiance were listed as examples. Tasha’s Bubbling Cauldron lets you create potions. No further details on any of the three.

  • Blade Ward and Resistance. Buffed so that someone might actually use them, but no details on how.
  • Chromatic Orb. Added the ability for the orb to bounce. It sounds like they combined it with Chaos Bolt.
  • Cloud of Daggers. Now lets you move the cloud. The static position of the cloud bothered Crawford personally, including in Baldur’s Gate 3, so he pushed for this change.
  • Dragons’ Breath. Brought in so that it could be given to the Draconic Sorcerer.
  • Elementalism. Answer to the various elemental cantrips. They considered bringing all four of the elemental cantrips into the PHB, but didn’t.
  • Guidance. Now buffs a chosen skill, and works for any ability check for that skill for the duration. 
  • Prayer of Healing. Now grants the benefits of a Short Rest once per day
  • Produce Flame. Allegedly easier to use now. Apparently casting it was annoying both at the table and in Baldur’s Gate 3, so Crawford set out to fix it.
  • Steel Wind Strike. Brought in because people like it on the Dragon.
  • Toll the Dead, Synaptic Static, Mind Spike, Mind Sliver, Ice Knife, Vitriolic Sphere, Word of Radiance all in the PHB
  • Starry Whisps, Sorcerous Burst new from the 2024 UA playtest
  • Wish. Now has more default options and more to say about the ramifications of casting the spell, including specific guidance on what happens if you mess with Sigil or the Lady of Pain


The new Player’s Handbook will apparently include updated descriptions for tools, including what you can craft with those tools. Spell scrolls will be in the book both for purchase and for crafting. It’s not clear how crafting will work, but Jeremy Crawford did state that the Dungeon Master’s Guide’s rules for crafting magic items will be much more straightforward than those in the 2014 DMG.

What it Means (Especially for Character Optimization)

Building characters has a fun new lever in the updated Backgrounds. Since ability scores and feats are now attached to backgrounds, they’ll fill a mechanical niche that historically has been filled by races through most of DnD’s history. Creating new backgrounds will also require much less mechanical consideration than designing new races, so I’m hoping that we’ll see an abundance of options both in the Player’s Handbook and in future supplements. I’m sure homebrewers and 3rd-party creators will find fertile ground here.

That said, losing the Tasha’s-era flexibility in Ability Score Increases means that we’re more constrained in our build choices under the 2024 rules. Constraints like this impose interesting cost-benefit comparisons which I really enjoy when building characters. Do I take the obvious background? Or do I pick one that has worse ability scores so that I can get a feat that’s really good for my build?

The changes to races/species which we’ve seen seem to follow what we say in the playtest. We still don’t have precise text, but I expect that weaker species will be brought in line with the more powerful species in the Player’s Handbook. We know that the Goliath is getting some new options and the Dragonborn is getting an upgrade, but otherwise we don’t have answers yet.

Species will remain an important decision point in optimizing character, but unusual species/class pairings may be more viable than they were in the 2014 rules.

Changes to classes seem very close to the Unearthed Arcana documents so far. We saw a lot of changes throughout the 2 year UA process, so it will be interesting to see what they kept. 

Weapon Mastery is going to be huge for martials. I think folks will quickly find ways to make Weapon Mastery a problem since it applies to every attack. For example: the Slow mastery imposing a speed penalty when combined with other options like Ray of Frost can reduce enemies’ speed to the point that they functionally can’t get into melee. The ability to lock melee-only enemies out of range this easily will necessitate changes to encounter design, and even then it remains to be seen what will remain viable to challenge the players.

All that said, I dislike some of the changes. Converting Divine Smite into a spell is absolutely going to limit Paladin players in a way that’s less fun than the 2014 version. I want to be able to cast Shield of Faith, then charge into battle and smite things on turn 1. That’s not allowed now. Limiting Divine Smite to “once one each of your turns” would have solved the burst problem just as well with minimal change to the Paladin’s gameplay. They did that with plenty of other features, so it’s not clear to me why it didn’t happen here.

Changing grapple and shove to unarmed strikes does address the overpowered grapple/shove combo somewhat, but now you can grapple on Opportunity Attacks, thereby preventing enemies from moving away. Even characters with dismal Strength can capitalize on this because even strong creatures will sometimes roll poorly. They’ve essentially just moved the problem from Athletics checks to unarmed strikes rather than solving how easy it was to be unstoppable at grappling.

I’m also worried about the adherence to a minimum DC of 15 when hiding which we saw in the last several UA documents. That stability makes it nearly certain that the rule will make it into the PHB. This would mean that a level 1 character purpose-built for stealth has a 50% chance to successfully hide, or a 60% chance if they have Expertise in Stealth. This would make low-level rogues extremely difficult to play, not to mention the frustration of literally anyone else trying to hide.

There’s still a lot that we don’t know, but with a brand new Player’s Handbook coming, there’s a fresh landscape for character optimization. I’m excited to see what we can build in the new rules landscape, but I’m certain that there will be both pros and cons of the updated ruleset.

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