Last Updated: April 25, 2023
This one’s a little late. I had a multi-day power outage when the playtest doc was released, and I’m just now getting my thoughts written down.
This round’s playtest document includes new versions of druid and paladin. These are the remaining two classes in the “priest” group after we saw the cleric in the previous round, and both classes got a lot of changes. Some are simplifications, some aim to address problem cases in the classes, and some are… more conceptually explorative.
Reading Tea Leaves
“You might find an older subclass doesn’t fully work with the features in the playtest version of a class. If we publish the new version of the class, we’ll resolve that discrepancy.”
OneD&D is moving toward all classes getting subclass features at the same level. This means that everyone’s capabilities “spike” at those same levels, allowing the design of the game to accommodate that progression rather than being a flat progression at every level except 5 among other likely changes to the game.
This creates the discrepancy between 5e subclasses and OneD&D subclasses. There are two ways to “resolve” the discrepancy: revert to the subclass feature progression of the 2014 classes, or provide updated versions of the existing subclasses.
Does this mean a conversion guide for existing subclasses? Or just that we’ll see reprints in future supplements? Unclear. A conversion guide would mean that everyone’s 5e books don’t become completely obsolete when OneD&D releases, and the existing 5e books might continue to sell well into OneD&D’s run. Reprints would mean that WotC gets to sell us a new book or two, but the community will justifiably complain about them doing so.
Table of Contents
- Reading Tea Leaves
- Previous Playtest Rounds:
- Rules Glossary v4
- Thoughts from the RPGBOT Team
Previous Playtest Rounds:
Following feedback which WotC received from the previous OneD&D playtests, they’ve elected to share OneD&D playtest documents once every other month, but the documents will be larger. This will allow more time for playtesting before the feedback surveys open, and they put less pressure on people to keep up with the playtest. I mentioned a tick/tock pattern in our previous feedback post, and I’m glad we’re avoiding that.
As someone trying to keep up with playtest and share thoughts in a public setting, I appreciate this change. I’m not totally clear on how this will affect timing of the feedback surveys. Previously the back-to-back timing meant that the design team was always responding to the feedback from two surveys ago, which is a terrible and frustrating way to gather and act upon feedback. I think this arrangement is better for everyone, especially the design team.
From the previous playtest, the reworked dragonborn and goliath were both popular, but the aardling is getting dropped from the OneD&D playtest. If you liked the aardling, don’t despair, Crawford’s commentary in the accompanying video specified that they won’t appear in the PHB, not that they are deleted from OneD&D forever.
Rules Glossary v4
As usual, we’ll dig into the rules glossary before we look at other rules changes. The design team now includes a change log detailing what is new or modified from the previous UA, so rather than re-reading the whole rules glossary we can just hit the changes.
The glossary is notably down to 9 pages from around 15 previously. The glossary also no longer contains updated spells, which was a weird and confusing choice that I’m glad they changed.
Dying was previously a state of being, but not an actual “condition”. Similarly, “stable” was not a condition, but you were either of those two things while at 0 hit points. If you died, you stopped being “you” and your body became a you-shaped object with a separate pool of hit points.
If you’re familiar with how dying works under the 2014 rules, the updated rules are nearly identical. The key difference is that when you stabilize, you regain 1 hit point, remain unconscious, and begin a Short Rest automatically. If you regain any more hp or someone wakes you with a DC 10 Medicine check, you regain consciousness.
This is all fairly sensible, but I’m not sure what issue it’s trying to address. My best guess is that new players were confused by being at 0 hp but not dying or outright dead, but now we have the confusion of being at 1 hp and not conscious, so this doesn’t feel like an improvement.
Also, if you have 1 maximum hp (a rat or a very sickly wizard) and recover from dying, you’re unable to regain consciousness on your own. You can complete your short rest, but won’t regain hit points because you’re already at your maximum hit points. It’s also unclear what happens if the creature has no more hit dice to spend and needs a long rest to recover.
Knocking a Creature Out
Like with the updated dying rules, if you choose to knock a creature unconscious they fall to 1, are unconscious, and begin a short rest. This means that if the players knock a creature unconscious, it won’t pop back up until it has had an hour to recover, but it might stand up at full hit points. If you again beat the creature unconscious and it has no hit dice to spend, it’s unconscious until it heals by other means. Like with the dying rules, it’s unclear what happens if the creature has no more hit dice to spend and needs a long rest to recover.
The changes are mostly minor. Creatures must have at least 1 hit point to being a short rest, and there is a short list of things which interrupt a short rest. Leveled spells are among the things that interrupt the rest, so it’s now explicit that you can’t conduct rituals or something along those lines during a short rest.
The rules for telepathy have been consolidated. Previously, each version of telepathy could be different, which resulted in different races with telepathy having differing capabilities. I imagine that this will save a lot of copy+pasted text.
Reworded, but functionally almost identical. Weirdly, it no longer specifies that you can’t speak.
Rolling a 1 on a d20 no longer awards Inspiration, which is now called Heroic Advantage.
Updates to the list of things which qualify as difficult terrain.
Equipping Weapons [subsection of Attack]
If you equip a weapon before an attack, you don’t need to use it for that attack. Equipping includes “picking it up” and unequipping includes “dropping it”. This is a small but very real nerf to the action economy because calling out that dropping a weapon is equivalent to unequiping it indicates to me that dropping a weapon as a free action is no longer allowed.
The text explaining what causes you to fall has been updated. “Restrained” is no longer called out explicitly, but Restrained reduces your speed to 0, which causes you to fall.
Grappled [Condition] (“Movable” and “Escape” sections changed)
The rules for moving a grapple have been simplified. Previously it applied the “Slowed” condition to the grappler while moving, which had some weird rules interactions. Slowed no longer exists, and moving at half speed was how it worked in the 2014 rules, so essentially this has reverted to the existing behavior.
The rules for escaping a grapple are no longer a saving throw, and once again allow you make an Acrobatics or Athletics check to escape. We’re mostly back to the 2014 rules, except that it’s against a fixed grapple DC rather than an opposed skill check.
Help now works with tool proficiencies.
Formerly Inspiration in the 2014 rules, then “Heroic Inspiration” in previous UA docs, we’re now calling it “Heroic Advantage”. It might be to avoid confusion with Bardic Inspiration, it might be so that the name indicates what it gets you, or it might be both.
We no longer gain Heroic Advantage on natural 1s or 20s as we have in previous playtest docs. It seems like they’re moving away from that concept, though humans do still start the day with Heroic Advantage.
The text was clarified to call out that you can’t take bonus actions. They really need to linguistically differentiate between an “action” and “actions”. When you can’t take “actions”, you can’t take an Action, a Bonus Action, or a Reaction, and that has been clear as mud since 2014.
People have recently noticed that RAW, 5e’s invisibility grants advantage/disadvantage even if a creature can see you. Crawford tweeted that that’s how it’s intended to work, and the community justifiably cried foul. I think they’re trying to fix that, but it’s not going especially well so far.
Being invisible now gives you Advantage on initiative, which doesn’t make sense. You don’t get Advantage for being hidden, so why would you for being magically hidden? This effect isn’t affected by other creatures’ ability to see you, either.
Invisible targets can’t be targeted by effects requiring you to be seen even if the creature can see you, which is a huge pain for spellcasters.
The text now specifies that you’re unconscious while sleeping, and that rolling initiative or taking any damage interrupts your rest (rather than “combat”). The text around Exhaustion was updated, but the differences are purely semantic.
Movement and Difficult Terrain
Mostly clarifications on how movement works. Difficult terrain now includes a sizeable list of specific things which are usually difficult terrain.
Now a simple weapon. It appears that they want the scimitar to be meaningfully better rather than just a different damage type.
Unarmed Strike, Grapple, Shove
In previous UA docs, attacks could use an unarmed strike to grapple or shove their target instead of dealing damage. This presents a problem because you could use your unarmed strike to grapple enemies when you make an opportunity attack, thereby ending their movement for the turn. This UA doc changes the text so that rather than making an attack roll, the defender makes a saving throw to resist being grappled or shoved.
I think this is an improvement, but not a perfect fix. Previously, you could become an unstoppable grappler simply by being good at attacks. Enemies with poor AC could be easily stopped, and since many enemies are low-AC bags of hit points (beasts, ogres, etc.), those creatures were easy to grapple. Now enemies can choose the better or their Strength or Dexterity saves, so at least melee enemies won’t be laughably easy to grapple.
I still think grappling as an opportunity attack is a problem. Any character who can keep a free hand now has a decent chance to halt an enemies movement. Even if your Strength is poor, the chance to grapple an enemy is almost always going to have more of an impact than a little bit of damage from an opportunity attack, especially since big, once-per-turn, on-hit damage options like Divine Smite and Sneak Attack are now limited to the character’s own turn according to the current UA versions of the classes.
- Ability Check
- Attack Roll
- Climbing and Swimming [subsection of Move]
- Dash [Action]
- Hidden [Condition]
- Jump [Action]
- Slowed [Condition]
- Special Speeds [subsection of Move]
What Didn’t Change But Should Have
We’re still seeing the base DC of 15 on checks like Stealth checks to hide. This is going to make the game extremely frustrating across the level spectrum. With 5e’s bounded math, many characters will never see a modifier greater than +11, so a 20th-level character with 20 Dexterity might still fail Stealth checks 15% of the time regardless of how blind and asleep their opponents are.
The design team has made a lot of assumptions about what people want from druids, and to put it lightly, most of them are wrong. Some of the mechanical changes are good, but the general design direction is not what we want to see from the druid.
The fantasy of the Druid is to draw magical power from elemental, natural, and primal sources. Something more inherent to the world than a deity, but not so otherworldly as a patron. Sometimes that means turning into a beast or an elemental, sometimes that means drawing power from the movement of the stars, sometimes that means becoming a walking mushroom colony, sometimes that means being a hermit that lives in the woods or on a mountain and maintains a wildlife refuge.
Not every druid wants to be Wild Shape with a spell list attached.
They finally gave up on druids wearing medium armor. That was a problem at least as far back as 3rd edition. Hide armor has been poor for at least that long, and, without the ability to wear metal armor, there’s basically no point to having medium armor proficiency. In other editions you could get armor made of things like chitin, bone, alchemically treated leaves, ironwood, etc., but none of those things have made their way into 5e so the Druid has long been stuck in studded leather or armor that wants to be studded leather. The design team could offer more interesting armor options, they could fix armor stats so that it’s not just “there is one best armor at each tier”, or they could remove medium armor proficiency from druids. They picked the least interesting available choice.
Druids no longer get scimitar proficiency. There was never a good explanation for this anyway. Sickles seem like a better fit thematically, but DnD druids have been able to use scimitars since at least as far back as 3rd edition for some reason. They’ve never been good at it, of course. Crawford mentioned that they want the scimitar and short sword to be meaningfully different, so I’m excited to see what they change about weapons when that eventually happens.
Among the bigger changes to the class is the new Channel Nature feature. Channel Nature’s recharge mechanic is interesting: it partially recharges on short rest, rather than entirely recharging your pool. This is helpful when spacing between short rests isn’t perfectly consistent, so you can use a bunch of charges all at once or space them out over the day depending on your needs.
Conceptually, this is the non-spells resource pool which druids will use to power other features like Wild Shape. It’s very similar to PF2’s Focus Points, which I enjoy a lot as a mechanic. I’m also excited that it’s not PB/day like many of the Tasha’s subclasses. WotC finally realized that multiclass abuse was a massive problem with those subclasses, and they may have found a happy middle ground.
Clerics will likely do something similar with Channel Divinity, and I’m excited to see that change.
The new Channel Nature feature comes with multiple options. The first is Healing Blossoms. It’s basically Mass Healing Word as an action. I like this as an emergency healing option, but it’s only going to be emergency healing beyond low levels since the pool is so small and scales so little. I think it’s great as it is: good enough that everyone will get some use out of it, but not so definingly good that it will cause trouble.
The second option is Wild Companion, which gives you a familiar for one day. I like this a lot, but I think more could be done with the flavor. Currently it’s just “hang on, I need a short rest right after our long rest” to get a familiar. Having some more druid-specific modifications to the spell would be cool. Maybe it’s a local spirit so it’s a new, local familiar every time you travel? It doesn’t feel different enough from other classes’ familiars.
The third option is Wild Shape, which is the most controversial part of the changes to the Druid. We do get Wild Shape at level 1, which is nice if you’re planning a moon druid. Previously, level 1 was a huge pain point for many druid subclasses because you were built to do X, and without that capability, your character was often extremely weak. Offering a taste of that functionality at level 1 is great (at least in concept).
The initial version of Wild Shape limits you to “Animal of the Land”, and we get our first exposure to the new version of Wild Shape. Like the Tasha’s updates to the Beast Master Ranger, individual animals are replaced by generic stat blocks that you can describe however you like. Your beast might be a badger, a boar, an owlbear, or whatever else suits you.
The intent, according to the video, was to remove the need to scour animal stat blocks for the good options. This both makes Wild Shape accessible for players who don’t want to dig into the mechanics and removes the need for WotC to consider druids when they build animal stat blocks. The cost is that everyone’s wild shape is functionally identical, and Wild Shape is purely a combat option, losing nearly all utility outside of combat. No more turning into a rat to sneak around a city, no more turning into a bat to explore a cave, no more turning into a crab to collect loose items from the bottom of a lake.
Even in combat, it’s much less interesting. No more turning into a crocodile or a giant snake to grapple a mobile enemy. No more turning into a goat to charge enemies and knock them prone. The only variation we get is that you add Aquatic Form and Aerial Form at higher levels.
And what about aquatic druids? If I’m a triton and I live underwater, why do I learn Animal of the Land first?
Things continue to disappoint when you look at the stats. Your AC is 10+Wis and you use your own hit points with your paltry d8 hit dice. You’re doing as much damage as a poorly-built fighter with a longsword, but you’re nowhere near as durable. You can’t call yourself a Striker because your damage is poor and you don’t have a way to lock down or eliminate single enemies. You can’t call yourself a Defender because you’re neither durable nor “sticky”. So what are you? Disappointing, mostly.
You do eventually gain the ability to be tiny at level 11, but for 10 minutes at most. So if you want to turn into a rat to do some exploring, you’re going to struggle.
The new version of Wild Shape is boring, bland, weak, and frustrating. It is not fun to imagine. It is not fun to build your character around. It is not mechanically satisfying. It is none of the things that people like about Wild Shape. And it locks the entire class into one specific pre-conceived notion of what a druid can be. But you can describe your Wild Shape form as an owlbear.
The Epic Boon feature at level 20 has been updated. Previously, players informed WotC that the boons didn’t feel sufficiently epic, and having rated the published epic boons (they have changed very little so far), I agree. The design team has added a +2 ability score increase at level 20 which allows you to go above the soft cap of 20. I believe this means that barbarians could hit 26 Strength, which is really something. Personally, I think improving the boons themselves is a better choice, but I don’t hate this.
Circle of the Moon
Previously, Circle of the Land was the nominal “default” subclass for the Druid, but players gravitated to Circle of the Moon because it’s stronger, more interesting, and more novel. This is the first time in the playtest that we’ve seen the “default” subclass change.
The Combat Wild Shape feature is interesting. You can make an Unarmed Strike as a Bonus Action, meaning that in addition to making one or two regular attacks as an Action, you can make a third with your Bonus Action. This is almost entirely a rider for your Wisdom bonus (which becomes your Strength bonus while in Wild Shape) and eventually for Elemental Strike. You might think about a feat or a monk dip to get better at unarmed strikes, but you lose those features when you’re in Wild Shape.
Circle of the Moon’s ability to burn spell slots to heal has been replaced by the ability to cast Abjuration spells while in Wild Shape. OneD&D is moving healing spells into the Abjuration school, so now you can cast Healing Word and other defensive spells while you’re an animal. If you multiclass, you could add Shield to your options, potentially fixing the garbage 10+Wis AC. In fact, throw Mage Armor on top of that and you might not immediately die. Mage Armor doesn’t immediately seem like it would work, because the stat block lists your AC as 10+Wis, not as adding Wisdom to your AC. However, each of the three forms also sets your Dexterity to be equal to your Wisdom, meaning you can use Mage Armor’s wording of 13+Dex instead and getting yourself up to a possible 18 with just capped Wisdom, as good as full plate without a shield.
The ability to turn into an elemental has gone away in favor of the ability to add elemental power to your animal wild shape forms. Elemental Wild Shape and Elemental Strike add some damage resistance and a damage bonus. It’s nice, and it keeps Wild Shape’s attacks impressive at levels where fighters are getting 3 or more attacks.
Unfortunately, you never get the ability to make your attacks magical, so resistance to non-magical B/P/S is a big problem. Elemental Strike helps, but you’re still losing something like a third of your damage output.
I’m not sure about the changes here. Turning into a lightning dog or an acid bird is a very different fantasy from turning into a mammoth and stomping on stuff. The improved damage output and spellcasting are neat, but they don’t fix the horrifying frailty of 10+Wis AC and d8 hit dice.
Much like the Druid, the design team has made some odd choices for the Paladin which people are upset about. Some of the changes address problem areas, and some reduce the class’s complexity, but the changes around smiting are controversial, to the say the least.
The introduction to the Paladin includes the text “united by their oaths to stand against the forces of annihilation and corruption.” What about Conquest and Oathbreaker?
Paladins now get spellcasting, including cantrips, at level 1 just like the Ranger does. Divine Sense went from an Action to a Bonus Action, so you might actually use it in combat. It’s also rolled into Channel Divinity, which uses the same recharge mechanics that the Druid uses for Channel nature. The auras are all rolled into Aura of Protection rather than being separate features, which is mechanically identical but conceptually easier to manage. Paladins get fighting style feats despite being in the Priest group, and since there’s no limitation there paladins will finally get the full range of options that fighters do.
The changes to Divine Smite and the Paladin’s smite spells are easily the most controversial changes to the class. They’re not all bad, but they do take something from the class.
First, Divine Smite now works with ranged weapons and with unarmed strikes. This has been asked for since at least as far back as DnD 3.0, so it’s good that we can finally play a ranged paladin.
Second, Divine Smite is limited to once per turn. Paladins “going nova” and ending an encounter on turn 1 was highlighted as a problem in the video discussing the playtest changes. In games where you’re not dragging the party through the expected 6-8 encounters per day, there was little reason not to burn fast and bright, and most games never go near 6 encounters in a single day. I’m fine with this change, personally.
Third, Divine Smite can no longer be used on a turn in which you cast a spell. This prevents players from using a smite spell and Divine Smite to stack a ton of damage behind one attack. Again: they don’t want paladins going nova on turn 1 and ending every encounter.
But there’s a sneaky change in here: the wording of when the damage applies has changed from “when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack” to “Immediately after you hit a target.” I’m not certain, but I think this may mean that the additional damage is not multiplied on a critical hit. If that’s the case, I’m very disappointed. Smiting on a crit was easily one of the most satisfying parts of playing a paladin.
I’ll discuss smite spells in the Spells section, below.
Paladins can cast Find Steed at level 5 as an action for free once per day. They’re going to get a weaker steed than clerics, but it’s still nice.
Aura of protection has been delayed to level 7 to make room for a subclass feature.
Channel Divinity (Abjure Foes) is really cool. It can Daze and Frighten targets, but even if they fail they’re still Dazed for a full minute or until they take damage. That’s excellent crowd control.
Improved Divine Smite has been renamed to Radiant Strikes, which is great because it never had anything to do with Divine Smite. It appears to omit unarmed strikes, which seems to indicate that supporting ranged attacks and unarmed strikes was a late addition.
Cleansing Touch has been replaced by Restoring touch at level 15. Rather than removing an ongoing spell, Restoring Touch removes a bunch of status conditions. This is great, but you’ve been able to resolve half of these conditions with Lesser Restoration for 10 levels.
The Paladin’s new capstone class feature is Divine Conduit, which recharges one use of Channel whenever you roll initiative. It’s nice, but you have to hope that your subclass grants a good way to use Channel Divinity or you’re defaulting to Abjure Foes.
Oath of Devotion
Paladin subclasses now grant one free oath spell per day. This is a helpful complement to the Paladin’s limited spellcasting, and it encourages you to cast these spells rather than simply dumping spell slots into Divine Smite.
Sacred Weapon has been updated from an Action to a Bonus Action, and it consumes a use of Channel Divinity, reducing the number of resource pools which you need to track. As before, you add your Charisma modifier to your attack bonus, but now you can also change your weapon’s damage type to radiant
At 6th level, Oath of Devotion gets the new Smite of Protection, allowing you to grant temporary hp whenever you use divine smite. You grant 1d8+spell level, which encourages frequent use of low-level slots since temporary hit points don’t stack.
Aura of Devotion was moved from level 7 to level 10, but otherwise didn’t meaningfully change.
Formerly a 20th-level feature, Holy nimbus now sits at level 14 alongside other subclass capstones. It was reduced from an Action to a Bonus Action once per long rest, or you can now recharge it with a 4th-level spell slot. The aura deals radiant damage just as it did before, but now rather than granting you advantage on a tiny fraction of spells, the aura produces actual sunlight that can harm vampires and such. It’s not significantly better than it was before.
The only feats in the doc are Epic Boons. Interestingly, they now also include a +1 ability score increase which ignores the usual cap of 20. Combined with the +2 at level 20, you can get to 23 in one ability score. If you get multiple Epic Boons, you could get all the way to 30!
Epic Boon of Fate
Similar in concept to Lucky, except that you can apply it to any failed roll within 60 feet. You get 8 uses, but only some recharge each day.
The wording is odd. “When another creature within 60 feet of you fails a d20 Test, you can roll 2d4 and apply the total rolled as a bonus or penalty to the d20 roll.”
Let me trim that down. “When another creature… fails a d20 Test, you can roll 2d4… as a… penalty to the d20 roll.” It seems likely that at one point this said “succeeds or fails,” allowing you to perhaps negate enemy saves but they found that too powerful and only removed half of the relevant wording.
There are some very unusual cases where that’s helpful, such as again a medusa’s petrifying gaze, but they’re exceedingly rare.
Epic Boon of Spell Recall
A 1 in 4 chance to retain a spell slots of up to 4th level whenever you cast a spell up 4th level or lower. Neat, but not at all reliable, and going a full day without it working will feel awful.
Epic Boon of Truesight
60 ft. Truesight isn’t exactly exciting to think about, but it’s really good. No more worrying about darkness or invisibility.
All of the included smite spells have seen the same changes. Rather than being cast and then requiring Concentration, they are now cast as a Bonus Action after hitting with an attack. This means that they are damage from a separate source, so they are definitely not multiplied on a critical hit. A few still do require Concentration, such as Glimmering Smite, to maintain some rider effect of the Smite Spell.
Now that these spells are on the divine spell list, they’re available to clerics. This means that clerics using weapons may finally be worthwhile.
All familiars now use a predefined stat block. They can be customized with two choices: air/land/water and celestial/fey/fiend. Each option modifies your familiar’s stats slightly. We no longer face the issue of owls being the outright best familiar, but some amount of uniqueness is lost. I’m curious to see how this will interact with Pact of the Chain and unusual familiar options like the Pseudodragon.
Upcasting Find Familiar now improves your familiar’s AC, hit points, and number of hit dice. They’re still frail, but they’re no longer 1 hp and 10 AC.
The way familiars work in combat has also changed. Your familiar shares your initiative, and acts immediately after you. No more hoping that your familiar rolls close to you in initiative so that you can coordinate touch spells.
Familiars can now attack if you use your reaction to command it on its turn. The damage is pitiful, and doing so is risky.
The Remote Viewing option has also seen updates. It now uses an Action and lasts until the end of your next turn. This means that you can no longer justify perceiving through your familiar’s senses in combat if you’re blinded or something.
The ability to deliver touch spells is more clearly defined, but, due to the timing of the familiar’s turn, it likely requires you to Ready your touch-range spell while your familiar moves into position.
Find Steed now uses the “loyal steed” stat block instead of picking from a predefined list of creature options. Once again: the stat block is generic, but it can be customized by choosing Celestial/Fey/Fiend. Upcasting the spell gives it better stats, including flight at high enough spell level.
Find Steed’s interactions with the mounted combat rules are much more explicit, but the spell doesn’t account for when you’re not riding your mount. As written, the mount works when you’re riding it and when you’re incapacitated (even if you’re not riding it), but if you’re standing on the ground it takes no actions.
Your loyal steed now gets an attack and a Bonus Action depending on your choice of Celestial/Fiend/Fey, but it’s not clear if they can use these while being ridden since the steed behaves as a controlled mount, which normally disallows all but a tiny handful of actions.
Spare the Dying
Now restores 1 hp to a dying creature, allowing you to play hit point ping pong as a cantrip! I think this is intended to work alongside the other changes to Dying, but they forgot the part of the spell that explains that you’re unconscious.
Thoughts from the RPGBOT Team
I love Channel Nature, but I otherwise strongly dislike the changes to the Druid. It’s clear that they wanted to reduce the complexity of Wild Shape so that players wouldn’t need to hunt for good animal forms, but if that was a problem, why don’t they fix the CR of the available animals? Why don’t they offer suggested default forms like they’re doing for other character options like spells? Saying “you turn into a wolf or another animal of CR X or below” would work fine.
I’m similarly frustrated with the changes to the Paladin. As a native of 3rd edition, then 3.5, then Pathfinder 1st edition, I remember the days when the Paladin was an “also ran” next to the Cleric, who could cast one spell and outdo a fighter or paladin’s entire feature set. WotC is intent on fitting the Paladin into the “Priest” category, and I think that’s a mistake.
Paladins aren’t priests who swing weapons. That’s Holy Order (Protector), which they just published in the last doc. Paladins are warriors with some divine power. They replace a fighter in the party, not a cleric. Consolidating the divine spell list means that all of the paladin’s exclusive spells (smites, Find Steed, etc.) now work better for clerics because clerics can cast spells so much better than paladins. They get better mounts earlier, they get more smite spell damage, and then when they’re tired of pretending to be a paladin, they still have full spellcasting to fall back on.
We’re going back to caster supremacy where the cleric and the wizard sat uncontested above everyone else. I’m a big fan of wizards, but that is not what I want to see in OneD&D.
I actually wrote a nearly identical paragraph about Clerics being better Paladins into this document before I continued scrolling and saw Tyler’s personal comments. As an enormous fan of the class, and while I’m grateful for the clarification around already-afraid creatures entering a paladin’s aura, I’m hugely disappointed. I understand the damage issue that Paladins with no need to manage resources can present, but preventing all Paladins from taking any combination of those actions is not the fix. Clerics can already do many things better than many other characters. In keeping with Tyler’s point about Paladins being Fighter replacements, I think that the way forward for them in OneD&D is to remove the spellcasting entirely and make all of these class features instead.
Making steeds a level 5 ability that scales on Proficiency Bonus is a deep enough investment that people would be giving up quite a bit to dip for it while allowing them to use the simplified stat block like the Tasha’s Beastmaster/Artificer companions. Between that, a small buff to quantity of Lay on Hands points, and giving Paladins a larger pool of Channel Divinity that is also used to power Smites (use one at a time for a scaling damage bonus, use two at once to add the damage and something that a spell might have done like save for Blind or ongoing fire damage), you end up with a class that still feels much like the current paladins people enjoy with absolutely no spells.
While I haven’t played a druid in this edition, I did write our guide to Moon Druids and, wow they got worked. I saw comments on reddit of people talking about how playtesting it was torture and thought they were being dramatic. Then I read the UA article and that belief vanished. The entire soul of the class feels like it’s been removed and replaced with something so generic that it would make better sense as a Cleric subclass. I like the new healing option with Channel Nature, rounding out Channel Divinity and Bardic Inspiration’s “no really, we’re the support classes, look at our bonus action healing not tied to spells.” Pretty much everything else though makes me want to stay far away from this class.
The changes to hitpoints around dying are fascinating because they unintentionally nerf Grave Clerics since you can no longer stabilize someone and then heal them with the bonus later.
The Paladin’s job is to add Charisma to everyone’s saves just by showing up. I don’t see the Cleric doing this so I don’t subscribe to this “Cleric is better Paladin” doom-saying.
I think it’s safe to say that we’re much less happy with the new version of the druid and paladin than we were about the previous playtest documents, and we’re certainly not alone. Hopefully the DnD design team responds to the clear community consensus.