DnD 6e – a.k.a. Dungeons and Dragons 6th Edition (or, as it’s currently called, One DnD) is reportedly still over a year away – and we’ve had no whiff of a specific D&D 6e release date. But the clock is certainly ticking down towards what’ll be, in effect, a brand new edition of the world’s biggest tabletop roleplaying game. In this guide, we’ll keep you updated on every key detail of DnD 6e as we hear about it.
That includes fresh news on the latest One D&D gameplay material, differences from D&D 5e, new DnD books, digital features – and, of course, our best guesses as to when we’ll see DnD 6e release.
While you’re biding your time and plotting eventual 6th edition DnD campaigns, try our handy guides to DnD classes and DnD character creators – or boost your Dungeon Master prep with our play-tested lists of the best DnD maps and DnD character sheets available online.
For now, though…
Here’s all the DnD 6E release date facts we have so far:
DnD 6e news
Publisher Wizards of the Coast shared the news that a new ‘evolution’ of D&D was already in the works during a livestream in its ‘D&D Celebration’ event in September 2021, confirming that it would launch in 2024 to mark the 50th anniversary of Dungeons and Dragons’ original launch in 1974 (and ten years since 5th Edition launched in 2014).
Then, in August 2022’s Wizards Presents livestream, the firm unveiled its new One D&D playtest programme, finally giving the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons an official brand name (for now).
In subsequent drops of new One D&D gameplay materials, we’ve seen that – as expected – a deeper DnD backgrounds system will play a bigger role in dictating your character’s particulars than which DnD race they’re from. In fact, in December 2022 Wizards shared it’d had the term race removed from the game entirely, switching to ‘species’ for future playtest material.
Wizards has also tested the water with some potential rules changes (see more detail below), including tweaking how D20 critical successes and failures work. Overall, One DnD playtest satisfaction scores have been particularly positive – with only the One DnD playtest Dragonborn and Ardling needing further workshopping as of December.
Beyond that, we’re still missing a lot of crucial details, for now – except that Wizards clearly states all 5th Edition products will be “completely compatible” with the new version. It seems to point to something akin to D&D 3.5e, an evolutionary updated edition released in 2003, leading many fans to refer to One D&D as DnD 5.5e rather than 6e.
DnD 6e release date speculation
It pains us to say it, but, sadly, we really don’t have anything close to a specific D&D 6e release date yet. What we do know is that One D&D – the “next evolution” of D&D, as publisher Wizards of the Coast is calling it – is coming some time in 2024.
As to what, exactly, we’ll be seeing come out in 2024, to herald this “evolution”… well, all we know for certain so far is that we’re getting a completely new set of D&D core books – the essential texts that constitute the basic rules and fundamentals of the game.
DnD 6e books
In September 2021’s Celebration stream, former D&D executive producer Ray Winninger confirmed that Wizards is creating “new versions of the core rulebooks”, which will be coming out in 2024 – and that the D&D team would have “plenty to say about these new books” when it came to 2022.
However, 2022 has rolled around and we’ve still not seen many concrete details. We don’t have many specifics on what form these D&D 6e core books will take, or how they might differ from, or build upon, the D&D 5E Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual that we’re currently working with.
However, Jeremy Crawford, principal rules designer for D&D, said on-stream that Monsters of the Multiverse (an expanded bestiary book to replace the Monster Manual) has been developed in conjunction not only with 2021’s 5e sourcebooks, like The Wild Beyond the Witchlight – but also with some still-secret products slated for release alongside the game’s new version in 2024. So that book may offer some clues as to what we can expect from the ‘next gen’ volumes.
Monsters of the Multiverse itself came out in January 2022, as part of the $170 Rules Expansion Gift Set, with a standalone release coming later on in May 2022.
In an August 2022 Wizards Presents event, D&D game designer Chris Perkins also said he plans to make “structural changes” to the DM’s guide in particular “to make it more friendly for new DMs”. Wizards has begun drip-feeding us playtest material since this announcement, so we’re keeping a close eye out for any further 6E book clues.
DnD 6e rules
There are two key things you need to know about the planned DnD 6e rules before we get into the nitty-gritty. Firstly, gameplay changes are intended to be heavily based on player feedback via surveys, similar to the one carried out earlier in 2021 for the 5e Player’s Handbook. And secondly, the new version is “completely compatible” with all 5e materials – suggesting that no truly fundamental systemic changes can be made.
So, based on what’s been announced so far, we can expect something of a gradual process of semi-open rules development between now and 2024 – and a new edition that shares most of its fundamentals with 5e. The playtest material released so far seems consistent with this.
Wizards had already made attempts to divorce race from DnD stats in 5e supplements, and (as predicted), the new edition takes this one step further. The biggest tweak in this department is that ability scores and proficiencies are now linked to backgrounds instead.
The playtest also introduces a brand new character race – the Ardlings, who are supernatural beings from the Upper DnD Planes. Additionally, there are new rules for characters who have parents of two different races.
This playtest – as well as the second, ‘Expert Classes’, show an increased emphasis on feats. Level-one feats are heavily featured, and the One D&D playtest feats feature tweaked versions of many old 5e favourites.
And, of course, ‘Expert Classes‘ gives our first glimpse of how D&D 6e will handle DnD classes. Judging from how the playtest handles the DnD Rogue, DnD Bard, and DnD Ranger, we’re returning to classic rules last seen in AD&D. The 12 classes will be split into four groups: expert, warrior, mage, and priest.
The ‘Cleric and Revised Species’ playtest does exactly what it says on the tin, amending a few existing races based on player feedback and pioneering the new DnD Cleric rules. The Unearthed Arcana provides a list of recommended starting spells, and players now choose their subclass at a later level – all changes designed to make this an easier class for new players to pick up.
Only the Life domain has been given a detailed subclass overhaul so far, so there’s plenty more Cleric testing to come.
DnD 6e digital features
On September’s D&D Celebration stream, Winninger also hinted the new “evolution” of the game would feature “some cool new things we’re doing in the digital arena” that would bring “exciting new Dungeons and Dragons experiences”.
In the August Wizards Presents event, this was revealed to be Digital D&D, a tool in the unreal engine that aims to provide “all the tools you need to get the adventure started” as a DM. It’s designed to look like you’re using real-life terrain and minis, and it’ll be using the Unreal Engine.
At a time when other tabletop RPG makers are scrambling to offer their own accessible, feature-rich online play environments to rival the D&D Beyond behemoth – Paizo’s Pathfinder is launching its own platform in early 2022 (at present Pathfinder Nexus is in early access), while Roll20 just keeps on growing – this is will surely be one of the key areas of D&D 6e news to keep an eye on.
Another important addition to Digital D&D is Wizards of the Coast’s acquisition of digital marketplace D&D Beyond. This means that, from 2022 onwards, all upcoming releases will be offered as part of digital-physical bundles.