DnD playtest brings back class spell lists, Wizards to blame

DnD lead designer Jeremy Crawford explains the return of class spell lists in One DnD playtest seven is to maintain the distinctiveness of spellcasters.

DnD class spell lists return in Unearthed Arcana 7 - a wizard, wearing grey leather armor, a billowing blue cape, blue power radiating from their raised left hand, artwork by Sara Winters

The latest One DnD playtest document, Unearthed Arcana 7, brings back class-specific spell lists for each spellcasting DnD class. Discussing the changes in a Deep Dive video, uploaded to YouTube on September 7, lead designer Jeremy Crawford explains that the change has been made to preserve the distinctiveness and identity of various DnD classes.

“In UA7, we are going back to using class spell lists. We’ve been having fun… experimenting with the arcane, divine, and primal lists… while those lists worked very well for certain classes… for other classes, shifting to those big lists tended to dampen their identity”, Crawford states.

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By way of example, he says that a big part of the 5e Wizard’s identity is “having the biggest spell list in the game” – “by having many classes now sharing the Wizard’s spell list, the fan response was – understandably – that the Wizard’s identity was being diminished”.

Likewise, Crawford states that there was an “identity degrading” aspect to granting the 5e Bard open access to other spell lists, though doesn’t elaborate on exactly what axis that degradation was happening on.

UA7 also sees the return of pact magic for the 5e Warlock, an ability that grants them fairly high level spell slots that refresh every short rest. Crawford states that “there are some spells that are just too powerful if you get to just push the fifth level version button of that over and over and over again”.

DnD class spell lists return in Unearthed Arcana 7 - Wizard's Spellbook illustration by Iris Compiet

There’s been lots of tinkering with spellcasters in the latest playtest document. The new version of the Fighter subclass Eldritch Knight is substantially tuned up, while nerfing iconic 5e spell Counterspell.

Does One DnD still seem too radical for you? Kobold Press’ new RPG system sticks closely to DnD 5e, and you can read more about the game’s first adventure here. If One DnD isn’t radical enough for you, we have guides to Pathfinder classes and Pathfinder races and ancestries if you fancy exploring another wayward branch of the DnD family tree.