1 December 2022 A revised version of the Dragonborn has been released as part of a new Unearthed Arcana – see below for details.
An official D&D YouTube video from November 30 shows a largely positive response to the first One DnD playtest material. However, satisfaction scores from player engagement surveys have surprised lead rules designer Jeremy Crawford by ranking the Dragonborn race as one of the worst pieces of content in the playtest.
It’s not all bad news, of course. Crawford says in the video (see below) that the Dragonborn’s satisfaction score was lower than 70% but higher than 59%. This is apparently “salvageable”, but Crawford says “we’ll need to dig into what needs to happen next” in development. “Nothing was in the 50s or below”, he adds. “Among the various main options, there were only three things that dipped into the 60s.” This was the DnD Dragonborn, the new Ardling race, and the d20 test rule in the rules glossary.
“The big surprise here is the Dragonborn scored lower than the Ardling,” explains Crawford. He claims he was “ready” for the Ardling’s score, as with brand new DnD races, “we are prepared for their response to be all over the map.” “What surprised us was that the Dragonborn, which is well-established in the game, scored lower than the Ardling”, he reiterates.
The d20 rule was also unsurprising, he says. The second Unearthed Arcana even offered an alternative option so different versions could be tested simultaneously.
Speaking to Todd Kenreck about what went wrong with the two races, Crawford says “I can sum up pretty easily why we think both these options have landed in the 60s.” “For the Dragonborn, it’s really simple – it’s the breath weapon.” “There was dissatisfaction about the implementation of the breath weapon,” he adds, “so we are addressing that head-on in the next version”.
“There was also some confusion in the feedback about the relationship of this version of the Dragonborn to the Dragonborn options that appear in Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons”, Crawford says. He clarifies that the new 2024 Player’s Handbook Dragonborn will be designed to “stand alongside” other DnD books. “You can really think about the Player’s Handbook Dragonborn as the universal Dragonborn, whereas the options in Fizban’s are targeted. Those options can be played alongside the more universal Dragonborn.”
Meanwhile, the Ardling was apparently “trying to do a few too many things”. Crawford says, in the next Unearthed Arcana, “its identity is much clearer, and the place it’s filling in the Multiverse is definitely going to come into focus for people.”
Of all the DnD races, humans came out on top in playtesting. Crawford says the new human material had a satisfaction score of 83%. This is followed by the Orc, DnD Dwarf, DnD Elf, and DnD Tiefling, who all “basically tied” with scores around 80%. The DnD Gnome and DnD Halfling were up next, tied at 78%.
“70% or higher is what we’re looking for”, Crawford explains. “When something scores in the 70s, we see it as a community thumbs up, but there’s also still some tinkering for us to do.” “As soon as a score hits 80% or higher, now we’re going into the realm of not only does the community want more of that; they want exactly that.” Overall, One DnD playtest satisfaction scores were mostly around 80% or above.
The new Unearthed Arcana, which dropped on December 1, features new-and-improved versions of the Ardling and the Dragonborn. Crawford originally teased a “new, fun fifth-level ability” for the scaly race, and this turned out to be Draconic Flight, which lets you sprout wings as a bonus action and take to the air. As promised, the playtest material provides several tweaks to breath weapon, too.
Our DnD 6e release date guide can keep you abreast of all new One D&D developments, but keep an eye on Wargamer for the latest playtest news as it arrives. For example, we just learned that Wizards decided to have the term DnD race removed from future books.