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New D&D playtest draws inspiration from Honor Among Thieves

A newly released playtest of One D&D, the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons, updates the Paladin and Druid classes with inspiration from Honor Among Thieves.

A newly released playtest of One D&D, the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons, updates the Paladin and Druid classes with inspiration from Honor Among Thieves. (Images: Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro)

Wizards of the Coast released new playtest material for OneD&D with updates to the Druid and Paladin classes. Interestingly, the updated Druid Wild Shape is taking a page from the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves live-action film.

After the Open Gaming License (OGL) controversies, Wizards of the Coast issued a new update to their Unearthed Arcana. Unearthed Arcana is the formal designation for the official playtest material of the tabletop roleplaying game and the newest iteration of their rules system being called One D&D.

Released on the D&D Beyond website, the new playtest content for One D&D primarily features proposed changes to two of the base classes: The Paladin and the Druid.


The Paladin in most editions of D&D is the traditional holy warrior archetype. Combining some of the elements of both the Fighter and the Cleric classes, it quickly became a fan-favorite. Due to its martial prowess and access to divine abilities, as well as the roleplaying potential of being the zealous hero in a party, the Paladin has become a staple not just in Dungeons & Dragons but in other fantasy roleplaying games such as Warcraft, Diablo, Pathfinder, and more.

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With the new One D&D playtest, the Paladin class gets some modifications to its familiar abilities. Divine Smite, the signature Paladin ability to charge their melee weapon with holy power in exchange for a spell slot, can now be used with any unarmed strikes. Previously, it could only be done with a proper melee weapon. However, it can now only be used once a turn and cannot be in the same turn the Paladin cast a spell.

In the new Unearthed Arcana, the Paladin class will be able to summon a noble Steed at Level 5.

In addition, they can summon a mighty steed at Level 5. This echoes the Paladin benefit of having a Special Mount (usually a horse) from earlier editions, but that was curiously removed in D&D Fifth Edition. Plus, Paladins now get Cantrips (minor spells) that previously only dedicated spellcasters like Clerics, Warlocks, Wizards, and Sorcerers had access to. Other new or updated class features for the Paladin include more options for Channel Divinity, Auras, and Radiant Strike abilities.

The playtest also includes details on the Oath of Devotion Paladin subclass. New gameplay features for the Oath of Devotion include additional spells available such as Aid, Blinding Smite, and Staggering Smite. The Oath of Devotion also updates the Sacred Weapon, Smite of Protection, Aura of Devotion, and Holy Nimbus subclass features.


Druids are the protectors of nature, able to draw upon their connection with plants and animals for spells and various supernatural abilities. Perhaps the most common ability RPG fans associate with the Druid is the ability to shapeshift (aka Wild Shape).
In previous versions, the Druid is limited to animals and beasts. However, the new update modifies this to allow the Druid to choose their form. As stated in the playtest version of this new Wild Shape feature:

As you assume a form, you determine its appearance, selecting an example animal from the form’s description, selecting another appropriate animal, or choosing a hybrid form that incorporates visual characteristics from two or more animals.

This appears to be inspired by how the Tiefling druid Doric (Sophia Lillis) was able to change into an Owlbear, as shown in the trailers for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. At Level 1, the druid is limited to a land-based shape, but adds aquatic forms at Level 7 and aerial forms at Level 9. Moreover, the stats of the Wild Shape are based on the character’s own and replacing their attacks with Bestial Strike.

The ability Wild Shape will now allow the Druid class to choose the visual features of their beast form, including hybrids.

Another notable new feature for the Druid class is armor training, but there does not appear to be the previous limitation of not being able to wear metal armor. Although the Druid only gains Light Armor and Shield Proficiencies at the start, this does open up new possibilities. Meanwhile, the Circle of the Moon subclass has been modified to give the Wild Shape form elemental resistances and damage, rather than the ability to change into an actual elemental.

The rest of the playtest material cover general rules. For instance, it appears the Epic Boon for character classes at Level 20, which was introduced in previous Unearthed Arcana, has been given a significant boost. The character can now gain Ability Score Increase that can raise a stat above 20 and an Epic Boon depending on the class or swap it with an Epic Boon feat. Other significant playtest updates based on player feedback include rules for Grappling, Conditions, Heroic Advantage, and movement.

D&D players should take note that while the Unearthed Arcana playtest material is compatible with Fifth Edition rules, they are not legal for the D&D Adventurers League events. Moreover, these rules are not final and may still change, depending on the feedback and/or development team updates.

The One D&D Unearthed Arcana playtest will be available on D&D Beyond and begin accepting feedback on March 20, 2023.

Produced by Paramount Pictures and Hasbro's eOne, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is on track to debut in theaters for its release date this March 31, 2023.

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Geoff Borgonia

Geoff Borgonia // Articles: 625

Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep.
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