What D&D 5.5 could mean for Homebrews and 5th TTRGs
The current edition of Dungeons & Dragons is going to be updated in the future, as the 5.5 rules will be released in 2024. It is not known how many these updates D&D The 5.5 rules will be different from the existing content present in the game. However, it is likely that homebrew and third party content will need to be changed if players wish to use them with the new official rules.
Everything a player needs to experience D&D is the Player’s Manual, a character sheet, a pencil and dice. The same is not true for DMs, as they have to create a complete environment and keep track of everything that is going on. This can be difficult in the best circumstances, like when using an adventure or official campaign, where most of the work has been done for them. DMs who want to get really creative can use the rules in the top three D&D rule books to create their own world, or adapt a fantasy setting that they like D&D. There are also companies that publish their own D&D 5th content, which is easy to find online, such as on sites like the Dungeon Masters Guild website.
The current edition of Dungeons & Dragons has been massively popular, to the point where 2020 has been D&Dthe most important year in terms of sales. This means that there are a lot of people playing the game, and the audience for 5th compatible homebrew and TTRPGs has never been greater. There are big changes coming to the game in the coming years with D&D 5.5, and existing content that is not created by Wizards of the Coast could be left in the dust.
What the 5th Open Gaming License Means for D&D 5.5 Homebrew Content
In the days leading up to the third edition D&D, it was only a company called TSR that could officially publish D&D products, unless he was willing to license the game. Nothing prevented individual groups from creating homebrew material to use in their own games (indeed, this was encouraged), but problems could arise if the people were trying to print their content and sell it in bookstores. Everything changed in the year 2000 when the third edition of D&D was released with new rules. Wizards of the Coast issued the Open Game License, which allowed third-party writers and publishers to create and sell material using the new set of rules. There were some limitations to this, such as the inability to use monsters that were part of the D&D brand, like Beholders, but the creators had a lot of freedom with the material offered.
The open-game license was not used in the Fourth Edition, but was relaunched in the 5th, with the creators being allowed to use content from the official Wizards of the Coast lore, provided they were willing to pay license fees. It means that there are a lot of officiants D&D rulebooks on the market that were not produced by Wizards of the Coast, but are still compatible with existing rules. In addition, the 5th TTRPG outside the D&D multiverse are also common.
Why changing the D&D 5.5e rules is a big deal for homebrews and TTRPGs
The revised version of the Open Game License that was released in 2016 is based on the rules of the Fifth Edition of D&D. The problem is that these rules will be revised in a few years. It was revealed during D&D Celebration 2021 that updated versions of the Player’s Manual, Dungeon Master Guide, and Monster Manual will be released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of D&D. Fans are calling this update 5.5, referring to the 3.5 update that happened during the third release.
This raises the question of what happens to existing third-party rulebooks for D&D? It’s unclear how much the rules will be changed, especially since the new books won’t be released for two years. Wizards of the Coast started sending Dungeons & Dragons polls that will help shape the future of the game, but the questions asked so far have been general and focused more on the habits and styles of players, rather than the rule changes that might happen in the game. D&D 5.5
Potential changes in D&D 5.5 and how this might affect existing TTRPGs
It has been confirmed that the new 5.5 rulebooks coming in 2024 will be backward compatible with the D&D books. The same was true for the third edition and the 3.5 books, when they were the current versions of D&D. This suggests that the rule changes won’t be massive, especially if Wizards of the Coast plans to sell more books over the next two years. If the new rulebooks feature some drastic changes that totally alter the game, then there will likely be a lot of angry fans, or at least, fans who won’t bother to level up.
It is likely that Wizards of the Coast will publish a conversion guide for both editions. It will be a document that will explain all the rule changes and how people can edit the old content to update it. It is possible that Wizards of the Coast is using version 5.5 as a pretext to re-edit updated versions of old books, as it was back in the days of version 3.5, but only the three core rulebooks have been confirmed for an update so far. Official campaigns, such as Nature beyond the light of the witches adventure, could easily receive brief online updates that explain everything that needs to be changed to upgrade them to version 5.5. If Wizards of the Coast doesn’t, then fans will and it will be easy to find them online.
When it comes to modifying D&D campaigns and homebrew rules, it will be up to each DM to adjust everything on their own, assuming they want to use the new 5.5 rules. The difficulty of this will depend greatly on how many rules are changed and to what extent, and it might be necessary to change the story. The official D&D lore also has some big changes happening out of nowhere, every time a new edition is released, so the DM will at least stay in the spirit of the game.
However, things get a bit tricky when it comes to existing third-party TTRPG books. Individual authors may post free updates online describing changes to the material, which is more likely, depending on the popularity of the books. Fans will likely create their own revised versions of the content and put it online for free, assuming individual creators don’t want it. Upcoming changes to Dungeons & Dragons Hopefully, it won’t be so drastic that so many homebrew great books will be redundant, but there should be options available for gamers if they are.
Next: Best D&D Character Creation Ideas For Metallic Dragonborn
D&D Party ignored Strahd Ravenloft’s castle curse, much to DM’s dismay
About the Author