So One D&D?
Today Wizards announced some details about what happening to DnD.
The one thing they hammer on in the initial press release is that Wizard does not what you to think of it as the next edition. In the press release, they are stressing that One DnD is 100% compatible with 5e. Using Curse of Strahd as an example of something that can work equally well with the current 5e rules now and the One DnD core rules later.
I believe them. If the authors make that their goal it is totally doable given my experience dragging the Majestic Wilderlands through multiple systems. And we have actual examples of how this would work with Adventures in Middle Earth versus DnD 5e Core rulebooks.
But there is a catch.
The feel of a campaign is determined by the referee's personal style, along with how the systaffand stuff work together. Using AiME as an example again, it uses the 5e system but with radically different stuff (classes, monster, abilities, etc.) that turns it into a Middle Earth RPG.
An AiME campaign doesn't feel like a core book 5e campaign. Even if you were to use the same adventures for both. Which happened to me when I ran an adaptation of Scourge of the Demon Wolf for AiME at Con on the Cob a few years ago.
One DnD likely is 100% compatible by continuing to use the 5e system. It may have a completely different feel because of the stuff the authors choose to use for the RPG. If it is different enough my guess is that most hobbyists will consider it a new edition despite the marketing.
Another observation the closest analogy we have is the transition from 3.0 to 3.5. And that didn't go over well for 3.0 products and put the final nailing into bursting the d20 boom. But the Wizards as a company deliberately decided to design 3.5 so it is not quite compatible with 3.0.
Here the design team wants the system to remain 100% compatible limiting changes to the stuff (classes, skills, spells, etc.).
Wrapping it up
We will see how they do as they are having a somewhat open playtest on DnD Beyond.
I will have further comments later on DnD Digital and the initial playtest on Character Origins.
Next: Thoughts on the One DnD: Character Options.