Way back in the 1980s, Dungeons & Dragons’ original publisher TSR published a supplemental hardback book to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons called Unearthed Arcana. It expanded on those rules with new races, classes, and other optional rules. Jump forward to 2004 and D&D’s current publisher, Wizards of the Coast, published a new hardback book under the same name but this time releasing supplemental material for D&D’s 3rd edition. Then in 2015, Wizard of the Coast began publishing supplemental material digitally on their website and they’ve continued to release new materials periodically ever since.
Unlike the first two published books, the digitally released Unearthed Arcana had a very different purpose. It’s released publicly for free as ‘play-test material’ that players can then submit their feedback on, influencing how the material is used by D&D in the future. In fact, most of the content published in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (2017) and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (2020) was a direct result of publicly play-tested Unearthed Arcana. The distribution of the supplemental rules and collection of feedback has primarily been done through the Dungeons & Dragons website, but all of that is about to change.
With Dungeons & Dragons’ parent company, Hasbro, recent acquisition of the site D&D Beyond, all of the playtesting materials and feedback will start being handled directly through D&D Beyond itself. Over the next year and a half, Unearthed Arcana seems like it will primarily focus on the next evolution of the Dungeons & Dragons game, One D&D. D&D Beyond has even added a special section of their site dedicated to the Unearthed Arcana releasing for One D&D, making it much easier to view and submit feedback all in once place.
As new One D&D Unearthed Arcana is released, we’ll be doing deep dives into each one and provide our own free supplemental materials like Character Sheets that take advantage of the new play-test material.
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