If you have struggled with getting your weekly D&D players to come in for Magic events, the team at Wizards of the Coast have created an arcane portal to entice them to engage in the fantastical fury that is Magic: The Gathering.
For many years, players of Magic: The Gathering begged WOTC to release a campaign source book for use with their ever popular Dungeons & Dragons line of roleplaying games. As far back as the late 90’s, the idea of merging the two games in one form or another seemed like an organic fit to many fans, especially since Wizards had recently acquired TSR. But it wasn’t until 2016, shortly after the release of the newest iteration of the roleplaying classic, that WOTC listened to their fans and created a brief, but exciting look at the worlds of Magic the Gathering. Beginning with Plane Shift – Zendikar, Author James Wyatt told the story told of a plane with powerful sources of mana, making it a popular destination to explore and exploit for Planeswalkers and adventurers, alike. Most importantly though, it opened the door for D&D to bridge the game between the two realms.
Leveraging The Source Material
The Plane Shift series offers an overview of some of the most iconic planes of the Magic: The Gathering trading card game and creates a great opportunity for stores to introduce D&D players to them, as well. By utilizing these mini-manuals, you can introduce the setting of the Planeswalkers to your tabletop role-players. As the author James Wyatt says, “The D&D magic system doesn’t involve five colors of mana or a ramping-up to your most powerful spells, but the goal isn’t to mirror the experience of playing Magic in your roleplaying game. The point is to experience the worlds of Magic in a new way, through the lens of the D&D rules.”
Now, there are some important caveats to mention. The folks at Wizards are keen to point out that the material provided has not been officially playtested and may not be “balanced” for standard game play. However, since 5th Edition encourages flexibility for the sake of game play, this should not be a problem. Also, the works are considered “unofficial” for play with D&D Adventurers League.
In a perfect world, a Dungeon Master that is familiar with the worlds and the storyline of Magic: The Gathering would be better equipped to evoke the intricacies of the setting, but a thorough reading of the Plane Shift series should be enough to give players a taste. Perhaps an adventure in which a wayward Planeswalker reaches out to the player characters for help in the acquisition of a magical amulet.
They could appear before the party on the other side of a mystical opening and tell them that a battle for the planes has begun and the amulet could help to turn the tide. They explain that due to a recent curse, they personally cannot cross over, but they can still open a rift for others to cross. From there, the PCs can journey to the planes of Zendikar, Innistrad and Kaladesh as they search for clues to the amulets location. However you structure the adventure, planar travel should be the theme.
Zendikar is a world rife with adventure opportunities. Bold heroes, covetous treasure hunters, and sages seeking long-forgotten lore can all find numerous ruins to explore, mysteries to uncover, and villains and monsters to slay. Expeditionary houses, academic institutions, wealthy merchants, and retired adventurers, all sponsor missions of exploration and discovery. Caravans need guards to protect them from bandits, predators, and the shifting mana storms known as the Roil. At the same time, the schemes of villains—from the underhanded vampire sage Anowon to the monstrous demon Planeswalker Ob Nixilis, draw would-be heroes in like moths to the flame.
Click on the link to download Plane Shift: Zendikar.
Long term D&D players may experience a sense of deja-vu since there was an intentional effort to draw upon the feeling of dread associated with the classic Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting of Ravenloft. It’s inspiration is evident throughout and transplanting many of the Curse of Strahd adventures would be a breeze.
On the plane of Innistrad, horrors stalk the shadows and scratch at doors in the night. Humanity is beset on all sides: vampires thirst for human blood, werewolves live for the thrill of the hunt, the restless spirits of the dead haunt the living, and no corpse is safe from reanimation at the hands of cruel necromancers or cunning scientists. Only their grim determination—and their staunch faith in the protection of their patron archangel, Avacyn—has allowed humans to survive in this nightmarish realm.
Click on the link to download Plane Shift: Innistrad.
The optimism, innovation, and spirit of creativity pervading the world of Kaladesh can definitely kindle the drive for adventure. Aether-swept landscapes and brilliant inventions of Magic‘s latest plane can bring Dungeons & Dragons adventures to life in this politically charged setting. It includes new races, new monsters, and a distinctly aether-flavored take on crafting the marvelous and ingenious magic items that define this plane.
Click on the link to download Plane Shift: Kaladesh.
You or your Dungeon Master could also use the Plane Shift source material to encourage Magic players to increase your role-playing ranks as well. Whichever way that you go, remember to promote the game you’re trying to draw them to during those sessions. Make sure that it’s clearly communicated that they will be adventuring throughout the planes of Magic: The Gathering. Host the event monthly (or weekly if possible) and build upon the excitement that these session create.