Thursday, July 26, 2018


Well, this was unexpected. People have been yakking about crossing the M:tG and D&D streams since WotC consumed TSR. While both games involve high-magic fantasy universes, there’s never really been much overlap between them. And it’s no mystery why. M:tG is a competitive (usually one-on-one) game based on a complex, multi-state version of rock-paper-scissors. D&D is a cooperative game built around niche protection.

I could go on and on about how the five-sphere structure of M:tG magic poorly maps with D&D magic. I wish 5e’s magic system was as atmospheric and evocative as M:tG’s, but to bring them together would mean a serious overhaul of the 5e schools and how they work. I don’t expect them to do this. I expect them to gloss it and make handwavy noises about Green magic being analogous to druids and rangers while White is cleric and bard magic, if that much. That’s kind of a shame, because the ten guilds of Ravnica are based on really clever pairings of the colors, and that, I suspect, will get shoved into the background. Oh, they’ll still talk about the culture and resources and modes of the guilds, they just won’t touch much on the wellsprings of those things.

But what they are talking about doing really caught my attention. Mike Mearles, at about 5:35 in this video, says:
And then what’s really fun, what I think is the real interesting thing that the book is trying to pull off, is that the Dungeon Master looks at the players, looks at the guilds they’ve selected, and then we give you an entire adventure and campaign building system based on the guilds. You can look at the guilds the players have selected, and the book has suggestions for good adversarial guilds. Then each guild gets a section on building adventures that are driven by it.

Sound familiar? This looks very much like it’s taking a page from David McGrogan’s Yoon-suin the Purple Land, Zak’s Vornheim, Kiel’s The Hell House Beckons, Kowolski’s Scenic Dunnsmouth and, maybe to a lesser extent, Jacob Hurst’s Hot Springs Island book. Though I think the comparison to Yoon-suin is the strongest; this is an adventure and campaign-building set focused on the guild conflict of the setting.

This is an adventure book, from WotC, that has no plot.

The plot has been replaced by an “adventure and campaign building system” that guides the DM in crafting and improvising a bespoke experience for their players based on the choices the players make.

Is your mind blown yet?

The only thing that could make this more OSR/DIY is if they’d set the damned thing in the City-state of the Invincible Overlord.