ZENDIKAR -- Where Magic: The Gathering and D&D Collide!
  • ZENDIKAR -- Where Magic: The Gathering and D&D Collide!


    I've never played Magic: the Gathering, so while I"m reporting on this, bear in mind I personally can't fully contextualise it. However, it appears that a M:tG world called Zendikar is now available as a D&D 5th Edition setting via a free 38-page PDF available from WotC's website. It contains three sections -- The World of Zendikar, Races of Zendikar, and A Zendikar Bestiary. There's an added note that the material is not fully playtested or legal in D&D Organised Play events. "Plane Shift: Zendikar was made using the fifth edition of the D&D rules. D&D is a flexible rules system designed to model any kind of fantasy world. 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 role-playing game. The point is to experience the worlds of Magic in a new way, through the lens of the D&D rules. All you really need is races for the characters, monsters for them to face, and some ideas to build a campaign."

    Races include Humans, Kor, Merfolk, Vampires, Goblins, and Elves. Monsters include angels, archons, griffins, felidars, sphinxes, drakes, krakens, surrakar, demons, dragons, giants, ogres, minotaurs, hydras, hellions, trolls, and more. Click on the image below to download the 38-page PDF.




    Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering are two different games, but that doesn't mean their Multiverses can't meet.

    From the beginning, Magic's plane of Zendikar was conceived as an "adventure world" where parties of explorers delve into ancient ruins in search of wonders and treasures, fighting the monsters they encounter on the way. Many of the plane's creative roots lie in D&D, so it should be no surprise that The Art of Magic: The Gathering—Zendikar feels a lot like a D&D campaign setting book. It's littered with adventure hooks and story seeds, and lacks only the specific rules references you'd need to adapt Zendikar's races, monsters, and adventures to a tabletop D&D campaign. And it's all surrounded by amazing fantasy art that holds boundless inspiration in itself.

    You can think of Plane Shift: Zendikar as a sort of supplement to The Art of Magic: The Gathering—Zendikar, designed to help you take the world details and story seeds contained in that book and turn them into an exciting D&D campaign. The easiest way to approach a D&D campaign set on Zendikar is to use the rules that D&D provides mostly as written: a druid on Zendikar might call on green mana and cast spells like giant growth, but she's still just a druid in the D&D rules (perhaps casting giant insect).

    Plane Shift: Zendikar was made using the fifth edition of the D&D rules. D&D is a flexible rules system designed to model any kind of fantasy world. 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 role-playing game. The point is to experience the worlds of Magic in a new way, through the lens of the D&D rules. All you really need is races for the characters, monsters for them to face, and some ideas to build a campaign.

    Finally, The Art of Magic: The Gathering—Zendikar will help you create a D&D campaign in Zendikar, but you don't actually need the book to make use of the material in Plane Shift: Zendikar—you can also refer to the abundance of lore about Zendikar found on MagicTheGathering.com and the Zendikar plane profile.
    Comments 146 Comments
    1. Ath-kethin's Avatar
      Ath-kethin -
      I don't care a whit about M:tG. but this book has ten-foot-tall riding cats in it so I'm sold.
    1. Ramaster's Avatar
      Ramaster -
      And so it begins...
    1. Zaukrie's Avatar
      Zaukrie -
      Awesome sauce
    1. Xethreau's Avatar
      Xethreau -
      I EFFING knew it!
    1. Gardens & Goblins's Avatar
      Gardens & Goblins -
      Holy Cow. Those Kor are Monk Machines.

      Dex and Wis boost.
      Racial access to Athletics and Acrobatics.
      A Climb Speed?! So hey walls, cielings, how's it going?
      Oh and Lucky & advantage on Fear saves.

      Kor blimey!



      Also, a Vampire race that might not make your DM cry.

      (Reads on, stroking his SOI Standard R/G werewolf deck)
    1. Agamon's Avatar
      Agamon -
      About time. MtG has had such a great setting for years. I guess I get not wanting to cross the streams, but it seems like a no-brainer to me.

      This is probably something that's been on the burner for a while, but I wonder if the new CEO of WotC made this happen, seeing as he's a fan of both games?
    1. Trance's Avatar
      Trance -
      Finally!! very excited for this!
    1. TerraDave's Avatar
      TerraDave -
      Marginal experiment, beginning of a big shift, or something in between?

      I guess we will see.
    1. blakem's Avatar
      blakem -
      Wow, this is so cool.
    1. blakem's Avatar
      blakem -
      Quote Originally Posted by Agamon View Post
      About time. MtG has had such a great setting for years. I guess I get not wanting to cross the streams, but it seems like a no-brainer to me.

      This is probably something that's been on the burner for a while, but I wonder if the new CEO of WotC made this happen, seeing as he's a fan of both games?
      That would've been a pretty quick turnaround time, if it was the new CEO that made it happen.
    1. TerraDave's Avatar
      TerraDave -
      Interesting that this is not yet up on the D&D page(s).
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      If you folks like this make a lot of noise on social media about it. If it boosts any signal or, one can hope, any sales it would be sure encouragement.
    1. smiteworks's Avatar
      smiteworks -
      I thought you said never cross the streams!



      All I can say is AWESOME!
    1. flametitan's Avatar
      flametitan -
      This is very cool for those that want it.

      Zendikar Goblins are different from D&D goblins, though, so that puts a bit of a kink in my plans to use it.

      Is it just me or are Kor basically better halflings?
    1. ZeshinX's Avatar
      ZeshinX -
      Well I was worried about this since WotC acquired TSR/D&D...and I'll admit I'm amazed it took as long as it has before they tried mashing them together. I understand the desire...a "tricksy" way by WotC to get some of that MtG money over into D&D. Clever. I'll not argue the brands share a lot commonalities...but I don't see this ending in any other way that D&D eventually becoming little more than a MtG expansion (Curse of Strahd's visual aesthetic and little MtG expansion-styled symbol gave that away).

      I personally don't have a good feeling about this...but we'll see how it pans out. I can't argue I'd like to see D&D get way more investment put into it by WotC beyond the farming out to 3rd parties and "leave it to the community" approach of DM's Guild (despite the few gems each has generated), and this looks to do just that....but I just can't yet shake that bad feeling.
    1. procproc's Avatar
      procproc -
      For the non-Magic savvy: there have been two "blocks" (one with 3 sets of cards, one with 2 sets) set on the world of Zendikar.

      Here's the style guide they released around the release of the first set. I haven't looked the new product over, so I don't know how much (if any) of the material is repeated in the D&D supplement.

      http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles...kar-2009-09-09
    1. Pauper's Avatar
      Pauper -
      Wyatt is one of a number of folks who has transitioned from the D&D side of the business to the Magic side (another is Lords of Waterdeep co-designer Peter Lee), so it makes sense that he'd be tapped to write this sort of cross-over article.

      Given that the article is being given away for free, and that the guy writing it is on the Magic payroll, it doesn't look as though there are many plans to bring 'MtG money' into the D&D brand. What it does do is potentially open up D&D to a bunch of Magic players who might not have thought of playing that game before, and in that sense is something of a no-brainer.
    1. Koren -
      I'm just surprised it's taken this long. The MtG consumer base is huge compared to D&D's, you would think they'd have tried to cross-pollinate a lot sooner.

      Just finished reading through it, and it sounds like getting most of the setting fluff is going to require investing in the Art of MtG - Zendikar book (currently $25.87 USD on Amazon), but it has a lot of potential. If I were to run this as a campaign setting, I would have to have some house rules to add some more of the MtG flavor to it...spells tied to colors of mana and casters requiring some connection to a mana source in order to cast spells. Could be fun to stat up a planeswalker as a legendary creature for the campaign's BBEG.
    1. procproc's Avatar
      procproc -
      Quote Originally Posted by ZeshinX View Post
      Well I was worried about this since WotC acquired TSR/D&D...and I'll admit I'm amazed it took as long as it has before they tried mashing them together. I understand the desire...a "tricksy" way by WotC to get some of that MtG money over into D&D.
      FWIW, people (both Magic players and D&D players) have been asking for *years* for something like this, in public forums and private, and WotC has been extremely resistant to the idea of mixing the two brands. (Very likely due to the concerns you just voiced.)

      If releasing a free D&D product for Zendikar was a cash grab by WotC, their timing was absolutely terrible. The Magic setting of Zendikar was directly inspired by D&D tropes, and was created in 2009. The second Zendikar block is still in print, but the set releases were last year and early this year; the attention and focus of players is mostly on the newer set that released a few weeks ago. This looks much more like fan service for the (very large) crossover base of players that play both games.

      Honestly, it's hard for me to see this as anything but an unmitigated good for both Magic and D&D players.
    1. bedir than's Avatar
      bedir than -
      I hope they go full campaign setting product with this. It's well presented and expands the DnD playing universe. I'd prefer this mash-up over a revisiting of most of the classic settings.
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