Magic: The Gathering - A 3.5 Rules Module
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  1. #1

    Magic: The Gathering - A 3.5 Rules Module

    Okay, throwing this out there for people to bash on. This is a rules module for 3.5 to produce a Magic the Gathering feel to DnD. This set of rules is unfinished. I present it here for the purpose of generating ideas and feedback.

    Cardinal Guidelines
    1. Respect the Color Pie
    2. Mana must be used and must be important to all classes
    3. Everything (PCs, NPCs, Monsters, etc) has a color (White, Blue, Black, Red, Green, or is an Artifact)




    Color Alignment
    The normal G-E, L-C alignment system is gone. Instead, a color alignment is used (White, Blue, Black, Red, or Green). Each color has two allied colors and two enemy colors. Typically, you find it easy to work with those of allied colors and difficult to work with those of enemy colors.

    Your color determines what color mana you naturally produce each day. Some feats have a color pre-requisite associated with them. If you are not of that color, you can not select that feat.

    • Changing Colors: Tramatic events may cause your character to abandon the ideals of her color (examples: being Compleated in Phyrexia, being taught by the Planeswalker Urza, or being Resurrected by a Herald of Serra). If this happens, you immediately switch to that color. Any feats belonging to your old color are lost and are replaced, once per weak, with a feat from your new color. These events are extremely rare and should be treated as major, character defining events.


    Mana
    • Mana Effect: Any feat or class ability that requires the use of Mana. Additionally, all spells cast by spellcasters are considered mana effects.

    • Mana Generation: Everyday, a PC generates one point of colored mana equal to his level. All left over mana is lost when the PC decides to generate this mana.

    • Optional Mana Generation Rule: After a short or long rest, if you have no mana, you gain a mana of your color alignment. At the DM's descresion, you can gain a different colored mana baised on the type of terrain you are currently in (White for Plains, Green for Forest, Red for Mountains, Blue for Watery Enviroment, Black from Swamp).

    Note: I'm unsure if I want all your mana gained at the start of a day, or if you get mana back after each fight if you've run out. I'm currently thinking that you should use the optional mana generation rule as it requires less book keeping. The optional rule will probably require tweaking keyword feats Death Touch and Trample.

    • Maximum Mana: You can hold up to twice your level in unpsent mana.

    Each class provides a mechanic for spending mana. Spending mana is a free action. Unless listed, spending mana on your color or an allied color cost 1 point. It is not possible to use enemy colored Mana Effects.

    A Wizard, Cleric, or Sorcerer can cast spells of their color for free. All other spells cost a single mana to cast and requires some external mana source. For a White or Red Wizard to cast the Green Spell Enlarge Person requires a Green Mana (from an artifact such as a Mox Emerald or another source).

    Spells
    (Warning, some radical ideas here)
    The Wizard and Cleric spell list are merged. Your color determines what spells you can cast. Each color is associated with a Wizard School, all spells belonging to that school are on your spell list (example: The cleric spell Cure Light Wounds belongs to the Conjuration school. Since green has Conjuration associated with it, a Green Wizard, Sorcerer, or Cleric can cast it). Casting spells of your color cost nothing. You may cast spells of an allied color, but these require a colored point of mana of that color. For example, a White Wizard can cast Enlarge Person (normally a Green Spell), but he must power it with a Green Mana he receives from some outside source. Each color is also given several Cleric domain spells. These spells are considered "on color" for that color and may not be cast by allied colors. Spells from enemy colors can not be cast. Spells that fit a color's theme should be added to that color's list per DM approval.

    Some summary / notes:
    • Limited Wish, Wish, and Miracle are banned
    • Summon Monster and Summon Nature's Ally is available for every color. You can only summon creatures of your color with this spell
    • Blue Wizards need some method for countering spells
    • Protection from Evil/Good/Law/Chaos are removed. They are replaced with Protection from Red/Black/White/Green/Blue


    White
    Wizard School: Abjuration
    Domains: Good, Law, Healing, Protection, War, Sun
    Note: Raise Dead and Resurrection are White Spells that can not be cast by other colored wizards

    Blue
    Wizard School: Divination, Enchantment, Illusion
    Domains: Air, Water, Knowledge, Magic, Travel, Trickery

    Black
    Wizard School: Necromancy
    Domains: Death, Evil, Knowledge, Destruction

    Red
    Wizard School: Evocation
    Domains: Chaos, Destruction, Fire, Luck, Strength, War
    Note: Green Conjuration Spells that heal can not be used by a Red Wizard

    Green
    Wizard School: Conjuration, Transmutation
    Domains: Animal, Earth, Healing, Plant, Strength
    Notes: Reincarnation is a Green Spell, all other Raise Dead Spells are White
    Conjuration (Teleport) spells are not considered Green Spells

    Keyword Feats
    These are a selection of 9 Keyword Combat Feats. They are considered Fighter Bonus Feats for Fighters. You may only take feats associated with your color. Unless otherwise noted, all of these feats take one mana to activate

    • Lifelink (White): If your attack hits, it deals 1/2 the normal damage but you heal an number of hit points equal to that amount.
    • First Strike (White or Red): Your initiative becomes 1+ the highest current initiative. This can be used as a Free Action before combat but after initiative is rolled. If more then one creature uses this ability, the initiatives are the same and the normal rules for deciding between ties is used.
    • Haste (Red): Gain a Standard Action during the Surprise Round (cost 2 Red Mana)
    • Trample (Green): If the attack hits, deal normal damage. The first green mana spent knocks the target prone. Each additional point of green mana spent causes the attack to deal 1d6 extra damage (example: if you spent 4 green mana, the attack would knock the target prone and deal and extra 3d6 damage).
    • Lure (Green): Target Creature's next Attack must include you (this may be spent as a free action any time during your turn). If you increase your distance from the target, this effect is canceled.
    • Phasing (Blue): Movement does not provoke Attacks of Opportunity
    • Fly (Blue): You gain a flying speed equal to your movement speed this turn
    • Fear (Black): If the attack hits deal normal damage and the target makes a will save (DC 10 + level + Cha) . If it fails, its next attack can not target you
    • Death Touch (Black): If the attack hits, deal normal damage. For each Black Mana spent, if X * 5 is greater then the creature's remaining hit points after the attack, you kill the creature.


    Classes
    Barbarians can only be Green, Red, or Black in color.
    Monks can only be Green, White, or Blue in color.

    Each class has a selection of Mana Effects for it (typically, 1 for each color). These effects can be used at anytime as a free action for the cost of one mana of that effect's color. You may use your allied colors effects for the cost of one mana as well. You are forbidden from using enemy colored class effects.

    Note: This section is very unfinished. I present the Fighter to give an idea of the kinds of things I'm aiming for each class. Feel free to expand upon this as you wish, keeping the color pie in mind

    Fighter
    • White Mana: +1 to AC until end of your next turn
    • Blue Mana: Unknown?
    • Black Mana: Target suffers -1 to AC and Damage until end of your next turn (may only use this ability after successfully attacking a target)
    • Red Mana: +2 to Damage until end of your next turn
    • Green Mana: +1 to Hit until end of your next turn


    Artifacts
    Artifacts are numerous in the setting. Some provide a constant effect. Some produce mana. Some require mana to function. Here are some sample artifacts.

    Mox Emerald
    Produce one green mana after a short or long rest as a free action

    Chromatic Sphere
    Once per day as a free action, change the color of one type of mana you have to another color.

    Shield of the Ages
    Use a mana of any color: Gain resist 5 damage until the end of your next turn. Multiple uses of this stack (if you use 2 mana, you get resist 10, and so on)

    Icy Manipulator
    Use a mana of any color: Target creature can not attack you or spend mana effects against until the end of your next turn.

  2. #2
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    There was a thread (possibly on another forum) saying MtD was nearly impossible with D&D. I personally believed it, at least if the game had Planeswalkers as standard PCs. It's nice to see someone trying to buck the trend.

    Fighter

    White Mana: +1 to AC until end of your next turn
    Blue Mana: Unknown?
    Black Mana: Target suffers -1 to AC and Damage until end of your next turn (may only use this ability after successfully attacking a target)
    Red Mana: +2 to Damage until end of your next turn
    Green Mana: +1 to Hit until end of your next turn
    I think these abilities are a little too numerical and too focused on amplifying strengths and not shoring up weaknesses. Fighters are already good at hitting and damaging things, and have higher AC scores than other PCs. In effect, this means the fighter's color means little.

    Since this is a setting where fighters already have mana, I don't think it's problematic to give some magic to these abilities.

    For red, I'm thinking something like fiery rage. The fighter can do more damage, perhaps with a choice of making that fire or untyped damage, at a cost of either attack bonus or AC (whichever you think is best). When a fighter uses fiery rage, it should be obvious what they're doing; they're glowing red and their weapon is bursting into flame.

    Green, one of the two powers of life, could make the fighter "tougher" or "grindier". A fighter using green could seem to expand slightly in size while glowing green, and would gain temporary hit points.

    These proposed abilities might need to cost more than 1 mana each, but I think that's fine. I'd rather do that than go with standard feats which just give you a +1 here and a +1 there.

    For blue, I would perhaps give the PC a bonus to saving throws. A blue fighter could be a spellcaster's nightmare.

    For black, I'm thinking a penalty to AC and saving throws. A dark knight working with a necromancer would be terribly frightening. Now the dark knight can hit more often, and the necromancer's Terror spell is more likely to take effect.

    Lifelink (White): If your attack hits, it deals 1/2 the normal damage but you heal an number of hit points equal to that amount.
    First Strike (White or Red): Your initiative becomes 1+ the highest current initiative. This can be used as a Free Action before combat but after initiative is rolled. If more then one creature uses this ability, the initiatives are the same and the normal rules for deciding between ties is used.
    Haste (Red): Gain a Standard Action during the Surprise Round (cost 2 Red Mana)
    Trample (Green): If the attack hits, deal normal damage. The first green mana spent knocks the target prone. Each additional point of green mana spent causes the attack to deal 1d6 extra damage (example: if you spent 4 green mana, the attack would knock the target prone and deal and extra 3d6 damage).
    Lure (Green): Target Creature's next Attack must include you (this may be spent as a free action any time during your turn). If you increase your distance from the target, this effect is canceled.
    Phasing (Blue): Movement does not provoke Attacks of Opportunity
    Fly (Blue): You gain a flying speed equal to your movement speed this turn
    Fear (Black): If the attack hits deal normal damage and the target makes a will save (DC 10 + level + Cha) . If it fails, its next attack can not target you
    Death Touch (Black): If the attack hits, deal normal damage. For each Black Mana spent, if X * 5 is greater then the creature's remaining hit points after the attack, you kill the creature.
    I much prefer these though, especially Lure, Trample and Phasing
    Last edited by (Psi)SeveredHead; Saturday, 22nd September, 2012 at 03:41 PM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by (Psi)SeveredHead View Post
    There was a thread (possibly on another forum) saying MtD was nearly impossible with D&D. I personally believed it, at least if the game had Planeswalkers as standard PCs. It's nice to see someone trying to buck the trend.
    I view Planeswalkers more as demi-gods / gods then PC characters. That status should be something the characters aspire to become, not what they start out being.

    I think these abilities are a little too numerical and too focused on amplifying strengths and not shoring up weaknesses. Fighters are already good at hitting and damaging things, and have higher AC scores than other PCs. In effect, this means the fighter's color means little.

    Since this is a setting where fighters already have mana, I don't think it's problematic to give some magic to these abilities.
    I agree with both of these points. I wanted Fighters and other non-casters to have a lot of magical effects (it's very much with the setting). I'll look at making more Keyword feats. If we ditch the class specific items, I'd considered allowing one Allied Colored Feat so that off-colored mana would still be important.

    For red, I'm thinking something like fiery rage. The fighter can do more damage, perhaps with a choice of making that fire or untyped damage, at a cost of either attack bonus or AC (whichever you think is best). When a fighter uses fiery rage, it should be obvious what they're doing; they're glowing red and their weapon is bursting into flame.

    Green, one of the two powers of life, could make the fighter "tougher" or "grindier". A fighter using green could seem to expand slightly in size while glowing green, and would gain temporary hit points.

    These proposed abilities might need to cost more than 1 mana each, but I think that's fine. I'd rather do that than go with standard feats which just give you a +1 here and a +1 there.

    For blue, I would perhaps give the PC a bonus to saving throws. A blue fighter could be a spellcaster's nightmare.

    For black, I'm thinking a penalty to AC and saving throws. A dark knight working with a necromancer would be terribly frightening. Now the dark knight can hit more often, and the necromancer's Terror spell is more likely to take effect.
    All good ideas. There were keywords I avoided as I wanted to give them to certain classes as mana effects. Firebreathing is basically the +2 damage from the Fighter effects.

    I much prefer these though, especially Lure, Trample and Phasing
    Glad you liked them (I was very fond of Lure myself. I also liked the Fear effect for Black). I'll be adding Firebreathing, Poison, Defender, Banding, Hexproof, and other keyword feats.

    There are still a lot of things I'm not sure how to represent yet (and I'm not sure if I can). Blue has a ton of card drawing, deck manipulation, and counter spell effects. Black has discard and graveyard effects.

  4. #4
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    I like what you've done here and wish you luck in the rest of your journey!

  5. #5
    Still unsure if I want a massive mana generation after the end of a long rest or gaining a point of mana after each short rest. I want mana effects to be pretty common, so perhaps I'll do both (I'll also remove the if you have no mana you gain the mana clause as I don't want to punish a character for saving mana). You'll have a maximum mana pool of twice your level. If at the end of any combat you have more then that amount, you lose the extra mana.

    I'm still hunting for a good way to translate draw a card, discard a card, and graveyard manipulation.

    More Keyword Feats
    • Banding (White): When an ally is damaged in combat, you may transfer any amount of that damage to yourself instead.
    • Defender (White): Gain +4 to AC but deal only 1/2 damage until the end of your next turn.
    • Firebreathing (Red): Deal +2 damage until end of your next turn.
    • Rampage (Red): May only activate after a creature has damaged you and only once per round. Gain +1 to hit and +2 to damage until the end of combat.
    • Hexproof (Green): Gain +5 bonus to your next saving throw versus a mana effect or spell. If the saving throw is successful, you suffer no effects from the effect. This can be used against mana effects and spells that don't normally allow for saving throws.
    • Flash (Blue): Take a move action immediately. This can be used to interrupt actions of others.
    • Poison (Black): In addition to normal damage from the attack, the target gets a -2 to hit damage poison counter. At the end of that target's turn, remove a poison counter.


    A White Fighter (or any other white character) can defend by using Banding to shift damage away from squishier targets (and heal using Lifelink)
    A Green Character defends by forcing other to attack him with Lure.
    A Black Character defends by imposing -X Poison counters onto a target. This keyword is stronger for each point of mana he drops into the initial effect.
    I'm not going to reach for a good way for Red and Blue to defend. I'm not searching for symmetry between the colors.
    I dislike that all of Blue's Keyword Feats are associated with Movement. I'm totally open to suggestions on changing Flash, Flying, and Phasing to something else (or adding new Keywords that fit them).
    I'm positive that I want to allow for one off-colored keyword feat from an allied color.
    A Green character with Hexproof is going to be a nightmare for casters (and I like that a lot).
    Since I came up with Defender, I don't think that Lifelink should cause you to deal 1/2 the normal damage. Just deal normal damage and heal 1/2 of that value.
    Class specific mana effects are gone for now.

    General Feats
    So, I like the idea of more general feats as well. At the moment, I'm going through the gatherer.wizards.com to gather ideas for these. I'd like to avoid combat implications with these feats (the Combat Keyword Feats cover those). Like the Keyword feats, these have a color prerequisite.

    • Power Sink (Blue): Requires a Blue Mana and may be used as a free action. Target Mana effect requires one more mana of any color to be used. If this is not paid, the effect fails and any mana used to power it is lost.
    • Gaea's Touch (Green): After a short or long rest, gain an extra Green Mana
    • Dark Ritual (Black): Take damage equal to your level. This damage can only be healed after a long rest. Gain a Black Mana.


    Artifacts
    Thinking more about these and how they should work. A lot can be lifted directly from the game itself (Moxes, Icy Manipulator, etc). Things that are tapped (and untap normally during your untap phase) should be usable once per short rest. Things that are sacrificed should be usable once per long rest (that's my answer to make Black Lotus a power house artifact, once per day gain 3 mana of any color).

  6. #6
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    I once started to develop a MTG RPG. Each character had her own deck (with 60 cards that the player chose at character creation). Characters used chads by paying their mana costs (if the card was a spell) or by using the appropriate amount of "Attack Dice", if they were fighters/rogues.

    The skill system was very different. Your ranks on skills depended on your color affiliations.

    You started off with two "Color identity" points and distributed them anyway you chose (you could put them both on the same color and be monocolored or go for ANY 2-color combination).

    It was fun, but making the cards for the player's decks proved to be a huge challenge, too time consuming.
    Last edited by Ramaster; Monday, 1st October, 2012 at 11:10 PM.

  7. #7
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    Dusk 3 is essentially a D&D / MtG hybrid. I'm planning out its 4th edition which will finally become a ruleset of it's own in this thread

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/tableto...it-points.html

    Meanwhile, by googling for "Carthasana" you might be able to find the Player's Guide. It was briefly here at ENWorld until WotC issued a C&D, and somehow someone got a copy and put it up online. I personally don't care about that (now that I have had some time to think on it) but neither am I going to link directly to it because if the guy posting it gets in hot water with WotC legal I don't want any part of it.

    I've glanced over what you've written and I can't help but notice you are completely missing the point of and power within the chromatic alignment system. That point is this - color alignments are inclusive. If a character does something consistent to the red alignment he picks up that color - he does not lose whatever color(s) he has. We see this in the card game in the form of gold and hybrid spells.

    A 1st level character may have only 1 color and that's fine - the story has just begun and the motivations of the character aren't clear. But past that point the gaining of color(s) becomes important.

    In Dusk's 3e writeup only the paladin was alignment restricted - and he had to pick a color to champion and an enemy of that color to oppose. Monks had to be white but could branch out from there. Bards and Barbarians had to start red, druids and rangers start green, but all four of them could mix and match.

    As you propose doing the Dusk setting sorts out the spell lists into the 5 colors and adds on the order of 390 some spells to flesh out the colors, particularly with effects that currently don't exist in D&D. Spells like counterspell, duress, honor the fallen, twincast, radiate and avalanche of squirrels populate the list. Eight years of play have proven them out to be relatively balanced, though in the right situation some of them are outright backbreaking (back to basics, limited resources and flaring pain all come to mind here).

    If nothing else it's a starting point.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Morris View Post
    I've glanced over what you've written and I can't help but notice you are completely missing the point of and power within the chromatic alignment system. That point is this - color alignments are inclusive. If a character does something consistent to the red alignment he picks up that color - he does not lose whatever color(s) he has. We see this in the card game in the form of gold and hybrid spells.

    A 1st level character may have only 1 color and that's fine - the story has just begun and the motivations of the character aren't clear. But past that point the gaining of color(s) becomes important.
    So, I'm kind of using the Weatherlight Saga as my frame of reference. If you look at that you see some characters completely change colors (Crovax clearly goes from White to Black, Ertai goes from Blue to Blue Black (and White oddly), and you can argue that Volrath changed colors as well when he became the ruler of Rath. All of these are significant character events: Crovax fell under a curse, Ertai was abandoned in Rath and Compleated, Volrath failed a tribal right of passage and was exiled.

    So I agree with you that changing colors is important. And I agree with you that color change should be story related. But I don't think you radically change your views on life at the drop of a hat. If you go from respecting life and order to valuing might makes right and chaos, you've gone from Red to White, you've not added Red to White.

    However, I kind of took the point of view that color alignment was Exclusive not Inclusive. You got along well with allied colors (White functions well with Green and Blue) and you can even dabble in an allied color's toolbox for a cost (you don't normally produce allied mana, so you've got to find an external source of it to power their effects), but I like the simplicity of a simple you are X color.

  9. #9
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    What of the guilds of Ravnica?

    When I say the colors are inclusive, what I mean is nothing prevents a character from having multiple, even opposed alignments. Even Rath cycle had the Sliver Queen, the ultimate expression of multicolor.

    A character can lose alignments, but that is rarer than picking them up. Also, running the inclusive approach leads to fewer arguments in play in my experience.

    Also, keep in mind that legend and planeswalker cards depict characters at certain moments in time, and the colors appearing on the card reflect the character at a particular moment in time. The role of colors in the card game cannot be the same as in any RPG based on the card game. At some point you have to translate according to spirit rather than trying a direct mechanical translation which is unlikely to work at all, let alone well.

    So, if I want a character who is Golgari he can be black and green. There will be a certain cognitive dissonance to his philosophy and actions, but all the same the character can work.

    Therein is the advantage of the system.

    Traditional alignments are exclusive - that is, you can't be good and evil, or lawful and chaotic. These are exclusive to each other, and neutrality upon either spear gives us 9 traditional alignments.

    Chromatic alignment has the five base alignments, the five allied pairs, the five enemy pairs, the five arcs, the five wedges, the nephalim aligments (4 color) and finally a 5 color aligned character, for a total of 31 possible alignment combinations. That huge number would be too large except that the root structure of the 5 and their relationships makes it not only possible but relatively easy to grasp.

  10. #10
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    Oh, right!

    Managed to dig this up.

    This is from the skill system of my MTG RPG.

    As I said, you have 2 "Color identity" points and place them on any color/s you want (You can put 2 on the same color).

    You get 1 point to each of the skill associated with your allied colors and one to skill associated with your color. For example, 1 point in White gives you one point in Diplomacy, one in Perception and one in Sense Motive. If you put the second point in, say, Blue, you end up like this:

    Perception: 1
    Diplomacy: 1
    Sense Motive: 2
    Creativity: 1
    Stealth: 1

    Class and race gave you some fixed points and you had a couple more to distribute where you chose.
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