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D&D 5E D&D Magic the Gathering alternate magic system

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
And since you're being an A-hole you can take a report and a block.

Wow, nice passive aggressive when I can look right at your first post and see you are NOT asking for opinions.
Right back at you for swearing and name-calling.

Mod Note:
Both of you are behaving... quite poorly. You should both go back and reconsider how you approached this, so you don't repeat this performance in the future.
 

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cbwjm

Hero
I've thought about this before, I've even gone and created a list of all the spells and assigned a colour (or colours) to them. This question actually came up recently on Reddit, here's what I posted there in regard to a basic assignment of spells.

Spell schools don't perfectly map to colours, it's probably better to look at the theme of each spell, though I'd probably do the following basics.
  • White: abjuration, some enchantments, most healing effects.
  • Blue: illusion, most enchantments, most transmutations, spells of air, water, and cold, conjurations dealing with teleportation, most divinations.
  • Red: spells of earth and fire, some transmutations.
  • Black: necromancy, many enchantments.
  • Green: spells dealing with animals, plants, some transmutations, some healing.
Conjuration spells that summon creatures are probably fairly split between colours, black gets demon and undead, blue and red get elementals, white angels, and green animals.

While I think blue would get most divinations, I think the other colours would gain a few as well, even red has some haphazard card draw that could be seen as some sort of divination effect. Some spells might have coloured variants or could even be considered multicoloured.

Looking at the planeswalkers, you might have them specialise in an area within a colour. Many of them seem to be specialised in areas like the twins in the new set who use are each blue/ice magic or red/fire magic. This will limit the power of blue a bit which considering their plethora of spells is probably desirable. Then, for the mage class, I'd have certain levels grant you access to a new colour or colour specialisation. Jace ends up with illusions, enchantments, and divinations for instance.

I either wouldn't bother with planeswalkers, or I'd have everyone be planeswalkers in which case, I'd make it a high powered game and would probably look at pathfinders mythic levels as a means to add in the planeswalker spark. Each mythic level grants the planeswalker some abilities or spell levels for a colour of magic.
 

Aelryinth

Explorer
Some planeswalkers can be pretty average. I'd basically just say it's a template that allows them to plane shift 1/x, and gives someone who might not have had it the potential of magic.
That renders planeswalkers themselves just people who can do a certain something, and EXPERIENCED planeswalkers become the dangerous things.
It also means non-Planeswalkers can be just as dangerous.
You might want to limit non-Planeswalkers to one color to differentiate them in terms of versatility, if not power.

Also note Green has some enchantment spells and shares poison with black.
Fire gets all the violent energy. Lightning is part of fire, not air, in MOTG.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Talking about M:tG has me thinking again about the disappointment I had with the Ravnica guide.

On a personal note, I enjoy 5e as it is, but as I've played a lot of it, I would absolutely love to try this with a completely different magic structure and set of spells.

It's been a long time for me playing it, but I absolutely loved the themes and strategies of Magic's colour system. I could see quite easily a setting of 5e that removed all other magic classes and included a White Mage, Blue Mage, Black Mage, Green Mage, and Red Mage.

What features would you give such a class? And what are some of the iconic spells you would give to these spell lists (and what level would you put them at?)
Magic skills, I think. At least 2 per color. Maybe 3?

Maybe each color has each of;

[Color] Support
[Color] Offense
[Color] Summoning

You just have to use spells slots and spell levels to balance what damage/healing you can do and stats or summoned creatures, so you don’t need to rewrite nearly all the classes.
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
Thanks everyone for your posts. It brings to focus for me that I'd need to give a lot of thought towards a robust but not over complicated summoning system as it is such a focus of M:tG.

Might write up a list this week when I can find the time.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I guess another question is if anyone would want to be a mundane character when you could be a planeswalker
I think mundane characters would be a hard sell if planeswalkers are a playable option. I would go one of two routes with it - either everyone is a post-Mending planeswalker and you’re doing a Gatewatch-type alliance thing, or everyone is a non-planeswalking mage, and planeswalkers fill a role in the game more analogous to gods in other D&D settings. Maybe set it pre-Mending in that case. Personally I prefer the sound of the latter, but that’s probably because I have a lot of nostalgia for the flavor of the game pre-Mending. But either way, traveling between planes I think would be one of the major draws of an MtG RPG, so if the PCs aren’t Planeswalkers, I would make sure to include lots of use of planar portals and plane-interacting shenanigans like the Rath/Dominaria overlay and the like.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
a
Thanks everyone for your posts. It brings to focus for me that I'd need to give a lot of thought towards a robust but not over complicated summoning system as it is such a focus of M:tG.

Might write up a list this week when I can find the time.
one option might be to use the new summon spells from Tasha’s as a baseline. “Summon Red Creature,” “Summon Blue Creature,” etc.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I've always consider the planeswalker you're supposed to be a 20th level wizard, and tried working backwards from there.

There was a Magic: The Gathering computer game - I think back in the 90's - that had you slowly building your deck as faced opponents across Dominaria. Possibly that could be referenced for rebuilding D&D's magic system using some of that information.
 

Aldarc

Legend
@CubicsRube, I had a similar idea. My "solution" was actually to look for another system. This is not to say that it can't be done in 5e D&D, because I think that it can, but, rather, I personally preferred looking to something similar enough to D&D where this would more lucrative or where the pre-existing magic system made it somewhat easier.

In particular, I checked out Shadow of the Demon Lord, which groups its spells into more thematically similar magical traditions: e.g., Time, Fire, Primal, Death, etc. It was easier for me to then look at those thematic traditions and group them together in ways that corresponded more approximately to the Magic Color. Similarly one could do this with the AGE System, which also has more thematic magic traditions.

However, there are several options that I would consider when attempting this for 5e.

(i) Color-Themed Spell Lists: Instead of class-based spell-lists, take the existing spells and create Color-specific spell lists that are shared between classes. So (hypothetically) a Red/Black Cleric may have access to the Red/Black spell lists much as a Red/Black Wizard would. This means that classes should approach shared spell lists differently and do different things and balanced around that conceit. Or maybe a Cleric can only devote themselves to one color, while a Wizard can utilize two colors. The classes would presumably be about how you approach magic (e.g., study, innate, pacts, ideological devotion, etc.) and the spell lists define the Color.

(ii) Class-Tied Colors: Class X is tied to Color 3. This is to say, one could take the approach that certain classes are inherently about certain colors: Wizards are Blue, Warlocks are Black, Clerics are White, Sorcerers/Bards are Red, Druids are Green, etc. This could even tie in with the color-themed spell lists above.

(iii) Color-Appropriate Subclasses: Instead of adjusting the spell lists too drastically, one could instead create Color-appropriate subclasses for each class: e.g., Red Wizard, White Wizard, Red Cleric, Blue Cleric, Green Barbarian, Blue Barbarian, etc. Additional spells and abilities that are appropriate to those class/color combinations could then be doled out. This requires less work than the above.

(iv) Layered On Top: Use something like the Piety system from the Theros book and just add it on top to characters. But instead of "Piety," the characters may have Color Affinities that they are playing into. They may get additional spells, rituals, or benefits from playing into these Color Affinities and those Affinities may change.

I've always consider the planeswalker you're supposed to be a 20th level wizard, and tried working backwards from there.

There was a Magic: The Gathering computer game - I think back in the 90's - that had you slowly building your deck as faced opponents across Dominaria. Possibly that could be referenced for rebuilding D&D's magic system using some of that information.
From what I gather, the actual sense of being a planeswalker isn't so much now about being a powerful wizard, but by simply being a person who has the planeswalking "spark."
 

Bagpuss

Adventurer
Did you produce something on this?

I was thinking to make a "planeswalker" class where you have to choose 1 colour and that determines your list.

or if I'd allow planeswalkers to learn multiple colours of spells (and how that would work)
Perhaps

1st level - Pick your primary colour
5th level - Pick another colour
10th level - Pick another colour
15th level - Pick another colour
20th level - Get the final colour.
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
I was hoping to retainer magic cards as spells rather than using another system, but I'm having a hard time finding a concise list as there's so many damn magic cards now.

I'm thinking that most spells need to be found in instants, interrupts and sorceries. But even these have a super heavy focus on creatures and summons.
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
I like the idea of a planeswalker being the level 20 culmination of a wizards power. Perhaps a limited format of plane shifting at lower levels and an at will ability at level 20.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
I've given this some thought over the years.

I think what I would do would be to let the player choose their colors (as if they were building a deck). Each color would have a special ability, probably based off of the low-cost spell for each (Healing Salve for white, Lightning Bolt for red, etc).

If you choose one color (specialist) you'd get the strongest version of that ability, whereas if you choose all 5 colors (generalist) you get all 5 abilities but in their weakest incarnation. Obviously, you could only use gold spells for colors you chose.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I like the idea of a planeswalker being the level 20 culmination of a wizards power. Perhaps a limited format of plane shifting at lower levels and an at will ability at level 20.
Maybe not just a wizard. Looking at the current line up of planeswalkers, we have plenty of wizards, sure, but they also have warriors, rogues, and maybe a druid/priest or two.

Maybe make full planeswalking a boon for level 20 (if you want to wait until then) that is taken by anyone at level 20 and then the game moves onto high powered planeswalking stuff for a few sessions.
 

I mean...

Rather than building an entirely new class/set of classes, which don't really account for the variety of planeswalkers and spellcasting characters we see in Dominaria and other worlds, how about making it all into a secondary progression Feat-Tree?

Give everyone a "Free Feat" at level 1. And allow them to grab one of several feats. Each feat has it's own requirements but the most basic one is this:

Magicaster (Walker)
Choose one of the five primary colors of magic (Black, Blue, Green, Red, or White). You gain a number of Mana Points of that color equal to your Proficiency Bonus, plus the number of Walker feats that you take. You can use these mana points as part of a special action called the Arcana action to create effects based on your access to a given color. Taking this feat gives you access to the Tier 1 Arcana of your chosen Color.
You recover your entire mana pool at the end of a Long Rest.
You can take this feat up to five times. Each time you do, select another color. Doing so does not increase your mana pool, but allows you to use your pool to create mana of any color you have access to through the Magicaster feat.

Then have a "Tier 2 Arcana" feat for every color. Tier 3. Tier 4. However high you wanna go. And create a bunch of different spells and effects with different casting costs... Make "Gold" spells that use multiple colors requiring greater investment into your mana pool... Each one a "Walker" Feat.

Maybe throw in a feat that allows you to regain Spellcasting Modifier in Mana Points on a Short Rest?

Now everyone can be a Planeswalker.
 

cbwjm

Hero
For a while I was working on a couple of planeswalker classes, full-caster and half-caster to account for the clerics, wizards, and druids and the rangers, barbarians, paladins, and rogues. Each class drew from a number of, effectively, invocations with abilities based on the colours.
 



Stormonu

Legend
I wonder if using the Warlock spell progression, but the Wizard spell list might fit to represent Magic's casting system. Pacts/Patrons might be the mana sources, with Invocation options to add extra colors.

It would restructure the potency of magic in the game, but I wonder if you could directly map the mana pips (and the cards) to spell levels. Something similar might be doable with the power/toughness/damage (maybe each point being one or more 1d6 or 1d8).

Perhaps:

Mana/Power/Toughnessdice
11
22-3
34-6
47-9
510-12
613-15
716-18
8++3 dice/point
 

Aelryinth

Explorer
I wonder if using the Warlock spell progression, but the Wizard spell list might fit to represent Magic's casting system. Pacts/Patrons might be the mana sources, with Invocation options to add extra colors.

It would restructure the potency of magic in the game, but I wonder if you could directly map the mana pips (and the cards) to spell levels. Something similar might be doable with the power/toughness/damage (maybe each point being one or more 1d6 or 1d8).

Perhaps:

Mana/Power/Toughnessdice
11
22-3
34-6
47-9
510-12
613-15
716-18
8++3 dice/point
Instead of calling them Pacts and Patrons, you could just call them ties to lands :)
 

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