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

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
While I do think summoning spells would be important for an MTG RPG, I don’t think they would necessarily need to be super prominent. Summoning creatures is a big part of the gameplay, but in the novels, comics, etc. it’s not really that much of a thing. It happens - Garruk likes to summon beasts, Leliana raises undead minions, etc. but nothing beyond what you I might expect from a druid or a necromancer in D&D. Players in a game of magic are more comparable to pre-Mending Planeswalkers, who were practically gods, but the post-mending walkers who are the main characters of the storyline don’t really fight with armies of summoned creatures. They’re much more like regular, albeit gifted, Mages who can also Planeswalk.
In general, I would be looking at summoning cards as something to use to populate an alternate Monster Manual, not as a alternate spell list. I also think there's a big difference between "I want to play the MtG setting using D&D as the engine" and "I want to play D&D using the MtG color wheel as an inspiration for a new magic system." As someone who likes the aesthetics of MtG but hasn't played it in decades, I find the latter far more compelling than the former.
 

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CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
With this post, I'm particularly trying to use inspiration from Magic the Gathering to make an alternate list of D&D spells.

Happy for you to talk about other systems (I have played and run others). But I'm (for my own interest) going to populate 5 spell lists under d&d5e design.

It looks like summons will be the tricky part that ill need to think on, as well as cards that interact with deck draws/graveyards or mana/land. In most cases I simply won't use these spells, for others I might need to modify them heavily.

Are there any cards for any of you that are iconic? Looking over the lists again remind me why I moved away from magic - too many damned cards!
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
In general, I would be looking at summoning cards as something to use to populate an alternate Monster Manual, not as a alternate spell list. I also think there's a big difference between "I want to play the MtG setting using D&D as the engine" and "I want to play D&D using the MtG color wheel as an inspiration for a new magic system." As someone who likes the aesthetics of MtG but hasn't played it in decades, I find the latter far more compelling than the former.
Agree! That's where I'm at too
 

cbwjm

Hero
With this post, I'm particularly trying to use inspiration from Magic the Gathering to make an alternate list of D&D spells.

Happy for you to talk about other systems (I have played and run others). But I'm (for my own interest) going to populate 5 spell lists under d&d5e design.

It looks like summons will be the tricky part that ill need to think on, as well as cards that interact with deck draws/graveyards or mana/land. In most cases I simply won't use these spells, for others I might need to modify them heavily.

Are there any cards for any of you that are iconic? Looking over the lists again remind me why I moved away from magic - too many damned cards!
Many probably already exist in some form in 5e, but for me, some spells I seem to remember most, probably due to how prevalent they were back when I started playing, are:
Red: lightning bolt, fireball, incinerate, and stone rain.
Black: terror, dark ritual (Those times where you got a 5 cost creature out first turn with two dark rituals were awesome), unholy strength
White: holy strength, healing salve (more an item than a spell)
Green: giant growth, force of nature (summon a plant elemental)
Blue: counter spell, manasink
  • Dark ritual could be an actual ritual where you sacrifice someone, not really a spell for good characters, and then gain some spell slots.
  • Unholy and holy strength could be spells that allow the target to deal additional necrotic/radiant damage while also providing temporary hit points. Essentially the same spell where you choose the damage type when you cast the spell or two separate spells. Unholy strength adds 1d8 necrotic damage to your strikes and temporary hit points; holy strength adds a smaller damage die but more temp hp.
  • Manasink could require the caster of the spell countered to lose an additional spell slot or lose their spell.
 

cbwjm

Hero
This might have already been brought up, but I think when I divided spells into colours I also looked at damage type. I think I came up with the following general guidelines to help me determine which gets what spell. Not sure where I put force effects.

Black: Acid, Necrotic, Poison, Psychic
Blue: Cold, Psychic
Green: Acid, Poison
Red: Fire, Lightning
White: Radiant

I know someone mentioned the new phyrexians and their infect mechanic being essentially poison but I think I ignored that for this division of damage types. Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage pull end up in any colour depending on the spell. Icestorm is blue but meteor swarm is red for instance.
 

cbwjm

Hero
Out of curiosity, has anyone created something like slivers? I'm thinking of making them with traits that disappear as you kill certain slivers in "encounter" range, that is just the group you're fighting rather than worry about a specific range. In this case, traits would be things like flight, advantage on initiative, +1d6 damage. Nothing that changes the 6 base stats or adds hit points because that could be an administrative nightmare.

I just looked up slivers on gatherer. There are so many of them now! I think they'd make a good challenge for a party of adventurers, would have to make sure to describe the different types so that they can twig onto the fact they're different and start targeting specific creatures.
 
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Aelryinth

Explorer
Out of curiosity, has anyone created something like slivers? I'm thinking of making them with traits that disappear as you kill certain slivers in "encounter" range, that is just the group you're fighting rather than worry about a specific range. In this case, traits would be things like flight, advantage on initiative, +1d6 damage. Nothing that changes the 6 base stats or adds hit points because that could be an administrative nightmare.

I just looked up slivers on gatherer. There are so many of them now! I think they'd make a good challenge for a party of adventurers, would have to make sure to describe the different types so that they can twig onto the fact they're different and start targeting specific creatures.
A related mechanic from 3e comes from the dragonspawn creatures. Tiamat's Blessing let the dragonspawn share its elemental resistances with any other dragonspawn within 5 feet or riding it. Thus a mixed group of dragonspawn could be immune to multiple kinds of elemental energy.
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
WARNING: Wall of text below. Tl;dr is I have attached a very early draft of a Magic: the Gathering Planeswalker apprentice class and spellbook. This is something I'll be working on every now and then in my spare time. Suggestions welcome.



I've been doing some thinking and playing around this weekend on my approach to creating what I think encapsulates the M:tG "feel" to me. I've attached an early draft. Please excuse the formatting and note that nothing is currently tested for balance yet.

The draft includes a new Apprentice class. This is largely built on the chassis of the Wizard. Inspired by the old school D&D high level player where you could quest to become a deity, I loved the idea that this could be a kind of "prequel" into how beings come to be Planeswalkers. At level 1 the players are imbued with a spark of a specific colour. All of their abilities come from this spark as they level, eventually culminating in the apprentice ascending to becoming a Planeswalker at level 21. If anyone has suggestions for a name other than Apprentice I'd like to hear it, because I've come up empty.

The design of this assumes no multiclassing. And while other classes may be used with it, considering that the goal of this class is to become a near immortal plane shifting eldritch master, it may feel a bit lackluster being anything else. I am going to try and differentiate the sparks enough to feel significantly different. For example, some of the red spells revolve around doing melee damage and is heavily focused on damage in general. White magic on the other hand will have a number of protective and healing spells, etc.

For the class:
  • At level 1, you choose the colour of your Spark. This determines which class features you gain as you level and which school of magic you gain access to.
  • The ability you use for casting spells is defined by your Spark.
  • Subclass abilities have been mostly copied from various wizard subclasses and others are modified or new. These need to be balanced and will be reviewed in time. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
  • Level 18 allows a limited creation of artifacts. The mechanics of which is yet to be determined, but is intended to create temporary artifact. Only Planeswalkers can create permanent artifacts.
  • Level 19 allows for limited duration summoning. The mechanics of which is yet to be determined, but is intended to create temporary summons. Only Planeswalkers can create permanent summons.
  • Level 20 allows for the use of teleportation, shifting planes, and the creation of land of your associated spark color or destruction of lands of different colours. The mechanics have not yet been worked out, but this is intentionally game breaking at this level, as the Apprentice is ready to ascend to becoming a Planeswalker.
For the spells (note @cbwjm - I plan on adding your spell recommendations soon):
  • Red instants mostly done. Red sorceries and enchantments to follow.
  • Sorceries are usually 1 action casting time.
  • Instants may be 1 action, but sometimes will be 1 bonus action or 1 reaction.
  • Enchantments will be 1 action, and will either buff allies or debuff enemies.
  • General rule of thumb for costing is that 1 colour mana = cantrip. Each colour mana after that increases the spell by 2 spell level, and each colourless mana increases the spell level by 1.
  • General rule for damage is inspired by DMG guidelines, but it will need several passes to rebalance once the list is built.
  • Many spells need modification in power or effect to not simply imitate another spell in the deck. The M:tG deck card limit doesn't apply to D&D, so if I am to include a spell, it has to be different enough to warrant inclusion.
A note on creatures: I lost in the thread who mentioned this, so I'm sorry for not giving you credit, but I will design a bestiary at the end with creatures of each colour. These will normally reside in the associated lands (but not always) and will be most likely what is encountered. Each creature will likely also be associated a "level" which can be used for difficulty of encounter as well as interacting with the Level 19 Apprentice ability.

A note on artifacts: I will design a limited magic item compendium based on artifacts. These will be colourless. Each artifact will likely also be associated a "level" which will interact with the Level 18 Apprentice ability.

As with this post, the project is becoming bigger than I intended. However I'm happy to tinker along with it as it's for my own amusement. Please feel free to steal anything from this if you find value in it. I'm also keen to hear peoples feedback and suggestions as I go along and update this. Given the early stages, suggestions will help more than feedback, but all is welcome.
 

Attachments

  • Planeswalker the Spark v0.1.pdf
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Bupp

Adventurer
I've messed around with ideas like these before, and as I'm sure you discovered, you're basically coming up with a whole new magic system. I've skimmed your PDF, and it does show some promise! Other systems I've seen or tried to develop came out rather clunky.

I've found it's just as enjoyable to play regular D&D with MtG trappings. Use the summon cards as a Monster Manual, otherwise having all your casters summoning creatures to fight for them ends up feeling very Pokemon.

Here's a spell list of the PHB spells divided by color.

I actually prefer to use the colors as an alignment chart.

Here's a great Tumblr creator, who unfortunately hasn't made anything in awhile, but would convert Magic cards to D&D.
 

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?)
I remember when MtG first came out, and we were running MERP or D&D, can't remember. But, we built an entire combat system through MtG. Basically, you had to play a wizard, and you travelled around the D&D world looking for powers (ie. cards). Much like a magic item system, the DM handed out cards.
We played it off as you were already so powerful, that no mere fighter or thief would ever really want to mess with you. It was fun, and the DM handing out cards was pretty cool. But, we were young, in college, and it became way too expensive to keep up. So we dropped it after four or five sessions. (It was also a bit monolithic in its roleplaying.)
But, I am glad we took the chance to develop the experience.
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
I've messed around with ideas like these before, and as I'm sure you discovered, you're basically coming up with a whole new magic system. I've skimmed your PDF, and it does show some promise! Other systems I've seen or tried to develop came out rather clunky.

I've found it's just as enjoyable to play regular D&D with MtG trappings. Use the summon cards as a Monster Manual, otherwise having all your casters summoning creatures to fight for them ends up feeling very Pokemon.

Here's a spell list of the PHB spells divided by color.

I actually prefer to use the colors as an alignment chart.

Here's a great Tumblr creator, who unfortunately hasn't made anything in awhile, but would convert Magic cards to D&D.
Thanks Bupp. Good stuff there
 

cbwjm

Hero
WARNING: Wall of text below. Tl;dr is I have attached a very early draft of a Magic: the Gathering Planeswalker apprentice class and spellbook. This is something I'll be working on every now and then in my spare time. Suggestions welcome.



I've been doing some thinking and playing around this weekend on my approach to creating what I think encapsulates the M:tG "feel" to me. I've attached an early draft. Please excuse the formatting and note that nothing is currently tested for balance yet.

The draft includes a new Apprentice class. This is largely built on the chassis of the Wizard. Inspired by the old school D&D high level player where you could quest to become a deity, I loved the idea that this could be a kind of "prequel" into how beings come to be Planeswalkers. At level 1 the players are imbued with a spark of a specific colour. All of their abilities come from this spark as they level, eventually culminating in the apprentice ascending to becoming a Planeswalker at level 21. If anyone has suggestions for a name other than Apprentice I'd like to hear it, because I've come up empty.

The design of this assumes no multiclassing. And while other classes may be used with it, considering that the goal of this class is to become a near immortal plane shifting eldritch master, it may feel a bit lackluster being anything else. I am going to try and differentiate the sparks enough to feel significantly different. For example, some of the red spells revolve around doing melee damage and is heavily focused on damage in general. White magic on the other hand will have a number of protective and healing spells, etc.

For the class:
  • At level 1, you choose the colour of your Spark. This determines which class features you gain as you level and which school of magic you gain access to.
  • The ability you use for casting spells is defined by your Spark.
  • Subclass abilities have been mostly copied from various wizard subclasses and others are modified or new. These need to be balanced and will be reviewed in time. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
  • Level 18 allows a limited creation of artifacts. The mechanics of which is yet to be determined, but is intended to create temporary artifact. Only Planeswalkers can create permanent artifacts.
  • Level 19 allows for limited duration summoning. The mechanics of which is yet to be determined, but is intended to create temporary summons. Only Planeswalkers can create permanent summons.
  • Level 20 allows for the use of teleportation, shifting planes, and the creation of land of your associated spark color or destruction of lands of different colours. The mechanics have not yet been worked out, but this is intentionally game breaking at this level, as the Apprentice is ready to ascend to becoming a Planeswalker.
For the spells (note @cbwjm - I plan on adding your spell recommendations soon):
  • Red instants mostly done. Red sorceries and enchantments to follow.
  • Sorceries are usually 1 action casting time.
  • Instants may be 1 action, but sometimes will be 1 bonus action or 1 reaction.
  • Enchantments will be 1 action, and will either buff allies or debuff enemies.
  • General rule of thumb for costing is that 1 colour mana = cantrip. Each colour mana after that increases the spell by 2 spell level, and each colourless mana increases the spell level by 1.
  • General rule for damage is inspired by DMG guidelines, but it will need several passes to rebalance once the list is built.
  • Many spells need modification in power or effect to not simply imitate another spell in the deck. The M:tG deck card limit doesn't apply to D&D, so if I am to include a spell, it has to be different enough to warrant inclusion.
A note on creatures: I lost in the thread who mentioned this, so I'm sorry for not giving you credit, but I will design a bestiary at the end with creatures of each colour. These will normally reside in the associated lands (but not always) and will be most likely what is encountered. Each creature will likely also be associated a "level" which can be used for difficulty of encounter as well as interacting with the Level 19 Apprentice ability.

A note on artifacts: I will design a limited magic item compendium based on artifacts. These will be colourless. Each artifact will likely also be associated a "level" which will interact with the Level 18 Apprentice ability.

As with this post, the project is becoming bigger than I intended. However I'm happy to tinker along with it as it's for my own amusement. Please feel free to steal anything from this if you find value in it. I'm also keen to hear peoples feedback and suggestions as I go along and update this. Given the early stages, suggestions will help more than feedback, but all is welcome.
Just had a look through your document, it's looking pretty good. I like how there is some of the colour opposition in the spark abilities with the white frightened immunity and the black fear aura at level 10.

I also like that this class has built in different saving throws and casting ability based upon which subclass you take, it's a cool addition to the class.

Spells are also looking good, I'm looking some up to see what the original card did. Looking at the Comet Storm it sounds like they came up with a way to make the MtG version of fireball work a little more intuitively with multikicker (not even sure I knew about that card ability).
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
Yeah. I wanted to have an AoE effect that had a fixed damage and increased area with upcasting and another with a fixed area and upscaled damage for variety.

I'm just going to try and populate the spell list first and then do some adjusting passes.

I'm going to aim for approx 8-10 per level from cantrips through to level 5, and then 3 per level after that. Let's see how that turns out.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
A random thought...

What about reskinning certain MtG summon spells as D&D evocation/conjuration spells with alternative “special effects”? Instead of orbs, rays, etc., the targets are afflicted by spectral creatures...
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
A random thought...

What about reskinning certain MtG summon spells as D&D evocation/conjuration spells with alternative “special effects”? Instead of orbs, rays, etc., the targets are afflicted by spectral creatures...
I thought about that. I also thought about how central summoning is to M:tG. So I incorporated it as a high level and are leaving most creatures to be monsters to fight.

I like the idea of characters battling with these monsters as they learn, only to summon them to do their will when they become Planeswalkers.

I might consider a few for green though when I get to it, since it's very thematic for the colour.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I've been playing a lot of magic spellslingers recently (If you've played Hearthstone, it's like that but with a MtG cover) and one of the things that I'd like to see is land being tapped into. I don't mean that you have 3 forests and 2 plains and you need to wait to draw them, but things like in this game could be cool. For instance, a red land is active volcano which later in the game has a chance to spit fire; the green deep-forest arena has a chance of granting +2/+2 and ward (can't be targeted by spells and effects until the start of next turn).

Translating this into a DnD game might be as simple as granting additional cantrips/spells known or perhaps something like the various feats in DnD that let you use a spell once/long rest. The active volcano might grant you the fire bolt cantrip and the spell scorching ray while the deep forest arena might allow you to cast the summon beast spell 1/day as if with a spell slot equal to half your level +1. I probably wouldn't want to go more complicated than this, but it could be a cool addition.
 

Wyldekarde

Villager
As someone who loves both very much, I've actually been taking time to make a conversion of MtG to DnD 5E. The idea was really not to change everything but to figure out how to integrate things into the game that would capture the essence of what MtG is. With Forgotten Realms becoming an official MtG plane is even more exciting now.

One thing I discovered is it definitely is a painful and extremely long process. I've actually created a wiki on this but I'll share that soon when it's more or less finished. I've taken a lot of the information provided by the Planes books and the 2 books that came out and use that as a basis. Right now it's a work in progress. In the meantime, let me share what I have so far in summary.

1) Definition of Planes - in traditional D&D, planes refer to different planes of existence but essentially within the same universe / campaign setting (Astral Plane, abyss, etc). Each universe has their own versions of those planes of existence. In fact, even within MtG, this is the case which was shown in Theros that there is the prime material plane and there is the underworld. Spellcasters within these universes can travel with the right spell within their own universe but do not have the power to travel beyond. This is even so for their gods. So Planeswalkers are essentially Universe/Campaign setting travelers. This Is the ability that truly sets them apart from every other person. I've had this confusion when i was running my campaign with regards how the players perceived it.

2) Planeswalkers - the way WoTC did their short description of Planeswalkers, is that it is an ability that simply allows them do the "Planes" walking through the Blind Eternities. In my game, i kept this but made them as some sort of template that any character could get. According to MtG lore, Planeswalkers were almost among the best and most powerful mages. This power did not come alone from being equivalent to high-level spellcasters but more that they were greater than the average spellcaster of that universe. With this in mind, some sort of magical bonus should be given to them. How powerful would depend personally on you as a DM. People have to remember though that the original Planeswalkers were akin to gods and the current incarnations of Planeswalkers are much weaker than they originally were. For me, I would provide them with a little bonus to their available spells slots (or points) and spell DC. Also, i agree that Summoning becomes available to all Planeswalkers as it is core to their power. As to what they summon is something ill discuss further below.

3) Spellcasting - when playing an MtG setting, using the Optional Spell Points would be more appropriate to the system. Spell Points are essentially mana and have a numeric value that corresponds to it somehow. At the very least, it simulates the idea of your mana pool (Spell point pool). The only problem though is in reality when running a game using spell points, it becomes more difficult for the player to do and manage. However, it does work. it does capture the "feel" of mana more.
  • Also, for the sake of simplicity, i converted 1 mana = 1 spell level. It somehow worked and made sense when put into play, at least in our experience. What becomes apparent though that not all spells are equal. Some are more powerful than others. This is why spells converted from MtG would need to be given a rarity rating (common, uncommon, rare and mythic rare). Why is this, so that the DM can control what spells characters can possess as well as a basic why they can't get "Channel" easily. Common spells all characters can get as initial choices. Anything beyond common spells, a DM will have to let their players earn them.
  • In terms of damage, 1 damage in MtG = 2d6 damage (or 2d8 depending on how powerful you want things to be). This somehow corresponds to the Challenge Rating system of DnD.
  • A manapool is the same as Spellpoints in 5e though there are differences. The biggest difference is that the player has to decide what colors are the mana in his pool. (ex. if you have 50 Manapool, you can allocate 25 of those to be Green and the other 10 as Blue and 10 as Red and 5 as colorless)
  • Each spell has a casting cost in terms of mana which includes a trigger color. When you use the mana, you use it up until it is replenished.
  • The spells you can cast are limited to the spells that you choose as your color.
  • When gaining your spellcaster class, you get to choose the colors you will have access to. Sometimes your class will limit what colors are available to your class.
  • This cannot be changed on the fly though technically you change your color choices every time you level up. (Think of this as changing decks)
  • The colors have spell-type affinities which means some colors are more prone to certain effects more than others. There are situations when 2 different colors can do the same effect though in a different way.
  • You can only cast spells your character knows. (These are the cards in your library effectively)
  • The limit on the number of concentration spells maintained is not limited to 1. However, this rule might break the balance in 5E because this is one of the limitations established. This rule is optional then. Realistically, a player normally has 1-2 enchantments active anyway so maybe increasing it by 1 wont break the bank (hopefully) You can say that the spell is sustained by mana in the land. This assumes of course the specific mana is available where you are.

4) Mana Colors equals Color Alignment - Everything the game must be given its color affinity. Be they be people, creatures, items, planes, land, locations, etc. Color is a fundamental organizing principle of the Multiverse, closely linked with everything from physical geography to human personality. The following are just some of the correlations between color and other aspects of existence:
  • Lands: Different types of terrain generate mana of different colors. For example, mountains produce red mana,while plains produce white mana.
  • Philosophical Principles: Each color is associated with a set of ideals, values, and principles. White is connected with protection and order, and green with life and nature.
  • Magical Effects: Different colors of mana are used to power different kinds of spells. Spells of fire, lightning, and speed draw on red mana, while spells of water, ice, and the mind use blue mana.
  • Races and Creatures: Humans are exceptional, in that they don’t have a particular aptitude or affinity for one color of mana. For other races, and even for nonsentient creatures, the connection is much stronger. Elves, for example, are typically green-aligned. They use nature magic, and they value things like balance, stability, and interdependence. Hydras are also green aligned, though they don’t use magic directly and they don’t have values— even as they can be seen to embody those values. So if you wanted to summon a hydra, you’d use a green spell to do it.
  • Metaphysical Essence: Sometimes magic or even powerful emotions can change the basic nature of people or creatures in a way that alters their color alignment. A vile curse might change someone from green aligned to black aligned (or both green and black aligned). A terrible loss that spurs someone to vengeance might add red to the person’s color alignment—temporarily or even permanently.•
  • Personality Traits: Different colors of mana are associated with different qualities of personality. It might be that a person who is emotionally driven, creative, and energetic is naturally drawn to the use of red mana; or perhaps using red mana brings out those qualities in a person. Most likely, the effect runs both ways. A character’s or creature’s “color alignment” is a sort of shorthand that sketches out its personality, alignment, and power suite—the kinds of effects that it creates with its magic or through its behavior
WotC actually came up with detailed information about this though you have to put them together to make sense of it more. Maybe I can post what I've compiled in another thread if anybody is interested.

Lastly, the planes (and specific locations) have available mana based on their colors. There are some planes where specific mana is very little or even non-existent. No mana to draw upon, then no mana. Another concept that can be integrated is drawing upon the land to replenish your mana. This is the equivalent of doing short rests or long rest depending on how fast you want your game to move.

5) Planewalker Summoning - this si the process where the spellcaster calls forth or "summons' a creature to do their bidding. Normal mages get to cast normal summons spells as 5E summon spells but Planeswalker summon spells are different. To differentiate let's call them Planar Summon Spells. So the question is what happens when one summons a creature. You do not actually summon the creature itself, but your spell summons a simulacrum of sorts of the creature idea you have in mind and is not the actual creature. In the lore of MtG, this concept was actually discussed by Lim-Dul to Jodah in such a faux entity based on the concept of that creature is pulled from the Aether. These summoned creatures have no will of their own and vanish when no longer needed. You can work out a duration of sorts that works for you as a DM. This concept was actually explained in the book The Eternal Ice. Again, this concept was further strengthened when Kiora went around different planes to find the biggest and meanest sea creatures she could find so she could summon them. In essence, she was getting an "idea" of what these creatures are so she can summon them when she needs them. There is a cost to use the summons though which draws from the mana pool as well. The DM and player would need to determine what creatures the player can summon. In a way this is similar to the Druid's ability to wild shape wherein they can only wild shape into creatures they know or have a clear idea of. For the sake of simplicity, you can use the creature's mana cost to summon as the amount of points needed to summon its equivalent in the spell. (Ex. Shivan Dragon would be equivalent in cost to casting a 6th level spell in spell point cost.)


Anyway, this reply is pretty long now. There's still a lot more though I'll probably make a separate thread for it so you guys can parse through it and i"ll get your feedback and suggestions for it soon. I'll probably get on that after I finish my current Kickstarter.
 
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cbwjm

Hero
I've been playing a lot of magic spellslingers recently (If you've played Hearthstone, it's like that but with a MtG cover) and one of the things that I'd like to see is land being tapped into. I don't mean that you have 3 forests and 2 plains and you need to wait to draw them, but things like in this game could be cool. For instance, a red land is active volcano which later in the game has a chance to spit fire; the green deep-forest arena has a chance of granting +2/+2 and ward (can't be targeted by spells and effects until the start of next turn).

Translating this into a DnD game might be as simple as granting additional cantrips/spells known or perhaps something like the various feats in DnD that let you use a spell once/long rest. The active volcano might grant you the fire bolt cantrip and the spell scorching ray while the deep forest arena might allow you to cast the summon beast spell 1/day as if with a spell slot equal to half your level +1. I probably wouldn't want to go more complicated than this, but it could be a cool addition.
I've been thinking about this a bit more, mainly in how do you balance tapping into a land and I figured that we already have attunement which could be used for this by having attuning to a land take up one of your attunement slots. If you're a planeswalker, however, you can tap into additional lands above and beyond what non-planeswalkers can tap into (planeswalking might be as simple as a supernatural gift).

I was halfway tempted to adapt the birthright system and have more powerful lands provide a bonus spell slot that can be used for a spell of a specific colour but that gets a little needlessly complicated, you'd probably want to be playing Birthright the Gathering if you were going to use that system. So I think I'd have basic lands allow the caster to cast spells of a related colour as if with a higher level spell slot (though this doesn't translate perfectly since many spells don't have a higher level effect) while unique lands have focused the energy to grant some specific bonuses such as increased damage with red spells or buffed beast summons with green spells as well as some once/day innate spells like I've already mentioned in my previous post.
 

Aelryinth

Explorer
As someone who loves both very much, I've actually been taking time to make a conversion of MtG to DnD 5E. The idea was really not to change everything but to figure out how to integrate things into the game that would capture the essence of what MtG is. With Forgotten Realms becoming an official MtG plane is even more exciting now.

One thing I discovered is it definitely is a painful and extremely long process. I've actually created a wiki on this but I'll share that soon when it's more or less finished. I've taken a lot of the information provided by the Planes books and the 2 books that came out and use that as a basis. Right now it's a work in progress. In the meantime, let me share what I have so far in summary.

1) Definition of Planes - in traditional D&D, planes refer to different planes of existence but essentially within the same universe / campaign setting (Astral Plane, abyss, etc). Each universe has their own versions of those planes of existence. In fact, even within MtG, this is the case which was shown in Theros that there is the prime material plane and there is the underworld. Spellcasters within these universes can travel with the right spell within their own universe but do not have the power to travel beyond. This is even so for their gods. So Planeswalkers are essentially Universe/Campaign setting travelers. This Is the ability that truly sets them apart from every other person. I've had this confusion when i was running my campaign with regards how the players perceived it.

2) Planeswalkers - the way WoTC did their short description of Planeswalkers, is that it is an ability that simply allows them do the "Planes" walking through the Blind Eternities. In my game, i kept this but made them as some sort of template that any character could get. According to MtG lore, Planeswalkers were almost among the best and most powerful mages. This power did not come alone from being equivalent to high-level spellcasters but more that they were greater than the average spellcaster of that universe. With this in mind, some sort of magical bonus should be given to them. How powerful would depend personally on you as a DM. People have to remember though that the original Planeswalkers were akin to gods and the current incarnations of Planeswalkers are much weaker than they originally were. For me, I would provide them with a little bonus to their available spells slots (or points) and spell DC. Also, i agree that Summoning becomes available to all Planeswalkers as it is core to their power. As to what they summon is something ill discuss further below.

3) Spellcasting - when playing an MtG setting, using the Optional Spell Points would be more appropriate to the system. Spell Points are essentially mana and have a numeric value that corresponds to it somehow. At the very least, it simulates the idea of your mana pool (Spell point pool). The only problem though is in reality when running a game using spell points, it becomes more difficult for the player to do and manage. However, it does work. it does capture the "feel" of mana more.
  • Also, for the sake of simplicity, i converted 1 mana = 1 spell level. It somehow worked and made sense when put into play, at least in our experience. What becomes apparent though that not all spells are equal. Some are more powerful than others. This is why spells converted from MtG would need to be given a rarity rating (common, uncommon, rare and mythic rare). Why is this, so that the DM can control what spells characters can possess as well as a basic why they can't get "Channel" easily. Common spells all characters can get as initial choices. Anything beyond common spells, a DM will have to let their players earn them.
  • In terms of damage, 1 damage in MtG = 2d6 damage (or 2d8 depending on how powerful you want things to be). This somehow corresponds to the Challenge Rating system of DnD.
  • A manapool is the same as Spellpoints in 5e though there are differences. The biggest difference is that the player has to decide what colors are the mana in his pool. (ex. if you have 50 Manapool, you can allocate 25 of those to be Green and the other 10 as Blue and 10 as Red and 5 as colorless)
  • Each spell has a casting cost in terms of mana which includes a trigger color. When you use the mana, you use it up until it is replenished.
  • The spells you can cast are limited to the spells that you choose as your color.
  • When gaining your spellcaster class, you get to choose the colors you will have access to. Sometimes your class will limit what colors are available to your class.
  • This cannot be changed on the fly though technically you change your color choices every time you level up. (Think of this as changing decks)
  • The colors have spell-type affinities which means some colors are more prone to certain effects more than others. There are situations when 2 different colors can do the same effect though in a different way.
  • You can only cast spells your character knows. (These are the cards in your library effectively)
  • The limit on the number of concentration spells maintained is not limited to 1. However, this rule might break the balance in 5E because this is one of the limitations established. This rule is optional then. Realistically, a player normally has 1-2 enchantments active anyway so maybe increasing it by 1 wont break the bank (hopefully) You can say that the spell is sustained by mana in the land. This assumes of course the specific mana is available where you are.

4) Mana Colors equals Color Alignment - Everything the game must be given its color affinity. Be they be people, creatures, items, planes, land, locations, etc. Color is a fundamental organizing principle of the Multiverse, closely linked with everything from physical geography to human personality. The following are just some of the correlations between color and other aspects of existence:
  • Lands: Different types of terrain generate mana of different colors. For example, mountains produce red mana,while plains produce white mana.
  • Philosophical Principles: Each color is associated with a set of ideals, values, and principles. White is connected with protection and order, and green with life and nature.
  • Magical Effects: Different colors of mana are used to power different kinds of spells. Spells of fire, lightning, and speed draw on red mana, while spells of water, ice, and the mind use blue mana.
  • Races and Creatures: Humans are exceptional, in that they don’t have a particular aptitude or affinity for one color of mana. For other races, and even for nonsentient creatures, the connection is much stronger. Elves, for example, are typically green-aligned. They use nature magic, and they value things like balance, stability, and interdependence. Hydras are also green aligned, though they don’t use magic directly and they don’t have values— even as they can be seen to embody those values. So if you wanted to summon a hydra, you’d use a green spell to do it.
  • Metaphysical Essence: Sometimes magic or even powerful emotions can change the basic nature of people or creatures in a way that alters their color alignment. A vile curse might change someone from green aligned to black aligned (or both green and black aligned). A terrible loss that spurs someone to vengeance might add red to the person’s color alignment—temporarily or even permanently.•
  • Personality Traits: Different colors of mana are associated with different qualities of personality. It might be that a person who is emotionally driven, creative, and energetic is naturally drawn to the use of red mana; or perhaps using red mana brings out those qualities in a person. Most likely, the effect runs both ways. A character’s or creature’s “color alignment” is a sort of shorthand that sketches out its personality, alignment, and power suite—the kinds of effects that it creates with its magic or through its behavior
WotC actually came up with detailed information about this though you have to put them together to make sense of it more. Maybe I can post what I've compiled in another thread if anybody is interested.

Lastly, the planes (and specific locations) have available mana based on their colors. There are some planes where specific mana is very little or even non-existent. No mana to draw upon, then no mana. Another concept that can be integrated is drawing upon the land to replenish your mana. This is the equivalent of doing short rests or long rest depending on how fast you want your game to move.

5) Planewalker Summoning - this si the process where the spellcaster calls forth or "summons' a creature to do their bidding. Normal mages get to cast normal summons spells as 5E summon spells but Planeswalker summon spells are different. To differentiate let's call them Planar Summon Spells. So the question is what happens when one summons a creature. You do not actually summon the creature itself, but your spell summons a simulacrum of sorts of the creature idea you have in mind and is not the actual creature. In the lore of MtG, this concept was actually discussed by Lim-Dul to Jodah in such a faux entity based on the concept of that creature is pulled from the Aether. These summoned creatures have no will of their own and vanish when no longer needed. You can work out a duration of sorts that works for you as a DM. This concept was actually explained in the book The Eternal Ice. Again, this concept was further strengthened when Kiora went around different planes to find the biggest and meanest sea creatures she could find so she could summon them. In essence, she was getting an "idea" of what these creatures are so she can summon them when she needs them. There is a cost to use the summons though which draws from the mana pool as well. The DM and player would need to determine what creatures the player can summon. In a way this is similar to the Druid's ability to wild shape wherein they can only wild shape into creatures they know or have a clear idea of. For the sake of simplicity, you can use the creature's mana cost to summon as the amount of points needed to summon its equivalent in the spell. (Ex. Shivan Dragon would be equivalent in cost to casting a 6th level spell in spell point cost.)


Anyway, this reply is pretty long now. There's still a lot more though I'll probably make a separate thread for it so you guys can parse through it and i"ll get your feedback and suggestions for it soon. I'll probably get on that after I finish my current Kickstarter.
Excellent and thoughtful article.
I will note that a different spell point system is the psionic system, which has been replicated by WoTC in several editions for points. In that one, 1st level = 1 point, every additional level is 2 points. It seems to represent the scaling idea of magic better. You might even wish to go three points, and have uncommon, rare, and very rare spells be 'higher level' within a certain level, i.e. a Spark might cost 1, but a Lightning bolt might cost 2, but both are first level spells.

Note that power/toughness actually maps to about 3 HD per avg Toughness, and Power is just a measure of offensive capability. Thus a 5/5 Shivan Dragon is a 15 HD creature with great offensive power, while a 2/4 Icatian Legion is tough, but doesn't have a lot of offensive power compared to a dragon.

Also, humans are the dominant White based race, just saying. The fact they are found in other Elements doesn't change the fact that they are the major White Race, too. Angels run a very distant second.

That MoTG translates decently to D&D should be no surprise, as the original characters were based on the creator's D&D campaign! I would also say those heroes are the 'ancient' and thus powerful and experienced Planeswalkers, while the modern ones are younger and thus weaker.

Good contribution, overall. I think putting a power gradient in each spell level might satisfy your 'spell rarity' idea, and giving more mana out to pump up the 'X damage' effects is not bad if spells cost more base anyways.

I'd also have to suggest time limits on enchantments, or players WILL abuse them. Tons of buffs is a quick road to victory, akin to starting a game with artifacts and enchantments out, and your opponent having none.
 

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