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D&D 5E Does the Rabiah Scale matter (for conversion probability from Magic plane to D&D setting)?

Mercurius

Legend
A few years ago, Magic: the Gathering designer Mark Rosewater created the Rabiah Scale, which ranks Magic planes by likelihood to receive future sets of cards, from 1 (very likely) to 10 (very unlikely). With recent talk about Magic planes as settings, and whether or not WotC will increase the publication of Magic settings to one a year, I thought I'd revisit the question of the Rabiah Scale, and whether or not it has any bearing on which planes they choose to convert to D&D.

The latest rankings are:

1: Dominaria, Innistrad, Ravnica (2018)
2: Zendikar
3: Theros (2020)
4: Kaldheim
5: Alara, Amonkhet, Eldraine, Ikoria, New Phyrexia, Tarkir
6: Ixalan, Kaladesh, Regatha, Vryn
7: Fiora, Kamigawa, Kylem, Lorwyn-Shadowmoor, Shandalar
8: Muraganda, Segovia
9: Gobakhan, Mercadia, Phyrexia, Rath, Serra's Realm, Ulgrotha
10: Balblovia, Portal Three Kingdoms, Rabiah, Tolvada

Those in italics have received a Plane Shift article, while those in bold have already been published as settings.

Now obviously this is all speculative, but one would think that the Rabiah Scale has some bearing on the likelihood of conversion, if only because it implies future attention from WotC, and thus more exposure. And of course the two published so far are two of the five highest ranked, which implies that the Rabiah Scale means something.

My guess is that the next setting or two will be chosen from the 1-5 ratings, and that we can pretty much cross out any of the 8-10s. I know some have claimed that coverage as a Plane Shift makes it less likely, but I'm not so sure.

Meaning:
1-5: Strongest candidates - Dominaria, Innistrad, Zendikar, Kaldheim, Alara, Amonkhet, Eldraine, Ikoria, New Phyrexia, Tarkir.
6-7: Unlikely, but possible - Ixalan, Kaladesh, Regatha, Vryn, Fiora, Kamigawa, Kylem, Lorwyn-Shadowmoor, Shandalar.
8-10: Very unlikely - Muraganda, Segovia, Gobakhan, Mercadia, Phyrexia, Rath, Serra's Realm, Ulgrotha, Balblovia, Portal Three Kingdoms, Rabiah, Tolvada.

Within those categories, I suppose you could make little adjustments based upon other factors - whether it explores new territory, whether something similar has already been published (e.g. Innistrad and Ravenloft), how hard it would be to convert to the D&D rule set, etc.

In that first category, you could categorize them in a few groups:
Strongly influenced by real-world analogues: Kaldheim, Amonkhet, Eldraine, Tarkir
Unique/gonzo/quite different from D&D: Zendikar, Alara, Ikoria, New Phyrexia
Similar to already-existing D&D settings: Dominaria (because it is the most "vanilla"), Innistrad (Ravenloft)

The other groups can be similarly assigned (e.g. Ixalan, Kaladesh, and Kamigawa in the analogue group).

I'm not sure if this brings anything new to the table, but maybe it analyzes the planes in a way that at least we think in terms of those planes that are more or less likely to receive conversion.

Thoughts?
 

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Orius

Hero
I think it's only moderately important if at all.

Anything that gets converted from MtG to D&D is likely to be done on the basis of popularity I think. This scale looks ahead, while a conversion is going to look back a bit and cover stuff that's been done. Popularity might be factor in future MtG blocks too, but I think they don't want to revisit planes too often either. With D&D, it's more about doing it for the first time.
 

Like @Orius stated, popularity is the true test. Sometimes players like sets because of the combinations it allowed them to play. Not necessarily the setting. In general, it is often about what set has the strongest and most sought after cards that determines popularity.

But... there is the flip side.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
A few years ago, Magic: the Gathering designer Mark Rosewater created the Rabiah Scale, which ranks Magic planes by likelihood to receive future sets of cards, from 1 (very likely) to 10 (very unlikely). With recent talk about Magic planes as settings, and whether or not WotC will increase the publication of Magic settings to one a year, I thought I'd revisit the question of the Rabiah Scale, and whether or not it has any bearing on which planes they choose to convert to D&D.

The latest rankings are:

1: Dominaria, Innistrad, Ravnica (2018)
2: Zendikar
3: Theros (2020)
4: Kaldheim
5: Alara, Amonkhet, Eldraine, Ikoria, New Phyrexia, Tarkir
6: Ixalan, Kaladesh, Regatha, Vryn
7: Fiora, Kamigawa, Kylem, Lorwyn-Shadowmoor, Shandalar
8: Muraganda, Segovia
9: Gobakhan, Mercadia, Phyrexia, Rath, Serra's Realm, Ulgrotha
10: Balblovia, Portal Three Kingdoms, Rabiah, Tolvada

Those in italics have received a Plane Shift article, while those in bold have already been published as settings.

Now obviously this is all speculative, but one would think that the Rabiah Scale has some bearing on the likelihood of conversion, if only because it implies future attention from WotC, and thus more exposure. And of course the two published so far are two of the five highest ranked, which implies that the Rabiah Scale means something.

My guess is that the next setting or two will be chosen from the 1-5 ratings, and that we can pretty much cross out any of the 8-10s. I know some have claimed that coverage as a Plane Shift makes it less likely, but I'm not so sure.

Meaning:
1-5: Strongest candidates - Dominaria, Innistrad, Zendikar, Kaldheim, Alara, Amonkhet, Eldraine, Ikoria, New Phyrexia, Tarkir.
6-7: Unlikely, but possible - Ixalan, Kaladesh, Regatha, Vryn, Fiora, Kamigawa, Kylem, Lorwyn-Shadowmoor, Shandalar.
8-10: Very unlikely - Muraganda, Segovia, Gobakhan, Mercadia, Phyrexia, Rath, Serra's Realm, Ulgrotha, Balblovia, Portal Three Kingdoms, Rabiah, Tolvada.

Within those categories, I suppose you could make little adjustments based upon other factors - whether it explores new territory, whether something similar has already been published (e.g. Innistrad and Ravenloft), how hard it would be to convert to the D&D rule set, etc.

In that first category, you could categorize them in a few groups:
Strongly influenced by real-world analogues: Kaldheim, Amonkhet, Eldraine, Tarkir
Unique/gonzo/quite different from D&D: Zendikar, Alara, Ikoria, New Phyrexia
Similar to already-existing D&D settings: Dominaria (because it is the most "vanilla"), Innistrad (Ravenloft)

The other groups can be similarly assigned (e.g. Ixalan, Kaladesh, and Kamigawa in the analogue group).

I'm not sure if this brings anything new to the table, but maybe it analyzes the planes in a way that at least we think in terms of those planes that are more or less likely to receive conversion.

Thoughts?
I'd say the amount the Rabiah Scale matters is tied to whether any D&D coverage of a Magic Setting has to tie in to a card game product: so far, all Planeshift articles (booklets, really) and Setting books have coincided with a card Set release (though the Theros book was delayed by several months, so Theros was no longer the current Set in the card game when we got it, the design intention was to be out at the same time).

In terms of the Settings which got Planeshift documents but not full D&D books...the Planeshifts are still free to download on the DMs Guild, and WotC still has the Art of Magic the Gathering books they are companions also in print and being sold by WotC (those books are super cool, anybody who likes fantasy art and world building should check them out). Just as Ravnica and Theros didn't get Art of Magic the Gathering books, so too I think James Wyatt might be right that Dominaria or Innistrad already have everything they need to run 5E: the Art books were conceived and written as system neutral Campaign Setting books, and the Planeshifts give them 5E rules.

The Rabiah scale isn't quite absolute with regards to Magic Sets, though it reflects Rosewater's best judgement and he heads up the team that makes those decisions. For instance, Kamigawa is low on this totem pole, but the hip word is that WotC has applied for trademarks for something called "Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty" along with other hints at a magitech cyberpunk overhaul to the Setting.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The scale for creating new MTG card set and the one for creating not MTG are different.

The main aspects for the creating for the latter seem to be 1) Popularity and 2) New aspects not in current D&D.

Ravnica and Theros are popular and very different from what D&D offered at the time. Innistad is popular but one Ravenloft comes out, a book on it would be redundant.
 

Rikka66

Adventurer
The scale for creating new MTG card set and the one for creating not MTG are different.

The main aspects for the creating for the latter seem to be 1) Popularity and 2) New aspects not in current D&D.

Ravnica and Theros are popular and very different from what D&D offered at the time. Innistad is popular but one Ravenloft comes out, a book on it would be redundant.

Not to imply that two makes a pattern, but so far #1 seems to really be "cross-promotion with new card set coming out".
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
For anyone curious about the MTG rumor Rabbitfolk, which the current word somewhat overturns the idea of the Rabiah scale entirely:

Interesting leak... I'm a little doubtful how accurate it is, as it seems to be heavily weighted towards revisiting old planes, instead of the current pattern of alternating between entirely new ones, and revisiting old. The amount of revisiting planes here makes me feel this is more conjecture.

That said, the Kamigawa one is the most likely to be legit. Several domains were registered with Kamigawa in the name, and there was a public survey that even showed off some Japanese-themed concept art.


Anyway, a Kamigawa setting for D&D could actually be in the cards there. I still find the Rabiah scale useful, as it at least gives insight to Mark Rosewater's thought process, but he doesn't represent the entirety of MtG development.
 

A cyberpunk Kamigawa? That is a serious surprise, but also we are talking about civilitation what could create new "genecodes" or lineages. Also a it would allow a crossover with other franchises set in the modern age, for example transformers, but also the characters from Little Pet Shops as "holographic avatars" of AIs.

WotC knows what worlds are more popular with the cards have been sold, or resold for collectors.

My bet is for Innistrad because Ravenloft is going to be published soon, and maybe it is the best moment. Dominaria could offer a future event about a "multiverse crisis" allowing potential crossovers with other franchises, someone of them only little easter eggs.

I would like Ixalan but only if there are a group of no-vampire good guys wearing morrions. I don't like the idea of only coolest bad boys can wear morrions.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Interesting leak... I'm a little doubtful how accurate it is, as it seems to be heavily weighted towards revisiting old planes, instead of the current pattern of alternating between entirely new ones, and revisiting old. The amount of revisiting planes here makes me feel this is more conjecture.

That said, the Kamigawa one is the most likely to be legit. Several domains were registered with Kamigawa in the name, and there was a public survey that even showed off some Japanese-themed concept art.


Anyway, a Kamigawa setting for D&D could actually be in the cards there. I still find the Rabiah scale useful, as it at least gives insight to Mark Rosewater's thought process, but he doesn't represent the entirety of MtG development.
Yeah, I'm taking this with a huge grain of salt, though the new to old balance isn't so bad: 4.5 returning Settings, 3.5 new Settings (depends on how you look at Shandalar, which is complicated).

Given the presence of three longshot fan requests (Kamigawa, Shandalar, & Lorwyn), it's either super fake OR the Magic team decided to throw doen the gauntlet and choose Settings precisely because they were improbable.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Yeah, I'm taking this with a huge grain of salt, though the new to old balance isn't so bad: 4.5 returning Settings, 3.5 new Settings (depends on how you look at Shandalar, which is complicated).

Given the presence of three longshot fan requests (Kamigawa, Shandalar, & Lorwyn), it's either super fake OR the Magic team decided to throw doen the gauntlet and choose Settings precisely because they were improbable.

I guess I sort-of misread the leak... didn't realize Mwadwani, Ashelleu, and Hybyst are probably new planes. I'll say, those last two are just terrible names, those can't be anything more than placeholders even if they're real...
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Yeah, I'm taking this with a huge grain of salt, though the new to old balance isn't so bad: 4.5 returning Settings, 3.5 new Settings (depends on how you look at Shandalar, which is complicated).

Given the presence of three longshot fan requests (Kamigawa, Shandalar, & Lorwyn), it's either super fake OR the Magic team decided to throw doen the gauntlet and choose Settings precisely because they were improbable.

Let's take a look at how these returned planes line up with the Rabiah, assuming that the leak is actually true (just for fun);

  • Kamigawa: 7
  • Shandalar: 7
  • Dominaria: 1
  • Lorwyn: 6
  • New Phyrexia: 5
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Let's take a look at how these returned planes line up with the Rabiah, assuming that the leak is actually true (just for fun);

  • Kamigawa: 7
  • Shandalar: 7
  • Dominaria: 1
  • Lorwyn: 6
  • New Phyrexia: 5
Yeah, my gut says that it feels a little too wishlist like, though people seem to be taking at least parts of these rumors seriously (specifically Kamigawa, Shalandar, and Dominaria). I would have expected Amonkhet or Tarkir before most of this, though.

To be blunt, the new Planes having kind of bad names seems more like an argument that it's really a WotC product, if anything.
 

Anyway, a Kamigawa setting for D&D could actually be in the cards there. I still find the Rabiah scale useful, as it at least gives insight to Mark Rosewater's thought process, but he doesn't represent the entirety of MtG development.
I think the more successful D&D becomes the less chance there is of MtG settings, and the less influence the MtG team are likely to have. And D&D seems to be becoming very successful. So I'm not sure his opinions matter in the way they probably did in say, 2016.

I doubt we'll see D&D attempt any "ethnic" fantasy settings to put it crudely in first-party products. There's too much reputational risk because they will be under a blazing bright spotlight that stuff from 3PPs simply never will be. One misstep, and they could quite literally be more trouble than they're worth. Any Kamigawa setting would likely fall under that. Plus I'm not sure they inherently have any more draw than other settings.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I doubt we'll see D&D attempt any "ethnic" fantasy settings to put it crudely in first-party products. There's too much reputational risk because they will be under a blazing bright spotlight that stuff from 3PPs simply never will be. One misstep, and they could quite literally be more trouble than they're worth. Any Kamigawa setting would likely fall under that. Plus I'm not sure they inherently have any more draw than other settings.

A fair point, but I'll add they get plenty of criticism for not exploring non-Western fantasy as well, and I have heard WotC staff on Twitch mention how they want to rectify that in future products. I'm not saying you're wrong because the fear of screwing up could outweigh the hope of doing it right, but I don't know for sure on way or another.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
A fair point, but I'll add they get plenty of criticism for not exploring non-Western fantasy as well, and I have heard WotC staff on Twitch mention how they want to rectify that in future products. I'm not saying you're wrong because the fear of screwing up could outweigh the hope of doing it right, but I don't know for sure on way or another.
Yeah, could go either way. I'm skeptical but keeping it in mind.

If they are pursuing more diverse Magic Settings, that would work great for D&D crossovers, too.
 

A fair point, but I'll add they get plenty of criticism for not exploring non-Western fantasy as well, and I have heard WotC staff on Twitch mention how they want to rectify that in future products. I'm not saying you're wrong because the fear of screwing up could outweigh the hope of doing it right, but I don't know for sure on way or another.
Yeah there's definitely an element of cuts both ways. I think until they have some permanent or at least long-term-contract designers who aren't white guys though it's unlikely. Especially as they seem to keep kind of screwing up there. And diversity-wise they don't really need specifically non-Western fantasy so long as they keep putting diverse characters in the art etc. (which they'd done well with).

Also if they do my person guess is they won't go Asia because it's been explored a lot, including by D&D and would automatically make people extra-suspicious.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
So, to add a little bit of context to how much we should take the "Rabiah Scale" with a grain of salt regarding Magic plans, and hence D&D potentialities:

In episode # 828 of his "Drive to Work" Podcast (Coronavirus Edition, so from his den), Rosewater stipulated that he was answering "What's more likely" questions without taking into account anything he knew that the public does not, and just speculating based on that hypothetical. With that in mind, Rosewater back in July rated Kaldheim (which had some history in the lore before getting a full set this year) a 7 on the Rabiah scale ("It's unlikely to return, but possible if the right environment comes along"). Two months later, WotC announced the Kaldheim Set that Rosewater had worked on years prior and knew was coming down the pipeline. Ergo, the scale doesn't have a lot of predictive power, and may be part of misdirection by the illusionist's hand.
 

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