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D&D 5E Full Announcement of Mythical Odesseys of Theros in Dragon+ Issue 30


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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Except that most of them were not thematically appropriate. You see Theros as an MtG setting, but D&D will look at this setting Primarily as a Greek inspired D&D setting with Lionfolk, which means Red Mana Barbarians mean nothing in this context. Its does this fit Theros Greek inspired Themes or not?

It is Magic Setting, first and foremost: again, the Red Mana magical Barbarian Minotaurs with preposterous axes are from Theros. James Wyatt, the Magic Setting guru who is writing the book, will definitely have Magic IP high in his mind, alongside the Greek inspired angle
 


dave2008

Legend
Here is the article in Dragon+:
"
Mythic Odysseys of Theros
Books.jpg

Don’t be surprised to see esteemed travel writer Volothamp Geddarm wrangling a backpack and sporting a “Theros or bust!” T-shirt. Having already walked the realm of Ravnica, he joins other Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition enthusiasts in prepping a trip to its newest location. Following in the footsteps of Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica, Mythic Odysseys of Theros takes players to a setting made famous by Magic: The Gathering.

Theros is inspired by Greek mythology and is a place shaped by deities, where legends walk the lands. From the temples of omen-speaking oracles to the five realms of the Underworld, the champions of the gods vie for immortal favor and a place among the world’s living myths. Having worked as part of the Dungeons & Dragons Team for fourteen years before moving to the Magic: The Gathering Team a couple of years ago, James Wyatt was the perfect choice to head up Theros’ inclusion in fifth edition. Yet his experience turning real-life myths into fantasy material appropriate for gaming tables began long before that.

“When I worked on the third edition Deities & Demigods book twenty years ago, I really embraced the challenge of shaping these historical pantheons to the fantasy world—by making the Greek goddess Tyche a halfling, for example. This is a great lesson in how to take historical mythology and translate it through that lens into a fantasy setting,” Wyatt explains.

“The process of world building for D&D and Magic: The Gathering is both similar and different. The Magic creative team builds an extensive guide for each world to give artists and writers enough detail to work with. Creating a D&D sourcebook for that same world means taking that and giving it a little more depth. In many ways, creating a world in Magic is like building an elaborate movie set where it’s important to be able to look at a card and feel like there’s a rich world behind it. Whereas in D&D, you need maps!”

Hellothere1234_.jpg
(Select to view)HISTORICAL INVESTIGATIONS
In order to accurately recreate the geography of Theros, Wyatt employed skills that would be recognized by historians all over the world. He spent a considerable amount of time researching the novella that was released alongside a previous set of Theros-based Magic cards to get a true feel for the setting.

“That was probably the biggest challenge, pulling together all the geographical information I could find in order to create a coherent map that would not be easily contradicted by the fiction. It’s difficult when there’s no satellite image of the landscape to look at. Because people in diaries and fiction don’t necessarily say, ‘We walked 350 miles northwest.’ Instead they’ll say, ‘Two weeks later, we arrived here.’ You then have to make certain estimates about travel time and terrain. It’s likely an army moves slower than individuals hurrying on horseback.”

Although much of the hard work of turning Greek myths into fantasy gameplay had already been carried out, Wyatt returned to the original stories to properly capture them from a D&D perspective. He wanted to depict Greek society as it would have been in those days and even the religious festivals he invented took their lead from the real world.

“I researched a number of things to flesh out the description of the city states. For example, I read a lot about historical government structures in Athens,” Wyatt tells Dragon+. “I also researched the ancient Greek calendar, which was a lot of fun because it’s lunar. The calendar has twelve months most years but adds a thirteenth month to bring everything into alignment with the sun. They also named all of the months after holidays so we found ourselves inventing holidays as we went along. Most fantasy writers have a tendency to tie holidays to the sun, but if a sun god’s festival is held on the summer solstice that might appear in different months in different years.”

One of the new subclasses that will feature in the book (following feedback on Unearthed Arcana) is the College of Eloquence Bard, which also takes its lead from Greek society. “The College of Eloquence Bard is our way of trying to include the philosopher ideal,” he says, revealing that the Oath of Heroism Paladin from the same UA release will also be featured, alongside the Forge and Grave cleric domains so that the deities Purphoros, Erebos, and Athreos offer good, playable options.

Hellothere8765_.jpg
(Select to view)DIVINE SMITE
Anyone who has played Magic: The Gathering using Theros card sets will have experienced the devotion mechanic, where gods become powerful creatures once you have enough of their colors in play. Wyatt and his team wanted to recreate that feel in Mythic Odysseys of Theros.

“In Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica we took the system of renown from the Dungeon Master’s Guide and blew it up into a huge thing. Our Theros sourcebook does the same thing with the piety system from the DMG as a nice echo of the devotion mechanic in the Theros card sets,” he says. “That includes all sorts of rewards and restrictions for characters who choose to devote themselves to a god and track their piety.”

The gods also make themselves felt with new magic items. These include artifacts and weapons of the gods as seen on cards in the first Magic: The Gathering Theros block. The deities also play further roles in character creation, affecting a character from the moment of their birth. This includes bestowing supernatural gifts upon them, as well as supplying portentous omens that may tie into their fate.

“Everyone gets this extra leg up that is a gift of the gods, which is separate from the usual character background. It may be a magical thing about your nature, such as you have the mind of a sphinx and your thoughts can’t be read. Or you might be an oracle, which is an opportunity for your Dungeon Master to give you plenty of adventure hooks. It’s a straight power-up but not a huge power-up,” Wyatt reveals.

“I also might enjoy making tables a little bit too much! The book includes a table of omens with 100 entries on it. You can either roll a d100 to generate an omen at random or you can choose a god and roll either a d6 or d8 to get an omen specifically associated with them. We encourage players to roll on the table to generate an omen that was present at their birth.”

YOU’RE BARD
A new region also provides new races for a player to choose from. Theros’ world will be thick with minotaurs and centaurs (from Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica) and merfolk (using the tritons from Volo’s Guide to Monsters), alongside the satyr and leonin.

“The leonin is a different, stronger cat person, not just a tabaxi!” Wyatt says excitedly, “and the satyr is also brand new. Satyrs are pretty much as you would expect. They’re party animals with good Dexterity and Charisma, they have a headbutt attack, they’re fast, they’re fey, they resist magic and they have musical instrument proficiency and persuasion. I hope we’re going to see a lot of satyr bards.”

Wyatt’s team has also mined the Theros card sets to find interesting creatures that belong in this setting. With many of the creatures in the D&D Monster Manual already owing their roots to Greek myth, that’s a fairly long list. In some cases, it meant providing different lore about a D&D creature based on its roots in the new setting, in other cases it only took minor gameplay tweaks to distinguish the way a creature (such as a hydra) works in Theros. And then there were the “mythic” threats….

“The idea behind the mythic threats is the boss fight in a computer game. This kind of monster is going to be the centerpiece of a combat encounter that goes on for longer than a couple rounds. Their abilities will be even beyond what a legendary creature does,” Wyatt says.

“One of them is Arasta of the Endless Web, which is a horrible spider monster from the latest Theros MTG set. After you’ve been fighting her for a while, all of the little baby spiders that are clinging to her abdomen come off and start fighting you as well. You have to deal with them before you can finish the job so it’s like two encounters in one.”

ARTISTIC VISIONS
Similar to the Ravnica sourcebook, Mythic Odysseys of Theros also includes a short sample scenario in its chapter on starting an adventure. DMs looking to craft a wider campaign then have “zillions of tables” to help them generate their story ideas. This being D&D, there are also plenty of maps, including some that are linked with each god to serve up adventure sites no matter which deities the party focuses on.

“I love the work that Dyson Logos does in making these maps that you can just drop in and populate however you want. For me, that’s the hardest part of coming up with an adventure so having a stockpile of maps is awesome,” Wyatt shares. “For example, there’s a temple of Athreos in two parts, split by the river that flows between the mortal world and the underworld. I’ve already used that in my home campaign in a completely different setting, as my characters boarded a ship to be ferried across the Astral Sea to the other side of the temple. It was amazing.”

That same adjective could be used when describing the rich source of art Wyatt’s team had access to. Drawing from four sets of Magic: The Gathering cards based in Theros gave them more than 1,200 potential pieces of art to choose from.

“It’s such a gift to be able to work on something with such a huge pool of high-quality art as a starting point. This amazingly detailed art is only usually seen small on a card so getting to see it blown up or as a full-page illustration in a book is incredible,” he says, revealing that the sourcebook will also include new art.

“We are creating a cover and an alternative cover, and both of those pieces of art feature a hero fighting a hydra. Each chapter within the book will also open with a new illustration.”

Will you clash with the gods of Theros in this campaign sourcebook for the world’s great roleplaying game? Will destiny and the schemes of immortals lead you to glory or the grave? And what tales will you leave behind, celebrated in the pantheon of myths, possibly written by a man wearing a “Theros or bust!” T-shirt?

"
 


JeffB

Legend
Honestly I'm surprised the Grognard legions aren't flipping out over Theros being the next Setting, instead of a Traditional D&D setting.

Most of us were playing games where Zeus , Apollo, Athena, Poseidon, etc were already in our games- We were the generation of dorks who waited impatiently for Jason & the Argonauts to make it's semi-yearly appearance on pre-cable TV. (we had 4 stations- one local, Local ABC/NBC/CBS affiliates and no VCR until the early 1980s)

So as a Grognard I'm HAPPY to see them actually doing something that is Mythical Greece inspired, instead of another same ol vanilla D&D brand fantasy.
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
If they are going to introduce official psychic rules in a setting book, I think it will be Dark Sun, so I am pretty sure any UA subclass that are even vaguely psychic (like the Astral Monk) are still safe. I thought the rule/guideline was that any UA that didn't get published within a year was gone; if so, anything from the 4th quarter of 2019 is still "in play."

....
 

JeffB

Legend
I liked the callback to the 3E Deities & Demigods book be did.

I had no use for the monster stats but IMO, the 3E D&DG book was judged unfairly- the original G,DG & H, as well as D&DG 1E had stats for Gods too. That always seemed to be the biggest complaint- A MM for Gods. 🤷 Wyatt did a great job on that book. I enjoyed his 4E and early input on 5E. I know little about and do not follow M:TG at all, but I'm sure his work has had a significant impact on the success of that game as well.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I had no use for the monster stats but IMO, the 3E D&DG book was judged unfairly- the original G,DG & H, as well as D&DG 1E had stats for Gods too. That always seemed to be the biggest complaint- A MM for Gods. 🤷 Wyatt did a great job on that book. I enjoyed his 4E and early input on 5E. I know little about and do not follow M:TG at all, but I'm sure his work has had a significant impact on the success of that game as well.

It ended up being a sort of seed for homebrew Settings: you could take Wyatt's version of the Egyptian Pantheon and their envious, andd really make a D&D campaign out of it.

His Magic Setting Art books have been fantastic. Worth flipping through.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
If they are going to introduce official psychic rules in a setting book, I think it will be Dark Sun, so I am pretty sure any UA subclass that are even vaguely psychic (like the Astral Monk) are still safe. I thought the rule/guideline was that any UA that didn't get published within a year was gone; if so, anything from the 4th quarter of 2019 is still "in play."

....

We'll see, but I'm not holding my breath for any of that batch that doesn't make it into this book.
 

JeffB

Legend
It ended up being a sort of seed for homebrew Settings: you could take Wyatt's version of the Egyptian Pantheon and their envious, andd really make a D&D campaign out of it.

His Magic Setting Art books have been fantastic. Worth flipping through.

I'll have to check the MTG books out, thanks for the FYI.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Reasonable conclusions. They tested a block of thematically appropriate Subclasses in a big series, and then put out a book.
No, they tested a block of very, very, disparately themed options, ranging from psionic to fey to generally extraplanar to classical, and have continued to do so well after inclusion in the book had to have mostly been finalised.

They were almost certainly testing for multiple products.
 

gyor

Legend
It occurs to that only might Nymphs and Nyxborn be Supernatural Gifts, but so could being one of the Returned.

And its interesting that it not only explores the material world, but that there are 5 Realms in the Underworld that get explored as well.
 

gyor

Legend
HistoryEdit
Thousands of years ago, the gods waged war against the titans, their predecessors. Victorious, the gods sealed the titans in the Underworld. If they would ever be freed, they would inflict unspeakable horrors on Theros.

LocationsEdit
  • Agonas, in whose arenas honorless fighters are doomed to fight forever.[7]
  • Phylias, a tedious place for ordinary or indifferent souls whose lives were uninspired.[8]
    • The glassy oceans of Nerono.[9]
    • The Mire of Punishment: where those caught attempting to escape the Underworld spend the rest of their existence.[10]
  • Ilysia, a protected realm as tranquil and vibrant as the rest of the Underworld is bleak.[11] Those who die as heroes are permitted to dwell here.
  • The Labyrinth of Memories is a maze of waterways in the Underworld that traps travelers by sending them in circles for eternity. Sirens torment lost souls by whispering true directions -- words that fade immediately from the listener's mind.
  • The bleak realm of Tizerus, outside the palace of Erebos, where all hope crumbles to dust.[12]
 


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Hmm, I wasn't interested in this book before. I'm on the fence. Should I invest in this setting? I do like the new races. And the Legendary creatures/God-like creatures.

Give me 2 more settings, and I'll run a setting hopper adventure for my players...
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
The Piety system could be used to represent how classes like the Cleric and Paladin could lose their powers ala older editions.

Meh, I'm not terribly interested in taking away cool abilities. I'd be much happier if it allowed for characters who pushed forward their deities agenda to get special abilities.

The fighter who honors Ares getting to call upon his piety to achieve something awesome, that is a system I'm interested in, not something that ends up saying "do this or lose your abilities"
 

Meh, I'm not terribly interested in taking away cool abilities. I'd be much happier if it allowed for characters who pushed forward their deities agenda to get special abilities.

The fighter who honors Ares getting to call upon his piety to achieve something awesome, that is a system I'm interested in, not something that ends up saying "do this or lose your abilities"
Agreed, but for those who WANTS to reincorporate the idea if they wanted, there ya go.
 

slobster

Hero
Hmm, I wasn't interested in this book before. I'm on the fence. Should I invest in this setting? I do like the new races. And the Legendary creatures/God-like creatures.

Give me 2 more settings, and I'll run a setting hopper adventure for my players...
One advantage of the setting is that it looks to be drawing on a lot of sources of inspiration that will be familiar and exciting even to players who know nothing about Theros and have no interest in Magic. Throw an ancient Greece-inspired city state at them with names changed and toga colors swapped, and you'll probably be able to use a lot of the material in many other settings, published or homebrew, without anyone being the wiser.

As to the mechanics, we'll see what they are like as release approaches! Putting devotion rules for deities or legendary "boss" monsters does seem like a pretty promising thing you could include in lots of campaigns as well.
 

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