D&D General Magic: the Gathering planeswalkers as D&D characters

The main characters of most Magic stories are planeswalkers, and they often have distinctive magical abilities. For example:

Nahiri the Lithomancer
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She can shape stone with amazing precision, and a common trick of hers is instantaneously extracting ore from rocks to craft swords that are still molten hot. She can also rip entire castles apart when she has time to prepare.

Ashiok Nightmare Weaver
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They can reach into the dreams and fears that dwell inside of others, summoning beings born of people's darkest fears and call them into reality. They once cursed an entire city with nightmares such that the collective horror gave birth to a god named Cacophony.

Kaya Ghost Hunter
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Kaya can phase through solid objects like a ghost, and can conjure spectral weapons that are able to decisively wound incorporeal creatures. She once assassinated an immortal ghost king.

Sarkhan the Unbroken
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He came from a plane where all dragons had been driven to extinction, pledged himself to a dragon planeswalker who drove him insane, then traveled back in time to alter the history so five great dragon tyrants survived. He can transform himself wholly or partially into a dragon, and has great affinity for summoning and commanding the beasts.

All these characters have, like, two main shticks, and they're really good at them, whereas any sort of D&D spellcaster is able to do dozens of different things by high level.

I'm intrigued by that dynamic, and I'm curious how much people would like the game if at high level, magic-users had to choose between being powerful and having broad skills. I almost want to see a version of the game where, like, magic is more like super powers, and you get a couple, and learn new tricks with them, but you don't typically get whole new power sets in superhero stories.

I like highly-themed spellcasters. What do you think about this style? Would you want a game where high level mages worked this way?
 

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Shiroiken

Legend
I have little interest in running a D&D game based on Planeswalkers, but back in the 90s some friends and I made a Magic RPG using a collection of cards. You were a novice Planeswalk, with a handful of spells. You had access to a number of lands and a library of spells you'd randomly draw. If you were lucky enough to find an artifact, it stayed in play until destroyed. Each morning you untapped your lands and drew a number of cards based on the total lands you could access. When you had less than your maximum hand size, you'd draw 1 card per hour. You were not allowed to discard for no reason, so people were selective of their spells. Because everyone wanted more mana, the party had to agree on who got each one they found. It was a fun idea, but I don't know if I'd want to do it these days (not to mention the cost of getting the cards for the GM).
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I quite like how they have their specialities, I quite like these two, Will and Rowan Kenrith. Twins who are both planeswalkers, each with a speciality of their own. I think the last time I read about them, they'd left their native world of Eldraine and were studying at Strixhaven.
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Something else I like about planeswalkers, is that they also come with awesome artwork which can be great to show your players when they encounter them.
 

Clint_L

Hero
I like MtG - it helped pay my way through grad school, even - but for some reason I don't like it mixed with my D&D. I don't really understand why I have this aversion. It makes no sense. That said, Planeswalkers would be cool NPCs. I don't like them for PCs, though, as they are too godlike for my taste - I like adventures where the protagonists are fairly unremarkable.
 

they actually did character sheets for a bunch of Planeswalkers, mostly just the Gatewatch however.

Nahari I'd make Divine Soul Sorcerer, lots of raw power and Divine Soul gives her access to Blade Barrier, fluff fireball as a blast of molten metal, she can cast Mighty Fortress still. Maybe a 1 level dip in fighter to give her some ability to fight with a sword.

Calix a cleric with the new Fate Domain. Not sure how to express his talent with enchantments.
 
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bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
I think I would go with all be 17th level Warlocks, some with dips in other classes.

The Warlock having narrow, powerful magic seems to fit them. Several would need Patrons and all would be a new Pact, Pact of the Gate
 

Vael

Legend
Planeswalkers are closer to superheroes than DnD characters, given they have a more limited, thematic power set than a traditional DnD spellcaster. Sorcerer, is, of course, the class of choice, but not necessarily the best fit.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
I never tried to meld MtG with D&D, but I did start working on a MtG style campaign setting for Fantasy HERO. I had worked out some of the stuff I cnsidered trickiest, but stopped when I realized nobody in my game group at the time had any interest in HERO.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I never tried to meld MtG with D&D, but I did start working on a MtG style campaign setting for Fantasy HERO. I had worked out some of the stuff I cnsidered trickiest, but stopped when I realized nobody in my game group at the time had any interest in HERO.
When I was thinking about a MtG game, I realised that emulating the current planeswalkers would be easier in savage worlds or mutants and masterminds than DnD. In the past I have added MtG stuff to a DnD campaign, my players went up against a necromancer's thrull experiments.

I also sometimes think in terms of the MtG colour wheel when creating a setting, thinking of plains, mountains, forests, etc, and the races/creatures that typically can be found there.
 

Planeswalkers are closer to superheroes than DnD characters, given they have a more limited, thematic power set than a traditional DnD spellcaster. Sorcerer, is, of course, the class of choice, but not necessarily the best fit.

They do and they don't they are supposed to be mages with a host of powers, but it's just that rarely ends up in the fiction, occasionally it does, but often not.
 

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