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Masks of Theros (DMs Guild) – An Interview with Steffie de Vaan

What would improve Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering’s newest crossover, Mythic Odysseys of Theros? How about known RPG creators rolling out an adventure for the setting via the DMsGuild. To support Wizards of the Coast’s newest campaign setting, Steffie de Vaan, Cat Evans, and crew are rolling out Masks of Theros, and Steffie offered to talk about the project and why this world spoke to them.
MasksofTheros adventure 2 lines.png
EGG EMBRY (EGG): Thank you for reaching out about this project. Last time we talked, you mentioned, “Cat Evans and I are working on a Theros product for the DMs Guild, which is a lot of fun.” Before we dive into Masks of Theros, let’s do some setup, what is Mythic Odysseys of Theros?
STEFFIE DE VAAN (SDV)
: Theros is a Magic the Gathering setting consisting of several expansions. I think Theros Beyond Death is the most recent, and probably the most famous. MtG partnered with Dungeons & Dragons a while back for Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica, and now they’re doing the same for Theros.

EGG: Tell us about your project, Masks of Theros?
SCV
: Masks of Theros is an adventure path across five chapters and eleven character levels. The idea is that DMs can pick it up and play through for an epic campaign, or pick and choose chapters (we’ve written them so they work as standalone) to use in an existing campaign. Without giving away spoilers, it’s a story about betrayal, fate, death and flirting with sexy villains (that last bit is optional).

EGG: In terms of content, how many pages will this DMs Guild project be? What will this book add mechanically and story wise?
SCV
: We’re looking at about 75 pages, so a good size book. The story takes the characters across five different locations in Theros, and sees them—if all goes well—hailed as heroes of Meletis. We’re considering a sequel to cover levels 11-20 if it sells well, so if you’re reading this—please help us to do that by picking up a copy! You get a free Mask of Theros with each purchase (digitally—the book has stats for the Masks which are two legendary artifacts, one of them broken in five pieces so groups can share them).

EGG: Why produce a book to support the second Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition crossover?
SCV
: Theros is very Greco-Roman themed, and Cat and I both love that. Also, MtG is just fantastic—I would love to work on it someday, whether for D&D or card blurbs. So we started talking about doing a Theros adventure for the Guild and one of us finally said “let’s gather a team.” We approached three other writers and our first picks all signed up. Then Liz Gist agreed to do the art, which was another amazing addition.

EGG: You and your team are RPG rockstars! Can you share who is working on this as well as some highlights of what else y’all have worked on?
SCV
: The developers on this project are Cat Evans (Final Girl, Gothic Earth Adventure Bundle) and myself (We Die Here, Haven AE). The writers are Oliver Clegg (Weekend at Strahd’s), Beatriz T Dias (The Felicity Triskelion), Christian Eichhorn (Blackwater Redux), Cat Evans, and Steffie de Vaan. Original art by Liz Gist. I’ll drop all their links at the end of our interview, and definitely recommend people give them a follow on Twitter (me too!) for more fantastic projects.

EGG: Who on the team is a Magic: The Gathering fan? What part of this MtG setting are you most excited to see incorporated into D&D?
SCV
: I think we all are! We each chose a color to go with our chapter, and wrote chapters keeping the color’s themes in mind. The Masks of Theros are two masks, one of which has split into five pieces. We based those on the MtG colors too, and even incorporated our favorite cards as D&D powers. I think MtG fans will find a lot of nods and Easter eggs in there.

EGG: Are you concerned that Masks of Theros will cover some of the same ground as Mythic Odyesseys of Theros?
SCV
: Not at all. We took a good look at what other 5E setting books, specifically Ravnica, offer and we’re confident it won’t come with a pre-written epic campaign. The only thing that might happen is that the official book provides statistics for creatures we’re using, which we intend to fix by switching them out with. We have a couple of those, already marked with “CHECK MOoT BEFORE RELEASE.”

EGG: This is not your first time adapting another media property to D&D 5e. Last time we spoke, it was in regards to Onyx Path Publishing’s forthcoming adaptation of Legendlore for 5e. OPP canceled the crowdfunding for that campaign at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, but they plan to bring it back. Any updates on that property that you can share?
SCV
: Actually yes! We’re relaunching after the Mage: Technocracy Reloaded Kickstarter!

EGG: Excellent news! Beyond those projects, what else are you working on?
SCV
: I’m working on Anima for Trinity Continuum, Dark Places & Demogorgons 2E, Brindlewood Bay, and several fiction and comic projects. Tales of Pride launches in June. Cat and I already conceived our next DM’s Guild project too: a bundle of lesbian summer adventures.

EGG: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. For fans of your work, can you share where they can learn more about you?
SCV
: Cat Evans on the DMsGuild and Twitter. Steffie de Vaan’s blog and Twitter. Oliver Clegg on the DMsGuild and Twitter. Beatriz T Dias on the DMsGuild and Twitter. Christian Eichhorn on the DMsGuild and Twitter. Liz Gist at Google Drive and Twitter.

Masks of Theros

In ages long past, when mortals prayed the gods to life, Erebos the Shadow had two lovers. Ainoe was the goddess of the doom that awaits all empires, the end of magic, and the grind of time. Elpis was the god of repose at the end of gruelling journeys, the spark from which magic blooms, and wayward souls coming home. When Ainoe and Elpis fell in the war against the Titans, grieving Erebos created masks shaped in their visages to memorialise them. Now the warlady Calisto has the Ainoe Mask, and seeks the shattered pieces of the Elpis Mask. With the power of two gods’ death masks, she will conquer Theros – unless a group of heroes prove mighty enough to oppose her. Masks of Theros is an adventure path that will take characters from 1st to 11th level, and across the plane of Theros from the polis of Meletis to the Underworld, via minotaur wargames, a drowned city on the back of a kraken, and the machinations of the god of time.

Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG and Amazon.
 
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Comments

dave2008

Legend
I just checked out the Legend Lore kickstarter and the characters Dominic Wagner, Alex Stonewell, & Marjorie Duncan look very familiar to me (in the dark cobwebs of my memory). Is this based on a comic or something?
 


Egg Embry

Adventurer
I just checked out the Legend Lore kickstarter and the characters Dominic Wagner, Alex Stonewell, & Marjorie Duncan look very familiar to me (in the dark cobwebs of my memory). Is this based on a comic or something?
dave2008,

You are correct, it's based on:

"The Realm, and later Legendlore, is a comic initially published by Arrow Comics and later by Calibre Comics. They’re about a group of four friends who open an enchanted chest and find themselves teleported into the Realm, a fantasy world full of elves, dwarves, and at least one evil dragon in disguise. They go on adventures, some of them travel back to Earth, some don’t, and I think at least one dies." - Steffie De Vaan from our interview on High Level Games where there are more details. :)
 

dave2008

Legend
dave2008,

You are correct, it's based on:

"The Realm, and later Legendlore, is a comic initially published by Arrow Comics and later by Calibre Comics. They’re about a group of four friends who open an enchanted chest and find themselves teleported into the Realm, a fantasy world full of elves, dwarves, and at least one evil dragon in disguise. They go on adventures, some of them travel back to Earth, some don’t, and I think at least one dies." - Steffie De Vaan from our interview on High Level Games where there are more details. :)
Thanks! I think I remember it from "The Realm" and Arrow comics days. I had a friend (and member of my original D&D group) who was into comics and had some of those. I remember enjoying them quite a bit.
 



Reynard

Legend
Mythic Odysseys of Theros is available on DnD Beyond, Roll20 and FG now. So there could be a market for digital adventures.
Yeah I checked FG immediately after I wrote that and it is available. I won't buy if for FG until I have a chance to read it -- and FG is a great platform to play on but a TERRIBLE platform for reading -- but it makes sense.
 

Sometimes I would WotC add the concept of time sphere/uchrony/parallel worlds in the D&D multiverse and then lots of fans could publish in DM Guild its own mash-up of the D&D worlds, for example a story about a secret cult of defilers from Dark Sun trying to invade Jakandor and the Hollow World (Mystara). And some good explanation about D&D worlds based in famous franchises by other companies, for example Huryle (legend of Zelda) or Final Fantasy.
 







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