Wizards of the Coast, owner of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, have continued their recent crossover of the two properties in some exciting ways. Starting in 2018, Wizards announced and released their first crossover product: The Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica. This introduced characters, stories, and campaign settings from the MTG universe into DnD and opened the floodgates for more.
Early this year, Wizards released their second crossover product, Mythic Odysseys of Theros, bridging DnD and the MTG’s Greek/Roman inspired fantasy setting. However, there’s still more exciting news as Wizards announced on September 1st Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, the first DnD inspired Forgotten Realms MTG set – currently set to replace the core set for 2021!
A Match Made in Elysium
As an avid DnD fan and MTG player, I have never been this excited for a continued crossover of any property. Magic: The Gathering is perhaps the only game in which I have more time than Dungeons & Dragons and these crossovers marry the two in such a lovingly crafted way.
Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica adds access to not only new races, class features, and character creation tools, but also the whole of the Ravnica setting. The sprawling Ravnica cityscape is one of the coolest and most beloved settings from MTG and it was converted for Dungeons & Dragons flawlessly.
Similarly, Mythic Odysseys of Theros was a perfect tie in with DnD as Theros is all about great heroes fighting legendary monsters. Like most Greek and Roman inspired fantasy, there’s a lot of gods sending chosen individuals on epic quests. The book fills a big gap that DnD has had for a long time and fleshes out the more epic level backstory mechanics not found in other material.
Furthermore it asks players to find their own Achilles Heel by introducing more severe character flaws and weaknesses. This alone would make for a great supplement, but DnD gets so much more by pulling all the little details out of the Theros setting.
We’re so excited here at Master the Dungeon to see how Adventures in the Forgotten Realms turns out and hope the DnD to MTG conversion goes as well the MTG to DnD ones did before it.
But we’re not just excited about the crossover from a rules and content perspective. We’re also excited about the art.
MTG + DnD = Amazing Art Opportunities
One of the primary joys of Magic: The Gathering is the beautiful card art that is created for each of the hundreds of cards in a set. In the previous crossover work that was done bringing MTG sets into DnD, we got amazing art ported over into these books. If you haven’t at least spent a little time appreciating the beautiful work these artists have done, this is the opportunity to see that art brought to life between each page and in much larger dimensions than originally found on the cards.
What’s exciting about the crossover is that a Forgotten Realms set of Magic: The Gathering cards will necessitate a lot of new art. Ever wanted to see some of the words best fantasy artists tackle your favorite DnD creatures and characters? We’ll you’re gonna. The work that comes out of this is likely to be nothing short of gorgeous and I can’t wait to see what it looks like.
So How’d We Get Here?
While there’s a lot to be excited about with these crossovers, it’s important to look back at the long road it took to get to this point. Wizards of the Coast has owned MTG and DnD for a long time, but it wasn’t until recently that the two universes merged.
Originally owned by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc (or TSR), Dungeons & Dragons was acquired by Wizards of the Coast in 1997 along with the rest of the company. Wizards was well positioned to acquire new properties and try to build them into their core brand after the success of MTG and bolster their once small company. Once TSR was acquired, Wizards set to work tinkering with the system, initially releasing a 3rd edition, which was wildly popular.
So even though Wizards owned both properties at the time, in the late 90s they weren’t really ready to yet be merged together. MTG, while popular, was still getting its feet under it; in 1997 Wizards just re-acquired the rights to its novelizations. These stories and the future books that would be released in following years were building up the world outside of the cards. The game itself was dripping with lore and full thematic creatures. But until they were well established in a singular text, it was hard to port them into other works.
Beyond Magic’s catch up on the world building process, DnD was also going through a lot of changes. Third edition was a lot of fun, but it had some issues with broad accessibility. Rules were complicated and often involved some pretty heavy tracking of stats just to do basic combat. It wasn’t for everyone and restricted the game from being the powerhouse that it is today. It wasn’t until the release of 5th edition that both properties had matured enough to be fully considered for their crossover potential.
In 2016 the crossover was first tested with a supplement released online called Plane Shift: Zendikar. This testing ground took the concept of DnD and MTG and squashed them together with a multiverse explanation. This made perfect sense since in MTG players play as Planeswalkers, powerful entities that can both move throughout the many planes and summon creatures and magic to their aid.
This 38 page free supplement did little more than consolidate MTG lore and add creature information and stats for use with DnD, but it was the hint that something big was there. MTG and DnD just seemed to fit together and there apparently was no going back.
Excited for Future Collaborations
While there’s no guarantee that these two properties will remain tied together, they certainly are in a state of shaping each other at this point. So far, the mixing of these two behemoths of the fantasy gaming world has led to some amazing things. We’re certainly excited to see Adventures in the Forgotten Realms and any future collaborations after that.