In Dungeons & Dragons’ recently released book Mythic Odysseys of Theros players get to explore a world once reserved for players of Magic: The Gathering. With this crossover book the Greek mythology inspired world has become open for dungeon masters to explore with their players. While the book offers a lot to love, perhaps the best additions to DnD are those centered around player characters as legendary heroes.
What’s New in Theros for Player Characters?
Being a hero in the setting of Theros is not an abstracted concept that adventures aspire to. Instead, a hero is something you are born to, fated to, or gifted by the gods. Heroes are not simply adventures who do good anymore. This feels refreshing for Dungeons & Dragons, which typically sets up player characters as adventures only slightly above average at level 1.
Mythic Strength and Legendary Weakness
Players take on the role of chosen heroes who are fated for greatness with exceptionally amplified powers connected to the gods. Not only does this supplement heroes with amazing gifts and supernatural power, they also ask for fatal flaws and legendary weaknesses. This clearly echoes the storytelling of ancient Greece by asking your players to find their own Achilles Heel.
While I think they could have done more to flesh this out, the fact that they are proposing it in the first place is amazing. Any dungeon master would love to get their plot hooks on these weaknesses and really drive a compelling story along the tales their players make for themselves.
Races of Legend
Beyond the initial introduction of powers and weaknesses there is also a whole host of new race options for players to choose from. Not all of them are completely new; Centaurs have been around in various forms in other DnD supplements. But the book does a great job of tackling races appropriate for this particular setting. In total it adds five races: Centaurs, Leonins, Minotaurs, Satyrs, and Tritons.
All of these race options have their ups and downs, but what’s really fascinating is that they all seem to be designed to amplify certain play styles. Centaurs are for more cautious and studious characters. Leonins are for aggressive characters. Minotaurs are for serious and stalwart characters. Satyrs are your bards and silly characters. And Tritons are about exploration, strained diplomacy, and cloak and dagger tactics. While none of the races are confined to these roles, they do a great job of setting the stage for players who want to lean into any particular trait.
Serious Subclass Options
Mythic Odysseys of Theros adds some great new subclass options for Bards and Paladins. The Bard subclass, College of Eloquence, amplifies the bard’s abilities around speech and general oration (another echo of ancient Greece). The Paladin subclass, Oath of Glory, leans heavy into the ideas of a hero in service of a god.
While just the two subclasses left us wanting more, the ones that are we did get are both equally flavorful and useful. Additionally, it appears that Wizards of the Coast has leaned even harder into ease of play since both subclasses have straightforward rules that are easy to use in game.
Do you Even Lift?: The Athlete Background
Mythic Odysseys of Theros adds only a single background, but it is perhaps the most practical and straightforward of any of the backgrounds to date. The Athlete background is simply stating you really like working out and get the physical advantages of that as well as the glory and fame that comes with being professionally buff. It’s definitely not the most inspiring of backgrounds out there, but it fits the setting well and is a neat take on something very simple.
A Fantastic Find for Legendary Settings
The Dungeons & Dragons library adds another great addition with Mythic Odysseys of Theros. The book is at once incredibly unique and also incredibly familiar. It does a great job of bridging the gap between common adventurer and heroic legend while introducing the Theros setting from Magic: The Gathering. The player character options are great additions and the book is definitely worth picking up if you want more mythical heroics in your DnD games.