Zendikar (MtG) as a 5e Setting


5th Edition (And Beyond)

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Plane Shift: Zendikar!

I'm pretty excited about this, as a fan of both MtG and 5e. Zendikar isn't my favorite plane, but it's nonetheless an exciting prospect. The document contains some player races shifted to match Zendikar (like elves) and some new races (vampires, merfolk, goblins, kor).

Dark Archive

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I'm quite excited as well. Although I plan to simply incorporate this in my home brew. I think that there's not enough information for a whole setting, but a nice island or peninsula (as in my case) can be added to almost any game world.

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Oh, and if you are excited about this, I feel I should highlight the survey link!

Completing the survey is probably the best way for us get more content like this.

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Intriguing! Can't check out the document just yet, but I loved the first Zendikar block in Magic, and fantasized about putting a D&D campaign there.

I'm especially curious to see what they do with the Kor.


forget about Zendikar, think of the possibilities! mirrodin, kamigawa, tarkir... NERDGAAAASM!!1

Dark Archive

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Or maybe going the other way and using D&D worlds in magic the gathering?

Sovereign Court

I would totally go in for some Mirrodin.

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I voted for Innistrad in the survey, but I'd love to see a lot of planes.

To review this content a little more in depth:

Kor: Cut close to halflings, they make ideal monks.

Merfolk: Wish the subraces provided more variation. None of them have a physical stat option. I do like how they can swim and breathe water, but they're not lacking for abilities on the shore.

Vampires: A little puzzled by the Int/Cha combination. Most of the race is Blood Thirst, so it's strong (if the nulls are obedient and you want to have a few), but I kind of wish they gave it a few more abilities and removed the nulls.

Goblins: I think Grit is super cool. Resistance to fire and psychic makes sense for goblins (the unarmored AC won't come up too often though). I think the subraces were meant to have a +1 stat bonus, but it was omitted.


I dunno... Zendikar was the one I feel would make for a brilliant D&D setting.

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I actually like the unarmored bit for Goblins. It's a neat option for potential spellcasters.

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It's the equivalent of leather. Either the caster has better, or can probably cast Mage Armor.

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Well, a goblin caster can't really wear armor without some funky multiclassing or heavy feat investment. Having the boost is decent for many default caster builds. I agree about mage armor, though, but suppose you are a warlock...

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The warlock has light armor prof, and gets leather armor in their starting kit. I'd almost like it more as +1 to AC while unarmored, but then it's basically the same thing except heavily rewarding barbarians/monks (and it's unlike 5e to push a race/class combo quite that hard)

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Huh... I guess I never noticed that. Then you may be right.


Good to see some more free 5e settings. ;)


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This is one of those things that's sort of been a "wishful thinking" on most players of both D&D and Magic: The Gathering. Though the problem usually entails attempting to emulate Mana and the different areas (swamps, mountains, islands, etc.) into the magic system of D&D and the two don't really mesh well in that regard.

But once you read some of the M:tG books it's really not that hard if you pretty much ignore the differences in magic systems. Most of the books don't really touch upon it, only in that the "casters" and characters of the books just feel and draw from their environments to cast their magic. If they're not close to their source, their magic is a bit more limited. Can this be used in a D&D/M:tG crossover? Sure. Does it have to be though? No, not really.

When Ravnica came out, I really wanted to use that as a D&D setting. The factions, the differences of races and their role in the society, and the possibilities were pretty awesome. I thought 4e's system lent it self to be better used with that setting as compared to 3.5 or Pathfinder. The 4e Power Sources, the plethora of classes and playable Races (Minotaurs, Shades / Shadar-Kai, Tree-like beings, and Vampires) are all integrated into the setting on some level. What I did was take each of the 10 guilds and split up the classes into those specific guilds along with a key-race that was emblematic of that guild. For example Minotuars are Red/White often enough with Ravnica, thus their race were of the Boros Guild. Vampires (the class) and Vyrloka (the race) were Black/Blue, making them apart of the Dimir Guild. Eladrin were Simic while Elves were Selesnya and so on.

It actually was a LOT of fun and I even used monsters and spells from M:tG as creatures, spells, and items in our 4e game. Good times!


I knew this was going to happen eventually. Wizards isn't going to leave money on the table.


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I'd love to see Ravnica, Lorwyn/Shadowmor and Innistrad get this treatment.


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I would love to see a MAP of the sodding place.

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Take the survey, vote for a plane!

A map? Of Zendikar? That said there are some fan made ones that come up in google search. Things just kind of change a lot.

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Found a fan made adventure set in Innistrad, which may also be of interest to some of us here.

I haven't played it, but the general comments hold it in positive regard.

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I'm loving the content. I really hope we get more, and a chance to see over planes.


That Innistrad adventure was amazing quality.


Good to see that free fanmade adventure. ;)


Am I the only one who feels that 5e currently doesn't have classes that are deep enough to match with the races? It feels like homebrewing everything but races and creatures is absolutely necessary. Even if I overlook the absence of mana and the color pie, there's still a lot missing. For example, Warlock doesn't really make sense with Zendikar, the only two Sorcerous Origins aren't quite enough imo, no general concept for how planeswalkers might be played (though I'm sure not entirely necessary for PCs right at the start, it would derail the enjoyment of a single campaign setting if the focus would be on being able to jump between campaign settings) Ob Nixilis is mentioned as a threatening opponent, but no concept for him as an enemy creature, no fleshing out of the Eldrazi Titans, no concept for Emeria, Ula, or Cosi as deities with domaiins and such (even as false gods, I imagine the very belief in them could yield divine magic, Emeria would be Light or Life + Tempest, Ula would be Tempest + Knowledge, and Cosi would be Knowledge + Trickery) among other things.

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I'm not sure if the survey linked is still active, but you could directly voice that you want those things (stats for named characters ex. Ob Nixilis and Ulamog), as well as say that you want a $40-$50 full length book, which would have a lot more space to tailor things to the setting.

As it stands, Warlocks could take a Great Old Ones pact with the Eldrazi titans. Demons exist normally, so that's fine for a pact too. Fey aren't prominent, but it could still work.


For a little bit of work I hoped to homebrew color and mana into the adventure: For classes that possess a feature that can be used X times per day until you take a long rest/commune with your familiar/pray to your deity, taking the same freetime-like action to connect to an appropriate terrain type while in/on/around it would replenish one use of it, or one spell slot. For example, a barbarian could spend a round or something in a mountainous area to regain 1 use of Rage per day, or a Wizard could do the same for a coastal area to regain one arcane spell slot, and a Cleric could do the same for a grassland (plains) to regain 1 divine spell slot. Though I don't know how to match it up with other colors (if Theros were to become a campaign setting, would a Cleric of Thassa regain one divine spell slot from coast?)

Or should the classes be given homebrew Alternate Class Options to better fit the Magic setting?


My suggestion would be to use the colours as alignment. You could of course divvy up the spell lists by colour, add in "protection from colour" spells, and so on, but I am not sure it is worth the effort.


has anyone tried that yet? I'm thinking to start a game with my son (who loves magic).


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Well, there are fifteen alignments/colours, if you only use one or two. I would set each race to have a basic colour (blue for merfolk etc), with some able to select one of two (surrakar can be black or blue), and humans able to select any single colour. Then if the person changes, or chooses a specific class, most of which come with a colour (red for barbarian or sorcerer, white/black/blue for cleric, green for druid etc), they can choose to add the second colour to their alignment (I called it association instead). As for what each association means, there was a series of articles on WotC's home page. Now, the single-colour articles have been updated and republished, while the others have to be found through the wayback machine, but it's not really a problem to do. The basic is that black wants power, blue wants perfection, green wants harmony, red wants freedom, and white wants peace. The rough translation to alignments would be black - evil, green - good, white - lawful and red - chaotic, with blue not strongly aligned, but it is explicitly stated that good and evil are not involved in the system. I suppose you could cast black as selfish and ambitious without being outright evil.

Looking through fifth edition, there is NOTHING that directly depends on alignment. The things that deal specifically with good and evil (protection from evil and good) instead trigger off creature types (undead, fey, celestial). This means you COULD run the game flat out as is without dealing with colours, but you could of course also change certain class abilities and spells to interact with colours.

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I think Magic has moved away from specific color hate (there's very little of it around in recent sets), so it's not too important to worry about it.

For alignment, I wouldn't try to translate colors to the current system, there's bound to be disagreements. I don't see Green as Good, it's Neutral for me.


According to the descriptions written up by Mark Rosewater, Green wants harmony. The status quo. Very, very slow evolution. Nature. Life. I don't see it as Good either, but the same description for White is exceedingly Lawful. Charting the alignments to colours, I would still say Good is closest to Green - even if Good and Evil are not parts of this pie chart, because Black certainly skirts very close or closer to Evil.

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Magic also has multicolor combinations that would be impossible if you wanted to convert colors to alignments (ex. Boros = Lawful Chaotic).

I'm not sure how I would actually want color to be mechanically involved in a MtG setting. I think I prefer it as something used for self-identification, but perhaps there's some clever application possible.

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If memory serves, I believe the colors of MtG were very intentionally supposed to not map to good or evil, with any color capable of producing heroes and villains.

White is about order and community. At its best, it protects its own and provides security and reliability to its populations. At its worst, it's an oppressive bureaucracy that stifles individual freedoms.

Blue is about knowledge, precision, and control. At its best, it provides the tools to understand the world and keeps the chaos of life from getting out of hand and hurting people. At its worst, it pursues dangerous secrets at high cost and manipulates others into serving its own interests.

Black is about ambition and personal advancement without the fetters of pointless taboos. At its best, it's getting the job done and taking care of business. At its worst, it's making dangerous deals and using paths that are taboo for a good reason.

Red is about impulse, free expression, and passion. At its best, it's swift and decisive and energetic. At its worst, it's reckless, short-sighted (often sacrificing long-term resources for more immediate gains) and destructive.

Green is about nature, harmony, and life. At its best, it nurtures and heals and provides bounty and strength where needed. At its worst, it's wild and dangerous, trampling whoever is weaker in the name of the natural order.

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Innistrad sets were very interestingly coded to have things that made sense in terms of monsters belonging to certain colors, but flew in the face of color based alignments. There was also that one set, the name of which escapes me, that directly mixed up color associations.

That having been said, if you DO go with a color/alignment paradigm, it would make AS MUCH sense as the alignment system already does, with minimal impact on the game, so I say go for it. Consider a druid that maps to different colors. He can be ultimately good, but the color choice would largely affect his (or her) point of view on what nature is or should be.

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Maybe look at Planescape's factions? There were 15 of them, and they weren't good or evil, but generally varied along the chaos/lawful axis.

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Planar Chaos had colorshifted cards (Like Wrath of God -> Damnation).


MTG Worlds as DnD Settings? Yes please!

What's missing for me unfortunately is an interaction between the dnd magic system and MtG's five colors.

It would be nice if casters got to choose a color as their main focus and got some sort of bonus for casting spells associated with that colors while having a penalty for spells of others or something. Just so you have a mechanical incentive to going with a color theme.


Petty Alchemy wrote:

Take the survey, vote for a plane!

A map? Of Zendikar? That said there are some fan made ones that come up in google search. Things just kind of change a lot.

Oh, I know, the Roil. The thing is, there are lots of places described, and these lie somewhere in relation to one another. The Roil, no matter its power, hardly changes a high level map. The continents remain where they are. But I agree, low level maps are unreliable and that's fine.


If I had to decribe single colors on the alignment grid, I'd say White is Lawful and leans Good or Good and leans Lawful, Blue is Neutral between Good & Evil but leans Lawful, Black is Evil (but can be more selfish than straight evil) and leans Chaotic, Red is Chaotic, and leans Good, and Green is Good and leans Chaotic. Something like that.

But if I were to do color, I'd figure out some system with alignment, race, and class, and just create "White Mage Spell List" (or for more flavor, "Alabaster Mage Spell List" that can be chosen depending on the aligned color.

So, big problem I'm facing is how the classes jive with the Zendikar PCs.... among a lot of others, my specific issue is I want a Half-Elf (either Druid or Wizard) who uses magic akin to the Totem Armor mechanic from the original Zendikar block. Any advice on how to do this using 5th Edition?


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Rather than map Alignments to colors I would just replace them.

Your Zendikar character's alignment is not Lawful Good or Chaotic Neutral, they're Red, or White/Green. You align yourself with the ideals associated with one or more of the various colors rather than adhere to the old literally two-dimensional axis sytem. I'd imagine such a system to be quite interesting.

Werefoowolf wrote:
So, big problem I'm facing is how the classes jive with the Zendikar PCs.... among a lot of others, my specific issue is I want a Half-Elf (either Druid or Wizard) who uses magic akin to the Totem Armor mechanic from the original Zendikar block. Any advice on how to do this using 5th Edition?

Sounds more like a case for Pathfinder, a synthesist summoner would have you covered. I cannot think of a way to pull this off in 5e, other than perhaps reflavoring Polymorph abilities (like a druid's wild shape, rather than turning into animal X the druid shrouds herself in a spirit-like representation of it; a circle of the moon druid would be able to do this from 2nd level with various large animals which would fit this flavor better than human-size or smaller ones)


Totem armors seem just like a re-fluffed wild shapes or polymorph spells for me...


Generally, the classes are just fine. It is surprising how good the matches are.

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It'd be neat to see backgrounds like "soldier" and "mercenary" have in game effects like the cards do.


I do agree with replacing L/C/N/G/E alignment with 1-2 color alignment. Can anyone put together a few pages detailing the colors' myriad of philosophies in a manner resembling 5e's core rulebook section on alignment?

And how would color alignment work on creatures, spells, etc?


Werefoowolf wrote:

I do agree with replacing L/C/N/G/E alignment with 1-2 color alignment. Can anyone put together a few pages detailing the colors' myriad of philosophies in a manner resembling 5e's core rulebook section on alignment?

And how would color alignment work on creatures, spells, etc?

I second the request to put the color philosophies on a single doc.

It wouldn't be so hard to sort the spells by colour and use a spell list per colour instead of spell list per class. I wonder if someone has done that already...

Otherwise its easy enough to pick spells according to your colour "alignment". Some classes are already build toward some colour already; blue for bard, green for druid, white for cleric etc.

I could imagine a system where spells have a "cost" in coloured mana (provided by alignment) and in colourless mana (provided by spells slots). Like some cards, some very colour-specific spells could have a requirement of 2 coloured manas, thus available to those or single colour alignment or with a specific combination.

Beyond unnecessary complication, the danger with that type of houserule is always to lose the essence of D&D by trying to emulate MtG to literally.


oh and screw it, I'm making my own colour spell list.

with which colour would you associate teleportation magic?


Laurefindel wrote:

oh and screw it, I'm making my own colour spell list.

with which colour would you associate teleportation magic?

Blue. They are the ones sending creatures away without banishing them. Also there is a blue teleport spell.


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I had some time on my hands so I compiled this rough guide to color alignments and which types of spells and creatures are associated with the various colors.

Google Doc Link

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