D&D 5E / Classes / Zendikar / MTG

5th Edition (And Beyond)

So I'm working on a minimalist attempt at homebrewing for a 5th Edition D&D campaign utilising Plane Shift: Zendikar. The only 3 elements I feel NEED homebrewing are mana, the color pie, and classes.

Long story short about the first 2: Spell slots should be replaced by arcane points and an arcane pool, as described in the DMG, in this case re-labeled mana points and mana pool. Mana points should be obtained via connecting with locations of certain terrain types as of yet unused by each given character. Mana points gained may be determined by rolling a d2 (I presume) and using a secondary color-focused set of ability scores (which each race has high + like +2 to its own designated color score, a low + like +1 to its ally scores, and low - like -1 to its enemy scores. Of course a method of increasing scores should be used) adding a modifier appropriate to both the color score and terrain type.

Anyway, on topic question. So I'm currentky trying to translate common MTG creature classes to 5E classes. So far, this is what I've come up with. Druids, Clerics, Rogue, Wizard, and Monk are the same as their 5E counterpart classes. Barbarian and Berseker both correspond to the Barbarian class. Knight is same as Paladin. I believe 5E still uses Assassin as a prestige-like class, so Assassin = Assassin, though sometimes Rogue can fill this role. Scout and Archer both qualify together as Ranger. Soldier sounds like it should be Fighter, but I'm unaware whether Warrior falls into the the category of Barbarian, Fighter, or Paladin. Artificer falls under Wizard thanks to supplmental material for 5E classes. Lastly, I'm unsure if Warlock can be adjusted to play the part of Shaman, or if Druid can be played as either a regular Druid or Shaman, at the player's choice. All of the Bards in Magic are classified as Rogues... so I'm not so sure what to do about that. According to the Art of Zendikar book, a particular tribe of warriors are able to go into what is called a "Dragonrage" (so Barbarian) but that is often brought on by "battlesingers", so I guess there could be a type of bard with some synergy with Barbarians' rage ability.

Please leave any suggestions or feedback, any is appreciated, thank you.

I don't know why you need to shoehorn dnd classes onto creature types. You should let classes be the package of abilities they are and allow players to flavor them according to what they are going for.

You misunderstand, I'm simply registering what class-like creature types players can emulate using available classes. The main problem at all is that some creature classes have flavorful *and* mechanical baggage. For example a scout is pretty much a ranger without the predictable proficiency with bows & arrows, but a Shaman is not the same thing as a Druid.

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Im not sure i entirely understand what you are trying to achieve with that, I'm afraid. Sorry.

The arcane pool for mana could be an interesting concept. Though again I wouldn't want to die down races with colors. Individuals are known to switch colors every now and then. Glissa from Mirrodin comes to mind.

I want most of the types of characters classes be appropriately imitatable via the D&D classes at hand, and if not, make some adjustments.

For starters, Glissa changed from Green, to Black AND Green. Essentially almost all characters retain a core color, except under unique circumstances. Also, I did foresee that being annoying to players, so I simply made it so characters get a second set of 5-6 ability scores that reflect how the character interacts with an individual color of mana or resulting magic. During character creation, yes, for Zendikar specifically for example: Elves would get +2 to their Green score, +1 to their White score, +1 to their Red score, -1 to their Blue score, and -1 to their Black score, if a 6th score was necessary, Elf would get no racial buffs to Colorless score. As for Humans, +1 to each score, or choose 1 to get +2 to and the +1s and -1s are adjusted... Unsure. I know for Innistrad vampires as PCs, either you'd choose +2 to Red +1 to Green +1 to Black -1 to White -1 to Blue OR +2 to Black +1 to Red +1 to Blue -1 to White -1 to Green... or perhaps +2 to Red, +2 to Black -2 to White.

Anyway, the primary purpose of the scores would be to provide modifiers to mana rolls, similar to when you roll for a hit point increase, whenever you connect with a terrain type, you roll what I would guess should be a d2 + your Red modifier if it's a Mountain, + your Green modifier if it's a Forest, etc. The only real way to really identify a character as a color is if you were inclined to compare their score modifiers or something, and those would raise as they leveled.

Grand Lodge

Werefoowolf wrote:
I believe 5E still uses Assassin as a prestige-like class, so Assassin = Assassin, though sometimes Rogue can fill this role.

Actually, Assassin is an archetype of the rogue that the rogue can select at 3rd level. :)

Okay, so Plane Shift: Innistrad indicates pretty well that you can just categorize certain MTG roles carefully via D&D class roles, but still, I'd like some input on how to do with Zendikar's "classes" what Plane Shift: Innistrad did with classes relevant to Innistrad, since I doubt Plane Shift: Zendikar will be expanded on.

Looking through the cards of the Zendikar set, I find that a number of those cards would make for great spells. From earlier, I have found that setting a level of 1 + 2 * (coloured-1) + colourless makes for a pretty good curve. This puts a RR1 spell at level 4, a WWW3 at level 8, and a B1 at 2. Some spells come with kicker or multikicker, just like many 5th edition spells. A good number of the spells could probably be simply replaced with D&D spells, like Cancel -> Dispel Magic, though you might want to keep the name. Another issue is that many of the cards more properly describe EVENTS, you know, Rumbling Aftershocks or Magma Rift. Still, that is no reason not to use them.

What is difficult, though, is the very effective removal spells. Destroy target green creature doesn't fit well with the D&D paradigm. My suggestion would be something akin to chaos hammer or the like, which does damage or forces a save, depending on level.

The schools should go, of course, to be replaced by the colours.

EDIT: I have also found, which I forgot to mention above, that global enchantments should get a +2 to their level due to affecting several targets.

Well I strongly desire to incorporate mana, lands, and the color pie in, but I also strongly need to leave as much alone as possible. Due to this, I feel like I should simply utilise the arcane points system but rename it mana points (in your mana pool) and use the same system, but with there being red mana points, blue mana points, etc. Perhaps add modifers to mana gain to each race. For example, if a player communed with a mountainous area, he would get 1 red mana point. If a Goblin communed with a mountainous area, a forest, and a coastal area, he would get 3 red mana points, 2 green mana points, and 1 blue mana point respectively. However, for balance, perhaps that is the only way to increase the size of your mana pool. The points would be restored at a long rest, but getting a higher number altogether would require more land communion (and not on previously used areas) or perhaps +1 red mana point, +0 green mana points, and -1 blue mana point at lvl 1 and that score could be increased in a manner similar to usual ability scores.

I want to see if I follow your system.

Your character gets mana points both based on the land they are currently able to connect to and on their color attributes, which determine how much extra mana you get from the associated land type?

Are these colored mana points in addition to the regular points in your pool or do they replace them? And if they replace them is it a 1:1 exchange?

You have that right. Though what do you mean about "replacing" them?

Well instead of "normal" mana points, you get mana points of a specific color?

That's what I'm going for, yes. A little wonky I'm sure, but perhaps maybe it would be a little more elegant as "mana you obtain from forests go into your green mana pool" and other circumstances might say "add 1 mana point to your green mana pool" (for things like items providing it, or a land that isn't simply defined, like red mana on Ravnica)

Actually, perhaps what I will do is use the arcane points system, but up level 0 spells to cost 1 arcane point, BUT if you have the right colored mana point and still have at least 1 in your mana pool, you can cast level 0 spells for free like before, and instead of 2 arcane points, you could spend 2 colored mana point to cast a level 1 spell, so on and so forth. Only thing I'm having difficulty on is how to give non-caster classes limited access to spells based on color and mana they're proficient with. Minimum I'd say like, a Barbarian could SOMEHOW learn a small number of level 0 "red spells" and cast them for 1 red mana point. If I somehow worked out how they could learn higher level spells, they could perhaps use the same system, but must use colored mana they drew from terrain.

Correction: You could spend ONE colored mana point to cast a 1st level soell instead of 2 arcane points. Probably simple enough to say 1 mana point = 2 arcane points.

We started a Planeswalker campaign last night for 5e and it was a lot of fun. Now at first glance that sounds like a crazy, overpowered campaign from the get go but it really wasn't. The homebrew Planeswalker class is quite clever and utilizes a different spellcasting system that is unique AND has a Magic: the Gathering feel.
That being said some of the elements that are in the Planeswalker class can still be applied to other classes in 5e.

First point is to figure out which classes don't need spellcasting so they don't need to be bothered with. The Barbarian, Fighter (Champion and Battle Master), Monk (Open Palm), and Rogue (thief) aren't spellcasters at all, so we wouldn't have to worry about Colors or spells for them to have access to. That leaves a good portion of the rest.

Colors: In the Planeswalker class, each Color has their own spell list and Cantrips. The trick is to figure out which class gets access to what color and spells. There's quite a bit of overlap between many of the spells, so some classes are going to lose a bit of identity when you look at what spells they'll have access to. The way I'd do it is:

Bard - White and Blue
Cleric - White, Black, or Red
Druid - Green or Black
Fighter (Eldritch Knight) - Blue or White
Monk (Shadow) - Black / (elemental) - Red or Blue
Paladin (vengeance) - Red / (devotion) - White / (ancient) - Green
Ranger - Green or White
Rogue (Assassin) - Black / (Arcane Trickster) - Blue
Sorcerer - Any one color
Warlock - Black or Red
Wizard - Any one color

Now the color only really determines your spell list and Cantrips if you have access to any.

Mana/Gathering: The Planeswalker class has a distinctive spell casting system that's both intriguing AND fun but there are significant limitations. First is the Planeswalker (or in this case, spellcasting's class) ability to Gather mana to them. Each turn, after the First Round, using a bonus action they can Gather 1 point of mana to them. This is cumulative per round and occurs for 1 minute. This mana can be stored OR be used to cast spells at a 1 mana = 1 spell level ratio. Meaning in turn 2 of Gathering you can cast a 1st level spell. Turn 3 you can cast a 2nd level spell OR a 1st level spell and etc. The balance point is that normally you won't be able to cast more than 1 spell a turn anyways barring unique class features. Additionally on each turn you're previous mana is replaced if you use it, sort of like "Tapping" and your "Untap" step. So in 3 rounds I'll have 3 mana to use however I see fit. When 1 minute is up, your spell pool is depleted and you have to take a short or long rest to cover the Gathering feature.

Spellcasting/Spells Prepared: Here's the fun part. At each level you have a specific die called a Spell Pool die. It starts off at a d6 and progressively gets larger the higher level you are. This means you can prepare a number of spells equal to the die (in this case, 6 at 1st level). You can prepared the same spell more than once or 6 different spells of your choosing. The benefit of preparing the same spell more than once is that it increases the odds you'll "draw it". IN other words, the spells prepared are gained randomly! Assign each spell a number from 1-6 and that remains the order until a short or extended rest.

On the first round of Gathering you roll a # of d6's equal to your spellcasting stat (Int for Blue; Cha for Red and Black; Wis for White and Green). For example my 3rd level Blue Wizard has prepared 1. Charm Person (1st) 2. Command (1st) 3. Ice Knife (1st) 4. Invisibility (2nd) 5. Blur (2nd) 6. Hold Person (2nd). Now I could've prepared multiple Blurs OR 6 Blurs but that would be kinda silly. Now on my initial turn I start to Gather. This opens up my mana pool with 0 points and I roll a number of d6's equal to my Intelligence modifier (say she has an Intelligence 17, so +3). I would then roll 3d6. I get a 2, 5, and 5. This means that for the turn I have Command, and two Blurs ready to go. On my next turn, I use another Bonus Action to gather mana (this time adding 1 point to my mana pool) and I can CAST Command; however the spell is lost to me until I roll another 2. Each turn after the 1st round I roll just 1d6 to "draw" a new spell.

So, to help illustrate how this works i'll do a quick example of a few turns using my Blue Planeswalker: Kaden Rath.

Kaden has an Intelligence of 17 and can cast up to 2nd level spells Blue spells. The Save DC and spell attacks are exactly the same as D&D. He knows 3 Cantrips from the Blue List (Mage Hand, Ray of Frost, Minor Illusion). Additionally, he's prepared the following List:
1. Charm Person
2. Command
3. Ice Knife
4. Invisibility
5. Blur
6. Hold Person

On my first turn of combat, I could begin gathering mana as a bonus action, at which point I roll my spell dice of 3d6. Remember it's 3d6 because I have an Intelligence modifier of 3. If the results are 3, 5, and 6, then when I have enough mana to pay for them, I will be able to cast Ice Knife (1 mana), Blur (2 mana), or Hold Person (2 mana). This numbers represent my Hand.

At the start of my next turn, I would roll another d6 and add the result to my Hand (let's say the result is another 3); I could then use a bonus action to Gather (meaning increase the capacity of my Mana pool to 1 and gain 1 mana (though I do not have to). I could then immediately use my action to expend that 1 mana and cast the spell Ice Knife.

On my next turn, I would roll another d6 to add to my Hand (let's say the result is a 4); If I then use a bonus action to add to my mana pool I could then cast Blur or Hold Person with the 2 mana I have OR cast Ice Knife and keep that mana in reserve for the following round or maybe a spell with an Immediate Action.

The draw back is that 1) you don't have the spells you want right away and at your finger tips. A 6th level spell takes a bit of time to obtain. But the bright side is that your spellcasting isn't really limited by spell levels or slots per day. You could cast many more high level spells in a single encounter than some Wizard could cast all day, but you have to make it 5 or 6 rounds to do it in.

I like the "drawing" spells concept, but I strongly want to simulate the one thing that's simultaneously a huge deal in MtG lore & hardly ever alluded to; communing with land (terrain types) to gather mana.

I'd also LIKE to actually reflect Color Identity stat based on Race, alignment, and MAYBE Class.


Human (+2 to 1 color of your choice or +1 to 2 colors of your choice)
Kor (+2 White)
Merfolk (+2 Blue)
Vampire (+2 Black)
Goblin (+2 Red)
Elf (+2 Green)

Lawful (+2 White +1 Blue)
Neutral (+2 Blue +1 Black)
Evil (+2 Black +1 Red)
Chaotic (+2 Red +1 Green)
Good (+2 Green +1 White)

Only issue I see with that is Blue and/or Black having teeechnically 3 avenues via alignment... while Black can get guaranteed by being a Neutral Evil Vampire OR a True Neutral Vampire, but my initial idea of having the Neutral between Lawful & Chaotic be one color combo and the Neutral between Good & Evil be a different color combo, that still causes imbalance) I still somehow want to allow for crossing colors, but also heavily discourage players from being non-White Kor, non-Blue Merfolk, non-Black Vampires, non-Red Goblins, or non-Green Elves...

Problem with making classes contribute to color identity is MOST classes have multiple color interpretations. Not to mention not sure what the point of getting numerical about it unless I can come up with a balanced method of giving said characters mechanical advantages towards mana gathering/spellcasting in their color(s).

As for non-casters, I figure it could come with a clause like "if you do not have the Mana Pool class feature" instead of "add 1 mana point to your red mana pool" from a mountain, it becomes "prepare one cantrip from the Red Spell List"

On TOP of that, on ZENDIKAR, I'd like maybe something similar to a cantrip-like spell similar to Permanency to be cast as a swift action to allow the player to spend 1 appropriately colored mana point to: A. Increase the duration of target spell by 10 min per level, B. deal 1dx more damage C. change 1dx to 2dx D. change 1dx to 1dy E. Increase the save DC by ___, etc. Essentially simulating Kicker.

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