Category Archives: D&D Next

Free D&D 5e Campaign Settings for Magic Fans

For a while now Wizards of the Coast have been releasing free material for D&D 5th Edition based on the settings they created for Magic: The Gathering. In order to use these worlds you just need the free D&D Basic rules available from the official D&D site and perhaps a copy of the gorgeous “Art of …” artbooks containing artwork and background information on these settings.

Even back in the 90s when I first played Magic: The Gathering I thought it would be cool to be able to roleplay in the worlds hinted at on the cards. Sometimes an image or a quote summoned up whole worlds with strange artifacts, bold heroes and impressive magic.  And finally WotC has actually done just that and released free material for three of the Magic: The Gathering worlds: Innistrad, Zendikar, and Kaladesh.

Unfortunately finding anything on the WotC site is a chore, so I did the work for you and provide you with the direct links to the PDFs below, accompanied by a quote from the world descriptions.

  • Plane Shift: Innistrad
    image”On the plane of Innistrad, horrors stalk the shadows and scratch at doors in the night. Humanity is beset on all sides: vampires thirst for human blood, werewolves live for the thrill of the hunt, the restless spirits of the dead haunt the living, and no corpse is safe from reanimation at the hands of cruel necromancers or cunning scientists. Only their grim determination—and their staunch faith in the protection of their patron archangel, Avacyn—has allowed humans to survive in this nightmarish realm.
    The people of Innistrad are surrounded by monsters. Almost without exception, anything that is not human, whether it’s a rat or an angel, is a potential enemy. Even the traditional allies of humanity—from angels and gryffs to herons and hounds—are unreliable at best, as the madness that grips the angels seems to seep into every living thing. And at the same time, humanity’s age-old enemies grow ever more dangerous.”
  • Plane Shift: Zendikar
    image”Zendikar is a dangerous world of lethal risks and priceless rewards. From the perspective of its inhabitants, it is a hostile place that seems to be actively trying to kill any creature that has the audacity to live there. The danger is unrelenting. Precarious terrain, cunning predators, and natural disasters on a massive scale all present a constant challenge to survival— as do the unpredictable ripples of change that wash through the plane, known to its people as the Roil. Even the mana that suffuses the land is wild and hard to tame. It feels almost alive to those who wield it, and sometimes causes the land to manifest magical effects much like spells. Zendikar is a plane of deadly peril, but the denizens of that plane grow up strong and resilient, prepared for the dangers of the only world they know.”
  • Plane Shift: Kaladesh
    image”Kaladesh is a living work of art—a vibrant, beautiful plane where anything is possible. Optimism, innovation, and the spirit of creativity fuel an intoxicating renaissance of invention and artifice across Kaladesh. Its inhabitants frequently assert that “anything can be built,” and brilliant inventors seem to prove that saying every day. Clockwork automatons walk the streets, acting as servants and bodyguards, soldiers and sentries, mounts, and even pets. Soaring airships provide transport both within and between the cities and villages of the plane, and carry prospectors high into the sky to draw on limitless reserves of magical aether.”

The setting documents are meant for D&D 5th Edition, but I am pretty sure you can easily convert the material to older editions of D&D or simulacra thereof. Enjoy!

RPG a Day 2015 Challenge – Day 17

Let’s start another week with the #RPGaDay2015 Challenge! I assure you Michael is still around, I just tied him up and put him in the basement while I take over for a month with this project. I hope you are all having as much fun with it as I am. On to the week of favorite, and we begin with…

Day 17 – Favorite fantasy RPG

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I’ve said it before, despite playing in different genres and systems, and over the last 10 years about half of that time has been spent playing either sci-fi or supers games, my poison of choice has always been fantasy. It was a passion of mine before discovering RPGs, from literature, to movies and comics I devoured everything I could. Before RPGs I had read Tolkien and some Robert E. Howard. I had watched the Lord of the Rings animated film when I was 5 years old, Conan the Barbarian in theaters in 1982 (despite the R rating) and the comics based on the characters were among the first comics in English I read. Excalibur was among my favorite films (another R rated movie, and I am so grateful I was allowed to watch them) and to this day I can quote parts of the dialogue. Wizards I watched on TV along with the Hobbit animated movie (The Return of the King animated version I discovered in VHS).

Clash of the Titans began my love affair with Greek mythology and was the reason I read children’s versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey. I was a huge fan of the Simbad movies. I played with the World’s Greatest Super Knights toys as a kid and had AD&D action figures before I knew what D&D was!

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Perhaps the fantasy movie I watched the most as a teenager was Fire and Ice, and mind you, this was during the days of the Video Club, you really didn’t buy movies and back then, and I didn’t have two VHS recorders to copy the film… I rented it countless times! Fire and Ice along with the Elfquest collections were formative in my concepts of fantasy.

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This trip down  memory lane is simply meant to show you that I was destined to fall in love with Fantasy RPGs, especially with the very first game I played, Dungeons & Dragons. To this day, D&D in all it’s iterations, from Basic, to AD&D, AD&D 2nd edition, D&D 3rd edition, 3.5, Pathfinder and assorted retroclones, Dungeons and Dragons has always been the game I return to. The right way to look at it is, I play D&D, when I take a break, I play other games!

The astute reader might notice that there is one edtion missing from the previous list, D&D 4th edition. I didn’t hate it, it was just not for me, and I’ve talked about this at length, so it’s not worth repeating. However D&D 5th edition has me interested in the brand once more. Now I can play, Pathfinder, or D&D 5e, or Microlite20, or my favorite retorclone Basic Fantasy RPG. No matter what happens, I think I’ll be playing D&D for a long time…

So, what’s your favorite fantasy RPG? Let us know in the comments.

See you all tomorrow for the next favorite RPG, sci-fi. Care to take a guess? Come back to find out…

RPG a Day 2015 Challenge – Day 6

Well I seem to be getting back into form with the #RPGaDay2015 challenge. We are up to Day 6. Please share and leave your comments on this and other posts, spread the word, I really want to see your entries for this year. Now on to what you are here for…

Day 6 – Most recent RPG played

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Savage World! We’ve been playing the game in our weekly gaming session, for which I am the Game Master, for over a year and a half, 55 sessions now. The campaign is based on ideas I posted about extensively here in the blog, the Wanderers of the Outlands. You can find the first post here. Playing Savage Worlds for so long has been a treat, I’ve gotten to understand the system so much better, with all the great things and the inevitable warts every RPG system has. I plan on doing a post mortem once the campaign is finished in a couple of months, so be on the lookout for that.

The next game on the pipeline is D&D 5th edition for which I’m doing campaign prep, and I’m also toying with an old idea I want to adapt to the Cypher System by Monte Cook Games.

What are you playing? See you tomorrow…