Saturday, 18 February 2017

Checking out Plane Shift Kaladesh for D&D


Wizards of the Coast has continued its series of Magic: The Gathering settings for D&D 5e with the new release of Plane Shift: Kaladesh, bringing an Eberron-esque dungeonpunkishness to the tabletop game.

Like previous entries in the series, like Zendikar and Innistrad, Kaladesh is a free supplement available to download from the Wizards website as a pdf.

Kaladesh is probably the most interesting and complete download we've had from Plane Shift, mainly because of the setting's technological concept of aether-powered devices. Essentially, after discovering a way to refine aether the world of Kaladesh has entered a golden age of automatons, air travel and warfare, where aether is a replacement for electricity. This is where the most intriguing part of the book comes in - rules for crafting aether-powered tech, which combines the rules for magic item crafting in the DMG and Kaladesh-centric rules requiring obtaining or creating a schematic for whatever piece of technology you're wanting to create. It's all pretty simple, requiring daily DC checks where the target number is informed by how uncommon the tech is. A group of players can come together to roll Arcana checks to make things a bit easier for them.

This crafting element is taken further with the introduction of special feats like Quicksmithing and Servo Crafting, both of which hone your character's ability to craft aether tech. The latter allows you to create tiny telepathic automatons that act as personal assistants - perfect for a tinkerer-style character to use around their workshop.

On top of that, we get five races - two of which are brand spanking new ones: Aetherborn and Vedalken, whereas the others are variations on Human, Elf and Dwarf. Aetherborn are sentient byproducts of the aether refinement process, popping into being through a mixture of alchemical wizardry and latent psychic impressions cooked up from those working on refining the material. They have the option, as long as the DM allows it, to harvest the life force from other beings in order to supplement their short lives. Whereas the Vedalken are the studious engineers - scientists who only really care about the big questions and tend not to get involved in politics. Basically, these guys make great Wizards.

At the end of the book we're treated to some new monsters, like the gargantuan Sky Leviathan that will swallow a poor bugger whole, and aether siphoning Gremlins. The rest, unfortunately, are just re-skinned giants, dragons, angels etc, with a bit of flavour and nothing else.

Kaladesh is a cracking little supplement chock full of absolutely stunning artwork (seriously worth the download just for the art) and some neat concepts. If you're thinking about getting a MTG style campaign brewing, this would seem like an excellent place to start.