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Crossover with Magic: The Gathering brings a mystical, steampunk setting to D&D

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A young may flies through the clouds below fluttering, mechanical dragonfly wings. He is grinning ear-to-ear.
Aspiring Aeronaut
Wilian Murai/Wizards of the Coast

For a franchise that makes its money selling books, Dungeons & Dragons has a habit of putting up an awful lot of free content on its website. Just last week it dropped something special; a 33- page, fully produced supplement for the venerable role-playing game. But this isn’t just any sourcebook. It’s a crossover guide that ports your game of D&D into the latest setting of the wildly successful collectible card game Magic: The Gathering.

Plane Shift: Kaladesh is written by James Wyatt, who was an integral part of the Wizards of the Coast D&D team dating back to 2000. In April last year, Wyatt moved over to the Magic team, where he’s been helping beef up their lore. The results have been phenomenal.

A tinker, wearing goggles, yells in triumph as his unusual backpack sparks to life. Chris Rallis/Wizards of the Coast
A guard with an elaborate golden, jewel-encrusted axe stands shirtless on a bridge. Ryan Alexander Lee/Wizards of the Coast
A mage bends to his will, creating a wall around himself. His robes and a cloud of leaves whirl in a magical wind. Magali Villeneuve/Wizards of the Coast

Servant of the Conduit

Kaladesh is Magic’s 72nd expansion, and one of its most florid. It’s a fantastical steampunk world powered by aether, a form of magical energy that flows through the air from another dimension.

From the supplement:

Aether seeps into Kaladesh, and has become a critical part of the environment as well as the foundation of contemporary civilization. The skies are full of it, the plants and trees bend and twist to be closer to it, and flowing waterways trace patterns beneath it. The ingenious inventor Avaati Vya developed a way to refine volatile aether into a potent and safe fuel, a process that has made all the inventions and contrivances of society possible. For six decades, Kaladesh’s greatest minds have been devising ever more wondrous ways to put aether to use. From airships to animal-like constructs, from cogwork trains to musical artifacts, from medical devices to full-body mechanized suits, the creative possibilities are endless.

Kaladesh stands apart from other published D&D supplements in that it is a place of optimism, full of creativity and bright with wonder. Wyatt’s book makes use of the stunning reserve of art produced for Magic: The Gathering, and uses it to give dungeon masters a hefty dose of inspiration.

What was once a single card tapped on a Magic tournament table can now be the source of an D&D entire campaign. It’s a wonderful gift to groups looking for a change of pace, and it’s not the only free Plane Shift sourcebook out there. You can also download Plane Shift: Innistrad and Plane Shift: Zendikar, two more free books by Wyatt based in other realms in the Magic universe.