So two weeks since the formation of the Zendikar - D&D Campaign Setting group and 20 members today! I figured I could make a sort of status report with notes and just about anything useful for members and visiting people alike.
Basic intro: Zendikar is a "block" (or cycle) of Magic The Gathering trading cards, but it's also the name of the setting (an entire plane actually, but it's more like a planet/world) in which the lands, creatures, characters and spells presented in the cards all reside. It's a very fantastic world, clearly inspired by the latest fantasy trends I would say, and borrowing from D&D more than a Magic setting ever did in the past. It's a world of adventure and a true Points of Light setting in practically every sense, as I pointed out in the first blog of the group: Zendikar and the core D&D World assumptions. In the second blog (An Elemental Realm?) I also talked about the possibility of considering Zendikar an Elemental Realm, in the 4e sense of the term. Short answer: better not to, but you can.
I decided to use the forum for now for all the content of the group, so before someone with some wiki skills decides to make a wiki out of it (I pass...), here's an index of what's already online:
- Zendikar - Guide & Intro (with images and full list of official material)
Verbose title, I guess I should change it.
Here's the comprehensive list of all the material released by Wizards about Zendikar not dealing with the game of Magic itself. Most of it would find place in a campaign setting book, so here's the base of it all. After the links you can find a summarized version of the main "document", which is "A Planeswalker's Guide To Zendikar (Introduction)". So you'll find all the regions with brief descriptions and a list of the names of all the locations found in each one, which I put to start familiarizing with the names. Note that each region name is a link to the relative section of the official guide! Same is true for races.
Only part I really did myself is about the so called "Expeditions", which are location of interest for adventuring, detailed in the second post.
- Digging For Flavor: "Hedrons" (with images)
I continue to specify "with images", because you should really see those images... Zendikar's artwork is literally awe-inspiring, as you can see by the few images I included here.
In the "Digging For Flavor" series, I present the results of a search for flavor text inside the cards, by the means of a nifty search engine. So here you find all the flavor text concerning expeditions. At the end of the post I draw some conclusions about the subject.
- Digging For Flavor: "Expeditions" (with images)
Same format of before, but here I deal with the "Hedrons", which are the stone "diamonds" that float in the skies or sometimes lie hidden in the land of Zendikar. They are magical devices obviously, but even if their purpose is more less known (to us, not to the inhabitants of Zendikar!), they are meant to be an enigma, and they manage to do it quite well. they're wonderful plot devices, other than... "prop devices"?
- Zendikar Campaigns: what direction would you take it?
This is the first thread in which there's actually some discussion! The title is self-explanatory, and the conclusions are good, although the subject is open of course, and it's one of the most important ones, since one could the say the material is already all in place, so we're all a good idea and some inspiration away from actually playing D&D in the Zendikar worl
- Native, Outsider, and Unknown races
The sticky thread of the Races forum, here I just list all the 4e races and classify them in order to show which one already fits Zendikar, which could fit easily, and which are hardly good choices.
- Guul Draaz Vampires
First playable race that I devised. Yes, vampires are a major race in Zendikar, and they needed a racial write-up even if their "niche" is more or less that of Tieflings in the standard D&D world. There have been no comments or critics as of now. Needless to say, they would be needed! Also note that this race, as all the Zendikar race I will write, includes some peculiarity not found in most standard races. These vampires for example receive different ability bonuses, skill bonuses and a minor feature depending on their bloodline. The alternative would be to open their ability bonuses even more and make them a +X/+Y and +Z/+K... Don't hesitate to comment on the matter!
Another major Zendiakr race, the Merfolk are my latest adaption. Their niche is similar to that of Eladrin in that their the magic-heavy race of Zendikar. Also note that they're perfectly adapted to life outside water, and as many races in Zendikar, they're even quite airborne! The peculiarity of this race is the racial power which does different things depending on your power source, and of course if you have more than one power source, you get to choose the effect each time!
- [Experimental] Kor racial power: "Skyhooking"!
For the third major race, the Kor, I first wanted some feedback on what is basically an at-will flying racial power... Based on their mastery of grapnel hooks and ropes! The Kor are the most aerial race of an aerial world, and in Zendikar, most locales have some good verticality, meaning that flying is pretty much needed, but of course it should also be a little limited, and here comes the designing challenge that this power represents.
- Eberron Races: Warforged as "Worldforged"?? Eldrazi-Kalashtar??
Here I basically amuse myself with cool options to include these two races in Zendikar. There's a bit of a surprise at the end in the form of an update of the post, since I discovered only recently that the designers of Zendikar had asked themselves similar questions on the relationship of gods and angels with the entities that seem to have spawned the legends of the gods in a first place... You'll see, scary stuff!
- Adapted Zendikar Monsters
I already made a few monsters inspired by the Zendikar cards, with "translated" mechanics which sometimes result in innovative design choices... Here they are:
- Felidar Sovereign - A might "leader" beast, true king of animals
- Æther Figment - Basically a living spell, this is an experimental monster: it's a minion that can turn into a standard!
- [Eldrazi] Dread Drone - This was really fun to make, and I guess all the subsequent Eldrazi (which are basically Far Realm entities) will be just as interesting. it's another experiment, this time it's a high level minion that counts as a standard from the start...
- Loam Lion - Last but not least, a basic animal. No, we don't have things such as "basic" animals in Zendikar: even this simple cat is a challenging adversary for a 3rd level threat. Two-words hint: defensive skirmisher...
So here's the content which is already in, time to comment it, critique it, and put some new! Also notice that the General Discussion forums "About Zendikar" and "Free For All" are there for you to chat and discuss, and that every forum in the group is also open to non members!