To accompany every new major Magic: The Gathering set, the Magic website usually serves a series of short stories in the run-up to release to get fans ready for the setting and story arc being introduced through the new cards’ art and flavour. The game’s next set is a bit thematically different… which calls for a mechanically different story bonus.
This month sees the release of Magic’s first properly major crossover card set: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, a full-on embrace of the world of its Wizards of the Coast sibling, Dungeons & Dragons. The card set itself is going to be jam-packed with not just D&D lore, but riffs on the mechanics of playing the tabletop game, from cards that ask you to role skill checks to side-cards that let you take a brief break from tapping lands and slinging spells to just go off and adventure through a mini-dungeon. It seems like it’s going to be a wonderful thematic mishmash of the two games in action, but even before all that, Magic’s setting up some more D&D twists ahead of the release.
The story section on the Magic: The Gathering website updated last night with the first of its Adventures in the Forgotten Realms pieces of tie-in fiction. But fans weren’t met with a new short story; instead, they were given a brief precursor and a link to a brand-new adventure to play in Dungeons & Dragons’ fifth edition. Made for D&D parties of around four to six characters, of roughly 8th level, In Scarlet Flames tasks adventurers with investigating a barrow mound in High Moors, on Faerûn’s infamous Sword Coast — one previously used to hoard dangerous magical artifacts and treasure by a pair of Red Mages of Thay.
It’s a fun little incentive — the adventure doesn’t require the latest D&D supplements, just the core rules in the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s guide (although, as the site notes, some context could be gained if you do own additional supplements). And although this adventure is designed for an intermediate group of players, there may be future “episodes” in the story — it’s being billed as a multi-part series — in the run up to Adventure in the Forgotten Realms’ release that are suited to newcomers and seasoned gamers alike. It’s a great way to introduce Magic fans to a short dose of D&D fun, and if you’re just a D&D player in the first place, hey, it’s more adventures to go on with your friends!
You can download In Scarlet Flames here, before Magic’s Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set releases July 23.