Get a preview of the Strixhaven (MTG) crossover

The upcoming Dungeons & Dragons / Magic: The Gathering Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos crossover book covers a lot of ground when it comes to designing an adventure around a mage school. However, after a recent review of a few preview pages and a question-and-answer session with its designers, it’s clear that what happens between classes (and off the table) is just as important to the story. and the skills of each player.

You can check out the snippets for yourself below, as well as our interview with Project Managers and Senior D&D designers Amanda Hamon and James Wyatt on what players and DMs can expect when they join. a club or take on the wizarding equivalent of the biannual horror show. it is a standardized test. They also expand on the types of classes, clubs, tests and extracurricular activities covered in the text.

An excerpt from the Examinations section of Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos.

IGN: What are the exams like in “Strixhaven”? We assume that assistants-in-training don’t just sit at a desk and fill in bubbles on fax paper.

Amanda Hamon: The exam encounters that take place during the Strixhaven Book Adventures are quite varied, but in general all exams that take place “on camera” [editor’s note: this refers to scenes played out at the D&D table rather than being glossed over as exposition by the Dungeon Master] during each adventure are linked to a single class which somehow connects to other parts of the adventure. For example, in the first year adventure, students follow magical physiologies and are tested three times separately on the habits, abilities, and behavior of a special magical creature. Characters can study and remember this knowledge as described in the book, but once the exams are resolved, (spoilers!) Of these creatures later in the book.

Concept art of a magical study trip by Magali Villeneuve.
Concept art of a magical study trip by Magali Villeneuve.

IGN: Can you give a little more detail about the mechanical operation of the Studies / Tests phases?

AH: The exams consist of a study phase and a test phase. During the study phase, students offer techniques to help them remember the details of the exam topic, pass the exam well, or whatever is appropriate. This phase may re-roll the ability tests from the test phase. The testing phase consists of two aptitude tests related to the subject being treated. There is a lot of role-playing that can be involved, and the book provides a lot of flavor to that extent, but that’s the basic mechanic.

IGN: The excerpt refers to “notable and even shocking events” that occur; can you give an overview of what DMs / players can expect in terms of story? Or is it more about providing DMs / players with new options for their original adventures?

James Wyatt: This book is a notable change from our previous Magic-D & D crossover books (Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica and Mythic Odysseys of Theros) in that it is primarily an adventure book rather than a book. parameters. So yes, the book includes an adventure that will take characters from the first few years of first level up to level 10 by the time they complete their four years of study… and a lot of excitement and adventure along the way! Of course, there is a lot of information in the book that DMs can use to create their own adventures in Strixhaven, but the goal was to provide a set of adventures in this magical college that you can incorporate into any campaign setting. .

A sample of extracurricular activities from Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos.
A sample of extracurricular activities from Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos.

IGN: Given the new and expanded mechanics for activities like exams / studies / extracurricular bonuses / etc, do you ever feel like the concept of incorporating a world like this pushes the boundaries of what D & D5e offers as a game system?

JW: On the contrary, I think a book like this is a great way to demonstrate the extent of what the D&D system is capable of handling. The game has come a long way from its wargaming roots, and D&D fans enjoy a wide variety of experiences.

IGN: Can you give any examples of the “minor period benefits” that come with joining an extracurricular activity? Are they bonuses to the skills associated with each club, or something else?

AH: When a character participates in an extracurricular activity, there’s a lot going on off-screen – if they’re a member of the Strixhaven Iron-Lifters Society, for example, they practice their weightlifting skills, learn to build a strong body, and bond with other lifting enthusiasts, all potentially far from the main action that takes place at the table. When a character participates in an extracurricular, he gets a student die for each long rest, which gives him an advantage on one of the two ability tests listed with the chosen extracurricular. In addition, they gain a positive or negative connection point with one of their peers who is also a member of the group to represent the bond that is established during these extracurricular activities.

Students dance at a (semi) formal ball in this concept art by Caroline Gariba.
Students dance at a (semi) formal ball in this concept art by Caroline Gariba.

IGN: There is a larp guild, which is an interesting choice given the fairly High Fantasy setting. Do these role-playing groups (or maybe tabletop game in the world) focus on the fantastic games as we know them, or maybe the more mundane ones like Houses & Humans Where Offices & Patrons?

JW: I love this question because it reminds me of the cartoon from the first edition of Dungeon Master’s Guide which pictured D&D characters playing a “fantasy” RPG called Papers & Paychecks. The thing is, I think people in any world, no matter how magical, would play games that revolved around adventure and wonder. In fact, there is an encounter in the adventure where the members of the live role-playing guild are preparing for a game they call “Beholders versus Behirs”.

IGN: The section also mentions “Working Rules”. What kind of extracurricular jobs do mages get? It’s a little hard to imagine a “Boy Who Lived” guy spilling burgers or pumping gas…

AH: The jobs offered on campus are as diverse as Strixhaven itself, and the book provides a list that is certainly not exhaustive, but offers plenty of options. They include work at the Biblioplex, the Bow’s End Tavern, or the Firejolt Cafe, as well as general locations like on campus or in campus magic labs. The actual tasks are large and varied in each location. For example, if you work in Magic Labs, you might be a sample preparer, a member of a cleaning crew, or a volunteer lab partner.

Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos releases on December 7, 2021 and is available for pre-order on Amazon or your friendly neighborhood game store. For more D&D geekery, check out what we thought of the latest source book, Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons, or our thoughts on WizKids’ 2021 line of prepainted D&D minis.

JR is Senior Producer at IGN, you can follow him on Twitter for more tabletop video games and RPG shenanigans.

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