With the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set heading to Magic: the Gathering in 2021, the time is ripe for new Planeswalkers. Let’s take a look.
The worlds of Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons are not so different. Perhaps, in another life, they might have been… friends? Take for instance the existence of “classes” like warriors and rogues, a preponderance of goblins with an affinity for (though not necessarily talent with) explosives and mischief, magical artifacts, and powerful wizards that cause no end of problems for the poor folk caught up in their midst. But one thing that defines Magic: the Gathering above all else is Planeswalkers.
In Magic, Planeswalkers are powerful beings that sort of represent the identity of the players of the game. You, when you sit down with your deck of magic cards full of allied creatures and spells, are one of the Planeswalkers. But in-game, Planeswalkers are beings with the power to travel between separate universes with ease, while the vast majority of people throughout the multiverse remain unaware that realities besides their own exist.
Planeswalkers can be a variety of creatures, famous Planeswalkers include Jace Beleren and Nicol Bolas, a “mind-mage” and “dragon” respectively–but they all share the same trait. They can shift from one reality to another (and are usually powerful magic users). And with the new D&D set coming next year, that’s a prime opportunity to take some of D&D’s famous characters and find who among them has the Planeswalker’s Spark. Here’s a look at a few likely candidates.
One of the worst people in the Forgotten Realms, Elminster is also one of the single most likely figures in all of D&D to become a Planeswalker. In addition to being a powerful wizard who loves smoking a pipe and turning up in every adventure he possibly can, Elminster has probably walked to multiple realities, having been to Greyhawk, the Nine Hells, and Canada. As a Planeswalker, he’d probably dabble in multiple colors. Because nothing says Five Color Good Stuff like Elminster.
Vajra Safahr is the current Blackstaff of Waterdeep, and a supremely powerful spellcaster. She is capable of casting a spell when completely paralyzed, is a naturally gifted sorcerer but also a studied wizard. Originally hailing from Tethyr, Vajra made waves in Waterdeep after she proved her talent and was instrumental in many of the current events happening in and around Waterdeep. With the power of multiple Blackstaves behind her, she’s a sure fit for a Planeswalker, and would probably skew towards Blue and/or Red magic.
Not all Planeswalkers are good. Villainous ones make for some of the best characters in Magic. And Ras Nsi, the fallen Yuan-Ti necromancer, and former Chosen of Ubtao seems to be the perfect candidate for a villainous D&D planeswalker. With a face wrapped in bandages and flaming longsword, this master necromancer controls powerful armies of undead, including an Undead Tyrannosaurus that vomits up zombies. He could animate the dead at will, had powerful magics at his disposal, and may have non-canonically been killed by adventurers during the Tomb of Annihilation, but who’s to say he didn’t planeswalk away? He’d probably be a powerful user of Black and Green magics.
Not strictly from Faerun, but Mordenkainen is a powerful wizard who takes a special interest in meddling with cosmic affairs. He’s dedicated to preserving the balance of power between the planes, ensuring that “the Great Balance” reigns over all. With a mastery of magic, the ability to freely travel between multiple realities, and a penchant for tackling cosmic entities before he has breakfast, Mordenkainen is one of the definitive Planeswalkers of the D&D world. He’d probably be a control-focused Blue and White mage, for sure.
Another being originally from Oerth, but now confined to no single plane. Tasha, who is sometimes known as Iggwilv, is the star of a new book coming in November. It stands to reason that this witch, who is also the daughter of Baba Yaga, and who has had affairs with demons, has created many powerful spells, and whose story of self-determination was powerful enough that her book is changing the rules for character creation in D&D. If that’s not a Planeswalker, and specifically one focused along a Black/Red dichotomy, I don’t know what is.
Who would you make a Planeswalker? Let us know in the comments!