This week we’re taking our adventuring party into the fold as we figure out how to invite Alina and Mal from Shadow and Bone to play D&D.
The popular young adult series turned Netflix show premiered not long ago and proved to be everything longtime fans of the Grishaverse had been waiting for. Aside from the inspired magical setting and social politics, the series has a stellar cast who would all separately fit in perfectly in any D&D campaign. In fact, the entire series could easily have been somebody’s ongoing D&D campaign between the long backstories, expansive setting, and characters who are each experts in their specific and different fields. Let’s start to break down how we would introduce some of the main characters from the Grishaverse to Dungeons and Dragons.
There were a lot of possible directions to go in with Alina, but there is one decision I changed at the last minute and it caused me a few re-writes: I swapped her race from Human to Half-Elf. In game the differences are subtle, but within the story she is easily recognizable as being at least partially Shu and it causes her a few issues along the way. After wedging that reference into her sheet, the biggest question was class, and I opted for a Sorcerer / Warlock mix. Divine Sorcerer with an Otherworldly Warlock patron both represent a kind of magic that comes naturally but also comes gifted from some kind of greater being. Like a magical light deer, for example. I had considered some kind of Druid for the deer angle, but none of them remotely worked for her sun and light magic, so I quickly moved on.
Physically, she doesn’t have a ton of capabilities, but in the show Alina proves to not be the most competent in a hand to hand fight. Instead her skills lie in magic and problem solving, which is always a boon in your adventuring party. For magic I tried to stick to light or fire spells for the most part, but I added some random ones like Shatter because it felt like the powerful sort of spell she might get mad enough to use towards the end of the season.
Mal is a much more easy character and may as well have been pulled from the Player’s Handbook directly. He’s a famously good tracker and hunter (quintessential Ranger) and just proficient enough at fighting to get in (and then out of and then back in) to trouble. I gave him “monstrosities” as a favored enemy because I frankly couldn’t think of another way to describe the shadow monsters and those should be everybody’s top priority Grishaverse enemy to kill. But everything else is straightforward and to the point. Fighters aren’t difficult or complex, but they are insanely fun to play. And that’s what we have with Mal’s sheet; a character who looks simple on paper but could be very fun and useful in-game.
Every character in Shadow and Bone was delightful and deserved their own sheets, though, and I spent a fair amount of time thinking about the Darkling’s class combinations or where all of the Crows would fit in. Would you like to see more Grishaverse character sheets in the future? Which characters were your favorite and who would you play a character inspired by in your own D&D campaign? What TV shows, games, or movies should I make sheets from next? Let us know in the comments!