Magic: The Gathering RPG Download

   I’ve put up the Magic: The Gathering Role Playing Game in the download box on the lower right. It was designed about a year and a half ago as a submission to Wizards of the Coast, but – if it was actually looked at – they never expressed an interest. Since a few members of the old playtest group have let their draft files get out, here it is. Who knows? Maybe Wizards of the Coast will see it and decide to pick it up after all (not likely, but we reserve any commercial rights that may apply just in case). Still, the playtesters had a lot of fun with it, we think it’s a nice job, and – for personal use in its current form – it’s entirely free. Go ahead and download it. Leave a comment if you like it: we thrive on attention.

16 Responses

  1. […] RPG op basis van Magic the Gathering CCG Een RPG ooit uitgewerkt door fans. Voorgesteld aan WizardsOfTheCoast maar nooit op de markt gekomen(tot nu toe) (tags: magic magic-the-gathering roleplaying) […]

  2. Hey what program do u use to open this file? very interested in this game

  3. The mtg game srry : )

  4. The Magic: The Gathering Role Playing Game is a standard .PDF file: easiest to open it with Adobe Acrobat.

  5. I just want to say that I personally like what I’ve read and would love to see a sequel to it. Maybe an adventure module or something. Something with more non-human races in it, perhaps. I don’t know…… I’m just saying a sequel would be nice. Like bow down in front of you and worship nice.

  6. Well, we may rummage out and organize some of the playtest scenario notes and put them up. They are kind of buried in the old files, but I’ll put them on the back-projects list. It may be awhile though: there are lots of projects on there.

  7. Adobe says this file is corrupted or unsupported…

  8. never mind, download manager issue
    I redownloaded without the manager and it’s fine.
    This is fairly complex, but well done…
    Now to find some guinea pi…I mean players.

  9. Some possible reasons that Wizards of the Coasts would not accept the proposed rpg
    I definitely agree with you that it is a pity that players of magic the gathering can only immerse themselves in the universe by either reading the flavor text of the cards or repeatedly reading the same stories in the fictions over and over again, which they have no control over. Wizard of the Coast definitely want their players to have a better way to immerse in the stories described by the cards and fictions.

    However, I feel Wizard of the Coast would not want to risk the entire image of Magic: the Gathering by printing new cards. They want gradual changes that is acceptable to existing players, and will also attract new players. They want to reuse old cards and existing stories before they write new stories or print new cards for your rpg. It might be ok to change the way to use the cards, like creating new maps, rules, tokens for the existing cards. But changing the cards itself rocks the foundation of Magic: the Gathering.

    Printing new cards upset the delicate balance in the tournaments. If they print new cards for your rpg, they have to consider if those cards can be used in the regular Magic games. If yes, how much extra effort do they have to put in to maintain the new balance? If no, then this rpg is not connected with the existing universe and Wizards will not risk creating a new game unless much more has been charted and designed.

    Printing new cards means creating a new image for the whole game, instead of just the rpg. Wizard would be extremely careful about their image and would not want to risk their whole image. Cards is not only the first impression of players about the stories of Magic. Cards is also excerpts of different instances of those stories. Printing new cards also means writing new stories and to change the imagined world of all the magic players. Then, printing a new cards often means to develop a whole block of new cards, a set of new stories, and a new set of mechanics that will be attractive to both existing players and new players. That Wizards would commit that much at the beginning is impossible.

    Thus, I think making creative use of the existing cards and stories of Magic by creating new maps, new rules, and new tokens would be a better direction than asking Wizard to print new cards.

    • Given that you obviously put some work into your comment, I almost hate to point out that it’s entirely based on an incorrect assumption; the RPG is designed to use the existing cards and doesn’t call for any new ones.

      If you look closely, you’ll see that the seven “New Card” images it includes are simply evocative illustrations. Five of them simply show a few of the possible ways to spend a characters basic allotment of points, one is simply a fanciful illustration of using a piece of equipment, and one is simply for humor.

      Like every other RPG, your character goes on a character sheet – albeit a fairly simple one.

  10. I really like the look of this, although I don’t have much time to read it so an advanced critique may take a while. I’ve been looking to do something similar for a while, and may not need to worry now. Although I had thought of making the game more planeswalker-focused. It’s probably better this way.

    Two typos I spotted though: Aven have white magic down with both a positive and negative modifier, and the Cephalids have -2 to something, but you’ve missed out what.

    Will bring more comments later. They’ll probably be along the lines of trying to make things play more like Planeswalker cards, but from a brief skim of the mechanics you seem to have got something similar to that anyway.

    Also, some fully fleshed-out sample characters would help, with a creation walkthrough and perhaps a costs bar somewhere.

    • Well, there is a character sheet for it, which may or may not be attached to the main book; at this point I no longer remember.

      The missing Aven and the Cephalid notes probably indicate that the uploaded file was one of the not-quite-finished proofreading or playtest versions. I’ll have to look and see if a “final” version is still in the old backups (although, since the proposal was rejected by the screening company and never actually made it to Wizards of the Coast, a fully-expanded version of the rulebook was never done).

      For character creation the costs (1 point per skill point, 2 points per card, and 4 points per distinction) are under “Characters”. The “character cards” scattered through the book (“New Planewalker”, “Thief-Assassin”, ‘Lesser Mage”, “Wandering Knight”, and “Hedge Wizard”) are sample builds, with their levels in the upper right corners. The five sample characters in the back of the book are mechanically complete.

  11. Fantastic. That’s cleared up quite a few things. However, questions remain…

    …the foremost being where is toughness determined? Apart from being used to soak damage as an automatic action, I can’t find any reference to how the overall damage capacity of a character is determined. I may of course be being totally blind.

    Also, the way manabonds are done doesn’t sit right with my (limited) understanding of the Magic flavour. The manabonds aren’t stated as being exclusive anywhere I can find, and in a few places (notably that heavily imply they can be shared. There’s also debate about how physically present or connected to the land planeswalkers are (,_can_you_direct_it?pg=1), so the notion of “feudal” mana bonds that you put forward doesn’t sit quite right. Maybe simply allow multiple mages to use the same lands and leave it at that for a quick fix? Possibly alongside a focus on the bond more than the land itself. More long-reaching approaches would need to address exactly how the mana is channeled and what can be targeted by land destruction. Maybe an active mana bond displays that land as a target for spells? This is flavour more than anything, but it will affect the structure of the roleplaying worlds quite heavily.

    And finally, the planeswalkers need redoing in light of the Mending. This could probably be done very easily – make the Planewalker Spark (or in game terms, Distinction) simply the ability to shift between planes. This will inherently open up the possibility of finding more land to bond to, accounting for planeswalkers’ higher magical abilities.

    The layout could also do with a bit of a tidy-up. I found it difficult to keep track of what issue or mechanic linked back to what. More tables could help in this regard, as well as more mechanical examples. I didn’t really see how the duel arcane or planeswalker duels really worked, for example, when they’re clearly quite an important part of the game. How are they started? What effect do they have on the duelists while they’re ongoing (do they get sucked into the Blind Eternities while they duel, do they launch things towards others’ lands through manabonds, etc)? What determines when they finish? Also, is the instruction here to basically play Magic to resolve it? The italic text on the page heavily implies it, but it’s never explicitly stated.

    Sorry if this sounds like a lot of nitpicking and negativity, I don’t mean it to be. I think there’s a basis for a great game here, but there are several edges that need smoothing off too. I’d be interested to know your thoughts, and possibly beg permission to tweak it, add to it and possibly put it somewhere (here?) for download. It’s a good basis, it just needs a little more work.

    • Well lets see…

      Both Toughness and Vigor (which determines Life Points) are skills; Toughness (page 24) is Exclusive while Vigor (page 30) is not; everyone has some access to Vigor (and thus some Life Points). Creatures don’t have nearly as many attributes, so they use a different, and simpler procedure (page 34) to determine their toughness and life points.

      Basic “Manabonds” / attunements aren’t exclusive; as described in the rules any number of magi can be attuned to a particular land – but having a “land” card as part of your character build only represents having an attunement. Thus you can’t simply have one character in the game with a bunch of lands and have everyone else use them “for free”; they have to set up their own attunements – which means “buying” the land cards.

      A Magelord or Planewalker can actually control the magic of a land, rather than just tapping into it – gaining Landrule abilities and the ability to block out lesser magi. Of course, that requires that they maintain physical control of the mystical center of the land and makes them vulnerable to remote attack through the Duel Arcane. That’s a lot of bother, which is why many wandering magi settle for simple attunements and don’t bother trying to actually control lands.

      Land Destruction is addressed on page 48.

      Since the game isn’t set at any particular point in the Magic: The Gathering timeline, there’s no reason to redo the Planewalker distinction in light of “The Mending”. Planewalkers in the game are already set up to be less powerful under normal circumstances to make them playable in mixed games – and the basic tenet of the Magic Card Game (which hasn’t changed) is that each game represents a Planewalker’s Duel. Thus the primary effect of the Planewalker distinction is to toss two Planewalkers who confront each other into a standard MTG: CCG game.

      Dropping the lesser functions – the “need not eat, drink, and breathe” and the heightened resistance to injuries – is best done as a disadvantage, which neatly pays for the “Passage” distinction which is the replacement Planewalker power default in post-“Mending” games.

      I’m not sure where the complications are in the Duel Arcane; it’s pretty much as stated. If you take full control of the magic of a land you’re so tightly bonded to it that you can get into a remote battle with any other mage who reaches the magical center of that land. Advantages: You get the Landrule powers and can cut off lesser magi. Disadvantages: You can be remotely attacked and need to defend the lands magical center to keep away possible usurpers.

      Planewalkers duels are equally simple; if two Planewalkers get into a magical confrontation it’s resolved by a standard Magic game (Specifically stated on page 15, part four of the Planewalker distinction). Thus the reference to MTG:CCG rather than MTG:RPG. That’s also why the descriptive text explains how – when such a confrontation occurs – the characters usual abilities (cards and character sheet) become irrelevant.

      Sadly, the MTG:RPG as it stands was only a proposal; if it had been accepted and completed, the final book would probably have been closer to two hundred pages than forty-four – which would have meant a lot more space for examples and cross-indexing.

      If you want to add some bits, tables, or cross-indexes, I’ll send along my Email address; the original files are probably still on the backup disks.

  12. Sorry, have been missing things quite badly by the look of things… I’ll give the rules a reread this week and see what I think afresh. I may just be hankering for a system that treats the cards and players more like VtM disciplines or Planeswalker cards.

    I’ll happily add some cross-references and proofreading, too. My email is If you’re up for some new ideas (it might turn the game a bit more stat-heavy) I can also sling you my ideas about how Planeswalkers/Mages might work (dependent on some more traditional RPG stats, rather than the skills-centric system you’ve used).

    • Not a worry; it is, after all, rather tightly condensed (and not cross-indexed at all). I shall send you an Email; I fear I’ve been rather over-busy here (as for the past few months), and forgot about it…

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