Magic: The Gathering One shot RPG – Part 2

MagicTheGatheringWelcome to part two of Making a Magic: The Gathering One Shot RPG. If you haven’t yet, please check out part one here.

If you remember last week’s article, I left off with saying we were going to look into the GM’s role for my Magic: The Gathering RPG game. Now before I begin, there is something I must emphasize to all the GMs out there – for this game, anything I say or have said is pretty much up for change.  If at any point you want to deviate from any rules or anything I say, feel free to do so. It’s a one shot game, and if you suddenly want the players to fight Godzilla in the first five minutes with 100 mana points each, that’s great! This game is all about the fun factor. What you are about to read are just general guidelines for an adventure that worked for my group. And again, if you want an audio example, check out our session of this game here.

MTG_PhotoFirst off, have all the players arrive at the same plane at around the same time. Whether they were traveling together or met for the first time, its up to them. When they arrive, they will find that for whatever reason, their power has been siphoned off. They will start at 0 mana and find themselves having to fight weaker monsters from your magic deck. Why is this happening? It’s up to you. Since I had mostly green cards to work with, I created a scenario where the enemy was a sort of green mana plant elemental that sucked away Planeswalkers’ mana as soon as they stepped into the plane. You could easily change that to a rival Planeswalker, demon dragon, or a fluffy bunny of darkness. It all depends on the story you are trying to tell.

Over the course of the game, you will slowly increase the amount of mana available to the characters. You can either have it as an important part of the story or because you feel like seeing them unleash better spells and monsters against your mountain of enemies. Have them choose which mana they receive during these moments. During this time, have them begin to slowly discover what’s causing their power disruptions! Hopefully they won’t realize it’s a mystery you are making up on the spot…

Zendikar_MTGBy the end of the game, they should be able to summon their most powerful creatures and spells, and you should have equally powerful cards to face off against them. You, GM, will get a sense you’re nearing the end as the narrative seems to be coming to a natural close. Plus, your players will be running low on cards at that point anyway. Have them find the big bad (or bads!) and let them unleash hell. Let them be creative on how they describe their cards’ effects and how they are finally able to defeat the antagonist(s) of the story. And if one of the players wants to pull a self sacrifice, let it be really cool.

The game will depend a lot on your imagination and your players’ trust. It’s not about strict rules but making a damn good story. Let all of your players have their individual awesome moments, and it should be a fun ride. If any player wishes to waste time debating how his card should affect an enemy, a familiar event to any Magic player, tell him or her they are thinking too hard and just enjoy being a world-shattering wizard.

With that, I can only hope you enjoyed this quick guide to my Magic: The Gathering RPG. If you guys decide to give it a try, let me know how it went in the comments. I would love to read about it.

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About the Author
Jesus “Arvandus” Rodriguez is the founder and website tweaker of the Fandible podcast. When he isn't out creating imaginary worlds for his players, he also runs a youtube channel where he writes short fiction in various fictional worlds.