Hugely popular actual play series Critical Role will not make a surprise appearance in Magic: The Gathering’s upcoming Dungeons & Dragons set, its designers have confirmed.
The confirmation by senior game designer James Wyatt and worldbuilding design manager Meris Mullaley accompanied affirmation that the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set would not explore D&D’s Domains of Dread - including gothic setting Ravenloft - or other demiplanes.
Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is the first Magic: The Gathering expansion to take inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons, featuring monsters, items, locations and other elements from the tabletop RPG’s central setting of the Forgotten Realms.
Critical Role’s setting of Wildemount, explored by party The Mighty Nein in the series’ second campaign, previously received a dedicated sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5E, Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, but is an original setting created by DM Matthew Mercer for the popular series and does not connect to established D&D lore.
Ravenloft is a classic Dungeons & Dragons setting, best-known for being the backdrop to iconic vampiric adventure Curse of Strahd. The gothic setting - technically a pocket dimension separate to the Forgotten Realms - was explored further in this year’s Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft.
Wyatt and Mullaley stressed that while Adventures in the Forgotten Realms was not based on a specific Dungeons & Dragons timeline, the upcoming set would not venture outside of the titular Forgotten Realms in terms of its cards, specifically stating that no cards based on or references to Critical Role or any other popular actual play series would appear.
As well as featuring familiar faces from D&D history such as Drizzt and Bruenor Battlehammer, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms will introduce new characters in the form of a recurring party of adventurers based on classic D&D archetypes.
One of those adventurers will be bard Ellywick Tumblestrum, who previously appeared in promo material for upcoming D&D 5E adventure The Wild Beyond the Witchlight. Another will be Nadaar, who appears on a card under the title of Selfless Paladin. The new characters are part of an effort to reflect Dungeons & Dragons “[as the] game is now, not as it was 25 years ago,” Wyatt added.
The designers also reaffirmed that Adventures in the Forgotten Realms would not be considered canon in Magic: The Gathering’s storyline and multiverse, with the appearance of MTG planes such as Theros, Ravnica and Strixhaven in Dungeons & Dragons via 5E sourcebooks similarly kept separate from the tabletop RPG’s lore.
Adventures in the Forgotten Realms will be released this July 15th for MTG Arena and MTG Online, with a global release on July 23rd.