Gavin Verhey talked to James Wyatt, the creative lead for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, to discuss all kinds of things from the new set, including the introduction of flavor words.
Wyatt worked on Dungeons & Dragons for fourteen years before switching over to the world building team for Magic, where he met his goal of mixing both games. While he’s now back working on D&D, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is finally here for all to see.
Wyatt was the creative lead for the set. The creative lead works with art directors and world builders to put together the world guide and also works with set designers and play designers to keep the creative focus of the set where it should be. One of the biggest challenges was creating the landscapes and imagery for the surroundings of the world for cards and in particular, the basic lands. One of his favorite parts of the job was creating art descriptions for the cards and including reference art from the long history of D&D illustrations.
Another thing Adventures in the Forgotten Realms shows off is the introduction of flavor words. Flavor words look like ability or keywords from previous Magic sets, but they aren’t. Specific flavor words don’t carry over and show up on cards throughout the set; instead many cards have their own unique flavor words. Flavor words show up on all types of cards, notating different spells and abilities characters or items can cast or perform.
Dawnbringer Cleric looks a lot like Charming Prince from Throne of Eldraine, but now the abilities are represented by flavor words for each spell it could cast. All three flavor words are spells from a D&D handbook that a Cleric could cast. Flavor words can be considered an extension of flavor text, telling the player the story of what’s going on with the card.
Another way to make players feel like they’re playing D&D and are in the world is by naming modal spells that give a choice a name that presents you with a situation.
You Hear Something on Watch is one example of giving you the option to react two different ways. It plays just like any other modal spell from Magic history, but gives each option a flavor word or phrase that makes it feel like playing D&D. We’re only on the first day of preview season and many flavor words have shown up on a bunch of cards.
What do you think of flavor words? Do you like the immersion into the world of D&D? What spells from D&D would you like to see on a card?
Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is scheduled for release on July 23. View our official preview gallery.