Supernatural Gifts of Theros Spark 5E D&D Storytelling
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted bestow Supernatural Gifts on heroes from Mythic Odysseys of Theros, the latest fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons official release. The new Theros campaign setting reimagines mythological tales from our own world’s Greek tradition and arrives for 5E D&D from Wizard’s of the Coast’s other huge game Magic: The Gathering. Gods of Theros exert tremendous influence over the setting from the cosmology down to the commoners living in the poleis (cities) of the world. Most assuredly the lives of heroes intersect with gods, starting with character creation where they receive Supernatural Gifts to help them achieve their goals.
Supernatural Gifts of Theros and you
Along with background, race and class characters adventuring in Theros receive a Supernatural Gift at 1st level to represent the mythic quality inherent throughout the campaign setting. In addition to mechanical benefits each gift description includes a table of characteristics similar to personality traits, bonds, ideals and flaws provided to spark your imagination.
It’s important to note Supernatural Gifts are designed and meant for characters adventuring in Theros. Like any other campaign setting or adventure with new character options baked in it’s easy to consider these sorts of options as power creep entering the game. In the case of Supernatural Gifts the line gets blurry because this is a brand new layer of a character chassis adding additional features beyond standard 5E D&D character creation. In the video Dave and Ted discuss incorporating Supernatural Gifts into games taking place outside Theros, and the modular nature of this edition certainly makes this a fun option to explore. I’ve got to assume these features were designed, playtested and implemented within the context of Mythic Odysseys of Theros however, meaning they’re balanced against the complete package of material in the book. So exercise caution adding these to your regular ol’ 5E D&D campaigns. Mythical heroes taking the road to Phandalin might find themselves undermatched against the threats they’ll face.
The really cool thing about Supernatural Gifts is the storytelling aid they offer players and Dungeon Masters alike. Because these features sit alongside race, class and background they add a new dimension to character creation and further individualize your character. Let’s take a look at all NUMBER of them and see what ideas come to mind.
- Anvilwrought. You are a creature forged by a god. Are you the only one of your kind? Do your interactions with mundane mortals make you yearn to be a being of flesh and blood?
- Heroic Destiny. The gods watch over you and shield you from death. Do you know why? Does this make you feel important or do you suffer from imposter syndrome? Why were you chosen, and do you even want this kind of responsibility?
- Iconoclast. You rebuke the influence of the gods and this grants you a measure of protection from them. But the gods are real and someday you may find yourself calling on their aid like everyone else. How entrenched are your beliefs?
- Inscrutable. You’re a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Do you guard your thoughts and feelings to everyone, including your own companions?
- Lifelong Companion. Your companions are meant for great deeds, and you are meant to help them achieve these goals. This is a classic archetype and my favorite Supernatural Gift thematically.
- Nyxborn. You are more of an ideal than a mortal, a creature born and shaped from formless energy of the divine realm. What is that ideal, and do you struggle against it to define your self or lean into this as your defining characteristic?
- Oracle. The gods speak through you and you can access their insight but this also curses you with knowledge you may not wish to possess. Your head and thoughts are in the clouds (or in Nyx?) as often as they’re in the Material Plane of Theros. This reminds me of the conversation between Thanos and Tony Stark in Avengers: Infinity War.
- Pious. You picked your team and you’re sticking with a particular god. You might even tell the cleric a thing or two about what piety and devotion really mean! You certainly observe all the rites and traditions of your chosen god.
- Unscarred. You’ve got divine protection, but why? Is there a particular god who watches out for you, or the whole pantheon? Do you even know, and what is your perspective on the gods of Theros? Perhaps you don’t like the intrusion into your mortal life, or conversely you feel obligated to do something to prove yourself worthy of their protection.
Physical copies of Mythic Odysseys of Theros are scheduled for release July 21 but you can add Supernatural Gifts and all the rest of the new 5E D&D campaign setting to your digital collection over at D&D Beyond. When you add this to your collection you also unlock 6 sheet backdrops, over 20 portrait frames and 5 color themes with book purchase. Check it out here. You can also preorder the hardcover version here.