Plane Shift: Kaladesh Analysis

A new Plane Shift was released and it’s about Kaladesh.

Edit: The supplement is now available on the DMs Guild as well.

The world of Kaladesh

If you take Eberron and Mechanus and add a ton of magic and color you get Kaladesh. It’s a world filled with inventions that are powered by the aether, a raw form of magical energy. There are two major “factions” in this world, the Consulate and the Renegades.

The backgrounds have been thematically modified and, depending on which you choose, you may be affiliated with one of the two major factions. However, the Acolyte background doesn’t fit into the setting because religion is not a big thing in Kaladesh.

The same thing goes for the classes but with various extra restrictions. Spellcasting ability is something quite rare in Kaladesh and magical effects are usually created by the use of devices that use aether.

We are also provided with a new Sorcerous Origin, the Pyromancer.

  • Heart of Fire. When you use a spell slot to cast a spell that deals fire damage, you get to do a bunch more damage to creatures within 10 feet of you. The best part is that you choose who takes the damage.
  • Fire in the Veins. You get fire resistance and your spells ignore fire resistance. Pretty good stuff but nothing unexpected.
  • Pyromancer’s Fury. When you get hit by a melee attack, you can use your reaction to deal fire damage to the attacker equal to your Sorcerer level. This damage ignores fire resistance.
  • Fiery Soul. You gain fire immunity and your fire penetration gets upgraded. Enemies with fire immunity are treated like they only have fire resistance, which is not ignored. Also, any effect you can create ignores fire resistance.

That’s a pretty simple concept. You get enough firepower to make a barbeque out of your enemies.

Next, we get some information on how various mechanics work in Kaladesh and how they are connected with the aether. For example, attunement takes the form of working with the item in order to fit a particular user, and the attune slots represent the available amount of aether a character can carry with them at a time.

After that, we get some information on crafting, buying and selling inventions, and aether powered creations. The crafting rules are the same with the DMG rules. The difference is that if you don’t have a schematic, you can try inventing a device without one by making an Arcana check on each day of crafting.

Buying and selling inventions can actually turn out to be a fun activity by itself and, depending on who the characters are selling their inventions to, there can be various chances for extra side story.

We also get two new feats. Quicksmithing pretty much gives you the Ritual Caster feat and the Rock Gnome Tinkerer feature. Servo Crafting grants you the Find Familiar spell with some modifications.

There are three campaign types proposed for Kaladesh. Aether Revolt is the MtG block’s story where the Renegades fight against the Consulate when it takes an oppressive turn. Urban Intrigue is an urban campaign but with the Kaladesh flavor. Exploring and colonizing the lands is mentioned as a possible choice but is not really the best one.

Races of Kaladesh

Aetherborn. These are beings made of aether during its refining process. Their lifespan is very short so they seek to live their life to the fullest. This philosophy means that they can be very chaotic. Their features aren’t anything special. However, there’s an optional feature called Gift of the Atherborn which lets the Aetherborn prolong their life by feeding on the life essence of other beings. This could be a very interesting thing to use story wise.

Dwarves. These are pretty much Hill Dwarves but with some modification. The features Dwarven Combat TrainingTool Proficiency, and Stonecunning are replaced by Artisan’s Expertise which grant’s proficiency with two artisan’s tools and the Stonecunning’s benefits but for architecture. These changes fit the theme of the setting quite nicely, since Dwarves here are inventors and live on the surface.

Elves. They are mechanically the same with the only difference that the Elf Weapon Training feature is moved to the basic traits. I guess that’s because there are no Drow in this setting. The Wood Elves are called Bishtahar and Tirahar and the High Elves are called Vahadar .

Humans. PHB Humans without the variant option. Nothing else to say here.

Vedalken. Vedalken believe that nothing is perfect and can never be perfect. That makes them happy because they really enjoy improving things. They like to tinker, research and talk about their work. Also they’re blue. I like them.

A Kaladesh Bestiary

The rest of the supplement talks about the monsters that can be encountered in Kaladesh. Some of them are new and some of them just get different lore.

Gremlins are pests that feed on aether. They are for the inventor what the Rust Monster is for the adventurer. I love them.

Angels are the living incarnations of white mana and are considered the perfect invention. They wear badass masks and some of them have four hands, granting them four attacks per turn.

Demons are artificial beings created by the Dark Schematic, a blueprint whose origin has been lost through the ages. It is said that it could have been created to imitate the Angels or possibly native Demons that are now extinct.

Whales and Leviathans float in the sky, feeding on tiny aether organism. Well, the Leviathans may feed on larger prey as well. I believe these are my favorite monsters in this bestiary. Also, the drawing of the Leviathan is breathtaking.

Drakes are highly territorial flying reptiles. They hunt in packs and can even attack airships.

Dragons are the apex predators and can hunt pretty much anything, including airships. However, while their power hasn’t changed, their look has. They look like a cross between a lizard and a tiger, with fur covering their bodies.

Giants are beings of pure aggressive instinct, but without a hint of malice. That’s an amazing way to describe them. Also, judging from their description, I believe they could be called natural disasters.

Hydras are huge multi-headed iguanas that like their prey to be full of aether.

Wurms are pretty much huge worms that eat anything and Hellions are centipede-like things that creep me out so much that I don’t want to talk about them.

Artifact Creatures. There are four categories: Constructs, Servos, Thopters, and Lifecraft Creatures. These are the creatures someone will mostly come across in the civilized areas of Kaladesh.

Kaladesh is a beautiful setting with a lot of material to use for a campaign. So while I wait for Wizards to publish Eberron material for 5th Edition I may give it a try. You can read the full article here.

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