Gods and Heroes Collide: Enter a New Era of D&D with Mythic Odysseys of TherosJuly 21, 2020
A new era of D&D arrives with Mythic Odysseys of Theros, a campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons.
Theros represents epic fantasy at its finest: Gods and mortals collide in a setting that draws significant inspiration from epic Greek tales such as The Iliad and Odyssey. It’s a world of power and wonder.
Theros operates somewhat independently from the standard world of D&D, as many of the races are unique to this setting, and the standard suite of races are unknown in Theros (though timey-wimey, portaly schmortaly magic has been known to bring strange and unfamiliar races to the world) and is the second D&D sourcebook set in a Magic: The Gathering world, following Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica last year.
Theros adds a considerable amount of new content to D&D, but not all of it may be suitable for your game, as it does introduce a modest power creep to player characters that should be considered before adopting. It’s all very cool…but if you run a generally low power, low-magic world, some of the elements in Theros may add a challenge your game in the long run.
The setting includes races such as Centaurs (noble half human/half equine heroes,) Leonin (proud lion-like hunters,) Minotaurs, and Satyrs.
It also introduces supernatural gifts (an element which may slightly increase a PC’s power.) Essentially, heroes in Theros are touched by the otherworldly. They start the game with some extra abilities such as rolling with advantage on death saving throws, or forged with construct traits (immunity to disease, don’t need to sleep, eat, or breathe etc..)
A character could even deny the Gods of Theros and be granted extra powers that scale with their level.
With cool cool names like “Anvilwrought,” “Iconoclast,” and “Oracle,” supernatural gifts promise to add a unique flavour to your games.
The book also introduces two new subclasses, Bard: College of Eloquence and Paladin: Oath of Glory.
The College of Eloquence is about oration and spellbinding wordplay: “these bards wield a blend of logic and theatrical wordplay, winning over skeptics and detractors with logical arguments, and plucking at the heartstrings to appeal to the emotions of audiences.”
(If ever there was a class that speaks to me as a player, it’s this one.)
College of Eloquence adds some neat abilities, making Charisma: Persuasion checks more persuasive, enhancing oration so much that it transcends language, and making Bardic Inspiration a LOT more effective, by allowing it to get some additional benefits.
For players who love good banter and roleplay, this is a subclass that will…speak…to them.
The Oath of Glory is very much in line with the setting of Theros: “Paladins who take the Oath of Glory believe they and their companions are destined to achieve glory through deeds of heroism. They train diligently and encourage their companions so they’re all ready when destiny calls.”
The Oath of Glory adds a number of abilities to buff allies including using a channel divinity on a smite to give temporary hit points to an ally, enhancing the walking speed of allies in formation with you, and a riposte/defense style combination that reflects the myths on which the setting is based.
Theros also includes a new background feature, Athlete, that is thematic, and appropriate to its name.
It includes a new pantheon of Gods, and an in-depth discussion of each, which is important, as the divine is such a fundamentally important element of Theros.
The book also introduces Piety, which are benefits for serving as a gods’ champion: low level adherents can receive the benefit of a low-level spell, periodically, while the most devout can increase an ability score (and its maximum.)
The book includes a gazetteer, which introduces the important places, and cultural elements of Theros and a guide for creating adventures in the world.
Theros also introduces new magic items, including artifacts wielded by the gods.
Complete with new monsters and allies, Theros is a complete setting for players and DMs who want to try something new in their Dungeons & Dragons games.
Should you buy it?
There is a lot of new stuff in Theros, particularly if you’re looking to expand your campaigns with new player options.
The new races and supernatural gifts are really neat, and as long as they slight power increase is accounted for by the DM, can be an excellent addition to games where the group is looking for new challenges.
The piety system is incredibly interesting and can be easily adapted to any existing pantheon of gods, including homebrew ones. Piety is controlled by the DM, so while the upper-tier abilities (stat increases) are extremely powerful, the DM is able to determine when, and how, they enter play.
For some (like me) the subclasses, particularly the College of Eloquence, are reason enough to ensure this book is on the shelf.
For players these elements make Theros an excellent supplement, especially if you’re looking for new ways to spice up character development in your games.
For DMs, as always, there’s plenty to steal, and the in-depth pantheon, and ample bestiary, could add a lot.
The epic tone of the setting is also quite appealing for anyone who’s passionate about the myths and stories of the ancient world.
If you’re a collector, the art is fantastic, and the alternate cover (available only at game stories) is lovely.
If you aren’t a fan of slightly more powerful characters, prefer a low-power world, or myths, legends, and gods don’t really appeal to you, Theros may not be the best choice for your collection.
Ultimately, though, Mythic Odysseys of Theros is a solid addition to Dungeons & Dragons, and for most, should be a good addition to your library, as well.
A copy of Mythic Odysseys of Theros was provided for review.
All images copyright Wizards of the Coast unless otherwise indicated.