Review: D&D Mythic Odysseys of Theros

D&D does Ancient Greece

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Length 256 pages

Release Date July 2020

Lead Designers: F. Wesley Schneider, James Wyatt
Art Director: Kate Irwin
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Category: RPG supplement
Players: 2+
Price: $49.95 (Hardback)

Theros is an Ancient Greece-inspired setting that first appeared in Magic: The Gathering card sets back in 2013. Mythic Odysseys of Theros explores the heroes, gods, adventures, treasures, and inhabitants of Theros and has quite a bit of information for Game Masters and Players alike. So strap on your sandals, dust off your tunic, and get ready to visit a land where beliefs and dreams become reality!

Content Guide

Magic

Readers should expect to encounter the same level of magic one would see in a standard Dungeons and Dragons session. 

Religion

The entire book is about make-believe religions and followers with an Ancient Greece flair. 

Nudity

Most of the pantheon is dressed enough, with the exception of Klothys the god of destiny and Thassa the god of the sea. Klothys is much akin to the American judiciary symbol of “Justice” albeit with more horns and instead of a full robe she has strategically-placed sashes that cover her chest and lower half. Thassa looks like some kind of fish/woman hybrid with both arms and tentacles, and nothing covering her scaly chest.

Violence

Some of the images in the book depict heroes in battle, or enemies in the bestiary about to strike. One page shows a cyclops eating a herd of sheep. A lot of teeth are bared, but little to no blood and no gore is shown. 

Review

That line about beliefs and dreams becoming reality was not just hyperbole. According to the sourcebook, Theros is a land where, “…things believed and dreamed here eventually become real. The collective unconscious of mortal people has the literal power of creation…” As more stories, prayers, and sacrifices were made, the gods became real, just as much as any other part of reality. However these gods only have power over Theros, the realm of gods Nyx, and the Underworld. Mythic Odysseys of Theros also states that mortals believe these gods to be all-powerful, but also illustrates several examples throughout of mortal beings challenging different gods, much like their Grecian roots. 

The alternate cover.

The character creation section is meant as a supplement to the main character creation in D&D; in this chapter players will find Supernatural Gifts, Races, and Sub-Class options meant to augment their characters and help them to find their place and motivation in the land of Theros. The gifts section will give players interesting destinies and abilities, each with their own D6 table to roll on to keep it interesting. For example, the Heroic Destiny gift gives you Defy Death (you have advantage on death saving throws) and Hard to Kill (when reduced to 0 hit points, you can drop to 1 hit point instead). Other gifts include Oracle, Pious, and Unscarred. The races included in Theros are Human, Centaur, Leonin, Minotaur, Satyrs, and Tritions. Other races, such as ones found in the Player’s Handbook are unknown in Theros, unless they’re just visiting. 

The next chapter on the gods of Theros gives each a full color illustration along with a few pages of their influence, worshipers, relationships, champions, myths, and boons, as well as a couple different tables for rolling for their favor or ideals. Reading through the different gods, it’s easy to see parallels to real-world examples such as Erebos, the god of the dead, to Hades. Heliod, the god of the Sun, is probably the closest example to Zeus. There are also gods of the storms, hunt, affliction, destiny, and the sea just to name a few. I really like the Champions section of each god’s entry, as it suggests alignment, classes, cleric domains, and backgrounds that might best fit with a chosen one who might follow each deity. Also, with enough Piety, which players can gain and lose by doing things their god likes or dislikes, you can earn various traits that give you additional abilities and spells. 

The chapter on creating Theros adventures is great, as it gives Game Masters everything they could need to build an adventure full of plot hooks and side quests to interest their party. I really liked the entire section with D6 and D8 tables for rolling Omens for different gods, which also has a column for a d100 roll. After that each god is outlined with suggestions for what they might expect out of their Champions on a quest, what they might look like as the villain of a story, monsters and schemes they might use, as well as adventure goals and maps to use. You wouldn’t want to go through and use each one after another, but just one god’s entry is enough to captivate a group of players for two to three sessions in the right Game Master’s hands.

I do wish that the treasures chapter was longer – it is only 6 pages. It does give some great examples of items, artifacts, and a few good plot hooks, however. How much fun would it be to start an adventure in Theros where you and a chosen few were sent off to take back a god’s weapon from a champion who, “needed it but refuses to return it?” Or try to figure out what to do with a god’s weapon that has somehow become sentient? Each of the legendary artifacts that are included are outlined in detail; each includes special attacks or abilities, Piety bonuses, and details on how to destroy them. (You can’t just cast them into a volcano.)

If you’re looking to add a little divine inspiration, or some Ancient Grecian magic to your Dungeons & Dragons game, Mythic Odysseys of Theros will fit the bill just fine. It has all the gods, monsters, plot hooks, and character developments you’d want to pull your game group into the world of Theros. Just beware of Cyclopses. 

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

 

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to add a little divine inspiration, or some Ancient Grecian magic to your Dungeons & Dragons game, Mythic Odysseys of Theros will fit the bill just fine. It has all the gods, monsters, plot hooks, and character developments you’d want to pull your game group into the world of Theros. Just beware of Cyclopses.

 

7.8