T is for Tarkir


This article is part of a series for both the April 2020 RPG Blog Carnival and the 2020 Blogging A to Z Challenge.


If this were a different present, Tarkir would be in the clutches of five powerful khans. The deserts and the forests would be rife with bloodshed and plagued by war. The clans would be locked in battle for control of immense fortunes and vast kingdoms. But this is not that present. This present was never the khans’ to rule. This present belongs to the dragons.

The mighty dragons of Tarkir owe their existence to Planeswalker Sarkhan Vol. From a dragonless present, he travelled back in time more than a thousand years to a crucial turning point, and there he saved Planeswalker Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, from death. In doing so he ensured the continuing presence of the dragon tempests, the storms that feed on Ugin’s magic and birth dragons, and thus he ensured the continuing presence of dragons.

For many years, the clans had been fighting a war against the dragons for their own survival, hoping to gain some advantage in the struggle. But that hope was dashed when Sarkhan intervened. With the dragons’ presence secured, draconic numbers grew and soon, the tide of the war turned. Ultimately, the dragons were able to hunt down the khans and destroy them. Then all that was left was for the dragons to claim their place on the vacant thrones.

In this present, the defeated clans are ruled by five legendary dragonlords. Over time, the clans have come to embody the predominant aspects of their draconic masters, and they represent these strengths with draconic symbols. Each clan battles with mana from an allied color pair, wielding its magic on behalf of its dragonlord in a bid to gain control of the entire plane of Tarkir.

The dragon clans of Tarkir were influenced by the history and cultures of Asia: the Abzan are based on Ottoman Turks, the Jeskai on Chinese Shaolin Monks, the Sultai on the Khmer, the Mardu on the Mongols and Japanese, and the Temur on Siberian cultures.

«Burn into history.»


For your campaign

Dragon-worshipping adventurers abound in an alternate-timeline Tarkir, where dragons had gone extinct long before they were born. Obsessed with their fury and predatory majesty, they learn as much as they can about this world’s ancient dragons, even going so far as to join infamous shamans who venerated the apex predators. For them, dragons are the ultimate symbols of endurance, cunning, ruthlessness, speed, and savagery. Dragon shamans can come from different classes, but these spects have made them develop different subclasses and archetypes.

New monastic tradition: Way of the Jeskai

The Jeskai Way is a clan of martial artists, mystics and monks that focuses on strategy over strength, planning battles against the other clans from their remote monasteries in misty mountain lakes. The basis of the Jeskai culture are isolated mountain strongholds, each with its own mystical styles and schools of thought. The prime stronghold is called Sage-Eye. The clan believes that they alone understand the true nature of reality. As taught by Ugin, they speak of six fires that light the way to Enlightenment. While the green vitalfire and black deathfire are taboo for the Jeskai Way, mastering the other three opens the way to the sixth fire: the colorless ghostfire.

  • White Soulfire: At 3rd level, you use your Intelligence modifier instead of the Dexterity one to calculate your initiative, melee attack bonus and damage and armor class. Additionally, you can use a bonus action and spend 1 ki point to cast shield of faith with a target of self and with no components with a duration equal to your monk levels. This spell looks like white fire protecting you, but sheds no light.
  • Red Bloodfire: Starting at 6th level, whenever you roll a saving throw against a single-target spell, you can use a reaction and spend as many ki points per spell level to cast it yourself to a new target. If the spell was cast at a higher level, you can choose to use the minimum level version. This effect uses your Intelligence modifier in order to calculate its values, such as damage bonus and saving throw DC. This effect resembles a vivid red fire, but it doesn’t change the spell mechanics (it doesn’t change its damage type to fire, for example).
  • Blue Mistfire: Once you’re in 11th level, you can use a reaction and spend 3 ki points to cast Counterspell. Doing so allows you to use another reaction before your next turn for any other effect, except this one. If succesfully counterspelled, the caster sees the spell energy difuse into blue fire that quickly turns into sparks and ashes.
  • Ghostfire: At 17th level, you can use your ki to power special discipline taught by Ugin himself: the mystical colorless fire. You can use an action and spend 5 ki points to cast Ghostfire. This spell is detailed below.

New spell: Ghostfire

Ghostfire, as taught by Ugin, was recorded on the Dragon Scroll that Chandra Nalaar stole from the Sanctum of Stars in Kephalai. This is believed to be the only recorded version of this spell, as the Jeskai Way of Tarkir is extinct by now.

5th-level Evocation

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 ft (varies; see text)
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

Transmuting raw aetheric energy into a coalesced spell, the so-called “Breath of Ugin” is an invisible flame. Along with the presence of three spellcasters, it is the key to activating the Eye of Ugin.

A blast of heat erupts from your hands. At the moment of casting the spell choose among one of the following shapes:

  • 100-foot line
  • 50-foot cone
  • 25-foot-radius sphere
  • 10-foot-radius 50-foot-high cylinder
  • 20-foot-radius 25-foot-high cylinder
  • 40-foot-radius 10-foot-high cylinder

Each creature caught in the area of the spell must make two saving throws:

  • First, a Charisma saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 3d10 psychic damage and rolls the next saving throw with disadvantage. On a succesful one, a creature takes half as damage.
  • Then, a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 3d10 fire damage, or half as damage on a succesful one. Fire resistance does not apply against this.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 6th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d10 for each slot level above 5th.


Do you play monks in Dungeons & Dragons? Do you play them as a fantasy version of the chinese shaolin monks or something else?

5 Comentarios Agrega el tuyo

  1. Great coverage of D&D, I’ll be back for more of this.

  2. juanrusso dice:

    For a minute there, I pictured Kung Fu Panda! lol

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