If one had to pick a single game that epitomized fantasy gaming, one of the most common answers would be Dungeons & Dragons. For those who didn't pick D&D, Magic: The Gathering would likely rank highly. Given that both games are produced by the same company, it's kind of surprising the two haven't crossed over in some major way.
As it turns out, though, the two have crossed over once before to let players explore the land known as Zendikar. Not only that, but a second crossover is being released on July 12 that will allow D&D players to adventure in Magic's gothic horror setting of Innistrad.
Titled Plane Shift: Innistrad, the free supplement provides both players and Dungeon Masters with the information they need for adventures in Innistrad. This should be especially popular among players who enjoy game settings such as Ravenloft, as Innistrad shares a number of themes and creature types with that classic setting. The two settings have enough in common that the writer of the supplement, James Wyatt, originally created rules for the Innistrad setting using D&D's Curse of Strahd (which for those unfamiliar with the book, it involves Castle Ravenloft). Speaking with i09, Wyatt revealed a bit more about how the supplements came to be.
Since both Plane Shift: Zendikar (downloadable here) and Plane Shift: Innistrad are free downloads, they're intended more as a way to give players new options and let fans of both Magic and D&D combine the two in a unique way. According to Wyatt, the idea of the supplements came about when working on an art book for the Zendikar setting; the creator of that book had envisioned it as being a campaign setting with no rules, and the idea of writing up a rules supplement to accompany it gradually became more than just an idea. Wyatt admits he didn't want to fundamentally change the rules to D&D but wanted to make sure that players could make characters native to the worlds in question and that Dungeon Masters would have the resources necessary to run games that fit into those worlds.
Even though they're just one-off books, the fact that the Magic and Dungeons & Dragons teams are coming together to make crossover rules supplements is just about the best fan service that they can give. Not only does it appeal to current players, but it also calls out to former Magic and D&D players who might see the supplements as a way to explore the worlds of Magic and D&D in a new way without having to buy a lot of cards or a whole new cycle of rulebooks for a new setting.
The supplements may not appeal to everyone, but their target audience will likely appreciate them. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue in the future, so we might see things like Plane Shift: Mirrodin or perhaps even a supplement allowing players to take sides in the Urza-Mishra war.
If you want to download Plane Shift: Innistrad, you can do so here.
Plane Shift: Zendikar and Plane Shift: Innistrad are available now.