One problem you run into when trying to convert Magic: the Gathering creatures to Dungeons & Dragons, is what kind of level to assign them, and what to do with their abilities. I haven’t found any quick-and-easy ways to do this (but Google tried for me), so I decided to come up with my own. First, I figured, to keep things straightforward, you want to forget the creature’s level.

I can guarantee you that lots of your problems will disappear immediately when you assume that Magic: the Gathering lacks an effective analogue for level, whether it’s creature level or spell level. The level of the card you’re converting will be whatever level you want to make it. In Fourth Edition, creatures can be standardized.

In fact, I’ve done most of the work for you. Forget creature roles, forget Page 42, and forget rolling damage dice entirely. I mean, a basic division between artillery and skirmishers is probably a good idea, but that’s just if they have a ranged attack and prefer to use it, as opposed to wading into melee combat.

Much as it does in the game it comes from, Casting Cost reflects the difficulty in bringing forth the creature or spell in question. For The Catan Horror, we’re talking about Mana that your character is harvesting via Skill Challenges. In those cases where the creature has Fading, Echo, or Time Counters or something that limits their summon duration, I recommend the abilities be keyed to the start of the week.

Power and Toughness pretty much reflect only a creature’s combat abilities, and therefore it makes sense that these two stats really only effect the creature’s combat stats. My advice is to use the standard attack bonus for a creature of the appropriate level plus (Power – 2), and a level-appropriate Armor Class plus (Toughness – 2).

The reason for the above is that Power and Toughness of two are pretty standard across Magic: the Gathering. In the case where creatures have a Power or Toughness of zero or one, it makes sense to penalize them a little bit, and also not give them “too much” of a boost by increasing their attack and defense bonuses.

Of course, some tweaking is recommended. Consider, for instance, that a +1/+1 or a -1/-1 might be worth one level in either direction. If you want to mitigate some of the attack/defense boost that a Serra Angel gets, you might consider making it a level higher and reducing its Power and Toughness bonuses by one each.

Most of the Magic creature abilities can’t or don’t translate into Dungeons & Dragons, and in Fourth Edition, that’s actually fine. If you’re using the chart and my house rules for automatic damage on a miss, then only a couple abilities will be necessary. For example, you might want to give a creature with Haste a +4 bonus to Initiative.

Sometime soon, maybe even for my next entry or three, I’ll give some examples of creatures converted from Magic: the Gathering to Fourth Edition. I mean, you’re looking for flavor more than for tactical challenge anyway. What you want is another use for a gaming resource already at your disposal (like hundreds of Magic cards).