The newest D&D sourcebook, Mythic Odysseys of Theros dropped on DNDBeyond.com this week. Greek mythology has always fascinated me, so while I haven’t done sourcebook reviews before, I felt like this would be a good time to start. Because I have no interest in running a game in a Magic the Gathering-setting, I’ll focus on the players options the book offers.
The Mythic Odysseys of Theros features a handful of races, although only a few that are entirely new. Here’s a brief overview and my opinion.
Centaur. A four-legged PC is a bit weird to me, but in spite of this, the centaur seems decently balanced. With +2 Str and +1 Wis, the centaur seems well-suited for barbarians, clerics and fighters especially, which is underscored by their high movespeed, charge and hooves features, which would work well with a martial class. The fey creature type is my biggest concern, since it’ll make them have weird interactions with quite a few spells and features, which could upset balance quite a bit. Without trying it in play, it’s hard to know exactly how much, but it’s something I would be wary of.
Leonin. These lion-humanoids have +2 Con and +1 Str, better-than-average speed, darkvision, claws and an extra skill. Their best feature is the Daunting Roar, which allows them to frighten creatures within 10 feet once per short rest – useable as a BONUS ACTION, which is what really makes it powerful. You could definitely make a strong barbarian or fighter using the leonin, and even casters would feel good with a +2 Con boost and an ability that can frighten nearby enemies. A strong choice.
Minotaur. Much like the centaur and leonin, the minotaur seems designed for martial classes, with horns, goring rush and hammering horns. It’s a strong option in that regard, but if you’re not interested in goring or shoving people with your horns, it doesn’t really have much to offer.
Satyr. With +2 Cha and +1 Dex, the satyr presents a new choice for bards, paladins, sorcerers and warlocks, that can actually compete with the half-elf. While Ram and Mirthful Leaps are ribbon features that will probably see little use, a higher move speed, a fey creature type, and proficiency in performance and persuasion, makes this a decent choice. What really brings the satyr into the top-tier of races, however, is Magic Resistance. The satyr is not the first race to get Magic Resistance, but like the yuan-ti before it, it’s strong enough to be nearly gamebreaking. Personally, I don’t like giving races full magic resistance and would have much preferred semi-resistance, such as the gnome’s Gnome Cunning, or at the very least have limited what other features it received to balance things out.
Triton. The triton is given Darkvision in this rendition (which is also errataed to older versions), but is otherwise still the same – a relatively weak racial choice from a mechanical standpoint, unless you know it will be an aquatic campaign.
There’s two new subclasses in Mythic Odysseys of Theros: the College of Eloquence for bards and the Oath of Glory for Paladins.
College of Eloquence. This is a very exciting subclass, I feel. Each feature it gets seems actually usable – and strong. I’m not a big fan of Silver Tongue – it’s a bit early to receive a feature like that, so maybe it should have been swapped around with Universal Speech, and given at 6th level. Unsettling Words is amazing, and because its preemptive and only usable as a bonus action, I don’t feel like its too powerful (even if it is still very powerful!). Unfailing Inspiration is excellent mechanical design, which makes Bardic Inspiration more fun, without any real downside. Infectious Inspiration is powerful, and ensures that the Eloquence bard will be a constant source of inspiration.
Path of Glory. Not much glory here, to be honest. Alright, that’s not fair – the bonus spell list is powerful, featuring both guiding bolt and haste, but everything else feels lackluster. Peerless Athlete is very situational, and even in the right situation, unlikely to ever be awesome. Inspiring Smite is in essence a situational Second Wind that can heal multiple creatures – neither strong nor impressive. The Aura of Alacrity is incredibly lackluster, with a range of only 5/10 feet and +10 speed boost. Even if it had standard range of 10/30 feet, it still wouldn’t be very strong. Glorious Defense is good, but comes very late. Living Legend is interesting and decently powerful, but again – comes very late, and other paladin subclasses have more powerful options.
The races in Mythic Odysseys of Theros are not bad, although they do present some balance issues. I’m most concerned about the satyr, which seems too strong, and most excited about the leonine, which appears like an interesting option for a wide variety of character builds.
As for the subclasses, it’s probably no surprise that I absolutely love the College of Eloquence, which I think will see a fair bit of play. The Path of Glory, on the other hand, is unlikely to be chosen a lot. It’s simply too weak and uninteresting, and by the time it gets useful features – 15th and 20th-level – it’s already too late.
Overall, it’s a mixed bag. I think the Satyr and Path of Glory is where the balance skews the most, but the other, more balanced, options make up for it. I probably wouldn’t buy the book for its player content alone, but if you’re also interested in the other stuff the book presents, I think it’s worth it.
J. A. Valeur