Ravnica Update: Focus on Five Guilds
  • Ravnica Update: Focus on Five Guilds


    Do you want to explore the undercity of Ravnica as guest or enemy of the Golgari Swarm? What challenge does the leader of the Selesnya Conclave face? Do you want a large d10 with a guild symbol on each face? Here is an update on what we know about D&D Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica.



    On Sept 27, the Dragon Talk Podcast with Ari Levitch and Greg Tito provided a new preview about Ravnica. Daily MTG provides additional details on five guilds.

    The Guildmasters’ Guide opens right after the events of Return to Ravnica for Magic the Gathering. The guildmasters are the same, but dangerous events are in motion and life is becoming precarious. Jace the Planeswalker has left Ravnica taking the enforceable peace of the Guildpact with him.



    The Golgari take the long view—all institutions both physical and society will all crumble away eventually. Sometimes they speed things along—assassins to create instability and proclaimers to plant the spores of future revolution. With Jace away, these plans may come to fruition.

    Ravnica is ancient. Layers and layers deep. The Beneath the streets is the vast Undercity where the Golgari dwell. Dungeon delves are possible as the Undercity dives deep. Exploration into its depths will take out the comforts of city civilization from player characters.



    In the Guildmasters’ Guide, the Undercity is not always depicted as grubby or muck covered but is an actual kingdom beneath the streets, an otherworldly sometimes beautiful place. But with fungus. The Golgari Swarm embraces life and death as a cycle. They appreciate the entire spectrum.



    The Swarm is home to many elves, which are like the drow of other worlds. Some Golgari are findbrokers that collect trash from the surface and extract valuables from them. Recyclers, including necromancers, raise fungus zombies to shambling unlife with spores. Death and necromancy can combine with druidic magic since death is part of the cycle of life. The spore druid embraces this ideal. Proclaimers are ready to reclaim the surface for when the Golgari return to the surface and take over.

    Their Guildmaster is Jarad, an elven lich lord. Ambition to pursue personal goals is part of this guild and leadership cycles through many guildmasters. Assassination or political maneuvering leads to a change of leadership—cutthroat like the natural world. Savra, Jarad’s sister, used to run the guild before she was killed by Szadek who took over leadership. Jarad took the life of Szadek along with his leadership.

    The Selesnya Conclave follow Mat'Selesnya the World Soul. The guild believes that society and nature should co-exist. They want to build a city that curbs the natural world but keeps it growing as well. The massive world-tree Vitu-Ghazi serves as the focus and guildhall of the guild. The Guildmaster is Trostani, a dryad connected via one tree trunk to three bodies representing harmony, life, and order.



    The Selesnya are home to elves, like wood elves on other worlds, and the elephant loxodons. Elves ride wolves as Ledev Guardians. The serve as emissaries and evangels of the faith and make excellent soldiers as well.

    Trostani used to speak in one voice, but now there is disharmony between the three voices. They may be hearing different things that the World Soul is saying. Perhaps a quest to restore harmony is needed.

    A set of Ravnica dice will be sold in a decorated tin with the seal of all ten guilds on it. The oversized D10 has a guild symbol on each side so you can randomly roll a guild when needed.

    D&D Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica releases November 9 game stores and November 20 everywhere.

    This article was contributed by Charles Dunwoody as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program.We are always on the lookout for freelance columnists! If you have a pitch, please contact us!
    Comments 40 Comments
    1. Ymdar's Avatar
      Ymdar -
      Selesnya must be some small elves if they can ride wolves.
    1. Apostol Apostolov's Avatar
      Apostol Apostolov -
      My main issue with Ravnica as 2018's "Eberron Meets Planescape You Never Asked For It But Hasbro Said We Must" sourcebook is - this Planet City setting feels so much OVER THE TOP and BUSY AND CROWDED compared to a typical fantasy world that is developed with care and balance between urban and wilderness adventure. It has so much going on all the time and everywhere and the artwork of the Magic cards represent that.

      Players and DM often have trouble maintaining an urban adventure in a huge megapolis with complex political environment. I've had games where players, after being very busy with the urban schemes and adventures, needed some fresh air going out and feeling on a trek or vacation to some classic adventure before returning. Ravnica is ALL CITY, ALL THE TIME. Even that forest is actually a park in some district. It is mindblogging to have a city spanning a whole content, or a whole planet. Every travel is basically navigating streets, every day, all the time. You enter a forest only to emerge from it on the other side and join a market district - one of ten of millions across the planet. How long until the uniqueness of the single place is basically washed out by the random generation of streets, quarters, and places that goes into seve-nine digit number. How long until players feel claustrophobic and overwhelmed by the insane downpour of shapes and buildings and PEOPLE everywhere they go.

      If only we had this marketing crossover at better times, such as Kaladesh. Hindi-inspired setting with technology, mixing Indian mythology, Eberron-like magic is everywhere. Artificer Dwarves, dark-skinned humans with Hindi class segregation and political conflict. Technology where everything is made of fine golden-colored parts weaved like embroidery... It was really interesting setting to play in. But Ravnica is basically TOO MUCH, AT ONCE, ALL THE PLACE, EVERYWHERE YOU GO.

      What kind of adventures does such place inspire?
    1. Paul Farquhar's Avatar
      Paul Farquhar -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ymdar View Post
      Selesnya must be some small elves if they can ride wolves.
      Big wolves.
    1. TwoSix -
      Quote Originally Posted by Apostol Apostolov View Post
      Players and DM often have trouble maintaining an urban adventure in a huge megapolis with complex political environment. I've had games where players, after being very busy with the urban schemes and adventures, needed some fresh air going out and feeling on a trek or vacation to some classic adventure before returning. Ravnica is ALL CITY, ALL THE TIME. Even that forest is actually a park in some district. It is mindblogging to have a city spanning a whole content, or a whole planet. Every travel is basically navigating streets, every day, all the time. You enter a forest only to emerge from it on the other side and join a market district - one of ten of millions across the planet. How long until the uniqueness of the single place is basically washed out by the random generation of streets, quarters, and places that goes into seve-nine digit number. How long until players feel claustrophobic and overwhelmed by the insane downpour of shapes and buildings and PEOPLE everywhere they go.
      I'm going to be honest, you pretty much just sold me on the campaign book.
    1. scottieboy86's Avatar
      scottieboy86 -
      Please speak for yourself. I have wanted Ravnica as a campaign setting for a long time. Hasbro didn't need to tell wotc to make a Ravnica campaign setting. They could have just asked me.
    1. jgsugden's Avatar
      jgsugden -
      It is a setting you can buy and use if you want to buy and use it. Nothing in it is mandatory.

      I think it will be a fun and unusual setting, but I would rather they'd started with a less unique MtG setting, like Dominaria, or made a general MtG book and had chapters on many settings within the M:tG universe.
    1. Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
      Ralif Redhammer -
      I’m looking forward to pillaging this for content, absolutely. Some of the setting stuff sounds like it’d fit into my homebrew nicely. And the Circle of Spores druid subclass looks to be really cool and different.
    1. Ymdar's Avatar
      Ymdar -
      Quote Originally Posted by Apostol Apostolov View Post
      What kind of adventures does such place inspire?
      I would recommend taking a look at warhammer 40k hive city adventures.
      I could even see an orc WAAGH on Ravnica.
    1. Weird Dave's Avatar
      Weird Dave -
      I'm really hoping Ravnica gets opened up on the DMsGuild. I'd love to add details about the guilds of Ravnica across the planes in my Codex of the Infinite Planes articles, though likely as a separate appendix. Selesnya's connection to Arborea, the Rakdos Cult in the Abyss, Golgari spawning pits in the Plane of Ooze, Azorius watchtowers in the Plane of Air, etc. Ideas on using the guilds in the planar landscape of D&D. Lots of really cool applications there that I'm excited to explore!
    1. Xaelvaen's Avatar
      Xaelvaen -
      Thanks for another update, @Charles Dunwoody

      The more I read, the more eager I am for this setting. My group had a ton of fun with Monte Cook's Ptolus years back, and this is going to play right into that level of depth I feel.
    1. Zaukrie's Avatar
      Zaukrie -
      I too am more and more eager. It's nice to have a different kind of place, and not just more of the same. Frankly, this could bring the unknown and fantastic back to a lot of games, where the players seem to know everything that is out there......
    1. Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
      Ralif Redhammer -
      Yes, this! As much as I really wanted the new 5e setting to be Spelljammer or Planescape, I am quite pleased that it’s something entirely new and different for D&D.

      Quote Originally Posted by Zaukrie View Post
      I too am more and more eager. It's nice to have a different kind of place, and not just more of the same. Frankly, this could bring the unknown and fantastic back to a lot of games, where the players seem to know everything that is out there......
    1. Charles Dunwoody -
      Quote Originally Posted by Apostol Apostolov View Post
      What kind of adventures does such place inspire?
      Character driven adventures. Wizards has said that each guild will have recommended foes and adventures PCs can go on if they are a member of that guild. So instead of random four fantasy PCs go into dungeon on fantasy world, the adventures can be tailored to a specific PC and his or her guild's issues and challenges.

      Those same adventure set pieces will provide blocks of adventures and foes for PCs to face. Like mini-dungeons or the setting of Hell's Kitchen for Daredevil in the same way that New York is huge but DD narrows the focus.

      You even could take the random card generator, which I plan to discuss in more depth, to generate ideas by pressing deal a hand. https://magic.wizards.com/en/article...sts-2018-09-20

      Night time crawl through a forested entrance to the undercity with ironshell beetles lunging out of the dark to stop a glowspore shaman from murdering anyone else and filling them with fungus.

      Travel to an island with Izzet magic tech to find an omnispell adept and ask her help in stopping a storm that seems to be plaguing the PC's local block. Turns out a crazed goblin electromancer riding a muse drake is summoning the storm to attract dragonauts and small fire elementals who are drawn to the lightning and resulting fires.
    1. Osgood's Avatar
      Osgood -
      Wow, none of this sounds even remotely interesting to me. This will be the first 5E product I take a pass on. I'm happy for those it appeals to though.
    1. Charles Dunwoody -
      Quote Originally Posted by Osgood View Post
      Wow, none of this sounds even remotely interesting to me. This will be the first 5E product I take a pass on. I'm happy for those it appeals to though.
      What would be interesting to you? Just curious.
    1. pming's Avatar
      pming -
      Hiya.

      The thing I'm not grocking is the feeling that, no matter what the Player comes up with for a PC, no matter what his PC's history, background or personality is, that PC will ALWAYS be subject to being manipulated by a Guild...or, almost as bad, placed into some "caste/privilege box".

      This may not be the case...I don't know much at all about Ravnica because nothing has really grabbed me as 'cool'...but it's the feeling I get as a DM. That every one of my NPC's will have some Guild-oriented agenda that is the ultimate decider...even if that NPC is playing it off as some other one "Please rescue my daughter! * ( *because I need to marry her to a different Guild's member in order to have a massive loan forgiven )". Because unless it's possible to NOT be a member of any guild, and then open an Inn/Tavern or build a Keep somewhere, and NOT be attacked/oppressed from virtually everyone...well, that's a problem for me (as a DM). I just don't think that would be a fun setting to be DM'ing in.

      It's cool if others love the setting. More power to 'em! I have yet to buy a WotC 5e product other than Starter Box, PHB, MM, DMG, so it's not like WotC is hurting for my cash!

      ^_^

      Paul L. Ming
    1. jedijon's Avatar
      jedijon -
      Kinda beating a dead horse here—but at least the first major typo was a ways in?

      When I read that Golgari recyclers collected refuge [sic], I thought; “hey maybe it’s ‘refuse’, no...they extract valuables from THEM...it must be refugees’”.

      Welp, the editing must’ve stopped about there because then there’s a paragraph about leadership that introduces the idea that each Golgari Guildmaster has a unique goal—while proceeding to leave the reader bereft of, well, any of them.

      And the article closes with the same tone. A tin box dice “set” presumably containing one 10 sided dice—but we do know it’s oversized and has guild symbols on each face.

      Post definitely needs editing for clarity.
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      I'd have liked Planescape better but this seems like it has a good bit of potentially stealable content, though I don't think I'd run Ravnica per se.
    1. TwoSix -
      Quote Originally Posted by pming View Post
      This may not be the case...I don't know much at all about Ravnica because nothing has really grabbed me as 'cool'...but it's the feeling I get as a DM. That every one of my NPC's will have some Guild-oriented agenda that is the ultimate decider...even if that NPC is playing it off as some other one "Please rescue my daughter! * ( *because I need to marry her to a different Guild's member in order to have a massive loan forgiven )". Because unless it's possible to NOT be a member of any guild, and then open an Inn/Tavern or build a Keep somewhere, and NOT be attacked/oppressed from virtually everyone...well, that's a problem for me (as a DM). I just don't think that would be a fun setting to be DM'ing in.
      That's probably true, but why would any DM choose to use a thematic setting over a generic setting if they're not going to engage with the elements that make it unique?

      That's like playing in Dark Sun and ignoring the Dragon Kings and handing out decanters of endless water. Or playing in Eberron and ignoring the Dragonmarked Houses. Or playing in Planescape and trying to be factionless.

      In general, unless the DM and the majority of the players have knowledge and interest in a published setting, I think it's just easier to homebrew. That's why I'm interested in looking to Ravnica for ideas, but won't be running it.
    1. pming's Avatar
      pming -
      Hiya!

      Quote Originally Posted by TwoSix View Post
      That's probably true, but why would any DM choose to use a thematic setting over a generic setting if they're not going to engage with the elements that make it unique?
      Well, with how so many 5e'ers seem to be set on "official only" (someone did a poll a few weeks ago that was rather surprising to me)...hold... found it! http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...r-3PP-material 34%+ use 'published only'. A full THIRD of us only use published. O_O To me, that is a huge number for a game that is based on imagination and making stuff up.

      Also, the usual reasons (DM is 'outvoted', DM was bought/given the book and asked to run it, DM's players kinda want to try it and the DM wants to play with his friends, etc; you know, the regular social/friendship/slim-pickins' trio).


      Quote Originally Posted by TwoSix View Post
      In general, unless the DM and the majority of the players have knowledge and interest in a published setting, I think it's just easier to homebrew. That's why I'm interested in looking to Ravnica for ideas, but won't be running it.
      Agreed, 100%. Always nice to see another DM's view on what a "cool fantasy idea" is to them. Biggest problem with Ravnica is that, from what I can tell, it was pretty much "designed by committee"? I'm not seeing any info anywhere about who actually "wrote" Ravnica. I'm not saying that this format can't be good (or even great), I'm just saying I'd rather trust the vision of one person (or two working together), than a group of people who were told "Hey, work up a new backdrop story thing for Magic. We need to put out a new card-series to keep this cash-cow going! Got that? Good. Get to work. See you in a month" by some CEO/Company-muckety-muck.

      In short...I'll wait for the rest of the masses to start giving more info before I even really consider grabbing it. YMMV.

      ^_^

      Paul L. Ming
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