5E Why Ravnica?
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Thread: Why Ravnica?

  1. #1
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    Why Ravnica?

    Once a long time ago a young Zard in the late 90's picked up a game called MtG and played through Tempest block to around Alara or just after (when they released Jace the Mindsculpter).

    So the question I ask is why Ravnica? The idea of a duel MtG/D&D crossover has been around for around 20 odd years or longer but picked up steam after WoTC bought TSR which gave them the rights to D&D. As popular as 5E is MtG is a bit bigger, think probably 10 times bigger its literally hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Also remember WoTC bought D&D back in 1997.

    Now MtG may not be as popular as it used to be, I think the peak may have been a few years ago and 5E is very popular as far as D&D goes so X10 may not be 100% accurate but you are still looking at MtG being a magnitude more popular than 5E (and the entire RPG market) and more popular than 5E, 1E and the old Red Box set put together. Back in the late 90's they kept the lines separate due to wanting to keep the products distinct, this was covered in MtG magazines at the time. That was almost 20 years ago.

    So put simply its a cross promotion where D&D in theory is being associated with a bigger brand. I guess they want to make it bigger. Out of all the Magic sets Ravnica is probably one of the most popular sets if not the most popular set and they have returned to it once already and seem to be going back again for the 3rd time. For those of you who do not know Ravnica is an extra planar metropolis and it is also a multi colour set where there are 10 guilds (factions). Each of the guilds is a colour and its allied colour or a colour and its opposing colour. MtG peeps seem to like their multiclour sets a lot and personally I liked MtG the most while the original Ravnica was standard legal. In Magic the Gathering there are 5 colours.

    Red (fire/earth)
    Blue (water/air)
    Black (death)
    Green (nature)
    White (life, Paladins, Angels etc)

    Red is allied with black and green and opposed to blue and white. Google MtG colour pie to get the idea. The guilds in colour are (U= blue BTW) RG, G/W, U/W, R/B, U/B. U/R, B/W, G/B, R/W, G/U. Each guild has a name from memory R/U is Izzet, R/G is Gruul, B/W is Orzhov, R/W is Boros, R/G is Rakdos etc. Would not be surprised if they had guild feats.

    In magic decks blue and white are often control type decks, red is aggressive and burn decks, green is mana acceleration and phat creatures, white is life gain. There are 3 primary deck types in MtG- combo, control, aggro.

    So you have the potential for new creature types, guild feats,politics, steam punk (hello Izzet guild), perhaps class restrictions on what classes can join what guilds (Druids in G factions only, Paladins in Boros only?).

    If you mashed Eberron with Planescape its probably the closest comparison I can think of. Overall I think the basic idea is to make D&D more popular. They have chosen one of the best MtG sets to do that with IMHO outside of the original Dominaria plane which was very ye olde D&D type in character (Mystra/Greyhawk/FR perhaps). Why they would pick a MtG setting over one of the traditional D&D settings? Well guess whats more popular.

    Pros. Its a MtG crossover with one of their best settings.

    Cons. Its a MtG crossover.

    I don't really see it is a bad thing unless they really drop the ball.
    Last edited by Zardnaar; Monday, 23rd July, 2018 at 04:01 PM.
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    It's not that Magic the Gathering is more popular than D&D. They probably have fairly close numbers of players. It's that Magic makes waaaay more money. Because every player needs to invest rather than just one per table, and the more you invest the better your deck. And the profit margins are just that much higher, as the production costs of Magic are so low.

    Why the crossover product?

    I imagine the reason is that campaign settings are highly desired but typically don't actually sell that well. Because half the audience plays homebrew and gives zero effs about other worlds. And a remaining quarter plays FR and/or whatever the setting of the prepublished adventure is. So right away a non-FR world that is not the focus of adventures is going to sell a fractional amount compared to any other book.
    Going to a Magic plane opens up another audience. So in addition to the D&D players, it might also sell to the Magic players who could want it for the lore and not the rules. Offsetting the reduced sales compared to generic accessories.
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    What I imagine is another HUGE reason for this crossover?

    All the story stuff in the book was probably already designed and written when the MtG writers probably had to make story bibles for the expansion.

    So rather than making a "new campaign setting" for D&D that would involve completely inventing everything from the ground up... they took probably pages upon pages of world-building information they already had and owned (what else do you think James Wyatt has been doing these past several years?), and then re-purposed and edited it into a book for D&D. And on top of that... they already also had all the artwork they needed for the book, and who knows, probably basic maps of the setting as well.

    Using Ravnica probably saved them months if not years of writing and production costs, while simultaneously being able to release a "new campaign setting" that many players have been clamoring for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DEFCON 1 View Post
    All the story stuff in the book was probably already designed and written when the MtG writers probably had to make story bibles for the expansion.

    So rather than making a "new campaign setting" for D&D that would involve completely inventing everything from the ground up... they took probably pages upon pages of world-building information they already had and owned (what else do you think James Wyatt has been doing these past several years?), and then re-purposed and edited it into a book for D&D. And on top of that... they already also had all the artwork they needed for the book, and who knows, probably basic maps of the setting as well.
    So...they're taking the next step into becoming the 1990s TSR that was bought out by WotC?

    With respect to art, though, I imagine there won't be a lot of reprinted art in the setting book -- WotC doesn't buy all the rights to the art they use in their cards, for the most part, they only buy the equivalent of 'first North American serial rights'. (That's why you can find the artists selling that art at conventions.) That'll be a good thing, as it avoids the sense of late-era TSR cheapness that came from recycling the same Larry Elmore or Brom piece in every other product.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauper View Post
    So...they're taking the next step into becoming the 1990s TSR that was bought out by WotC?
    I'm not really sure what you mean by this. I don't recall TSR publishing a campaign setting book using documentation they already had in house.

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    If we assume that the campaign setting will default to the PCs are non-planeswalker denizens of the plane (which might be a fair assumption as it's billed as Ravnica setting and not the D&D multiverse) then Ravnica neatly fits into the D&D framework. No additional mechanics systems like psionics or magic item crafting are required to port it over. So that means they can stick with what they are already comfortable designing:
    -Each guild can get a subclass, and with the guilds as diverse as they are you'll get a pretty even spread among the core classes naturally:
    -They can add in spells and monsters from the numerous cards that already exist. There are so many possibilities here that what is left on the table can be picked up by DM Guild creators to further hype the setting
    -Maybe add in some specific feats to allow any character of any class to more closely associate with a guild.


    That then leaves the rest of the book to detail the setting itself. I'm sure there are people that will want mechanical systems to represent planeswalking or how each spell has a colour identity. It would be nice to have but I honestly don't think it's necessary to make the product a success.

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    I'm not 100% positive what a product plan schedule looks like, but let's assume it starts about Two years prior to the book hitting the shelves. Two years feels reasonable, but it may be a little more or a little less. I think DMs guild had good success with MtG related releases two years ago. This might have prompted the idea to make a MtG related product. In addition, the amount of messages I had seen on SageAdvice.eu about Ebberon suggested there was a lot of interest in that setting. Another thing to consider is the availability of the author's time. Did the MtG Ravnica author have time available? Did the Ebberon author have time available? A third thing to consider is ease of rules and class development. If Mearls spends time generating concepts for the Ebberon setting can that same concept be used for the Ravnica setting? Are there any new spells created for each setting that Crawford had to adjust to hopefully ensure they work within the rules?

    I'm excited for both the Ravnica setting and the Ebberon setting. The Ravnica setting has some very interesting NPCs, such as Niv Mizzet, that add an interesting flavor to the stories told in the setting. I'm also excited for the Ebberon setting because my SO really enjoys that setting.

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    I see this as an attempt to cross-pollinate their gamers. Get a few MtG players into D&D and get a few D&D players hooked on crack... I mean Magic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DEFCON 1 View Post
    What I imagine is another HUGE reason for this crossover?

    All the story stuff in the book was probably already designed and written when the MtG writers probably had to make story bibles for the expansion.

    So rather than making a "new campaign setting" for D&D that would involve completely inventing everything from the ground up... they took probably pages upon pages of world-building information they already had and owned (what else do you think James Wyatt has been doing these past several years?), and then re-purposed and edited it into a book for D&D. And on top of that... they already also had all the artwork they needed for the book, and who knows, probably basic maps of the setting as well.

    Using Ravnica probably saved them months if not years of writing and production costs, while simultaneously being able to release a "new campaign setting" that many players have been clamoring for.
    I see that as the big reason too. And given there's a couple MtG staff in the mix, this seems likely.
    The work was done, making it a fairly "easy" book to release without impacting the schedule or work on other products.

    It was probably pretty easy for them to instead expand the setting bible to 96-pages rather than edit down to 30 for the PlaneShift PDFs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zardnaar View Post
    Would not be surprised if they had guild feats.

    In their video they talk as if your guild choice replaces/becomes your background - it determines your fluff special ability, contacts, enemies etc.

    Could still be feats too of course (like how Eberron dragonmarks are effectively nothing but more feats).

    Mechanically nothing to set you apart from another character of the same race/class.

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