New D&D Monsters and More in Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica

Do you want dozens of new D&D monsters from Wizards of the Coast? Does exploring a planet spanning city via membership in one of ten competing guilds sound challenging? If you play or DM Dungeons & Dragons, then Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica will have something for you. Gleaned from WotC interviews and news, this is what we know so far about Ravnica.


Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica, releasing in November, is thoroughly a D&D book for D&D players. Magic the Gathering uses colors in the metagame but flavor text on cards do not mention colors. The colors would be meaningless in a D&D world. Guilds are defined based on philosophy not color. The setting focuses on adventurers, not MtG play. An example is new full page art depicting an adventuring party in the rain with four different guild members on a bridge behind them. An image that is grounded in D&D game play.

Ravnica’s ten guilds serve as both government and voluntary organizations. They clash with opposing philosophies and goals. The traditional magical power keeping the peace is the guildpact. The guildpact currently flows from one man and he is often on other planes, leaving Ravnica open to guild intrigue and tension filled conflict.

The guild is the lens through which the PCs see the world. A player may select a guild in place of a background. Guilds are more about exploration and interaction than combat. Guilds provide skills, special abilities, and NPC contacts. The DM looks at all of the PCs’ guilds and builds a campaign around opposing guilds. Advice covers good guilds to serve as adversaries, plots to oppose the PCs, typical NPCs and monsters to use, and what locations would fit the campaign. The players‘ guild choice combined with the advice for DMs provides a solid direction for a campaign.

James Wyatt gives brief guild descriptions. The Boros Legion are paladins, armored mages wielding fire, and military forces. The Golgari Swarm are sewer dwelling elves living in darkness, using insects, and wielding necromancy. The Selesnya Conclave is a cult speaking in one voice and trying to convert others. House Dimir consists of spies and assassins. The Orzhov Syndicate are a combination of organized crime, bank, and church. The Izzet League is home to inventors and conduct grand experiments. The Gruul Clans combine fiery emotion with a connection to the natural world expressed through barbarian clans. The Azorius Senate governs Ravnica and enforces the law. The Cult of Rakdos is a demonic cult circus. The Simic Combine masters life science and is heavily into body modification and hybrid creatures.

D&D players will benefit from a plethora of new content and rules. The number of new monsters nearly equals those in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. Rules playtested in Unearthed Arcana debuting officially include new races (centaurs, minotaurs, loxodons, Simic hybrids, vedalken, and viashino), the order domain for clerics, and the circle of spores druid subclass. City design in Guildmasters’ provides local description and street level information rather than block by block descriptions. Maps are isometric and have a painted look.

Monsters from Ravnica could easily cross over to other D&D worlds. The circus in Waterdeep from Dragon Heist could be filled with monsters from Ravnica. And the Cult of Rakdos could actually be that circus. The chase rules in Dragon Heist could be used in Ravnica.

Sources for information from WotC on the upcoming book include the official website, a Wizards of the Coast podcast called Dragon Talk with James Wyatt and Greg Tito, and D&D Beyond on YouTube with James Wyatt, Mike Mearls, and Ari Levitch. James Wyatt started merging Magic the Gathering with D&D in his Plane Shift articles. Guilds of Ravnica for MtG releases on October 5 while the D&D Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica releases on November 20.

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!
 
Charles Dunwoody

Comments

Dualazi

Villager
Still not feeling this really. Given how past playtested rules have gone, I'm not expecting any exciting overhauls on things we've already seen, which doesn't inspire confidence. The monsters sound cool, since Magic has no shortage of interesting variants, but they'll need to be really really good to warrant the purchase. On that note I'm a little more optimistic though, Mordenkainen's was basically the same way, a bunch of awesome monsters weighed down by filler. Sadly the 'street level' view also seems like it will be terrible, since as both player and DM I want a more comprehensive overview of the factions' beliefs and methods, which seems to run contrary to this form of presentation.
 

Muso

Villager
Planescape has a larger number of factions. The designers should stop waste their time with another game's settings (this one and the varius planeshits) and come out with some D&D setting (not in the play-test stage...).
 

Greatwyrm

Been here a while...
I guess I'll be dissenting opinion then. I'm excited. I wanted to see something new when they announced the upcoming settings. I quit playing Magic quite a while before Ravnica came out, so its all new to me.
 

Kite474

Villager
Count me in the dissenting. It seems really cool, useful, and a way to explore something familar but very new to D&D. Only concern is the street level, but that makes sense as an introduction to the setting. And if the Spoilers for Guilds of Ravnica have been anything... Things are gonna be busy for the wider world... Wonder if this means we are getting statted out Eternals

and hey we get a faction setting that isnt so far up its own ass like late Planescape was
 
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DQDesign

Guest
I'll buy it only if it will be opened for development on DMsGuild.
 

kenmarable

Explorer
I’m FAR more interested in this than Dungeon of the Mad Mage (but would like to be pleasantly surprised with that one). It sounds like an interesting setting with a ton of adventure possibility, and for the first time since... well, 2004 with Eberron, it’s a new (to me) D&D setting that I’m really excited about! It’s been a long time.
 
I am also looking forward to a new world for D&D. Guilds as background sounds like a great idea especially in that it helps the DM narrow his or her focus. I also like that the metagame of Magic (color and other card game terms) is not part of the book. New races and new monsters, not just updated ones, are also a big draw for me.

I think a campaign set in Ravnica would be exciting. Guild conflict, street level fights, and all the mystery and exploration a huge city offers.

Ravnica is the first 5E book that has me excited since the first three rulebooks came out. It's something new and a lot of work has gone into crafting it.
 

Xaelvaen

Explorer
Color me intrigued as well. I could not care any less where the setting comes from (MtG, Miniature Giant Space Hamsters' Imaginary Barbarian Companions, or elsewhere), only that it seems interesting - and I quite like the overall theme with this one.

The positive being said, I am... worried. The setting might be too large for a single book to contain, so I'll likely only pick it up on D&D Beyond for the smaller price point. Time will tell.
 

Sadras

Explorer
I would have preferred they had opened up an already established D&D setting for DMs Guild material.
 
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DQDesign

Guest
I would have preferred they had opened up an already established D&D setting for DMs Guild material.
I would like to have them open all the settings on DMs Guild, especially the ones they are clearly not intersted in supporting, like my beloved Mystara for example.
 

Vicente

Explorer
I'm so excited for this. There is so much lore and art to help create adventures in Ravnica, the only thing we were missing was some more mechanical support.
 

Vexorg

Villager
I get the feeling most of you would be excited if Ravnica was a new setting for D&D only, the way Ebberon was. I also get the feeling you all would be fine with it if the setting was from some other established property like Witcher or Kingkiller Chronicle. It seems to be some lingering animosity towards Magic that is souring some of you.

Personally, Ravnica is my favorite MtG world, and in looking forward to it.
 
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Kramodlog

Adventurer
It is the first time since 5e started that WotC is doing something new(-ish) with DnD. We should welcome originality as this edition has none.
 

Muso

Villager
It is the first time since 5e started that WotC is doing something new(-ish) with DnD. We should welcome originality as this edition has none.
This is not something original, it is a setting from another game masquerading as a "new D&D setting". It is just a commercial operation to attract players from another game. It should be fine after release of other D&D settings. It is not fine as the first 5E setting (if we do not consider FR): Ravenloft come out as an adventure and not with the setting, Eberron is still in a play-test stage, so I do not count it.
 

Tiles

Villager
I can’t say the setting interests me as far as running a campaign in it, but I can’t pass on all those juicy monsters and the hope that I’ll glean some interesting mechanics from their approach on guilds or something else.
 

werecorpse

Explorer
Thematically I prefer a less crowded world than this appears to be. More exploring the wildernes than battling street gangs. I do like new monsters though.

I’m supportive of steps that are taken to enhance viability of D&D like growing the supporter base by trying to lure in Magic the gathering players.

As someone who DMs and not at my house I really do wish they would publish products that were more traditionally streamlined. Having to carry Volos and Mordenkainens books to a game just to be able to use the 1/3 that are monsters sucks - adding another 1/3 monster book will likewise suck. I would love a compiled monster book or PDFs....sorry got off track.
 

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