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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!
 

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Charles Dunwoody

Charles Dunwoody

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
I'm excited about this.

I have a homebrew world, but I love setting books for NPCS, locations, rules, monsters, ideas.... and I don't really care where the 5E book comes from - it could be written for 5e, adapted from an earlier edition, adapted from another game, 3rd Party, adapted from a book or movie.. all of it is good. When the book hits, it is a 5E book, no matter the original source.
 

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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.

Up to this point, 5E had been a retread of adventures and a setting from 1E: Forgotten Realms, giants, a vampire, Tiamat, the Underdark, actual conversions of previous modules, etc. Finally, something new to D&D is coming out. Some of us need a break from retreads.

When I wanted to play Dark Sun I just played it using AD&D 2E. The boxed set was $25 used. I can pick up modules for a decent price. It doesn't need to be reprinted (although I'd buy it if it was!). 5E needs new toys. Ravnica is the first and hopefully not the last.
 
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Grimstaff

Explorer
I'm interested in this. Don't really know anything about it from a MTG perspective, but it's nice to have a new campaign setting option.

I wonder if the book makes any mention on how to connect this world to the other short MtG setting guides they've released over the last couple of years.
 

dwayne

Adventurer
Would have preferred Planescape, this seems like a pushed magic/wanna be planescape to me. I will not be using or buying this why is it so hard to just bring back previous settings as the fan base is there all ready. I guess they are trying to get the card people into the roleplay part, but most do the card thing because they don't do the other. I was doing one for a while mtg but tired of all the damn collectible bull. I buy a game i want all the pieces not just the main ones but all options, like buying monopoly and then them selling you special properties cards to add to the game. I know its a money thing and to make more people to buy more cards and stuff but does not mean i have to like it.
 

I'm interested in this. Don't really know anything about it from a MTG perspective, but it's nice to have a new campaign setting option.

I wonder if the book makes any mention on how to connect this world to the other short MtG setting guides they've released over the last couple of years.

The various planes which include Ravnica can be reached via magic spells and abilities, magic items, and psionics. Plane shift and gate would likely work.

http://mtg.wikia.com/wiki/Planes

Planar travel

Planeswalkers
Planeswalkers are capable of transporting between planes using the power of their magical spark. They are also able to summon creatures and spells from one plane to another. However, in the Time Spiral story, Venser realizes that he too can Planeswalk even though he does not have the magical energies of a planeswalker.

Gates and Portals
On some planes there are artificial gates and portals which make artificial planeswalking possible. While one-off portals existed between Rath and Mercadia, Ulgrotha and Dominaria, and Rabiah and Wildfire, the Thran developed a set of portals consistent in design and behavior. These were later twisted by Yawgmoth to create Phyrexian portals that required the sacrifice of creatures, artifacts or a great deal of magical energy, and lead all across the multiverse. Also with the help of Lord Ith, Jodah Archmage Eaternal created a mana based portal that could transport between planes which linking portals were already established. The Artificer Venser, was able to create a planeswalking Machine to simulate planeswalking and travel between planes.

Rathi overlay
During the Phyrexian Invasion of Dominaria, the inhabitants of Urborg were taken aback when Phyrexian forces seemingly materialized out of thin air. In fact, the artificial plane of Rath had been slowly producing an artificial substance known as flowstone for an undetermined amount of time. This psionically reactive mineral increased the 'planar density' of Rath to the point that it mimicked that of Dominaria. When this occurred, the two planes started to converge, with disastrous results.
 
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Fandabidozi

Explorer
I love the Ravnica setting, hopefully this is a big success. I’d like to see Theros next (based on the heroes, myths, and monsters of Ancient Greece).
 





Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
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.

Your argument would work better if I could go back to any prior edition and play in Ravnica. Which I can't, so I'm going to suggest that this does fit the "new" category. For me it's 100% new since I haven't played MTG in at least 15 years and have no idea what Ravnica is about. More amazingly it is not FR or any of the same old same old setting D&D has done to death over the decades. The fact that they are extrapolating from a card game setting is irrelevant.
 

Muso

Explorer
Your argument would work better if I could go back to any prior edition and play in Ravnica. Which I can't, so I'm going to suggest that this does fit the "new" category. For me it's 100% new since I haven't played MTG in at least 15 years and have no idea what Ravnica is about. More amazingly it is not FR or any of the same old same old setting D&D has done to death over the decades. The fact that they are extrapolating from a card game setting is irrelevant.

It is relevant because in a survey dated two years ago (if I remember well the date) a lot of people asked for the old D&D settings updated for the present edition. A lot of time passed because thay have to come out first with the first major rule expansion (Xanathar's book). OK, now it is time for the settings and I would like to have what we asked for: the old D&D settings (or almost some of them) before this new setting (from another game). After Planescape, Dark Sun, Eberron and maybe something else Ravnica should be fine. Not before.
 

Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
It is relevant because in a survey dated two years ago (if I remember well the date) a lot of people asked for the old D&D settings updated for the present edition. A lot of time passed because thay have to come out first with the first major rule expansion (Xanathar's book). OK, now it is time for the settings and I would like to have what we asked for: the old D&D settings (or almost some of them) before this new setting (from another game). After Planescape, Dark Sun, Eberron and maybe something else Ravnica should be fine. Not before.

But that's changing the basis of your argument. If you're arguing "we should get revisions of old content before a new setting," then you and I aren't going to disagree...I would have liked all the old settings to get updates. But your original argument I was respondng to was that Ravnica didn't count as a new setting. Which I was disagreeing with.
 

Muso

Explorer
But that's changing the basis of your argument. If you're arguing "we should get revisions of old content before a new setting," then you and I aren't going to disagree...I would have liked all the old settings to get updates. But your original argument I was respondng to was that Ravnica didn't count as a new setting. Which I was disagreeing with.

Sorry for that, it is difficult to be clear in another language and I apologize for my terrible english. My point is: I find disturbing that after a lot of people asked for the old settings updated for the new edition, the designers come out with Ravinca that is a setting from another game. It is clearly a commercial operation to drag in people from Magic. It is something that you can do, but after that the fan base of your game (D&D) is happy with the old settings, not before. I would have preferred a completely new setting, not something asked by no one (that smells like T$R). I fear that the next time the designers will came out with a new book featuring the Transformers or G.I.Joe... they are new settings for D&D with a lot of new creatures and backgrounds and so on. But it's still something that has nothing to do with D&D.
 

Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
Sorry for that, it is difficult to be clear in another language and I apologize for my terrible english. My point is: I find disturbing that after a lot of people asked for the old settings updated for the new edition, the designers come out with Ravinca that is a setting from another game. It is clearly a commercial operation to drag in people from Magic. It is something that you can do, but after that the fan base of your game (D&D) is happy with the old settings, not before. I would have preferred a completely new setting, not something asked by no one (that smells like T$R). I fear that the next time the designers will came out with a new book featuring the Transformers or G.I.Joe... they are new settings for D&D with a lot of new creatures and backgrounds and so on. But it's still something that has nothing to do with D&D.

THat's why a lot of people (myself included) aren't happy that Eberron only got a PDF release on dmsguild.com. Totally agree. I mean....I want new stuff, but I also want the old stuff updated and treated with respect, too.
 


THat's why a lot of people (myself included) aren't happy that Eberron only got a PDF release on dmsguild.com. Totally agree. I mean....I want new stuff, but I also want the old stuff updated and treated with respect, too.

I'm ambivalent one way or another about Eberron as a setting -- I didn't play 3/3.5/4E and the idea of the world, at least at a high level, isn't that interesting to me for the most part -- but I do agree that if they're going to introduce a whole new campaign setting they shouldn't half-ass it as a DM's Guild only release.

I personally would have preferred an update of Mystara or Krynn... or even a re-introduction of Spelljammer or Planescape.
 

Toriel

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.

Same here. I know that megadungeons are all the rage these days but I'm at the other end of the spectrum where I prefer my campaigns with fewer and smaller dungeons.
 

Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
I'm ambivalent one way or another about Eberron as a setting -- I didn't play 3/3.5/4E and the idea of the world, at least at a high level, isn't that interesting to me for the most part -- but I do agree that if they're going to introduce a whole new campaign setting they shouldn't half-ass it as a DM's Guild only release.

I personally would have preferred an update of Mystara or Krynn... or even a re-introduction of Spelljammer or Planescape.

Eberron is an odd one, and I wasn't in to it for the most part even while playing 3/3.5/4, but the setting itself really grew on me when I finally checked it out.

My main problem these days is that I really need and want modern updates of these settings; they all look so simple/juvenile to me now (I have faulty rose colored glasses when it comes to nostalgia for some reason). I used to love Mystara for the Gazetteers, for example, but the incongruent and highly inorganic anachronistic nature of its hodepodge cultural designs are too much for me now; back in the day it was great that it existed at all, but today it's like.....we can do so much better. Thus why my feelings about revivals of classic material are mixed, and tempered with a desire to see such revisions genuinely revised.
 

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.

If Ravnica is like the card game there will be a wilderness component in parks and gardens and druids and even antelopes. But not a sprawling wilderness.


I'm glad they are trying to get new D&D players as well. But a lot of existing D&D players are looking forward to it too. Like me.:)

As far as rulebooks go, story is a big part of 5E and so is trying to do new types of books. So no Monster Manual 2s are likely. I can understand that hauling around lots of books can be a pain though.
 

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