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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

sgt-d

Banned
Banned
I don't know much about Ravinica, to be honest. I'm interested enough to buy this when it comes out, though. I think that, from what I've heard from people I know, is that the issue is less about Ravinica and more about the lack of support for the other settings. When 5th Edition came out, I honestly thought that WotC did a decent job trying to bring back those who have stayed behind with earlier rules. But since then it's been (with the exception of one Ravenloft book) nothing but Forgotten Realms. I'm of the opinion that if WotC had released some products for at least a couple more existing settings that the complaining about Ravinica would have been significantly less.
 

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redCartel

First Post
The only Magic setting D&D actually needs is Jamuraa from Mirage (fantasy gaming has always struggled with African inspired settings and Jamuraa is the best one that any product has ever come up with)

Ravnica is a second-rate Sigil and they should have just done Planescape. It's much more interesting.
 

Hussar

Legend
The only Magic setting D&D actually needs is Jamuraa from Mirage (fantasy gaming has always struggled with African inspired settings and Jamuraa is the best one that any product has ever come up with)

Ravnica is a second-rate Sigil and they should have just done Planescape. It's much more interesting.

OTOH, there are those of us who loathe Planescape and find the notion of a planar setting that isn't knee deep in Planescape to be a very, VERY refreshing change that would actually get me to run a planar game instead of avoiding anything planar like it had the plague.
 

cbwjm

Hero
While I would like to see some updated rules for planescape, I am super excited for the Ravnica book. It's about time that they tapped into the MtG settings (I also love the planeshift documents as ideas for running in a MtG setting). MtG settings have great story elements and are just perfect for a DnD campaign. From early info about the book, it also sounds like I'll be able to use rules in Ravnica to help me update some of the planescape stuff from 2e to 5e.
 

AmerginLiath

Adventurer
While I think it’s cool how they’re doing this, part of me still laments how the Krynnish Minotaur of the first-draft UA has been rewritten into a Ravnican Minotaur, losing the distinctive elements which were built for Dragonlance games like the ones I play in.
 

redCartel

First Post
Four years into 5th edition and only one D&D setting has gotten any real degree of support. It bugs me. It's like Hasbro doesn't really believe in what they have.
 

guachi

Adventurer
Honestly, I'm not interested in dozens of new monsters. If that's the first and best selling point this product probably isn't for me.
 

cbwjm

Hero
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).

Theros would be a cool setting. I've been slowly working on pulling information from the WotC "Planeswalkers guide to Theros" articles to develop a small campaign booklet.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'm pretty stoked for it: I love worldbuilding as an art form, and maps. Character options and monsters are always appreciated. People uptight about old settings should see this more as an opportunity to show that there is interest in variant settings.
 

scottieboy86

Explorer
I'm pretty stoked for it: I love worldbuilding as an art form, and maps. Character options and monsters are always appreciated. People uptight about old settings should see this more as an opportunity to show that there is interest in variant settings.

A thousand times this. Can't we give wotc a chance to grow our hobby instead of clinging to the same old same old forever?
 

gyor

Legend
Honestly, I'm not interested in dozens of new monsters. If that's the first and best selling point this product probably isn't for me.

It will also have subclasses and new races, backgrounds with solid support, a map of the 10th district, and details on factions and the politics of Ravnica. I hope it also explains how MtG worlds/planes fit into the D&D multiverse.
 

Muso

Explorer
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 totally agree with you. Also, I would like to see the old D&D players and fans that asked for the old settings to be treated with more respect. I am not against new settings, I am against top-down commercial operation (like D&D 4E).
 

DM Howard

Explorer
Four years into 5th edition and only one D&D setting has gotten any real degree of support. It bugs me. It's like Hasbro doesn't really believe in what they have.

And let's be honest, what they have put out in support of the Forgotten Realms is only deemed such because other settings have even less or none at all. Give me a Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, WOTC, at the very least put it on POD if you are so afraid of minimal sales. That goes for other settings too, the way they are approaching Eberron is terrible.
 


I totally agree with you. Also, I would like to see the old D&D players and fans that asked for the old settings to be treated with more respect. I am not against new settings, I am against top-down commercial operation (like D&D 4E).

In what way do you think Wizards could show that respect? And by top-down commercial operation do you mean you believe the high level executives at WotC (or maybe Hasbro) direct how D&D gets developed rather than the lower level employees?
 


And let's be honest, what they have put out in support of the Forgotten Realms is only deemed such because other settings have even less or none at all. Give me a Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, WOTC, at the very least put it on POD if you are so afraid of minimal sales. That goes for other settings too, the way they are approaching Eberron is terrible.

Honestly curious. You can buy a Forgotten Realms setting hardcover for 3E used for under $30 https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Campaign-Setting-Dungeons-Roleplaying/dp/0786918365. Wouldn't that be better than POD just because you'd get a poster map of the setting?
 

cbwjm

Hero
Do you think WotC could do both? If yes, what would be a good balance of refurbished old versus brand new do you think?
I actually think what they are doing at the moment is a great way of doing it by releasing a new setting around the same time as an old one. I'm not sure if they will continue this way but it is a nice way of doing it.
 

scottieboy86

Explorer
Seems they already are. I would wager that they will do with older settings what they have done with Eberron, getting the creator involved with any new material when possible.
 
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Muso

Explorer
In what way do you think Wizards could show that respect? And by top-down commercial operation do you mean you believe the high level executives at WotC (or maybe Hasbro) direct how D&D gets developed rather than the lower level employees?

In a survey two/three years ago a lot of people asked for the old setting updated for the 5E. Wizards can show respect giving to us the old settings first and then new settings, not the opposite.
In answer to your second question: yes, I think that WotC (or maybe Hasbro) executives direct the D&D development, expecially after the 4E flop and Pathfinder overtaking. We know that the D&D team is very small if compared to the large ammount of people working on D&D 3.x edition. The D&D team was obliged to succeed. They took their time, with a lot of pubblic play-test and surveys and actually did the job. But now I feel that they are abliged by WotC/Hasbro executives to achieve a sort of cross-over with Magic the Gathering: the D&D team produced a lot of Planeshift play-test material and now they are almost ready with Ravnica, even before the update of the old settings requested by the D&D fan-base.
 

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