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

Parmandur

Legend
I am glad you have the time for develop you own setting and homebrew material. Unfortunately I don't have so much time, so I need the official settings. I can use FR o Eberron (after the play-test that will last for some time), but I prefer other settings and those settings were promised a long time ago. And probably also you in the future will lack the time for develop your own material. As you said, you are probably biased :)
They have expressly never promised anything for 5E. They have expressed broad long-term goals.
 

Hussar

Legend
Just a bit of context to [MENTION=6670153]gyor[/MENTION]'s point about the settings and the survey that WotC did. The survey in question was asking what settings would people like updated. It wasn't really asking if people played in one setting or another. The survey was, to some degree, kinda self selecting. If you didn't play in any of those settings, it's unlikely you would answer.
 
They have expressly never promised anything for 5E. They have expressed broad long-term goals.
I agree. WotC made it clear they wanted to tell stories with D&D which is why we're getting so many adventure paths. Actually getting a hardcover setting thrills me as it indicates they are willing to venture out a bit now.
 

Muso

Villager
Experiments designed for and aimed squarely at making money: there is no difference. TSR made so many settings because they wanted money, plain and simple. Waiting twenty years to cross the Streams can hardly be called a quick money grab, in comparison.
Obviously TSR wanted to make money (as WotC/Hasbro now). They are not here for our pleasure, but to make money. That's pretty clear to everyone. On the other hand, some books were clearly just an intent to squeeze money from the D&D fans (and a lot of people at that time was not really happy with those manuals), while others were a gamble and - even if it was not sure to get easy money from them - they was a success. For example TSR didn't come out with another Manual of the Planes - a potential easy-seller - but produced Planescape with the factions and a game full of moral questions. That was a lucky gamble. We cannot say the same for Spelljammer for example.
This is the difference for me: a commercial operation producing easy money or some experimentation that can also turn out to be a flop. Probably at that time people at TSR had more courage (or were more crazy) than the present D&D designers.
 

Muso

Villager
They have expressly never promised anything for 5E. They have expressed broad long-term goals.
OK, probably they never explicitly promised the old settings. But, come on, there is from the play-test at the very begin of the 5E that the designers talk about this or that setting of old. They created a lot of hipe and now they cannot say that it was just a joke.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
I am glad you have the time for develop you own setting and homebrew material. Unfortunately I don't have so much time, so I need the official settings. I can use FR o Eberron (after the play-test that will last for some time), but I prefer other settings and those settings were promised a long time ago. And probably also you in the future will lack the time for develop your own material. As you said, you are probably biased :)
My point was that WotC is most concerned with the majority of D&D players. Only about 10-15% of the market (at most) has the desire for a particular setting other than homebrew and FR. They simply cannot focus on that small of a market and make the money they need to under their current model. 5e has only been out for 4years, nothing was promised that long ago. Heck, we switched to 5e in 2014/2015 and my PCs are still only at 12th level.
 
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Parmandur

Legend
Obviously TSR wanted to make money (as WotC/Hasbro now). They are not here for our pleasure, but to make money. That's pretty clear to everyone. On the other hand, some books were clearly just an intent to squeeze money from the D&D fans (and a lot of people at that time was not really happy with those manuals), while others were a gamble and - even if it was not sure to get easy money from them - they was a success. For example TSR didn't come out with another Manual of the Planes - a potential easy-seller - but produced Planescape with the factions and a game full of moral questions. That was a lucky gamble. We cannot say the same for Spelljammer for example.
This is the difference for me: a commercial operation producing easy money or some experimentation that can also turn out to be a flop. Probably at that time people at TSR had more courage (or were more crazy) than the present D&D designers.
Spelljammer is considered successful by many. At any rate, Ravnica is a passion project for Wyatt, so it is easily in the same catagory as any old TSR product.
 

Parmandur

Legend
OK, probably they never explicitly promised the old settings. But, come on, there is from the play-test at the very begin of the 5E that the designers talk about this or that setting of old. They created a lot of hipe and now they cannot say that it was just a joke.
They continue to talk about and make plans: they are in it for the Long haul, not a quick buck.
 

EthanSental

Explorer
I wasn’t initailly going to pick this one up but now I’m on the fence out of curiousity.

also did I miss a new post on the site that mentioned Wyatt released another planeshift pdf? Dominaria is on the dmsguild August 14.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Probably at that time people at TSR had more courage (or were more crazy) than the present D&D designers.
I am not sure how RPG companies work, but I would guess that it is not the designers call. If it was simply up to the designers I bet we would get all kinds of wacky stuff.

EDIT. I myself am a designer (but not RPGs) so I know some of the wacky stuff we can think up!
 
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Obviously TSR wanted to make money (as WotC/Hasbro now). They are not here for our pleasure, but to make money. That's pretty clear to everyone. On the other hand, some books were clearly just an intent to squeeze money from the D&D fans (and a lot of people at that time was not really happy with those manuals), while others were a gamble and - even if it was not sure to get easy money from them - they was a success. For example TSR didn't come out with another Manual of the Planes - a potential easy-seller - but produced Planescape with the factions and a game full of moral questions. That was a lucky gamble. We cannot say the same for Spelljammer for example.
This is the difference for me: a commercial operation producing easy money or some experimentation that can also turn out to be a flop. Probably at that time people at TSR had more courage (or were more crazy) than the present D&D designers.
On the other hand, Ravnica seems to fit your description exactly. Something the designers want to make that they think will be successful but has never been done before. Not an adventure path or more rules or a retread but something completely new. In other words, a risk.
 
OK, probably they never explicitly promised the old settings. But, come on, there is from the play-test at the very begin of the 5E that the designers talk about this or that setting of old. They created a lot of hipe and now they cannot say that it was just a joke.
I agree with you. I liked D&D Next better than I like 5E. The designers could take risks and try things they just can't do in a hardcover. I think they enjoyed the freedom of design by PDF but now they have to provide a return on investment to the corporation. Bummer for everyone, but that is how things work.

However, if Eberron and Ravnica are both successful, the designers can use that success to prove that settings other than Forgotten Realms sell to their bosses. And that will likely unlock more options for D&D design in the future.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Half the reason I think they have had adventure paths over settings is so that they can tie it into the Neverwinter MMO. I'm not sure if they all ended up as expansions for the game but I know many of them did.
 

Hussar

Legend
Obviously TSR wanted to make money (as WotC/Hasbro now). They are not here for our pleasure, but to make money. That's pretty clear to everyone. On the other hand, some books were clearly just an intent to squeeze money from the D&D fans (and a lot of people at that time was not really happy with those manuals), while others were a gamble and - even if it was not sure to get easy money from them - they was a success. For example TSR didn't come out with another Manual of the Planes - a potential easy-seller - but produced Planescape with the factions and a game full of moral questions. That was a lucky gamble. We cannot say the same for Spelljammer for example.
This is the difference for me: a commercial operation producing easy money or some experimentation that can also turn out to be a flop. Probably at that time people at TSR had more courage (or were more crazy) than the present D&D designers.
I think it's fair to say that the people at TSR were much, much poorer at running a business than WotC has been. I mean, overall, think about it - WotC has owned D&D for about 20 years now. In that time, they've had two smash hit editions and one miss. In the same amount of time, TSR managed to go from ludicrous profits to going out of business.

I for one welcome our suited overlords. The hobby is a HELL of a lot healthier today than it was in say, 1997.
 

flametitan

Explorer
Half the reason I think they have had adventure paths over settings is so that they can tie it into the Neverwinter MMO. I'm not sure if they all ended up as expansions for the game but I know many of them did.
You're right, partially. Most likely, it's a carry-over of the storyline/cross-media tie-in plans from the launch of 5e, of which Neverwinter MMO was one aspect of.

That, and wotc likely finds adventure books to be more useful to a larger swath of audience, who could run them as is, steal maps or encounters for their own campaigns, rework it to fit in other worlds, rework it so that certain elements are either expanded upon or dropped. Settings, to me, seem to be a little less flexible in what they offer to players.
 
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Muso

Villager
Wow, I am into the lion's den surrounded by enemies :)

My point was that WotC is most concerned with the majority of D&D players. Only about 10-15% of the market (at most) has the desire for a particular setting other than homebrew and FR. They simply cannot focus on that small of a market and make the money they need to under their current model. 5e has only been out for 4years, nothing was promised that long ago. Heck, we switched to 5e in 2014/2015 and my PCs are still only at 12th level.
OK, D&D team cannot copletely focus on that small market, but they should almost partially focus on it because their fan-base asked for old settings. And Mearls&Co continued to talk about the old settings from the Next's play-test times. Somehow they made us desire the old settings and a part of us (not the majority, I am not saying this) are asking for them.
P.s. sorry, but the level of your PCs is irrilevent in a general discussion. We are not talking of your game pace.

Spelljammer is considered successful by many. At any rate, Ravnica is a passion project for Wyatt, so it is easily in the same catagory as any old TSR product.
If my informations are correct, Spelljammer didn't sell so much in the past. Even if, I must admit, it was pretty brilliant with a lot of good ideas. But we was talking about commercial gambles, and Spelljammer, for example, didn't sell as much as Planescape.

On the other hand, Ravnica seems to fit your description exactly. Something the designers want to make that they think will be successful but has never been done before. Not an adventure path or more rules or a retread but something completely new. In other words, a risk.
Good point. I partially agree with your point of view, but I also think that in any case Ravnica is a calculated risk. If I am not wrong, people playing Magic is lots more than people playing D&D. Even if a small ammount of the people playing Magic will buy the new book, it will be a commercial success. Expecially with the new Ravnica sets for Magic coming out almost at the same time. And some D&D people will buy the Ravnica setting as well. So, don't call it a leap of faith.

I agree with you. I liked D&D Next better than I like 5E. The designers could take risks and try things they just can't do in a hardcover. I think they enjoyed the freedom of design by PDF but now they have to provide a return on investment to the corporation. Bummer for everyone, but that is how things work.

However, if Eberron and Ravnica are both successful, the designers can use that success to prove that settings other than Forgotten Realms sell to their bosses. And that will likely unlock more options for D&D design in the future.
Another good point. In particular I feel combated regarding your last sentence. Basically I hope that only Eberron will be successful in order to show to the designers that settings other than the FR can sell a lot, but also that we don't like so much this D&D/Magic cross-over. But I fear that I will proven wrong.

I think it's fair to say that the people at TSR were much, much poorer at running a business than WotC has been. I mean, overall, think about it - WotC has owned D&D for about 20 years now. In that time, they've had two smash hit editions and one miss. In the same amount of time, TSR managed to go from ludicrous profits to going out of business.

I for one welcome our suited overlords. The hobby is a HELL of a lot healthier today than it was in say, 1997.
The whole game's business world was much poorer at running business at that time. For sure Hasbro looks like a giant in comparison. Let's hope that WotC is not about to miss again... disappointing the fan-base for some commercial ideas was at the base of the 4E failure. Apparently 5E was different... until Ravnica.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Wow, I am into the lion's den surrounded by enemies :)



OK, D&D team cannot copletely focus on that small market, but they should almost partially focus on it because their fan-base asked for old settings. And Mearls&Co continued to talk about the old settings from the Next's play-test times. Somehow they made us desire the old settings and a part of us (not the majority, I am not saying this) are asking for them.
P.s. sorry, but the level of your PCs is irrilevent in a general discussion. We are not talking of your game pace.



If my informations are correct, Spelljammer didn't sell so much in the past. Even if, I must admit, it was pretty brilliant with a lot of good ideas. But we was talking about commercial gambles, and Spelljammer, for example, didn't sell as much as Planescape.



Good point. I partially agree with your point of view, but I also think that in any case Ravnica is a calculated risk. If I am not wrong, people playing Magic is lots more than people playing D&D. Even if a small ammount of the people playing Magic will buy the new book, it will be a commercial success. Expecially with the new Ravnica sets for Magic coming out almost at the same time. And some D&D people will buy the Ravnica setting as well. So, don't call it a leap of faith.



Another good point. In particular I feel combated regarding your last sentence. Basically I hope that only Eberron will be successful in order to show to the designers that settings other than the FR can sell a lot, but also that we don't like so much this D&D/Magic cross-over. But I fear that I will proven wrong.



The whole game's business world was much poorer at running business at that time. For sure Hasbro looks like a giant in comparison. Let's hope that WotC is not about to miss again... disappointing the fan-base for some commercial ideas was at the base of the 4E failure. Apparently 5E was different... until Ravnica.
Not terribly more people play Magic, ~20 million versus ~15 million people, and the Venn diagram overlap is already huge percentage wise. Sure, it is a good business move, but they took over twenty years to work out how to handle it. That's about as long as TSR existed!

I see no way that Ravnica is different, in terms of creative energy or giving (some significant part of) the fans what they want.
 

gyor

Adventurer
Wow, I am into the lion's den surrounded by enemies :)



OK, D&D team cannot copletely focus on that small market, but they should almost partially focus on it because their fan-base asked for old settings. And Mearls&Co continued to talk about the old settings from the Next's play-test times. Somehow they made us desire the old settings and a part of us (not the majority, I am not saying this) are asking for them.
P.s. sorry, but the level of your PCs is irrilevent in a general discussion. We are not talking of your game pace.



If my informations are correct, Spelljammer didn't sell so much in the past. Even if, I must admit, it was pretty brilliant with a lot of good ideas. But we was talking about commercial gambles, and Spelljammer, for example, didn't sell as much as Planescape.



Good point. I partially agree with your point of view, but I also think that in any case Ravnica is a calculated risk. If I am not wrong, people playing Magic is lots more than people playing D&D. Even if a small ammount of the people playing Magic will buy the new book, it will be a commercial success. Expecially with the new Ravnica sets for Magic coming out almost at the same time. And some D&D people will buy the Ravnica setting as well. So, don't call it a leap of faith.



Another good point. In particular I feel combated regarding your last sentence. Basically I hope that only Eberron will be successful in order to show to the designers that settings other than the FR can sell a lot, but also that we don't like so much this D&D/Magic cross-over. But I fear that I will proven wrong.



The whole game's business world was much poorer at running business at that time. For sure Hasbro looks like a giant in comparison. Let's hope that WotC is not about to miss again... disappointing the fan-base for some commercial ideas was at the base of the 4E failure. Apparently 5E was different... until Ravnica.
You worry to much about future MtG crossover, they don't have enough setting to worry about. Most already have Planeshift PDFs, few as popular as Ravnica or big enough like Ravnica to fill a hardcover.

Dominara is one of the most popular setting, but it just a Planeshift article, won't get another set of cards for at least another 5 years, and it's thematically too much like FR.

Innistrad, Zendilkar, Amentek, Ixalan, Keledesh already have Planeshift PDFs, and they have other issues and MtG will not be visiting them card wise for years, so they are out.

The only one with enough popularity, big enough size, no planeshift or Hardcover yet, different enough thematically to give it genre space to breath, Theros, the one sort of based on Greek Mythology, and I don't think that will come out until at least two years from now, more likely more, when most of the traditional D&D Settings will already be released. I actually like their twisted take on Greek Mythology, so a Theros Hardcover would be cool.

So you see you have no reason to be worried about traditional D&D settings getting bumped for more MtG settings and rooting against Ravnica's success. Ravnica only came first because it was a perfect storm of things occurring at just the right time to make NOW perfect from an WotC perpective, plus the MtG team did most of the work, with the D&D guys helping with mechanics and making sure it fit into D&D's multiverse and game play style.

Honestly between Ravnica fans who will buy anything Ravnica related, D&D fans who buy anything D&D related, players looking for more player options, and DMs tired of FR, but not wanting to homebrew, Guildmasters Guide to Ravniva is certain sell well.
 
Wow, I am into the lion's den surrounded by enemies :)
No enemy here. If you play D&D we already have something good in common and you've proven you have good taste (wait, that doesn't pair well with your lion's den analogy). We don't have to like everything the same though!

Another good point. In particular I feel combated regarding your last sentence. Basically I hope that only Eberron will be successful in order to show to the designers that settings other than the FR can sell a lot, but also that we don't like so much this D&D/Magic cross-over. But I fear that I will proven wrong.
But I do like the D&D/MtG crossover! And it is the executive leadership that needs to understand that settings sell. I don't they will get the difference between Eberron and Ravnica. The first hardcover setting for 5E must sell well. It is critical if we want more hardcover settings.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Wow, I am into the lion's den surrounded by enemies :)
LOL



OK, D&D team cannot copletely focus on that small market, but they should almost partially focus on it because their fan-base asked for old settings. And Mearls&Co continued to talk about the old settings from the Next's play-test times. Somehow they made us desire the old settings and a part of us (not the majority, I am not saying this) are asking for them.
In 4 years we have gotten FR, Ravenloft, Eberon, & Ravinica (or however it is spelled). And all indications are that they plan to at least continue this trend. That seems very reasonable to me and I would be willing to bet that they feel they are fulfilling their "promises" to provide additional settings. Heck, they have even said they will continue to open DMs Guild to more settings. You just want more / faster content. That is OK, but I don't think their development philosophy is going to do a 180.


P.s. sorry, but the level of your PCs is irrilevent in a general discussion. We are not talking of your game pace.
My point was time is relative What seems like a long time to you has only been a few levels for my group. We haven't even gotten through one setting yet. At our pace, if we tried a new setting after each campaign, we would need one about every 10 years! So we need anther setting in about 5-6 years.
 

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