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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

Zilong

First Post
You may count me as one who is excited about Ravnica and untroubled by the pace of old setting updates. Ravnica means new stuff for me to steal... "borrow". Most that old stuff I can and have converted or adapted when needed.

Granted, I have only ever played in two (maybe three) officially published settings: Forgotten Realms and Golarion from pathfinder (we kinda used Planescape, but it wasn't really a planescape game). And when I DM games I've always used homebrew settings which use repurposed assets from other places as well as crap I throw at the wall to see if it sticks.

So, yay! New stuff!
 

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cbwjm

Hero
Some of the older settings don't even really need an update, which isn't to say that I wouldn't want them updated but I just but I just think that they aren't really needed.

Greyhawk and Dragonlance would be easily run with the current options, the only really unique mechanic for Dragonlance is moon magic which could easily be ignored and the game would run fine.

Planescape I'd love and update but again it could be run quite easily with current options. The Ravnica setting sounds like it will also have some ideas for expanding on the factions if people really want to.

Dark Sun i think needs some kind of psionic mechanics. Spelljammer is probably unique enough that it could do with an update and Birthright sounds like it needs some sort of domain management system.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
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.

What if the Magic team announces their next setting after Ravnica...and it is Eberron, or Dark Sun...?

Crossing streams can be a two-way street.
 

Hussar

Legend
What if the Magic team announces their next setting after Ravnica...and it is Eberron, or Dark Sun...?

Crossing streams can be a two-way street.

Having the art budget that Magic brings to its cards design D&D based Eberron or Dark Sun cards? Yes, please. And I'll have a second helping if I could. And I haven't played Magic since the 90's.

I remember the old Battletech CCG. It really was a fantastic gateway game for getting people into Battletech. Lots of great art, the game was a pile of fun and all the tidbits on the cards really gave a great feel for the setting.

I could only hope that D&D would get that kind of boost from Magic.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Having the art budget that Magic brings to its cards design D&D based Eberron or Dark Sun cards? Yes, please. And I'll have a second helping if I could. And I haven't played Magic since the 90's.

I remember the old Battletech CCG. It really was a fantastic gateway game for getting people into Battletech. Lots of great art, the game was a pile of fun and all the tidbits on the cards really gave a great feel for the setting.

I could only hope that D&D would get that kind of boost from Magic.

Their approach to Ravnica is very suggestive: a purely D&D version is f the world, no mention of Magic cosmology or metaphysics. They could go the other other way, and have a card set with a pure Magic version of, say, Eberron. They could easily do an all-Magic version of a setting, an all-D&D version of the setting and a game-neutral art book all at the same time...as they are doing with Ravnica right now. Would also work with developit bew settings for both games simultaneously.

I'd buy that stuff.
 


guachi

Adventurer
What are you interested in?

I know this may sound strange, but a huge variety of monsters isn't a strong draw for me playing the game. It is (and was) a lot of fun for me to read the various Monster Manuals, especially when I was a kid. You can read and stop basically wherever you want and get something out of it.

However, it's not a draw for *playing* the game. The D&D game already has more monsters in it than I'm ever likely to see. In a supplement, it just ends up seeming like filler.

Personally, I'd rather see something like a setting Gazetteer — information on settings and people and institutions and history. It's the downside of trying to shove everything into one book rather than a setting book and a creature supplement.

Despite not being well-regarded, the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide is the kind of thing I'd like to see. Its major drawback is that I don't think lots of people were clamoring for a book on the Sword Coast not that it didn't do a good job providing information on the Sword Coast.

EDIT: I'll add that having a supplement with a few dozen monsters and yet more races and subclasses is definitely a way to appeal to people who won't run a game set in Ravnica.

The downside of this approach to having books with a little of this and a little of that is that the books end up being neither fish nor fowl and it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of things. Every new supplement looks like a compilation of the Best of Dragon instead of a focused product.
 
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BBShockwave

First Post
Guilds that represent different philosophies, a giant city full of intrigue with portals to other worlds? Sounds to me like Magic the Gathering basically ripped off Sigil of Planescape to make this setting back then. Funny that now that they are owned by WotC, things come full circle.
 

I know this may sound strange, but a huge variety of monsters isn't a strong draw for me playing the game. It is (and was) a lot of fun for me to read the various Monster Manuals, especially when I was a kid. You can read and stop basically wherever you want and get something out of it.

However, it's not a draw for *playing* the game. The D&D game already has more monsters in it than I'm ever likely to see. In a supplement, it just ends up seeming like filler.

Personally, I'd rather see something like a setting Gazetteer — information on settings and people and institutions and history. It's the downside of trying to shove everything into one book rather than a setting book and a creature supplement.

Despite not being well-regarded, the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide is the kind of thing I'd like to see. Its major drawback is that I don't think lots of people were clamoring for a book on the Sword Coast not that it didn't do a good job providing information on the Sword Coast.

EDIT: I'll add that having a supplement with a few dozen monsters and yet more races and subclasses is definitely a way to appeal to people who won't run a game set in Ravnica.

The downside of this approach to having books with a little of this and a little of that is that the books end up being neither fish nor fowl and it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of things. Every new supplement looks like a compilation of the Best of Dragon instead of a focused product.

That makes sense. Ravnica, in my opinion, is adding enough rule content to represent the world (like the races and guilds as background along with Ravnica monsters). The book will also contain information on the ten guilds, how to focus and run a campaign in a world sized city, and more.

I haven't seen a hardcover setting for 5E yet so I can only go on what WotC has discussed so far. But I believe Ravnica will be packed with setting information, adventure advice, and world content along with select rules that directly tie to the setting.

I am going to unpack more world content in some upcoming articles leading to Ravnica's release. The book won't just be about new rule content I am sure. I'm going to discuss some of what is known about Ravnica so far (based on Magic) that I hope makes it into the book.
 

Guilds that represent different philosophies, a giant city full of intrigue with portals to other worlds? Sounds to me like Magic the Gathering basically ripped off Sigil of Planescape to make this setting back then. Funny that now that they are owned by WotC, things come full circle.

According to Mark Rosewater, Ravnica started with the mechanics of taking all the mana color pairs and doing something different than a previous set. https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/founding-city-2018-08-27

Going into the block, I knew only one thing about the set: it was going to have a multicolor theme. We had done Invasion block in 2000 to huge fanfare, and its success had convinced us to do another multicolor block as soon as we felt it was possible. After much discussion, we decided the appropriate amount of time was five years. Part of me was happy because I knew multicolor themes were very popular, but I also knew we would be designing in the shadow of Invasion, a very popular block. My goal was to capture as much as we could of what made multicolor fun while feeling as little like Invasion block as possible. I started the design of Ravnica with the mantra "Gold, but not Invasion." Mark Rosewater

The guilds came after the mana pair idea not the other way around.
 

gyor

Legend
Guilds that represent different philosophies, a giant city full of intrigue with portals to other worlds? Sounds to me like Magic the Gathering basically ripped off Sigil of Planescape to make this setting back then. Funny that now that they are owned by WotC, things come full circle.

Ravnica doesn't have any portals to other worlds, at least not yet, and in fact for 10,000 years planar travel to and from the plane was blocked by the first guild pact.

Ravnica in many ways is far, far different from Sigil. Sigil can't have urban sprawl, it's usable space is too small,, but Ravnica has tons of it. Ravnica even has it's own kind of Underdark, Old Ravnica. A Plane of Shadows type place were the dead go, called Agyrem, the Ghost Quarter.
 

Ravnica doesn't have any portals to other worlds, at least not yet, and in fact for 10,000 years planar travel to and from the plane was blocked by the first guild pact.

Ravnica in many ways is far, far different from Sigil. Sigil can't have urban sprawl, it's usable space is too small,, but Ravnica has tons of it. Ravnica even has it's own kind of Underdark, Old Ravnica. A Plane of Shadows type place were the dead go, called Agyrem, the Ghost Quarter.

I'm still learning the history of Ravnica. Did Jace planewalk there after the first Guildpact was broken?
 

gyor

Legend
I'm still learning the history of Ravnica. Did Jace planewalk there after the first Guildpact was broken?

I don't think Jace appeared on Ravnica until after the Guild Pact was broken. He was born on another plane, Vyrn I think. He thinks of himself as a Ravnica native because he really doesn't remember much before it and he arrived on Ravnica as a child.
 

Just going to say, as a long time D&D player and MtG (though not really active for years), I have never been nearly as excited about a D&D setting as I have been for this MtG crossover stuff. When I run D&D, I almost always run a homebrew setting of some sort. This MtG crossover makes me want to run D&D in the setting. The Planeshift articles I kind of got to late, but upon actually looking at them was absolutely thrilled to see this stuff. Now I come to hear they are making a full fledged book like these? Awesome, I want more. I want to see books for other planes or more Planeshift articles, I want to see this succeed and them to print more of this and feel like they can invest in this. I want to play a Lorwyn flamekin planeswalker druid. I want to have adventures take me varied time-flow lands of the Tolarian Academy on Dominaria. I want to delve into forgotten ruins buried in the forests of Krosa in remains of Ontaria. I want to chase villains across worlds, into places that exist in endless skies, or worlds with the surface on the inside of a sphere where the sky is in the center rather than the ground. I want see the horror of Phyrexian infestation taking root and trying to stop it.

Other old settings hold either little interest to me, have plenty of old material to work with, or anything new would be just plundered mechanics for use in whatever setting I find myself using (Eberron, I'm excited to see some updated mechanics for, because the setting grew on me after years playing DDO, but a lot of the world information is covered by previous edition books just fine). This is the first setting book since my attempt to run a Dragonlance game many years ago in 3.5e that I would actually be interested in getting for actually using the setting material rather than just plundering mechanics and reflavoring if necessary. Which for that matter, I can absolutely do this with MtG crossover material for homebrew games as well.

Bring me Ravnica, then bring me more.
 

Also as another note, I have one person in my game group that runs MtG D&D game already that I am super jealous of, another person who pretty much knows nothing of MtG at all and is excited by this book, and at least one that has also played a bunch of MtG that would probably be interested in such a game.

And for the record, while I think Ravnica is cool, it is far from my most interested MtG plane. Putting aside classics like Dominaria, I would love to see stuff for Lorwyn, Mirrodin, and Mercadia. There's a Planeshift article for Ixalan which I really don't know all that much about (since I wasn't playing MtG then) but from what I have seen and read from that Planeshift article I would love to see more dealing with that world. Crazy brilliantly colored dinosaurs, some mesoamerican themes, island-high-sea adventures, hidden underwater realms beneath the roots of trees, ancient ruins? Sign me up.
 

gyor

Legend
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.

I'd be suprised if there isn't a major overview of the Guilds methods and beliefs/philosphies, ironically that is vital to a street level view of Ravnica. Why would your character join a guild? It's beliefs, methods, job opportunities, cultures, and rewards. What challenges and opportunities might a character face from within their Guild and from other Guilds? You need an understandering of Guild politics and magic. What do you see each of the Guilds doing street level? Stuff dictated by it's agreed to roles in society, but various factions within the Guild pushing their adgendas.

What they are talking about excluding by saying street level, it stuff like MtG metasetting specific stuff that normal characters would have no idea about. Example Colours of Mana, the Aether, Planewalkers (sort of aside from Jace, but they don't know he is a Planeswalker, they just know him as the living Guildpact), other MtG planes like Innistrad or Alara, stuff that really is irrelevant to D&D play.

Example in MtG terms Demons are made from purified black mana (in some cases with another man a type added for flavour). But GGR isn't going to say that. Instead it's going to express the idea in philophical terms, demons are made of the very essence of selfishness and darkness. It won't say Angels are made out of pure White Mana with potentially other mana influences, it'll say Angels are made out of essence of order and community and in some cases good and light. If it talks about cosmology it will use D&D terms or Ravnica specific ones, not common MtG terms.
 



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