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Your New Campaign: Ravnica on a Budget

Enemies lurk in dark alleys between towering skyscrapers waiting to waylay you. Stand by your guild as the Guildpact falters. Consider starting a D&D Ravnica campaign on a budget.


The Guildmasters’ Guide (GG) to Ravnica might appeal to new DMs or DMs looking for a new campaign to kick off the new year. However, as written, it draws on four rulebooks and refers to an optional three more. Fortunately, it's possible to run Ravnica using the D&D Basic Rules PDF, the GG, and a set of Ravnica dice or lower priced dice. Armed with the PDF, the GG, and dice you or perhaps someone you encourage to DM can get a Ravnica campaign started quickly and affordably.

Between the basic rules and the GG the players will have many race options. Classes, however, are limited to life and order domain clerics, champion fighters, thief rogues, and evoker wizards. A group of Boros and Orzhov guild members could combine to oppose Gruul and Rakdos schemes and violence. Clerics and fighters are common in both guilds while rogues are usually Orzhov members and evokers belong to Boros. Unusual combinations are an option as well.

Precinct Four would be perfect for starting a campaign. Both Gruul and Rakdos love random mayhem and non-traditional law enforcement would not be unusual. Each PC could roll for a reason for guild independence on page 31. The Legion Station for Boros Legionnaires is Sunhome.

For a first adventure, the PCs might be asked to go to a Rakdos nightclub (map on page 151) in the Bulwarks to rescue Dars Borca (Orzhov thug) who was abducted to be used as an extra in a fiery performance. This escapade reveals that those slain during the performance rise as zombies in response to mocking jokes about their deaths from the performers. The PCs learn the jokes are all inspired by Bell Pel, a lampooner (page 248) and an investigation follows from there. PCs who are Orzhov representatives extract a favor from Dars for saving him.

Dars Borca might also warn the PCs of a scheme by the Gruul Clans to stampede wild beasts from the Red Wastes into the Bulwarks. He provides the location of a Gruul rubblebelt encampment (page 142). Ziji Trul, a Gruul berserker, leads several anarch who want to release batterboars (giant boars) into civilization. Dars recommends stampeding the boars through the Gruul camp rather than fighting the Gruul and their beasts directly. Orzhov PCs may extract a favor from the Boros Guild for getting this tip and helping stop the Gruul.

After saving a citizen and a neighborhood, some PCs may be able to advance in their guild. A Boros Legionnaire may accept promotion to sergeant (page 43) with the caveat that they will have to follow more orders. Orzhov representatives might become syndics after gaining favors from rescuing Dars and helping the Boros Guild. Their Boros party members might in turn help in collecting a few small debts for the Orzhov PCs.

For NPCs that use spells not in the Basic Rules, the DM will need to substitute available spells. For this reason, eventually adding either the Player’s Handbook for druid and warlock spells or the Monster Manual for demons and other monsters would help expand the DM’s campaign.

Starting small in both number of books and the size of adventures will allow any DM, brand new or old hand, to give Ravnica a try and introduce players to this unusual world city. As more of the city is explored, the game can be expanded with new rules, bigger adventures, and increased guild responsibilities for the PCs. Adventure awaits you in Ravnica.

This article was contributed by Charles Dunwoody as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. Please note that Charles is a participant in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to DriveThruRPG. If you enjoy the daily news and articles from EN World, please consider contributing to our Patreon!
 

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Charles Dunwoody

Charles Dunwoody


You can easily add the 5e SRD (System Reference Document) to this, which you can look up online, for more classes, spells, and monsters for free.

Also, why even mention buying the Ravnica dice? If you're on a budget and you want to roll a guild at random, you don't need the special "guild die" that comes with the set, you can just number the ten guilds and roll a regular d10. This makes it sound like you're a shill for Wizards of the Coast.
 



Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
For a budget campaign you could just run the free Basic Rules for a nice conventional D&D campaign as well, especially if the bucks for a GG campaign aren't available.
 

Retreater

Legend
Uhh... isn't this the case with any D&D? Like I could run Tomb of Annihilation or Curse of Strahd with the Basic Rules PDF, dice, and appropriate hardcover?

Or if you really wanted to save money, use the Basic Rules, get a free die rolling app, and make your own adventure?

What's the point?
 



Also, why even mention buying the Ravnica dice? If you're on a budget and you want to roll a guild at random, you don't need the special "guild die" that comes with the set, you can just number the ten guilds and roll a regular d10. This makes it sound like you're a shill for Wizards of the Coast.

I liked dice long before WotC existed. In fact, you could just use a dice randomizer on line for free. Or numbered chits in a cup. But what would be the fun in that? Still, good to mention it so thanks for bringing it up.

And as for being a shill, two things. One, I don't see how mentioning a product WotC sells in an article about a book WotC sells would make me a shill. Seems germane to the artice.

Second, I'm 100% sure Wizards doesn't know I exist. But if they do, if any WotC people want to send me stuff to review or some swag, I'm not against it!:)
 

Agree, I thought this was a great article. Both the budget part and on using a supplement that takes different approach that most of what has been released for 5e.

Thanks! The budget part makes sense right after Christmas for me. And Ravnica is quite different but well packed to actually help play the game without being an adventure path on its own.
 

For a budget campaign you could just run the free Basic Rules for a nice conventional D&D campaign as well, especially if the bucks for a GG campaign aren't available.

Agreed. A quick search turns up plenty of free 5E adventures.

Or you could do what I do and borrow Ravnica from the library! Where I live my tax dollars give me access to most of the D&D books for a few weeks at a time.
 

Uhh... isn't this the case with any D&D? Like I could run Tomb of Annihilation or Curse of Strahd with the Basic Rules PDF, dice, and appropriate hardcover?

Or if you really wanted to save money, use the Basic Rules, get a free die rolling app, and make your own adventure?

What's the point?

From the article: The Guildmasters’ Guide (GG) to Ravnica might appeal to new DMs or DMs looking for a new campaign to kick off the new year.
 

This option sound especially nice, if you come from the Magic: the Gathering scene.

Welcome to EN World (if your join date is correct). I obviously agree with you. D&D Ravnica is great but the book references all the D&D rule books which is around seven hardcovers with Ravnica. Which as a D&D player I appreciate. But if I wanted to try D&D, Ravnica might blow my mind a bit because even with the three core books I'd have to be pulling out rules I can't use. And I'd need four books to get started!

Now, if I build Friday night standard decks I can likely afford D&D books. But if I just wanted to try it out, the cost might be a bit steep until I see if I really like it. Which is why I wrote the article as an alternative.
 


jnsmtnr

First Post
Welcome to EN World (if your join date is correct). I obviously agree with you. D&D Ravnica is great but the book references all the D&D rule books which is around seven hardcovers with Ravnica. Which as a D&D player I appreciate. But if I wanted to try D&D, Ravnica might blow my mind a bit because even with the three core books I'd have to be pulling out rules I can't use. And I'd need four books to get started!

Now, if I build Friday night standard decks I can likely afford D&D books. But if I just wanted to try it out, the cost might be a bit steep until I see if I really like it. Which is why I wrote the article as an alternative.

Thank you for the welcome! (the date is correct) Yeah, totally, D&D does have a steep jump in. I might even suggest people to go with Savage Worlds. :D
 

aka_pg

Villager
Charles - First, this article was awesome on its own: It included both a suggestion for an entree into the hobby for newcomers and some adventure seeds for old farts. Second, I have to tell you, your writing style and the fact that you were discussing Ravnica took me back to that magical time when I was first getting into M:tG and someone suggested a competitive, budget deck! Thanks!
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Echoing what others have said, it is nice to see well-written, concise, and helpful articles like this. Despite what some others have said on this thread, I don't think there is more use in explaining how to run a main adventure on a budget than saying "get the Basic rules for free and make stuff up."

I think it is important for new players to know that they can pick up one of the cool and fun looking adventures and run it without having to buy every rule book. Ravnica is a good book to demonstrate this with because it will attract a lot of MtG players who may be new to D&D and TTRPGs in general.

Good stuff!
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Echoing what others have said, it is nice to see well-written, concise, and helpful articles like this. Despite what some others have said on this thread, I think that it is more helpful to explain how to run a main adventure on a budget than telling new players to "get the Basic rules for free and make stuff up."

I think it is important for new players to know that they can pick up one of the cool and fun looking adventures and run it without having to buy every rule book. Ravnica is a good book to demonstrate this with because it will attract a lot of MtG players who may be new to D&D and TTRPGs in general.

Good stuff!
 

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