The latest sourcebook for Dungeons and Dragons is really quite something. I picked it up last week and, after perusing it for a while, I suddenly realised something…this answers so many of the issues I had with alignment that I had literally just written about! So this was always going to have to be the next article. Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica gives you everything you need (and more) to set an adventure in the grand city of Ravnica, and become part of it’s ten guild society.
Ravnica is a Magic: The Gathering setting, and for those not in the know, MTG has five colours of power: Blue, Green, Red, Black and White. The guilds are built from a combination of two colours each, so Golgari Swarm is black and green, meaning it’s all about death and nature and that whole cycle, whereas the Boros Legion is red and white, which represents it’s aggressive but righteous military body. It’s very cool. And works well in the narrative, which is why a DnD setting is a brilliant idea. Here’s some reasons to try it out.
It’s not Forgotten Realms
Players who may be getting a bit used to the Forgotten Realms setting may find that a different plane of existence may be exactly what is needed. In Ravnica there are only humans and elves from the Player’s Handbook, the rest of the races being completely new. Classes take on new meanings as gods no longer give power but guild leaders can be immortal beings that can bless you. Not only that, but depending on your guild, your class will differ wildly. A bard may be a seductive spy working for Dimir, a keeper of lore for the Selesnya Conclave, or a performing fire dancer with a dark secret among the Rakdos.
Guilds replace alignment
As I said in my last article, alignment isn’t that great, and doesn’t mean a lot for players these days. But joining a Ravnican guild will not only give the carrot and stick, but will be a solid foundation for your character that won’t be forgotten past character creation (unless your background was a different guild to what you were now). Guilds reward loyalty and completing quests on their behalf, giving players more resources and rank, they expect their members to act a certain way, and represent the guild. What better way to keep that lawful good paladin lawful good then knowing his entire raison d’etre is a hugely powerful Azorius Senate that keeps the entire city in line? Talk about having something to believe in.
The guilds suit different players
Just as the guilds suit different alignments as some are Good, some are Neutral, some are Chaotic and others are Lawful (and a couple are not exactly not Evil…), so too then they suit the player themselves. If they’ve played MTG before, then great because they’ll know the decks from the guilds. If not, then there’s a handy flowchart they can take a look at to see what guild suits them. Even Chaotic Neutral rogues can find a home in House Dimir, and still be in a party but keep their own goals achievable. Speaking of which….
It gives ways for players to work together…or not
Within the book it has multiple types of party compositions that you can take, just as an example. It gives you reasons as to why different agents of different guilds would come together and go on a mission. And if you want to all be a part of the same guild too, each guild section has a template of a typical questing party:
An adventuring party drawn entirely from the ranks of the Boros Legion would be a small military strike force, probably focused on combat but also strong on social interaction. One or two soldiers (fighters), a medic (cleric), and an embermage (wizard) would form the core of that strike force. A firefist (paladin) would be a strong addition, or might replace a fighter or a cleric. A lightly armored swiftblade (ranger) could help the group in situations involving stealth or exploration.
Or how about Rakdos:
A Rakdos adventuring party could operate as a performance troupe, performing a variety of activities under the cover of its nighttime shows. The master of ceremonies (bard) is the public face of the troupe, with a number of performers (fighters, barbarians, rogues, or warlocks) doing their own unique acts. A blood witch (warlock) might take the place of a spellcasting performer or assume the role of the master of ceremonies.
Gets rid of the ‘adventurer’ schtick
One of the weird parts I can personally never get over in DnD is the whole ‘adventurer’ thing. Who exactly sets out to become an adventurer, what does it mean, and does it’s economy entirely revolve around there still being loot left in abandoned temples, dungeons and forts? In Ravnica, you are members of a guild, practically employees for all intents and purposes, they even pay for your living. It gives players an unmistakable goal to head towards, if not for the bonds and quests themselves, but to earn renown and rise up the ranks of their guild to power.
And that’s my reasons that I definitely want to give Ravnica a try. Let me know what you think about it, sounds pretty cool right? And I just can’t stop thinking about a Boros legion minotaur that talks like Rex from Mass Effect.