Chapter 4: Creating Adventures
This chapter provides a toolbox to help the Dungeon Master create adventures featuring the guilds of Ravnica. The tensions among the guilds, a constant current of animosity, provide a solid foundation for building adventures.
“Krenko’s Way” a sample adventure at the end of this chapter, can be used to launch a Ravnica campaign.
The tables and advice in this chapter expand on the material in chapter 3 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Monsters and nonplayer characters mentioned on the tables can be found either in the Monster Manual or in chapter 6 of this book. When a creature’s name appears in bold type, that’s a visual cue pointing you to the creature’s stat block in the Monster Manual. If the stat block appears elsewhere, the text tells you so.
Each guild gets a section in this chapter to help you craft adventures inspired by that guild. In a guild’s section, four basic seeds for creating adventures are provided: guild locations, guild villains, character objectives, and adventure hooks.
Each guild’s entry in this chapter includes a map of an iconic location associated with the guild. Any of these sites can serve as the location for an adventure.
The description of each guild location includes a table that lists possible goals for an adventure based there. You can choose an adventure goal, or roll one randomly, from the table in the description of the site you’ve chosen. If none of those goals inspires you, choose a goal or roll one randomly from the Guild Location Goals table instead.
Guild Location Goals
|1||Prevent a magical catastrophe inside the location.|
|2||Find the source of strange occurrences in or near the location.|
|3||Escape the location (and help others escape) when a disaster occurs inside.|
|4||Quell a riot inside or around the location.|
|5||Kill or drive out a monster that has turned the location into its lair.|
|6||Defend the location against an external attacker.|
|7||Seize control of the location.|
|8||Infiltrate the location and report on what’s happening inside.|
You can create an adventure that links two locations together. The Location Connections table offers broad suggestions for how you might lead your players from one adventure location to another.
|1||Transport a person, an object, or information collected at the first location safely to the second.|
|2||Plant something taken from the first location inside the second to incriminate someone in the second location.|
|3||Do the same thing at the second location as was done at the first.|
|4||Uncover the source of interference encountered at the first location, which lies in the second.|
|5||Follow a fleeing foe or trail a suspicious figure from the first location to the second.|
|6||Follow up on information gained at the first location by investigating the second.|
Player characters might belong to any guild, and their adversaries might as well. The guild entries in this chapter offer examples of the kinds of villains and villainous schemes that might be connected to each guild.
Certain kinds of goals and schemes are common to villains in every guild. Some generic villainous schemes appear on the Guild Villains table. You can also use the Villain’s Scheme and Villain’s Methods tables in chapter 4 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide to flesh out a villain’s activities, and a guild’s section in this chapter points to specific parts of those tables that characterize how villains from that guild enact their plans.
|1||A villain is attempting to disgrace or discredit a powerful person.|
|2||A villain is striving for power within their guild.|
|3||A villain has claimed power in their guild and needs to be supplanted.|
|4||The villain is sending agents to infiltrate one or more guilds.|
|5||The villain’s agents are luring members away from another guild.|
|6||The villain’s agents are sabotaging the operations of another guild.|
The impetus for adventuring might come from within the player characters’ own guilds, rather than from external guilds. Each guild entry in this chapter provides some examples of missions that the guild might send its members on. These missions can also serve as side quests that a character is asked to fulfill while engaged in a larger task that involves the whole party.
Guild Character Objectives
|1||Find an item that is important to the guild.|
|2||Get information from a guild member.|
|3||Protect or rescue a guild member in the midst of a catastrophe.|
|4||Free a guild member from captivity.|
|5||Find a missing guild member.|
|6||Kill or capture an enemy of the guild.|
|7||Help a guild member who’s in trouble with the law.|
|8||Recruit someone to join the guild.|
Each guild section includes a table of adventure hooks — events that might drive adventures but don’t necessarily involve specific locations or villains. They offer a general description of circumstances that can lead to adventure.
Choosing a Guild2
Here are the main ways to approach the choice of guild for your adventure:
- Choose a guild that has an aesthetic or a story that excites you and that will lead to the sort of villain or type of adventure you want to build. The following section, “Adventure Types,” shows how different guilds are natural fits for certain types of adventure.
- Pick a guild that fits your players’ tastes. The introduction to the Dungeon Master’s Guide offers some guidance for crafting adventures to please different kinds of players. The guild or guilds your players choose will also help you understand your players’ desires. It’s a safe bet that a player who creates a Rakdos character is looking for mayhem and combat, while a Dimir player is more interested in intrigue and sabotage. Armed with that understanding, you can better craft an adventure experience aimed at your players.
- Go with a guild that easily provides a villain to face. A few guilds make very straightforward villains: Gruul, Rakdos, Dimir, and Golgari.
- Let a die decide the guild, using the Random Guilds table in this book’s introduction.
The guild you choose will provide a potential location, villain, mission, or adventure hook, as well as point you toward the type of adventure you’re going to run.
To make a simple location-based adventure quickly, follow these steps:
1. Choose a guild (or use the Guilds table in chapter 1 if you want to choose randomly). The adventure will take place in that guild’s location, as described in this chapter.
2. Determine the adventure goal using the table associated with that location.
3. Use creatures associated with the guild (shown on the tables in chapter 6) to populate the location. Optionally, you can use the Location Connections table in this chapter to link the location you’re using to a second location. You can either select a location based on the result of that table or determine the second location randomly.
Involving the Characters
Once you’ve chosen an adventure seed — a villain, a mission, or a general hook — you need to figure out what gets the player characters involved in the adventure. The answer could be as simple as a guildmaster or other authority sending them on a mission, but it’s generally good to hook the characters in personally. What motivation do they have to thwart the villain?
The best answers to this question stem either from the adventurers’ personalities, ideals, and histories, or from their guild affiliations. The characters might have a common reason to fight the villain (especially if they all belong to the same guild or have been adventuring together for a while), or they might all oppose the villain for different reasons.
For example, say your villain is a group of Gruul anarchs raiding in a densely populated area. A Boros character might be assigned to protect innocent bystanders, or might just happen to be in the area and leap to the defense of the innocents. An Izzet character might be trying to make sure that an Izzet laboratory in the area isn’t damaged or its secrets looted. A Dimir spy might leap at the opportunity to steal some Izzet secrets when the laboratory comes under attack.
The Cross Purposes table can help you involve the characters in an adventure by suggesting ways that a villain’s activities might directly conflict with the player characters’ goals or interests.
|d10||The Villain’s Activities …|
|1||… directly target one or more characters. The adventure begins when characters are attacked by the villain’s agents.|
|2||… threaten a character’s contact or bond.|
|3||… challenge a character’s ideal or exploit a flaw. The character might hear rumors of this activity, spurring them into action.|
|4||… open an opportunity for a character to pursue a personal goal.|
|5||… compete with a character’s guild. A guild authority might order the character to rectify the situation.|
|6||… threaten guild members or property.|
|7||… conflict with guild goals.|
|8||… open an opportunity for a guild to pursue its own agenda.|
|9||… catch the characters between fighting forces.|
|10||… cause an accident or catastrophe that traps the characters.|
An adventure that pits player characters against a single guild is relatively straightforward, but adding another guild can make an adventure even more interesting.
The involvement of a second guild can be as simple as the appearance of a bumbling innocent who needs the characters’ protection, or as complex as a second villain who pursues an entirely separate scheme. The Secondary Guild Role table presents a range of options.
Secondary Guild Role
|d8||Secondary Guild Role|
|1||A rival pursues the same goal as the adventurers, but is doing it “wrong.”|
|2||One or more members of another guild are caught between the villain and the adventurers.|
|3||A group of NPC adventurers from another guild confront the same villain for different reasons.|
|4||Someone is manipulating the villain for their own purposes.|
|5||A known rival or enemy meddles in the adventure, hoping the adventurers will fail.|
|6||A known rival or enemy can provide essential help in stopping the villain.|
|7||A second villain’s plot is unfolding at the same time but is otherwise unrelated.|
|8||A second villain is in competition with the first one.|
Intrigue in Ravnica most often involves interaction between two guilds, so you can use the Guild Intrigue table to find the nugget of a plot. The villain tables in the guild entries can help you determine the nature and motivations of the individuals involved.
|1||Guilds are vying for influence over a prominent individual (who might be a player character).|
|2||Guilds are competing for control of a key site or swath of territory.|
|3||Guilds are locked in a deadly feud but might be open to a peace negotiation.|
|4||Villains from two or more guilds are forming a dangerous alliance.|
|5||A villain is trying to disrupt an alliance between two or more guilds.|
|6||Splinter factions from two guilds are trying to form a new guild.|
Allies and Rivals
A friendly contact can act as a patron, sending a character on a mission or a side quest either as a formal assignment or as a favor. Friendly contacts also have a knack for getting into perilous situations from which they need to be rescued, which can sometimes force characters into making difficult choices between saving friendly nonplayer characters and capturing villainous ones. In extraordinary circumstances, a friendly contact might even join the adventuring party for a short time.
Contacts who have a more antagonistic relationship with a character can hinder the adventuring party’s efforts in a variety of ways. They might appear at inconvenient times to delay the party, or catch the group in the midst of some illegal activity. They might leak information to the adventure’s villain, subtly aid the villain’s efforts, or even become villains themselves.
Contacts can complicate things even more when they interact with multiple player characters or with each other. Consider what might happen when two people who are friendly contacts for two different characters are bitter enemies of each other, or when a single NPC is a good friend of one character and a rival of another. The characters might have to navigate those complex relationships in order to achieve their goals.
RANDOM NONPLAYER CHARACTERS
Any time you need an NPC for an adventure — for example, if the player characters are sent on a mission to rescue a member of their guild — you can use the contacts tables in chapter 2 to help flesh out the NPC. If you don’t know the NPC’s guild affiliation, you can roll on the Random Guilds table in this book’s introduction to determine the guild. Then you can choose an appropriate stat block in chapter 6 to represent the NPC’s game statistics.
Adventures involving the Azorius Senate naturally revolve around law enforcement. Player characters who find themselves on the wrong side of the law might be forced to confront well-meaning Azorius arresters as enemies, even if the characters are innocent of any wrongdoing. Lawful characters might also assist the Azorius in maintaining law and order on the mean streets of Ravnica.
Map 4.1 depicts an arrester station, which serves as the law enforcement hub for a precinct or neighborhood.
Arrester Station Adventures
Characters might be drawn to the arrester station because of prisoners held there, information or items stored there, or crimes occurring there. The Arrester Station Adventures table presents some possibilities.
Arrester Station Adventures
|1||Break out of the holding cells.|
|2||Break someone else out of the holding cells.|
|3||Stop someone before they can give information to the arresters or testify before a judge.|
|4||Protect a prisoner from assassins.|
|5||Get information from or to someone in the holding cells.|
|6||Apprehend a former prisoner who used magic to take over the station and drive the guards away.|
|7||Retrieve something held as evidence.|
|8||Find proof that the captain of this station is corrupt.|
|9||Discover who helped a prisoner escape and how.|
|10||Uncover a plot to discredit, blackmail, or kill the station commander.|
|11||Steal the arresters’ files about a criminal or a case.|
|12||Intercept a message being sent to or from the station.|
Arrester Station Map
Two separate buildings make up this station, separated by an elevated plaza. One end of the station includes a courthouse (the lower level) and a prison (upper level).
Wide, impressive stairs lead to the main courthouse entrance, which opens into a large waiting room. All the doors leading out of the waiting room are kept locked, so they can be opened only from the other side. To either side of the waiting room are private meeting rooms, which lead back to an extensive area of offices for the large staff that keeps the place running.
The twin courtrooms include bench seats for spectators and witnesses. The judges preside from platforms that hover in midair, with shallow pools of water below. The accused are seated on balconies that overlook the same pools. Doors at the back of these balconies lead to a central hallway that ends at a staircase that ascends to the prison level.
Direct access to the prison area from outside the building is provided by two long, narrow staircases that lead up from the plaza. The stairs end at a balcony that is guarded at all times by archers behind arrow slits. A narrow hall leads through several locked doors to the cells — the general population on one side, where prisoners are allowed to mingle to some extent, and a high-security area on the other side, featuring smaller cells keeping prisoners in complete isolation.
The opposite end of the station is a headquarters for a local detachment of arresters. The main level includes two meeting rooms, an office for the commander, and a break room. The upper level provides working space where arresters can interview suspects and complete paperwork, as well as space for storing evidence. The lower level includes a morgue and a large area where the whole local force can be assembled.
Examples of Azorius villains appear in the Azorius Villains table.
|1||An ambitious authority figure seeks to achieve a higher rank by framing or defaming a rival.|
|2||A venal judge’s rulings are swayed by bribes and favors.|
|3||A vengeful imperator persecutes a certain group of people, seeking revenge for a past wrong done by one of the group’s members.|
|4||An overzealous imperator is prepared to arrest a neighborhood full of people to find a stolen item.|
|5||A sadistic warden tortures prisoners, ostensibly for the sake of law and order.|
|6||A corrupt senator seeks to pass laws that favor a certain class of people.|
|7||A precognitive mage (see chapter 6 for the stat block) invents visions designed to frame enemies.|
|8||A cowardly bureaucrat destroys evidence to hide someone else’s involvement in a crime.|
Azorius as Campaign Villains
The Azorius become villains when they abuse the power of the law. A local magistrate might imprison innocent people, or the senate might pass oppressive legislation, thereby drawing the ire of the Boros and the Selesnya, who care about the folk who get caught in the crosshairs. Arresters might decide to crack down on unsafe Izzet laboratory practices, illegal Rakdos performances, or the Gruul presence in the city. Self-righteous prison wardens or precinct captains might abuse their authority in the name of the law, and corrupt bureaucrats might use their positions to garner favors for themselves and their relatives.
Low-level characters might suffer harassment at the hands of overzealous arresters. As the campaign progresses, they might be able to identify a particular imperator who is driving this heightened aggression, who then becomes something of a nemesis for them. As they gain experience, this imperator continues to be a thorn in their side and advances through the ranks of the senate as well, becoming a minister and eventually the arbiter who dictates law enforcement policy for the entire guild. Along the way, this villain uses every available means to hinder the characters, probably veering into covert illegal activities (evil means for a good end). The climax of the campaign might involve a violent confrontation with this arbiter and a group of arresters, or a tense verbal argument adjudicated by Supreme Judge Isperia herself.
Azorius Character Goals
Characters who are members of the Azorius Senate might be sent on missions of law enforcement by their superiors or contacts in the guild, and trusted characters might be tasked with apprehending criminals without killing them. The examples on the Azorius Assignments table might be side quests specific to an Azorius character, undertaken while a party of adventurers is engaged in a larger mission.
|1||Find and arrest a wanted fugitive.|
|2||Arrest someone identified as a potential criminal by precognitive mages.|
|3||Clear the name of an innocent person.|
|4||Solve a murder by questioning suspects.|
|5||Retrieve a stolen item.|
|6||Quell a riot.|
Other Adventure Hooks
The Azorius Adventure Hooks table presents ideas for additional adventures involving the Azorius Senate.
Azorius Adventure Hooks
|1||A precognitive mage (see chapter 6 for the stat block) has identified the characters as future criminals, and now there’s a warrant out for their arrest.|
|2||A precognitive mage (see chapter 6 for the stat block) has foreseen the characters’ future struggles and tries to protect them, thereby interfering in their next adventure.|
|3||Felidars (see chapter 6 for the stat block) have bonded with the wrong person and now track an innocent citizen.|
|4||Hussars — Azorius soldiers (see chapter 6 for the stat block) mounted on griffons—declare martial law in a neighborhood and enforce their harsh authority on the citizenry.|
|5||An archon of the Triumvirate (see chapter 6 for the stat block) interprets innocent actions as illegal ones because its connection to the law has been corrupted.|
|6||A missing homunculus is the sole witness to the murder of a judge.|
Adventures involving the Boros Legion might have a military bent, focusing on small-scale conflict between groups of Boros soldiers and bands of rioters or raiders. The legion is generally a prominent force for law and good in Ravnica, which makes it an appropriate home guild for noble-minded player characters. Its holy bent also makes villains drawn from its ranks particularly dangerous and perhaps tragic.
The Boros Legion maintains garrisons throughout Ravnica, ensuring that every neighborhood has a strong military presence. They range from towering fortresses to small bunkers like the one shown in map 4.2.
Legion Garrison Adventures
Designed with defense foremost, a Boros garrison is well suited for adventures that challenge the characters to find a way in or fight their way out. The Legion Garrison Adventures table offers a number of possibilities.
Legion Garrison Adventures
|1||Lay siege to the garrison.|
|2||Break a siege at the garrison.|
|3||Sabotage the building’s defenses so someone else can break into the garrison.|
|4||Find a hidden explosive charge in the garrison before it detonates.|
|5||Steal a magic weapon held inside the garrison.|
|6||Discover evidence that incriminates an officer in the garrison.|
|7||Identify a spy among the garrison’s soldiers before the spy can escape.|
|8||Help a spy get safely out of the garrison without being discovered.|
|9||Capture a garrison officer for interrogation.|
|10||Shore up the garrison’s defenses before an assault.|
|11||Clear out the monsters infesting a garrison that was abandoned years ago.|
|12||Steal plans for future Boros military action.|
Legion Garrison Map
Access to the garrison is limited to a pair of 20-foot-wide walkways elevated above street level and protected by archers behind arrow slits. Two antechambers give the Boros soldiers and angels ample opportunity to screen anyone who seeks to gain entrance. Beyond them is a large hall where troops can be mustered. To one side of the mustering hall is a barracks area, with a kitchen, a mess, food storage, and guest quarters on the other side.
An extensive array of wall niches in the lower tier (at street level) provides storage space for archived records and the like, and a basement beneath that includes food storage and a well for fresh water, enabling the garrison to withstand a long siege.
The upper tier includes more large halls, the commander’s quarters and office, and several niches — accessible only by flying from outside the garrison — that serve as living quarters and watch-posts for the angels stationed here. Parapets on the rooftop provide cover for humanoid archers as well, and the broad open space that they surround offers room for training and sparring. Grass-covered ridges separate different training areas and add a contrasting touch of nature’s beauty to the otherwise stony building.
Examples of Boros villains appear in the Boros Villains table.
|1||Seeking to avenge a partner’s murder, a Wojek League officer turns to vigilantism.|
|2||A Boros commander starts preemptively closing Izzet foundries, Simic research chambers, and other locations considered prone to disaster.|
|3||Angered at the death of a loved one in a certain neighborhood, a Wojek agent is inciting its residents to revolt, knowing that the Boros will respond with force.|
|4||Believing that they are harboring terrorists, a Boros brigadier is slaughtering helpless people in transient communities in the undercity.|
|5||A squad of corrupt Boros soldiers (see chapter 6 for the stat block) is extorting money from local merchants.|
|6||A Boros commander under the thumb of another guild is turning a blind eye to the violence perpetrated by that guild.|
|7||An overzealous angel has risen up against innocent people, including the soldiers in her own garrison, believing that they harbor evil in their hearts.|
|8||A crazed angel demands to be worshiped as a god.|
Boros as Campaign Villains
Not too long ago, the leaders of the Boros Legion valued zeal more highly than justice, believing that their military might made their cause right and just. Although the current guildmaster, Aurelia, has reversed her stance on the issue, some voices within the legion still espouse these views. Boros villains are typically intolerant, self-righteous warmongers who abuse their power in pursuit of their own private visions of justice. And because the lower echelons of the guild are taught to follow orders without question, even the villains among the Boros can command companies of soldiers to help them carry out their schemes.
Boros villains are inclined to engage in activity that involves pursuing one’s passion, acquiring power, or exacting retribution. The Boros make good campaign antagonists if the adventurers represent the forces of chaos that the legion opposes — Rakdos revelers, Gruul raiders, Golgari corrupters, or Dimir spies.
You could structure a campaign around the legion’s slow progress in taking over the authority of the Azorius Senate and imposing a sort of martial law on the city. A campaign of this sort is particularly effective if the characters initially work alongside the Boros, especially if one or more characters belong to the legion. They might help Boros soldiers drive off Gruul raiders or uproot Dimir spies — clearly fighting against evil on the side of the good and just. As time goes on, though, their Boros allies might start taking their war against evil too far. Innocent citizens get caught in the crossfire, most punishment is cruel and excessive, and any resistance is met with overwhelming force, to “set an example” for anyone else who might consider opposing the legion. A Boros ally (or even a close friend) of the characters might become fully caught up in this fervor. Perhaps the characters can talk some sense into their old friend, but the resolution of the campaign might force them to take more extreme measures to curb the legion’s excesses.
Boros Character Goals
The Boros Legion sends individuals or small parties on small-scale military missions, usually to help quell riots or protect bystanders from dangerous situations. Trusted characters might also be involved in internal investigations of suspected wrongdoing, especially if they’re associated with the Wojek League. The Boros Assignments table provides examples of missions or side quests that Boros characters might undertake.
|1||Help quell a Rakdos riot or hold back Gruul raiders, or otherwise maintain the peace while protecting innocent bystanders.|
|2||Capture or kill a Gruul chieftain who has taken responsibility for a series of brutal raids.|
|3||Help evacuate citizens from the area of a natural or magical disaster.|
|4||Escort an important person safely from one place to another.|
|5||Investigate a Boros commander suspected of cultivating personal loyalty in underlings, rather than loyalty to the legion.|
|6||Uncover a spy in the legion.|
Other Adventure Hooks
The Boros Adventure Hooks table presents ideas for additional adventures themed around the Boros Legion.
Boros Adventure Hooks
|1||A Boros officer is awaiting trial for unsanctioned and excessive use of force, and the officer’s squad is planning a jailbreak.|
|2||The Boros are secretly working with the Shattergang Brothers, a group of black market arms dealers, to develop a devastating weapon.|
|3||A Boros offensive is displacing and even killing innocent bystanders caught in its path.|
|4||Flame-kin soldiers created as part of an abandoned weapons project are suddenly reactivated and run amok. These soldiers use the azer stat block in the Monster Manual.|
|5||A Boros parade meant as a show of strength provokes widespread protests, some of which erupt into violence.|
|6||A flying Boros fortress is about to crash, threatening to devastate the neighborhood below.|
Masters of misdirection, infiltration, and espionage, Dimir spies and assassins pursue their objectives behind layers of deception. Dimir agents make ideal villains for adventures involving intrigue and mystery in the shadows of dark alleys and the tunnels of the undercity.
House Dimir maintains safe houses throughout Ravnica, many of them tucked away in the undercity, for guild members who need to elude the ready reach of the law. These sites are protected by magical wards that confuse and misdirect all who approach — in particular, spells that make intruders forget where they are or what they’re doing there.
A safe house can also be used to hold prisoners for interrogation, with its protections equally effective in preventing escape and in deterring intruders. Often, a single site serves both purposes.
Map 4.3 presents the floor plan of a typical Dimir safe house.
Safe House Adventures
The first task in almost any mission involving a Dimir safe house is to find the place. Most people who have been to a safe house or its environs have no memory of the event, thanks to Dimir mind magic.
The Safe House Adventures table offers some reasons why characters might need to visit such a location. In addition, you could use any other guild’s sample location as the site for a location-based adventure, with a simple mission: uncover a Dimir spy in that location.
Safe House Adventures
|1||Find a fugitive hiding in the safe house.|
|2||Liberate someone being held in the safe house.|
|3||Retrieve a stolen item.|
|4||Get information from a prisoner in the safe house without revealing that information to the Dimir.|
|5||Acquire information from a Dimir agent to unmask a spy embedded in another guild.|
|6||Escape from captivity in the safe house.|
|7||Plant a magical surveillance device inside the safe house.|
|8||Damage or destroy the safe house so the Dimir can’t use it anymore.|
|9||Prevent the creation of a horror (see chapter 6) in the safe house. (You can replace the horror with a different creature from the Monster Manual.)|
|10||Find and kill a mind drinker vampire (see chapter 6 for the stat block) or other monster that is picking off the safe house’s inhabitants.|
|11||Disable the safe house’s wards and plant a beacon inside it so that members of another guild can find and raid the place.|
|12||After stumbling into the safe house accidentally, get out with memories intact.|
Safe House Map
This safe house is a domed building encased in a stone exoskeleton characteristic of Dimir construction. The ground level is a comfortable living space that features accommodations for at least five people. It has five bedrooms, abundant storage space, a central lounge, a recreation space, a dining room, a kitchen, and a pantry.
A secret door in the back of a shared closet leads to a spiral staircase that descends to the basement, which contains three small holding cells. A watch post at the end of the hall allows a guard to keep an eye on the cells and anyone coming down the stairs. An interrogation room can be outfitted with equipment designed to extract information. One-way mirrors offer a view on the interrogation proceedings from an observation room.
SAFE HOUSE WARDS
You can make a Dimir safe house hard to find and hard to get into by using some of these options:
- The safe house is underground and accessible only through a maze of tunnels and crevices.
- The area surrounding the house is protected by a guards and wards spell. Navigating the ancient underground corridors or the modern alleyways above ground becomes more complicated when intersections are clouded by fog, doors are hidden and magically locked, and magical compulsions drive visitors away.
- A glyph of warding might cast fear, phantasmal force, or crown of madness on a character who triggers it—or simply explode in a blast of cold energy.
- Dimir agents might use alarm spells to ensure that they know when intruders are approaching the safe house.
The Dimir can be masterfully sly villains. Example villains appear in the Dimir Villains table.
|1||A spy seeks to plunder another guild’s secrets.|
|2||A mind mage (see chapter 6 for the stat block) is hunting down everyone who witnessed a great humiliation to expunge their memories of the event.|
|3||A mind mage (see chapter 6 for the stat block) has implanted false memories of a crime in many minds in order to incriminate someone.|
|4||A group of Dimir agents is plundering the minds of people who have knowledge of a vault that holds great wealth or magical power.|
|5||After a Dimir spy is unmasked, a mind mage (see chapter 6 for the stat block) erases the memory of the spy’s identity from the minds of those involved.|
|6||A shapeshifter has replaced a high-ranking member of another guild in order to provoke conflicts.|
|7||A mind drinker vampire (see chapter 6 for the stat block) is plundering the minds of its victims.|
|8||Roll on another guild’s villain table, but the villain is a disguised Dimir agent or someone being manipulated by the Dimir.|
Dimir as Campaign Villains
Dimir villains favor schemes involving captivity and coercion, defamation, impersonation and disguise, murder, politics, theft, and torture. Perhaps the most insidious technique employed by the Dimir is the erasing and modifying of memories.
Because their tendrils reach into every other guild, Dimir villains could turn out to be the link between plots that initially seem to be unconnected. Even when individual missions might be straightforward dungeon crawls or battles in the streets, the campaign revolves around the mystery of determining the true villain.
At low and middle levels, the characters might find themselves engaged in important but apparently unrelated tasks. They might kill or drive off a monster that is lairing in an abandoned arrester station (unwittingly clearing the way for a Dimir agent to be placed in the station). They might help the Boros capture a dangerous Rakdos ringleader (who is actually a Dimir agent working to destabilize Azorius influence). They might unmask a Dimir spy within one of their own guilds (who is an internal rival of the Dimir villain).
As the characters advance in level, they might come to realize that a powerful and ambitious Azorius figure is going too far in spying on the populace, despite that guild’s great success in using precognitive mages to arrest evildoers — especially Dimir spies. Ultimately, the Azorius villain is revealed to be a high-ranking Dimir agent, a confidant of Lazav or even Lazav himself, who is trying to take over the Azorius Senate and turn it into a surveillance and espionage organization under the villain’s control.
Dimir Character Goals
Characters who are members of House Dimir are spies and saboteurs. It’s possible to let these characters experience all the most enjoyable tropes of the spy genre while skirting the more sinister aspects of House Dimir.
The missions on the Dimir Assignments table can work for a team of Dimir agents or as secret missions for a Dimir character to pursue under the cover of the larger adventure plot.
|1||Impersonate an individual to gather information from that individual’s contacts and associates.|
|2||Make sure that a particular person (not a main antagonist) at an adventure site doesn’t survive the encounter with the characters.|
|3||Make sure that a particular person (not the main villain) survives the adventure.|
|4||Get information from the main villain by magically extracting the villain’s dying thoughts.|
|5||Plant evidence to steer the other adventurers away from the true villain.|
|6||Get information to a Dimir agent who is embedded in the adventure location.|
Other Adventure Hooks
The Dimir Adventure Hooks table presents ideas for additional adventures themed around House Dimir.
Dimir Adventure Hooks
|1||The characters find a bundle of thought strands, and Dimir agents are in a rush to find them before they fade away.|
|2||A rogue agent hunted by Dimir assassins offers crippling information about House Dimir in exchange for protection.|
|3||A Dimir horror (described in chapter 6) is randomly killing people in the dark alleys of a particular neighborhood.|
|4||Word is out that someone claims to have a list of Dimir agents embedded in other guilds, igniting a furious contest to obtain the list.|
|5||While prying too deeply into ancient lore, a Dimir agent (now deceased) released a nameless evil into the city.|
|6||Roll on another guild’s adventure hooks table, but the Dimir are secretly behind the situation.|
A dominant force in the undercity, the Golgari Swarm is ideally suited for dungeon-based adventures. The Golgari represent corruption and decay, counting many villains among their ranks even though most members are mainly concerned with the balance of the natural cycle of life and death.
The Golgari are a strange underground aristocracy in a city that mostly lacks a noble class; they are like throwbacks to an ancient time when one’s birth determined one’s station. The mansion depicted in map 4.4 is a stately relic of such a time — a grand hall that happens to be buried hundreds of feet beneath the streets of Ravnica.
Undercity Mansion Adventures
The Undercity Mansion Adventures table provides some possible challenges based in and around the Golgari undercity mansion.
Undercity Mansion Adventures
|1||Find the source of a noxious fog rising from the undercity and poisoning a surface neighborhood.|
|2||Rescue several citizens being held hostage by Ochran agents.|
|3||Find the daytime lair of an elusive monster that hunts on the surface at night.|
|4||Rescue a guild member petrified by an undercity medusa (see chapter 6 for the stat block) that uses the mansion as its lair.|
|5||Take shelter in the mansion to escape a horrible monster prowling the undercity.|
|6||Win a bet by surviving a night inside.|
|7||Escape from captivity here.|
|8||Find a fugitive hiding here.|
|9||Find and claim a treasure hidden in the mansion.|
|10||Attend a masked ball held in the mansion in order to get information from another guest.|
Undercity Mansion Map
This structure is built in a large depression, perhaps part of Deadbridge Chasm. A bridge crosses just above it, and a wide, curving stair leads down from the bridge to the grand ballroom on the top level of the mansion. The rest of the structure is built down from there, with the main, elegant halls and parlors on the second level. Notably, a wide hallway on this level connects with a passage leading to other areas of the undercity. A couple of areas on this floor have crumbled with the weight of the ages, but the place retains its stately grandeur.
The bottom level might be a basement excavated in the floor of a chasm, or it could hang above still more open space like a giant stalactite. It includes living quarters for the owners, servants, and guests.
Examples of Golgari villains appear in the Golgari Villains table.
|1||Armed with a powerful magic item found among the dead in the undercity, a Golgari shaman (see chapter 6 for the stat block) enacts a plan of revenge against another guild.|
|2||A kraul death priest (see chapter 6 for the stat block) is seeking a way to revive the ancient gods of Ravnica and destroy the world.|
|3||A Devkarin lich (see chapter 6 for the stat block) is capturing living subjects and infecting them with an insidious, mind-controlling fungus.|
|4||A trophy-hunting undercity medusa (see chapter 6 for the stat block) is on a killing spree, petrifying victims in interesting poses.|
|5||A Golgari shaman (see chapter 6 for the stat block) is spreading a fungal infection that transforms its dead victims into zombies.|
|6||An elf child lures citizens into the sewers, where a monstrous “pet” is waiting to kill and eat them.|
|7||Pursuing a personal vendetta, an Ochran assassin is targeting members of a certain guild and trying to ensure that their bodies are never found.|
|8||A kraul death priest (see chapter 6 for the stat block), angry at the way the Golgari have treated the kraul in the past, is killing the elves and medusas of the guild, hoping to eventually take Jarad’s place as guildmaster.|
Golgari as Campaign Villains
Given their affinity for death, necromancy, and decay, the Golgari make excellent villains. Because they consider life and death as equal parts of the natural cycle, they have no qualms about subjecting entire neighborhoods to poisonous gas or strangling vines to achieve their various goals. When a Golgari assassin goes on a killing spree, when a patch of their vegetative growth begins “reclaiming” an area that isn’t yet abandoned, or when their fungus-bearing zombies emerge from the undercity to haunt the city streets, heroes are duty bound to act against the threat.
The Golgari possess a combination of ambition and ruthlessness that makes them extremely dangerous adversaries. The tension among the various factions of the swarm (the elves, the medusas, the kraul, and the rising erstwhile) adds an element of instability to the mix. But perhaps the Golgari Swarm’s most dangerous quality is the widespread confidence among its members that it will survive any catastrophe that might befall the surface world. This certainty means Golgari villains will stop at nothing in an attempt to provoke such an event — triggering a virulent plague, causing explosive plant growth, or inciting the other guilds into open war, for example. Over the course of a campaign, a group of adventurers might foil Golgari plans to accomplish all these things, or the characters might be constantly struggling against one ongoing disaster.
For example, the characters might spend the early part of the campaign resolving disputes between guilds, unaware that the Golgari are actually the instigators of those conflicts. Perhaps incidental to these missions, they also face a spore druid who is in the early stages of testing a terrible plague. Then, as the campaign reaches higher levels, the plague breaks out again, this time spreading rapidly. The crisis heightens tensions among the other guilds, especially when food sources are threatened. At the climax of the campaign, the heroes must defuse conflict among the guilds while finding a way to get at the druid at the cause of it all, who is locked in an undercity mansion waiting out the catastrophe.
Golgari Character Goals
Characters who are members of the Golgari Swarm might be sent on missions into the undercity, particularly jobs that involve retrieval or salvage. The secretive agents of the Ochran are more likely to pursue goals that call for theft or even assassination, while shamans could participate in the swarm’s work of “reclamation” in surface neighborhoods. The Golgari Assignments table reflects this range of possibilities. An assignment can also serve as a side quest for Golgari adventurers to undertake while pursuing a larger goal with a mixed-guild party.
|1||Find a valuable item believed lost in the undercity.|
|2||Retrieve a corpse in the undercity.|
|3||Collect a sample of a fungus in the undercity.|
|4||Steal something that is important to another guild.|
|5||Kill an outspoken enemy of the Golgari.|
|6||Position a fungus so that its spores will spread into a populated area and drive the inhabitants out.|
Other Adventure Hooks
The Golgari Adventure Hooks table offers ideas for additional adventures themed around the Golgari Swarm.
Golgari Adventure Hooks
|1||Citizens who die in a particular neighborhood sprout fungal growths and rise as zombies, then shamble toward the undercity.|
|2||Shriekers sprout throughout a neighborhood.|
|3||Swarms of insects under the control of a Golgari shaman (see chapter 6 for the stat block) terrorize a neighborhood.|
|4||Poor people who subsist on Golgari food contract a dangerous, contagious magical infection.|
|5||Several kraul have moved into an old tenement and are making their neighbors nervous.|
|6||A beloved statue, long assumed to be the image of some forgotten community hero, suddenly returns to life after being petrified for a hundred years.|
An adventure involving the Gruul Clans typically revolves around combat. The Gruul provide characters with opportunities to fight huge monsters and vicious berserkers. The Gruul bring chaos and destruction with them wherever they go, so they can easily disrupt and complicate adventures involving any other guild. Any time an adventure needs an injection of brutal violence, the Gruul are a good tool for the purpose.
The Gruul have no interest in the buildings, streets, and markets of Ravnica, except as targets for their raids. The encampment shown in map 4.5 represents a temporary shelter in the ruins, the sort of place the Gruul might call home for a time.
Rubblebelt Encampment Adventures
Many Gruul adventures begin with a raid into a settled part of the city. Adventurers might be able to follow the raiders back to their camp — for the sake of revenge, in an effort to retrieve something, or perhaps in chains.
Rubblebelt Encampment Adventures
|1||Determine why the Gruul have camped so close to a settled neighborhood.|
|2||Free a captive taken in a recent raid.|
|3||Win freedom by defeating a Gruul champion in a duel.|
|4||Retrieve something looted in a recent raid.|
|5||Strike a deal with the Gruul leader to cooperate against a common foe.|
|6||Attempt to overthrow the clan chieftain in a combat challenge.|
|7||Strike a blow to the Gruul to ensure that they don’t launch a raid.|
|8||Free a corralled herd of violent beasts so they stampede through the Gruul camp before the Gruul can steer them toward settled areas.|
|9||Interrupt a ritual intended to summon or create a huge elemental.|
|10||Disrupt a gathering of clans that could lead to an alliance between them.|
Rubblebelt Encampment Map
Built in a plaza surrounded by crumbling ruins, this camp offers some defensive advantages to its Gruul residents. An old tower is the one intact structure the Gruul use, because it offers a good vantage point over the surrounding area. A sluiceway provides potable water, and a handful of scraggly trees are a reminder of nature’s potential to grow and flourish even among the ruins.
Otherwise, the camp is little more than a handful of tents around a bonfire. A trash pit serves as a means of waste disposal, a few makeshift cages can hold prisoners, and a partially enclosed area to one side has been converted into a pen for the beasts used by the Gruul.
The Gruul are straightforward villains, employing direct action and violence to tear down civilized society. They aren’t schemers, and they have little patience for political maneuvering. Their cunning is that of a hunter stalking its prey, and the threat they pose is rampant, aggressive destruction. Examples of Gruul villains appear in the Gruul Villains table.
|1||A druid of the Old Ways (see chapter 6 for the stat block), spurred by visions of the end of civilization, plans humanoid sacrifices in the name of Ilharg the Raze-Boar.|
|2||A druid is directing herds of beasts to run amok through tenement neighborhoods.|
|3||A druid summons huge vines and roots to tear buildings down.|
|4||A clan chieftain leads a raid to settle a personal vendetta against another guild.|
|5||In a display of strength, a clan chieftain seeks to destroy a significant landmark.|
|6||Looking for a totem of spiritual significance, a clanless giant wrecks anything in its path.|
|7||Hoping to form a new clan, a clever centaur tries to break violent criminals out of jail.|
|8||A druid leads a band that has begun starting fires around the district.|
Gruul as Campaign Villains
Using the Gruul Clans as the main antagonists in a campaign could be an opportunity to explore the apocalyptic religious beliefs of the Old Ways — the expectation of the return of an ancient god, Ilharg the Raze-Boar.
At low levels, characters could be drawn into seemingly coincidental clashes with the Gruul, perhaps as minor events in adventures that involve other guilds. Only later does a pattern emerge: the raids correspond with certain astronomical events, the movements of wurms, or another sign that the druids of the Old Ways consider significant. As the adventurers’ power grows, so does that of the Gruul druids behind the trouble, and soon the druids are actually instigating natural disasters — earthquakes and mighty storms, for example. As the campaign reaches its climax, the Gruul Clans all come together to perform an enormous ritual meant to summon the Raze-Boar and bring an end to civilization on Ravnica — and the adventurers must stop it.
Gruul Character Goals
The goals shown on the Gruul Assignments table can be objectives in themselves, or side quests that a Gruul character pursues in the course of undertaking an adventure with a larger purpose.
|1||Collect a beast cub so it can be trained for battle.|
|2||Slay a powerful monster to prove your strength.|
|3||Destroy a laboratory, a work of engineering, or a similar edifice of decadent civilization.|
|4||Kill someone who has been persecuting the Gruul.|
|5||Free a captive warrior who was imprisoned during a recent raid.|
|6||Create a disruption so the clan can raid elsewhere.|
Other Adventure Hooks
The Gruul Adventure Hooks table presents ideas for additional adventures themed around the Gruul Clans.
Gruul Adventure Hooks
|1||Conflict between two feuding clans spills onto the streets of the city, threatening to destroy entire neighborhoods.|
|2||Gruul anarchs (see chapter 6 for the stat block) deface or destroy monuments throughout the district.|
|3||A Gruul mob riots in the streets in observance of Rauck-Chauv, a holiday celebrated with violence.|
|4||A wurm (see chapter 6 for the stat block) breaks free of its Gruul controller and goes on a rampage.|
|5||Swine everywhere run wild, and the Gruul interpret this as a sign of the Raze-Boar’s return.|
|6||Gruul raiders steal something from an Izzet laboratory that will cause a disaster if it isn’t returned.|
Adventures involving the Izzet League typically concern magical mishaps, dangerous inventions, and feats of engineering (for good or ill). Player characters might be called upon to help clean up in the aftermath of a magical disaster, contain the damage, or rein in an ongoing danger. Or they could test or steal or destroy Izzet inventions, perhaps inadvertently causing magical catastrophes in the process.
The fundamental responsibility of the Izzet League is building and maintaining Ravnica’s infrastructure, and the guild’s work is responsible for many of the magical–technological conveniences that make life in the city relatively safe and comfortable, from paved roadways to running water. Under the leadership of the draconic genius Niv-Mizzet, the Izzet have continued to innovate, taking their work far beyond the essential needs of infrastructure and into the realm of wild invention. As a result, the workshops and laboratories of the Izzet are prone to magical mishaps, with results that range from personal injury to district-wide destruction. It is perhaps best for Ravnica as a whole that most of Izzet’s work takes place in small workshops scattered throughout the city, rather than being concentrated in one place (with the guildhall of Nivix being the notable exception).
Experimental Workshop Adventures
Izzet workshops like the one depicted in map 4.6 are notable for three things: the brilliant minds at work there, the incredible inventions they produce, and the destructive events that can occur when things go wrong. Adventurers might be drawn to a workshop to steal, thwart, or protect any of those things. The Experimental Workshop Adventures table shows some examples.
Experimental Workshop Adventures
|1||Rescue people trapped in the workshop after a disaster.|
|2||Steal plans or a prototype for a new weapon.|
|3||Capture an inventor for interrogation.|
|4||Stop the spread of toxic gas or molten mizzium from inside the workshop.|
|5||Shut down the operation of a dangerous device.|
|6||Capture or kill an elemental or an Izzet weird (described in chapter 6) that is running amok in the workshop, and make sure it doesn’t escape out into the city.|
|7||Get out of the workshop before it is destroyed by a spreading catastrophe.|
|8||Destroy the workshop in order to obliterate the research being done there.|
|9||Destroy the workshop in order to bring down a different building nearby.|
|10||Find a saboteur in the workshop before the traitor’s plans can be enacted.|
|11||Kill an inventor whose ideas are too dangerous to be put into practice.|
|12||Activate an invention being held in storage in the workshop.|
Experimental Workshop Map
An Izzet workshop is a chaotic place, buzzing with energy and activity. A mana generator in the basement fuels all the experimentation and construction above. The generator draws power from the city infrastructure, and ultimately from the Blistercoils, but the construction depicted in map 4.6 is designed to amplify and focus the magical energy. The machinery is fragile, so visitors are strongly discouraged from entering the basement.
Some parts of the generator extend up to the ground floor and the laboratory mezzanine above it, with portions of those floors open to the basement or covered only by metal grates. The ground level is typically cluttered with devices attached to the generator below, as well as cast-off pieces of such devices, awaiting new homes in new inventions. The laboratory mezzanine includes three spaces where projects can be developed in isolation, with thick walls providing some shielding from potentially explosive results. Additional equipment related to the generator system is housed in a tower and on the workshop’s roof, culminating in a storm siphon that can harness and channel atmospheric energy (including lightning).
The Bizarre Magical Effects table provides suggestions for the sort of events that might result from a failed (or successful!) Izzet experiment, which can add spice to any Izzet adventure.
Bizarre Magical Effects
|1||Every spell cast in the area triggers a wild magic surge. (Roll on the Wild Magic Surge table in the “Sorcerer” section of the Player’s Handbook.)|
|2||One or more objects in the area have a random trick effect. (Roll on the Tricks table in appendix A of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.)|
|3||The area is affected by a guards and wards spell.|
|4||Rooms and chambers in the area are affected by random obstacles. (Roll on the Obstacles table in appendix A of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.)|
|5||One or more objects in the area have a random trap effect. (Roll on the Traps table in appendix A of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.)|
|6||Random sections of the area are affected by an antimagic field spell.|
The behavior that members of the Izzet League display most often is careless disregard for safety, which causes frequent upheavals on both small and large scales. The true villains among the Izzet, though, aren’t just accident-prone but also committed to widespread destruction. Out of madness or despair, they might plot the destruction of precincts or districts. Hungry for profit and power, they develop weapons capable of destroying large groups of people and commit crimes to get the resources they need to complete their research.
The Izzet Villains table includes examples of villains as well as those who have less sinister intentions.
|1||A disgraced member of the Izmundi tries to embarrass the guild by orchestrating a magical disaster.|
|2||A team of inventors is creating a secret arsenal of volatile weapons.|
|3||Trying to impress the guildmaster, a mage from the Laboratory of Storms and Electricity creates a device that pushes the weather from one extreme to another.|
|4||A researcher siphons power from the Blistercoils to fuel experiments, causing failures in parts of the city’s infrastructure.|
|5||An obsessive researcher, trying to perfect an alchemical formula, causes a series of ever-worsening laboratory mishaps.|
|6||A guild leader orchestrates a series of “accidental” laboratory explosions that are actually meant to disrupt the nearby activities of other guilds.|
|7||An imprisoned spellcaster stages an explosive prison break using improvised materials.|
|8||A suspicious spellcaster who can’t trust research secrets to others creates clones that run amok.|
Izzet as Campaign Villains
A campaign involving the Izzet League could revolve around an Izzet researcher’s efforts to gain personal power or greater influence for the guild through the wonders of modern magical science.
At low levels, the characters might help deal with a small-scale mishap in an Izzet workshop that is presumed to be an accident. Maybe something in the manner of the responsible researcher stirs up their suspicion, but there’s no evidence of wrongdoing at this point. As the campaign progresses, the characters might continue having run-ins with the same researcher, whose work seems to be growing more dangerous. Eventually, they discover evidence that this researcher is developing weapons to use against the other guilds, and as a result the researcher has to move to a secret workshop, perhaps tucked away in the undercity. Or perhaps the guildmaster intervenes, declares this issue to be an internal matter for the Izzet to resolve, and assures the authorities that the researcher will be properly dealt with. As the campaign reaches its climax, the adventurers are tasked with discovering the researcher’s secret laboratory and disabling the super-weapon.
Izzet Character Goals
Characters who are connected with the Izzet League might be asked to run errands for higher-ranked researchers, or to take on more difficult tasks on behalf of colleagues. The Izzet Assignments table provides examples of goals that can serve as adventure hooks for a party or as side quests for an Izzet character to pursue in the course of a larger adventure.
|1||Acquire a hard-to-find metal or energy source.|
|2||Copy a rival’s research notes.|
|3||Destroy a rival’s research.|
|4||Take measurements of an unusual object or location (such as spatial dimensions or readings of various magical levels).|
|5||Test a new invention.|
|6||Repair an important piece of Ravnica’s infrastructure, such as a water main or a boiler pipe, that is tucked away in a remote location.|
Other Adventure Hooks
The Izzet Adventure Hooks table presents ideas for additional adventures themed around the Izzet League.
Izzet Adventure Hooks
|1||An Izzet experiment transforms a researcher, who then seeks help in returning to normal form.|
|2||An escaped Izzet weird (described in chapter 6) is causing magical malfunctions around the district.|
|3||A researcher trying to craft an antigravity alloy for a personal flight apparatus has created a number of reverse gravity effects, and is now trapped in midair at the top of one.|
|4||After a laboratory explosion, an alchemical fire resistant to conventional firefighting techniques is spreading through several neighborhoods.|
|5||A reckless researcher triggered an explosion in a mizzium foundry, causing a wave of molten metal to spill out into the surrounding streets.|
|6||A researcher who claims to have traveled back in time warns of an impending disaster.|
The Orzhov Syndicate is a sprawling network of organized crime that operates behind a facade of legitimate banking, robed in the trappings of religion. Adventures involving the Orzhov often include some combination of fighting their criminal activities, interacting with their wealth, and dealing with the haunting spirits and sinister monsters that make up a significant part of the guild’s leadership.
Combining the guild’s interests in organized crime, banking, and religion, Orzhov properties are ornate basilicas as grand as any cathedral, though the business conducted within them is driven by greed and lust for power rather than altruistic motives. Each location includes a grand space used not for purposes of worship, but to ensure that petitioners feel small and abased before the Orzhov oligarchs. Its lower level contains vaults to store the ill-gotten riches of its leaders, as well as crypts that hold the corpses of family members whose spirits might still be active above.
Grand Basilica Adventures
An adventure in an Orzhov basilica, like the one shown in map 4.7, can feel like the action in a gangster movie, a bank heist, or the exploration of a haunted house. The Grand Basilica Adventures table provides some examples.
Grand Basilica Adventures
|1||Steal (or recover) a magic item from the vaults below the basilica.|
|2||Put an end to nightly visitations by finding and confronting the haunting spirit in the basilica.|
|3||Survive a night trapped inside the basilica.|
|4||Deliver a warning to an Orzhov pontiff in the basilica and get out alive.|
|5||Rescue a prisoner being held in the basilica’s spire or crypts.|
|6||Escape from captivity in the basilica’s spire or crypts.|
|7||Destroy a dangerous weapon stored in a vault beneath the basilica.|
|8||Acquire or destroy some incriminating evidence held by an Orzhov blackmailer.|
|9||Retrieve a precious item held as collateral by an Orzhov loan shark.|
|10||Get information from a spirit who knew something important in life.|
|11||Find concrete evidence of the syndicate’s illegal activities.|
|12||Discover the fate of someone who was last seen entering the basilica a week ago.|
Orzhov Basilica Map
The Orzhov basilica is a huge church with the primary function of intimidating those who come to confess, atone, borrow, or pay. The nave features lofty archways, towering statues of proud oligarchs, and a huge central statue that depicts the Ghost Council surrounded by supplicants. A pair of tall doors behind the statue leads to an sanctuary where minor treasures — worth more than most citizens will ever see in their lives, but less than the true treasures hidden in the vaults — are put on display to encourage devotion. Another statue of a patron oligarch (usually the basilica’s founder) stands at the end of this room, flanked by spiral staircases leading up into the spire and down to the crypts. The stairs are secured behind ornate wrought iron gates.
The three levels of the spire hold luxurious apartments where living oligarchs dwell. The doors can be locked from the outside, making them also suitable for holding valuable prisoners.
The crypts and vaults below the basilica hold the bones of ancient oligarchs and their most cherished treasures. Some crypts contain just bones, others just valuables, and some hold both. A security station keeps watch on the entire level, and the guards there are typically the only ones who have keys to open the metal portcullises that obstruct the hallway.
Examples of Orzhov villains appear in the Orzhov Villains table.
|1||A powerful pontiff is using the spirits of dead relatives to intimidate members of other guilds.|
|2||An angel defected from the Boros Legion, bringing a magic sword with her that the Boros want back.|
|3||An Orzhov knight is trying to collect an overdue debt incurred by one of the adventurers’ ancestors.|
|4||A pontiff is running an extortion racket, promising local businesses protection from thugs that are also in the Orzhov’s employ.|
|5||A blood drinker vampire (see chapter 6 for the stat block) is holding prisoners as a food supply in a bank vault.|
|6||An advokist is exploiting legal loopholes to win the freedom of several criminals from Azorius prisons.|
|7||A desperate spirit tries to frighten people into paying its debts so it can pass on.|
|8||An unusually quick-witted Orzhov giant (see chapter 6 for the stat block) with grand visions of starting a criminal gang interferes with the flow of protection money.|
Orzhov as Campaign Villains
Orzhov villains often scheme to achieve immortality (if they are still alive and have been denied the prospect of becoming a spirit after death), to gain influence, and especially to gather wealth (because too much is never enough). Their favorite methods include coercion, confidence scams (mostly relying on the fine print in magically binding contracts), murder, politics, theft, torture, and vice.
You could build a campaign around the Orzhov Syndicate’s efforts to gain control of the adventurers. Recognizing the characters as powerful agents for change, one or more pontiffs scheme to make sure that the syndicate can direct that force toward goals of their choosing. In typical Orzhov fashion, that generally means trying to force the characters into debt, either to the Orzhov in general or to an individual pontiff.
At low levels, the Orzhov might be nothing more than a gentle force behind the scenes. If the adventurers need help, an Orzhov agent might appear and offer it. If they commit crimes, the Orzhov find out about it. The characters’ valuables can be kept safe in an Orzhov vault, and Orzhov ministrants can provide healing and other clerical magic at reasonable prices.
As the campaign progresses and the characters acquire more influence in their guilds and in the city at large, the Orzhov begin trying to exert pressure. They call in favors in exchange for the help they have previously offered, they make subtle threats about reporting the adventurers’ illegal acts, or they point to the fine print in agreements made with the ministrants. Initially, their motives might not be outwardly sinister. (The Orzhov Assignments table can serve as inspiration.) But if the characters work against Orzhov interests, the syndicate interferes more forcefully. All the while, Orzhov leaders are looking for ways to trap the characters under their ghostly thumbs.
As the campaign builds to a climax, the adventurers might be forced to make sacrifices in order to throw off the yoke of Orzhov debt. That turn of events could lead to a confrontation with an undead pontiff or even the entire Obzedat. And if a member of the adventuring party has died along the way, the other characters might find themselves fighting the spirit of their dead companion!
Orzhov Character Goals
Characters who are members of the Orzhov Syndicate, as well as those who are indebted to the Orzhov, might receive missions or errands that further the interests of their corrupt overlords. The Orzhov Assignments table includes examples of quests and side quests that such characters might undertake.
|1||Convince a debtor to make a payment.|
|2||Damage the person or property of someone who refuses to pay protection money.|
|3||Distribute alms-coins to the poor.|
|4||Transport a chest of coins to an Orzhov bank.|
|5||Destroy evidence that implicates the Orzhov in a crime.|
|6||Find information that can be used to blackmail a powerful person.|
Other Adventure Hooks
The Orzhov Adventure Hooks table presents ideas for additional adventures themed around the Orzhov Syndicate.
Orzhov Adventure Hooks
|1||Newly minted Orzhov coins are inscribed with a magical symbol that binds the spirit of anyone who uses them.|
|2||Indentured spirits (see chapter 6 for the stat block) have been deployed to haunt a location the Orzhov want to keep people away from.|
|3||Thrulls (described in chapter 6) that have broken free of Orzhov control are causing mischief.|
|4||Items appear on the black market that were obviously stolen from an Orzhov vault, but no one admits that the theft has occurred or claims credit.|
|5||Gargoyles perched on structures throughout the city are robbing passersby and delivering their stolen goods to an Orzhov basilica.|
|6||An eclipse triggers violent behavior from bound Orzhov spirits.|
Cult of Rakdos
On most worlds, a cult dedicated to an ancient demon lord would be an obvious villain, to be rooted out and exterminated at all costs. On Ravnica, though, the status of the Cult of Rakdos isn’t so clear-cut. It is a guild like the others, and its existence is mandated by the Guildpact, so exterminating it and its founder would violate the fundamental social order of the world. Although the ranks of Rakdos include outright villains who crave blood and mayhem, most of its members are performers who just want to put on a good show. Not every performance ends in violence, and even when a riot does break out, it’s not always easy to pin the blame on the entertainers.
Nonetheless, the Cult of Rakdos has more than its share of truly villainous members, and the guild provides ample opportunity for adventurers to fight against true evil.
Catering to all sorts of demented desires, nightclubs like the one shown in map 4.8 are permanent venues, in contrast to the portable tents and stages set up by Rakdos performers in streets and plazas every night. Much of what happens here would be illegal if it weren’t consensual — and if the city’s rich and powerful weren’t as drawn to its forbidden pleasures as anyone else in Ravnica.
Notorious Nightclub Adventures
Characters might be drawn to a Rakdos nightclub for reasons that have nothing to do with adventuring, but adventures unfold in these places regardless. The Notorious Nightclub Adventures table includes a variety of examples.
Notorious Nightclub Adventures
|1||Shut down a performance before the performers start attacking the crowd.|
|2||Escape from the club once the violence starts.|
|3||Protect a thrill seeker who wants to witness a performance close up.|
|4||Rescue someone who has been abducted for use as an extra in a show.|
|5||Find evidence that someone important was (or was not) killed in a previous performance here.|
|6||Capture a performer who ran away from a prominent family to “join the circus.”|
|7||Use the distraction of a performance to hold a secret meeting with someone from another guild.|
|8||Spy on someone who is using the distraction of a performance to hold a secret meeting.|
|9||Acquire a magic item the Rakdos are using as part of a performance.|
|10||Investigate rumors that the Rakdos have a wingless angel in their show.|
|11||Find an escaped convict who is rumored to be hiding behind Rakdos makeup.|
|12||Stop a Rakdos member who is blackmailing an important person with embarrassing information.|
Notorious Nightclub Map
Security, privacy, and terror are the priorities of this nightclub. Visitors are channeled through a large entry vestibule into an upper area with tables tucked away in nooks. From there, they can watch the violent antics of ferocious beasts or performers in cages suspended from the ceiling. Stairs lead down to the area of the main stage, where headlining performances are held. Offices and storage areas fill the rest of the main level.
A second stage in the lower level provides a more up-close experience, which often means audience members are showered in blood or drawn into the show. Several private booths surround the backstage area, with doors that include shuttered windows to enable those inside to keep an eye on the show or carry out private business.
Rakdos villains range in power from demented cultists to sadistic demons. Most of them are driven by a desire for unfettered mayhem. A hunger for a certain form of immortality (being an artist who is remembered forever) often feeds that desire, and insofar as Rakdos can be considered the “god” of his cult, objectives related to magic — carrying out his wishes, offering him sacrifices, and rousing him into action — are also significant objectives for some cultists. Driven as they are by selfish impulse and emotion, Rakdos villains also sometimes pursue schemes related to passion, power, or revenge. Specific examples appear on the Rakdos Villains table.
|1||A coven of blood witches (see chapter 6 for the stat block), seeking Rakdos’s favor, uses magic to turn members of other guilds against their own allies.|
|2||Word spreads that a retiring performer wants to go out with a bang, and their final performance promises to be explosive.|
|3||Mocking the absence of the Guildpact, a Rakdos troupe takes over the Chamber of the Guildpact and performs its satire before a captive audience.|
|4||A demon captures people and makes a game of thwarting their efforts to escape.|
|5||A skilled puppeteer uses skeletal marionettes to recreate historical acts of violence between guilds — which are inexplicably repeated in the real world within the next few days.|
|6||A ringmaster has discovered magic that fills the whole audience with blood lust and sends them rampaging through the streets.|
|7||A hypnotist is programming audience members to go into a murderous rage when a triggering event occurs.|
|8||A crazed blood witch (see chapter 6 for the stat block) hopes to rouse Rakdos by driving captured sacrificial victims into his lair.|
Rakdos as Campaign Villains
You could build a campaign around the Cult of Rakdos’s efforts to stir its demonic patron into action against the other guilds. The campaign might unfold amid steadily increasing violence, escalating to episodes of widespread rioting and rampaging demons.
At lower levels, the adventurers might encounter incidental violence spilling over from Rakdos venues: a brawl outside a nightclub, overenthusiastic devils spreading fires around a street stage, or the “accidental” death of a few performers at the climax of their act. As the campaign progresses, the characters might be drawn into combating the efforts of blood witches who are trying to exterminate the cult’s most active enemies. The more they foil the cult’s efforts, the more the characters themselves become targets of both ridicule and violent action.
At the campaign’s climax, the adventurers might have to interrupt a ritual performed in Rakdos’s lair in order to prevent him from rampaging through the city — or if they are too late to do that, they might have to fight the ancient demon lord himself.
Rakdos Character Goals
Characters who are members of the Cult of Rakdos are expected to be self-motivated and rarely take orders from anyone other than Rakdos himself. The Rakdos Assignments table includes some suggestions for adventures or side quests that Rakdos characters might undertake on their own initiative, or perhaps at the request of a ringmaster or a fellow performer.
|1||Acquire a flashy magic item to use as a prop in a performance.|
|2||Try out a new performance routine in the midst of actual life-or-death combat.|
|3||Sow distrust of an important person through satire or slander.|
|4||Make sure a specific person is in the front row for a certain performance.|
|5||Capture a deadly monster for use in a spectacular show.|
|6||Interrupt a solemn ceremony or ritual being performed by another guild.|
Other Adventure Hooks
The Rakdos Adventure Hooks table presents ideas for additional adventures themed around the Cult of Rakdos.
Rakdos Adventure Hooks
|1||Wild-eyed people attending a popular new club seem unwilling or unable to go home after several days of nonstop merriment.|
|2||One morning, everyone who has seen a Rakdos performance in the past week suddenly transforms into a minor demon.|
|3||An apparently spontaneous Rakdos-led riot has spread to take over an entire neighborhood.|
|4||People who die in Rakdos-inspired violence stand back up as zombies and keep fighting.|
|5||Ordinary knives and chains in homes across the neighborhood seem to come to life in advance of the start of a Rakdos show.|
|6||After several mausoleums are burst open from the inside, people see their undead family members cavorting on a Rakdos stage.|
The Selesnya Conclave is most likely to be involved in adventures as a force for good, since many of its members are healers, diplomats, and mediators. It is a natural home for player characters — especially clerics and druids — so it might serve as a patron. Nonetheless, the guild has a militaristic bent, and like nature itself it isn’t beyond corruption.
The basic unit of the Conclave’s organization is the vernadi — a community centered on a large tree and led by the voda of the enclave, a dryad whose spirit is linked to that tree. From the outside, a vernadi might resemble a peaceful commune, and thus seem to be an easy target for theft or assault. But its temple gardens are protected by soldiers and archers, and even the seemingly serene initiates have some military training.
Vernadi Center Adventures
Though a vernadi lacks the defensive fortifications of, for example, a Boros garrison, it is still a difficult place to attack or infiltrate. Because of the sheer numbers of initiates that might be inside, stealth is probably a better tactic than frontal assault. The Vernadi Center Adventures table offers some suggestions.
Vernadi Center Adventures
|1||Ascertain the numbers of the military forces housed in and around the vernadi.|
|2||Find the source of pollen that is drifting through the neighborhood and making people placid and compliant.|
|3||Find the source of wind-borne seeds that are drifting through the neighborhood and quickly growing into hostile awakened shrubs.|
|4||Retrieve an initiate who was supposedly forced to join the guild through mind-affecting magic.|
|5||Stop the vernadi, whose tree has awakened and escaped the control of its dryad, from trampling through the neighborhood.|
|6||Find a way to tap into the mind, will, and knowledge of Mat’Selesnya through the vernadi’s central tree or its dryad.|
|7||Introduce a contagion into Mat’Selesnya through the vernadi’s tree or its dryad.|
|8||Capture an equenaut who has been accused of a crime and who has taken refuge at the vernadi.|
|9||Convince or coerce a healer to tend to a sick or wounded person who would normally be an enemy of the conclave.|
|10||Find a spy embedded in the vernadi community.|
|11||Blend into the community to avoid pursuers.|
|12||Retrieve an item that was donated to the community by a new initiate, but without the permission of the item’s owner.|
Vernadi Center Map
The temple shown in map 4.9 is at the heart of the vernadi, built in and around a large tree. A circle of white marble with several archways surrounds the base of the tree, encompassing both a decorative garden where meetings are held and a vegetable garden that provides food for the vernadi. The meeting garden includes benches and a fountain of fresh water. Two small buildings at ground level offer rustic accommodations for members of the vernadi or guests.
Gracefully curving ramps sweep around the trunk of the tree, leading to various other small buildings. Several of these are open to the air, offering sheltered places for gatherings or quiet contemplation. Others are apartments where leaders of the vernadi live. Near the top of the tree is a large, round temple space.
True evil is rare among the members of Selesnya, with misplaced religious zeal being the impetus that most commonly pushes its members into acts of villainy.
Examples of Selesnya villains appear in the Selesnya Villains table.
|1||A fanatical leader disrupts building projects because they aren’t in harmony with nature.|
|2||A Ledev guardian is leading preemptive raids on other guilds, believing that a full-scale attack on the conclave is imminent.|
|3||A voda, feeling imperiled by the ills of society, causes vines to grow and seal the members of her vernadi inside.|
|4||A militant leader of a splinter group harasses “unbelievers” on the street and threatens to unleash elemental power on them.|
|5||A loxodon evangel uses coercive methods to recruit young people into the conclave.|
|6||An elf seeking spiritual union with Mat’Selesnya threatens the dryad of their own vernadi.|
|7||A crazed prophet claims to be the incarnation of Mat’Selesnya and gathers an army to strike at other guilds.|
|8||A horncaller (see chapter 6 for the stat block) steals animals that were used as pets, mounts, and beasts of burden throughout the neighborhood.|
Selesnya as Campaign Villains
You could structure a campaign around the efforts of the Selesnya Conclave to finally bring all of Ravnica into its welcoming embrace.
At lower levels, Selesnya might be an ally to the player characters, offering support in the form of healing and other magic. By the time the characters reach middle levels, Selesnya emerges as a threat: perhaps it becomes clear that several vernadi are using magical charms (or other forms of coercion) to win converts, and the conclave might even try to coerce the player characters to join. Eventually, their strategy evolves toward extortion and conquest, as they unleash wurms and similar powerful beasts to threaten those who refuse to convert, and they use the might of their armies to eliminate other guilds and bring whole precincts under their control. The climax of the campaign might involve the heroes leading or coordinating the efforts of all nine other guilds to unite against the Selesnya threat.
Selesnya Character Goals
Characters who are part of the Selesnya Conclave are usually sent into the world to help ease suffering, make peace, win converts, and advance the other objectives of the guild. The Selesnya Assignments table includes a number of side quests for individual Selesnya characters as well as adventure hooks for a whole party.
|1||Work to stop the spread of a strange illness.|
|2||Tend to the victims of a catastrophe or an attack.|
|3||Mediate a dispute between two other guilds.|
|4||Plant a magic seed, watch it grow into a great tree, and defend the tree until reinforcements arrive.|
|5||Bring an unruly beast under control and return it to the vernadi it escaped from.|
|6||Lead a targeted military strike to warn another guild against overreaching.|
Other Adventure Hooks
The Selesnya Adventure Hooks table presents ideas for additional adventures themed around the conclave.
Selesnya Adventure Hooks
|1||A sacred tree has been defiled or cut down, and an angry Selesnya mob is gathering to exact revenge.|
|2||The Worldsoul has identified the characters as emblematic of their guilds’ overreaching ambition.|
|3||A seer of the conclave tries to convince the characters that they are fated to save the world.|
|4||Plants throughout a neighborhood develop carnivorous tendencies.|
|5||A magic-infused stone of a Selesnya building grows out of control, threatening nearby buildings.|
|6||A Selesnya wurm (see chapter 6 for the stat block) breaks free of its controller and goes on a rampage.|
Adventures that involve the Simic Combine delve into the world of weird magical science. The Simic breed the hybrids known as krasis, and those creations can break free of their controllers and rampage through the city streets. The Simic also infuse sapient races with animal features, creating hybrids with adaptations designed for combat and espionage.
Although most Simic research is concentrated in the nine zonots distributed all over Ravnica, mages affiliated with the guild construct laboratories in various other locations, particularly when they are seeking a particular combination of environmental factors such as air and water temperature, humidity, and ambient light. Growth chambers like the one depicted in map 4.10, built for the creation and incubation of krasis and hybrids, could be located anywhere, from deep in the undercity to the top of a tall spire.
Growth Chamber Adventures
Adventures in a growth chamber often involve dealing with Simic experiments. The Growth Chamber Adventures table shows some examples.
Growth Chamber Adventures
|1||Escape from the chamber while a category 3 krasis (see chapter 6 for the stat block) runs amok through it after breaking out of its growth pod.|
|2||Break one or more krasis (described in chapter 6) out of their growth pods in order to wreak havoc on the growth chamber.|
|3||Stop a sinister experiment in progress.|
|4||Spy on a research program intended to create superior soldiers.|
|5||Subtly sabotage a research program so that it fails without the interference being obvious.|
|6||Steal research notes from an experiment with broad applications.|
|7||Free someone who has become the involuntary subject of Simic experiments.|
|8||Discover the source of a form of terraforming magic spreading out from the chamber’s location.|
|9||Capture a crazed Simic scientist who is trying to use other scientists in the chamber for experimental subjects.|
|10||Capture a crazed Simic scientist whose own body has been drastically altered by their experiments.|
|11||Acquire the laboratory’s technology so it can be put to use by another guild.|
|12||Retrieve research notes from a flooded and abandoned laboratory.|
Growth Chamber Map
This structure is attached to the side of some other structure, much as a coral affixes itself to a solid surface. It might be built on the inside wall of a zonot or a chasm, or it could abut another building at street level. The chamber consists of a series of overlapping domes with large, green-tinted windows.
The main entrance leads into a lobby with three decorative pools and three functional growth pods showcasing the most innocuous research being done here. The pods are glass and metal devices filled with greenish, vaguely glowing liquid, designed to allow life forms to gestate and grow until they are ready to emerge. The pods might be growing homunculi or category 1 krasis, but it would be highly unusual for the Simic to display the maturation of a hybrid soldier in such a public way. Four smaller growth pods to one side serve the same function. On the other side, a meeting room (containing one more growth pod) offers a place for researchers to meet with outsiders.
The first level above the main floor is dedicated to living, cooking, and eating space for the researchers and others who live here. A single large room acts as a barracks for the scientists, with folding screens offering some degree of privacy.
The other levels of the chamber are entirely dedicated to research and space to grow the laboratory’s creations. Growth pods are found in nearly every room.
Examples of Simic villains appear in the Simic Villains table.
|1||A rogue researcher is flooding parts of the undercity to serve as aquariums for secret experiments.|
|2||Researchers are capturing members of the other guilds so they can create hybrid soldiers that take advantage of the weaknesses of those guilds.|
|3||Researchers team up to surround an entire neighborhood in a plasma casing that is slowly altering the environment and all its inhabitants.|
|4||A magic-wielding Simic hybrid is eluding capture by the authorities thanks to a combination of adaptations and spells.|
|5||A researcher delves too deep into ancient lore and discovers mind-warping alien secrets.|
|6||A researcher creates a moss that threatens to destroy much of the city’s food production.|
|7||A biomancer (see chapter 6 for the stat block) seeks revenge by creating a specialized krasis that targets a specific guild.|
|8||A researcher turns to necromancy, exploring the combination of dead body parts with living tissue.|
Simic as Campaign Villains
Many Simic researchers are driven by the belief that the guild must adapt to the prospect of imminent war among the guilds. Thus, villains among their number are often those who seek to provoke the war they have foreseen, or those who go to extraordinary, unethical, or illegal lengths to conduct their work.
In the early stages of the campaign, the adventurers might face Simic-related threats such as rogue hybrids and rampaging krasis, which seem to be unrelated to each other and more or less accidental. As the campaign progresses, it becomes clear that these Simic creatures are part of a military build-up. The wrath of the other guilds turns toward the combine, but this conflict is exactly what the guild has been preparing for. Ultimately, it falls to the characters to either prevent the war, disable the Simic creatures that are poised to obliterate the other guilds’ armies, or find another course of action that can maintain the balance of power in Ravnica.
Simic Character Goals
The Simic Assignments table presents some ideas for missions that could drive an adventure or serve as side quests for a Simic character.
|1||Protect a Simic researcher who is trying to make an exhaustive examination of a new form of plant life.|
|2||Capture a previously unknown type of creature.|
|3||Contain an ooze or a krasis that is running loose.|
|4||Observe the behavior of a new form of krasis or Simic hybrid in the field.|
|5||Test a symbiotic magic item or life form (perhaps something like a living cloak of the manta ray).|
|6||Introduce a new predator species to the area to prey on a smaller species that is running amok.|
Other Adventure Hooks
The Simic Adventure Hooks table presents ideas for additional adventures themed around the Simic Combine.
Simic Adventure Hooks
|1||A researcher who was hybridized with an ooze is accidentally spreading that effect throughout a neighborhood, partially liquefying the residents.|
|2||Multiple category 3 krasis (see chapter 6 for the stat block) under no one’s control emerge from canals throughout the city.|
|3||A Simic laboratory has sunk to the bottom of a zonot, and all contact has been lost with the researchers inside.|
|4||A Simic airship falls to the ground, and it contains key research that several parties want to acquire.|
|5||A sage of the Gyre Clade accidentally creates an antimagic field that slowly spreads over the neighborhood.|
|6||People and animals near a Simic zonot develop spontaneous mutations.|