Izzet League

The Izzet mages weren’t hard to find. After a couple of days of observation, Jace heard an explosion and saw a startled flight of birds from across the district. The plume of blue smoke was a telltale sign of one of the Izzet’s pyrotechnic experiments. Jace tracked the source of the blast and spied two mages, a human and a goblin, outfitted with alchemical gadgetry and mizzium gauntlets. They emerged from a disused tunnel, leaving behind charred bricks and a haze of smoke, and their instruments crackled with energy. From what Jace had gathered, this was the Izzet style of research: keep adding energy until something blows up, then observe the results.

— Doug Beyer, Return to Ravnica: The Secretist

The Izzet are obsessive experimenters, combining a keen creative intellect with a short attention span. The original mandate of the Izzet guild was to provide solutions for public works projects (sewers, boilers, and roadways), but their increasingly far-fetched experiments satisfy only their insatiable curiosity. Sometimes their experiments yield useful technological advancements; other times they produce unintended mana geysers, spatial rifts, arcane portals, or huge explosions — all of which can be useful in their own way.

The league’s most grandiose experiments typically concern public works projects and elemental experimentation. These efforts use a methodology that relies on unexpected outcomes: all results are informative, even if they completely defy expectations. For example, an experiment that begins as the creation of a “hypermana focusing lens” might be renamed a “scram-range teleportal” once the researchers discover more properties of what they have fashioned. Then, after a few goblin volunteers vanish inside it, the apparatus gains the designation of “universal refuse disintegrator” — until the goblin volunteers are discovered alive, having been teleported far from the workshop. This sort of adjustment is par for the course in Izzet experiments; the “fiddle and find out” method is favored over any process of systematic scientific research.

The Izzet League is one of the few guilds whose founder, the dragon Niv-Mizzet, remains its guildmaster, just as the guild continues to fulfill its original mission (even as its experiments go far beyond the guild’s original mandate).

Inside the League

Niv-Mizzet, the original and current guildmaster of the Izzet League, is a fifteen-thousand-year-old, vain, temperamental, super-intelligent dragon. As he directs experiments throughout the guild, he values results over success, accepting and even anticipating that Izzet experiments will end in gloriously unpredictable ways. However, the dragon rarely concerns himself with the day-to-day running of the guild, preferring to craft long-range plans and let underlings implement the details.

Overseeing the daily operations of the guild is the purview of the Izmundi, a board of directors that assembles teams from among the rank and file of the Izzet League to carry out research according to Niv-Mizzet’s directions. The Izmagnus is a smaller board with five to seven members (some members’ identities remain secret) who serve as Niv-Mizzet’s closest advisors.

The Izzet League is organized into units designated as laboratories that specialize in certain fields of research. Though they all operate under the general guidance of the Izmundi, each laboratory is typically left alone to conduct its research. New fields of study emerge all the time, but the more established laboratories — each populated by hundreds of mages and their attendants — include the following:

The Laboratory of Pyrology has a prominent facility in the guildhall, Nivix. Its emphasis is on heat, fire, and explosion.

The Laboratory of Storms and Electricity focuses on controlling the weather as well as containing and conducting electrical energy. Its headquarters is in a spire atop Nivix, known as the Lightning Rod.

Research into smelting and forging, most often using the magical metal known as mizzium, is conducted at the Laboratory of Metallurgy, which has a small outpost in the Tenth District’s Smelting Quarter.

The magical science of transmuting one substance to another is the study of the Laboratory of Alchemy.

The Laboratory of Orientation, concerned with teleportation and spatial recombination, has multiple workshops that seem to appear and disappear at random.

The Laboratory of Mimeography studies means of duplication.

The Laboratory of Continuism emphasizes the study of temporal manipulation.

Research into counter-magic and redirection takes place in the Laboratory of Arcane Geometry, which has a small presence in Prism University in the Tenth District.

The Laboratory of Gravitational Inversion conducts research on means of flight and maintains a workshop near Augustin Station in the Tenth District.

The Laboratory of Plasma-Dermatology places emphasis on the combining of opposing elements, with the purpose of creating creatures called weirds.

Izzet laboratories function in a constant state of high energy that propels researchers from one experiment to the next. Some grand-scale experiments draw on the resources of an entire laboratory, while others are a lone visionary’s labor of love.

IN THE NAME OF MAGICAL SCIENCE!

Izzet laboratories buzz with creative and often destructive energy, as countless researchers go about their business pushing the boundaries of knowledge. But the lure of discovery is anything but monolithic across the Izzet League.

Humans, who make up the majority of the guild’s mages, are fueled by limitless curiosity and sustained by their ability to approach any problem from a multitude of different angles.

Goblins embody the Izzet’s unrestrained enthusiasm for their endeavors. They epitomize the recklessness of Izzet mages, and some participate as subjects in hazardous experiments—even ones of their own devising. More often, they thrive in their role as attendants to researchers.

Vedalken tend to be more focused, organized, and astute compared to their Izzet compatriots, and thus they often serve as leaders of projects in the guild’s laboratories. Some vedalken are so obsessive about their work that they like to see to every detail themselves, rather than delegating any task to underlings or assistants. This attitude can irritate and alienate their guild mates—and put the vedalken in harm’s way when an experiment goes awry.

Goals of the Izzet

The Izzet League thirsts for knowledge, cherishes intellect, and speculates about the secrets of the multiverse. It brings to its scientific pursuits a flaming passion that turns its search for knowledge into an insatiable hunger, makes its cold intellect brilliantly fruitful, and widens its speculation into a search for connections between wildly disparate objects or concepts. It is manic in its expressions of creative energy, shifting from careful analysis to intuitive leap seemingly for no reason, always thinking outside the proverbial box. As the Izzet see it, unpredictable action, far from being antithetical to methodical research, has experimental value. In the words of one researcher, “The only action worth taking is one with an unknown outcome.”

As Ravnica descends into increasing turmoil, the Izzet have further intensified their frenetic research, though now their efforts are mainly directed toward one outcome: the development of super-weapons. The suspicion that festers in the mind of the Izzet guildmaster, the ancient dragon Niv-Mizzet, urges him to push his guild’s research toward increasingly dangerous and volatile experimentation.

For the rest of the guild members, the search for bigger and better weapons is mainly an opportunity to engage in all sorts of wild research while abandoning all outward pretense of safety or reason. Much of the guild’s laboratory space has been converted into testing grounds that are capable of withstanding great discharges of magical energy.

Izzet Characters

Alignment: Usually chaotic, often neutral

Suggested Races: Human, goblin, vedalken

Suggested Classes: Fighter, sorcerer, wizard

You might enjoy playing a character who belongs to the Izzet League for any of the following reasons:

  • You like to make things happen and don’t care about the consequences.
  • You’re drawn to wild magic and dangerous explosions.
  • You want to be an innovative genius.
  • You relish the madcap high jinks of goblins.

Joining the Izzet League

Most Izzet recruits begin their careers as attendants. In the service of a more powerful mage, a crew of up to forty attendants engages in tasks such as recording and organizing information (sometimes under dangerous circumstances), acquiring rare items or elements (usually under dangerous circumstances), or completing experiments (always under dangerous circumstances). Goblins relish this sort of work, while other folk seek promotion into a new position as quickly as possible.

If you are a spellcaster, such as a sorcerer or a wizard, the easiest way up and out of your position is by proving your skill with magic. Most Izzet sorcerers get their magic from the Wild Magic origin, but a few claim a Draconic Bloodline. Izzet wizards tend to specialize in the School of Conjuration, Evocation, or Transmutation. As an Izzet spellcaster, you are probably connected to a particular laboratory, either one described in the “Inside the Izzet” section or a less prominent one focused on a narrower topic. You could be an independent researcher, a functionary devoted to carrying out errands for the guild’s leadership, or a coordinator charged with synchronizing the efforts of different laboratories.

Even though the work of the Izzet League is largely focused on magic and research, if you are a more martial-minded character you still have a role to play in the guild. Fighters with the Eldritch Knight archetype often serve as guards, protecting laboratories and the inventions contained within them, or you can aspire to the elite role of scorchbringer (which comes with a flame-throwing magic device called a pyroconverger, described in chapter 5).

Background: Izzet Engineer

Armed with an inventive intellect, a love of magical technology, and an unquenchable energy, you are an enthusiastic participant in the research work of the Izzet League. Though you’re likely to begin your career as a mere attendant, you can aspire to become a skilled mage or alchemist, a laboratory supervisor, or even a flamethrower-wielding scorchbringer tasked with defending Izzet laboratories. The Izzet are obsessive, brilliant, inspired, and an unpredictable force of chaos in Ravnica, and you epitomize all of those qualities.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Investigation

Languages: Choose one of Draconic, Goblin, or Vedalken

Tool Proficiencies: One type of artisan’s tools

Equipment: An Izzet insignia, one set of artisan’s tools, the charred and twisted remains of a failed experiment, a hammer, a block and tackle, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 5 gp (Azorius 1-zino coins)

Feature: Urban Infrastructure

The popular conception of the Izzet League is based on mad inventions, dangerous experiments, and explosive blasts. Much of that perception is accurate, but the league is also involved with mundane tasks of construction and architecture — primarily in crafting the infrastructure that allows Ravnicans to enjoy running water, levitating platforms, and other magical and technological wonders.

You have a basic knowledge of the structure of buildings, including the stuff behind the walls. You can also find blueprints of a specific building in order to learn the details of its construction. Such blueprints might provide knowledge of entry points, structural weaknesses, or secret spaces. Your access to such information isn’t unlimited. If obtaining or using the information gets you in trouble with the law, the guild can’t shield you from the repercussions.

Izzet Guild Spells

Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Pact Magic class feature

For you, the spells on the Izzet Guild Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class. (If you are a multiclass character with multiple spell lists, these spells are added to all of them.)

Izzet Guild Spells

Spell LevelSpells
Cantripproduce flame, shocking grasp
1stchaos bolt, create or destroy water, unseen servant
2ndheat metal, rope trick
3rdcall lightning, elemental weapon, glyph of warding
4thconjure minor elementals, divination, Otiluke’s resilient sphere
5thanimate objects, conjure elemental

Your spells tend to be loud, flashy, or explosive, even when the effect is unremarkable. For example, when you open the portal of a rope trick spell, the portal might be outlined by harmless, showy sparkles.

If you use an arcane focus, it probably takes the form of an intricate device that could include metal gauntlets, glass canisters, copper tubing, and leather straps attaching it to your body. The mizzium apparatus described in chapter 5 is a magical version of this gear.

The chaos bolt spell is a favorite of Izzet spellcasters because of its unpredictable nature.

Spell: Chaos Bolt

1st-level evocation

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 120 feet

Components: V, S

Duration: Instantaneous

You hurl an undulating, warbling mass of chaotic energy at one creature in range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 2d8 + 1d6 damage. Choose one of the d8s. The number rolled on that die determines the attack’s damage type, as shown below.

d8Damage Type
1Acid
2Cold
3Fire
4Force
5Lightning
6Poison
7Psychic
8Thunder

If you roll the same number on both d8s, the chaotic energy leaps from the target to a different creature of your choice within 30 feet of it. Make a new attack roll against the new target, and make a new damage roll, which could cause the chaotic energy to leap again.

A creature can be targeted only once by this casting of the spell.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, each target takes 1d6 extra damage of the type rolled for each slot level above 1st.

Suggested Characteristics

Members of the Izzet League embody some combination of chaotic, frenetic energy with intellectual curiosity, in varying proportions. Some are committed to academic pursuits, and others just like explosions.

Personality Traits

d8Personality Trait
1I have a hard time staying focused on … oh, and my brain tends to jump from one … did I mention focus?
2I get really excited about my ideas and I can’t wait to talk about them and start putting them into practice and tinkering with them and I want to tell you about how exciting it all is!
3It’s not magic — or anything, really — if you do it only halfway. Whatever I do, I give it all I’ve got.
4I do what my gut tells me.
5Life’s an experiment, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
6I pepper my speech with the incomprehensible jargon of my trade, like mizzium droplets inserted into a weird-field suspension.
7Great ideas are fine, but great results are what counts.
8If you can guess what I’m about to do, that means I’ve run out of imagination.

Ideals

d6Ideal
1Guild. My guild is all that really matters. (Any)
2Creativity. Half the world’s troubles come from stodgy thinking, stuck in the past. We need innovative solutions. (Chaotic)
3Discovery. Every experiment has the potential to reveal more secrets of the multiverse. (Any)
4Science. A rigorous application of logical principles and protocols will lead us toward progress more surely than any belief system. (Lawful)
5Fun. I love my job! Despite the dangerous working conditions, there’s nothing I’d rather do. (Chaotic)
6Power. Someday I’ll find or create the magic that will make me the most powerful being in Ravnica. (Evil)

Bonds

d6Bond
1I have dedicated my life to finding a solution to a scientific problem.
2I’ll never forget the laboratory where I learned my skills, or the other attendants who learned alongside me.
3I’m convinced it was sabotage that destroyed my first laboratory and killed many of my friends, and I seek revenge against whoever did it.
4I have the schematics for an invention that I hope to build one day, once I have the necessary resources.
5A fellow student and I are racing to solve the same scientific puzzle.
6I would do anything the guildmaster told me to do.

Flaws

d6Flaw
1If there’s a plan, I’ll probably forget it. If I don’t forget it, I’ll probably ignore it.
2I get bored easily, and if nothing is happening I’ll make something happen.
3Nothing is ever simple, and if it seems simple, I’ll find a way to make it complicated.
4I tend to ignore sleep for days when I’m conducting research, often at the expense of my own health and safety.
5I’m convinced there’s not a soul in Ravnica, except maybe the great Niv-Mizzet, who can match my boundless intellect.
6I’m incapable of admitting a flaw in my logic.

Contacts

The laboratories of the Izzet League are constantly starting up new projects and dissolving old ones, so it’s easy for even the lowliest attendant to make friends (and enemies) in laboratories across Ravnica.

Roll twice on the Izzet Contacts table (for an ally and a rival) and once on the Non-Izzet Contacts table.

Izzet Contacts

d8Contact
1An older relative is a member of the guild’s board of directors.
2I know a sprite who carries important messages among the guild’s laboratories.
3A sibling is the head of a laboratory doing exotic research.
4A former colleague is now an attendant in a laboratory in the central guildhall.
5I’m in regular communication with an instructor who set me on the course of my life and research.
6I had a romance with a chemister working in the Blistercoils.
7As an attendant, I had a fierce rivalry with another attendant for our supervisor’s attention.
8The guildmaster, Niv-Mizzet, took note of one of my experiments!

Non-Izzet Contacts

d10Contact
1An Azorius inspector seems interested in my work.
2I was ready to join the Boros before I decided on Izzet, and I sometimes still hear from the sergeant who tried to recruit me.
3One of my former assistants turned out to be a Dimir spy. We’re not on friendly terms anymore, but we have a habit of running into each other.
4A Golgari assassin killed a bitter rival of mine, leaving me with conflicted feelings.
5I helped a minor Gruul chieftain acquire an Izzet weapon.
6Roll an additional Izzet contact; you can decide if the contact is an ally or a rival.
7An Orzhov banker financed my laboratory’s current work and expects great returns.
8I have a cousin in the Cult of Rakdos, and we get along quite well.
9A former attendant from the same laboratory ran off to join the Selesnya, and we get into a big argument every time we run into each other.
10I compare notes and techniques with a Simic scientist over lunch sometimes.

How Do I Fit In?

Whatever your role in the Izzet League, you are expected to contribute to its research in some way. That contribution might involve participating in tests, whether as an assistant, a researcher, or a subject. You might be one of the soldiers who protects a laboratory, or a laborer responsible for lifting heavy pieces of equipment into place. Everyone’s contribution matters, even if the Izzet know that some matter more than others.

An Izzet Party

A party made up entirely of Izzet members might be a mage (wizard or sorcerer) accompanied by guards (fighters) and attendants (any class). The structure of the guild generally assumes that the mage is in charge of steering the group, but it’s possible for any of the other characters to be the true brains of the operation. This party lacks healing ability, but alchemist-crafted healing potions can help sustain the party in the absence of a dedicated healer.

Rank and Renown

Renown within the Izzet League brings with it more responsibility in your chosen field of study, as well as an increasing ability to choose the activities that interest you. This greater responsibility and independence is reflected in a progression of ranks, from that of a mere attendant to a coveted position on the Izmagnus.

Rank 1: Researcher

Prerequisite: Renown 3 or higher in the Izzet League, Spellcasting or Pact Magic class feature

When you have advanced the guild’s interests and survived a few magical experiments, you graduate into a position where you can conduct experiments yourself. Only a spellcaster can craft and operate the laboratory equipment involved in Izzet experiments.

As a researcher, you can request equipment for use in your experiments and during adventures. You can secure the aid of 1d4 barely competent attendants to assist you. Your attendants use the commoner stat block in the Monster Manual.

When you achieve this rank, you can help create your own mizzium apparatus (described in chapter 5). To do so, you must spend 10 days of downtime in an Izzet workshop, assisting a more experienced researcher in the construction of the device. The apparatus is given to you at the end of this time. If your apparatus is lost or destroyed, you can create a replacement by spending 50 gp and another 10 days of downtime.

Scorchbringer (Special Role)

Prerequisite: Renown 3 or higher in the Izzet League

Scorchbringers are soldiers assigned to protect Izzet laboratories. As a scorchbringer, you are given a pyroconverger (described in chapter 5) and are expected to use it in the defense of Izzet property. If your pyroconverger is lost or destroyed, you can get a replacement for 50 gp.

Rank 2: Supervisor

Prerequisite: Renown 10 or higher in the Izzet League

Whether you’re an accomplished researcher, a committed soldier, or even a dedicated (and skilled) attendant, you are eligible for promotion to a supervisor position. As a supervisor, you oversee your former peers. Your role is primarily to translate the instructions of the director above you into concrete tasks that the people who report to you can accomplish.

If your director sends you on a mission outside the laboratory, you receive an Izzet charm (described in chapter 5) at the start of that mission.

As a supervisor, you earn a salary sufficient to maintain a modest lifestyle.

Independent Researcher (Special Role)

Prerequisite: Rank 1 and renown 10 or higher in the Izzet League, Spellcasting or Pact Magic class feature

Not every researcher chooses to advance through the ranks of management to become a supervisor. As an independent researcher, you can use the resources of your laboratory to conduct any kind of experiment. Assisting you in your research are 2d6 competent attendants (use the commoner stat block in the Monster Manual, and give them proficiency in the Arcana skill).

In addition, you can create your own Izzet charm (described in chapter 5), given 5 days of work and access to your laboratory. When you do so, any other charms you have created vanish.

Rank 3: Director

Prerequisite: Renown 25 or higher in the Izzet League

You oversee a laboratory and all its personnel. In addition, as a director, you are eligible to join the Izmundi, the Izzet board of directors, as a representative of your laboratory. You must have the approval of Niv-Mizzet, and a position on this board usually becomes available only if a vacancy opens up. If you assemble your own laboratory, you can be added to the board as an additional member.

It’s up to the Izmundi to assemble the correct team to carry out the guildmaster’s directives. The Izmundi decides which laboratory should have primary responsibility for any given project, and the director of that laboratory is responsible for assigning people to the team.

Within the bounds of Niv-Mizzet’s directives, you have wide latitude in directing the activities of your laboratory. That means you can steer the researchers of your laboratory toward the creation of particular items or effects.

Between adventures, you can maintain yourself at a comfortable lifestyle as a member of the Izmundi.

Rank 4: Advisor

Prerequisite: Rank 3 and renown 50 or higher in the Izzet League

As one of the most famous members of the guild, you are eligible to join the ranks of the Izmagnus. The decision to include you on this board is solely Niv-Mizzet’s. The number of members on the board isn’t fixed, so you don’t need to wait for a vacancy.

As a member of the Izmagnus, you have the ear of the dragon guildmaster. You can never be fully aware of the scope of his plans, but you know more about them than anyone aside from the other members of the board. The guildmaster listens to your opinion, even though you’re not an ancient dragon with thousands of years of accumulated knowledge and wisdom. Ultimately, Niv-Mizzet tells you what to do — and you (along with your peers) tell the rest of the guild how to do it.

As a member of the Izmagnus, you can maintain yourself at a wealthy lifestyle between adventures.

Enemies and Allies

The Izzet have difficulty relating to the concerns of other guilds. The closest affinity they feel for another guild is their respect for the scientific minds of the Simic — but from the Izzet viewpoint, the Simic efforts lack passion. Conversely, the Izzet can appreciate the passion of the Boros, Gruul, and Rakdos, but they don’t agree with the goals those passions are directed toward.

The Izzet have a reputation for unprovoked aggression, spurred by the ambition of Niv-Mizzet. From your perspective as a guild member, the ancient dragon has a good reason for everything he does. If you are sent to test a new weapon against a suspected Dimir safe house, a Gruul camp, or a deceptively peaceful Selesnya enclave, those must surely be dangerous foes of the Izzet. You are also bound to oppose the Dimir when they steal the secrets of your laboratory’s research, the Gruul when they smash the delicate equipment that supports your life’s work, and the Boros and the Azorius if they decide that your work presents a danger to the city or breaks some obscure law.

Sometimes members of other guilds can help advance your research, intentionally or otherwise. The Izzet are intelligent enough to recognize their weaknesses, and adventuresome souls from other guilds can offset those weaknesses. The healing spells of Boros clerics can be an invaluable aid, and if a cyclops isn’t available to lend its brute strength to your work, a Boros minotaur or a Selesnya centaur can fill the need nicely.

THE IZZET VIEW ON OTHER GUILDS

To the lively intellect of the Izzet, the members of Ravnica’s other guilds seem slow, dull, and utterly lacking in the spirit of scientific inquiry and experimentation.

Azorius. “The Azorius create regulations for everything, including freedom. What dull, shackled lives they lead.”

Boros. “All too often when we’re on the verge of setting off a little explosion or a spell that tears a hole in reality, the Boros show up to spoil the fun.”

Dimir. “The less we see of the Dimir, the more we know they are monitoring us.”

Golgari. “They keep to themselves and clean up our messes. As long as they stay out of sight, it’s hard to view them as a threat.”

Gruul. “They’re even better at wrecking our laboratories than we are!”

Orzhov. “Progress means taking risks. But when you gamble with the Orzhov, you always wager more than coin.”

Rakdos. “Steer clear of these senseless riot-fiends. Their enthusiasm is best appreciated from a distance.”

Selesnya. “These zealots run with beasts and worship figments of the past. They would be wiser to embrace the wonders of the future.”

Simic. “The Simic are inventive, but their creations are bereft of soul and fire. They tinker with life but lack the inspiration to breathe true spirit into their inventions.”