Selesnya troops poured into the streets, emptying the nature temples, wildlife preserves, and other green spaces controlled by the conclave. The centaurs’ hooves clattered on the cobblestones and the wolf-riders bounded over stone bridges. Human and elf infantry flooded through the arteries of the district, streaming past intersections and flowing around buildings. Griffons and their riders swooped down out of a blanket of low clouds, strafing past the spires. Emmara rode on the shoulder of a massive creature made of a snarl of marble, wood, and vines, her hand resting on its great head. Two more of the nature behemoths strode ahead of her, swinging their limbs in slow motion, indenting the streets with their footfalls as the other Selesnya troops ran between their legs. Below her, Captain Calomir led the Selesnya army. He rode his white war rhino, driving the Selesnya ranks forward, guiding them through the streets toward the Rakdos horde.
— Doug Beyer, Return to Ravnica: The Secretist
Like a thriving garden, carefully tended and abundantly fertile, the communities of the Selesnya Conclave are a harmonious union of nature and civilization. The members of the conclave dream of embracing all of Ravnica in their peaceful union. In the meantime, they are growing an army, preparing to resist the ambition and destructive impulses of the other guilds and fight to defend their way of life.
At the heart of the Selesnya faith and philosophy is the Worldsoul, called Mat’Selesnya, which its devotees believe to be a manifestation of nature itself. At the signing of the original Guildpact, Mat’Selesnya was embodied in an elemental form and acted as the guild’s first guildmaster. The current guildmaster, Trostani — three dryads fused together with Mat’Selesnya into a single being — is said to embody the will of the Worldsoul in a similar way. The original mission of the conclave involved conservation and charity, but its focus has long been on expanding its community, in which all members are cared for and nature is preserved in harmony with civilization.
Inside the Conclave
The Selesnya Conclave is organized into enclaves called vernadi, which are communes built around central trees. The vernadi are smaller versions of the guildhall, the great city-tree Vitu-Ghazi. A dryad, called a voda, is called forth from that central tree to be the leader of the community, connecting the vernadi and its devotees to the Worldsoul and uniting them with the will of the entire conclave.
A voda is accessible to all the guild members in her care. You have regular contact with your voda, who knows your name and has a good idea of your interests, goals, and strengths. And since your voda is mystically linked to the guildmaster, Trostani, through communion with the Worldsoul, it’s safe to assume that Trostani knows who you are as well.
In addition to the voda, military and religious leaders in each vernadi regularly communicate with its members. Ordinary members of the conclave spend a few hours every day training with a military instructor and studying with a religious teacher.
Goals of the Selesnya
Despite the growing tensions that now grip the world, in the long view of the Selesnya Conclave, not much has changed. Ravnica is troubled, but Ravnica has always been troubled. The Living Guildpact is absent, but the Guildpact comes and goes. The Worldsoul has not changed, nor has the will of Mat’Selesnya: the conclave’s main goal is to grow, as it has always been. Its strength lies in its numbers.
The conclave clings to the ideal of a peaceful collective in which individual desires are subordinate to the good of the whole group. The guild wants to see this beloved community grow, flourish, and thrive in peace. But as much as it values peace within the community, it displays incredible ferocity when that harmony is threatened.
Selesnya’s vision is centered on the idea of harmony between civilization and nature. To advance the cause of civilized society, the conclave believes in the need for an ordered structure that orients the group toward the pursuit of the common good. At the same time, the guild’s connection with the natural world gives the conclave a fervent appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things. Selesnya doesn’t tolerate selfishness or ambition, instead urging its members to put the needs of others ahead of their own desires and to use the power of nature — including nature’s wrath — to drive away those whose selfishness threatens the coherence of the group.
The greatest danger that Selesnya faces lies in the ambitions of other guilds, which are flourishing in the absence of the Guildpact. Selesnya’s way of curbing this grasping selfishness has always been to outnumber the other guilds. Its members aren’t naive; they fully realize that the ambitions of other guilds will lead to violence. And they aim to be prepared for that violence when it erupts.
“For my seedlings to survive,” Mat’Selesnya says, “we must grow an army capable of overwhelming such ambitions.” Some of that army is literally grown, in the case of plant creatures and elementals. A great many members grow up in the guild from childhood and learn their martial skills at the guild’s training grounds. And still more join the guild through recruitment — especially in these troubling times, when rumors of war and a sense of imminent doom make Selesnya’s message of harmonious community sound ever more appealing.
Suggested Races: Human, centaur, elf (wood), half-elf, loxodon
Suggested Classes: Bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, warlock
You might enjoy playing a Selesnya Conclave character if one or more of the folllowing statements are true:
- You like the idea of being part of a huge, peaceful community.
- You like playing druids, rangers, or spiritual monks.
- You believe in victory through respectful teamwork, overwhelming numbers, or both.
- You want a spiritual connection to something bigger than just your character.
Joining the Selesnya Conclave
New initiates come to the Selesnya Conclave as children, to be brought up by the guild’s members, or as recruits drawn from the guildless or the membership of other guilds. Regardless of the path you took to get here, you start out in the role of initiate. As an initiate, you must subsume your desires to the needs of the guild while finding a way (under the guidance of your enclave’s leader) to put your talents to use in service to Mat’Selesnya. This effort isn’t so much a process of carrying out orders, but of gradually discerning the will of the Worldsoul and finding your place in it.
In your search for communion with the Worldsoul, you are part of a worldwide community, but you are also part of a smaller local community — an enclave called a vernadi, which is led by a dryad called a voda. Your role in the conclave is specifically oriented toward your vernadi, at least at the start of your career. Your voda helps you in your process of discerning the will of Mat’Selesnya and your place in relation to it.
The Selesnya Conclave is both a community of worshipers and a militia, and thus its leadership includes both military and religious figures.
Selesnya looks from the outside like a peaceful community, but it is also an army. If you are a fighter, a ranger, or a paladin (usually having sworn the Oath of the Ancients), your place in the guild is a military one. Unlike in the Boros Legion, though, the conclave’s military ranks aren’t highly structured; each enclave has its own forces, with a single commander and one other layer of command (at most) above the troops. A variety of special military roles become available to you as you prove yourself useful to your vernadi and the conclave. You might aspire to be a votary standing watch over the temple gardens, a sagittar archer, a pegasus-riding equenaut, or a wolf-riding Ledev guardian.
If you are a druid (perhaps of the Circle of the Land), a cleric (of the Life or the Nature Domain), a warlock with the Archfey (Mat’Selesnya) as a patron, or a devout monk (who might follow the Way of the Open Hand), you might be drawn to a role of religious leadership. These leaders mediate the relationship between the members of the conclave and the voice of Mat’Selesnya. A number of special roles will be available to you as you establish your place. You might hope to carry the message of the conclave out into the world as an evangel, and great religious leaders are honored with the title of hierarch.
Background: Selesnya Initiate
You are a member of a blessed community, built on the ideals of harmony. Here, nature and civilization coexist peacefully, living and growing in accordance with the will of the Worldsoul, Mat’Selesnya. As a member of the Selesnya Conclave, you are surrounded by people and other creatures who share your worldview and your longing for deeper spiritual communion with the world, and you have a fervent desire to share the joy you have experienced with Ravnica. Along with the rest of the conclave, you are committed to resisting the ambitions of the other guilds — with military force if necessary.
Tool Proficiencies: One type of artisan’s tools or one musical instrument
Languages: Choose one of Elvish, Loxodon, or Sylvan
Equipment: A Selesnya insignia, a healer’s kit, robes, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 5 gp (Azorius 1-zino coins)
Feature: Conclave’s Shelter
As a member of the Selesnya Conclave, you can count on your guild mates to provide shelter and aid. You and your companions can find a place to hide or rest in any Selesnya enclave in the city, unless you have proven to be a danger to them. The members of the enclave will shield you from the law or anyone else searching for you, though they will not risk their lives in this effort.
In addition, as a guild member you can receive free healing and care at a Selesnya enclave, though you must provide any material components needed for spells.
Selesnya Guild Spells
Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Pact Magic class feature
For you, the spells on the Selesnya 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.)
Selesnya Guild Spells
|1st||aid, animal friendship, charm person|
|2nd||animal messenger, calm emotions, warding bond|
|3rd||plant growth, speak with plants|
|4th||aura of life, conjure minor elementals|
|5th||awaken, commune with nature|
Members of the Selesnya Conclave refer to their magic as “doruvati,” a Sylvan word meaning “gift.” When you use these gifts of Mat’Selesnya, graceful swirls of green and silver light dance in the air around you, and phantasmal green leaves might waft through the air. A sensation of gentle warmth and the smell of spring flowers or autumn leaves might accompany your spells.
Most members of the Selesnya Conclave are true believers — the tight-knit community allows little room for the cynical or disillusioned. They are spiritual, empathetic, and generally peaceful — unless roused to action. Their flaws and bonds alike grow naturally from their close ties to the community.
|1||I never raise my voice or lose my temper.|
|2||I feel the pains and joys of everyone around me, friend or foe.|
|3||I would rather make a friend than thwart an enemy.|
|4||I’m always straining to peer into another reality that seems to be just beyond my senses.|
|5||I’m uneasy if I can’t see plants growing or feel soil beneath my feet.|
|6||Seeing illness or injury in any creature saddens me.|
|7||I have much to be proud of, but I am still just one strand in the grand, interwoven tapestry of life.|
|8||Nature offers rich and abundant metaphors for understanding the complexities of life.|
|1||Guild. My guild is all that really matters. (Any)|
|2||Harmony. Nothing is more beautiful than voices and actions aligned in common purpose. (Good)|
|3||Order. Like a well-pruned tree, society thrives when everything is kept in good order. (Lawful)|
|4||Life. Preserving life and nature is always a worthwhile endeavor. (Good)|
|5||Humility. Ambition and pride are the roots of strife. (Good)|
|6||Evangelism. When all have joined the Selesnya Conclave, Ravnica will finally know peace. (Any)|
|1||I would give my life in the defense of the small enclave where I first encountered Mat’Selesnya.|
|2||I love beasts and plants of all kinds, and am loath to harm them.|
|3||A healer nursed me to recovery from a mortal illness.|
|4||I’ll sing the invitation of Mat’Selesnya with my dying breath.|
|5||I cherish a leaf from Vitu-Ghazi that changes color with the seasons, even though it is no longer attached to the tree.|
|6||Every member of the conclave is my kin, and I would fight for any one of them.|
|1||I’m terrified of getting into a fight where my side is outnumbered.|
|2||I assume that people mean well until they prove otherwise.|
|3||I enjoy comfort and quiet, and prefer to avoid extra effort.|
|4||I have a fierce temper that doesn’t reflect the inner calm I seek.|
|5||I’m convinced that everyone else in the conclave has a deeper connection to the Worldsoul than I do.|
|6||I’m trying to atone for the life of crime I led before I joined the Selesnya, but I find it hard to give up my bad habits.|
The Selesnya Conclave is all about connections, so its members cultivate contacts throughout the guild. The guild also engages in energetic recruitment to draw converts from other guilds, and often these new guild members maintain friendships with former guild mates.
Roll twice on the Selesnya Contacts table (for an ally and a rival) and once on the Non-Selesnya Contacts table.
|1||A wise centaur trainer believed in me even though I was a terrible student.|
|2||A good friend has risen to become a Ledev guardian.|
|3||I left my former guild and joined the Selesnya along with a close friend.|
|4||The dryad at the head of my enclave has taken an interest in my activities.|
|5||A sibling is an instructor at the guild’s training grounds.|
|6||One of my parents is a votary, tasked with protecting the temple gardens at the Vitu-Ghazi guildhall.|
|7||I had a romance with a well-known Selesnya healer.|
|8||Trostani, the head of the guild and the voice of Mat’Selesnya, once welcomed me into her presence.|
|1||I left the Azorius, and a former colleague still resents me for that act.|
|2||A good friend, eager for action, left the Selesnya and joined the Boros.|
|3||I had a relationship with a guild mate who turned out to be a Dimir agent.|
|4||I know a disgruntled Golgari assassin who is ripe for recruitment.|
|5||I’m friendly with a Gruul centaur who almost joined us a few years back.|
|6||I once had a heated public argument with an Izzet chemister, and neither of us is allowed back into that restaurant.|
|7||I paid off my debt to the Orzhov Syndicate, but my good friend was not so lucky and remains indebted to that guild.|
|8||At a time of terrible grief in my life, a Rakdos performer made a mockery of my pain, leaving me with mixed feelings of sadness and humor.|
|9||Roll an additional Selesnya contact; you can decide if the contact is an ally or a rival.|
|10||I have a sibling in the Simic Combine, and we argue every time we see each other.|
How Do I Fit In?
Although the guild teaches the importance of subjugating the individual will to the good of the conclave, it also celebrates the diversity of individuals, in the same sense that a field that produces different crops is healthier than one that yields a single crop. That principle applies to your skills as an adventurer. As long as your efforts are directed toward advancing the goals of the guild rather than your private agenda, you’re allowed to put your talents to work in your unique way.
That said, you must never lose sight of the fact that you are part of a larger community. That includes the whole guild, of course, but your ties to community start with your vernadi (enclave) and its voda (dryad leader). The dryads want to know what you’re doing and what purpose it serves, and they act to curtail your actions — or even expel you from the guild — if they determine that you aren’t serving Selesnya’s best interests.
A Selesnya Party
An adventuring party is a community in itself, a symbiotic group in which each individual contributes to the success of the whole. A fighter, a ranger, or a paladin provides a starting point of martial might. A druid or a cleric offers support and healing. A bard or a warlock gives additional spell support. A monk, a bard, or a ranger can add some measure of stealth and skill specialties. Such a group is well equipped to help Selesnya grow — and to smite the guild’s enemies.
Rank and Renown
The Selesnya Conclave doesn’t classify its members in a rigid hierarchy, because doing that would encourage individuals to seek to rise above the rest of the community and put their desires above the good of the whole. Thus, aside from the leadership of Trostani over the whole guild, and each voda over her vernadi, the members of the conclave are distinguished mainly by the diverse roles they fill instead of by rank or status.
Indeed, many Selesnya initiates never leave that basic role. They have discerned their purpose, and it is to live a proper life in support of the conclave, without pursuing any kind of prestigious role. But if you achieve greater renown in the guild, a variety of special roles become available to you.
Regardless of renown and role, members of the conclave don’t earn salaries. The guild cares for its own, however, and every member can live in a vernadi at the equivalent of a modest lifestyle.
Evangel (Special Role)
Prerequisite: Renown 3 or higher in the Selesnya Conclave
Evangels extend their hands to potential converts and welcome new initiates into the life of the Selesnya Conclave. They include fervent preachers who speak the will of the Worldsoul in the promenades and marketplaces, humble missionaries who serve among the poor in the darkest districts of the city, and even centaur warriors who evangelize in Gruul territories where words of war speak louder than prayers of peace.
When you become an evangel, you gain one additional contact from a guild other than the Selesnya Conclave, which can be someone you have met in your adventures or chosen from the Non-Selesnya Contacts table earlier in this section. In your new role, you belong to a vernadi and can expect help and support from that community, but you spend your time away from it, operating with a great deal of independence. When you return to your vernadi, you teach and train new initiates.
Votary (Special Role)
Prerequisite: Renown 3 or higher in the Selesnya Conclave, proficiency with martial weapons
Votaries are soldiers who protect the vernadi gardens in the area immediately around its central tree. As a votary, you are usually assigned to guard duty, but your voda might also assign you to special missions that require strength of arms.
While you are in the garden you’re sworn to protect, the plants obey your word, allowing you to transform the foliage into 1d6 awakened shrubs or 1 awakened tree (both described in the Monster Manual) for as long as a threat to the garden persists. These awakened plants won’t leave the garden.
Sagittar (Special Role)
Prerequisite: Renown 3 or higher in the Selesnya Conclave, proficiency with the longbow
Sagittars are archers who defend key guild locations, including the guildhall at Vitu-Ghazi. Their range and accuracy are so great that a common saying has arisen among Ravnicans: “Sagittars aim their bows using maps.” If a conclave mission would benefit from the support of disciplined archers, Trostani herself might call on sagittars to render aid.
As a sagittar, you never have to want for arrows; the guild provides arrows to you at no cost.
Prerequisite: Renown 10 or higher in the Selesnya Conclave
You can request that the voda of your vernadi bestow a Selesnya charm (described in chapter 5) on you before you undertake any mission on the guild’s behalf.
Equenaut (Special Role)
Prerequisite: Renown 10 or higher in the Selesnya Conclave, proficiency in Animal Handling
Equenauts are knights who ride pegasi and serve as warriors and scouts. In addition to surveilling enemy forces and terrain, they are also on the lookout for places where a new vernadi can take root. As an equenaut, you are sometimes called on to take part in military activity, but you are free to pursue your vision of how to serve Mat’Selesnya — from the back of your pegasus mount (see the stat block in the Monster Manual).
Your mount effectively belongs to you, entrusted to your care. If it comes to harm through your negligence or mistreatment, you might be punished — perhaps to the extent of losing your position as an equenaut.
Hierarch (Special Role)
Prerequisite: Renown 10 or higher in the Selesnya Conclave, Spellcasting or Pact Magic class feature
The ranks of the Selesnya clergy aren’t hierarchical, yet you are honored with the title of hierarch. Hierarchs lead rites that invoke the blessing of Mat’Selesnya, bringing Selesnya’s initiates into closer communion with the Worldsoul and with each other. They are assisted in these rites by less experienced clergy.
You have an important voice in decision-making for your vernadi, and you are expected to offer advice and opinions to your voda when requested.
Your position within the guild and your vernadi gives you access to superior food and lodging, the equivalent of a comfortable lifestyle.
Ledev Guardian (Special Role)
Prerequisite: Renown 25 or higher in the Selesnya Conclave, 10th level or higher
The Ledev guardians are knights who were originally protectors of Ravnica’s roadways but now serve the Selesnya as champions. Their ranks include a number of centaurs. The humanoids among them ride dire wolves, which they raise from pups to forge close bonds between rider and mount. If you have a dire wolf mount, it effectively belongs to you (see the Monster Manual for the stat block).
Dignitary (Special Role)
Prerequisite: Renown 50 or higher in the Selesnya Conclave
Chosen by Trostani herself, dignitaries act as emissaries in dealing with other guilds. As a dignitary, you must be available when Trostani has need of your service, but you have great latitude to pursue your vision of the guild’s goals. You can call on 10d10 Selesnya initiates to support you in your missions for Trostani, and 8d10 initiates for a mission of your own devising. These initiates are acolytes, scouts (both described in the Monster Manual), or soldiers (see chapter 6 for the stat block).
Your position gives you access to the best food and lodging, the equivalent of a wealthy lifestyle.
Enemies and Allies
The Selesnya philosophy is one that embraces all of Ravnica. Everyone is a potential ally, until the moment they demonstrate their hostility to the conclave or the will of the Worldsoul. The Selesnya have difficulty with the riotous Rakdos, the sinister Dimir, and the chaotic Izzet, but their focus on ordered community and verdant nature gives them some amount of common ground with every other guild.
Any guild can become an enemy of the conclave, though, if its guildmaster’s ambitions — or rogue agents within the guild — upset the balance of power on Ravnica. From the other side, many other guilds see the Selesnya as a quiet threat and seek to diminish its strength before its numbers grow out of control, so as a member of the conclave you are duty-bound to oppose their operations of sabotage. The wanton plunder of Ravnica’s natural resources can also provoke the Selesnya to take action.
When members of other guilds pursue noble aims — promoting peace, strengthening community, and opposing other guilds’ efforts to expand — they act as allies of the conclave and thus your allies. Furthermore, they are potential recruits into the fold, since they have demonstrated their sympathy for Selesnya’s goals and their value to the community.
THE SELESNYA VIEW ON OTHER GUILDS
In the Selesnya vision of a perfect Ravnica, the guilds would be abolished and all people would live in harmony with nature and each other. Until such a vision comes to pass, the conclave judges the other guilds against that standard of perfection.
Azorius. “All their laws are meant to create a semblance of the unity that binds us already. If they would only be still and listen to the voice of Mat’Selesnya.”
Boros. “Sooner or later they will tire of their fighting, and when they do, the gentle embrace of the Selesnya will be waiting for them.”
Dimir. “Just as they hide from the light and cling to the shadows, they hide from life and cling to secrets. They see everything as a scheme, everyone a tool, instead of recognizing the power of unity and mutual growth.”
Golgari. “They wallow in filth and rot, too preoccupied with death to appreciate the bliss of life’s connections.”
Gruul. “They are a desperate echo of what they should be, reaching blindly toward something greater. Such a waste. And a smelly, unreasonable, destructive one at that.”
Izzet. “The path to unity doesn’t lie in the oppressive control of a massive ego like the dragon’s. The Izzet can tinker and meddle all they like, but they are doomed to failure.”
Orzhov. “An endless stream of grasping hands, reaching for more and more, pursuing their individual ambitions at all costs—even from beyond the grave.”
Rakdos. “They laugh at tragedy and wallow in pain. Eventually, they will submit to Mat’Selesnya. Until then, they must be contained.”
Simic. “They chart a twisted course of warping and mangling life and nature. Yes, we must grow and adapt, but nature will take its own time in completing that task.”