Welcome to Ravnica
Index of Stat Blocks — Monsters and NPCs
From the back of her soaring roc, a sky knight surveys the spire-studded cityscape below. As the morning fog dissipates under the chill autumn sun, the city spreads out as far as she can see: lofty cathedrals, squat courthouses, towering apartments, sprawling tenements, cobblestone plazas, and broken ruins where once-majestic buildings have crumbled to rubble. She imagines the teeming masses below her: humans, elves, vedalken, minotaurs, goblins, loxodons, and other peoples, as some of them rise to greet the morning and others retire after a hard night of work or play. They are the reason she is here: sworn to protect them, she leads a flight of roc riders toward the fires raging in Precinct Three. Soldiers on the ground will put out the flames, while it’s her job to deal with their source: the dragon she can just make out, clinging to the spire of a distant tower. Standing in her stirrups and raising her sword, she turns her mount toward the dragon, ready to battle once again for the sake of Ravnica.
Ravnica is a whole new world for your Dungeons & Dragons campaign to explore. A vast, sprawling city that covers the whole of the known world, Ravnica teems with intrigue and adventure, driven by the conflicts among the ten powerful guilds that rule the city.
Ravnica originally appeared as a setting for the Magic: The Gathering trading card game. It has been the subject of eight card sets: 2005–6’s Ravnica: City of Guilds, Guildpact, and Dissension; 2012–13’s Return to Ravnica, Gatecrash, and Dragon’s Maze; and 2018–19’s Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance. Among fans of Magic, Ravnica is one of the most popular settings, in part because the world’s ten guilds strongly support the way players build Magic decks.
As it turns out, Ravnica’s ten guilds also provide a great framework for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. They offer character archetypes, competing factions that player characters can join, and abundant opportunities to develop and drive a campaign driven by the guilds’ schemes and interactions.
This book, then, is your point of entry into Ravnica as a setting for your D&D campaign. It guides you through the process of creating characters and adventures set here.
Chapter 1 is all about building characters. It offers new race and class options, reflecting the unique character of Ravnica as a Magic setting, and the creatures and characters seen on Magic cards. You can also use this material in any other D&D setting.
Race and class are only the skeleton of a character, though, and chapter 2 is aimed at helping you add flesh to those bones in order to make a character who is an integrated part of Ravnica’s tapestry of guilds. The ten guilds are detailed in chapter 2, and each section includes a background that reflects a character’s membership in the guild. This chapter also describes opportunities for characters to advance in rank and position within their guilds by acquiring renown.
The focus of chapter 3 is on the city itself — and particularly on the Tenth District, which is the heart of Ravnica. The important precincts and neighborhoods of the district are described in broad overview, allowing you, as DM, plenty of leeway for developing the specifics of places and NPCs.
Chapter 4 is all about adventures in Ravnica, expanding on the material in the Dungeon Master’s Guide with hundreds of seeds that can grow into full-fledged adventures in the fertile ground of a DM’s imagination. This chapter also includes a short starting adventure you can use to launch a Ravnica campaign.
Chapter 5 includes magic items and other treasures for use as rewards in a Ravnica campaign. Many of these magic items are D&D interpretations of specific Magic artifact cards — not literal translations of their mechanics from one rules system to the other, but game elements inspired by the flavor and abilities of the cards.
Chapter 6 presents new monsters and NPCs, again reflecting the creatures seen on Magic cards as well as the nature of each guild. The guildmaster of each guild is detailed in this chapter, as are a variety of guild members.
City of Guilds
In all their fantastic diversity, the cosmopolitan citizens of Ravnica go about their daily business in bustling markets and shadowy back alleys. Shambling pack animals (mammals, reptiles, insects, and bizarre hybrids alike) carry their loads through the streets, while untamed wild things lurk in verdant greenbelts, rubble-strewn ruins, and sewers. And interwoven throughout it all, ten guilds vie for power, wealth, and influence:
Azorius Senate. The Azorius Senate functions as the government of Ravnica, built on the three columns of a legislative, a judicial, and an executive branch under the leadership of Isperia, the sphinx Supreme Judge.
Boros Legion. Led by the angel Aurelia, the Boros Legion pursues the cause of justice, not merely law enforcement. Boros serves as Ravnica’s standing army.
House Dimir. House Dimir is in the business of information, operating an espionage organization behind a facade of messengers, investigators, and archivists. Its enigmatic leader, Lazav, wears many faces.
Golgari Swarm. An elf lich named Jarad guides the Golgari Swarm’s masses as they lurk in the undercity, where they process the city’s waste and see to the new life that emerges from death and decay.
Gruul Clans. Raging against civilization and its defilement of the natural world, the loose alliance of the Gruul Clans is led by the cyclops Borborygmos.
Izzet League. Led by the dragon Niv-Mizzet, the Izzet League is a guild of scientists and engineers who build and sustain Ravnica’s infrastructure while conducting wild experiments in magic — efforts that usually involve barely controlled elemental energy.
Orzhov Syndicate. A sinister combination of church, bank, and organized crime syndicate, the Orzhov Syndicate is controlled by the Obzedat, a cabal of ancient spirits often called the Ghost Council.
Cult of Rakdos. The demonic Cult of Rakdos is the jester in Ravnica’s culture, using satire and performance to skewer the powerful and embolden the weak. But it is a cruel and bloodthirsty jester, in the manner of its demonic leader, and it supplements parody and levity with blood and fire.
Selesnya Conclave. The Selesnya Conclave is led by Trostani, three dryads who are fused together with one another and with Mat’Selesnya, a manifestation of the soul of the world. The guild seeks to bring nature and the city into balance.
Simic Combine. Under the leadership of Prime Speaker Zegana, the biomancers of the Simic Combine apply magic to the life sciences. Striving to create a harmonious future where creatures of all kinds are perfectly adapted to their ever-changing environment, the Simic magically hasten the process of evolution and adaptation of life.
These ten guilds stand as the foundation of power on Ravnica. Each maintains a distinctive identity and civic function, a diverse collection of creatures, and a subculture of its own. The guilds’ history is a web of wars, intrigue, and political machinations stretching over the millennia during which they have vied for control of the world. Their roles were established thousands of years ago in a magical treaty called the Guildpact, which not only assigned each guild a function, but also enforced an uneasy peace among them.
Sometimes you might want to choose a guild at random. Here’s a table you can use in those situations.
d10 Guild 1 Azorius Senate 2 Boros Legion 3 House Dimir 4 Golgari Swarm 5 Gruul Clans 6 Izzet League 7 Orzhov Syndicate 8 Cult of Rakdos 9 Selesnya Conclave 10 Simic Combine
History of Ravnica
More than ten thousand years ago, a war tore across the world of Ravnica. Ten armies battled for control of the world in a conflict that ended with the creation of a magical contract of immense power known as the Guildpact. The leaders of each of the ten armies — ancient beings known as paruns — were the signatories to the Guildpact, and they became the first guildmasters of Ravnica.
The text of the Guildpact spelled out specific roles for each guild within the infrastructure of Ravnica, allowing the city to grow while the guilds coexisted in relative peace. But the true power of the Guildpact was the strength of its magically binding force, which absolutely prevented large-scale violence among the guilds.
For ten millennia, the city grew and flourished under this structure as the guilds evolved into unique and powerful forces, often venturing far from their original purpose.
The signing of the Guildpact marked the beginning of the modern Ravnican calendar. Years prior to that pivotal event are denoted as “Al Concordant,” or AC, and counted backward from 1 AC. Years after the signing are “Zal Concordant,” ZC. The current date is 10,076 ZC, usually referred to as ’76.
During the Decamillennial Celebration of 10,000 ZC, commemorating a monumental anniversary of the Guildpact’s signing, the pact was broken, the ancient balance was shattered, and Ravnica was thrown into chaos. It didn’t take long for wealthy power-mongers to begin seizing control of elements in the city, turning the guilds to their service instead of the other way around. Eventually, the ten-thousand-year-old guild culture and division of duties reasserted itself. The ten guilds regained their dominant positions, but without the magically binding force of the Guildpact to maintain the balance among them.
Years later, in 10,075 ZC, the Izzet guildmaster discovered that Azor, founder of the Azorius Senate, had created a contingency plan that would take effect if the magic of the Guildpact were ever broken. An intricate network of ley lines sprawling across the districts of Ravnica, called the Implicit Maze, offered a test to the guilds: if they could cooperate to solve the maze, they would secure the power of a new Guildpact. That power was eventually bestowed — incarnated, actually — in the person of Jace Beleren, who became the Living Guildpact. His word became the binding law of Ravnica. Any law he verbally confirmed became magically unbreakable, and the responsibility of keeping the guilds in balance fell to him.
A Precarious Peace
Jace is a Planeswalker, with the ability to travel from world to world, and his attention never remains focused on Ravnica for long. Thanks to his involvement with other Planeswalkers, he spends extended periods of time away from Ravnica. During his absences, Ravnica has to fend for itself, and that means that the guilds return to their old habits of fighting with each other over the smallest scraps of influence that could tilt the balance of power in their favor.
These conflicts erupt in a variety of forms. Sometimes guilds clash violently in the streets: Boros forces try to quell Gruul riots, Azorius arresters raid a Rakdos murder show, or Selesnya forces come together to repel a Golgari incursion. More often, sinister plots unfold in secret, through infiltration, sabotage, theft, and deception. Schemes are hidden beneath layers of other schemes, making the intention behind them nearly impossible to discover. The guildmasters are often the source of these plots, but sometimes subordinates attack other guilds to gain more influence within their own. In the absence of the Guildpact, some people believe that it’s only a matter of time until these schemes and skirmishes escalate into all-out war on a scale that Ravnica hasn’t known for ten millennia.
With the precarious peace always hanging in the balance, opportunities abound for adventurers to serve their guilds or advance their own agendas. Whether delving into the dungeons of the undercity, pursuing assassins through the bustling streets, negotiating accords among the rich and powerful, or sniffing out corruption in the halls of law, the characters in a Ravnica campaign have a world of adventure to explore.
Ravnica’s year of 365 days is made up of twelve months, each of which has the same number of days as its counterpart in the Gregorian calendar. The year begins with 1 Seleszeni, which corresponds to March 1.
Month Name 1 Seleszeni (March) 2 Dhazo (April) 3 Prahz (May) 4 Mokosh (June) 5 Paujal (July) 6 Cizarm (August) 7 Tevnember (September) 8 Golgar (October) 9 Quaegar (November) 10 Xivaskir (December) 11 Griev (January) 12 Zuun (February)
The annual celebration of the Guildpact begins on 28 Zuun and extends overnight into 1 Seleszeni.
Life in the Big City
Ravnica is a vast city, covering the entirety of the world in many layers of construction, from deep sewers and catacombs to sky-raking spires. No single map can encompass the tremendous scope of its sprawl, and its borders (if it has any) are unknown, except possibly to those who live near the edges.
The story of Ravnica focuses on its core. Sometimes called the city proper, this core is divided into ten districts, each of which is a huge urban environment in its own right. The districts are named in simple numerical order from the First to the Tenth. No correlation exists between the ten guilds and the ten districts; all ten guilds are active in all ten districts. The Tenth District, in particular, is a hotbed of activity where all the guilds maintain their primary headquarters. It is the focus of chapter 3.
A huge avenue called the Transguild Promenade runs through all ten districts, making it the most notable landmark for navigation through the city’s heart. Lined with markets, small parks, and colonnades, the Promenade is a commercial thoroughfare used to transport loads of cargo. On celebration days, it becomes the city’s most popular parade route. Even when guild conflicts run hot, Ravnicans respect the sanctity of the Promenade as neutral ground.
Beyond the core are an uncounted number of other districts, which originated as outlying cities that gradually melded into the expanding metropolis. Well-known districts outside the core include the Smelting District, Irbitov (the mausoleum district), and Jezeru (the lake district).
Districts, whether in the city proper or beyond it, are the fundamental configurations that define Ravnica. They are informally divided into various quarters, neighborhoods, and the like. Some of these areas extend across district boundaries. Deadbridge, for example, existed as a well-defined neighborhood before Ravnica City was formally divided into ten districts, and that division was made without consideration of Deadbridge’s informally acknowledged boundaries. Part of Deadbridge, known as Deadbridge Chasm, occupies much of the Tenth District’s Precinct Six, but it extends out into the neighboring area. Similar neighborhoods, both within and outside the city proper, include the Steambath Quarter, the Wrights’ Quarter, and Mahovna, the Haven of Moss.
Members of Ravnica’s guilds typically carry guild insignia with them, though in some cases (notably House Dimir) the insignia might be carefully hidden. A replacement insignia costs 5 gp and is available only to members of the guild. Any character can use the insignia of their guild as a spellcasting focus, as described in chapter 10 of the Player’s Handbook.
Currency: Zibs and Zinos
This book uses standard D&D coinage, as detailed in the Player’s Handbook, but in Ravnica, citizens refer to their money as zibs and zinos, with 100 zibs to 1 zino. There is no central mint, as coins are created by the Azorius, the Boros, and the Orzhov. The Ravnica Currency table summarizes the various guilds’ coinage and its value.
|1 cp||copper zib||—||copper alms-coin|
|25 cp||silver 25-zib coin||—||—|
|1 ep||electrum 50-zib coin||—||—|
|1 gp||gold zino||gold zino||—|
|5 gp||—||gold 5-zino coin||—|
|1 pp||—||—||platinum 10-zino coin|
|10 pp||—||—||platinum 100-zino coin|
Comforts of Civilization
A mixture of technological advancement and sophisticated magic offers amenities to the people of Ravnica that would be extraordinary to folk in most D&D worlds, except one like Eberron. The nicer neighborhoods of the city enjoy central heating and plumbing (thanks to the work of the Izzet League), elevators, and spacious apartments. Even poorer neighborhoods boast clean and smooth roads and sturdy construction. No one needs to go hungry in Ravnica, because the Golgari Swarm provides a bare minimum of sustenance to anyone who can’t afford better food, though it is best not to think too much about where the thick gruel comes from. (In practical terms, even a character who can’t afford more than a wretched lifestyle doesn’t need to go hungry.)
The citizens of Ravnica enjoy plenty of leisure time, and the city offers an abundance of ways to fill it. Ravnica features restaurants with extensive collections of fine wines, cafés serving coffee and tea, street vendors offering portable meals, and bakeries that sell a wide variety of breads and pastries. Travelers can stay in luxury hotels or simple hostels, or they can rely on their personal or guild-related contacts to find housing. Diversions and entertainments abound, including raucous street-side theater (including the circus-like spectacles of the Cult of Rakdos), operas and symphonies, illegal fight clubs, sporting events held in vast arenas, throwaway popular novels, and great works of literature. These things are shared by the city’s diverse peoples, who enjoy a life adorned by a variety of species, gender identities, and sexual orientations.
Well-established systems undergird society, largely through the efforts of the guilds. The Azorius Senate crafts, codifies, and enforces a comprehensive (some would say oppressive) set of laws. The banks of the Orzhov Syndicate offer secure vaults and complicated financial arrangements. The Izzet League maintains the city’s infrastructure, and the Golgari Swarm ensures that waste is disposed of (or recycled). House Dimir couriers deliver messages and parcels across the city, and the Simic Combine addresses issues of public health.
Ravnica lacks any large-scale agriculture operations, its citizens depending on food produced in Selesnya gardens and underground Golgari rot farms. Few parts of Ravnica could be considered wilderness; the rubblebelts, areas where the city has decayed and been reclaimed by natural forces, are the only truly wild areas.
|Cup of coffee||10 cp|
|Pendulum clock||100–250 gp|
Dozens of languages can be heard in any of Ravnica’s marketplaces, and every tongue has dialects and regional variations. In order for the guilds to function, the Common language is essential. But other languages remain widely used in homes and clan gatherings.
A few secret or exotic languages are used on Ravnica as well. Druidic exists and allows a secret communication among druids in different guilds, such as Selesnya and Golgari, but such communication is rare. Thieves’ cant is widely used among street gangs and occasionally among rogues in House Dimir and the Golgari Swarm.