A few weeks back Wizards of the Coast announced two new settings, Eberron and Ravnica. There’s a significant crossover between the fandoms of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, two of WOTC’s biggest properties, but not everyone is familiar with both. Ravnica is a setting from the collectable card game Magic: The Gathering, and the first to be getting a hardcover D&D book. Ravnica is a planet covered by one megacity, co-ruled by ten competing guilds.
Whether MTG was your gateway drug into D&D or you hadn’t heard of Ravnica until a few weeks ago, this article will take a quick look at each of Ravnica’s guilds, and the kind of characters you might make for a game set in Ravnica.
WOTC has released some playtest material for races of Ravnica, which you can find here. Includes loxodon (humanoid elephants), vedalken, viashino and Simic hybrids.
Azorius are the law enforcers of Ravnica, mostly cops.
Races: human, vedalken
Classes: wizard, paladin, fighter
Backgrounds: city watch / investigator, soldier
To me, one of the most iconic Azorius cards is Detention Sphere:
Detention Sphere makes me think of making a control wizard, probably a human wizard with the city watch background and spells like friends, lightning lure, shocking grasp, charm person, color spray, grease, sleep, snare. If you were using the variant human you could choose the moderately armored feat to give your squishy wizard a bit more protection in the line of duty, unless you’re happy with just the mage armor spell.
Boros and Azorius seem kind of similar. If Azorius are the cops, Boros are the troops.
Races: human, minotaur, goblin, viashino (use lizardfolk)
Classes: fighter, paladin
Background: soldier, mercenary veteran
While they have a lot of human, minotaur and goblin soldiers, they also have fire elemental soldiers. If you wanted to make one of these, I’d suggest a fire genasi fighter with the champion subclass for increased crits, and the soldier background.
Another option is a human paladin (soldier) on a griffin, specializing in great weapon combat. (Azorius have ‘skyknights’ too, so you could do something similar for an Azorius character.) Obviously you’d want to make sure your dungeon master was on board with this plan.
Dimir are Ravnica’s crime syndicate. Most of Ravnica doesn’t know they exist. Some of their most valuable business is information stolen from other guilds.
Races: human, shapeshifter (use changeling), vampire
Classes: rogue, wizard
Background: charlatan, criminal / spy, urban bounty hunter
I’d suggest using the changeling race (from the Eberron playtest material) to make a rogue character using the criminal background. One of the quirks of the new changeling rules is that one of their tool proficiencies is enhanced when they adopt a persona associated with it. So, if the tool proficiency was alchemy, they might take on the persona of a member of a rival guild (perhaps Izzet or Simic) in order to steal that guild’s secrets.
Golgari are the castoffs of Ravnica’s society, living in the sewers beneath the city, recycling the city’s waste, creating life out of death.
Races: elf (shadar-kai or drow), human
Classes: cleric, druid
Backgrounds: far traveler, outlander, urchin
For a Golgari character, I’d suggest an shadar-kai cleric using either the life or death domain. If you’re creating a zombie, say that it’s being held together by animated vines. If you’re healing your comrades, say that their wounds are filled in with fungal growths.
Gruul are the barbarians and anarchists of Ravnica.
Races: human, goblin, minotaur, centaur, viashino (use lizardfolk)
Classes: barbarian, druid
Background: far traveler, folk hero, outlander, uthgardt tribe member
This card makes me want to have a go at making a Gruul earth genasi barbarian:
Speaking of genasi, I think they could make good Izzet characters too. Izzet are mad scientists and alchemists.
Races: human, goblin, weird (use genasi)
Classes: sorcerer (wild mage or storm), wizard
Backgrounds: cloistered scholar, sage
One of the most iconic Izzet creations are weirds – elementals created from opposing substances. In order to make a weird character, I’d make a water genasi sorcerer (probably wild mage) and choose lots of spells that do different kinds of elemental damage.
Orzhov is a church ruled by a council of ghosts who worship wealth and power. Orzhov exerts control over the masses through debt and extortion.
Races: human, vampire, revenant
Classes: cleric, rogue (spy, assassin, inquisitive), warlock
Backgrounds: acolyte, criminal / spy, haunted one, inheritor, noble
I could imagine running an adventure with three different Orzhov characters:
- an innocent life cleric whose eyes haven’t yet been opened to the corruption of the church
- a cynical grave cleric who can’t leave because they’re indebted to the church hierarchy. Maybe they’re a revenant, forced to pay off their debt beyond death?
- an evil death cleric (perhaps a vampire) on a quest for power
Cult of Rakdos
Rakdos is an insane, demon-worshipping clown cult who provide sadistic forms of ‘entertainment’.
Races: human, goblin, devil (use tiefling)
Classes: bard, fighter, wizard (necromancer), warlock (the fiend)
Backgrounds: entertainer, gladiator, haunted one
Selesnya is a kind of utopian environmentalist collective, led by dryads.
Races: elf (high or wood), human, centaur
Classes: druid, fighter
Backgrounds: acolyte, outlander, sage
Simic are a group of mad bioengeneers who create strange combinations of different creatures. Many of them have experimented on themselves.
Races: sea elf, triton or anything that you can reskin as a hybrid
Classes: wizard, sorcerer barbarian
Backgrounds: cloistered scholar, far traveler, hermit, outlander, sage
One of my favourite ideas is using existing character races to make characters who are results of Simic experiments. For example, to make a giant predatory lizard-frog, I’d make a bugbear barbarian with the totem warrior subclass. Choosing the tiger totem would allow them to make large jumps between buildings, just like a giant frog mutant. The urban bounty hunter background would help them hunt prey on the streets of Ravnica.
What kind of characters would you make for a Ravnica adventure?