I never really thought this whole D&D/MTG thing would go past the level of novelty but here we are almost a year old and looking ahead to a new set. If you have read any previous articles, my Magic The Gathering playgroup began playing Dungeons and Dragons with the stipulation that we adventure through popular worlds of Magic. This isn’t that far of a jump as Wizards of the Coast oversees both hobby factions though there has been little crossover in supporters for both hobbies. While both things seem super nerdy and the same to some, the collaborative world building of D&D has little to do with the competitive deck-building of Magic. The lore of Magic The Gathering, while rich in detail and worldbuilding, has often been too operatic for any coherent storyline. This is why I feel there hasn’t been any concrete crossover between the two hobbies as what is a 1st level adventurer going to do compared to superhero Planeswalkers? Between the spaces of cosmic shifts, however, is room for 1st level adventurers to fight goblins or a dungeon of skeletons without going toe to toe with an Eldrazi titan. If any place is ripe for this it is the ecumenopolis known as Ravnica.
Guilds of Ravnica, for Magic the Gathering, is the third expansion to visit the plane of Ravnica. Ravnica has been a popular destination for its planet sized city which has been controlled by ten powerful guilds. The guilds of Ravinca adorn a two color combination to the 5 colors of Magic and showcase the personality and philosophical archetypes of those parings. From bureaucratic lawbringers, to savage tribesmen, to shadowy spies, to wizards without peer review, the ten guilds of Ravnica provide endless ideas for adventures. While the actual story of Ravnica has been unsparing melodrama, the world in which it leaves is perfect for fans to go in make their own adventures without upsetting the plane of Ravnica. This is why 2019 will be the first foray into the world of D&D / MTG. Let’s be honest, the world of Ravnica exists when superheroes leave.
The Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica is the first and perhaps only official MTG supplement book to be sold by Wizards. I say official as the Art of Magic’s downloadable D&D supplements were always felt “approved” rather than official. What comes in this 50$ book is anyones guess but if history serves as a guide then one can expect more rules, flavor suggestions, and official rules for new races while in the world of Ravinca. Wizards, and previously TSR, have rolled out numerous supplements and “splatbooks” for players to craft their own idea. Unlike Magic, creating a new subset of rules or race does little to upset the balance of D&D since the endgame is players having fun. There are no tournaments for D&D and no overarching ordination keeping track of what everyone is doing. Unlike Magic, there is no “broken” class or weapon that people chase since 5e does numerous things to keep the game manageable by social interaction. The organized play arena which sets up official games at local game stores and conventions most certainly wont be including this stuff but I could see special instances where they would possibly run these rules. The end result for this book is a set of rules for people really into Magic who have the gumption to play a game where people don’t “win” rather just have fun dressed up in new costumes.
From the table of contents, the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica looks to be a full dive into the lore and aspects to the city. Along with new classes, each of the ten guilds will have spells meaning every player belonging to a guild will have access to magic. As expected there doesn’t seem to be an official campaign, yet, for Ravnica rather the tools needed to get a hombrewed adventure started. The guide even suggests doing the same thing my group did by starting character creation with a card from the set. We are now in the third iteration of Ravnica which means one can really pick a card as inspiration and then build a character based on the card. Some of the more interesting things from the table of contents are the 40 pages of monsters for the game, random NPS, and a section detailing the precincts of the city. All of these things were once pieced together in stories and to have this book feels somewhat codified as a reference. I do not know how “official” this is in terms of lore but since this is an actual hardcover, and I am buying it, we are going to assume it is official.
The future for D&D, for me, is to finish up our home-brewed Zendikar campaign which will then dovetail into a 1st level adventure in the streets of Ravnica. I am excite for this prospect to live in a time when so much attention is being given to my favorite planes. I feel many people can say that as Ravnica holds interest for a lot of people including Wizards who seems to be revisiting this like an old trusted friend.