Dungeons & Dragons: The 10 Guilds Of Ravnica Explained

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  • A Brief History
  • Azorius Senate
  • Boros Legion
  • House Dimir
  • Golgari Swarm
  • Gruul Clans
  • Izzet League
  • Orzhov Syndicate
  • Cult Of Rakdos
  • Selesnya Conclave
  • Simic Combine

Ravnica is a Plane of existence that is dominated by a sprawling, magical, steampunk city and ten guilds locked in a Cold War for dominance and power. This city and its lore originated from the trading card game made by Wizards of the Coast, Magic: The Gathering. It's one of Magic's most popular settings, and was even the focus of a trilogy of novels. Wizards of the Coast is the same company that produces Dungeons & Dragons and the two have crossed over in The Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica, which is set hundreds of years before MTG.

Ravnica is one of the most storied planes in both D&D and Magic: The Gathering, with major events, conflicts, and story that many others have not experienced. With ten very different guilds, Ravnica is a constantly changing plane of leadership and rules. Since the time of The Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica, the names and faces of the plane has changed, and there was even a planewide conflict known as The War of the Spark. Here's everything you need to know about Ravnica and its ten guilds.

A Brief History

Ravnica was originally a Plane filled with horror and war. It seemed like it would never end unless something was done about, and so the Sphinx Azor I called a summit of all ten factions of the Plane together and convinced them to form a contract that would end the violence with a living enchantment. Though there was some hesitation from a few factions, the Paruns (the original founders of all guilds) ultimately all agreed to it, and the Guildpact was created, with the ten factions turning into the ten guilds of Ravnica.

The Guildpact prevented the guilds from trying to upset the balance of the other nine. The Guildpact proved to be successful, and Ravnica entered a state of relative peace. There were occasions where a few guilds would fight and feud, but never enough to destroy the Guildpact. Every year, Ravnica celebrates the day the Guildpact was signed in The Festival Of The Guildpact, where any and all fighting was put aside to celebrate the historic moment.

The original Guildpact did not stay in place forever, and it was eventually broken, causing the Plane to descend into chaos once again. The guilds eventually managed to regain some semblance of order, with some changing their purpose in the transition, although this was without the magical Guildpact backing the system up.

Later, the Planeswalker Jace Beleren traveled to the Implicit Maze – a series of mana leylines running through Ravnica – where the power of the Guildpact was given to Jace, and he became the Living Guildpact. With his words able to make any law legally binding, he formed a new contract between the guilds, returning the plane to peace once more for a while.

There was an outside influence foreign to Ravnica that had begun sewing chaos into the Plane. This was later revealed to be the Dragon Planeswalker Nicol Bolas. He was manipulating the various members of other guilds for his own deeds, aiming to take control of the entire Multiverse. The Izzet Guildmaster Niv-Mizzet instructed Ral Zerek, a member of the Izzet League, to create the Interplanar Beacon, a device that could call other Planeswalkers to the Plane to assist in the fight with Bolas. There was an effort of cooperation between guilds, but failed as the War of the Spark began, and Nicol Bolas began invading.

Through various machinations, Nicol Bolas manipulated five of the ten guilds to support his plans – the Izzet League, the Orzhov Syndicate, the Azorius Senate, the Golgari Swarm, and the Gruul Clans all had Planeswalkers under his influence installed as new guildmasters, whether as willing volunteers, coerced into the role, or as unknowing participants.

The Interplanar Beacon was activated, and many Planeswalkers were brought to Ravnica. Unfortunately, this was all part of Bolas' plan and, using an artifact called the Immortal Sun, trapped the Planeswalkers on Ravnica to harvest their sparks – their Planeswalker essence – and become a god. Nicol Bolas arrived with an army of Eternals, a group of zombies that retained their skills after death from another Plane named Amonkhet. The then-Guildmaster of Gruul Domri Rade helped to sow chaos and attack the other guilds after deciding to work for Nicol Bolas instead.

Though some guilds wished to remain neutral in the conflict, eventually either by necessity or negotiation, they all joined the efforts to stop Nicol Bolas – including the five that originally helped Bolas. They were successful, and Nicol Bolas was defeated and put into a prison realm where he was forced to spend eternity, powerless. The War Of The Spark led to the resurrection of a dead Niv-Mizzet, who was revived as the new Living Guildpact, replacing Jace.

Azorius Senate

The Azorius Senate is the police and governmental body of Ravnica. Its Parun was Supreme Judge Azor I, who was responsible for creating the Guildpact. The laws help to prevent the Plane from falling into pre-Guildpact chaos, although some decrees made are ignored entirely by certain Ravnicans. Bureaucratic to a fault, most Ravnicas do not like the Azorius, due to how much they care about protocol under any circumstance.

The Azorius Senate is close with the Boros Legion, Selesnya Conclave, and Orzhov Syndicate, with the three other guilds helping to maintain the law across the plane.

There have been many Guildmasters over the course of Ravnica's history, but little is known about the Guildmasters between Azor I and Augustin IV. Augustin IV served as the Guildmaster until being killed by the spirit of the Dimir Guildmaster Szadek. After his death, the Sphinx Isperia became the new Guildmaster, although was reluctant with her new position.

She served after the Living Guildpact was gone, and was petrified by the leader of the Golgari Swarm Vraska in the early days of the War of the Spark. Afterward, the Planeswalker Dovin Baan took her place. Dovin Baan created thopters which enabled the Azorius to spy on the citizens of Ravnica and set up a system that allowed precognitive mages the Azorius to arrest people before the crime was acted on, turning the city into a police state. Dovin Baan retreated away from Ravnica after the conclusion of the War Of The Spark, and Lavinia took his place as the current Guildmaster of Ravnica.

Boros Legion

The Boros Legion acts as the military of Ravnica. Its Parun was the archangel Razia. They enforce the laws set in place by the Azorius Senate. The Boros Legion has a hierarchy of roles, with the lower levels restricted from using spells of a higher level. The highest was fellow angels, with the lower levels including the League Of Wojek and the Boros Army under that.

After Razia passed away, the angel Feather took control of the Boros Legion. However, the Boros more often worked as bodyguards as opposed to law-keepers and often worked only for those who paid. A member of the Boros Legion, and fellow angel Aurelia, challenged Feather's leadership and eventually overthrew her and became the new Guildmaster of the Boros Legion. Aurelia broke down the old hierarchy and made for a much more equal one, encouraging the angels that were once at the top to interact with the lower ranks.

House Dimir

House Dimir acts to the public as couriers and the press, but in reality, are assassins and spies behind the scenes. At a time, the guild was thought to be extinct entirely. The Parun of House Dimir was the vampire Szadek, though the guild did not officially exist and many Ravnicans originally believed there were only nine guilds leading the Plane. It wasn't until Szadek was arrested for crimes against other guilds by the Boros Legion officer Argus Kos that House Dimir was revealed to the public.

After Szadek, the shapeshifter Lazav took on the mantle of the Guildmaster. He was one of the residents that sensed something was amiss between the guilds, and investigated why, discovering Nicol Bolas was planting his seeds of chaos in the Plane. He disposed of Bolas' men within House Dimir and pledged that House Dimir would assist in the fight against Bolas. Lazav was the one who defeated the then-head of the Azorius Senate Dovin Baan in combat, blinding him and forcing him to retreat to another Plane.

Golgari Swarm

The Golgari Swarm is the guild in charge of waste management and food production. They have a firm belief in death and resurrection being a large part of life. It was founded by its necromancer (and later lich) Parun Svogthir. Although he died, he was able to resurrect his body and make it stronger, even using the chest of the Parun of the Gruul Clans on his new body.

Svogthir was eventually overthrown in a coup led by the Sisters Of Stone Death, a group of gorgons. Two of the four were killed, but the rest were able to throw Svogthir into a tomb and take control of the Golgari Swarm. This did not last forever, as Savra, an elf, managed to overthrow them with the help of Szadek and a saved Svogthir. Szadek then betrayed and killed Savra, who is later defeated by Savra's brother Jared. Though he was sacrificed in an attempt to revive the demon Rakdos, he used necromancy to revive himself as another lich, and acted as the Guildmaster of the Golgari Swarm.

Jared was taken captive, and the Planeswalker Vraska sought him out. The information of Jared's whereabouts was given to her by Nicol Bolas as a reward for assisting him in his plans for invasion. She then bested Jared, and became the Guildmaster of the Golgari Swarm as its Queen. At a summit between guilds at the start of the war, she assassinated the Azorius Guildmaster Isperia and fled before fighting broke out, leaving the Golgari Swarm in chaos as all they all began fighting among themselves for power.

Vraska returned with concern for the Golgari and acted as its leader once again. She pledged them to assist in the fight against Bolas, and used the tunnels the Golgari Swarm created underground to evacuate citizens from above. Though she is still the Guildmaster, many members of the Golgari Swarm believe they have a claim to the title after she fled. Almost everyone eventually accepted her as the Guildmaster once more, but rumors began swirling of a rebellion from the Devkarin faction.

Gruul Clans

The Gruul Clans were once in charge of keep the wilds of Ravnica under control. However, as civilization expanded and natural space on Ravnica became rare, much of the Gruul's tasks were taken away. They were written out of law by the Azorius, and the Boros were not even required to guard them. As such, the Gruul descended into disorganized chaos, with the guild now merely being groups of disparate clans. It was founded by the Parun Cisarzim, but there was no real Guildmasters after him – just someone that all the clans under the Gruul listened to.

This allowed the Cyclops Borborygmos to become the pseudo-Guildmaster of the Gruul. However, he was defeated by Domri Rade after encouragement from Nicol Bolas, who took his mantle away. After Domri's death during the War of the Spark, the current guildmaster of the Gruul Clans is unknown.

Izzet League

The Izzet League is in charge of engineering, both physically and magically. Unlike many other guilds, its Dragon Parun Niv-Mizzet is still around and leading since its inception. Many members of the Izzet League are passionate scientists, always looking for ways to innovate spells and machines. However, the Izzet are also passionately reverent of Niv-Mizzet and relied on his guidance.

After Niv-Mizzet disappeared for some time, chaos began to form among its members, and many believed his disappearance was a sign of the end of the guild entirely. However, Niv-Mizzet reappeared with the Firemind, a spell that let him communicate even when he wasn't around.

Productivity shot up, though it was partially because of fear if they did not keep up this productivity they would lose their workplaces. Niv-Mizzet was one of the few native Ravnicans that knew of other Planes and Planeswalkers, and sense the threat of Nicol Bolas imminent.

He gave Ral Zarek the title of Guildmaster while he began an experiment to harness the power of the Guildpact inside of him. He failed and was bested by Nicol Bolas in their confrontation. However, there was a contingency, and by using the Firemind, was able to guide Ral Zarek into initiating the ceremony to revive Niv-Mizzet as the new Living Guildpact. Brought back to life, Niv-Mizzet was able to distract Nicol Bolas long enough for him to be desparked and end the War Of The Spark. After the war, Niv-Mizzet did not take the mantle of Guildmaster back, leaving it to Ral-Zarek as he served as the Living Guildpact.

Orzhov Syndicate

The Orzhov Syndicate started off as the main religion of Ravnica, before turning into the guild in charge of the banking and trade systems of the Plane. The Parun of the Orzhov Syndicate was not one person, but rather a council of ghosts called the Obzedat, it led by Karlov. Thanks to being ghosts, they acted as the Guildmasters for quite some time.

The Orzhov use their religious activities as a front to ruthless moneylending schemes, often forcing those in debt to repay what they owe by serving as ghosts after their deaths. It wasn't until Nicol Bolas manipulated the Planeswalker Kaya to assassinate the Obzedat that their rule ended. Due to rules within the Orzhov law, this led to Kaya herself becoming the acting Guildmaster.

Kaya freed Ravnicans of the many debts they had over their heads, but at the cost of raising tithes significantly, which caused riots and required Azorius involvement to fix. This led to Kaya becoming unpopular among the Orzhov elites.

Kaya eventually turned on Bolas, and worked with Ral Zarek to activate the Interplanar Beacon to draw Planeswalkers to Ravnica. She convinced the Orzhov to join the fight against Bolas during the War Of The Spark despite her unpopularity. Thanks to loopholes, Kaya was able to transfer her role of Guildmaster to Tomik Vrona following the War, where she left to become a member of the Planeswalker unit known as The Gatewatch.

Cult Of Rakdos

The Cult Of Rakdos acts as both the labor and service workforce of Ravnica, as well as its entertainment. It was founded by the demon Parun Rakdos. The members of the cult tent to be sadistic, and seek fun even if it means causing pain if not worse to others. Rakdos has been its Guildleader since its inception, with only a few acting Guildmasters leading in his place while he is in slumber.

Over time, the Cult Of Rakdos acted less as a cult, and more as a circus act. The entertainment was occasionally deadly, but served an important role within Ravnican society. With the fear that a powerful leader on Ravnica could impose their values on others (such as the Azorius), Rakdos performances often ridicule and joke about those in powerful positions.

Rakdos initially refused to assist during the War Of The Spark due to Hekara, his emissary, being killed. However, upon her resurrection as a bloodwitch, he allowed the Rakdos to involve themselves. He even assisted the Planeswalker Gideon Jura by allowing him to ride on his back to attack Nicol Bolas, but was shot out of the air. This did not leave Rakdos hurt for long, and after the war began to plan entertainment to raise the spirit of the plane with a show from the Rakdos circus.

Selesnya Conclave

The Selesnya Conclave is a nature-revering commune (or cult, depending on who you ask) in charge of maintaining peace and unity in Ravnica. While they appear to be a peaceful group, their actual role is to enforce order through complacency – those in the conclave are too focused on the group to worry about political machinations, and the Selesnya have plenty of tools to deal with outside threads if need be.

It was founded by its elemental Parun Mat'Selesnya. Mat'Selesnya merged with the sacred tree Vitu-Ghazi to help preserve order within the religion. After Mat'Selesnya, the Chorus Of The Conclave, a collective group of dryads, became the Guildmasters. Later, they were fused into Trostani, who acted as the new Guildmaster.

This came to be an issue during the War Of The Spark, where each of the three heads had different ideas for what to do, essentially making them worthless. During this, the elf Emmara Tandris stepped up to lead the Selesnya. When it came time to revive Niv-Mizzet and create a new Living Guildpact, Trostani got their mind together, returned to their Guildmaster position, and agreed to help with the fight against Nicol Bolas.

Simic Combine

The Simic Combine is tasked with being the medical professionals of the Plane. However, this often falls into more biological research to help find the perfect combination to create the perfect specimen.

Its Parun is Simic, who, other than founding the Combine with the intent to heal the people of Ravnica, we know almost nothing about. After Simic, Momir Vig became its Guildmaster, who changed its goal to improve the people of Ravnica rather than just heal them, leading to more biological changes. Momir Vig created cytoplast which was a living tissue that could alter genetic material. Many Ravnicans outside the Simic Combine did not want to be involved, so it was altered so that it only needed to come in contact instead of needing surgery. Momir Vig worked with the Golgari parun Svogthir to "cleanse" Ravnica but was ultimately killed by Argus Kos, and the Simic Combine was disgraced.

The Simic Combine started again, led by Merfolk who disagreed with Momir Vig's way of thinking, and instead focused on advancing themselves through magical means. The merfolk Zegana became the new Guildmaster for the new Simic Combine, and got to work on improving themselves in hidden oceans underneath Ravnica. However, the Golgari's tunnelling began threatening the Simic, and Vannifar stepped up to be Guildmaster.

She began to mutate their members into super soldiers, with many members being given gills and other aquatic features in the image of Merfolk. The Simic Combine was one of the earliest guilds to agree to join in the fight against Nicol Bolas, although their actual role in it was minimal.

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