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Author Topic: Ravnica, It's a Small World After All  (Read 2587 times)

RPGPundit

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2018, 05:34:59 AM »
There was probably a lot of expectation for this product from gamers who play both D&D and MtG.  I'm betting there's no way it couldn't have been at least slightly disappointing.
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HappyDaze

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2018, 06:38:07 AM »
I found the few sentences that actually say that there is a big city-spanning planet that goes beyond the Ten Districts that form the "core" of the setting. It still doesn't give much of anything beyond naming three of them.

I get a definite Planescape feel from the Guilds, and not really in a good way. The Guilds are so alien to one another that the lack of any baseline becomes an issue. I also have to wonder why some of the Guilds even exist. Boros is the standing army on a world where open conflict is magically prevented. So why the fuck have an army? The Orzhov are a church (plus bank and organized crime syndicate) in a world with no gods and no real religion either, so again...why?

I also find it interesting that many of the Guilds give PCs the option of having NPC followers (typically soldiers) to command. This starts off small, but a high-end Selesyn can take 8d10 such soldiers on whatever missions they please.

Omega

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2018, 06:46:58 AM »
Quote from: RPGPundit;1064979
There was probably a lot of expectation for this product from gamers who play both D&D and MtG.  I'm betting there's no way it couldn't have been at least slightly disappointing.

There is disappointing. And then there is half-assing it just like they did with Sword Coast. For a new player wanting to learn about the setting it was kinda not all that great to me. I suspect Ravnica will feel the same.

Omega

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2018, 06:49:05 AM »
Quote from: HappyDaze;1064987
I also find it interesting that many of the Guilds give PCs the option of having NPC followers (typically soldiers) to command. This starts off small, but a high-end Selesyn can take 8d10 such soldiers on whatever missions they please.

Wonder if it was meant to tie into some future product with domain-esque rules? Or to tie into the WizKids minis wargame?

Hemlock

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2018, 12:34:56 PM »
Quote from: Eric Diaz;1064670
Since I've been asking for this book for years, I'll give it a try. The guilds are cool, IMO, at least what I know from them.

Whats not to like about a guild that acts simultaneously as lawyers, priests, moneylenders and mafia? Or the savage horde that is probably more accepting than any other guild and breeds chaos because the other guilds destroyed all the forest in the planets?


Okay... you are making me want to run a game set in the Dragaeran empire (Vlad Taltos novels by Steven Brust). :-P

I wonder what game system would work best for Dragaera. GURPS seems like a pretty natural fit due to all the social structure rules (Rank, Contacts, etc.). Shadowrun would work if your game was centered on Jhereg operations. Maybe others.

HappyDaze

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2018, 02:51:22 AM »
OK, I've done some more reading and I have to admit that I like the setting. Unfortunately the book leaves too many gaping holes. Some of this results from forcing a non-D&D setting to use D&D rules. Here's an example:

The setting has no gods. It has a few very powerful beings (a demon lord, an archangel, some ancient ghosts, the last great dragon, a super-dryad, and more) but none of these (excepting those crazy ancient ghosts) actually grant spells like gods (but some are Warlock patrons). Despite this, there are still Clerics. It very briefly states that they "worship" ideals, but that's about as far as it goes. In a lot of cases, the Clerics are lumped in with Wizards for various Guild roles (like the Lawmages of the Azorius Senate). They made the Cleric option just because D&D has Clerics, but there's no real purpose for them. The only "real" religion--that of the Orzhov  Syndicate--it described as a sham (even though it's the one and only one where spells are actually granted to worshipers). So what does the Religion skill cover in Ravnica? I mean, it's there because it's D&D5e, but what does it actually cover in a world with no religions?

My possible fix: I personally see each of the Guilds as being a cult/religion. Azorius worships "the Law," Boros worships angels, Rakdos worships their demon lord, the Gruul worship their totems, Izzet worship their dragon daddy, Simic worship bodily perfection, etc. Sure these religions may not have gods but they each have internal rites & rituals, holidays, and power structures. Knowledge of these needs to be covered somewhere, and while some of them (Azorius, Izzet, and Simic) could be considered magical groups, Arcana already covers a lot.

Robyo

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2018, 07:52:21 AM »
I haven't looked at the book, but the cleric bit seems like a glaring oversight. Dark Sun doesn't have deities of clerics, which makes much more sense.

And the apparent lack of setting info is lame too. As someone who only briefly played Magic before Ravnica ever dropped, I would appreciate more background details.

My interest in this product is waning as time goes on and the reviews roll in.

Batman

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2018, 09:56:56 AM »
Quote from: HappyDaze;1065428
OK, I've done some more reading and I have to admit that I like the setting. Unfortunately the book leaves too many gaping holes. Some of this results from forcing a non-D&D setting to use D&D rules. Here's an example:

The setting has no gods. It has a few very powerful beings (a demon lord, an archangel, some ancient ghosts, the last great dragon, a super-dryad, and more) but none of these (excepting those crazy ancient ghosts) actually grant spells like gods (but some are Warlock patrons). Despite this, there are still Clerics. It very briefly states that they "worship" ideals, but that's about as far as it goes. In a lot of cases, the Clerics are lumped in with Wizards for various Guild roles (like the Lawmages of the Azorius Senate). They made the Cleric option just because D&D has Clerics, but there's no real purpose for them. The only "real" religion--that of the Orzhov  Syndicate--it described as a sham (even though it's the one and only one where spells are actually granted to worshipers). So what does the Religion skill cover in Ravnica? I mean, it's there because it's D&D5e, but what does it actually cover in a world with no religions?

My possible fix: I personally see each of the Guilds as being a cult/religion. Azorius worships "the Law," Boros worships angels, Rakdos worships their demon lord, the Gruul worship their totems, Izzet worship their dragon daddy, Simic worship bodily perfection, etc. Sure these religions may not have gods but they each have internal rites & rituals, holidays, and power structures. Knowledge of these needs to be covered somewhere, and while some of them (Azorius, Izzet, and Simic) could be considered magical groups, Arcana already covers a lot.


I really like that Gods aren't in the game. Clerics, of Magic: the Gathering, don't get spells granted to them from some Supreme being but from the ideals they espouse. Think of the Samite healers of old, there was no god they prayed to but basically placed faith in their intrinsic notions of sparing suffering and bringing life.
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Batman

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2018, 10:41:49 AM »
Quote from: HappyDaze;1064442
As for the setting itself, it's tiny. The "world city" of Ravnica is composed of 10 districts. Only one district is covered in the book and they give a map. This 10th District is irregularly shaped, but covers roughly 8 miles by 6 miles. If the other districts are of the same size, the "world" of Ravnica is less than 500 square miles--smaller than the Hawaiian Island of O'ahu. We also have zero natural settings (forests, grasslands, coasts, mountains, etc.) but Druids and Ranger options dependent upon terrain are not addressed at all.

Anybody else bought this? Anybody find anything worthwhile in it for use in other settings?

To quote the book: "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 it's sprawl, and it's borders (if it has any) are unknown....

The story of Ravnica focuses on it's core, the City Proper and this core is divided into Ten Districts...."

Ok so the entire plane of Ravnica is huge. Think Coruscant from Star Wars, an entire planet that's one Big ol' city. The story (books and card lore of the game) is set in/around the Core of 10 Districts and we got a map of simply one district (albeit a busy one). So there's 9 other districts that are bigger or smaller in size and that's simply the Core of the world. There's vastness of city beyond that where the Guilds still conduct business and fight for power.

This also helps lead to you making up your own parts of the world that might involve different districts or even whole swaths of areas. As for Natural settings, you're correct it's a giant city. But that doesn't mean there aren't natural elements at play. Pick up any one of the dozens of Land Cards from the Ravnica sets (or just google them) and you'll see how you can get "natural" elements within the giant city. they still have rivers streams, possibly even lakes with city spires built on top. They still have mountains of old ruins and buildings that work much like natural barriers. They have sewer systems that act like Swamps. Etc. My suggestion is to grab some of the cards or look them up online and draw ideas from them to build your own area of Ravnica. Heck I'm repurposing an old 4e Adventure to run with 5e in Ravnica, changing out all the NPCs and putting in the areas that I feel work well with the setting. I changed Winterfell site in the adventure to Wintermore Square (a guildless area poised on the edge of the Izzet League and Orzhova Syndicate). The Steam Vents cascade over the Square with a light mist but the supernatural cold, undead areas of the Orzhov flash-freeze this mist over the small area creating a perpetual snowfall (hence why no guild wants claim to the area) - thus creating Wintermore.

For the overall book itself, I'm really pleased. I love the indepth aspects the book has for creating characters and running them with guild benefits and the like. I got back into magic the gathering with Ravnica and It's been my favorite setting Magic has done, so color me a bit biased.
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HappyDaze

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2018, 03:45:38 PM »
Batman,

Since you seem to know the setting, help clarify this:

Is law enforcement done by the Arresters (Azorius Senate) or the Wojek League (Boros Legion)? In the GoR book it sounds like the Arresters are the cops, but I read some of the fiction on the WotC site and they make it sound like the Wojek are the cops. I guess it could be the difference between cops in civilized areas and peacekeepers in warzones, but this isn't exactly clear.

Also, as the standing military of Ravnica, who were the Boros envisioned to fight in the times before the Guildpact (which prevented direct conflict between Guilds) was sundered? Is there a major threat external to the Guilds?

Batman

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2018, 05:38:57 PM »
Quote from: HappyDaze;1065512
Batman,

Since you seem to know the setting, help clarify this:

Is law enforcement done by the Arresters (Azorius Senate) or the Wojek League (Boros Legion)? In the GoR book it sounds like the Arresters are the cops, but I read some of the fiction on the WotC site and they make it sound like the Wojek are the cops. I guess it could be the difference between cops in civilized areas and peacekeepers in warzones, but this isn't exactly clear.


I always saw it as the Boros Legion, Wojecks in particular, we're more in-line with Law Enforcement and maintaining order than those of the Aziorus Senate. In the novels Argus Kos, a wojek, arrests Szedak at the end of the books for an example. I felt it had a very "Law and Order" vibe where the Boros Legion arrests and the Aziorus Senate prosecutes in court. The Senate are also Law makers, which Boros has real no power over.

Quote from: HappyDaze;1065512
Allso, as the standing military of Ravnica, who were the Boros envisioned to fight in the times before the Guildpact (which prevented direct conflict between Guilds) was sundered? Is there a major threat external to the Guilds?


Most likely threat from outside the Plane and I'm sure there were skirmishes between both the Cult of Rakdos and the chaotic Gruul clans. The Guildpact didn't solve all squabbles with each Guild but made sure not one gained a ton of power over the others. How this was achieved, I don't know? Also the Guildless are known to have their own militias and warriors that don't see the Boros Legion as ultimate authorities so likely there are fights there too.
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Manic Modron

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2018, 06:01:10 PM »
It seems to me that the Wojeks are the actual police that go about protecting the people and keeping the peace.

The Arresters are part of the military arm of the Senate, so they seem more like a combination FBI and National Guard.

Batman

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« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2018, 06:43:05 PM »
That's a good analogy!
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HappyDaze

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2018, 07:35:42 PM »
Quote from: Manic Modron;1065535
It seems to me that the Wojeks are the actual police that go about protecting the people and keeping the peace.

The Arresters are part of the military arm of the Senate, so they seem more like a combination FBI and National Guard.

In GGR, several places discuss Arrester patrols as being police and the whole section about the Azorius Senate talks about how 1/3 of their role is law enforcement (and that most Azorius PCs will be from this column).

From the GGR as my sole source, I would be inclined to believe that the Arresters are both the regular police and the FBI while the Wojek are more like military units specialized in UN-style peacekeeping and counterintelligence operations, but this doesn't necessarily fit with other sources.

HappyDaze

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« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2018, 07:43:34 PM »
Quote from: Batman;1065530
Most likely threat from outside the Plane.
So for someone that only has the GGR as a source for Ravnica, I feel this part is totally absent from the book. They don't talk about other planes except to mention that the Living Guildpact is a Planeswalker. That title isn't really explained, other than the obvious implications of being someone that can use planar travel. They don't mention which other planes exist, what visitors come from them, how common such visitations are, or anything else really.

So, is there a comprehensive source (online is fine) that tells me about the greater cosmology that contains Ravnica? I know D&D online has some other Magic-inspired PDFs, but how do they fit together?