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Author Topic: Ravnica, It's a Small World After All  (Read 2428 times)

HappyDaze

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« on: November 13, 2018, 07:24:47 PM »
I picked up WotC's Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica because, well... fuck it, I had the money to drop and I was curious. I was expecting a half-assed campaign setting but at least something I can use in other settings. I'm pretty sure I didn't even get that. What I got was a few new races and 10 guilds that feel terribly one-note (or, would that be two-note/color for those that played the Guilds in MtG?) and hard to use outside the setting. Of course, the powergamers will love the idea that your Guild adjusts your spell lists allowing for Bards with blasting spells and other exploits. 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 ss 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?

Manic Modron

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2018, 08:37:29 PM »
It is a shame that they dropped the ball on this one.  Ravnica and Zendikar were always on my top two MtG worlds that I would have wanted to see fully done, but it doesn't look like Wizards wants to do a proper setting book for anything anymore.

I always had the impression that the core districts of Ravnica were simply those areas where the guilds had fully consolidated power and were the center of the setting, but not the entirety of the plane.  Most other places are some combination of frontier town and ghost city, with some areas reclaimed by what passes for nature over there.

The "natural" settings are there, but they aren't traditional wilderness.  It is a weird oversight that there isn't a sidebar talking about that.  It would have been so easy to include, but page count for setting books seems to be what, two thirds of what they used to be?  

Just a shame from all I've heard.

Omega

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2018, 08:40:59 PM »
Bards allready had a blasty cantrip, but they really dont need it with all the charm/enchantment spells they get which are oft more potent than a fireball when used well. And if you want a battlebard I believe there allready is a class path for that.


As for the book. How many pages? It hasnt hit shelves here yet. Sounds like it is in the same pattern as Sword Coast which was more of a setting update than a setting overview. Or in this case a kinda narrow overview?

HappyDaze

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2018, 09:43:33 PM »
Quote from: Omega;1064452
Bards allready had a blasty cantrip, but they really dont need it with all the charm/enchantment spells they get which are oft more potent than a fireball when used well. And if you want a battlebard I believe there allready is a class path for that.
Well, this lets them choose Flame Bolt and/or Sacred Flame, so it can be considered and offensive upgrade in range and raw damage output.

Quote from: Omega;1064452
As for the book. How many pages? It hasnt hit shelves here yet. Sounds like it is in the same pattern as Sword Coast which was more of a setting update than a setting overview. Or in this case a kinda narrow overview?
It's a fairly standard 256 pages. Only 4 pages are devoted to the overall setting of Ravnica, with another 20 pages devoted to the Tenth District specifically.A robust 38 pages of adventure ideas specific to the Guilds is given too, but the basics of the world seem very thin.

HappyDaze

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2018, 09:55:11 PM »
Oh, and Ravnica got lazy with their elves. Supposedly, the Ravnica elves are High or Wood or Dark (but they are not called Drow), but they all look mostly alike--Dark Elves have dark hair, but typically are light-skinned (they still have light-sensitivity, superior darkvision, and innate spells).

Interestingly enough, very few PC races in Ravnica get Darkvision. Only elves, half-elves (which are only briefly mentioned and do not appear on some of the lists of races), the elf/fish/crustacean hybrids, and goblins have it. Hunams, minotaurs, elephant people, blue people, and centaurs do not.

Eric Diaz

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2018, 09:27:12 PM »
I'll be sad if Ravnica is just crunch... what a waste of a great setting.

However:

Quote from: HappyDaze;1064468
Oh, and Ravnica got lazy with their elves. Supposedly, the Ravnica elves are High or Wood or Dark (but they are not called Drow), but they all look mostly alike--Dark Elves have dark hair, but typically are light-skinned (they still have light-sensitivity, superior darkvision, and innate spells).

Interestingly enough, very few PC races in Ravnica get Darkvision. Only elves, half-elves (which are only briefly mentioned and do not appear on some of the lists of races), the elf/fish/crustacean hybrids, and goblins have it. Hunams, minotaurs, elephant people, blue people, and centaurs do not.

This kinda makes sense. Pale elves with darkvision and sensitive to light are better than drow IMO, while these "big" races that supposedly don't live in tiny dungeons wouldn't need darkvision.... Also "blue people" are elves IIRC, so not 100% lazy I'd say (just, say, 75% :D ).
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HappyDaze

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2018, 11:30:50 PM »
The blue people (Vedalken) are earless semi-amphibians.

HappyDaze

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2018, 11:35:48 PM »
Quote from: Eric Diaz;1064610
I'll be sad if Ravnica is just crunch... what a waste of a great setting.
The book is much more a guide to the Guilds of Ravnica than to the setting itself. If the Guilds are all there is to the setting worth detailing, then they succeeded in a manner that completely sinks my interest. It would be like if the Eberron setting had devoted only 4 pages to the entire world (or really just Khorvaire), 20 pages on Sharn, and then just detailed the Dragonmarked Houses and some setting monsters for the rest of the book. Sure, it could have been done, but I don't think Eberron would have gone as far as it did. I also think WotC doesn't care since this is probably a one-and-done D&D touch on a Magic setting.

mAcular Chaotic

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2018, 11:39:58 PM »
I got the book today. It is actually great. Lots of new player options, and a lot of lore and flavor and setting info sandwiched around it. I don't see how anyone could be displeased with this.

But then, as a MtG player, Ravnica was always one of my favorite sets, and I'm already coming to it drenched in all the setting from playing MtG.
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Opaopajr

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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2018, 12:44:55 AM »
:( I hope that isn't true, that it's more Planeshift vague suggestions and new widget spread crap. But the previous Planeshifts didn't wow me like I anticipated, so I guess part of me expected more of the same. :(

I still think one is better off acquiring a Set Spoiler Booklet (ideally all three for each block) and then work off the cards and extra lore they include into your own homebrew version than running the five previous Planeshift .pdfs. But Ravnica was a real opportunity to pull off another Planescape Sigil. I'll have to check, but thanks for the likely needed lowered-even-more expectations. :(
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HappyDaze

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2018, 05:49:12 AM »
Quote from: mAcular Chaotic;1064625
I got the book today. It is actually great. Lots of new player options, and a lot of lore and flavor and setting info sandwiched around it. I don't see how anyone could be displeased with this.

But then, as a MtG player, Ravnica was always one of my favorite sets, and I'm already coming to it drenched in all the setting from playing MtG.

I'm coming into it as a D&D player with no previous exposure to the setting from Magic. (I haven't touched Magic since about 1997.) As a D&D setting sourcebook, I don't see how anyone could be pleased with this.

HorusArisen

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2018, 06:26:17 AM »
Quote from: HappyDaze;1064653
I'm coming into it as a D&D player with no previous exposure to the setting from Magic. (I haven't touched Magic since about 1997.) As a D&D setting sourcebook, I don't see how anyone could be pleased with this.

It's a D&D sourcebook. From 3e onwards I can count the worthwhile * ones on one hand with fingers amputated.

* counting Eberron so I can make my example work.
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Eric Diaz

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Ravnica, It's a Small World After All
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2018, 08:44:07 AM »
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?

Ravnica is a good setting by my standards, but let's see how the book turns out.

Quote from: HappyDaze;1064622
The blue people (Vedalken) are earless semi-amphibians.

I was pretty sure they were blue elves... huh, too bad.
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Omega

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« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2018, 11:34:26 AM »
Quote from: Opaopajr;1064640
:( I hope that isn't true, that it's more Planeshift vague suggestions and new widget spread crap. But the previous Planeshifts didn't wow me like I anticipated, so I guess part of me expected more of the same. :(

I still think one is better off acquiring a Set Spoiler Booklet (ideally all three for each block) and then work off the cards and extra lore they include into your own homebrew version than running the five previous Planeshift .pdfs. But Ravnica was a real opportunity to pull off another Planescape Sigil. I'll have to check, but thanks for the likely needed lowered-even-more expectations. :(


I had a glance at an in drpth breakdown and it again cleaves more to Sword coast than I expected. Its fairly rules lite and mostly just limited setting info. Limited in its general scope of what is covered. Maybee they plan to release a followup book? Who knows.

HappyDaze

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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2018, 10:31:14 PM »
Quote from: Eric Diaz;1064670
Whats not to like about a guild that acts simultaneously as lawyers, priests, moneylenders and mafia?
The problem is that almost all of the Guilds have priests yet there isn't really any religion. What do the Guildless believe in? What is the common culture shared by the Guilds yet outside of them? The book utterly fails to give this viewpoint. Essentially, it's like the Alt-Cultures of Cyberpunk 3 where everything is weird and there's no common ground, but at least we got good art here and not dolls.