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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    zinycor's Avatar

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    Default Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    So, me and my group have been playing on the Ravnica setting for about 6 months or so, and we have had great fun, as the GM I have had a great time and I love the setting. Any way here are a few thoughts regarding the setting:

    - City setting: I always wanted to run a D&D game set around a city, and the city is the only setting at Ravnica, which is weird and unique.
    - Factions: If you are on Hogwarts, Are you a Hufflepuff? If you are a werewolf at the apocalypse, Are you a Bone Gnawer? I LOOOVE me some good factions, I never liked Good and evil being absolutes on D&D and Ravnica has 10 factions, who are important for the world and your characters, they are distint and any of them can be heroic or villanous.
    - Tied to MTG: Half my group never really played MTG, Half the group never played a lot of D&D, to be able to mix them up, has been great.

    Anyway, so far those are my thoughts, What do you think about it?
    Last son of the Lu-Ching dynasty

    thog is the champion, thog's friends! and thog keeps on fighting to the end!

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    Default Re: Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    Indeed, speaking as someone wholly unfamiliar with MtG, the book quickly made me fall in love with the factions.

    But I have to partially disagree with you about alignment. While I can see half the factions being easily portrayed in either a positive or a negative light (Azorius, Boros, Izzet, Selesnya, and Simic), I think that giving a heroic interpretation to the other half would require some seriously twisty loop-de-loops or a full rewrite (Dimir, Golgari, Gruul, Orzhov, and Rakdos). Yes, some of them are very important to the survival of the city, and may count some good people among their members, but they are utterly corrupt organizations.

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    The Golgari are easily the most helpful neutral necromancers I've read. I mean, they take care of sewage and give away free food. Their corrupt leadership mostly just assassinates their corrupt leadership, too. So efficient!

    The Orzhov, well, I remember in the first Guildpact cards they were about redeeming vampires, but I suppose in hundreds of years they've lost the battle against their nature and become predatory urserers. Lawful Evil at it's purest.

    The Gruul can't be transposed to another setting, unless that setting is also a megacity. They are every roving tribe of hunters smushed into a space too tight for hunters, even if it looks empty to city folk. Any nomadic peoples analogue like the plains people of Krynn and the Gruagarch elves of Faerun would become Gruul or else assimilate and lose their ways in Ravnica.

    The Rakdos are... the nicest demon worshipers you will ever.. snrk ha ha ha HA HA HA HAH HA!
    Last edited by Spriteless; 2020-01-22 at 09:11 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
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    zinycor's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post

    But I have to partially disagree with you about alignment. While I can see half the factions being easily portrayed in either a positive or a negative light (Azorius, Boros, Izzet, Selesnya, and Simic), I think that giving a heroic interpretation to the other half would require some seriously twisty loop-de-loops or a full rewrite (Dimir, Golgari, Gruul, Orzhov, and Rakdos). Yes, some of them are very important to the survival of the city, and may count some good people among their members, but they are utterly corrupt organizations.
    I'll take a moment to explain how to portray those guilds against the roles you described:
    Azorios and Boros: Authoritarian *******s who want to get rid of anyone who doesn't live according to their rules.
    Izzet and Simic: crazy scientists, perfectly willing to destroy Ravnica because of some ambition.
    Selesnya: The Borg, or maybe Stalin taking control of the guild.
    Dimir: Cool spies, ready to defend Ravnican citizens against enemies they aren't even aware of.
    Golgari: the hippies who take care of all the trash in Ravnica, sure they stink, but they do what they must.
    Gruul: Ravnica needs nature, that's the whole conflict in the setting, Gruul goals are noble and needed.
    Orzhov: money makes the world work.
    Rakdos: heroes who defend freedom!

    Not to say that you are wrong with your interpretation either, just that multiple are possible.

    In regards to the actual lore; azorius and Simic are often evil. While Rakdos and Orzhov are always on the side of Ravnica.

    Part of the fun for me is finding these reasons to have somewhat unlikely heroes and villains.
    Last son of the Lu-Ching dynasty

    thog is the champion, thog's friends! and thog keeps on fighting to the end!

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    My one big complaint about the Ravnica book is the portrayal of several of the guilds as flat antagonists. This is a pretty severe flanderization of their portrayal in the first Ravnica block. I quit magic before return to ravnica, so its possible this isn't the D&D book's fault, but it really fails to capture why some of the guilds exist in the first place, the useful functions they actually serve that the city relies on.

    Orzhov is, or at least was, the primary religion of the setting, most people worshipped at orzhov churches and dealt with orzhov banks, even those of other guilds. The Orzhov banks aren't just a racket, they provide a needed service that keeps commerce flowing between all the guilds. The religious services are even more important - Ravnica doesn't have an afterlife. Souls don't /go/ anywhere when someone dies. With orzhov, those souls are collected and put to rest - or to work. Without the Orzhov, the streets of Ravnica would be overwhelmed by confused angry spirits within a generation. Yes, a bank that traps people in debt forces their ghost to work it off after they die sounds pretty evil and oppressive - but *something* has to be done with that ghost, and letting people work off their debts in the afterlife means that poor don't have to suffer under that debt during their life, and working off debt as a ghost is hardly all that different from burning away sins in a pergatory type situation. None of the afterlife management nor the legitimate banking services offered by the Orzhov come across in the Ravnica book, and not seeing the needed services the Orzhov provide makes it much harder than it should be to see now good or even non-evil Orzhov characters could work.

    Yes, the leaders of the guild are super corrupt - they're both bank managers and the leaders of a massive organized religion - the ambition required to rise to such a position generally doesn't go hand in hand with compassion, and even if it did that much power tends to corrupt even those who weren't corrupt to start. But it's not hard to envision compassionate faith leaders who tend to the poor and sick in a church led by power hungry lords, and you can have good accountants and financial advisors who actually help people manage their finances and achieve their goals in a bank owned by heartless predatory plutocrats, and good people working in the Orzhov guild shouldn't feel any more strange.

    Similar with the Golgari. At least their sewage treatment and corpse disposal roles are mentioned in the book, but not their farming. The fancy rooftop gardens of the Selesnya provide high quality food to the wealthy, but not nearly enough to feed the teeming poor. The golgari's great subterranean fungal forests, the same forests that break down the waste of the city above - also provide the staple diet for the bulk of those living above. Again, it's not hard to envision good farmers even if they're forced to work with or for an evil corporation like Monsanto, and it's not hard to envision good garbage disposal workers even if they're working for a corrupt government official.
    The pursuit of knowledge requires a mind unfettered by the petty constraints of ethics, faith, or ... mortality.

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    Default Re: Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    I'll take a moment to explain how to portray those guilds against the roles you described:
    Azorios and Boros: Authoritarian *******s who want to get rid of anyone who doesn't live according to their rules.
    Izzet and Simic: crazy scientists, perfectly willing to destroy Ravnica because of some ambition.
    Selesnya: The Borg, or maybe Stalin taking control of the guild.
    Did I say these guilds were difficult to portray as villainous? No, I said they were easy to portray as villainous, or heroic.

    So yeah, the Azorius Senate, dutiful civil servants and keepers of a fragile peace, or oppressive bureaucrats who enforce an unjust status quo? The Boros Legion, paragons who dare take a stand against injustice, or irresponsible vigilantes and crusading zealots? A campaign could believably go either way, or be about a shift from one to the other.

    Dimir: Cool spies, ready to defend Ravnican citizens against enemies they aren't even aware of.
    Golgari: the hippies who take care of all the trash in Ravnica, sure they stink, but they do what they must.
    Gruul: Ravnica needs nature, that's the whole conflict in the setting, Gruul goals are noble and needed.
    Orzhov: money makes the world work.
    Rakdos: heroes who defend freedom!
    Those would be their in-universe propagandas, and may have been their original goals, but GGtR sure doesn't make any of that sound genuine. For example, I know the demons of Ravnica don't come from the Abyss, but they seem to have the very same concept of freedom, and the artistic representations of the Cult of Rakdos look just like Gotham City when the Joker is on a rampage.

    Like I said, some of them are needed, because of the work they do, and could be retconned to do that work in a respectable way. Again for example, the Golgari Swarm's efforts to recycle Ravnica's wastes are vital, and they could be rewritten so they do not stink as much on the inside as they do on the outside.

    In regards to the actual lore; azorius and Simic are often evil. While Rakdos and Orzhov are always on the side of Ravnica.
    Quote Originally Posted by Malisteen View Post
    My one big complaint about the Ravnica book is the portrayal of several of the guilds as flat antagonists.
    Ah, so the problem may be that a retcon already happened.

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    Default Re: Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    I guess the problem might be on the description the guilds receive on the GGR books, which could be better but being already familiar with the setting from MTG I didn't notice that flaw.
    Last son of the Lu-Ching dynasty

    thog is the champion, thog's friends! and thog keeps on fighting to the end!

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    Lord Vukodlak's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    So in our Ravnica adventure last night we captured a rogue Simic scientist who'd stolen research material from her fellows and her experiments caused some mayhem in her apartment complex. Now in the end no one was really injured(except for us) the minor monsters she created were all defeated and the big giant floating JellyFish but made from Rock and kelp peacefully floated away instead of attacking anyone(aside from any pigeon in reach)

    We had a debate over who to turn her over too. The Azorios or the Simic as both had some legal claim to her. My Golgari Warlock said we should just have them bid on her. No body else liked that idea so he had a ballot vote and for some reason we let her vote too. It came down to 3 votes for the Simic and 3 votes for Azorios and one for "Bid on Her"

    Group went back to arguing one player changed his vote to Simic and another to Azorios so the deadlock continued, My Warlock decided to push things forward by suggesting we just go talk to them and have both sides make their case. I then used that opportunity to get them to bid on her. When both bids came out equal it came down to two coin tosses because the first coin went flying and was lost.

    So yeah we're having a lot of fun.
    Nale is no more, he has ceased to be, his hit points have dropped to negative ten, all he was is now dust in the wind, he is not Daniel Jackson dead, he is not Kenny dead, he is final dead, he will not pass through death's revolving door, his fate will not be undone because the executives renewed his show for another season. His time had run out, his string of fate has been cut, the blood on the knife has been wiped. He is an Ex-Nale! Now can we please resume watching the Order save the world.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    Indeed, speaking as someone wholly unfamiliar with MtG, the book quickly made me fall in love with the factions.

    But I have to partially disagree with you about alignment. While I can see half the factions being easily portrayed in either a positive or a negative light (Azorius, Boros, Izzet, Selesnya, and Simic), I think that giving a heroic interpretation to the other half would require some seriously twisty loop-de-loops or a full rewrite (Dimir, Golgari, Gruul, Orzhov, and Rakdos). Yes, some of them are very important to the survival of the city, and may count some good people among their members, but they are utterly corrupt organizations.
    Golgari are honestly tending neutral to lawful neutral, and I think Gruul are very easy to make sympathetic tribes in, since they're basically where discarded, marginalized, or socially ostracized people end up.

    There's basically no way to make Orzhov and Rakdos not evil, though. One is basically real life prosperity gospel amped up to MtG levels, and the other are psycho clowns. There just isn't much you can do to make them not evil.

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    If I recall, part of the in game lore on Rakdos is that the guild was partially founded just to keep the demon Rakdos too busy managing to rampage through the world (at least as often).

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    Well, yeah. It's a city where angels who embody order walk the streets. If you have to have demons as well, better to make them tear down authority with words and jokes most of the time. The nicest demon worshippers you've ever seen are still flaming lunatics sometimes.
    Last edited by Spriteless; 2020-01-23 at 10:27 PM.
    yo

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    Default Re: Thoughts in regards to Ravnica

    Quote Originally Posted by Drascin View Post
    Golgari are honestly tending neutral to lawful neutral, and I think Gruul are very easy to make sympathetic tribes in, since they're basically where discarded, marginalized, or socially ostracized people end up.

    There's basically no way to make Orzhov and Rakdos not evil, though. One is basically real life prosperity gospel amped up to MtG levels, and the other are psycho clowns. There just isn't much you can do to make them not evil.
    They are obviously evil, but not necessarily the worst evil around. As far as I know on every ravnica storyline Rakdos and Orzhov end up being heroes.
    Last son of the Lu-Ching dynasty

    thog is the champion, thog's friends! and thog keeps on fighting to the end!

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