Secrecy & Advantage

GuildSymbol_Dimir_ColorWe’ll continue alphabetically with our “10 Weeks of Ravnica”. It’s the turn for the Unseen, the Unknown, the Tenth Guild: House Dimir. House Dimir was supposed to be a tale told to children to make them behave nicely. According to folklore, its parun, Szadek, attended the signing of the Guildpact as a secret tenth signatory only if his presence and involvement were kept a secret. Over the millenia, urban legends about the Dimir grew more and more complex, detailing necromancer advisors, phantasmal assassins and nightmare horros lurking in the dark. House Dimir wants utter control over Ravnica. Such absolute control requires complete invisibility in order to not arouse opposition. Therefore, Dimir works very hard to ensure that Ravnica citizens don’t believe in its existence.

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History of the Guild

House Dimir was founded by the ancient vampire Szadek. The vampire was one of the ten paruns that signed the Guildpact and remained in charge of the guild for the subsequent 10,000 years. One of the crucial clauses of the Guildpact was that none of the signatories (including Szadek) could reveal the existence of the Dimir to Ravnica’s people, protecting the guild’s anonymity while forcing it to remain hidden. This created a flaw in the Guildpact’s structure that would eventually allow it to be broken during the events of the novel “Ravnica: City of Guilds” by Cory Herndon.

Although not officially recognized as a guild under Teysa Karlov’s non-magical Guildpact, House Dimir is still active under Lazav’s leadership. The fact that the general populace now knows of their existence required adopting a public face, so the lower ranking members serve as couriers, investigators, reporters, and archivists. The true power of the guild still lies in the network of spies, assassins, and thieves it commands.

What the Guild does

The guild operates on a strictly need-to-know basis. At the top of its hierarchy is the leader. Only he is fully aware of all of the guild’s activities. Beneath him are the necrosages, who oversee the guild’s activities from Duskmantle. They manipulate the flow of information, keeping the guild informed on all things whilst keeping the rest of the plane ignorant. Few individuals are ever allowed to meet the guild’s leaders, as instead a network of middlemen are employed to pass on messages to cells of field operatives. Agents at the very bottom of the guild only meet a mysterious individual in a back alley that gives them some basic information on their target and nothing else.

Dimir guildmages use their magic to influence the minds of others. They can send messages to operatives over distances or strike people with amnesia, magically alter memories or even perform lobotomies on victims to cover their tracks. The Dimir also practice necromancy, creating undead minions such as skeletons and wights to carry out missions. Such minions are employed as they are single-minded, easy to create and dispose of, cannot be interrogated in the event of capture and are easily blamed on the Golgari instead. Spirits are also used by the Dimir to pass on messages, carry out surveillance invisibly or even to possess important figures such as judges and senators. Nobody is beyond the reach of House Dimir.

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And about that Guildmaster’s Guide…

As usual, we’ll state what classes and alignments are best suited for this guild. House Dimir is an ideal choice for rogues and assassins, and even arcane necromancers of evil alignment.

The things we’d like to see in the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica are:

  • A background: something akin to an information broker.
  • A subclass: a necrosage available for sorcerers or wizards, or the infiltrator for rogues.
  • A feat or a spell: As Transmute is a mechanic that allows to change a spell for another, it is hard to convert to D&D without taking the Sorcerer’s design space. Cipher and Surveil give us the tone of espionage and saboteur somehow.
  • A location: Duskmantle, a hidden castle inside a huge underground chamber. Only its residents and underlings know its new location.
  • NPCs: Szadek, Lord of Secrets; Circu, Dimir Lobotomist; Lazav, the Multifarious; and Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker.
  • A magic item: the Bloodletter Quill, which allows the sending of messages that can be read only by the intended destination, using blood as ink.

If these are not included when the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica hits shelves in November, we may have some extra work here at Codex Anathema. What else would you like to see from House Dimir to play in D&D?

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