I originally scheduled Ten Weeks of Ravnica to match the arrival of my Christmas presents around mid December. I should still had two more weeks to go with articles related to the Ravnica crossover into Dungeons & Dragons… but everything arrived earlier than expected and I’m still in awe appreciating all the beauty in these products, and I want to share my first impressions with you. Let’s start!
From the art in the cover to the last one of all the 75 monsters stat blocks included in this Campaign Setting, I must be very clear: this is an absolute Critical Hit. It even has an already-classic Disclaimer, bringing the worlds of MtG and D&D closer together. The introduction does a very good job at summarizing the complex politics around the guilds and their history, as long as the everyday aspects of living in the city, including the calendar, the curency and the most common languages spoken.
- Character Creation has a new approach to start a new PC by selecting its guild first. It also offers a more classical approach, suggesting a guild to belong for several combinations of race and class. Centaurs, goblins, loxodon, minotaur, hybrids and vedalken are introduced along with humans and elves. New class variants (the Order domain for clerics and the Circle of Spores for druids) are seen for the first time, and several Xanathar options are brought into the reader’s attention also.
- Next, a full treaty on the Guilds of Ravnica gives us spells, bonds, rules for renown and membership, and glorious descriptions for each guild that include new backgrounds (most of which fit the wish list we’ve been making here in our “10 Weeks of Ravnica”, by the way) and membership benefits.
- The third chapter, The Tenth District, describes with plenty of detail the most prominent area in Ravnica, divided in six precints, each one with its own locations, adventure hooks (in the form of rumors) and even how law and crime work in them.
- Almost half the book already in, we can find the DM’s section, starting with a chapter dedicated to Creating Adventures: with locations and villains tied to each of the ten guilds. There are also some charts to have more classical adventures linked to Ravnica (dungeon delves and disasters, for example) and advice on how to have the characters involved via cross purposes, complications and intrigue. As we just said, each guild here introduces a somewhat generic location, villains, character goals and adventure hooks in the form of useful charts in case the DM wants to randomize things around. The chapter doesn’t end before giving you a full adventure, “Krenko’s Way”, which I had the opportunity to run during Ravnica Weekend in a local friendly hobby shop.
- One of the most prominent contents of the DungeonMaster’s Guide has always been the one related to Magic Items and this setting leaves no guild behing in its fifth chapter, dedicated to Treasures. Magic items are grouped by guild, and new iterations include charms, keyrunes and spell-imbued signet rings. We even have a new material in the form of mizzium.
- And finally, a gigantic 74-page final chapter is all about Friends and Foes: tables by guild offer the original source for classic monsters and brand new creatures and NPCs brought directly from different MtG sets of cards will delight fans new and old (yes, Niv-Mizzet, I’m looking at you… and your Wizkids “miniature”).
The book is, as you can see, full of everything you need to start playing and creating a myriad campaign set in the wonderful world. I’ve been inspired by MtG storylines for a long time, and seeing this book published (and having it in my hands!) is a dream came true.
Maps & Miscellany
The description just read “20 cardstock sheets”, but the contents for the Maps & Miscellany accesory left me open-mouthed. Inside a folder with two pockets we can fin seven maps, each for one of the six precints and one for the whole Tenth District of Ravnica in magnificent glossy finishing that allows you to use dry-erase markers on them without damaging them (I haven’t tried, and honestly I’m not planning to, but I’m sure you can). There are also 11 maps of the locations described in the fourth chapter of the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, and all of them (including the first seven mentioned) have in their back helpful information and details about the places depicted in their front face. A last set of two sheets provides generic portraits and the descriptions of the effects of the guild charms mentioned in the fift chapter of the campaign setting. These alst two are pre-perforated, so you can tear them and keep them as single and handy cards (18 of them in total, 9 in each sheet) if you want to. The only thing that keeps this product from perfection is the fragility of the folder: making it more durable and sturdier would prolong its useful life. As it is, I’m having second thoughts about using it to keep my own notes or character sheets so I keep it from getting any damage.
And the cherry crowning the sundae comes in a super-sweet can. A regular set of D&D dice (one d20, one d12, two d10, one d8, four d6 and one d4) are complemented with a super-sized d10 which replaces the numbers with the guild symbols. Even if I haven’t found (yet) a direct reference to this die in the Campaign Setting, it is as beautiful as anyone can get. The whole set is semi-translucent grayish-smokey silver color with deep blue numbers. For dice storage, the can offers plenty of space for many sets as soon as you remove the holder (which I’m not planning to do). The guilds symbols are also engraved in low-relief in the can and printed all-around. The nicest detail is hidden in the bottom, as both the D&D ampersand logo and the MtG planeswalking logo can be seen next to each other. Even if they are expensive at their suggested price of $25.00, I have zero regrets about buying them.
All in all, just as I said before, the whole line of products for the first D&D x MtG crossover is a definitive natural 20. Take it with a grain of salt, as I have been waiting for this for years, though, hehe.
I need to give a special shout-out to Magali Villeneuve, the artist in charge of that amazing cover, and who has been doing MtG art since 2013. She managed not only to include Ravnican elements such as a Boros angel and Niv-Mizzet among the city spires, but also managed to include a female character that unlike most female characters in fantasy depictions, is not wearing bikini-mail armor. Add a beautiful dark-skin tone to the mix and you have a cover that is a serious piece of art for the ages besides being socially relevant to our reality nowadays. B-R-A-V-O to her and the art director who OK’s this (according to the credits of the book, they are Shauna Narciso and Ari Levitch, but I guess Jeremy Crawford was also involved as Managing Editor). By the way, she was also in charge of the cover for the setting’s novel, which will be published in April 2019 with 304 pages, according to the editorial.
And now, let’s play in Ravnica! Are you planning to do so, or are you planning to extract some elements to use in your own campaign? Let us know in the comments below.