Ingenuity & Obsession

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GuildSymbol_Izzet_ColorWe’re done with the first five guilds that form the core of Ravnica, and it’s time to talk about the Izzet League. Founded by its parun Niv-Mizzet, an ancient, brilliant, capricious, and narcissistic dragon, the Izzet League continuously create and destroy and are obsessively driven by a desire for new discoveries. Being the analogue of scientists and engineers on Ravnica and the masters of innovation and spellcraft, the Izzet are also responsible for the design and implementation of most of Ravnica’s infrastructure and inventions.

The Izzet League was in charge of constructing Ravnican civic works, including water supply systems, sewers, heating systems, boilers, and roadways. Of course, the Izzet members are also known to perform magical experiments, always with uncomparable passion and sometimes spectacular results. Unlike the other guilds, the Izzet seem to not care about the politics in the city, but simple thirst for knowledge. Combined with their drive for discovery and child-like curiosity, the brilliant magewrights never stop experimenting, discarding old ideas for new ones on a too-frequent basis.

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You can’t talk about the Izzet League without referencing its parun and guildmaster, the magnificent Niv-Mizzet, the most intelligent being on Ravnica. Powerful enough to live to tell the tale of his fight against the nephilim (during the events of the novel Guildpact) and said to be the last true dragon (even if he has numerous lesser clones of himself).

The uniforms and coat of arms of the League give testimony to the vanity and self-awareness of Niv-Mizzet. Even their creations are names after him (mizzium and Nivix are but two examples). The alchemically-enhanced working clothes of the Izzet are flamboyant, with bright fabrics dyed in the colors of their draconic leader’s scales and shiny metals.

By the time we set in Return to Ravnica, Niv-Mizzet is conducting a secret project he calls the Interlocus, which purpose is unknown. In order to give instructions and collect data, Niv-Mizzet uses the Firemind, an extrasensory link with his consciousness and omniscience, shared with selected, worthy Izzet League subordinates. Members of the Izzet League who are deemed worthy must first pass a test before they may communicate with Niv-Mizzet.

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Members of the Guild

  • The servants of Niv-Mizzet who make up his personal court are referred to as the Izmundi. Niv-Mizzet uses them to guide his machinations and to keep him abreast of the happenings in the wider world. The Izmagnus are the most powerful members of the Izmundi court, which typically has five to seven members (some members are kept secret). Even members of the Izmagnus are not privy to Niv-Mizzet’s highest-level plans and goals.
  • The Izzet chemisters are alchemists who forge mizzium and other elements into arcane tools. They experiment with new alloys, energies, and runic markings. The chemisters are highly competitive, which often leads to spirited rivalries and petty in-fighting.
  • Blastseekers are Izzet mages who wield and control the arcane tools devised by the chemisters. Sometimes the blastseekers manipulate orbs of elemental energy that float in mutual orbits, crackling concentric disks of power, or streams of lava-bubbling water. Izzet blastseekers and chemisters might have up to forty attendants, most of whom are vedalken, due to their natural focus and organizational skills.

History of the Guild

Ironically, with all its experimenting, the Izzet League seems to be stuck in time. One of the only two guilds with its living parun (the other being the Cult of Rakdos), the League knows how to work without the direct intervention of its guildmaster, and so we have seen Niv-Mizzet retreating after his fight with the nephilim during the Decamillennial crisis. During his absence, though, he used the power of the Firemind to reach out to his guildmages with a complex array of new and mysterious projects for the Izzet League to work on, so the guild kept busy.

More recently, during the Return to Ravnica storyline, we learn how Ral Zarek has been positioning himself as the day-to-day leader for the guild as he embarks into experiments himself. Lately, the Izmundi have been demanding more significant discoveries and faster results, so much so that chemisters have resorted to running experiments day and night for fear of losing their labs. While Niv Mizzet is distracted by his research, Ral Zarek takes control of the guild while secretly working in league with Nicol Bolas, the Scourge of the Multiverse.

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And about that Guildmaster’s Guide…

We need to start saying that the Izzet League is an ideal guild for sorcerer and artificers of chaotic alignment (and let’s not forget the Artificer will be the center of the upcoming Unearthed Arcana this February!). The things we haven’t seen in the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica and that we’ll be working on soon are:

  • A background: A cloistered lab experiment worker
  • A subclass: A chemister and a blastseeker, both of them for the Artificer class.
  • A feat or a spell: Izzet mechanics are always related to the use of sorceries and instants, which we can link to metamagic. Replicate, Overload and Jump-Start all work with casting spells.
  • A location: Nivix, the Firemind Aerie: An immense tower that competes in size with New Prahv, each floor of the tower houses alchemists, mages and Izzet wise men who theorize, try out and throw constantly miscalculated experiments between rooms. In the highest floor of the tower is Niv-Mizzet’s aerie.
  • NPCs:
    • Tibor and Lumia, husband and wife, Izzet Guild champions on Ravnica. Tibor is a master of wind magics and most commonly uses his talents for magical flight. Lumia is a master of earth magic and call magma to the surface to scorch enemies on the ground. Tibor is wise, noble, head in the clouds in contrast to his wife’s fiery and wild-eyed abandon.
    • Melek, the Izzet maze runner. Melek was created by Izzet mages to run the Implicit Maze against the other guilds. Just as the race was about to begin and all the runners were announcing themselves, Ral Zarek sapped Melek’s elemental energy, thus killing it and becoming the runner.
    • Ral Zarek, Izzet Viceroy and Caller of the Storms. Ral was the chief researcher investigating the ancient codes laid out in the Tenth District, the leylines and secrets that made up the Implicit Maze that fascinated his guildmaster. Now, he has turned Project Lightning Bug into a beacon to call other planeswalkers to Ravnica following Nicol Bolas commands.
  • A monster: Two-in-one-variety Elementals and weirds
  • An artifact: The Mizziuym Transreliquat.

What else would you like to see from the Izzet League to play in D&D?

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