Ravnica

imageWe just got started on our Ravnica campaign, set in the Magic The Gathering world of the same name where ten guilds of magic users strive and scheme for dominance. Safety and harmony are more or less guaranteed by the magical Guild Pact – which has just been broken!

NOTE: We are actually playing a mashup between Ravnica and the Coldfire Trilogy series. It’s the Ravnica world as you know it, but the planet is alive and provides a second type of magic that works on intent: Fae magic! Our campaign is still brimming with Ravnica goodness, but there’s a few things you may not recognise.

We made characters by doing the What Guild Are You? quiz on the Wizards website. We have a Raknos burlesque dancer, an Izzit goblin engineer, and a Selesnyan scholary type (me!).

It’s pretty neat. The setting is so detailed and rich.. It’s a perfect setting to stage a campaign in. It’s grimdark, but cartoony, there’s colorful guilds to be a part of and differentiate your character with, there’s an overarching storyline and there’s plenty of weirdness to explore.

The guilds are at each other’s throats all the time, so we made sure to make characters that know each other fairly well, and aren’t the biggest guild fanatics. During creation we also established links with NPC’s we care about inside and outside of the guilds.

We’re using the regular trait+skill WoD system for skill checks, but we’re using a more freeform system for magic. Each color is associated with a few keywords (White might be associated with protection, light, and order). If you want to do a spell you describe what you want to do and how it fits in your color sceme. Then the GM assigns a difficulty. And that’s about it.

There will also be guild magic which will be a little more set and ritualised, and strongly tied to the guilds’ goals. Raknos might have a spell that lets them incite the passions of a throng of people.

We’ll have to see how well the light magic system holds up, but we generally play rules-light, so it should be fine. Exciting!

Fae Magic

We can use both mana and fae magic, but mana magic is tightly regulated. We can only use the guild spells we have gotten access too. Whereas with fae magic, we can try to do whatever we want in our color range! (If you wanted to take this system and use it as mana magic in your world, I think it would work very well).

There’s 5 different types of fae on Ravnica, loosely corresponding to the five colors of mana used by the guilds. Each fae governs different spheres of magic and can be used at will if enough fae is present. Who can and cannot manipulate the fae seems random so far.

The amount of points spent in the different Fae magics and your points in Fae Touched will determine the strength of the spells you can cast. Depending on the effect of the spell your level of Fae Touched can go up.

Fae Touched

A meter that keeps track of how in tune you are with the Fae. It will allow you to cast more powerful spells, but the fae are too random a force to ever completely control and the more in tune you are the higher the chances your spells will backfire in some way.

[Right now I don’t really have a specific system for this. Playtesting will be just playing the game, yay!]

The different types of Fae

[Prone to balance issues, I suppose. Will adjust during play as well]

Solar (White)

Present everywhere with natural daylight, including indirect daylight through windows and the like. Stronger in summer, weaker in winter.

Governs: Healing, scrying, light, warmth, willpower, protection, spirit summoning

Earth (Green)

Present everywhere underground and on surface level. In Ravnica this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s available on ground level, because most of the city is built upon layers of more city. Earth fae is very hard to access on any body of water.

Governs: Growth, life, fauna, flora, earth, travel, animal (and creatures in general) summoning

Primal (Red)

Present everywhere people are. Stronger in places where lots of people go daily or where a smaller number of people feel strongly about anything (a prison, a courthouse, a rakdos club, …).

Governs: Passion, destruction, fire, chaos, combat, elemental summoning

Dark (Black)

Present everywhere. Stronger during the night and underground. Weaker at noon and in well lit places.

Governs: Death, decay, darkness, temptation, control, necromancy

Ephemeral (Blue)

Present everywhere, but noticeable weaker underground or deep within man made environments.

Governs: Force, air, illusion, thoughts, teleportation/telekinesis, conjuring (summoning inanimate things)

It’s a nice system in which we are free to do a lot of things, but we still have very much our own range. So when we go to battle, our Rakdos character might be lobbing out fireballs or just plain making people’s hearts stop. Our Izzit might mind-control people to attack each other and summon illusions to confuse people. And my Selesnyan will be healing and protecting the fallen, but also smiting and cleansing any undead, etc.

My Character: Aerendyl (Aerie)

From the What guild are you quiz I got Selesnya, treehugger with a hive mind. The GM feared it would be one of the more boring guilds to belong to, but I liked the ‘being your own person vs. joining the hive mind’ theme, so I kept it. This probably won’t be the kind of game where pyschology will play a big part, but hey, it’s my character.

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I’m an elf, I was sold to the guild at age 3 and raised in a Selesnya commune. They picked me because as a child plants would grow in my footsteps. I have no idea who my parents are. I know the other characters from our local school and neighbourhood.

Being Selesnya trained, I am strong in Green and White magic. Green being Earth, Growth, Life, Fauna, Flora, Travel and White being Healing, Scrying, Light, Warmth, Willpower, Protection. The Hive Mind buzzes in my brain all the time, and Guild spells I will learn will probably be related to that.

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My main links are the dryad from my commune who raised me, and my boyfriend Roy who’s a leatherworker (and who my friends think is a dick). I have a drive to find my real parents and a sense of higher purpose from being raised into the Selesnya way of the world. However, due to their erm… True Neutralness I can be quite unfeeling. That totally didn’t pan out in play, I am overly caring and very naive!

I’m playing her a bit solemn with long convoluted sentences and try to put a bit of neutrality in my tone. Both of those can drop at times, and that’s kind of in character too, so that works!

Spiff, Izzet junior blastmage

Spif is a Goblin in the Izzet League. His father was a Ragdos who died when Spif was really young. His mother died in labour of one of Spif’s siblings a few years later.

He was fostered by Shivas, a Viashino who was in Izzet, which sort of started Spif’s interest in the League. Once he joined the League himself, he was mentored by Vincent, a human Blastseeker who’s been known to steal at the job.

Being from Izzet, his colors are blue and red.

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Alina the rakdos dancer

Alina is a half-elf who makes some money working as a burlesque dancer at the “Glory Hole”, a Rakdos diversion club.

She is a half-elf, daughter of a human Boros cop and an elf mother. Her father took bribes and generally took advantage of everyone around him – something that made Alina lose her trust in authority figures and her respect for the police force of Ravnica very early. Eventually he had to hide after he got found out and her heartbroken mother took off, probably going back to her beloved woods and hugging some trees (if you ask Alina who always felt her mother’s disgust with the city and its people).

The only kind of parental figure in her life is a knife thrower / fire dancer at the club called Ravka who she looks up to (and learned a couple of useful tricks from). She wants to learn as much from Ravka as she can, also because she is very impressed with how she manipulates and uses fire in her acts.

There is one more important person: Mal, a thief she met in the streets who she actually tried to steal from (and vice versa) which ended up in an evenly matched and drawn out battle that finally led to a strange friendship. During her work at the club she gained some contacts that might come in handy, but also got into some trouble (for example with a furious wife of an Azorius who found out about her husbands nightly activities).

Session #1: Prologue

Ravnica is the planet. It has two poles and the rest is covered in one big sprawling city. Ravnica is also the biggest city of the planet, located on a huge mountain and consisting of 10 disticts where all of the guilds have their headquarters.

  • Alina, Rakdos burleque danser
  • Spiff, Goblin Izzet inventor
  • Aerendyl (Aerie), Selesnyan loremaster

Today is the Guild Pact festival: the pact was signed exactly 1000 years ago! The Guild Pact is what makes Guild War impossible, it was instituted after an earlier uprising by the guildless which lead to the destruction of all the guilds). With the Guild Pact, the guilds can provide riches and innovation to the planet without destroying it and themselves. It’s enforced by law (and perhaps also a bit by magic, we speculate). Within the year all Guild Leaders that signed the pact died (except Rakdos and Izzet).

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On this day there is a big remembrance party for the guilded people on the main forum. Our school friend Tom is in the theatre group that is organising the performance. We help him out with the props and in return he gets us good spots. He is not looking so good, though, very hollow and sickly. We speculate he might be on one of Ravnica’s many drugs.

The play begins with the big war: the Angel of the guilded against the Cyclops champion of the guilded. The play gets unexpectedly realistic as a click is mage and the Angel turns into a real Angel, and the fighting actors start to really bleed and really die. Eventually, the Cyclops kills the Angel (which is NOT how the play is supposed to go) and starts wading into the crowd killing people.

We have been circling around and drag Tom out of the play. His face is completely blurred and he’s unresponsive. All the other people playing priests collapse into empty robes. Chaos breaks out in the streets as people flee.

We drag Tom away as a Boros Angel comes down to engage the Cyclops and eventually kills it. We try to flee to the Izzet Guild Hall, but the doors are closed. Spiff opens the door with his power gloves and a demon comes running out of it. Raving groups of Rakdos roam the streets, meet up and head towards the square.

A group of Boros guards along with a Boros Angel also head towards the square until another switch happens and the guards light up white/red, attack and kill the angel. The Angel lies dead in the street until a little boy runs out of one of the houses and touches it. Then the Angel also gains a red/white sheen that seems to fly off.

Tom comes to every once in a while, telling the group to go “Out” and “Down”. We end up in the Undercity, guided by Spiff’s underground knowledge. It’s dark, damp, and there’s no signs of life. No rats and very few lichen, eventhough this is normally Golgari territory.

A Selesnyan comes running out of a tunnel and gets its throat slit by something shimmering and transparant that flies off. No one dares to get near the body. We head deeper into the tunnels and I cast my first spell: the Gandalf light staff thingie! Totally within the white sphere, booya.

Meanwhile, Tom is developing a black sheen. Uh oh. The tunnel opens up into a big cavern with a fire burning in it. Around the fire are a bunch of Spectres. We stay well clear of those, but when Tom wakes up, he charges right for them. The Spectres flies into Tom and the surrounding sounds drown out in the realisation that this is a BIG thing. Tom gets up, looks a lot healthier, and now has a blue-black sheen around him (the Dimir colors – the dark controlling spy house that doesn’t exist). A gem on the altar is also glowing now.

A Golgari troll barges in and tumbles forward, sieved through with arrows. The spectres fly back into the gem, Tom collapses and so do all of we.

******

When we wake up a few days later, we can now see the sheen everywhere and on everyone. And we’re not the only ones!

Session #2: Meeting the Mizzit

As we emerge from the undercity back into the city proper after having been passed out for two days, we find no signs of the chaos we have witnessed. No angels murdered in the streets, no rampaging demons, nothing. People in the streets also don’t seem to remember anything strange having happened.

The only strange thing we notice are some posters that are hanging up throughout the city, calling for missing pets. Sometimes, it’s dogs, sometimes it’s cats, but it’s always “ of them, and their descriptions are a bit discerning to us. One is described as the small one, smart, and yappy, another is described as outdoorsy, quiet, but friendly, and another is described as a bit violent, pretty and tends to hump legs. The more we see, the more it starts to dawn on us that the descriptions could fit the members of our little group.

As we’re thinking about this, we’re interrupted by an high ranking Izzet who tells Spif the Goblin that he’s requested for an audience with Niv-Mizzet, the giant Dragon leader of the Izzit League. No-one ever talks to Niv-Mizzet who is notoriously reclusive, but they can’t very well refuse so they head to the tower.

After some difficulty they are led before the giant Dragon, where all but his new most trusted advisor are asked to leave. Then the group are asked to retell the events of what they believe happened during the Remembrance Festival. It turns out, that Niv-Mizzet is keenly aware of what has happened and knows the Guild Pact has been boken, and is just interested in the groups newfound ability to colors of magic being used. The populace of the city has just been made to forget what has happened, as to why the group has their new abilities, Niv-Mizzet has no answer (or will not give one anyway). They are tasked to go to the Boiler Pits and investigate an issue that has been going on there without any further explanation, and are sent away.

Outside they are approached by a boy with a rose for Aerendyl, from her boyfriend Roy (who the other two hate) with an invitation to meet at a bar (and a promise that she’d pay the scamp carrying the rose and invitation, what a dick right?). Spif and Alina go to the address of the missing dog posters but find little of interest, but at the bar where Aerie’s boyfriend was supposed to be waiting, she just find darkness, blood and gore and eventually a catatonic Roy, who watched as small children butchered the other patrons of the bar. It seems however as the kids are still in the bar and they seem to want to attack Roy. She rushes him out as they are attacked by small zombie children with unhinging jaws. Skewering one of them through the head with her staff doesn’t seem to slow it down much, but they manage to escape. She brings Roy back home, where his mother scolds Aerie for being nothing but trouble.

Meeting up again Aerie shows the others what happened. As they see the child zombies, Aerie sees white mana patterns around it, while Alena sees black, and Spif sees nothing. It dawns on them that they can only see their own guild colors, White-Green for Selesnya, Red-Black for Rakdos and Red-Blue for Izzet. Then they suddenly see a holographic image of Niv-Mizzet appear (who seems to have been keeping tabs on them) and they explain it what happened at the bar. And before they know it, the bar suddenly explodes and they see Niv-Mizzet’s new confidant leave the scene. After this appearance, they decide to no longer delay their assignment and head to the Boiler Pits.

The Boiler Pits, being a Mizzian invention keeping the city heated, are fueled by red and blue magics and seeing the mana flows, Spif can easily find the leaks. He has people out to fix them but when a guided tour comes by some of the people in the crowd scoff at the idea of the systems heating the city. As this happens Alina and Spiff actually see the magic start failing and new leaks appear. They quickly try to reassure the crowd and gets some unexpected help from within the tourist group by an unknown woman. As the people settle down, so do the magics fueling the boiler pipes. The group leaves instructions with the foreman and the tourist guides to keep the crowd on positive thinking, because popular belief seems to be having its effects on the foundations of the magic fueling the place. They are reluctant to believe it, but they also know the group was sent by Niv-Mizzet himself so don’t dare to argue.

Outside they find some markings from a friend of Alina that say there is trouble brewing at the bar where they work. When the group gets there, they find it being raided by Azorius trying to arrest the Rakdos leader inside. As Alina knows a stage entrance, they manage to sneak inside, and witness the Rakdos being help by the White/Blue magics of the Azorius. They try to influence the situation with their own magics but the Red magics of Alina tip the scale and they manage to get the Rakdos out. They carry her off to Alina’s house, where they are welcomed by the woman who’d helped them convince the crowds of the safety of the Boiler Pits.

Who is she and what does she want? We’ll have to find out next time.

#3: The Guild Gates Emerge

We are in Alina’s place. It looks tidy, sensual and gothy, with sex-flavored incense and mannequins wearing fancy dresses. The effect is only slightly broken by the empty liquor bottles on the floor, the occasional blood stain and the bag of dog treats on the table.

Chandra Nalaar. One of the very few unguilded magic users. Somehow she never got enough attention from any guild to get either conscripted or eliminated. She seems to have the talent to manipulate Primal fae very well. Sister of Vraska.

Exava is unconscious on the couch. The red lady comes out of the bedroom (!) and introduces herself as Chandra. The fae have come back, and it’s alive”. She explains they are working with a group of rich unguilded to decrease the power monopoly of the guilds. Of the group only she and Nissa can use the fae. There is one other human who can use the fae, but she doesn’t know it yet.They agree to work together for the time being. They don’t have to leave their guilds to help, and Chandra can teach them how to use the Fae better, even though practice seems to be the main way to get better.

They want to shake on it when a Green/Black woman comes out of nowhere and stabs Chandra! “It’s time to go home, little Chandra!”. She nods to the group and says “Thank you for your assistance”, making Chandra believe they betrayed her.

She starts fading out with (evidently) her shocked sister. They can’t stop them, but Spiff reads in her mind that she is thinking of or heading to the Golgari Guildhall. Vraska is a high up in that guild.

Exava. A Rakdos blood witch. Not much for the politics, very much into rioting. Rumor has it she’s one of Rakdos’ favorites and actually meets with the demon in person regularly.

Before they can discuss this Exava wakes up and recognises Alina *and* Aerie. It seems Roy is a regular visitor to her club, the Suckerpunch. She thanks them for their help with Lavinia, but before she can say much more she has an orgasm and yells “RAKDOS IS AWAKE!”. She rushes off and knocks over Tom in the hallway.

Tom came by to see them. He doesn’t remember anything but a pleasant remembrance day. “I just did the play, had drinks with my friends and then I killed them all”. He doesn’t seem to realise what he just said and his friends can’t get through to him. He has a girlfriend, though, Liliana. We agree to have dinner or drinks together in a few days so we can meet her.

It’s night now. Spiff and Aerie go home. Aerie finds out there was an upset at the Selesnyan Conclave. A bunch of Simic mounts turned up in the Conclave and were eating the plants. A Simic person came by to fix it. Spif also finds a bag of dog food in his room.

They all practice some fae magic. Alina makes sexy dancing fire ladies, Aerie practices making light and Spiff floats dog treats into his mouth.

****

The next morning they meet for breakfast and decide to check out The Rough Crowd again with the three of them. The bar keeper runs them off when they start asking about the lost dog posters. But when they go outside, they find about 50 stray dogs waiting for them!

They try to pet or get in contact with them, but the dogs are acting a bit weird. When one of them points at a dog, all the other dogs jump on it and kill it. After a while, the dogs get a bit rowdy and mangle a child. They flee into a sewer (dogs in tow) before a Boros patrol can come and ask question. Here, a few dogs just blend into the shadows and seem to disappear. They try to talk to the dogs and get in touch with Dimir that way. They want to find out what happened to Tom!

The air shimmers and some Dimir guys show up. They’re not very interested in talking! Possibly because Mirko Vosk can talk to you while you’re dead just as easily!”. The group kill them instead, but keep one alive to interrogate for themselves. Then the dogs eat that guy as well, and then eat each other!

After this unsettling morning, Aerie wants to head over to the Suckerpunch to see what goes on there. It’s a really big club in a high up district. There’s bonfires going on inside, demons and imps everywhere, the entire place is very crowded. The group get to go in for free “Because you are friends of Roy”.

There’s pit fights, lots of sex, dancers. It’s a pretty upscale club. “They don’t spit in your drinks. And if they do it’s probably even better!”. Axava is there and gets them some drinks. After some fishing, she explains that Roy comes here  for bondage and whipping!

Rumor has it the Boros are raiding Dimrova Tower (where Dimir have secret meetings), and that the Gruul have raided the Orzov Church.

They go outside and run into Tom there! He’s with his new girlfriend Liliana who is covered in Black fae. “We were going to eat some children”, Tom says, but explains he meant chicken. Even more alarmed, the group ask after his theater friend and his current address.

The group split up for a while.

Alina stays in the club and spies on Tom and his friends as they eat chicken.

Aerie goes to see Roy at his mom’s place. He’s sick in bed, and seems to have a big spike puncture in his arm. He denies all bondage habits, though!

Spiff gets contacted by Niv Mizzit. The Izzit gates – all gates, in fact – have re-emerged and Niv wants Spiff to check them out for Fae. The guild gates are old border markers with some magical power. They were probably used to keep some people in, and other people out. Spiff also visits his minotaur friend who tells him Mirko Vosk got caught, and that he requested to talk to Spiff and some girls. “They’s my bitches!”

Spiff goes to check out the Golgari guild gates. There is an Izzit team here investigating. It is mossless, but covered in very strong black/green fae. The air feels oily and bad. There’s a huge cunarch symbol on them.

When the group meet up and check out the Golgari gate again, the previous Izzit team is gone. There’s even no trace of them any more. The Fae feel like Dark Fae: not evil, but different. They try to gauge their intent; they look man-made, controlled.

They pass under the Arch and feel some resistance. Then they come out on the other side and feel really good! (and more fae-touched). They are still experimenting with the Arch when Alina starts feeling even better: Rakdos is very, very excited about something. Around the same time Aerie is getting a message from the Hive-mind: Azorius has asked them for help.

They check out the Izzit gate as well. It is also covered in Fae. Spiff gets knocked back from the gate, but the others can go through. There is a kind of spiral trail in the gate.

When they head to the Azorius guild hall, they run into a massive mess of Rakdos creatures heading there. Azorius lawmages are fighting the Rakdos. Axava is floating over the masses. There is red fae all over. Alina and Spiff get hit by some major battlerage when they get close to the masses. Niv Mizzit controls Spiff to make him take a closer look. Alina makes a Boros guard go beserk and break the line, making easy pickings for the Rakdos.

A Selesnya force is marching here, lead by Field Marshal Calomir. There’s conflicting voices in the Hive-mind! Tristani says they should interfere but others say they shouldn’t. Emmara has gathered the pacifist voices and asks for Aerie’s help in stopping the escalation.

Mini-miz is up on a roof somewhere. Spiff teleports up. Mini-miz seems happy to see him and puts a colander on his head that starts digging into his skull, which Spiff finds very exciting.

A group of people start chanting in front of Alina saying “She’s the one”, while she is dancing her burlesque act.

When they get close enough to Calomir, Aerie can see his face is eggshell blank and fae of all colors swirl around him. She tries to revitalize him and he falls off of his tiger. The army stands there, blankly. Aerie tries to climb up on the tower and take control to get the army to retreat.

Asperia the Sfinx, the guild leader herself comes out and squashes the Rakdos troops, killing Axava in the process. Rakdos is furious, but the fight is over.

To do:

  • Find this Nissa and tell her Chandra got attacked/kidnapped?
  • Check if Tom’s friend is still alive
  • Have dinner with Tom and his girlfriend
  • Check out the Golgari guild hall?
  • Investigate the gates more

Session #4: Dimir Shenanigans (Alina perspective)

When we meet up again after the great battle at the Azorius guild hall, we all have stories to tell. Aery tells us that Calomir (the Selesnyan general who led the Selesnyan war party to battle the Rakdos rioters) hadn’t been himself but some kind of a copy.  After being found out, he melted into all fae colors. Emmara (a high ranking Selesnyan) wants to see us. Spif tells us that Ral (Mini-Mizz is a way better name) wants us to talk to Daphne, a librarian in the Dimir library and possible ally, to find out more about our powers. I apparently have my own cult full of people saluting to me and worshipping pictures of me. That’s the good part of it, the bad part is that they say I gave the command to free Mirco Vosk. So apparently, I have an evil(er) clone.

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al Zarek, the Golden Prodigy. Mysterious Izzet mage that suddenly turned up about a week before the 1000 year Guildpact celebration. Nobody knows who or what he is (or if someone does, they’re not telling), only that he’s an extremely powerful mage. He appears to be Niv Mizzet’s confidant as well, which is troubling high and low ranked Izzet League members alike. He’s gotten the nickname Golden Prodigy (though we call him Mini-Miz). Whether he knows or cares about that is just as unknown as anything else about him.

We head to the library and learn that Daphne’s father, Jace, went missing when he was investigating the guild gates, starting with the Simic gate. He, like us, Chandra (primal), Emmara (solar), Lilliana (dark) and Nissa (earth) can manipulate the fae and seems to be the ephemeral adept. We get a history lesson from Daphne: every major conflict seems to happen in 1000 year intervals. The destruction of the last forests to make room for the city of Ravnica, the forming of the guilds and the signing of the guild pacts. She speculates that Ravnica is alive – and that the fae is its life force. This time, the big conflict didn’t happen, so maybe it was forced to not cause an imbalance? Before the festival, the fae seemed to go into a dormant phase after these conflicts, but this time it’s still around. We promise Daphne to try and find out what happened to her father and head to the Simic gate.

The Simic researchers we meet there are not happy to have us sniff around. We turn back but hear the familiar “click” (we heard it at the festival before things started turning from show to reality) and all the Simic researchers are gone without a trace, just like the researchers at the Izzet gate. Spif tries to see what happens if he manipulates the ephemeral fae around the gate and it seems to strengthen his power. He wants use it to locate Jace but all he sees is a foggy silhouette before he has to stop. We try to pass through the gate together, holding hands, and while feeling an impenetrable resistance from one direction, we feel a strong pull when we try it the other way around. We try to teleport to Jace but instead get flashbacks of happy childhood memories. We don’t have much to go on… so far what we know about the gates is that there apparently are routes between them, one of them starting at the Simic gate (Spif knows this from a map he saw at Ral’s).

While we’re experimenting, an old guy with a dog shows up, smiles and walks through a wall. He has no visible fae aura but the dog has a whole rainbow of them.

Before it’s time for our meeting with Emmara we want to find out if Tom’s theatre friends (the ones whose murder he confessed to in an offhand comment) are really dead. John’s apartment (he’s one of those theatre friends) smells of decay – never a good sign. We find his dried out corpse and there isn’t even enough of him left to try and get any info through necromancy. What we do find is a green liquid and some metallic-looking, wire-like, black hair which strangely resembles the hair of the old guy with the dog we saw earlier.

As we arrive at the grove to meet Emmara, we hear fighting. Vraska is trying to get to Emmara and when Aery tries to step in, the old guy shows up again and stops Aery. He looks at Vraska and says “no, child”. Apparently this is enough to get her to drop her dagger and the old guy disappears as suddenly as he arrived. When Emmara tries to grab it to fight Vraska, Chandra appears and primal-bursts the dagger out of her hand. We learn that Chandra’s brother, Lazav, disappeared 10 years ago and was assumed dead. Because Vraska had been calling her “sister” in their earlier confrontation, she thinks that Vraska might have been mindcontrolled by him, so she decided to track her down (which is how she found us in the grove). With Aery’s guild magic we can free Vraska from Lazav’s influence and she seems herself again, having no memory of recent events. Actually, she can’t remember anything that happened after Remembrance day.

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Vraska “the Unseen”. Elf woman in green and black clothing. She seems familiar, like you’ve met her before, but you can’t quite recall. The one time you saw her more up close, she looked decidedly less elven though. Sister of Chandra Nalaar, last seen trying to assassinate Chandra.

Random facts and to-do’s:

  • Calomir’s body was found, looking just like John’s.
  • Esperia (Azorius leader) declared war on Rakdos.
  • Emmara had been supposed to take part in the Remembrance festival but was kept from it by fake Calomir.
  • Mind control of this scope can only be done by VERY powerful (blue) mages – a high ranking Dimir or even the leader, maybe?
  • Nissa has some more info on the routes between the guild gates. There is a maze leading to great power (a person? an object?)
  • We are supposed to find out more about Lilliana (intentions? how dangerous is she? what does she want with Tom?) and the gates
  • We also wanted to talk to the Gruul about Ravnica’s history (well, Aery did, really)

Session #5: Gatevestigation and Nissa vs Mirko

Emmara apparently decided not to make a secret out of her new-found, primal powers – the word spread and tons of sick people are coming to the conclave to get healed by her (which is also how we learn about it – Aery is approached by a mother with a disgustingly sick baby, asking her to get her to Emmara as fast as possible). Aery takes her to the conclave and tries to get Emmara to be more careful, to no avail.

Aery gets back from being a good Samaritan and we continue our gatevestigations at the Azorius gate.The area seems abandoned but we hear a knocking from inside the gate, coming from a reflection inside the stones. Spif can make out a concentration of ephemeral fae around the reflection. We feed some fae into the gate, targeting the reflection – as soon as it hits it it transforms into a solid ball and the face vanishes. We later see it again, reflected in a shop window. The shop sells model carts and they appear to be moving by themselves, playing out a scene. All the model people get launched off until only one dressed in blue remains before the carts catch on fire. We think this might be a hint about the Izzet gate but we also want to check out the Gruul gate.

On our way we notice eddies in the fae and a general unrest. The solar fae eddies are by themselves which might be because of Emmara’s healing and using the fae so much. The closer we get to Gruul territory, the worse the storm gets and there is no solar fae at all to be seen anymore. We try to sneak past some Gruul but a certain clumsy goblin gets us noticed and the only way to get further (or back) is for me to fight a huge two-headed ogre in a duel (which I win of course, with the subtle help of Aery and Spif). During the duel we notice that the eddies amplify our spells. I double-behead the ogre and impress all the Gruul!  Domri Rade, an orc shaman, welcomes us and gives some more info on Ravnica history. Legend has it that Ravnia was barren before fae/god/aliens brought the seed of life. Ravnica wants to return to an earlier stage.

More gatevestigation:  a stream of clouds lead into and away from the Gruul gate. We see the solar fae rising up into the sky into a black hole. We hear a click and the sun disappears. We run into a procession of “my cult” telling me proudly that they followed their orders and killed Emmara, presenting me with her head. Aery gets the head to Tristani but Emmara can’t be saved. In the end, the sun and solar fae return.

We want to warn Chandra before our dinner with Tom but she doesn’t show up. At dinner with Lilliana and Tom, Spif reads Tom’s mind and sees that his memories stop after remembrance day. Some guys try to grab Tom but get killed by a very protective Lilliana. She knocks Tom out to be able to talk straight with us – he was supposed to die as the last person to complete the circle back at the event. Ravnica needs a sacrifice every thousand years to keep calm but Tom fucked around with magic that he bought from the Dimir. We try to get Lilliana to work with us, not just for hers but also for our protection (she got some powerful magix, so do/did the other “pure” adepts), but she’s too much of a loner…. Shame!

The next gate to gatevestigate would be Dimir but we still don’t know where it is, maybe Dim’rova heights, Spif remembers that Ral’s map had coordinates so we go to the Izzet guild hall where we find Ral fighting other Izzet members. We take his side and defeat the attackers. Ral tells us that he has a “concerned friend” (dog man!!) that wants to know about the gate maze and had tasked him with keeping tabs on Niv-Mizzet. He also tells us that the Dimir guild gate is in the library. While the dog man seems to always look different, his dog doesn’t ever seem to change appearance.

Ral wants to get out now, his business is done. Spif stays, trying to come up with a good story to explain why several guild members who found out Niv-Mizzet wasn’t pleased with Ral are dead and why Ral is gone. Spif might get suspected of helping Ral.

At my place, Aery does some scrying and sees some Izzet polishing a surface – it looks like when we saw the reflection earlier. We hear another click and the mirror is empty again.

Gatevestigation time! Now that we know the right order of the gates, we want to go through all of them, so Simic is our first destination. On our way, we come across Nissa fighting Mirko Vosk! Mirko is a very inhuman looking vampire with an extra set of arms, horns etc. and Nissa is struggling hard to keep up with him and his powerful mana magic, using way more earth fae than she should, turning her skin slowly into stone.

She’s trying to make the guild gate fight for her. In a last desperate effort, Nissa opens a crack in the earth which sucks her and Mirko down. The Selesnyan hive mind falls silent and the roof starts collapsing. Right before the whole cavern breaks down we race through the guild gate. One down!

#6 Stay Calm and Pay Orzhov

We meet up again and someone who’s not me is covered in blood for once – Aery! She tells us about having heard her mothers voice, leading her to a cabin. Inside, she saw her mother (looking like Aery imagined her) and a guy who was too young to be her father. He emptied a cauldron of blood over her which apparently teleported her into a Gruul ruin, or maybe she had been there all along? There, Aery found two corpses, a dagger in her hand and some kind of ritual. She decided to disturb this ritual by blowing out the candles and messing with a statue. The male of the two corpses looks like the one from the cabin, the female however doesn’t. They both look like the remainders of Tom’s new favourite lunch. She shows us the dagger and it’s obviously Orzhovian.

Spif tells us about how he talked his way out of the Ral situation. Bryce turned out to be a copy and there’s a new, young head chemist (Lumia Ballard). He got Ral’s maps and some notes on the dog man.

We run into a Selesnyan parade that ends in mass suicide of its participants. We make sure Aery isn’t going to join them but while she’s distraught, she doesn’t seem to be suicidal (yet). We want to inform the Selesnyan conclave of this but when we get there, the place is abandoned. Some of the plants are dying and the city tree is in pretty bad shape, too. We find Trostani but she’s not moving, it looks as if she’s really part of the tree now. We run into some guards who decided to join the Gruul because there’s nothing left of Selesnya.

On our way to the library (where the Dimir gate is located) we run into the dog who is in a horrible state. We let him lead us and end up at Tom’s apartment where we find Tom, also not doing too well. Lilliana tells us that flesh doesn’t sustain him anymore and that he needs more of the stuff he got from Orzhov – that’s what’s keeping him alive even tho he shouldn’t be. Spif reads his mind and has visions of Tom researching in the Dimir library, dealing with a shady guy and receiving a vial, finally Tom making another deal in an Orzhov building.

We try to get the stuff for Tom but don’t get anywhere without signed papers. Orzhov is full of gold, fancy fat people and paperwork! We head to the library to find out what Tom was researching and check out the gate. While we are searching the basement we notice that the fae seems to flicker out of existence every now and then. This might mean that Tom is dying! We make it through the gate and learn which books Tom accessed – they were about the history of the Orzhov Ghost Council. The Orzhov consume deathless souls to sustain themselves, apparently harvesting the stuff Tom now needs for the same purpose. The essence is stored in a fountain underneath the Church of Deals.

We head there, go through a deal booth an down a lot of stairs. I might or might not have turned a kid working there into a creepy little sex addict but it was for the greater good. Downstairs, we see people being held by strange creatures (thrulls) and led through a portal. We can’t see the fountain yet and decide to try and free the people which is made harder by them being mindcontrolled to get to the portal. At least our fireballs work well against the thrulls! We save a couple of people and see how apparently everyone who tried to go through who’s a magic user dies before entering. Aery tries to go through, her mind being shielded by Spif, but it feels very unsafe and her mana magic flares up – so we decide to have Spif blow up the portal instead to get through.

randy_gallegos_maw_of_the_obzedat

Down more stairs we reach a really fat guy with a giant mouth in his belly, eating  the people who were marching down the stairs. We try to interrupt this by destroying the path leading to the maw and finally pass it to find the fountain.

Further down we find something like a village and a giant Orzhov army which luckily doesn’t notice us. We finally find the fountain, swarmed by spectres. We fill some vials but as we try to leave, the ghosts become corporeal. Spif tries to port away to get the vials to Tom and Aery and me are left to fight an angel!!

One-on-ones

We had one-on-ones in this session to catch up on guild affairs. Unsurprisingly, everything is going to hell in a handbasket after the breakdown of the guild pact.

My Selesnya druid Aerie gets an alarm broadcast: the World Tree is burning! There’s a mob of Orzhov drones with torches in the enclave. Planeswalker Ajani is here, watching.

ajaniAerie confronts him and it turns out he took the guild key that keeps their enclave protected from other guilds, because he has need for magical items “to keep him safe”.

Aerie mind-links with him, naively hoping to show them their need is more pressing…. but he doesn’t really care about all that. Darn! He does care about finding out Nicol Bolas is trapped in this plane. Aerie convinces him the World Tree is necessary to keep his enemy trapped. He agrees to help in exchange for a sapling from the tree. Deal! (He seems to take deal-making very seriously).

She races the staff to the shrine and when it’s reslotted a scythe like wave of mana slices all Ozhov in two. But the World Tree is already burning! Aerie covers it in earth to smother the fire using the earth fae. The tree is ruined and presents Aerie with a seed to be planted later.

Ajani notices the fae magic *and* the seed and threatens to take the seed or Aerie herself instead but she reminds him they had a deal and that this seemed important to him. This pisses him off greatly, but he does abide by it and leaves with a sapling and a warning: if word of Bolas gets out, more people will come and they won’t be as friendly.

Aerie replants the World Tree close to the protective shrine.

Unanswered questions

Lore

  • What did the Guild Pact do?

Remembrance day

  • What happened on remembrance day? How is Tom’s Lich ritual tied to Remembrance day?
    The Remembrance Day ritual failed because one of the participants didn’t die as he was supposed to, but became a kind of Lich instead. Looking at you, Tom!
  • What the fuck is up with Tom?
  • What happened to the group during Remembrance day?
  • What does the ‘plop’ sounds mean?

Recent mysterious events

  • Why is Chandra’s brother mind-controlling people like Vraska to kill Emmara?
  • What does Tom’s girlfriend and Black Adept Liliana want?
    To keep Tom alive – if he dies, the guild pact is restored and the Fae will have to retreat: she’ll stop being speeecial
  • How did a bunch of Simic mounts turn up in the Selesnya conclave?
  • Who is making egg-shell five-color imposters of dead people?

Guild gates

  • Why did the Guild Gates re-emerge?
  • Why do people disappear around the gates?
    They get sucked into crazy reality because the maze is breaking down and leaking through the Planes. Pyrexia is also leaking in, it’s not good.
  • What is the relation between the Fae and the guild gates?
  • Where is Jayce?
    He’s trapped in the maze which is deteriorating because Nikol Bolas is weakening it
  • What are the secret paths through the gates?
    We have a map! They lead to some awesome artefact!

5 thoughts on “Ravnica”

  1. I would be very much interested in knowing how you are playing Ravnica, as that is a setting that interests me a lot.

    • It really is a world that is begging to be made into an RPG, isn’t it? I added tons more information. If you’re curious about something, be sure to ask!

      • It is, I actually gathered possibly 2/3 of all existing online information about the setting trying to create an RPG system out of it, but when I lost my copy of the first book of the trilogy, Ravnica: City of Guilds, I pretty much gave up on it :T
        I still have all the gathered data right here on my PC, including both images from every card in all the three first editions and over 200 pages of raw data waiting to be edited and put to use.
        So I would like to know if you do have a system, if it is a hack of something, or something custom, or whatever, because that has always been my personal frustration.
        And also, if you’d like I could totally have my database made available to you guys, or something.

        Thank you for the reply and patience, sorry it took so long to answer!

  2. Hey Hugo!

    I’m the one running the game. I think I sorta have to disappoint you as far as systems go. I hacked (but hacked is a pretty strong word for what I did, I didn’t do much) the Changeling system for this. I use the skills from there for skill checks, but the whole game is not the most rules-y. Not many die rolls and when there are, the criteria are mostly improvised/what seems to make the most sense at the moment.

    The magic system is something custom, but very rules-light. It’s also not really based on Magic magic, it’s based on a book series (the Coldfire trilogy) that I spliced onto the Ravnica world. There are 5 different schools of magic loosely based on the MtG colors though. The actual Ravnica bits are mostly just the world itself – the guilds, the cityplane, the races. As we got further into the campaign, I have also found myself sprinkling in lots of random things from other MtG expansions. The group’s encountered planeswalkers by now and they obviously come from planes other than Ravnica.

    So uh, yeah.. Not much I can share system-wise, because there’s hardly any system! Sorry I can’t provide much more than this :)

    • It’s totally okay! I just had this huge project that never came through and became interested to know that there are people into that same concept. It’s also good to know you managed to game in that world without a fixed system :)

      Thank you for your attention guys!
      Let me know if you need any info on future Ravnica-related questions xD

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