DMing the Golgari

Playing Dnd in Ravnica is a dream come true. I love the plane and all of the fascinating characters and organizations associated with it. However, as I’ve started to DM Ravnica, I’ve realized that I know far less about the plane than I thought I did. So, I’ve decided to start this series on my blog talking about DMing the various guilds of Ravnica to help both my readers and me learn more about the guilds and roleplay them correctly.

DMing the Golgari

The Golgari are the guild that focuses on all aspects of life, especially the unsavory parts. They live in the undercity of Ravnica, a huge and forgotten civilization that has been reclaimed by nature. Dark elves, Gorgons, and the insectoid Kraul all share these underground sewers and ruins, fighting for more territory and waiting for the day the overworld collapses and the Golgari can reclaim the surface.

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As a DM, how should one approach the Golgari? How should you roleplay its characters, design dungeons, create conflict, and have adventures in the undercity? To the Golgari, everything comes back to the circle of life and death. Patience is a key element of this guild, and they have been patiently waiting for millennia for their time to claim the surface world. The Golgari are extremely hardy people, surviving some of the worst conditions that Ravnica has to offer. And it’s not only the people who are hardy, but the world that they live in has also endured for eons. It may not be at its former glory, but it presses onward regardless, showing the tenacity of the Golgari.

NPC’s of the Underworld

When you join the Golgari, there are several different career paths you can take. One of the most common career paths in the Golgari is that of a rot farmer. You take some rot, add a little bit of magic, and turn it into food. It’s not very appetizing food, but this is food that everyone in the world has access to. If you aren’t a rot farmer, you are probably a city cleaner, collecting corpses to use for other purposes. There is more to the Golgari then the mundane tasks of the guild, however.

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“We traffic in flesh, not souls. Still, it’s a shame to see anything go to waste.” -Cevraya, Golgari shaman

If you wish to pursue more fantastical pursuits, many Golgari members choose to study magic, either druidic focused on spores and fungi or necromancy. These shamans play an important role in protecting the guild and it’s assets or expanding the territory. Other guild members choose to be hired assassins, especially the medusas who are part of the Ochran clan.

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“They don’t even feel the cut. I’m ordering a drink in a nearby tavern before anyone notices something’s wrong.”

Members of the Golgari feel that they aren’t treated as fairly as the rest of Ravnica. Nobody wants to interact with a rot farmer who just finished a long day of work. It has gotten to the point where if one is part of the Golgari, other guilds believe that they only joined the guild out of a last resort. This has led many Golgari citizens to become bitter of the surface dwellers and desire revenge.

Designing the Dungeons

Out of all the locations in Ravnica, one of the best places for the traditional dungeon is in the undercity. With the ancient Erstwhile civilization having collapsed here, there are plenty of ancient dungeons that haven’t been explored, places that have decomposed. Ancient magic is buried far underground, with treasure lost to eternity.

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When designing dungeons in Golgari territory, one thing to emphasize is the circle of life. The Golgari represent the fall of civilization, while the overworld shows off a city that is at the height of its power. Down here, everything is in a state of decay, but life still flourishes. These dungeons are ruined, but many things still live here, whether it be the plants or the animals that call this place home.

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Even though the world down here is in a state of ruin, that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. The architecture down here is reminiscent of gothic cathedrals. Be sure to describe the looming arches, sharp features, and tall walls overgrown with moss and vines. The smell of death and rot permeates these tunnels. Bioluminescent mushrooms keep the undercity from being too dark, and if you listen closely you will hear the world teeming with life.

Conclusion

I don’t know how helpful this will be for anyone who reads this, but I have put a lot of effort into learning more about the lore and world of Ravnica, and I figured I might as well and try to pass on that information to others. If you have any questions about the Golgari, please ask and I will do my best to answer. I don’t know anything about the other guilds yet, but I intend to research them as soon as possible. Thank you all for reading, I hope you have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!