Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica is coming out soon, and it’s going to be epic. Dnd and MtG are two of my favorite things, and the fact that a crossover like this is even possible is very exciting to me. One of the great things about being in both of these hobbies is the amount of inspiration they can both provide to each other. I’ve talked about this in the past, such as when I decided to play a game of Magic at the same time I was Dungeon Mastering, but today I would like to talk about something more simple. Using a booster pack of Guilds of Ravnica to inspire your session.
Inspiration from Magic: The Gathering
Starting November 20th, many campaigns are going to begin in the great city of Ravnica. One of the best aspects of combining Dnd and Magic together is the ease of which you can be inspired. A single booster pack off the shelf can provide entire sessions worth of material, and several can form an entire campaign.
When I was thinking of how to do a story in Ravnica, at first I was really stumped. Ravnica is a phenomenal plane, filled with a large number of fantastic characters and locales. However, the sheer scale of Ravnica scared me. How could I possibly come up with a story with all of this being presented in front of me? Opening up a booster pack solved this issue for me, and I’m going to show you how to use booster packs to inspire your campaign.
I started off by opening the following:
Let’s start by organizing the cards into their separate guilds.
Boros: Blade Instructor, Fearless Halberdier, Tajic
Dimir: Hired Poisoner
Golgari: Vigorspore Wurm, Golgari Locket, Veiled Shade, Molderhulk, Ochran Assassin
Gruul: Maniacal Rage
Izzet: Maximize Altitude, Sonic Assault
Selesnya: Sworn Companions, Circuitous Route, Selesnya Guildgate
Upon a first glance, we can immediately see that the Golgari are going to play a large part in this adventure. Having 5 different cards associated with them means that they are probably up to no good. The next thing to notice is the location of the adventure. The Selesnya Guildgate shows us where we are going to be, and the Circuitous Route shows us that it will be a maze. Boros will play a big part in this adventure as well, while the Izzet, Dimir, and Gruul are all background characters.
Once we start making connections, however, a story starts to emerge. We have 2 assassins in this pack, which means that there has been a murder. A Veiled Shade has appeared, likely the murder victim in question raised from the dead. Coincidentally, the flavor text of Golgari Locket says “Wear it at all times. It will guide our reanimators to your corpse!” So that would signify that they are part of the Golgari Swarm. However, the interesting tidbit comes in when you consider who the murder victim was.
The murder happened on Selesnyan soil. There are 2 assassins. There is another card in the pack called Sworn Companions, a Selesnya card that makes 2 creatures. If these 2 companions were the targets of the murder, one of them was part of the Golgari and would have been turned into a shade after death. As the other was mourning the loss of their companion, the shade came out of the shadows to warn them of another murderer. They ran to the Boros legion to get help, and are now in the witness protection program. It is now the party’s job, as tasked by Tajic, to find the murderer and their motives.
With just a few cards, we now have a detailed and rich session ready for our players to experience. We have a great batch of characters, such as the brash warrior assigned to go with them (Fearless Halberdier), we have eccentric and unreliable witnesses (Maximize Altitude). As the players travel deeper into the Golgari territory, monsters rise up to stop them (Vigorspore Wurm and Molderhulk). And once the players finally arrive, they discover the original assassin (Ochran Assassin) and will learn that another assassin is already on the way to kill the other companion (Hired Poisoner). Fill in the details such as why these 2 people are being killed, who all of the characters are, and you are ready to play in the world of Ravnica.
Another possible thing you can do is plan out an entire campaign using a bundle/booster box of cards. Open them all up and make connections, but on a much grander scale. What happens when the monster Doom Whisperer starts terrorizing the streets of the Azorious after the death of Isperia as seen in Assassin’s Trophy? Why is Bounty Agent going after Izoni? The Gruul let a Nullhide Ferox loose near the Steam Vents, who’s going to stop it? There are near infinite possibilities when you combine Magic with Dungeons and Dragons. Shuffle a stack of bulk together and use that to describe the district the players are in by drawing cards off the top. Use cards to create a map, or even build a deck to fight your players with.
A pack of Magic cards can be used for far more than just booster drafting. Making connections between all of the cards and creating a compelling story is as easy as opening up the pack. Don’t let the size of Ravnica intimidate you in choosing not to run a campaign there. Start small, and let the cards guide you from there. Thank you all for reading, I hope you all have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!