“Alright, ladies, gentlemen, Flame-kin, settle down. A lot on the docket today, and the sooner we get through it the sooner we can get to it.
It’s that time of year again, folks! The first representatives of the Conclave should be arriving this morning to begin celebrating the annual (deep breath here) Festival of the Glorious Union of Mat’Selesnya the One out of Many blah blah blah. Three days of singing and swaying next to the only tree for fifty blocks in any direction. Considering that the local Gruul dirtbags consider that tree their turf, and considering the Conclave tends to leave after the festival with more members than they showed up with, bloodshed is all-but-guaranteed. I’ll be monitoring the situation personally, but keep an ear open for screaming in case I wind up trampled by centaurs…
To the surprise of absolutely no one at all, today is yet another sacred day on the Orzhov calendar. Feast of Prokov, or Karlov, or some such nonsense. They’ll be working the crowd pretty hard; Klubb, Yuchenko, keep an eye out in case Simeyon and his patchwork goon squad try to collect with too much enthusiasm.
Speaking of collection, my source on Bone Street tells me some old ‘business associates’ of Drozz are planning on paying him an unannounced visit, probably to collect on the bounty Krenko put on his head. Guzina, you should stick close to Goblin Gimcracks & Gizmos for the next few days. Drozz may say he’s retired, but no one really retires from the Goblin Mob.
My source on Bone Street would also appreciate it if we started asking people to walk their dogs somewhere else. Can’t imagine why a neighborhood full of zombies and skeletons don’t want dogs around.
All these to-do’s and goings-on have earned us a visit today from the Senior Undersecretary of making-our-lives-miserable. Feel free to thank him for the brilliant idea of cramming every religious and secular observance from three precincts into the better part of two blocks. Just steer clear of that…thing that follows him around, unless you enjoy having your arms pulled off.
Last but not least, whoever got the doughnuts this morning, maybe buy from someplace else next time. Rakdos pastries are a little too volatile for my stomach lining.”
The Madicon 26 LARP takes place on the plane of Ravnica, one of the many settings from the game Magic: The Gathering. What’s Magic: The Gathering, you ask? Why, it’s the collectible card game in which players assume the role of dimension-hopping super-wizards called Planeswalkers, who cavort around the multiverse getting into petty squabbles with other such beings, which they resolve by summoning armies of fantastic creatures and hurling spells at each other until one of them croaks! Aren’t you glad you asked?
That said, what you really need to know is that the magic in Magic runs on mana, and the mana in Magic comes color-coded for your convenience:
- White is the color of peace, order, morality, and light. White magic can summon trained armies, bolster them with arms and armor, and heal both their wounds and yours.
- Blue is the color of intellect, logic, deception, and water. Blue magic can craft sophisticated illusions, bring hidden knowledge to light, and interfere with the spells of your enemies.
- Black is the color of death, self-interest, amorality, and darkness. Black magic can inflict madness upon your foes, drain them of their strength while adding it to your own, and force the dead to rise and do your bidding.
- Red is the color of war, chaos, emotion, and fire. Red magic can set your enemies aflame, sway the hearts of those who serve them, and grant your allies the swiftness to run them to death.
- Green is the color of life, nature, instinct, and tradition. Green magic can call the beasts of the wild to your side, turn them into giants in the blink of an eye, and grant them the might to crush all resistance.
As mentioned above, Magic has a variety of settings called planes, each a universe unto itself with its own flora, fauna, cultures, politics, and countless inhabitants, most of whom spend their whole lives (and sometimes even longer!) on their plane of origin without any notion of the multiverse or the Planeswalkers that traverse it. In this LARP you’ll take on the role of a citizen of one such plane: Ravnica, the City of Guilds.
Ravnica is an ecumenopolis, a city so massive and singular that it dominates the entirety of the plane. Here elves and humans chat over coffee with golems and giants, and go to work alongside zombies and angels in the service of ghosts and dragons. Magic is a science to be studied and refined, life is an engineering project to be experimented upon and perfected, and death is simply a change in personal circumstances.
Ravnican society is the “melting pot” writ large, with myriad cultures and customs boiled down over thousands of years into a vast, fractious monoculture. This process was not organic, instead being instituted upon the populace by the Guildpact, a combination of legislation and enchantment which pared down a horde of warring factions, faiths, interest groups, and trade associations into the ten Guilds of Ravnica. Each of these Guilds has (or had) a function in Ravnican society, and each is defined by two of the colors of mana mentioned above:
- The Azorius Senate is the legislative and judicial arm of the Ravnican government. They seek to maintain the status quo above all else, and consider bureaucratic gridlock a feature rather than a bug.
- The Boros Legion is Ravnica’s police force and standing army, charged with keeping the peace. The zeal with which they do so ranges from “overexcited football fan” to “I didn’t mean to litter, please stop burning and stabbing me.”
- House Dimir are the librarians, accountants, and information brokers of Ravnica. Once a secret society devoted to amassing power through assassination and espionage, they have since been revealed to the world and are now a less secret society (though no less secretive).
- The Golgari Swarm handle agriculture and waste management. As Ravnica has no farmland per se, the Swarm ply their trade below the surface in the labyrinthine Undercity. There they welcome anyone willing to tend the fungus…or let it grow upon them.
- The Gruul Clans were assigned the task of protecting the wild places of Ravnica. As there are no wild places left on Ravnica, the Gruul have long since degenerated into a loose affiliation of anarcho-primitivist gangs hellbent on smashing civilization to smithereens.
- The Izzet League are responsible for most of Ravnica’s infrastructure and technology. They are usually some shade of mad scientist, and care little for petty concerns like laboratory safety and consumer rights.
- The Orzhov Syndicate is sort of like the Mafia, if the Godfather was also the Pope. One of Ravnica’s largest religions (also one of Ravnica’s largest banks), the Syndicate can grant you wealth, security, and eternal life…for just a small price up front.
- The Cult of Rakdos make up the bulk of Ravnica’s unskilled labor force, as well as the entertainment sector. The Cult of Rakdos are also a band of thrill-killing demon-worshipping fanatics who were only incorporated into the Guildpact because there were too many of them to wipe out completely.
- The Selesnya Conclave are nature worshippers who handle conservation efforts and oversee charitable giving throughout the city. Another of Ravnica’s major religions, they seek to induct any and all who will listen into the Conclave, whether they like it or not.
- The Simic Combine are Ravnica’s physicians, pharmacists, and bio-engineers. Innovation is their goal, and their methods often boil down to stapling one kind of magical monster to another and seeing what happens.
Not all Ravnicans are part of a Guild; indeed, there is a sizable movement of Guildless who seek to forestall the tyranny of the Guild system by whatever means necessary. However, there is no citizen of Ravnica whose life has not been shaped in some fashion by the Guilds, and with the exception of a brief interregnum, the Guilds have dominated Ravnica’s social order for millenia.
If you’d like to learn more about Ravnica, or Magic: The Gathering in general, http://mtgsalvation.gamepedia.com/Main_Page is an excellent resource. Also, it should go without saying, but Magic: The Gathering, Ravnica, the Guilds, and all associated intellectual property are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast. The Madicon 26 LARP is in no way affiliated with Wizards of the Coast, and is most definitely a not-for-profit endeavor. We’re just trying to get some people together and play a game. Want to join us?