D&D: Innovating With Izzet – Ravnica
The Izzet League are a Guild of Innovators, Experimenters, and responsible for as much property damage as a fully trained Gruul Warband when their experiments go awry. Come meet the Izzet League.
The Izzet League is a Guild that is all about coulda, not shoulda. And when you’re a Guild of Mad Scientists led by a Dragon, the list of things that fall under “coulda” is quite large indeed. But it’s not all explosions and reckless science, the Izzet League is sometimes responsible for unstable rifts in space/time, opening up arcane portals to other worlds, and on occasion discovering an advance in technology that improves the lot of Ravnicans throughout the Plane. And it is the latter that makes them one of the most beloved in the city.
Naturally the Izzet League is interested in Knowledge, and they pursue their passion with gusto–but it turns out they do a lot for Ravnica. In addition to shooting lightning at crystals just to see what happens, they also are responsible for the growth of Ravnica. They help build and maintain the city, while looking for ways to expand their knowledge. Part of what drives them is a desire to embrace the unknown–but not as an “everything is chaos” Jeff Goldblum kinda way…
Literally any excuse to run this picture
…but rather because the unknown is what leads them to discovery and order. Every experiment has value when you’re an Izzet researcher, even if it doesn’t teach you what you thought you’d learn. This might make life dangerous at times, but this mindset is at the core of the great dragon Niv-Mizzet’s ideology and it filters down to the lesser members.
The Izzet League is a Guild for characters that want to stir the pot. If you’re an instigator, want to let your curiosity guide you, or feel compelled to double down and say yes every time the DM asks you “Are you sure you wanna do that?” then the Izzet League will let you flourish. But it doesn’t have to be a repository for Kender-esque chaosmonkeys. The Izzet league are researchers first, certainly, but they still have to live with the consequences of their decisions.
You could just as easily be an Izzet researcher who is timid from one too many explosive reactions–or play a character who gets deep into the theories of Magic. Of all the Guilds out there, the Izzet League feels the most science fiction-y. It’s a great outlet for folks who enjoy messing with magitek (which I love), or who want to spend their adventures learning about the world around them or answering big questions about the universe. Of course the members of the Izzet League are ALSO charged with attending to Ravnican civic works, including water supply systems, sewers, heating systems, boilers, and roadways–so your adventures might end up just being construction projects. But in Ravnica this means contending with all sorts of interesting things. This is one of the best Guilds for exploring the City.
And as an Izzet Engineer you’ll gain several benefits that help you do exactly this. In addition to being proficient with Arcana and Investigation you’ll have access to the Urban Infrastructure feature which means that you know how the city works. You know why the platforms float, where the tunnels go, and with time and a bit of luck can access blueprints for buildings in the city–including things like secret doors, weaknesses, and so on. And if you’re an Izzet Spellcaster, you’ll also have access to the new Chaos Bolt spell, which is a 1st level evocation that deals random elemental damage to targets (and at 2d8 + 1d6 with the chance to leap to a new target, it’s pretty solid).
As you advance through the Guild’s Ranks, you’ll find yourself challenged to advance your field of study in one of the 10 different laboratories of Izzet. Whether you’re a member of the:
- Laboratory of Pyrology
- Laboratory of Storms and Electricity
- Laboratory of Metallurgy
- Laboratory of Alchemy
- Laboratory of Orientation
- Laboratory of Mimeography
- Laboratory of Continuism
- Laboratory of Arcane Geomety
- Laboratory of Gravitational Inverstion
- Laboratory of Plasma-Dermatology
…you’ll have something to strive for. As an Izzet Researcher you’ll be tasked with conducting experiments and given access to specialized Izzet equipment. In addition to securing the aid of “barely competent attendants” aka commoners you can start creating your own mizzium apparatus. This specialized magic item acts as an arcane focus, and also lets you attempt to cast a spell you do not know or have prepared. However, as an Izzet device it does mean you’re opening the doors to random chance. You must make an Arcana check of DC 10 + twice the level of the spell slot used to cast the unknown spell–and failure means a random spell goes off in its stead.
When you’re accomplished enough as a researcher (or soldier or attendant) you might be promoted to a Supervisor, and given the run of a small team of researchers. You’ll earn a modest lifestyle, and have access to the Izzet Charm, which lets you cast dispel magic or lightning bolt once before vanishing–or you can use it to regain a spell slot of 3rd level or lower. However you’ll also be expected to carry out the League’s directives. Your research becomes more dangerous and now you’re the one who has to clean up the messes your former colleagues make.
As a Director you become eligible to join the Izmundi, which is the board of directors for the Guild. This means you know Nive-Mizzet, the Dragon that runs the guild. Which means that he in turn knows you. And knows who to blame if the board of directors doesn’t manage to accomplish one of his directives. Fortunately these are usually broad enough that there are a multitude of ways to accomplish it.
Survive your tenure as a director and you’ll find yourself an Advisor, one of the most famous members of the guild. You’ll live a life of luxury between adventures, spending your days in a Wealthy lifestyle without having to spend money on it.
For the less career-minded folks though, there are two other positions at-large in the Guild. There’s the Scorchbringer, who is an Izzet soldier given specialized equipment (notably the pyroconverger, hence the name) and charged with defending Izzet property and teams–or you could be an Independent Researcher and become an itinerant scientist who can draw upon more commoners.
All that to say, the Izzet League is great whether you’re looking for heroes, villains, or hapless NPC allies who provide the party with the aid they need, though oftentimes not in the way they were expecting.
The Izzet League–it’s a Guild for Doers.