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In anticipation of the release of the Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica book for D&D I was researching how the Guildpact works and what it's rules were.

On Gamepedia's Magic: The Gathering Wiki I found:

The power of the Guildpact is subtle; it prevents any guild from dabbling into the business of any other guild or disturbing the stable power balance among the ten by twisting circumstance and coincidence to nullify the disruptive guild's actions.

Magic: The Gathering Wiki, Ravnica

And also:

The Guildpact's spell is finally broken when Agrus Kos arrested Szadek, which exposed him and House Dimir to the public. This generated a loophole because the Guildpact established the secrecy of House Dimir.

Magic: The Gathering Wiki, Guildpact (spell)

This tells me that there are at least three rules in the Guildpact:

  1. A rule so guilds can't interfere with each other's business
  2. An exception to this rule which allows for arresting someone
  3. A rule establishing Dimir's secrecy

Are there more rules in the Guildpact? Is the actual contents of the Guildpact written out somewhere?

  • As it is a rules based question would this be better asked in the a stack exchanges for board and card games or RPGs? – Sarriesfan Oct 25 '18 at 11:08
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    @Sarriesfan This isn't about the rules of the game, but rather the specifics of an in-universe treaty, so it seems on-topic here. – Cadence Oct 25 '18 at 11:29
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I am currently working through the same thing as you are. For something as important and central to the world of Ravnica, the Guildpact isn't very well described. Fortunately, it seems that the story team over at WoTC is consistent in their desciptions of the Guildpact's power.

Based on various flavor texts, original Ravnica: City of Guilds, Dissention, and Guildpact novels, and more recent stories I gathered that:

  • The Guildpact is a very powerful law magic
  • It mainly deals in establishing what are each guilds' domains and roles in the city-plane
  • Its power is very subtle and can be felt through:
    • changes in "luck" (see Festival of the Guildpact flavor text)
    • enhanced successes of those who are fighting against those who would infringe on a Guildpact law
    • possibly disastrous attempts of subverting or infringing on a guild's domain
  • Some undead spirits work to uphold the guildpact and are directly powered by it (Guardian of the Guildpact)
  • Both the guild members and the guildless individually are not under protection or forces of the Guildpact
    • The guild members gain non-Guildpact related benefits just for being members, and the guildpact law protects their endeavors as long as they are within a guild domain's parameters
    • Guildless can only expect the Guildpact laws to push back on any endeavors they might have that fall under one of the guild's domains (like starting a bank or a medical clinic)
    • Anything that's personal and outside any guild's domain is not covered by the Guildpact at all (Vinditctive Vampire)

The guildless are often on the losing side of the deal, and are prone to attempts against it. There are many clues for this, but my favorite is from the Enemy of the Guildpact card.

Dimir secrecy has been broken since the arrest of Shadek around 10,000 ZC. The new guildpact includes their existence.

There aren't exceptions for arresting anyone. Rather, the arrest in question contradicted a rule in the Guildpact law and caused it to collapse on itself and triggered a fail-safe which resulted in making Jace Beleren the Living Guildpact. He now alone has the power to change the guildpact laws and as a living, sentient being should theoretically prevent it from collapsing to further paradoxes (or create more loopholes). Unfortunately, it seems that his presence on the plane of Ravnica is necessary for the law to function, and he likes to move about.

So, if someone violated a Guildpact law, they will get arrested with relative ease and have a hard time breaking out. If someone broke a non-guildpact law, even an internal guild law maybe, then things would get a bit more mundane.

D&D wise, I'd give advantage or disadvantage to players if they are directly fighting for or against the Guildpact respectively.

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The novel War of the Spark: Ravnica, by Greg Weisman, gives some additional information on how the concept of the Living Guildpact works. The power of the Guildpact is not infinite; it is subject to preexisting Ravnican law. It is also open to interpretation and how well it can be used depends on how well it the action is justified.

It was all so complicated, but it added up to this: The magics that bound Ravnica through its ten ruling guilds and the leylines of power that ran beneath the city had found their primary locus in the person of Jace Beleren.

The magical muscle that came with being the Living Guildpact was indeed mighty. What Jace declared as law came instantly into being. He had to be careful—or at least selective. He couldn’t abuse the process. Like a judge, he had to interpret the actual written Guildpact in making his pronouncements. He couldn’t simply wish anything into being—or non-being, for that matter. He’d tested that a couple of times on insignificant matters. Wished for a slice of glazed trdeljic cake and the like. No cake had appeared, of course, because there was nothing in the law that said an individual was entitled to a free dessert simply because he, she or they happened to be in the mood. But on much more weighty matters, Jace had wielded tremendous mystic authority by following either the letter or the spirit of the law, or both.

That’s why he had hesitated up to this point. If it had been within his scope, he gladly would have banished Nicol Bolas from this Plane. Or wished him dead. But there was nothing in the Guildpact that made the dragon’s appearance on Ravnica illegal. Even the creation of the pyramid and the statue were debatable offenses, as Tenth District Plaza was neutral territory. If Jace had tried to command them away or used them as an excuse to attack Bolas, it might have worked. But given Bolas’ own considerable power, it might have failed. And Jace would have shown his hand—and the limits of it.

It is also shown in the novel that transfering the power of the Living Guildpact to a new individual requires the unanimous consent of official representatives of all ten guilds.

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