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The Bookish Owl – War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

Next up is War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman.

As the name might suggest, this is a Magic: The Gathering tie-in novel. I have not played the trading card game, but lots of my friends are obsessed with it and some of them invited me to join a Dungeons & Dragons campaign set in the MTG world Ravnica.

Do you know how hard it is to make a good character backstory when you know nothing about the world said character lives in?

It’s pretty damn hard.

So I went into research mode after the first session. But the info dumps I got from watching YouTubers talk lore were a bit hard to keep straight in my head. But luckily for a bookworm like me, there’s also Magic: The Gathering novels! And it turns out that they (or at least the one I have read at the moment of writing this) are even quite good.

It was a bit hard to keep track of the large cast of characters in War of the Spark: Ravnica, but it’s written in such a way that even Magic noobs like myself can easily follow the story. And when I played D&D last Saturday, I recognized a name mentioned in passing by an NPC (Kaya, who had failed the mission we were about to be given) and immediately knew what that meant. Even better,  I got to explain character lore to one of my fellow players who plays a lot of MTG.

Yes, I’m a smug bastard when I suddenly know things.

Long story short: This is a good book, and I now know who all the people trying to kill me in my D&D campaign are.


War of the Spark: Ravnica
by Greg Weisman

Teyo Verada wants nothing more than to be a shieldmage, wielding arcane energies to protect his people from his world’s vicious diamondstorms. When he’s buried alive in the aftermath of his first real tempest, the young mage’s life is about to end before it can truly begin—until it doesn’t. In a flash, a power he didn’t know he had whisks him away from his home, to a world of stone, glass, and wonder: Ravnica. Teyo is a Planeswalker, one of many to be called to the world-spanning city—all lured by Nicol Bolas, the Elder Dragon. Bolas lays siege to the city of Ravnica, hungry for the ultimate prize: godhood itself. His unparalleled magic and unstoppable army appear poised to bring the city to utter ruin.

Among those who stand in the way of Bolas’s terrifying machinations are the Gatewatch, Planeswalkers sworn to defeat evil, no matter where it’s found. But as they work to unite the other mages and mount a defense of the city and its people, the terrifying truth of Bolas’s plan becomes clear. The Elder Dragon has prepared a trap to ensnare the most powerful mages from across the Multiverse—and it’s too late to escape.

As forces great and small converge on the city and the battle rages, the stakes could not be higher. If the Gatewatch falters and the Planeswalkers fail, the curtain will fall on the age of heroes—and rise on the infinite reign of Nicol Bolas.


War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

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To Bard or Not to Bard

Dungeons and Dragons BardI recently got invited to a new Dungeons & Dragons group and I was eager to make a character that would be useful with their existing group dynamic. I was told they could use frontliners and a healer, so – since I already play a Cleric in my other D&D group – I decided to go with a paladin.

However, after a quick chat with their DM, I discovered that a paladin would find it rather difficult to fit in with this group of, as the DM called them, ‘murder hobos’.

The campaign is set in Ravnica, the cityscape from Magic: The Gathering, a world I have absolutely no knowledge of. So what do you do when you need a character with a limited sense of right and wrong, in a world where you don’t know the various factions?

You make a conwoman Bard and tell the DM to decide which guilds she has pissed off by swindling them out of their money.

Kindra Sinclair – likely a fake name – is my first Bard character, but all my characters across races, classes, and even tabletop systems, tend to end up with a tendency to cheat at card games, so when I noticed the Charlatan background in the Player’s Handbook, I figured I might as well write it into the character from the beginning. I picked College of Lore to get a few handy healing spells and then I padded my spell list with spells that would allow me to cheat, charm and swindle everyone in my path.

I have a feeling this character might not survive for long…

I also went with a rapier and a dagger with the intention of being a melee attacker, but I spent most of the first session casting Vicious Mockery, hurling insults at the enemies, before hurriedly running away from them. It was low on grace, but since the bard is the one to compose the stories after the battle, I’ll be the brave hero in the retelling.

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Confessions of a D&D Dice Hoarder

Dungeons and Dragons Player Book and Dice

You know what sucks about this whole social distancing thing?

(I mean, except for people dying, the economy collapsing, people losing their jobs, etc…)

My D&D groups have to cancel all gaming sessions.

Dungeons and Dragons Player Book and Dice

I don’t even have any online groups going at the moment, and even if I did, the convenience provided by Roll20 eliminates the need for one of my favorite things… Dice.

I looove dice sets. I don’t know why. It’s not like any of us ever used to obsess over the six-sided die in the family’s Monopoly set, but as soon as you start playing Dungeons & Dragons, there’s some switch in your brain that gets flicked and you suddenly need an incredibly fancy set of dice for each of your characters, each with a backup set in case the first one gets jinxed and you start rolling fail after fail.

I don’t know if all tabletop gamers get like this, or if I just mainly play with girls, and girl gamers need something to replace normal women’s obsession with shoes…

But I’m not the one among my friends spending the most on new dice I don’t need. I’m just the only one who will impulse-buy three cheap sets on eBay in her lunch break at work and now own the most SETS of dice. Luckily I’m too cheap to purchase any of those beautiful amethyst dice sets I see on Twitter. I just follow the maker’s account and drool over the photos.

But some of the cheap sets I have are rather lovely. And a fellow player informed me that they were well-balanced in the sort of mansplainy voice that makes me think he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I should probably do the water test on them, but as long as they are reliably one-shotting enemies and almost getting me killed in the same session, I chose to trust them.

Ruby red dice set White dice set

So, that’s where I’m at. Just spreading my 68 favorite dice (yes, those are just my favorites) across my living room table and staring longingly at them, remembering better times, and then deciding I can’t be assed to clean up the mess I just made.

But honestly, 2020 was supposed to be the year for the geeks. We were all so excited for our dice-themed New Years photos, so 2020…?

What about giving the players just a few crits?

Dice 2020 D&D


Have you written any posts showcasing your dice? Today, I’m giving you full permission to plug your blog by posting links to them in the comments!
Go on… Feed my dice craving.