Hello adventurers! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the 23rd episode of our background series. Today we have a very nice background in store for us, i don’t know it is one of the guild masters guide to ravnica backgrounds.
So, It’s cut above a couple of the other ones to say the least, but i think this has a ton of interesting flavor although you can make an argument that it replaces a couple of the PHB backgrounds.
Namely the urchin background if i had to give one particular. That being said if you’re a dungeon master and you don’t like the guild masters guide to ravnica backgrounds. They’re optional just say you don’t allow them.
Enough said! in any case today we’re going to be taking a look at the golgari agent background which kind of fits in the with the theme of cities as you might imagine as with most of the other guild master guide to ravnica backgrounds. Anyway if you haven’t checked our dnd backgrounds that give languages yet and you’d like to check now please proceed with the link.
You have spent your life in the Dark places of the city where the messy parts of existence are on display. Basically the slums for lack of better term maybe even a little bit lower than that. Basically, you occupy the bottom rung of society. For whatever reason who knows you might have just been a guy down on your luck or you might even prefer that environment over the complicated snooty kind of elite realm. In any case no matter how you get there, you’re kind of that’s your starting out point.
As per this dnd 5e golgari agent background, you are one of the members of teeming horde-one small part of the sprawling organism. Any way simply as you are a part of the swarm, however, the swarm is one of the parts of the larger ecosystem, a never ending cycle of life, death, rot, and rebirth too.
You’ve been spent your life in a slow churn of that ecosystem. So, in that way the darkest places of the city wherever the messy parts of existence are on the display. Of course there is a little squeamishness among a Golgari and there is no fear of death or taboo about the dead, just a fierce affirmation of the cycle only.
Feature: Golgari Guild Spells
Now let’s look at your extended spell list which is pretty good overall. As cantrip you gain access to dancing lights and spare the dying. First level you gain access to entangle and ray of sickness, At second level protection from poison, ray of enfeeblement and spider climb. Third level animate dead and plant growth. Fourth level giant insect and grasping vine and at fifth level cloud kill and insect plague.
Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Pact Magic class feature.
Now let us look at your extended spell list which is pretty good overall, for the sake of you, the spells on this Golgari Guild Spells table were added to the spell list of your spellcasting class (suppose, if you’re the multiclass character with multiple spell lists, these spells are added to all of them.)
|Cantrip||dancing lights, spare the dying|
|1st||entangle, ray of sickness|
|2nd||protection from poison, ray of enfeeblement, spider climb|
|3rd||animate dead, plant growth|
|4th||giant insect, grasping vine|
|5th||cloudkill, insect plague|
Of course this Golgari magic is frequently accompanied by the sickly green glow and a rotting stench. I would make an argument that, this is probably one of the less overwhelming spell list editions. That being said animate dead is probably one of the most notable ones on here. All the other ones are either strictly utility kinda meh or a best control spells.
So you know i mean giant insect and grasp and vine are pretty good and cloud kill is great in general but those are fourth and fifth level spells and most pure casters will get them for sure. But a lot half casters it’s probably not going to be your first choices.
Basically the grimy parts, i would make an argument that this is probably one of the less overwhelming spell list editions. That being said, animate dead is probably one of the most notable ones on here, all the other ones are either strictly utility kinda meh or at best control spells.
So you know i mean giant insect and grasp and vine are pretty good and cloud kill is great in general but those are fourth and fifth level spells and most casters well, most pure casters will get them for sure but a lot of half casters. You know it’s probably not going to be your first choices. That being said, let’s move on to its mechanics here.
Under skill proficiencies you gain access to nature and survival, tool proficienies you gain the poisoner’s kit, Under languages you can select one of elvish, giant or kraul. And under equipment you have the golgari insignia, the poisoners kit, a pet beetle or spider, set of common clothes and a belt pouch containing 10 gp.
- Skill Proficiencies: Nature, Survival
- Tool Proficiencies: Poisoner’s kit
- Language Proficiencies: Choose one of Elvish, Giant, or Kraul
- Equipment: A Golgari insignia, a poisoner’s kit, a pet beetle or spider, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp worth of mixed coins
I would like to pint out that there is a fire beetle is what i believe it’s called then it’s basically a beetle that gives off light. We go over in the beast series so be sure to check that out. I think that would make a welcome edition to this and i don’t see why it couldn’t be a familiar if you decided to take the find familiar spell.
Overall these mechanics are quite good, although in particular urban or cushy environments i would imagine it being a little bit lackluster. Nature and survival are great skills to have when you’re out in the wilderness typically or in just rougher situations in general.
So there you might be stuck with a party that has a particular habit i guess of occupying those higher spheres of influence. That being said, it might make for some interesting role play opportunities to see them in your environment and vice versa.
In any case that’s kind of the biggest drawback here. Outside of that the poisoners kit is a pretty, a strong tool proficiency to have and in terms of the languages i feel like most people pick elvish although depending on your campaign it might make sense deal with one of the other ones. Now let’s take a look at your feature, namely undercity paths.
Feature: Undercity Paths
You always do know hidden, underground pathways which you could use to be bypass that usually you can use to bypass crowds, obstacles, and observation like you move via a city. Whenever you’re not in a combat, you could be companions that you lead could travel in between any two of the locations within a city twice as fast as your speed would normally be allowed.
Of course those particular paths of the undercity are being haunted by the dangers which are seldomly brave the light of the surface world, so that your journey isn’t guaranteed to be safe.
This is really interesting and this would be a good place for those nature and survival skills to be put to good use. Simple checks here and there can be used to likely determine how successful your speed run would be.
I do think this is relatively interesting and might make for some cool encounters with the underbelly of society or provide your party with some alternative methods of reconnaissance. Overall i like it, its usefulness and mileage may vary from campaign to campaign.
Obviously, if you’re in a city focused campaign this is going to be a super useful, especially in plots or quest lines where time is an issue. However outside of that this isn’t something you’re going to be able to use in the middle of the forest.
It doesn’t offer a ton of utility benefit and it’s likely something that some party members are going to object to….Once again kind of calling out those party members that might be from the higher classes. Now let’s move on to some suggested characteristics here.
The members of the Golgari Swarm were unmistakably products of undercity, ill at ease amid to the comforts of civilization. However they shall bring a same discomfort in some others by just reminding them of death’s inevitable approach.
For personality traits i went with “Sometimes i give a voice to the whispers of the rot, which i can hear but no one else does.”
|1||Remember, I could kill you in your sleep. Or put centipedes in your bedroll.|
|2||I like to remind people of their inevitable demise.|
|3||Sometimes I give voice to the whispers of the rot, which I hear but no one else does.|
|4||I do my best to discourage anyone from approaching or talking to me.|
|5||I have accepted my death. Hence, I don't fear it.|
|6||Like roots growing through stone, I am relentless and determined in my action.|
|7||I put my knowledge of anatomy to use by narrating the injuries my enemies suffer in grisly detail.|
|8||Like a wild animal, I lash out viciously when I'm provoked-and I'm easily provoked.|
Under Ideal i went with “Stoicism. All of us are part of the cyclical march of nature, which will continue with or without us. And this is a neutral maybe even nihilistic view.”
|1||Guild: My guild is all that really matters. (Any)|
|2||Stoicism: All of us are part of the cyclical march of nature, which will continue with or without us. (Neutral)|
|3||Nature: The natural world is more important than the edifices of the city and civilization. (Neutral)|
|4||Interdependence: We are all part of nature's web. (Lawful)|
|5||Ambition: The time of Golgari ascendance is at hand, and I intend to have a prominent place in the new world order. (Evil)|
|6||Live and Let Live: Meddling in the affairs of other guilds is a great way to get squashed like a bug. (Neutral)|
Under Bond “I have an identical twin who is a different from me as any person could be.”
|1||I cherish the finger of a family member who was petrified by a medusa.|
|2||I have an identical twin who is as different from me as any person could be.|
|3||I want to lead one faction of the guild to a new position of dominance.|
|4||I love spending time in the moss-covered building where I took part in my first reclamation mission.|
|5||I found something in the sewer that must never come to light.|
|6||I am forever grateful to the reclaimer who found me floating facedown in the sewer, moments from death.|
For the flaw i went with ” I don’t bother to couch my opinions in flattering words.”
|1||Death comes for us all, so you can't expect me to take care of someone who can't fight it off.|
|2||I assume that anyone outside the Golgari looks down on me.|
|3||I feel a need for revenge against those who enjoy the privilege of living above ground.|
|4||I don't bother to couch my opinions in flattering words.|
|5||I can't help but pocket any trinket or coin I come across, no matter how worthless.|
|6||I'm convinced that I'm better and stronger than members of other guilds, isolated as they are from the realities of life and death.|
Now i think this is one of the more interesting sets of characteristics. Basically, you might be a little bit crazy or the voices you hear might be right. In terms of how you would create something like this i’m imagining a go rogue then assassin, then multi-class into warlock depending on how far you want to take that voice of rot, it would of course be your patron.
|1||One of my parents is an elite assassin, a member of the Ochran.|
|2||I learned combat from a kraul.|
|3||I know a medusa who is stationed in the guildhall.|
|4||I had a torrid romance with a spore druid responsible for a large rot farm.|
|5||There's a troll in a remote area of the undercity who seems to find me interesting - and who knows more than you's think.|
|6||An elf lich is determined to see me become a lich someday, too.|
|7||A medusa decided it would be more fun to recruit me into the guild than to kill me.|
|8||I know a findbroker who can locate just about anything, for the right price.|
|1||An Azorius arrester I literally pulled out of the gutter will do anything for me.|
|2||Someone joined the rull in a battle against the Boros once, and the sergeant of that Boros squad would love to prove that it was me.|
|3||I had a romance with a Dimir agent whom I still feed secrets to.|
|4||Roll an additional Golgari contact; you can decide if the contact is an ally or rival.|
|5||I joined the Gruul in a battle against the Boros once, and the chief of that small clan thanks me for turning the tide.|
|6||An Izzet scientist resents that I sold a scrapped invention I found in the sewer.|
|7||My undercity explorations led me into an Orzhov vault, and a spirit thinks I stole something valuable.|
|8||I found a baby beast and sold it to a Rakdos wrangler who remains grateful to me.|
|9||A Selesnya druid and I share an interest in the same garden, and we have enjoyable arguments there.|
|10||I regularly pick up refuse from beneath a Simic laboratory, and sometimes I talk to the researcher who dumps it there.|
Very Interesting stuff and i like the idea of having a twin as kind of an interesting element of play that operates in the higher classes and might be good, might be evil. You might be good, might be evil doesn’t really matter how you want to role play it. I do think it is a very interesting and gives the dungeon master a lot to work with. Now let’s get to my personal thoughts on it.
As with really all of the ravnica backgrounds, i think they’re all really incredible. The golgari agent maybe slightly less so, just because of their spell or extended spell list not really having anything overwhelmingly good. At least not in comparison to a lot of the other ravnica backgrounds. And its feature being circumstantially useful at best.
Its mechanics in general are quite strong however there is an interesting mix there between them and the feature. And that what i mean is having nature and survival in the wilderness is a good thing and in the city slightly less useful. However having the under city paths feature in the city is a good thing but in the wild it’s essentially useless.
So it really is kind of hit or miss. I mean i suppose you can make the argument that it’s balanced in that regard. However i don’t know i find backgrounds are usually better when they double down on one particular element of play, where the golgari agent is kind of spread out all over.
And now that i’m really thinking about it, the spell list reflects that to some degree having a lot of utility control and circumstantially useful spells in there.
In any case let me know what you think of the golgari agent down beneath in the comment section. Be sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments, concerns, ideas or stories you have regarding them. That being said, i hope you all have a great day and as always happy adventuring everyone.