We were sitting around the writer's pit talking about high school during Return to Ravnica block and the subject of mapping the guilds to high school clique tropes came up. It was a fun exploration and we all had a laugh wondering who Rakdos would be in our school... or the Golgari. After we had figured out all the major players, we went home for the day. Soon thereafter, Jennifer wrote the following story.
Ravnica may be in our rearview mirror but it is always close in our minds and hearts. Here's another lighthearted glimpse into our favorite city-plane. Enjoy!—Adam
Welcome to Ravnica High! I'm Skrygix, and I'll be your mentor during this orientation session. Don't hesitate to ask me questions while we tour the grounds.
We've got a full slate of activities designed to get you familiar with daily life here, starting with the general assembly in a few minutes, where Vice Principal Beleren will be laying down the law. Like most orientations, this will focus on class structure and the rules on campus.
Principal Mizzet probably won't make an appearance. He's never around these days—I hear he's working on some big research project. But he and Beleren are tight, that's for sure.
Art by Jaime Jones
Okay, now that the lecture is over and you've heard the official line, let me tell you how things really work. (I've been here a couple of years now, and I know a few things.) As much as the adults would like to deny it, cliques are the reality of student life, and nowhere is that more true than at Ravnica High. You might find yourself suited to a particular group, or be interested in avoiding one—or you might not belong anywhere. At least there isn't a uniform code here.
Now let's start the tour with the admin office. Come here if you need help with paperwork, or if you get written up. Secretary Isperia keeps things running, and she knows where everything is. She has the vice principal's ear, so don't make an enemy of her.
So what about vice principal Beleren? Well, he tries to have an open-office policy, but he's a bit too concerned about being everyone's pal, know what I mean? He's always calling assemblies to address this problem or that, but we all know that he's too busy to see everything that's going on. I wouldn't attract his attention, though; he's fond of handing out detention, where you have to deal with Gruul roughs and Orzhov bullies. Plus you have to put up with Beleren's lectures. And bossy Azorius monitors.
Watch out for those Az-kissers, by the way. They love to rat out kids for the smallest thing. They're easy to spot, though; they always volunteer for hall monitor duty, and they wear a smug expression that goes perfectly with their designer shirts. (Don't look now, but that brat Lavinia is watching us. Act casual.)
The kindest thing I can say about them is that they're enthusiastic. You know that one student who sits at the head of the class and always has her hand in the air? Yeah. But if that's your sort of thing, you probably won't get bothered very much. Just don't expect to be popular.
Okay, let's keep going. Here's the cafeteria. Friday is pizza day, and you'd better get here early if you want any. The lines get long, and the Gruul always cut in and snag double helpings. A word of warning: don't eat anything a Golgari offers you. Seriously.
Just down the hall here you'll find the lockers. You'll each get one assigned to you, but you have to provide your own lock. And if you end up next to a Golgari, I'd recommend some fungicide. Just to be safe.
The lockers are conveniently close to the gym. I don't get sports, myself, but PE is a huge deal with the vice principal. Sound mind in sound body and all that. (Though he could use some strength training himself, frankly.) But there's always a few Orzhov bullies who use gym period to push around the weaker kids—plus they'll take your lunch money. So gym can be tough. You'll just have to manage as best you can.
Unless you're into sports, of course. I don't mean any insult. In fact, those Boros jocks can be solid in more ways than one. They don't understand much beyond brute force, but they work well in teams and they understand rules. And if you need a defender when a bully is making life tough, you can't do better than calling on one of them. If nothing else, follow a Boros onto the grounds.
Over here, behind the auditorium is the backstage area. Drama club meets here, plus there's a piano (out of tune, of course). You'll usually find a few of the Rakdos theater geeks hanging around till all hours. They're entertaining enough in their own way, but their choice of music is downright bizarre. They're always doing this crazy performance art, and they end up in the nurse's office more than most.
You know who likes to go to their events? Those creepy Dimir kids. They are seriously strange, always wearing black trench coats, heavy makeup, that sort of thing. I hear they put on live-action roleplaying games on the grounds at night. What a bunch of weirdos.
Come on, follow me upstairs. It's mostly classrooms up here, but there's a couple of places to check out.
This is the student lounge, and sometimes dances go on here when the gym's not available. You'll usually find a group of Selesnya kids here, just chillaxing. They're super friendly. Maybe too friendly. They sit around in their faded jeans and play guitars and invite passersby to hang out with them. I never see them in class. If you want to join in, I hope grades don't matter much to you.
Oh yeah, and AV club meets here. You need a sound system set up, talk to the Izzet. They have a real touch for tech. They hang out in metal shop too, and they do robot battles a couple of times a year that you don't want to miss.
Speaking of that, let's go down this hall, where the chem and bio labs are. You'll run into Izzet here too. But what I don't understand is those Simic science geeks who spend their free periods in lab, tinkering with chemicals and peering in microscopes. And they really get off on cutting things up. Weird, right? It's even stranger when they sew the pieces back together. Frog-pigs, cricket-spiders—who knows what they'll come up with next? They always have the smell of formaldehyde around them. You know something's not right with someone who wears a lab coat everywhere.
Okay, let's tour the grounds. There's the football field and the running track. Field hockey and soccer also happen there. Here's the softball pitch. A lot of the kids eat their lunch outside, but good luck getting a picnic table. You're better off just finding a shady spot. Seniors are allowed to leave the grounds for lunch, and they usually hang out at the fast-food joint down the street. Juniors have to stay on campus, but there are some brushy areas around the edges that are close enough to count.
Watch out for the Gruul dudes, though. They're always hanging out in the brush and getting rowdy. Flannel shirts, big stompy boots—you know the type. I figure those guys will still be here when they're in their twenties.
Well, that about finishes up the tour. What's that? What clique do I belong to? Truth is, none of them. That's not really by choice—I just didn't really fit in anywhere. There are quite a few like me around here; some of them call themselves the Gateless. I guess you could call it a clique of people who aren't in cliques. Maybe that's the best way to survive around here.
Good luck. Go, fighting Froghemoths!
Jennifer came to Wizards of the Coast in 1995 as the editor for Ars Magic. She later moved to editing Magic: The Gathering until 1999, when she became an RPG editor. She has been involved with many games in the company, from writing world documents and flavor text, to playtesting various TCGs and board games, to occasionally trying her hand at RPG design. In January 2013, she returned to Magic, joining the creative team.