Guildpact Guilds: The Orzhov
To find the Orzhov, the saying goes, follow the gold. The so-called Guild of Deals contains both Ravnica’s richest citizens and its most oppressed. At the guild’s highest echelons sit the patriarchs, whose wealth and privilege know no bounds. Their usury buys them a prolonged life of incredible excess. It even buys them undeath—spirits of past patriarchs rule the Orzhov from beyond the grave. At the depths of the guild are the indentured servants trapped by crushing debt, whether incurred by them, their parents, or even their distant ancestors. Holding this fragile social order in place is a veneer of religious pomp and ritual, though few believe the Orzhov worship any god other than coin.
The Orzhov are the wealthiest and most ostentatious of the guilds. Their halls (which look and feel like a cross between a cathedral and a bank) are robed in black marble and gold. Flying buttresses and tall gothic arches abound. The guild is led by a group of patriarchs – some alive, most undead. The richest and most powerful of the living patriarchs arrange for master necromancers to ensure that their spirits will linger after death so they can continue to control the “family business.”
The patriarchs are human, but they live so long and so decadently that they essentially become nothing more than bags of grey flesh. The black mana doesn’t help, either. These patriarchs are the living versions of the ghosts that make up the Orzhov ruling council.
Like many castes within the guild, clerics often carry masks on poles as a symbolic show of hiding their faces – out of deceit as well as shame and obeisance. Aside from the ghost-patriarch plutocrats of the guild, its other spirits are mostly ornamental. They serve as heralds, sentries, and symbols of the guild’s persistence and longevity.