The Simic Combine is one of the ten Guilds of Ravnica in Magic: The Gathering. Based around the combination of Blue Mana and Green Mana, their philosophy is essentially one of "Mad Biology"; they believe that nature exists to be studied, experimented upon, enhanced and improved. They are Ravnica's masters of fleshcrafting, shaping and engineering all kinds of mutants, monsters and the magical equivalent of genetically-engineered life-forms - ostensibly to create creatures that will better serve the city and be better adapted to Ravnica's urban ecologies, but in practice often just for the fun of it.
They also readily experiment on themselves, splicing and grafting and mutating themselves for fun and profit. This leads to all kinds of weird mutant creatures being part of the upper echelons - according to the cards, new recruits to the Combine actually have "test subject" as one of their primary duties, so they better hope they manage to survive the bio-warping long enough to make a name for themselves in the guild, as opposed to, y'know, breaking down into a mindless puddle of ravenous protoplasm or something.
Representing the original guild leader's dubious understanding of patient consent. Creatures with graft come into battle with +1/+1 counters, then when a new creature enters the battlefield, you can move a +1/+1 counter off the creature with graft onto the new one.
Representing a more rigorous system of iterative improvements used by the time of Return to Ravnica. A creature with Evolve gains a single +1/+1 counter when it's controller plays a creature with higher power or toughness
A creature with Adapt gains a certain amount of +1/+1 counters when you pay the cost listed on the card, as long as it doesn't have any counters on it already.
Dungeons & Dragons
Like all of the ten guilds, the Simic Combine appeared in the Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica, a splatbook for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Here, it was handled as a combination of Background and Faction, with the player choosing the "Simic Scientist" background to certify they have membership, and being able to earn Renown. This is a new system to 5e, and basically is a kind of abstractified experience; you start off as a general worker (Renown 1), and as you complete missions for the Guild or do things that get you noticed, your Renown increases, giving you increased abilities. Of course, if you publicly screw things up for your guild, your esteem will drop and you can lose Renown.
Characters from the Simic Combine are most likely to be Humans, High Elves, Vedalkens or Simic Hybrids (obviously). The most iconic classes associated with this guild are Druid (Circle of Land - Coast/Forest), Fighter (Champion), Monk (Way of the 4 Elements - Air/Water), and Wizard (Conjurer or Transmuter). In-universe, Wizards and Druids are known as Scientists, as these are the people performing the magitek biology research and experimentation; Fighters are known as Guardians or Soldiers, respected for their role in protecting the Combine against krasis-gone-wrong and external threats, and Monks are called "Deepsages", serving as warrior-philosophers.
Simic Scientist Background
You gain Skill Proficiencies in Arcana and Medicine, can speak two languages of your choice, and carry the following equipment: A Simic insignia, a set of commoner's clothes, a book of research notes, an ink pen, a bottle of squid ink, a flask of oil (made from blubber), a vial of acid (derived from digestive juices), a vial of fish scales, a vial of seaweed, a vial of jellyfish stingers, a glass bottle of unidentified slime, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp (Azorius 1-zino coins)
Clades and Projects As a Simic researcher, you are part of a clade—a diverse group of individuals combining disparate talents in pursuit of a common goal—or a researcher on a specialized, short-term project focused on addressing an immediate need. You can roll a d6 or choose from the options in the Research Options table to determine your area of research.
- d6 Clade/Project
- 1 Hull Clade, focused on protection and durability
- 2 Fin Clade, focused on movement
- 3 Gyre Clade, focused on cyclical patterns and metamagic
- 4 Guardian Project, focused on creating guard monsters and super soldiers
- 5 Crypsis Project, focused on intelligence and counterintelligence
- 6 Independent research in a new area
Feature: Researcher When you attempt to learn or recall a magical or scientific fact, if you don't know that information, you know where and from whom you can obtain it. Usually, this information comes from a Simic laboratory, or sometimes from an Izzet facility, a library, a university, or an independent scholar or other learned person or creature. Knowing where the information can be found doesn't automatically enable you to learn it; you might need to offer bribes, favors, or other incentives to induce people to reveal their secrets.
To further represent the Guild's training and philosophical impact, spellcasters (that is, anyone with the Spellcasting or Pact Magic class feature) gain bonus spells to their spell list based on the guild. For the Simic Combine, that's the following:
- Spell Level Spells
- Cantrip acid splash, druidcraft
- 1st detect poison and disease, expeditious retreat, jump
- 2nd alter self, enhance ability, enlarge/reduce
- 3rd gaseous form, water breathing, wind wall
- 4th freedom of movement, polymorph
- 5th creation
When your magic causes physical alterations in yourself or others, the result often displays the characteristics of fish, amphibians, or other water-dwelling creatures. Blue-green eddies of magical energy sometimes accompany your spellcasting, forming spirals that reflect the mathematical perfection of nature.
Simic Combine Renown
Because the Combine is a Guild with an emphasis on applied magic, Scientists get most of the attention and most easily can earn Renown. Guardians and Deepsages get much lesser bonuses; they can seek to become Luminaries or, ultimately, Speakers.
Rank 1: Technician
- Prerequisite: Renown 3 or higher in the Simic Combine, Spellcasting or Pact Magic class feature
At this rank, you're a fully accredited Simic Scientist, but you're still at the bottom of the peaking order; you perform research and run experiments for other, more highly ranked Scientists. Still, it's not all bad; by accessing a Simic Facility, you can get a pet, familiar, mount, or animal companion upgraded - this takes 1d6 days, but permanently imbues it with a Minor Adaption from the Krasis table (presumably being treated as a Category 1 Krasis):
- d8 Minor Adaptations
- 1 Amorphous Structure. The krasis can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.
- 2 Aquatic. The krasis gains a swimming speed equal to its walking speed.
- 3 Climbing Speed. The krasis gains a climbing speed equal to its walking speed.
- 4 Cryptic Skin. The krasis can change color to match its surroundings. It has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide.
- 5 Heightened Awareness. The krasis can't be surprised, as a result of having sensitive barbels like a catfish, stereoscopic vision like a chameleon, a tongue like a snake, eye stalks like a lobster, or an array of several eyes.
- 6 Ink Cloud (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). While underwater, the krasis can use a bonus action to expel a cloud of ink and then move up to its speed. The ink cloud is stationary and fills a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on a point in the krasis's space before it moves. The sphere is heavily obscured until the ink disperses after 1 minute. A strong current also disperses the ink cloud.
- 7 Leaping Legs. With or without a running start, the krasis's long jump is 20 feet (category 1), 30 feet (category 2), or 40 feet (category 3). Its high jump is 10 feet (category 1), 20 feet (category 2), or 30 feet (category 3).
- 8 Stabilizing Legs. The krasis has several crablike legs. As a result, it has advantage on Strength and Dexterity saving throws made against effects that would knock it prone.
Rank 2: Researcher
- Prerequisite: Rank 1 and renown 10 or higher in the Simic Combine
- Now you're high enough in the ranks to start running your own independent experiments, tinkering with nature to pursue your own research. You're still a subordinate, however, and are assigned to work in a Clade or Project, which will direct you towards a particular line of research based on its focus - see the Simic Scientist background for known Clades and Projects. Or maybe you belong to a smaller Clade/Project pursuing an entirely different line of research. The point is that your Clade Leader will provide you with the aid of a Simic Charm and/or a Category 1 Krasis of your specifications should you request the assistance for an official Clade project.
Rank 3: Project Leader
- Prerequisite: Rank 2 and renown 25 or higher in the Simic Combine
- Now you're such a big shot that you're running your own research team, which means you can pursue your own experiments with the aid of 3d12 researchers and technicians, who will undertake projects for you up to and including producing a Category 2 Krasis of your own design. Of course, you're still expected to be contributing to the good of the Combine as a whole, you can expect your zonot's Speaker to pop in pretty often to make sure you're not doing anything that will look bad on the Simic Combine.
Rank 4: Clade Leader
- Prerequisite: Rank 2 and renown 50 or higher in the Simic Combine
- Congratulations! You've reached the top of the pile in the Scientist's hierarchy; you're still only a Beta in the Combine's overarching hierarchy, but you represent one of the most famous and respected Scientists around. As the title says, you've now got the authority to potentially take charge of your own Clade, but since new Clades are only founded rarely, you're not likely to get that position unless one of the older Clade Leaders retires (or "retires"). Still, you're now a head researcher, commanding multiple projects that may often span multiple zonots - this gives you access to a team of 5d12 researchers for your own personal projects, as well as the ability to requisition help from the Combine in the form of soldiers, krasis and tamed beasts. That said, your authority doesn't extend to the Speaker's Chamber; you can request a Speaker to bring matters of importance to you before the council, but you can't directly petition the leaders yourself.
Special Rank: Luminary
- Prerequisite: Renown 10 or higher in the Simic Combine
- As a Guardian, you've attained a roughly Sergeant-like rank in what passes for the military branch of the Simic Combine, whilst as a Deepsage, your reputation has grown as a wise leader and a source of enlightenment. Regardless, like a Researcher, you can petition a ranking member of the guild to provide you with assistance when you set off to perform a mission for the Combine, in the form of either a Simic Charm and/or a team of Simic Hybrids; one Brute or Flyer, up to two Poisoners or Shockers, and up to 4 Spies.
Special Rank: Speaker
- Prerequisite: Renown 50 or higher in the Simic Combine
- Congratulations! You've made it as far as it's possible to get in the Simic Combine; as a Speaker, you are now the elected representative for one of the nine zonots of the Simic Combine. The selection of a new Speaker (in the event of an existing Speaker's retiring, dying, or otherwise leaving the position) takes place through a combination of popular election and the input of the other eight Speakers, with the current Prime Speaker having the final word. If you emerge as the victor after this rigorous process, you assume the leadership of your zonot and are empowered to bring its concerns before the Speakers' Chamber. You are a political leader rather than a scientific one, so you have authority over other members of the combine only if they live and work in your zonot. If a clade has a laboratory in your zonot, you have the right (and responsibility) to supervise its activities to ensure compliance with laws and regulations, but not to interfere in its research beyond that point. And if the clade leader lives in a different zonot, you have no authority whatsoever over that person.
Simic Hybrid Race
Uniquely amongst the guilds, the Simic Combine has its own associated race, representing their propensity for self-augmentation and mutation. They're called "Simic Hybrids" because MtG's actual name for them, the Krasis, has been repurposed to exclusively serve for the monsters bio-engineered by the Combine - and rather than make things TOO complicated by turning them into a template, WoTC just made them an individual race, since it's the bio-adaptations that define a humanoid Krasis more than anything else. They have the following stats:
- Ability Scores: Con +2; Choose any +1
- Size: Medium
- Speed: 30ft.
- Age. Hybrids begin their lives as adult humans, elves, or vedalken. They age at a slightly accelerated rate, so their maximum life spans are probably reduced somewhat. The Guardian Project has not been operating long enough to observe the full effect of this phenomenon.
- Alignment. Most hybrids share the generally neutral outlook of the Simic Combine. They are more interested in scientific research and the standing of their guild than in moral or ethical questions. Those who leave the Combine, however, often do so because their philosophical outlook and alignment are more in line with a different guild's.
- Size. Your size is Medium, within the normal range of your humanoid base race.
- Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
- Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and your choice of Elvish or Vedalken.
- Animal Enhancement. Your body has been altered to incorporate certain animal characteristics. You choose one animal enhancement now and a second enhancement at 5th level. At 1st level, choose one of the following options:
- Manta Glide You have ray-like fins that you can use as wings to slow your fall or allow you to glide. When you fall and aren't incapacitated, you can subtract up to 100 feet from the fall when calculating falling damage, and you can move up to 2 feet horizontally for every 1 foot you descend.
- Nimble Climber You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed.
- Underwater Adaptation You can breathe air and water, and you have a swimming speed equal to your walking speed.
- At 5th level, your body evolves further, developing new characteristics. Choose one of the options you didn't take at 1st level, or one of the following options:
- Grappling Appendage You have two special appendages growing alongside your arms. Choose whether they're both claws or tentacles. As an action, you can use one of them to try to grapple a creature. Each one is also a natural weapon, which you can use to make an unarmed strike. If you hit with it, the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike. Immediately after hitting, you can try to grapple the target as a bonus action. These appendages can't precisely manipulate anything and can't wield weapons, magic items, or other specialized equipment.
- Carapace Your skin in places is covered by a thick shell. You gain a +1 bonus to AC when you're not wearing heavy armor.
- Acid Spit As an action, you can spray acid from glands in your mouth, targeting one creature or object you can see within 30 feet of you. The target takes 2d10 acid damage unless it succeeds on a Dexterity saving throw against a DC equal to 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. This damage increases by 1d10 when you reach 11th level (3d10) and 17th level (4d10). You can use this trait a number of times equal to your Consitution modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.
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