THE GRUUL CLANS
The Gruul Clans are less a guild and more a loose organization of barbarians. Years of abuse at the hands of the other guilds have left the red-green a shadow of its former self. Disenfranchised and expunged from the city proper, the Gruul make their home in the ruined outsets of the city where few others would dare to live, stewing in their anger and discontent of the city. They have come to view civilization as a great and terrible evil; a series of wicked shackles meant to curb and numb one’s natural strengths and desires that does little but to bring out the very worst in the hearts of men. What little interaction they have with the rest of Ravnica is usually to lash out at it in anger.
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
The founder of the Gruul Clans was a remarkably large and powerful Cyclops by the name of Cisarzim. Cisarzim’s incredible might brought him the respect and admiration of many a wildling, and this tendency towards instinctual living afforded the Gruul stewardship of Ravnica’s nature. Specifically, they were tasked with the maintenance of the wilds of Ravnica and ensuring that the city didn’t overstep its bounds; a task they ultimately failed at.
Over the course of the 10,000 years since the Guildpact was signed, everything that ever belonged to the Gruul was stripped away from them. The Simic combine took control over the direction of Ravnica’s wildlife. The Selesnya Conclave shaped the face of nature within the city’s walls. The city itself spread endless, covering over 90% of the plane. As all that they stood for began to wither and die, so too did their purpose in the eyes of the other guilds.
The Azorius began writing them out of laws so that they were no longer afforded rights and protections. No longer needing to, the Boros stopped enforcing the laws in Gruul territory which was frequently stolen from them by some sort of mandate. They became favored subjects of Simic experimentation and of Orzhov enslavement. And even their mighty leader was murdered, slain by the Golgari founder Svogthos, who had taken a liking to Cisazrim’s might and incorporated his cadaver into the flesh golem body he had fashioned for himself as a lich.
Pushed from the city’s walls in practice and in spirit, the Gruul changed. They felt scorned and betrayed, and they came to embrace anger in a way they had never before. The city was to blame for all of their trifles and woe. They came to become the anti-guild; not a political entity, but a loose association of lawless savages united in their hatred of the city. They claimed what no other guilds would as their territory, woe be it to any guildless living there.
Guilds tend to exist in layers; there is no one ideology they represent. While as a political organization they have goals, and by their leaders they have egos, the guilds are made of hundreds, if not thousands of different people representing a wide variety of beliefs. The Gruul are no exception. On one end of the spectrum, there is the anger; the simmering rage at all of the sins of the city. The most violent and angry of the Gruul lash out at the city at every opportunity, breaking property and law and generally being as contrarian as possible. Where such Gruul call home, they have gained a reputation as godless, lawless heathens that are little more than rabid animals.
On the other side, there is the quiet pride. The idea that their disenfranchisement has brought something in them to the surface; purity. They are untainted by the social constructs that enslave the average Ravnican system. They are free of the arbitrary laws and doctrines of the city, free from the push and pull of Guild politics. They are free of any Gods and nobles that they do not respect. In this way, they have become a safe haven for all the others that the Guilds of Ravnica would stand upon. A place where the guildless masses can come and be accepted; judged not by their standing in society, but by their worth as a person.
While the Gruul have come to generally shun structure in all its forms, existing as a splinters of Clans scattered across Ravnica, each lead by a different leader holding different spins on the Gruul way of life. There is one thing that all Gruul respect; power. And there is one individual that all Gruul agree wields power like no other; Borborygmos. Borborygmos is a 300 plus year old Cyclops and the current chieftain off the largest Gruul Clan; the Burning Tree. As his tenure as the leader, his might as gone unchecked as all who have challenged his status of alpha have been slain, to such a degree that the icon of the Burning Tree Clan, a tree lit ablaze with a cyclops’ eye in the middle, has come to become synonymous with the Gruul as a whole, especially to those outside of the clan.
Borborygmos is a simple man leading a simple life. Without complicated ambitions or twisted desires, he simply is. He lives his life day to day, satisfied with the privileges afforded to his position of power and respect. He wakes up, he finds food, he crushes anyone foolish enough to challenge his authority, he finds a place to sleep, and then the next day does it all over again. Simplicity is enough to him, and he generally ignores the whole of Ravnica at large, holding no particular opinions for the politics and machinations of the other guilds, save when they lie in direct opposition to him.
THE FALL, THE RISE, THE UNBOWED
When the magical Guildpact was destroyed, the Gruul way of life went largely unchanged (save for a particularly fevered celebration). The Gruul had been so far removed from the Ravnican way of life that everything they did on a day to day basis continue more or less as normal. They were even able to escape the scorn leveled at many of the other guilds by virtue of being non-existent in the lives of many of the guildless masses.
Most Gruul didn’t even notice the heightened tension of the Guilds based on the Izzet’s increased activity upon their discovery of the Implicit Maze. It would come to affect the Gruul though, and in particular one individual. Ruric Thar is the alpha of the Ghor Clan. A massive two-headed ogre, Ruric Thar (one name per head) holds the unprecedented distinction of being the only individual to ever challenge Borborygmos to combat and live, though at the cost of one of his (their?) heads being severely mangled.
The Ghor Clan is, among the many Gruul clans, the one most predisposed towards acts of violence towards the city. Ruric Thar prefers to live his life based on his whims, and he finds the rules of the city to be particularly satisfying to disobey. Ruric Thar first came in contact with the maze by way of Jace Beleren. When Jace feared he had gotten in over his head, he contracted Ruric Thar to level his apartment with all of his research on the maze inside, a task that Ruric Thar savored. So when it was announced that every guild would have to part in the running of the maze, Ruric Thar was the natural choice. He was powerful, more predisposed towards holding a grudge against the city than Borborygmos, and he knew the route to some degree. Seeing the opportunity as a challenge and the potential to claim the weapon that was rumored to be at the end of the maze as a gift to wipe out their oppressors, Ruric Thar ran the maze on behalf of Gruul everywhere.