The teeming masses that compose the Golgari Swarm see themselves as pragmatic above all else, uncowed by the simple fact that death is part of the cycle of life. They believe the idea of life and death as opposing forces to be nothing more than naive sentimentality. They know everything crumbles and rots in the end, and then new life springs from that rot. Time inevitably passes, bringing both destruction and new creation to all things. The original mandate of the Golgari Swarm under the leadership of Svogthir, its Devkarin founder, was to maintain Ravnica’s agriculture and manage its waste. But Svogthir’s interest in necromancy, and his eventual transformation into a lich, shaped the course of the guild’s activities and gave birth to its philosophy of embracing death as part of nature’s cycle. The leadership of the Golgari has undergone several major changes, but the nature of the swarm makes it easily adaptable to the churn of continuous cycles. Various groups of people and monsters coexist within the swarm, their relative power waxing and waning with the years, and through it all, the guild goes on. The current guild leaders are the Sisters of Stone Death, a trio of three gorgons (Lexya, Lydya, and Ludmilla). They deposed Svogthir almost a thousand years ago and have directed the Swarm ever since. They are supported by the Teratogen faction, which consists primarily of the guild's non-humanoid members. Also influential in the guild is the faction of Devkarin elves, led by a matka (high priestess) named Savra. Members of the Golgari Swarm live in the shadow of the leaders of the individual factions. The machinations among elves, medusas, kraul, and other creatures rarely bring any significant improvement to the lives of the swarm’s countless members, but often cause disruption and occasionally disaster. Most guild members believe it’s best to keep their heads down and stay out of the political conflict and to avoid attracting disfavor. More adventurous members might enjoy intrigue and politics, or might unwittingly become tangled up in the schemes of the guild’s leaders.
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