How Does Rakdos Stay in Business?

Hello spicy people of the internet My name is @StandUpPoet AKA sexy sleep paralysis and to celebrate the release of Ravnica Allegiance let’s answer the question: How the bloody heck does the cult of Rakdos stay in business? The cult of Rakdos is one of the five ravnican guilds represented in Ravnica Allegiance Magic the gathering’s most recent set The guild was first established by its paron of the same name: the demon Rakdos and has a long history of bloodshed Chaos and general nastiness. Each guild on Ravnica has its own job and purpose within the plane lawmakers, biomancers, Tories, etc according to the Magic the Gathering Wiki The cult of Rakdos “attends to [the] menial labor and service industry” which, in the world of Ravnica includes entertainment, catering, and assassinations. It says a lot about a group of people when the notion of them catering for anyone is a lot more disturbing than their literal murder squads. As part of their entertainment duties the cult of Rakdos put on shows, organises festive riots, and performs… er “Specialised Services” Now, if you’re not familiar with the cult of Rakdos, throughout this video you may have noticed that a large number of the cards and art I’ve showcased depicts people really not having a nice or safe time. For example this art, which depicts a church being raided by the three scariest creatures known to man: Devils, Clowns and… Children. Comes from the card “Havoc Festival”, a name which implies that this mass-murdering spectacle is a celebration of some kind rather than some random riot. Indeed Many of the cards associated with the Rakdos extol the virtues of pain being a source of great fun, pleasure, even enlightenment. But this does beg the question: if everyone’s so aware that the cult of Rakdos’ entertainment often results in painful death, why do people keep going and how does the cult stay in business? I mean, I don’t know exactly how good the Demon Lord Rakdos’ credit score is, But I’m pretty sure it’s low enough that he can’t apply for any small business loans. In order to answer the question: [Flames and Screaming]
“HOW ON EARTH does Rakdos stay in business? There are SO many health violations here!” Firstly, let us compare the Cult of Rakdos’ murder circuses and brain stabbing with our own real world entertainment. Whilst here in “reality” things are obviously a lot safer, we still enjoy witnessing carnage. From boxing to moster trucks, from playing violent video games to torturing ourselves By purposefully watching irredeemable movies like Vanilla Sky and,- That is the only unredeemable movie. Don’t watch Vanilla Sky. Don’t do it. Don’t do it to yourself it- Oh, oh it HURT. It hurt to watch that movie. We as human beings love a bit of violence and a good number of Rakdos’ shows are just real-world forms of entertainment with a slightly more Cenobite esque spin. the Gore-House Chainwalker and Hackrobat are just really heavy metal tightrope walkers. The Rix Maadi Reveler and Blade Juggler are just that: jugglers. Jagged Poppet and Carnage Gladiator are just super illegal MMA fighters. A large number of these entertainers wouldn’t go amiss in our real world underground and it’s easy to see why the citizens of Ravnica may get sucked in by the more… “understandable” forms of entertainment. As Tajic of the Boros Legion says: [Deep guitars twang over evil laughter]
“It’s easy to get taken in by the spectacle, to enjoy a bit of naughty amusement, but make no mistake. The Cult of Rakdos is a danger”… Don’t- Don’t know why Tajic, kind of, began turning into a New York cop there, but you know, we’ll go with it. Whatever, he’s got a cool sword. So that explains at least some of Rakdos’ entertainment But what about the parts of Rakdos entertainment that push the boundaries of dangerous fun into sadistic murder games? I keep using the word murder I want you to understand just how much this cult murders. They murder- They murder so much. Now, it’s important to remember the context in which most Ravnican’s exist. In this world, one single guild (The Azorius) presides over the vast majorities of laws throughout the entire plane. Their laws are highly authoritarian as we can see in the flavour text of cards such as: “Inaction Injunction” which showcases an Azorius arrestor detaining a Rakdos cultist with the Azorius Arrester motto: “To prevent action is to prevent transgression” Cards such as angelic edict show the lengths other guilds must go to in order to enact their own laws with the Boros Legion having to build a prison in the sky just to escape Azorius jurisdiction. In such a world the idea that there is a place or even, let’s say, a cult which promises absolute freedom to enjoy whatever terrible pleasures you may desire may seem like a particularly attractive offer to many Almost to enhance the comparison between the Azorius and the Rakdos both guilds have always been printed together whenever a set of Ravnica themed cards is released forever reminding the players of the polar opposite of law and chaos. So that’s why people may go and see Rakdos events but what about the people who run the events, who put their lives on the line? What causes, as Lyzolda the Blood Witch’s is flavour text suggests, “cheering cultists” to beg to be the next sacrifice “before an audience”? The answer to this comes all the way back to the parun of the Rakdos, Rakdos himself. I keep saying “Rak-Doughs” and then “Rak-Dos”. I c- I think “Rak-Dos” is singular, “Rak-Doughs” is plural. This isn’t in the script. I’m just having a minor internal conflict with my own utilisation of language. It is clear that the demon feeds on the chaos and bloodshed of his servants as we can see from direct quotes from the demon himself [A heavy metal orchestra blasts out a war like theme]
God, that hurt. This aspect of Rakdos, the idea that ancient power can be brought back by bloodshed, is encapsulated perfectly in his Return to Ravnica, card Rakdos, Lord of Riots who will: A) Only show up to the party if your opponent has lost life this turn, and B) Effectively gives you vast free mana provided you’re dealing enough damage to other people. Rakdos also has a very, self-centered, megalomaniacal streak. On the Magic the Gathering official website, it also says that “when Rakdos is awake, he is the undisputed centre of attention… and it is an orgy of bloodletting and mayhem.” [An OneyNG voice from the back of the room chimes in]
“Oh wow that’s pretty edgy, dude.” This side of Rakdos can be seen in his most recent iteration, Rakdos, The Showstopper who demands that you entertain him whilst he toys with every non-demon, imp and devil creature with coin flips that will decide their doom. With such a powerful master who demands attention and promises power in exchange for pain and death It’s of little surprise that an army of servants would willingly give their lives to the cause of their parun. It also doesn’t hurt that the first step you need to take to officially join the Cult of Rakdos is, as the flavor text on sire of insanity suggests, to “become mindless lunatics”. As for when Rackdos slumbers for days at a time in this lava pit, to nurse the blood orgy hangover, the official Magic the Gathering website says that the base of operations for the cult, Rix Maadi, “becomes political and manipulative as… blood witches vie for control”. With the previous statement that the Cult of Rakdos runs assassinations as part of their services, It’s not unreasonable to imagine that, whilst there shows wind down during Rakdos’ naps, the cult makes Bank on quieter but equally evil and lucrative endeavours. And when Rakdos wakes up, the festival of blood begins again, during which the clown murdering gets into full swing, bodies are looted, stores are pillaged, and everyone probably skips out on rent for a couple of days. So there you have it a quick explanation of how the cult of Rakdos maintains a workforce, an audience, and an income. And if my multiple pronunciations of “Rak-Doughs” and “Rak-Dos” have been making you uncomfortable throughout this entire video then blame Wizards of the Coast. It is very unclear how I’m supposed to be saying that word. Thank you for watching this episode of the Spice 8 Rack and, as always if you have any compliments, questions, or critiques leave a like and a comment below. Stay spicy.

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100 thoughts on “How Does Rakdos Stay in Business?

  1. In original Ravnica, the whole circus thing seemed to be only a smaller part of rakdos, while info material said, they'd be responsible for meat production. Which seems pretty fitting.

  2. The Cult of Rakdos is basically one big extreme hardcore BDSM cult.
    After all, one of their biggest "services" is basically prostitution….

  3. "Lavinia, how did you take down the entire Rakdos Cult without any bloodshed?"
    "It was pretty easy when I realized that none of them had payed taxes since the early 70s."

  4. Your pronunciation of "Rakdos" isn't a big deal, we hear both all the time, but your pronunciation of "patron" makes me wince. The "t" has a sound.

  5. Just found your channel, and I am loving it! I'm DMing a D&D campaign on Ravnica, and my characters just narrowly escaped a Rakdos theater of death with their lives. And after a blood witch successfully killed at least a dozen of her audience members with a single spell while attempting to kill one of my PCs, the question naturally arose, at least in my mind, "Why did these people come to this show if they knew this could happen?? How DO they stay in business??" Thanks for helping answer that!

  6. First of all, THANK YOU for running this channel. Good to know anybody actually gives at least half a rat's ass about the lore of the game!

    I had this question asked to me the last time I've gamemastered a D&D 5.0 adventure set in Ravnica, picturing a huge death metal festival taking place in a former Orzhov cathedral, during which everybody suddenly turned to literal murder pogo and the player characters just had to get out alive.

    I wish I figured out your explaination earlier – my answer wasn't that clever though. I mean, tickets are sold by the entrance, right? Wouldn't what happens to the guests later be kind of irrelevant?

  7. So a few other things to consider about the Cult of Rakdos.
    1) It's sort of a pyramid scheme. You kill someone to join the cult yourself. Then you have to get some fresh recruits in order to be promoted from newbie. Recruits don't have to be willing, and it's better if they're not. That's why all the guys with the brains and the drills. Turns out, we can just MAKE mindless lunatics. Oh, and brainwashing and insanity, we do that too. You'll love it here. Eventually. We have such pleasures to show you, once pain becomes fun.
    2) Goblins love this shit, and they reproduce like crazy. I mean, here in Rakdos, we have competitions to see who can kill the most of OUR goblins. US, or the other nine guilds combined. We still haven't made much of a dent. The pregnant goblin moms just eat the corpses of their own children, laugh, and make more children.
    3) We can literally just summon devils. As much as we want, really. They don't care if they die as long as they hurt someone along the way. That's fantastic! Most of them even explode into giant fireballs when they die!
    4) We're MOSTLY made of people who wanted to die anyways, losers and degenerates who tried to make it among the guilds and had their dreams and ambitions crushed to the point where they have nothing left to live for but seeing the world burn and letting everyone know what a cruel joke it is. These are the guys we have as clowns! Your death is now their punchline, and they're so happy about it! And when Rakdos wakes, they beg him to kill them, so that he can get the power to take riotous reckoning (and ain't that a good card name) on the people who drove them to suicide! He's a demon! That's what he's FOR! Trading souls for bargains!

  8. One facet of the Street Festivals expanded on in the D&D guidebook is that the Rakdos Festivals are in and of themselves captivating on a fundamental level. They can drag you into the shows by seemingly magical compulsions and you will not regain self-control until it leaves or your dead. Hence the card Captive Audience.

    Also, the Rakdos seem to believe a somewhat Absurdist ideology and really hate when a guild begins to assemble too much power. As such, they are sort of a balancing force that keeps the guilds on somewhat equal footing. Also, they legitimately believe that life is a show and death is its final performance. That and the guild was partially meant to placate Lord Rakdos and keep him from destroying everything because he believes that all that he experiences is a dream and thus anything he does has no consequence.

  9. reading the book from…. 15 years ago, I thought their original purpose was to intentionally break the rules to find flaws in the guild pact, so they can be corrected.

  10. I always thought Rakdos were a Las Vegas kind of business, where you could drink, gamble and pay for weird and perverted entreteinment. This would be the more public facade. The more hardcore stuff, like murder or brain drilling, would be a "Hostel" kind of spectacle, and only the richest aristocrats would pay for it because the regular folks wouldn't even know about the stuff.

  11. Hey man, you forgot a super big part of what it means to be a Rakdos cultist and a more clear explanation as to why people do it. The short answer the performers want to get Rakdos' attention to have a performance so great that the demon himself is impressed and either laughs or claps in amusement. The Guild lives to entertain their master, it's like a more openly cutthroat Hollywood.

  12. the oppressive laws generate a desire to castigate oneselve so that maybe finally you have payed your duty that is where masochism emerge, it doesnt really create a desire to escapre from it, as the mental cage that the oppresors impose in your mind doesnt even let you consider freedom, the only way that you can think of it is just loosing your own mind because your chains run too deep within you

  13. Just look up "accident compilations" on youtube and look at the veiws. THAT'S how the rakdos cult stays in business

  14. I always imagine that Wizards only favors showing one side of each guild. Kind of like stereotyping. We've actually seen this hinted with cards in Gruul, Azorius, Simic, and Golgari.

    I'd imagine that all of the Rakdos cards we see are just exclusive to personal Rakdos events. As much as I could see Judith in all her glory as depicted on the card, I could as easily see her helping out with an improv class or something less violent that Wizards just wouldn't find as interesting to print on a red/black card.

    So yes while Rakdos can cater, host events, etc; it doesn't mean it's always violent or gory. But "Who tunes in to watch people get along?"

  15. Ok, to be fair… Tajic DOES have a pretty cool sword. (As one would expect from a guy who's nickname/title are "Blade of the Legion" and "Legion's Edge.")

  16. One might also assume that, given the Rakdos Cult's casual, even flagrant disregard for both laws and cultural norms, most if not all activities that are generally considered to be 'anti-social' (as well as potentially lucrative), such as prostitution and gambling are also run by the Cult; thus providing all manner of possible alternative income streams.

  17. The guildmasters guide of ravnica says that most of the people if the guild are just entertainers. So maybe the guild doesn't murder as much as many cards seem to imply.

  18. Rent is violence? What are you a moron? I understand it's ar least somewhat in jest but is it completely in jest?

  19. How does chaotic evil stay in business anywhere? The answer is invariably “humans like doing evil stuff, so they fund it and then sometimes also lie about it.”

  20. Life in Ravnica is paradoxically both highly controlled and highly chaotic. On one side, you have an unchecked authorization government, a highly militaristic police force and a deeply corrupt and powerful religious system. On the other, you have large amounts of riots, assassinations, dangerous experiments and wild creatures. For the average Ravnican, I can understand the appeal of the Rakdos' nihilistic hedonism. If you're simultaneously dealing with the extremes of oppression and the fact that you could die violently any day, you'd seek entertainment wherever you could. And who cares about a dangerous show when you're already facing death regularly? You may even welcome it. Better to die in a murder orgy on your own terms than to be struck down in the middle of the street randomly.

  21. Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica also seems to imply that the vast majority of civilian weapon production (as well as many other metalwork wares) is done by the Rakdos. So there's that.

  22. the people can't find out what the cult of rakdos is doing if there are no witnesses alive afterward

  23. Very insightful stuff. Really fills in the gaps.

    Personally, I've theorized that, since the Cult's job is to be Ravnica's entertainment, they probably have a financial interest in ALL forms of it. Even the kinds that don't conform to the Rakdos…aesthetic, shall we say.

    I highly doubt that every theater, musician, restaurant, or puppet show on Ravnica is run by crazed demonic cultists. But I would believe that, in order to stay in operation, all of the "normie" entertainers in the city pay dues to Rakdos. If for no other reason than to stop the cult part of the cult from making them into more sacrifices. The playwright who just wants to stage romantic farces doesn't WANT to pay tribute to the Demon Lord of Ravnica. It's just that doing so is better than earning his ire.

    Not that the Cult of Rakdos don't devour "lesser" entertainers on occasion. Especially if this or that show, band, or whatever happens to start getting really popular. The Cult cannot abide new and different (or at least moderate) entertainment to get too big, as it might draw audiences away from the blood/fire/murder shows, by sheer force of novelty (and the desire of audiences to not sacrifice their hide on recreation). So the Rakdos derive rich tithes from other entertainers when they're small, and "harvest" them when they get big. In this way, the Cult keeps Ravnica's show scene nice and stagnant .

    Just how Rakdos likes it. He doesn't strike me as the type of guy who is interested in broadening his horizons. He already knows what he likes, and the cult is eager to provide.

  24. Rent is violence rise up comrades just got you a life time sub and a future high tier patreon subscriber

  25. In addition to assassins, the Rakdos Cult also serves the societal function of mercenaries.

    Also, the Rakdos control the mines that produce precious stones and metals. (This is related to their leader being an infernal demon who slumbers underground.) So even if nobody were hiring them or going to their shows at the moment, they always have money. This plays into the fact that as the red-black guild they represent hedonism (as you said in contrast to Azorius); do whatever you want, and no one can stop you.

  26. I always saw it as a sign of how psychologically fucked up Ravnica is and how utterly downtrodden, traumatized, and hopeless its typical citizens are. The cult of Rakdos is the only guild that acknowledges the dadaist absurdity of life, and the psycho murder circus is the only thing that can get many people through another working day.

  27. They can probably get small business loans with the Orzhov being the primary bank of Ravnica. They're very good at getting their collateral if loan payments can't be obtained, and since the collateral is undead servitude that's a lovely way of recouping losses on loans.

  28. It's important to note that while the rakdos performances result in death and dismemberment, 9 times out of 10, it's the rakdos who get evicerated or mutilated. The audience is much safer. It's also important to note that the rakdos ressurect quite a lot of their members. For example in the new book we learn that all blood witches have died at least once, maybe more.
    Also the rakdos turn into mindless lunatics only during their festivals. During any other time, they are very much "normal" people.
    For example the rakdos story from allegiance features a demon who is trying to ask a woman who runs a shop out, because they were involved in the same orgies numerous times and he likes her. These two have explicitly had sex and killed together, but because that happened under the effects of a festival, the demon is extremely anxious and embarrassed. When he does manage to ask her out, she says that because they did something during a festival, that doesn't mean that they share a connection during their everyday life or that its normal for him to come to her place of business
    This tells us that invariably many of the rakdos we see are under the influence of magic that makes them act how they do ( not that they don't participate knowingly).

  29. -Sexy voice: checked
    -Excellent Quality Content: checked
    -Funny Videos: checked
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    Why the fuck I haven’t already smashed the subscribe button and demolished the like button?


  30. They keep all the orphans they create from their"shows", and the bastard children conceived during orgies

  31. They get into the things they do in the ravnica source book for dungeons and dragons by running the entertainment industry such as shows parties and carnivals any blood sport they are getting paid for as well as providing destruction for other guilds to clean up rakdos controls the giant rats and they plague the city while certain guilds are paid to take care of the rats the rakdos cult gets a nice pay for providing the problem they also run all the fun night clubs

  32. Cause his one of the biggest demonlord left still alive and a kickass chaos bringer so nobody dares not to entertain him?

  33. For the kid, its probably some ancient demon. We like animals because they look like children, and we didn't bread it into them. fun facts!

  34. I've been running a Ravnica-based D&D campaign for awhile now, and the most fun thing I did with my group was send them into a Rakdos nightclub. The Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica describes them as having a constant demonic aura which forces attendees to make regular Wisdom saving throws in order to remain in control of themselves. My players kept failing and wandering off into the literal bloodbath, enthralled by the carnage. Good times were had, our contact was incinerated by a hellhound, we killed a bunch of imps and bystanders in the frenzy, and by the end of it we had a positive reputation with the Cult for putting on a great show.

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