With the first tastes of Return to Ravnica only days away, I felt it would be worthwhile talking about why Magic’s flavor is one of the reasons I enjoy playing and, intervening years spent not playing aside, why it continues to keep me doing so.
Foremost on this list are the characters. As a writer I have a great respect for the creative design team for most any game, but Magic in particular has a special place in my heart. It’s relatively easy to bring a character to life on the page and only a little harder to make them deep and real feeling. If you don’t care about the main character by time the first chapter ends, the writer’s done a pretty bad job. This, of course, isn’t how most interact with the heroes and legends of Magic. Many of the most influential characters exist only as footnotes or references on other cards. Hundreds of cards reference Urza, but he himself has never been printed. Yet, for most who know anything about Magic’s history, Urza’s name carries quite a bit of weight. I would say the same of Gerrard and the Weatherlight’s crew, even though they were each printed in Invasion, and lets not forget my all time favorite fictional character, Jaya Ballard, whose reputation for snark exists in nearly 70 cards’ flavor text.
Then there are the heroes I played through Odyessy and Onslaught. Kamahl, as he hunted Braids, Chainer, and the Mirari. His sister, Jeska and her fall into becoming Phage. Ixidor and the wrathful Akroma. The aven soldiers: Aesha, Teroh, and more. The infamous pit fighters: Jareth, Arcanis, Rhorx, and Silvos. All of them trapped in a world being twisted and mutated as magic goes awry. I loved this cycle so much even if it was the end of Dominaria. All because of the flavor. There was a war, horrible things were happening, a god was born. That’s not to knock Invasion, that cycle was also one hell of a time to play Magic, but Odyssey and Onslaught were my first real forays into Magic and I missed out on Invasion.
Mirrodin was barbecue, it just dripped of flavor. The concept of an artifact world was just mind blowing. Then there was Kamigawa which was quite nearly one big Elder Dragon Highlander deck with all the legends crammed into it. Ravnica is still my favorite block after Onslaught. The ten guilds were an outstanding way to convey the world’s setting, tone, and character. It’s why I’m so stoked about Return. It’ll be interesting to see what Maro does with the nearly seven years of being the lead designer for Magic under his belt and coming off of the creative design heavy sets of Scars and Innstrad, I can only see awesome as the outcome. I will settle for nothing less.
Anyway, works hell so I’ll be going. Catch ya’ll around!
|Stuffy Fight Club|
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Ulvenwald Tracker
3 Void Stalker
4 Copper Myr
4 Silver Myr
4 Courtly Provocateur
2 Nibus of the Breath
2 Silklash Spider
4 Stuffy Doll
1 Tamiyo, The MoonsageArtifacts
2 Clock of Omens
2 Staff of Nin
4 Ring of Evos IsleLands
4 Evolving Wilds
Oh! Here’s draft two of Stuffy Fight Club. I’ve subbed out black for blue and pretty much said screw spells. I’ve got 2 Negate, 2 Essence Scatter, and 4 Rewind in my sideboard. Along with 4 Naturalize, I’m only a couple cards shy of having it completely done. I would’ve liked to have some gut shots or dismembers, but I’ll probably throw in 3 Prey Upon and call it a day.
Easily enough said, but far more difficult than it sounds. I’ve got a basic idea and some scribbles for the cast, but as they are, neither will get me very far. It’s the same sort of problem I have every time I want to do a comic, I just don’t have enough of a plan. So this time, I’m gonna get that all figured out. Right now.
Two friends, Keene “TrippleE” Greene and Charles, “Chuck88″ Reed, go to college for graphic design and play league. Coming up on the summer before senior year, the two of them, along with Chris “Swordcore” Li, set out to form a team in the hopes of making it to Dreamhack.
- Keene “TrippleE” Greene
- 1350 ELO
- Mains Blitzcrank, Alistar, and Leona
- Charles “Chuck88″ Reed
- AD Carry
- 1367 ELO
- Mains Urgot, Caitlyn, and Tristanna
- Chris “Swordcore” Li
- 1622 ELO
- Mains Shen, Riven
- Female 1 (Revealed Later)
- Female 2 (Revealed Later)
Timing and Scope
This is going to play out against a back drop of this year, granted that means squat once we get moving since a webcomic with plot that only updates at best twice a week moves slower than a glacier. Its gonna take a lot of time dilation to keep up with the real world version. You would think then that setting it back a bit might be prudent, but then its not as relevant, since I’m not talking about League today or this week even, it might as well mean nothing. OR maybe that’s too harsh, I’m not sure really.
Anyway, going to get back to drawing Hope to have something to show this evening
Synopsis/Background – Jump to Story
One of my goals for my first semester was to write a short story. Not a novel chapter, not a novella that I’d crammed into a tiny space, but a standalone narrative with a beginning, middle and end. That said, this Tess mystery is still part of something larger—think of it as something like the Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple short stories—but I feel it accomplishes that goal of having a narrative singularity.
As a note, the setting is a bit Sci-Fi/Alternate Reality, with primates not being the sole recipients of the “sapience gene.” Though I’ve not quite hammered down all the details, the history does stay pretty close to our own as most of the exceptions are pre-history and end up ironed out by the natural course of events. Yes, I realize that beast people would have greatly altered the course of history, but I’m fairly confident that the major high points would have still happened thanks to the nature of sapience. There would still be leaders, empires, and wars. Conflicts over religion, race, and everything else would still persist. In essence, the names might be different, but the moves and their effects are fairly inevitable.
Anyway, sticking with the Sherlock context, this is after Tess’ Sign of Four and Study In Scarlet cases and is about halfway through Adventures. The principles have already been established and the groundwork for the their relationships laid. The two mains, Kao and Tess, are roommates in Gilligan Hall at River City University.
Tess is at RCU because it is the premiere university for undergraduate creative writing. She has spider in her ancestry which is shown most prominently by her pointed ears and six extra eyes, two in the center of her forehead, one on either temple, and one on either cheekbone; the irises are red and the sclera is black. She is slender, pensive, and styles her hair to hide most of her eyes. She likes playing MMOs.
Kao on the other hand, is going to RCU on a Track and Field scholarship and is a psychology major. Her parents are from Australia and she carries the accent with pride. Kao has ‘roo in her ancestry and as such has their characteristic feet and ears, along with a tail that comes down to the back of her knees. Kao dresses casually, preferring printed t-shirts and loose pants. She is a hardcore PC gamer and does Maui Thai.
The story starts in February, six months into freshman year. People know that Tess solves mysteries about ghosts and the occult, her blog about the cases gets around a thousand hits a day. Their last case was stopping a cult from stealing the silver plates used by President Jefferson for communion. We open as the pair of them walk through historic Citadel Hill towards one of the city’s recent hauntings.
Story – Jump to Top
Tangora Del’Tessa—just Tess, please—and Kao Folsmith stood on the corner opposite of a mansion whose grounds occupied the entire block of 29th and Q in Citadel Hill. The sky was cloudless and the winter evening was tinged with a subtle chill.
“And you’re sure that place isn’t haunted?” Kao asked in a wavering tone. She was bundled up in a heavy black zipper hoodie that bore the letters RCU and came down to her hips. Her long speckled ears were down and back against her scarf. “I saw the news last night. A woman got attacked by the ghost while walking near here.” Her blue eyes darted around the abandoned intersection, looking for any sign of the specter they had come to disprove.
Tess blew her bangs out of her face and shifted in her patch-covered canvas coat. She stared across the street, taking in the huge house for a moment before responding. “Yeah, that place is totally haunted.”
Kao glanced at her roommate, eyebrow quirked and eyes widening. It was so hard to tell when the spider-girl was being serious with her deadpan tone; even now, after six months of living together.
Tess grinned at the expression, “If bad taste could be counted as a haunting, that is. My room is more haunted than this place.”
This was, at one point, the first chapter of Rebirth, but times have changed and its now somewhere near the middle. Rex has arrived from Farenheim in response to rumors that entire city has vanished the same way the Enthi had at the start of the novel almost two months ago. After the confrontation with the Brigade in New Fareh and later in Fayholme, Rex believes some very dark is responsible for the destruction and find himself apprehensive as he ventures into the unknown.
Feel free to comment, as always any feedback is appreciated.
Fog had rolled in with the storm, obscuring the beach in a fine mist. One that muffled the crashing waves but did nothing to soften the pouring rain. Even with my aura burning, I was getting soaked. I couldn’t turn back though, I close enough to the city now though to see its silhouette through the haze. Aside from the storm and waved though, there was no noise where there should have been. Even with the rain, there should have been the dull murmur of people conversing as they hurried through the streets. It looked like the first part of the rumors had been true—but what about the second? Only one way to find out.
I moved forward, the fog clearing with each step in that particular way it does while you’re standing amongst it; like you’re in a bubble. Anticipation rolled off my skin, mixing with the equally plentiful rain that blasted the open stretch of sand. Despite myself, I tensed up causing my aura’s light to wane and the mist to close in around me.
Soon, the base of the wall loomed out at me and my gaze climbed its face. I stopped after only a few feet. The white stone wall, which used to tower over me, was devastated. What remained was blackened and charred. Forgetting that there might be pirates or even Augmented Loh troops, I rushed through one of the gaps in the wall.
Scrambling up and over the debris, I found myself in a courtyard. There were no signs of life in the small open area. I forced myself to relax, to center, and felt my energy start to flow freely again. My aura flared up, burning off the fog and filling the space with blue light. Ornate columns emerged from the mist, a few still stood but many were knocked over and lay shattered on the stones. I cast it out in long sweeps around me, looking for energy, no matter how faint. Almost immediately, I knew it would be futile. The Currents of energy that used to run throughout the city were sluggish and weak. It was, in a sense, like all the water in a river had been removed, laving behind only mud. I knew before I’d even started there would be no survivors.
Got most of chapter one done, for now anyway–i need to move on and get more broad strokes filled in or I’ll spend all of NaNo tweaking this one scene. As such, I figured that I would put it up so people who were curious about what I was writing this time ’round could get a taste.
This is a story I’ve been “writing” for years now. I’ve got snippets all over the narrative in various states of draft. In keeping with the NaNo spirit, I’m only using them as notes and re-writing the lot of them. This time though, I’m gonna get it all down. Get all of it written–even if it kills me
When we first started North, I didn’t think that my life would take the dramatic turn it was about to. Granted, yes, things had already begun to change, year’s end was coming after all. The solstice brought with it the first signs of life’s return. Already the nights were growing shorter and the days warmer, the snow around Magian was melting, and the Silver river was nearing it’s banks.
Read the rest of this entry
Got the first draft of Suspicions workshopped in class last week—and the feedback was somewhat mixed. A fair share like I’ve I got so far, a few think I went too far with the fantastical–I think it might have been the Cerberus Bear. In the interest of making the story fit the rather diminutive 5k word count, I have to agree that I’ve probably put in too much for it to really work. Working on paring it down and refocusing on a more “realistic—though still fantasy” story.
Oddly, the biggest contention point was the use of creatures that, to me anyway, are common knowledge. Here’s an example: an orc gets on the bus with James in the first scene and everyone was torn about what I called it. Some worried it being an orc carried too many connotations that would be missed on some readers, some felt I needed to call it something else, others felt that my description was too Warcraft and not enough Tolkein.
The disparity struck me as odd. Leading me to hazard a guess that most my class is probably not deeply steeped the in fantasy canon. Which creates a…unique situation. One that is both an opportunity and a potential disaster. In a story with only five thousands words, I don’t have the luxury of explaining every little creature I throw down. Since I would like to get this published, it would seem my audience is limited to only those with at least a cursory knowledge of what these things are. A problem indeed.
On the other hand though, this is—at heart—a detective noir. Something many people like, even if they don’t completely catch every nuance. On that thread, what’s to say that an orge or minotaur need any more explaining than just their names and what they’re wearing? Why not just run with it like they’re a normal thing—which in the setting they are—and leave it up to people’s imagination? In a way, that should work, it might even make people who wouldn’t read fiction consider picking up something fantastical.
Which comes back to my point above, that I need to keep this as reigned in as possible—even when the mood strikes me to go all over the place. Grounding this narrative in noir fiction gives it an edge that cuts through the need for a complete context. Hopefully I can pull that off…I’ve never quite been to hold back on a neat idea.
Wish me luck!
Just one of the scenes I’ve drafted down. Felt like sharing, let me know what you think^^
It had all started on the New moon, just about three weeks ago. Ferals were always a risk at the moon’s lowest point, when the veil was at its thinnest. Usually though, the devils that crossed over were just small ones, devilkin that looked like twisted animals. That night however, it was something else that stepped into our world. James could still feel the words crashing over him when he first looked at the report.
According to eyewitnesses, the creature just appeared, half of its bulk sticking out of a building, over on the six hundred block of east Park around four A.M. Everyone agreed it was covered in dull, mottled brown scales and resembled a massive three headed bear. After hesitating for a moment, the creature—dubbed Cerberus Bear—wrenched itself free of the five story structure, destroying its north side and tumbling the debris to the nearly empty street below. Of the forty tenants, six were killed in the destruction and many more died later from their injuries, two are still missing. The creature then went on a rampage. It headed south, tearing through the streets for five blocks before it was finally taken down by the Anti-Devil Unit. The final count made James sick, over forty dead in only one night. It was the worst devil attack in months. Had it just been the bear, James might have accepted the event as normal except, two nights later he was on his way home when another such creature appeared.
This story is part of the portfolio I submitted to Graduate School. As I’ve not heard back from them yet, I figured putting this up and getting some positive energy buzzing around couldn’t hurt. It’s a slice of life genre story, with no real big climax or resolution. Just a small revelation, like anyone could experience. Granted, the setting isn’t just regular people–that’d be too boring, right?–but I don’t want to spoil things for you. Story follows the break. As always, feedback and thoughts are appreciated.