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The World of Kamigawa
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    I like Angrath's straightforward approach, and how his assumptions about Huatli are as hilariously mistaken as hers are about the city she saw. Too bad he didn't figure out a way to spam planeswalking attempts to throw off the compass, though. But I guess that would be more of a U move. Smile

    Still loving the Jace+Vraska relationship. I like her line about his hair. I can definitely see soft hair seeming sexy and exotic to a gorgon.

    As for the Noggin Whack fixing Jace's amnesia -- eh, it's a proven method. It worked on Archer, right?
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    Quote from Emelica »
    This is one of those stories where I wonder if the different segments were written by different writers. Mavren's piece was enjoyable. Good usage of "show, don't tell" to establish his character while maintaining a proper pace in the telling of the story. Vona's piece on the other hand... good grief! Everything above the Dusk Legion Dreadnought picture was just one big info-dump that did nothing to advance the plot. Yes, it established her character. Yay. As Mavren's piece showed, there are better ways to do that.

    Yes, I think you're exactly right with this. I hit that Vona section, and after about 2 sentences I was thinking, "Oh dear, show don't tell, Wizards, show don't tell." When pieces aren't really edited, we're pretty much just seeing the raw writing capability of whoever gets assigned a particular section, which obviously varies in quality a great deal.
    Overall, I like this storyline--though I must admit I've always had a soft spot for Wacky Race type stories. So far we have a boat, a dino, and an elemental. I wonder what Angrath and Kumena will be riding. Smile
    (Any thoughts on who will end up being the Dick Dastardly?)

    Yeah, Wacky Races! Are the pirates the Anthill Mob? Smile
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    I liked the piece overall, a workmanlike setup for the main concluding action of this set's storyline, though the actual execution of the writing still is pretty uneven. But it did its job. We've got our factions set up and all on the case. One interesting thing is that with the exception of Mavren Fein, all of the factions seeking the city are starting from the same general geographical location. That means that there's a lot of probability for them coming into conflict during the course of their journey, rather than just at the end when they find Orazca.

    Speaking of Mavren, I like him. I feel like they're doing exactly what I'd hoped with the contrast between Mavren and Vona as a (relatively) good and (definitely) evil pair of faction representatives. Good parallelism among the various factions, who all have a similar pairing (except, so far, with the Sun Empire, which makes me more confident that the Emperor will turn out to be more villainous later on). Having multiple "good guys" with conflicting goals, as well as multiple competing "bad guys" too, is a much more interesting narrative structure than the straight-up good vs. evil setup of several recent stories.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Storytelling Critique Thread
    Quote from Jay13x »
    Quote from Trinite0 »
    Then I guess this is the right place to say that "The Talented Captain Vraska" really needed some proofreading. I liked the story content, but boy were there some jarring errors.
    Oh? Like what? (Genuinely curious)

    "Vraska had never been hired to do anything other than kill before."
    Then later:
    "She was humbled, alarmed, and excited all at once. No one had hired her to do anything other than kill before." {looks like a copy-paste error from rearranging where that phrase was going to fit into the story}

    "Jace coughed and blinked open his eyes. Vraska snuffed the fire in her mind and looked down at him with no magic in her eyes." {using "eyes" twice in succession like that is awkward}

    "Jace finished his first bowl of porridge in two minutes flat..." and "You have two minutes to explain how you found me before I turn you to stone and use you as a paperweight, Jace." {another phrase awkwardly repeated in too-close proximity}

    And there are a bunch of slightly more subtle ways in which sentences are constructed in unclear forms, verb tenses are slightly misused ("picked up" instead of "had picked up" for a past-perfect, stuff like that).

    It's not bad writing, per se; it's just the sort of rough edges you always have in a draft, which can get smoothed down by a simple copy editing* pass or two. Mostly, it's stuff that is much more noticeable when reading the piece for the first time with no foreknowledge of its content, so the writer really can't ever see it themselves. That's why it's always best to have a different person do a copy edit at least once. I really get the feeling that nobody at Wizards does this for these stories anymore, or if they do they don't go through them with much effort and detailed care. Which I can understand, it's time consuming work for what seems like minor benefit, and everybody's busy.

    On the plus side, this story did teach me a new word, "knolling," and even defined it in the sentence where it was used, which is great style!

    *I should have said "copy editing" instead of "proofreading" in my original comment; they're technically two different things.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Who is Angrath?
    Quote from Ander228 »
    Just theorising here: Angrath is an agent of Bolas, and here are some points explaining why:
    • We just finished a set recasting Nicol Bolas as the main villain and setting up a possible future big battle between his forces and whichever plane he chooses to invade.
    • Nicol Bolas already has 2 planeswalkers working for him: BU Tezzaret and UR Ral Zarek. Having a RB planeswalker would complete the BUR triangle.
    • The golden city could be either too elusive or too effort-intensive for Bolas to search for himself (or just beneath his effort when he can have someone else find it for him).

    It think it's much more likely that Angrath is independent. It would be a weird duplication of roles if Bolas already had somebody on Ixalan before sending Vraska, and even if he did, you'd expect him to tell her about it as part of her mission (either to team up with him, or else to take him out if he's gone rogue).

    Now, Angrath could very well get recruited by Bolas as a result of this storyline, especially if he's present when the showdown over the Immortal Sun happens. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he ends up tipping the balance in favor of Vraska in the big final scene. Or, if Vraska decides to betray Bolas in the end, Angrath could end up grabbing the Immortal Sun and completing her mission for her to curry favor with NB (or simply to finally get off Ixalan).
    Posted in: Storyline Speculation
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    Quote from Unique_Fossil »
    Attending to the matter of the thaumatic compass pointing to Jace:
    • So far it has been assumed the compass will only point to the Immortal Sun.
    • We have also made the possible leaps that the Immortal Sun is something not native to this world.
    • What if, rather than the compass being tuned solely to the Immortal Sun, it is simply attuned to ANYTHING that is not native to the world Ixalan inhabits?

    Well, that would make it pretty awkward for Vraska to use, wouldn't it? "Why does this piece-of-junk compass always point directly at me?"

    Quote from Flisch »
    I think people are making this more complicated than it has to be. The compass is a piece of magic in a story with very limited space. It's not going to have any super-convoluted means to operate. It'll either be a compass that points to "what vraska needs" (to fulfill her quest) or "what she wants" (the compass knowing what she desires).

    The Pirates of the Caribbean forum is athataway ->

    And the "Plot devices stolen directly from Pirates of the Caribbean" forum is right here. Wink

    Flisch is right. The compass points at wherever the next plot point is that Vraska needs to get though to eventually find Orazca.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on What can be moved from plane to plane?
    Quote from kanoyugoro »
    Even in one of the more recent stories where have wakes on ixalan, he mentioned he has a different kind of sand on his boots than the sand on the beach he woke up on. So in a sense you could carry some soil/sand/ground/detritus with you if it was small enough and close enough to your body.

    The Ixalan ecosystem better watch out for all that xenobacteria from Amonkhet and Ravnica. Don't breathe on any of the natives, Jace and Vraska, or the New World inspirations for this setting might suddenly get a little too real! Shocked
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Could Tezzeret be good and figured out how to beat Bolas?
    I really don't think there's any hope for "redemption" for Tezzeret. After all of the innocent people he hurt during his brief tyrannical stint on Kaladesh, he isn't being written to deserve any sympathy. That said, there is some tension in his relationship with Nicol Bolas, and I could see Tez possibly trying to betray Bolas at some point down the line. But I don't think it's likely to have anything to do with Ixalan or the planeswalker-trapping power of the Immortal Sun. For one thing, Bolas clearly already knows about the anti-planeswalk thing, and in fact that may be why he sent Vraska to get the Immortal Sun for him.

    In addition, formally speaking, the arc of the Ixalan block is not directly about Bolas or Tezzeret. To the extent that it is related to the main narrative stream of the Magic multiverse, it's just an interstitial story about one small element of Bolas's master plan. It's mostly a character-developing side-story about Jace and Vraska (and maybe Huatli and Angrath, if they end up staying relevant to the story after the block is over). Right now Bolas is the overarching super-villain of the entire Magic story. They wouldn't put such a massive plot twist in a minor story, nor would they do it so soon after Hour of Devastation clearly positioned Bolas as the big bad antagonist of the whole saga.

    They're going to spend a long time building up to the next major conflict with Bolas. The next few blocks are going to lay the groundwork for that, showing various elements of Bolas's big scheme coming together (the planar bridge, the Immortals, the Immortal Sun, something from Dominaria, etc.) and then revealing the true purpose that he's going for. At that point, the Gatewatch will probably get another crack at thwarting him, and only then might there be some new drama about Tezzeret. Until then, I think we can expect to see Tez just sticking to his role as Bolas's gofer.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    Quote from Quannage »

    I think this indicates a tonal shift from Amonkhet. there was so much wanton death and destruction in that plane, perhaps a plane where the casualties are minimal is a way to cleanse the pallette. kinda like hoe kaldesh itself was an tonal shift from Innistrad. I just hope we don't get into a dark set/light set pattern.

    Yes, I understand the need for a "palate cleanser" set if they don't want the overall tone of the game to get too grim (I'm glad they learned from the old criticisms of that long run of Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Alara/Zendikar/Scars/Innistrad, when every block was about some apocalyptic disaster). I just thought that Kaladesh was a bit too artificial in the way that it dialed back the violence and danger. So far, Ixalan seems to be to be doing a better job of balancing things out without feeling fake (for the most part). The first time a dinosaur actually eats somebody, I'll be perfectly happy. Smile

    Quote from Etherium Sage »

    Have you considered that the Immortal Sun itself might not be native to Ixalan, but was instead planted there by a walker?

    Planeswalkers have shaped the histories of many planes, and Ixalan is probably no different.

    Yes, Jay has got me on board with the theory that Ugin is responsible for the Immortal Sun's anti-planeswalking power. The question I'm more curious about now is what else can the Immortal Sun do? I wouldn't think it would have such a strong mythical reputation if the shield thing were all there was to it. And was it created/brought there by Ugin, or did Ugin alter something that was already on the plane? Could he have considered it to be so dangerous to the multiverse that he enchanted it to prevent planeswalkers from easily stealing it?

    Quote from Kruphix7 »
    Cool story today, good cliffhanger ending. Kumena is the best kind of villain in that he's one with understandable motivations. I wonder if every faction is going to have a "good" representative and a "bad" representative. Vraska is our protagonist while Angrath seems like a walking disaster. Huatli seems like a chill chick while the Sun emperor comes off a little shady, and even though the shapers overall seem fairly benevolent Kumena is clearly ruthless. Maybe in the legion we'll see Arguel as a more moderate force while Vona is butchering away? It would be kind of cool if WOTC showed that there were heroes and villains in every part of this conflict. Even if they don't though I'm really enjoying Ixalan so far.

    Yes, I hope this is the direction they go with it. At this point, it seems like the Legion of Dusk is the only faction we haven't had a viewpoint story for yet. I hope they have a protagonist/antagonist pair as compelling as the other ones we've seen so far.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    Interesting story! I really like the take on the River Wardens' shamanic magic. The connection of merfolk to rivers is something we really haven't seen since Lorwyn. This is a really cool take on the tribal shaman trope. I'd love to see how Kiora might interact with their culture, since she's so fixated on the ocean and its gigantic denizens.

    Quote from Pollaski »
    4. As anyone else noticed that there's a distinct chivalrous aspect to the world, where it almost seems unneeded death is frowned upon by pretty much everyone? The Sun Empire has gone out of their way to not kill enemies. Vraska's pirates were more focused on subduing, and while she did kill the captain, it seemed more to get the rest of the vampires to stop fighting out of awe. Kumena's drowning of the SE warrior offended all the other merfolk, and Tishana subsumed Kumena's spell to stop him from unnecessarily imperiling more lives. Even the vampires seem to have a very rigid code on what they do and don't do.

    I hope it's more of a feature of the plane as a whole rather than any one faction. I was put off by it when it seemed like the Sun Empire was unrealistically non-violent, since I suspected it was just a move to ensure that they were definitely the good guys.

    That said, even if low violence is the norm for all the factions, it might end up bothering me the same way that Kaladesh did, making the whole plane seem a bit more like a kids' cartoon than a story about real conflict.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on What can be moved from plane to plane?
    Quote from Etherium Sage »
    The Chain Veil, Mox Opal, Thassa's Bident... all things that can be carried. The core of the Planar Bridge as well - yet not the entire device. Who can lift a Paradox Engine, let alone PW with it, for example? Tezz just needed the Planar Bridge technology to replicate elsewhere, really. There's probably a radius for all living matter protected by the spark, and inanimate objects in close proximity to the protected host.

    Have we ever had a Giant planeswalker? That could do it.

    But yes, I do think there are some rules to this whole thing, but they aren't as clear-cut as a concise list of what a Neowalker can or can't do, or precise post-Mending descriptions of what can withstand the energies of the Blind Eternities, what can't withstand it, and to what extent those things that can withstand it can do so.

    Nicol Bolas and Ugin aren't technically giants, but they are pretty big.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on What can be moved from plane to plane?
    You can carry anything that makes sense for the plot, and nothing that would mess up the plot.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Storytelling Critique Thread
    Then I guess this is the right place to say that "The Talented Captain Vraska" really needed some proofreading. I liked the story content, but boy were there some jarring errors.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    Quote from royishere »
    Anyone else notice the times phrases were literally repeated within the story? Stuff like Jace proving to be "absurdly useful" twice or Vraska thinking about how nobody had ever hired her to do something besides kill twice with almost exactly the same phrasing both times.

    This is sloppy stuff, and makes me wonder if these articles get a proofreader.

    Yeah, this one really seemed like it had some serious proofreading problems. I've noticed a few issues with that in previous stories, but there were some major errors in this one.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    Quote from Etherium Sage »
    Quote from Trinite0 »
    I predict that the planar bridge will be used to move the Immortal Sun off of Ixalan, which will remove the anti-planeswalking shield from the plane. I suspect that Bolas is planning to use it to lock in a different plane, so that no one can leave it without using his bridge. What plane could that be, though?

    In other words, you think he'll use the wombo combo of the Sun and the Planar Bridge to hold planeswalkers on a plane of his choosing at ransom?

    Considering it's a popular hub for planeswalkers, Ravnica perhaps?

    I don't know about "ransom," but yeah, maybe. Or if he was trying to assassinate a planeswalker, locking them up with the Immortal Sun would be a useful move. Maybe he wants to lock up someone (Ugin?) in order to prey upon them and try to restore his pre-Mending power level. I really think he's got to have a better use for the Sun than simply as a power source.

    But the Immortals point more to a planar conquest plan, and I'm not sure how locking planeswalkers *into* a plane would help with that, except maybe locking them on another plane to keep them away from his conquest target?

    I like the cleverness of the idea that he might be going after New Phyrexia, though I'm dubious that that's the real story they're planning.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
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