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  • posted a message on [SSC XX] Vanda Munda: The Golem
    The Golem
    By Quan Williams

    “Soon,” the wizard Abjicnal muttered to himself, “soon my revenge will be complete.” He sat in darkness, a toothy grin plastered across his face. His moment would soon come, and his hated enemies would finally pay for their insolence, their arrogance, and their repeated attempts at his life.
    It was a good thing Abjicnal was a resourceful wizard, otherwise his last encounter with his hated nemesis would have indeed been his last. But the protective wards he placed on his scrying pool activated just in time, draining the heavy water out of his lungs before he drowned and whisking him through a secret exit in his lair.
    Abjicnal sneered. The nerve of his enemy, trying to drown him in his own scrying pool! Sure, Abjicnal was using it to spy on his hated nemesis, but that still did not excuse his enemy pushing him into the pool of heavy water. But the wizard survived, and that incident would only be added to the long list of reasons his revenge against his enemy would be that much sweeter. He had learned from the incident. He would not underestimate his nemesis again. This time his victory would be complete.
    The plan was excellent. The Garland Kingdom his enemies called home kept the rare and beautiful Vurloauk as its royal steed. They were captured and tamed wild, and then bred to the exact specifications of the royalty and noble houses. This was the key to the plan.
    It took weeks of arduous work, tracking down the rare beasts in the vast, barren Zoarlands, and carefully studying their movements and habits. The Vurloauks were not only jumpy and quick to run at even the slightest hint of danger, but they were also sensitive to magic, making Abjicnal’s invisibility cloak and concealment spells useless. He had to survey his quarry the hard way, hiding in the dried out thicket the Vurloaks ate, hoping they would not try to eat his hiding place, careful not to make even the slightest sound as he observed the majestic beasts.
    But it was worth it. The information he gathered on them was invaluable for his plans. Once he returned to his new lair in the Zerf Ara Mountains, it was just a matter of having his imps collect enough primal clay of Numaal to sculpt his golem, then casting the proper enchantments to bring it to artificial life. Abjicnal beamed. His golem was a masterpiece, almost a work of art. It was completely and totally lifelike, perfect in every way, indistinguishable from the powerful and regal, mighty and wild King Vorloauk, the most beautiful and rarest of the already hard-to-find Spry Vorloauk, a favorite of the Queen Mother. To see such a magnificent creature docile and waiting at your front door as a gift would surely be too tempting an offer to resist. And that was why the wizard placed his golem right at the kingdom’s gates, with a note saying “To Garland from the Far Lands.”
    “Then it will begin,” Abjicnal muttered from within the golem. He was not hiding inside it so much as he had become part of it, merging his physical essence with that of the golem’s for easier concealment. Of course, he still had all of his human faculties and was sensitive to whatever sensations the golem felt, but there was no way any human could tell that the golem was not a real Vurloauk, much less that there was a human being mixed in there with it. All it took was for one of the Queen Mother’s attendants to bring the gift beast into the royal stables to prepare to present to Queen Mother Aleka. That night, Abjicnal would dissolve the golem and rematerialize himself, emerging from the stables as the mighty and terrible wizard he knew himself to be, fully powered and ready to destroy anything and everyone in his way. He would storm the palace, taking everyone by surprise, crating havoc and terror with his deadliest, most destructive and most powerful spells. But he would save two very special spells. One was a specially concocted “unraveling” spell which, upon physical contact with his victim, would make the victim unravel and peel apart like the skin of a glenfruit. Within seconds the person would be nothing more than a writhing pile of flesh on the floor. That one he had saved especially for combat with his hated nemesis, the hero of the realm, the champion of Garland Kingdom and the Queen Mother’s protector and lover, Zion.
    The other spell was a simple word of command he would use to make Aleka, the Queen Mother herself, his unwilling slave. She would turn rulership of the kingdom over to him at his command, and be his sex slave. She would do so knowing she was under his control and detesting every minute of it, but his spell would make her unable to control herself. “Yes,” he muttered, “a fitting punishment for Aleka for daring to defy me.”
    Abjicnal smugly waited, reveling in his genius. Surely the Garland kingdom, Zion and Aleka would never see him coming. The plan was foolproof. All he had to do was wait for the moment to strike.

    “Such a remarkable steed…” Said a white-robed attendant as he wiped a hand across the Vurloauk’s mane. Zion walked up behind him, sinewy ebon arms clasped behind his back.
    “Yes, it is.” He said as he stopped directly in front of the beast, “And you said it has been standing docile all day?”
    “Yes.” The attendant said with a nod.
    Zion rubbed some stubble on his chin and returned the nod, albeit more slowly and more directed at the Vurloauk. “Interesting.”
    The attendant reached towards the ground and picked up a harness and leash. “The Queen Mother – may the great celestial eternally bless her beauty – ordered me to pick it up and take it to her royal stables,” he said, “Surely she will be most pleased to take it for her first ride around the kingdom.”
    The champion of Garland stretched out his arm and held up a white-gloved palm, stopping the attendant in his tracks. “Have you inspected it?” He asked.
    The attendant shrugged. “Is there a need? Look at it, Zion! It is perfection that must amaze and dazzle even your jaded eyes. It has no limp, no brokenness, no sign of disease or malnutrition, no deformity, no mutation. It is an absolute perfect beast!”
    “Indeed,” Zion replied, his eyes narrowing, “perhaps a little too perfect. No one saw this steed brought to our gate, and since it has been here, no one has tried to steal it.” He regarded the steed for a while in silence, then turned to the attendant and said, “It does appear hungry, though, don’t you think?”
    The attendant agreed. “Well, it has been standing in one place without a meal for almost a whole day.”
    Zion nodded, and reached his gloved hand into a satchel he had slung across his side. “I think we should feed it.” Within seconds he pulled out a strangely shaped, green fruit with a giant root protruding from its center.
    “This is a normfruit,” Zion said as he showed it to the attendant, “When I heard there was a Vurloauk nearby, I grabbed a few to help us capture it. It’s a rare form of glenfruit that is a delicacy for these beasts. They grow in places that are hard for Vurloaks to reach, and I have heard that a Vurloak who eats one will go for days without eating anything else until it gets back to its pack with the smell of the fruit on its breath. A Vurloak with this scent is allowed the pick of its pack for a mate, even the leader’s mate, or the leader itself.”
    The attendant was awestruck at the information. “Amazing, Zion! I never knew of such fruit!” he then cocked his head to the side and asked, “but why are you wearing a fur glove to carry it?”
    Zion tossed the green fruit into the air and caught it with the same gloved hand.
    “That is because, unlike the glenfruit, the normfruit is poisonous to the touch for humans. Its juices have been used in many of our world’s most toxic and lethal poisons. The core of this fruit is also highly volatile, and will explode violently within seconds of being agitated. The Kensington Empire has been trying for months to harness this explosive property for military use.”
    Zion smiled, and slid his ungloved hand into another white fur glove attached to his satchel. “So to us, the normfruit is extremely dangerous,” he then violently ripped the root away from the fruit, tossed the root in a nearby thicket and shook the fruit as hard as he could before adding, “but to a Vurloak, it is just a tasty snack.”
    Zion turned towards the beast and tossed the fruit – which by then had started making a strange hiss sound – at the beast. “Here you go, mighty steed, enjoy.”
    The vurloauk quickly snatched the fruit out of the air with its forejaws, a brief pause and what seemed like a look of concern crossing the steed’s face before it started blissfully chewing the fruit and swallowing it.
    “Interesting,” Zion said, “it seems to enjoy the fruit pretty well.”
    “You sound disappointed, Zion,” the attendant said, “Were you expecting something different?”
    Zion shook his head. “Not exactly. But it is no big matter. You may gird the beast and bring it in.”
    The attendant nodded and thanked Zion, and Zion turned his back to walk back into the kingdom’s gates. He stopped when he heard a strange yelp come from behind him, then an ear-splitting BOOM followed shortly by the shocked and terrified scream of the attendant.
    Zion cavalierly turned and returned to the attendant, who was sitting on the ground, his white robe now covered in black soot. The stench of charred flesh filled his nostrils as he fixated his eyes on the sight the now horrified attendant stared at.
    “Funny,” Zion said, “I have never seen that happen to a Vurloauk after eating a normfruit.”
    “But it just exploded,” the attendant stammered, “I was approaching it, and it made this horrible sound and just exploded. It looked like there was a man trying to crawl out of it, but he was fused with what was left of the golem! It was the most ghastly thing I have ever seen in my entire life!”
    A satisfied grin crept across Zion’s face. “Yes, I’m sure it is. Come, let us report this to the Queen Mother.”

    A few feet away from the retreating hero, the charred remains of the golem smoldered.
    Posted in: Personal Writing
  • posted a message on O-Kagachi Vs. Eldrazi...
    I love these "hypothetical battle" debates. My brother and I go back and forth over stuff like "Captain America vs. Batman" and "Captain Marvel vs. Captain Mar-Vell" all of the time.

    The latest one we've been debating is Yawgmoth vs. Bolas. Maybe that will be my next poll...
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on The current state of Savor the Flavor
    I miss Matt! Now that he's back working at Wizards, give him back his rightful feature!
    Think we can set up a petition?
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Who was the best Evincar?
    Just reading over the old Weatherlight Saga stuff, and a thought crossed my mind.

    Would it have made for a better story had Mirri actually been made Evincar instead of Crovax? The Planar Chaos Mirri was formidable, and set up a nice rivalry with Crovax. But I'm thinking in terms of Gerrard being the main hero. It would have created more tension to have to fight against his former best friend than against Crovax, who he didn't have as strong a connection with.
    Of course, keeping Volrath as Evincar would also have worked, but I'm assuming that would have been too predictable. But as a reader you want to see two guys on a collision course have it out, and in killing off Volrath, we were robbed of that final battle between Gerrard and Veul.

    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on O-Kagachi Vs. Eldrazi...
    Okay, for everyone who liked the Kamigawa storyline and everyone who dug the Eldrazi stuff...

    O-Kagachi vs. any of the Eldrazi big boys: who wins?

    (sorry, I don't know how to make this into a poll)
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on I miss Mana Burn...
    Quote from Keys Myaths
    Couldn't they just concede?

    Nope. That's too much like admitting defeat. better to go out in a blaze of glory than to just say "I give up" and scoop.

    And yes, "hurricane" gets played a lot at my kitchen table for this exact reason.

    "With my dying breath, I stab at thee..."
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on I miss Mana Burn...
    The main thing eliminating mana burn did was make it so "sour grape" players who were losing couldn't tap all their mana and kill themselves if the game wasn't going their way in multiplayer (and yes, I saw a LOT of that at my kitchen table).
    I've got a guy in my playgroup who built one deck specifically around cards like power surge , mana barbs and mana flare in a strange "lock." the idea was that you had to be very careful in how you used your mana or you'd get a ton of negative feedback. getting rid of mana burn made that deck a LOT less effective, and he was not happy about that (the rest of us were quite glad to see that deck retired,though.)
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Trample Query
    So it's still okay to absorb trample damage with multiple blockers? That's good to know.

    (and I'm a moron for not paying attention to the changes in the Trample rule in the first place.)
    Posted in: Magic Rulings Archives
  • posted a message on Mark Rosewater is a diabolical genius.
    I don't want Magic to only be 5% of the tcg market share like Mac OS's in the computer market shares (source: http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8 )

    ah, but computers are only a fraction of what Apple does. look at their marketshare with cellphones: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-20015564-260.html

    and Mp3 players: http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2009/09/09/ipod_market_share_at_73_8_percent_225_million_ipods_sold_more_games_for_touch_than_psp_nds_apple

    and netbooks: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20007756-64.html

    Apple's philosophy has always been "domination through innovation" and Mark wants MTG to be a game that pushes boundaries while still being the prominent card game in the biz.
    Also keep in mind that Magic is NOT competing with other card games. that has not been their focus (at least, not according to Mark). MTG isn't trying to be better than Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon or Bakugan or whatever card game is the flavor of the month. Magic is trying to get into the iconic level of Dungeons and Dragons or Monopoly. You're going to be playing MTG long after you've outgrown Yu-Gi-Oh, just like when someone says ".mp3s" the first word that probably comes to mind if "ipod" or "itunes,"
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Mark Rosewater is a diabolical genius.
    I read Rosewater religiously...but I actually skipped over the article in question because i read the first few paragraphs and thought it was a boring read.
    when i found out a week later that said article was a flant, I didn't feel violated at all. My first thought was "kewl trick. wish i'd thought of it."
    the backlash reminds me of how put-off many people were over andy kauffman because much of his humor was at the expense of the audience. mark played a practical joke on us. even if i was offended by it, i wouldn't swear him off or stop reading his articles. i'm generally a forgiving guy, and it's not like he came out and said my hometown needs to be bulldozed because it has poor people in it, or anything like that (oh, somebody DID say that publicly. but it wasn't Mark rosewater...). And how far do you take it if you don't want anything to do with the guy for his crime? he DOES run MTG, after all. are you going to stop playing because he lied to you? or maybe just find the cards he directly designed and remove them from your collection. boycott WOTC? Avoid driving through Renton, WA?
    All I'm saying is, even if his article bothered you, there's no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you liked his writing before this little practical joke, then maybe you should give the guy the benefit of the doubt. send him an email telling him he went too far and he needs to check himself before he wrex himself or something like that. but if you find that guy and what he has to say about magic design and creativity in general to be facinating and insightful stuff (like I do) then give the guy another chance.
    and yeah, he DOES mention that he wrote for "Roseanne" a bit too much. dude's got a big ego, but i'm not hating on that. if you want to be the best at what you do, you must actually believe you're the best at what you do.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Bad Deck Names from Friends
    Anybody remember 1990's hip-hop?

    my monowhite soldier tribal deck used to be called...
    but times have changed, so now it's
    "solja boyz tell'em (oh!)"

    now i want to build a deck around jace and call it "prettyboy swag".

    my BU mill deck is named after a lil' wayne rap song, "a milli"

    and i have a monogreen "land attacks" deck originally built around Living Lands an a cool Jolrael, empress of beasts. so what's the name?
    yep, it's "LL Cool J."

    and then there's my monored "Dragons What" deck.
    because it's got Dragons.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Best (and worst) villains
    cool villains not mentioned: Leshrac, Kaervec, Marisil.

    villains that sucked: Oona and all the villains from Lorwyn/Shadowmoor, Lim-Dul, that chick from Prophecy, The First from Onslaught.... and Heidar from coldsnap-although the way he murked lovissa coldeyes still haunts me.

    BTW, have you noticed that we've had villains in every color except Green? Are they saying green can't be evil?
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on [[Official]] How do you sort/store your collection?
    I have two long boxes of cards where I keep my commons divided by color (W, U, G and Artifacts in one box; B, R and multicolor/colorless in another box). My uncommons and extra lands I keep in a fatpack box, once again, divided by color (I also keep all of my favorite utility cards - seals and charms - in the fatpack box, too)
    I keep my rares and mythics in a binder, separated by color. I have a bunch of extra sleeves where I store cards for unfinished decks I'm working on.

    I like the idea of sorting also by expansion, but I just don't have the time to go through all of my cards like that.

    Decks are stored wherever I can find space for them. I have two long boxes for decks: one for "rubberband decks" that don't have a lot of rares or don't win a lot, one for "box decks" that have 5-10 rares in them and are kept int hose old 75-card boxes. for decks where all my cards are in sleeves, I keep those in fatpack boxes, and I have a shoebox for my "top level" decks that are both in sleeves and a deckbox.

    for cataloging, i use a combination of Microsoft Excel (where I keep track of all of my decks. I LOVE lists and stats and stuff like that) and the online database essentialmagic.com (where I keep track of most of my individual cards)
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on opposite art?
    just saw the art for the old defender of law and defender of chaos cards, and I started wondering about cards that had opposite art. I'm curious as to what cards had art depicted that way. I know there were a bunch in Lorwyn-Shadowmoor block, but I can't figure out which cards mirror each other 9aside from the obvious ones)

    can anyone help me?
    Posted in: Magic General
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