Friday, September 21, 2018

Ruin of Seffala - W/U/R Mechanic: Followthrough

Followthrough is a new mechanic that pays attention to the stack. Followthrough can be found on Instants, spells with Flash, and activated abilities. The template is always "Followthrough—When you [cast ~ / activate this ability] in response to another spell or activated ability,...". So you would want to cast the card or activate the ability in the same way you'd play a counterspell, when another spell or activated ability is currently on the stack, before it resolves.

This mechanic essentially gives a little bonus whenever you trigger it, though the card itself already does something without triggering Followthrough. This can get interesting and tricky, because you may start playing cards at sub-optimal times for the advantage.

Opt Through, Call the Volantile, Seer Savior, Flash of Lightning
Click to see bigger.
For instance, Opt Through is basically Opt, which you often want to do on another player's end step, but it's like Opt and a half if you cast it, say, as your opponent casts a creature during their main phase.

Call the Volantile would ordinarily be a card to play after an opponent declares attackers, but you might give up the surprise for an extra token.

Triggering the Followthrough ability on Seer Savior gets tricky, because you'd most definitely want that surprise First Strike after attackers are declared, and it's not likely that the opponent is going to play an extra spell or activate an ability before blockers are declared. But you aren't stopped from casting your own spell or activating your own ability first, to act as a cantrip, to get that trigger.

Just such a trick can be pulled off even more easily with Flash of Lightning, which is Shock when you don't Followthrough, and Lightning Bolt when you do.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ruin of Seffala: W/U Shamans 2: Token Boogaloo

More cards in the "Shamans matter" theme of W/U. This time I introduce the Shaman Token and a couple of places where it gets made.

Sly Charlatan, Blinkered Push, Drove Caller, Shaman
Click to enlarge
Sly Charlatan is not a Shaman himself, but manages to trick real Shamans into believing he's worthy of being followed. Mechanically he's just two Shaman tokens, one at cast and one whenever you feel like chump blocking (like the way Doomed Traveler works with a bonus on cast).

Drove Caller is the real deal, fighting the good fight and calling Shamans to his aid.

Blinkered Push is more of an anti-blink effect, where, instead of removing a creature from the battlefield and putting it back, this one puts it down and immediately brings it back. This allows you to take advantage of enter the battlefield effects, or, in the case of Sly Charlatan, leave the battlefield effects as well. You could use Blinkered Push on Sly Charlatan, get two tokens, then cast Sly Charlatan and get a third token. You could also trigger enter the battlefield effects on a card in your hand that's too expensive to cast immediately, but still has a relevant effect.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Ruin of Seffala: W/U Shamans

Ruin of Seffala is a Magic: the Gathering set I've designed, particularly made for a limited environment (making cards work for a constructed setting like Modern or Standard is beyond me at this point). My hope, of course, is that this is a well-balanced set, but this is more of an exercise to prove to myself that I even can make a full-size set, complete with mechanical and story themes.

One of the earliest themes I wanted to try was white and blue witches. "Witch", however, has never been a defined creature type in Magic. Later you'll see I've invented another creature type, so I thought about what I could replace the word "witch" with, while maintaining the same flavor. I figured "shaman" might do better. Turns out there are only about six white or blue shamans (that don't also share black, red, or green), so I thought it was an under-utilized subtype in those colors. Of course, blue always has wizards, but that gave the wrong feel for me.

As I came up with cards, I pushed forward with a story theme about how the shamans of Seffala were once non-magical humans, but due to a devestating near-apocalyptic scenario, the humans became no more than mere survivors, trying to rebuild. Along came a new religion and a new prophet, and a variety of shamanic magic was discovered.

I will be posting cards in groups of about four, like so:

Drover Priest, Coddlewitch, Vitalizing Ritual, Hypnotic Shaman
Click to read bigger.
The art is atrocious, but I find it a bit creepy, which is cool. I originally was trying my hand at pencil sketches, but my art skills are just so bad I though it might be easier to make art with a mouse. So I found references and traced them out in Inkscape and came up with these abominations. But, in any case, the art can be said to be mine, and I'm sure I'll improve over time, or at least find a medium I'm better at.

In any case, here are three shamans, and three cards that care about shamans.

All of the cards are completely designed apart from flavor text and art, so as I create the art, I'll be making posts. My hope is for once a week.


As /u/IsaoEB at /r/custommagic suggested, Drover Priest won't have the "or more" part. It will read "Whenever a Shaman enters the battlefield under your control..."

As /u/RootOfAllThings suggested, Drover Priest will be renamed Drove Elder, to avoid a flavor fail where the Priest is not a Cleric subtype.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Where have I been??

Took a long break from FissureVerse; inspiration was drying up and it felt simple and stale. I'll be revisiting it and probably redesigning it it in a major way in the future.

In the meantime, The Mana Leek's videos reinvigorated my love of Magic: The Gathering, and I became obsessed until I had archive-binged on almost everything he's put out. Now, I've been working on my own Magic set. It's almost done--237 of an expected 252 cards have been designed. Once I've got the last few in the can, I'm going to start working on my own art skills.

One of the things that's always bugged me about working on FissureVerse is just how difficult it is to find art... that is to say, to find art with permission, which I have been careful to do since pretty early on (one mistake was made once and I'll never make it again). If I'm to find art with permission for 252 more cards, it'll take years to pop out the Magic set.

So I'm opting to start drawing. My art skills are... sub-optimal, so expect the art to be less than stellar for a while. But I hope to improve every day, and by the time I've made 252+ drawings, I should be hovering around mediocre.

So once I've finished designing the last few cards, I'll start drawing the art, and simultaneously posting here and on /r/custommagic.

After that, I may or may not overhaul FissureVerse (I'm thinking of making it more exploration-oriented rather than focused on conflict), but in any case I'll also start adding my own art (supposing I like my own artistic progress) and post updates for it again.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

FissureVerse: New card art, and thematic ideas

I think I've settled on at least a few themes for different factions, apart from the original idea that each color would have a primary attribute that would be powerful.

Emptiness, being the color of Endurance, will also have protection as a major theme. In this way, they might be better defensively all around, such as having some bonuses to their attributes on defense. They will also be Rogation-heavy, where advantages and bonuses can be had by playing Rogations, or some cards might allow you to draw Rogations.

Thanks to Papaya-Style for the new art on Naomi:

Click to enlarge.
I'm also considering Emptiness having a “lone wolf” mechanic, which would encourage Emptiness to frequently have only one Crusader at a time out on the Field. Naomi is the type of card, for instance, the punishes the player for having too many Crusaders on the Field, but is otherwise pretty powerful. In this instance, however, since killing isn't something Emptiness often wants to do, the detriment isn't so bad as to be unplayable; the player can have other Crusaders in the Field, but it's only a minor setback against players who are aiming to end the game by killing out Emptiness. Emptiness might have pacifistic Rogations, such as Burial Rites, Wedding, Psalms, and the like.

Solidity, being the opposite and harsh opponent of Emptiness, will gain advantages for having a fuller field state. They might also get a card-in-hand advantage with Crusaders, perhaps by having Solidity be able to draw Crusader cards, like some Crusaders that perhaps allow them to draw a Crusader upon successfully crusading. I also like the idea of Solidity being in a precarious position, however, by having traitorous cards like Earthlings and The Derelict, which offer bonuses when they are in an opponent's Field, or quick-enablers like Hitchhiker. This has the fun implication that Solidity is not as solid as they think they are.

The Infinite like to think they rely on logic and reason, so I think there may be a bit of Frenzy hate in their cards, either to negate Frenzies, prevent them from being placed, or drawn, or anything of that sort. Or perhaps they have the more explicit “does X against Devotees, does Y against Zealots” than other factions. I'm thinking they might also be the faction for players who like a more complex game, perhaps by giving them a separate token resource mechanic, or perhaps at least allows them to use normal tokens for other means, like “if this is on the Field, you may pay a token to draw a Rogation” or something of that sort.

The Noise, being the opponent of The Infinite, are more straightforward. They probably like to be Frenzied, so there will be more bonuses for Frenzied cards. They will also have clever, but simple, devious tricks, such as having Crusaders that can come down to the Field at inappropriate times, or just do chaotic stuff like Kamikaze. They may also be pro-Spiker, in that late game, their Crusaders may get bigger bonuses based on the number of Spikers already drawn, giving them a reason to get closer to the end. Perhaps they will have lots of late-game Rogations, or Crusaders that can be beefed up when seven Spikers are out.

To all that end, I've got a lot of rearranging to do with cards, abilities, and the like. I've also got to come up with a lot of interesting variations on these themes, and group them loosely in sixteen-card Crusader sets.  That process has already started, so soon I'll be rearranging the Google Drive to reflect that.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

FissureVerse: Remade Locations and utterly transformed mechanics

Let's start with the pretty splashy stuff: Location Cards have had their layouts changed... in a big way.

Plains of Filth, before and after
New cards actually even bigger, I think.  Not necessarily to scale.  Click to embiggen.
Now don't get me wrong, I loved the old layouts. I would love to use that layout again in another game. But they simply didn't fit with the rest of the card layouts. These new layouts fit much better, even if they lose that beautiful, seemingly borderless, expansive design that works so well with landscapes.

One major change that has occurred, however, is that the Location cards are massively larger (perhaps obvious by the comparison above). Normal cards are 59x92mm, so old Location cards were 92x59mm. However, why leave them the same size as normal cards? They aren't going in a normal deck. So I doubled the size so all players can more easily read the cards around the table. They are now 184x118mm.

The Signpost and Paradise
A couple more examples.
Also a new major change is that I'm done grinding my teeth about Spikers.

Cosmic Disruption and Eclipse
Here are what some Spikers look like.

Some Spikers are location cards, just like any other card, with the exception that they remain visible during the whole game (rather than getting discarded). I expect other Spikers will have no Turn Order, so they are flipped and a new card is immediately flipped after. They might have special rules text like “All players immediately gain a token.”

Also, while I'm at it, I'm renamed Locations to the synonym Sites, because “Locations” is a bit too polysyllabic and sterile, while “Sites” give an almost reverential, religious feeling, as a game about crusading should, or even archaeological feeling, which is also acceptable.

Now that the pretty pictures are over (you can see all of the new location card layouts on the drive), the bigger change is the rules.

Like, all of them.

Well, there are enough major changes that the instructions need to be completely rewritten.

I'm still in the process of rewriting the instructions, but I thought I'd post this for now, and upload the instructions at a later time to put something on this blog (I know, it's been months).

Short version of the new rules: Each player has their deck of Crusaders, but the Frenzies and Rogations each get their own shared pile. You are simply trying to rid a player of Crusaders, so there's no more digging for Crusaders at the end; now it's obvious if there's any Crusaders left because a player will have no Crusader draw pile, no Crusader discard pile, no Crusaders in hand, and no Crusaders on the Field.

Because of this, the rules regarding enlisting need to be revised. On top of that, I'm dividing the mechanics into sets, and seeing where things land. Currently I feel like I only have three major mechanics going on with Crusaders, which is hardly enough. On top of that, they're simple mechanics, apart from some one-offs, so a lot needs to be re-evaluated to make the game more interesting.

Instead of building a deck outside of the game, card by card, players will choose three sets they wish to play with. Each set is sixteen Crusaders, eight Frenzies, and eight Rogations. The Frenzies and Rogations all get shuffled together with other players' Frenzies and Rogations into a single pile (well, a pile for Frenzies and a pile for Rogations), and players can still play the Frenzies and Rogations from other players' sets. There is now consistency in number of Crusaders each player has, and the cards in any given set will work well together, to provide interesting combos and mechanical choices, while giving variety by having three sets to play with per player. The interaction between sets for players to create and discover will keep players coming back, especially as new sets come out.

This is a massive shift, so tons of cards will be re-designed. Of course, I won't be ditching any art or card names if I can help it, but simple rules like “-1 Attack against Zealots, +1 Attack against Devotees” will go away or be relegated to simple sets or split loosely among many sets, while sets will mostly consist of more interactive mechanics with fun decisions.

Also, I'll be introducing Fetishes (the religious kind...), Gestalt cards, and Reserve cards, all which will hang out outside the game until certain conditions are met to bring them in.

More to come...

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

FissureVerse: four cards, two with new art

Thanks to Dario Marzadori for the new art! You can check out his art on Facebook, ArtStation, DeviantArt, and Instagram.

War Machine & Plains of Filth
Click to see bigger.
Now War Machines is more of a location than a ship (perhaps a place where obsolete technology has been tossed), so that little quirk of the card has been fixed. Using this art, I came up with different flavor text, but combine it with the turn order (red going directly after green), shows that green thinks a little too much of their strategy.

I always forget Plains of Filth is a Red location, because Grime is a Yellow location and they are similar in my head. However, I think I like the idea that with this card, Earth, and Bottom of the Universe, Red is more the underground ruler, like the mob bosses and the slumlords. Solidity might take hold of the government, and they might drag populations down like Earthlings and The Derelict, but Earth and Plains of Filth (where I've decided The Derelict are likely from, not Grime), become the property of Red by virtue of Solidity dragging their populations down too far. It's a neat story dynamic, I think. Yellow focuses on Blue as its arch-enemy, paying little heed to Red or Green, letting Red take hold of the downtrodden, and Green take hold of the elites. The flavor text is a bit on the nose in describing that dynamic here, and I may change it, but perhaps Red doesn't care about letting it be known, because Yellow has their eyes elsewhere, and Red can hide in plain sight (no pun intended).

At first I was a little bummed that the head of the statue would get cut off by the name “Paradise, the Ice World.” Then I came up with the brilliant idea of mirroring the image (sorry Gij for the modification) and... it still didn't work. Then I realized: “Why have 'The Ice World' at all? Seems obvious by the picture...” And now, it works! I also changed the flavor text to get away from the originally concept as a fake vacation destination. Now it's more of a pilgrimage for Green.

I decided to change the subtitle of Eclipse from The Infectious Nebula to The Blinding Nebula, since it's lost its special rules. I had loved the original name but it never quite went for a Green location. This makes things a little more in tune. Not 100% happy with it, but 100% better than it was.