07/04/2012 Uncharted Realms: "Xathrid Gorgon"

24 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is for discussion of this week's Uncharted Realms, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
BRAVO! That was indeed wondeful just as it was last week, and as I'm sure it will be until the article is put to rest.
That was awesome.  I really got the sense of isolation that the setting was in.  It actually felt still and quiet.  I love it when writer's nail the description of the atmosphere over everything.  This is easily my favorite column now and I look forward to more.  Makes me want novels again or even a massive encyclopedia that just collects all the flavor of the entire series. 
Fantastic! I liked this weeks even more than Odric's story, it was oozing with Darkness which I enjoy greatly. The ending was amazing. Thank you Miss Helland!

IMAGE(http://i1.minus.com/jbcBXM4z66fMtK.jpg)

192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
I'm enjoying the writing, but Shandalar isn't really as familiar a plane to most people as Innistrad was last week.  Afaik, we don't have sufficient background to fully enjoy this scene.  It isn't remotely clear to me why we should care about the outcome of this clash, considering that the gorgon won't get the eyes of a righteous man regardless of the outcome, and we know it, and we know that Sentos knows it, which makes his behavior not just spiteful, but irrationally so.  Additionally, we have no comprehension of the consequences of this event, which is really where the tension should come from when two bad guys fight.

Enjoyable prose, decent dialogue, but as with many, many short stories out there, not remotely enough exposition.
With abit more intro to the plane or even previous stories maybe this one could have been better, but really impressed overall with it. Gruesome yet exciting, the end was alittle wierd but awsome to show some more of the cards interacting. 
So... any chance that the novels will be brought back? 
17382e99.jpg
I'm enjoying the writing, but Shandalar isn't really as familiar a plane to most people as Innistrad was last week.  Afaik, we don't have sufficient background to fully enjoy this scene.  It isn't remotely clear to me why we should care about the outcome of this clash, considering that the gorgon won't get the eyes of a righteous man regardless of the outcome, and we know it, and we know that Sentos knows it, which makes his behavior not just spiteful, but irrationally so.  Additionally, we have no comprehension of the consequences of this event, which is really where the tension should come from when two bad guys fight.

Enjoyable prose, decent dialogue, but as with many, many short stories out there, not remotely enough exposition.


Actually the main reason I liked this one better than last weeks was the change in settings. Innistrad was cool and all, but reading about it again and again got tedious for me.

IMAGE(http://i1.minus.com/jbcBXM4z66fMtK.jpg)

192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
I thought it was pretty excellent. It set the scene beautifully and developed Sentos' character very well for such a short piece - a righteous enough man, but not one so utterly selfless that he would give his eyes to end her curse. Worked out to be a pretty good commentary on the nature of celebrity in a way - the gulf between reality and perception and the suffocating nature of an impossible reputation.
The story is missing one line. It should end "and vorthos was contented"

All jokes aside, this was really good. Vorthos has his column!!

Actually the main reason I liked this one better than last weeks was the change in settings. Innistrad was cool and all, but reading about it again and again got tedious for me.



I understand if you're tired of Innistrad, my point wasn't that we should stick to Innistrad, because it's definitely time to leave that behind for a while.  My point was that short stories have a strong tendency to fall victim to their own brevity.  This was a good scene in a longer story, but on its own, it lacks the tension a good fight fight scene needs, because we aren't given anything to latch onto as being of consequence.

Don't get me wrong, I love the writing.  But it isn't a story yet.  Liliana's quest to kill demons is a story with almost no scenes: we have a character, a goal, and enough background understanding to comprehend her place in the setting and her motives, and a reasonable expectation of possible consequences, but almost no prose describing the events beyond what you might find in Cliff's Notes.  This article was a scene with no story: we have an interesting event involving unfamiliar characters with unclear goals in an unfamiliar setting and no comprehension of the consequences, but some great prose that goes far beyond the Cliff's Notes (which would basically read "A Gorgon mistook a greedy executioner for a righteous man and tried to steal his eyes, but accidentally turned him to stone first.")
funnily, I think it would have been perfectly fitting to swap the Gorgon for Ms Vess and instead of letting himself get petrified in the end, he 'd stab himself in his eyes denying Madame Swamp the eyes that she needs for her demon contractors (this would basically depict an early version of Ms Vess before she went on a killing spree against her contractors)
Abbot Pheldy OSM Mafia Awards 2010 Most Unique Playstyle Designer of Game of the Year 2010 Designer of Most Flavorful Game My achievements random hum
I still want to know how they decided to create a completely original plane named "Shandalar" which bears absolutely not the slightest trace of resemblance to the plane of that name where the Microprose game was set.  In particular, I want to know how they decided Thune, Xathrid and Kalonia were in Shandalar, when those names have been floating around since M11 and Shandalar wasn't mentioned once in connection with any of them.

All of which does nothing to undermine the excellence of Jenna's writing.  I like this story better than last week's because it has nothing to do with satifying anyone's continuity fetish; it's just a neat self-contained scenario that was a lot of fun to read (although I feel really bad for the gorgon, who is just trying to free herself of the curse, and people keep spiting her with their last split-second of conscious thought).
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
I am liking this column...

Very fun to read, you get flavor of cards and history... but without the "were talking about a magic card" or things that break from the focus of the story and flavor.

Jenna, you do the author's pen proud and I anticipate this column more and more every week.  I know the next will be more about Garruk, but could we also get a story around another of our M13 Legends, Talrand?  Just a thought.  Keep up the great work!

Those who fear the darkness have never seen what the light can do.

I've seen angels fall from blinding heights. But you yourself are nothing so divine. Just next in line.

191752181 wrote:
All I'm saying is, I don't really see how she goes around petrifying swords and boots and especially mirrors. How the heck does she beat a Panoptic Mirror? It makes no sense for artifacts either. Or enchantments, for that matter. "Well, you see, Jimmy cast this spell to flood the mountain, but then the gorgon just looked at the water really hard and it went away."
I'm still curious where Sorin was during Avacyn Restored. He was the focus for Dark Ascension, and didn't show up at all in AVR. He has two flavor text quotes (Barter in Blood and Bloodflow Connoisseur, neither of which actually involves Avacyn Restored story) but other than that has made no appearance.

I'd like to know what happened when he finally met up with Avacyn, especially since that was what Dark Ascension seemed to be building up to.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
I'm still curious where Sorin was during Avacyn Restored. He was the focus for Dark Ascension, and didn't show up at all in AVR. He has two flavor text quotes (Barter in Blood and Bloodflow Connoisseur, neither of which actually involves Avacyn Restored story) but other than that has made no appearance.

I'd like to know what happened when he finally met up with Avacyn, especially since that was what Dark Ascension seemed to be building up to.

Relax, dude. I'm sure it'll come. This is the second article, remember? Jenna seems to be paying attention to what people are interested, so I wouldn't be surprised if we see this relatively soon.

@carrionpidgeons:

The implications of the story are there if you pay close attention. I think you're misreading the purpose of this story. It's not a part of a longer novel; it isn't going to function the same way.

@Willpell:

The plane is described as "vast." Oh, and it's been a few millenia since the game. Do you think a few things may have changed in that time, or that perhaps this is a side of Shandalar that we hadn't seen before?


Another very good story. Well done. Interesting that An Karras is, in fact, on Shandalar. I was wondering that after we got our second namedrop in M13.

Coming Soon to the Magic: Expanded Multiverse: FRAGMENTS: A Shards of Alara Anthology
(Click through to view the cover and announcement page)Want to get your work in the Expanded Multiverse? Come join the project! Oh, and check out my blog, Storming the Ivory Tower: making sense of academia, media, and culture twice weekly.
The plane is described as "vast." Oh, and it's been a few millenia since the game. Do you think a few things may have changed in that time, or that perhaps this is a side of Shandalar that we hadn't seen before?


Well, yes, it's possible things have changed. The complaint is that they've decided to build a completely new location and just call it "Shandalar". It's been a long time since the original Ravnica, but I can guarantee we'll see multiple throwbacks to the original. The current treatment of Shandalar would be somewhat akin to if Scars of Mirrodin had started with New Phyrexia without even cards like Darksteel Relic as a throwback to what came before.

It's one thing to change a location between visits and another to completely invent a new setting from the ground up and give it the old name while claiming it's still the same place. I'm okay with Thune, Kalonia,  and Xathrid existing, but claiming they're on Shandalar makes it seem like somebody in marketing told them that there were a lot of fans into some Shandalar thing so they renamed a different plane they were building at the last minute.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
Well... except... this is exactly how planes were built in the past. The most important plane in the Multiverse--Dominaria--grew in this way, with bits added here and there over time. The complaint simply makes no sense unless every plane is a miniscule little ball like Mirrodin was. And again--second article, first time we've actually known where these locations are. People desperately need to chill out.
Coming Soon to the Magic: Expanded Multiverse: FRAGMENTS: A Shards of Alara Anthology
(Click through to view the cover and announcement page)Want to get your work in the Expanded Multiverse? Come join the project! Oh, and check out my blog, Storming the Ivory Tower: making sense of academia, media, and culture twice weekly.
I'm still curious where Sorin was during Avacyn Restored. He was the focus for Dark Ascension, and didn't show up at all in AVR. He has two flavor text quotes (Barter in Blood and Bloodflow Connoisseur, neither of which actually involves Avacyn Restored story) but other than that has made no appearance.

I'd like to know what happened when he finally met up with Avacyn, especially since that was what Dark Ascension seemed to be building up to.

"Avacyn Restored story". That makes me laugh.

The story amounted to nothing more than "Avacyn comes back, humans win". They dropped all the plot threads, most without explanation. Avacyn's injury... "oops, let's hope they forgot about that". Garruk versus Liliana... "well, a brief 'they fight and she wins' should cover that". Sorin's involvement... "let's hope they forgot about that, too". Even in what information we did get before Savor the Flavor disappeared was contradictory. Okay, so the angels went into hiding when Avacyn went away... yet all three of the Flights apparently "redoubled their efforts", according to the Planeswalker's Guide.

I hope they never, ever make a third set so completely disconnected from the block again.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I call it story in the vain hope that it may one day be worthy of such an epithet. Regrettably you are indeed correct, we got approximately no information beyond the most basic of summaries.

At this point we're almost to Magic 2013 and pretty much all of the AVR story can be covered in that five word summary. Actually, the following three words do almost as good of a job: "Happily ever after." Given the amount of other backgrounds we got on Innistrad, it really did kind of feel like they just got bored and decided to add "And then angels and everybody lived happily ever after" to the end of a horror story.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
Uh, keep in mind that this block was at least partly planned to be accompanied by a novel.

A novel that was part of a novel line.

Which was then completely cancelled in its entirety.

I don't think it's surprising that we have some blank spaces here.
Coming Soon to the Magic: Expanded Multiverse: FRAGMENTS: A Shards of Alara Anthology
(Click through to view the cover and announcement page)Want to get your work in the Expanded Multiverse? Come join the project! Oh, and check out my blog, Storming the Ivory Tower: making sense of academia, media, and culture twice weekly.
I very much enjoyed this story. I found the prologue a little difficult to read but once I got past that, I found the story very interesting.

I'd be interested to learn why the Gorgon felt that the eyes of of a rightous man given to a demon would be her salvation. 
Did this mean to be posted again?