07/11/2012 Uncharted Realms: "Chronomaton"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Uncharted Realms, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Well, I shant look at a chronomaton the same way again.
So... his own body was the creation? I'm confused. If that's the case, how did it manage to go out at night?

This was just... weird.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I should start off saying that I really liked this story, and this is quickly turning into one of my favorite columns.

That said, did anyone else wish it had been made more clear that Bazzle had given himself robotic body parts and not created a whole robot like the one depicted on the card? I literally didn't figure that out until this sentence: "It had merely decided it would no longer share a body with a rotting old clockmaker." And by that point, the story was almost over. I've reread the story, and I don't think I really missed anything. I think the combination of the vagueness about the "creation" and the misleading picture at the beginning made this story unfortunately a bit confusing on first read.

IMAGE(http://steamsignature.com/status/default/76561197995631463.png) No longer a commander as of 7/29/13.

I should start off saying that I really liked this story, and this is quickly turning into one of my favorite columns.

That said, did anyone else wish it had been made more clear that Bazzle had given himself robotic body parts and not created a whole robot like the one depicted on the card? I literally didn't figure that out until this sentence: "It had merely decided it would no longer share a body with a rotting old clockmaker." And by that point, the story was almost over. I've reread the story, and I don't think I really missed anything. I think the combination of the vagueness about the "creation" and the misleading picture at the beginning made this story unfortunately a bit confusing on first read.

Between the card art, and the fact that he mentions his creation going out at night when he's sleeping... also the fact that the mob apparently isn't searching his house for the creation, despite the fact that it would have had to have been him doing it... Yeah, the twist really doesn't make sense at all. I didn't get it until the mention of his "good arm" having been replaced, and even after going back and re-reading the whole thing, I still don't see that twist as having been compatible with the rest of the story.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I should start off saying that I really liked this story, and this is quickly turning into one of my favorite columns.

That said, did anyone else wish it had been made more clear that Bazzle had given himself robotic body parts and not created a whole robot like the one depicted on the card? I literally didn't figure that out until this sentence: "It had merely decided it would no longer share a body with a rotting old clockmaker." And by that point, the story was almost over. I've reread the story, and I don't think I really missed anything. I think the combination of the vagueness about the "creation" and the misleading picture at the beginning made this story unfortunately a bit confusing on first read.

Between the card art, and the fact that he mentions his creation going out at night when he's sleeping... also the fact that the mob apparently isn't searching his house for the creation, despite the fact that it would have had to have been him doing it... Yeah, the twist really doesn't make sense at all. I didn't get it until the mention of his "good arm" having been replaced, and even after going back and re-reading the whole thing, I still don't see that twist as having been compatible with the rest of the story.


Well the story does explain why no one enters his home. It's because he has the plague, and that fact is clearly marked on his door for everyone to see. But yeah, I agree that the parts about the creation leaving the house gave a much different image than that of Bazzle's robot body parts walking him around while he's asleep.

IMAGE(http://steamsignature.com/status/default/76561197995631463.png) No longer a commander as of 7/29/13.

Well the story does explain why no one enters his home. It's because he has the plague, and that fact is clearly marked on his door for everyone to see.

I'd buy that, except for the slight problem that they were specifically looking for him. If the "his creation" that was wandering around town stealing stuff is really part of his own body, that means he was walking around town. Even if nobody actually recognized him... there's still the problem that, hey look, a clockwork thingy running around. And we have an outcast clockmaker. I wonder if they're possibly connected...

Heck, nobody used his services anymore or anything. Even the faintest hint of suspicion that he was involved should have caused them to come storming around his house, burning it down or something. They're an angry mob.

There's just so much wrong with the story...
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Yeah, I don't get it either.  There's a whole list of stuff that doesn't make sense.

None of the villagers understood why everyone else touched by the creeping plague had died, while this strange tinkerer lived on.

If he's largely made of clockwork, how could this be true?

his greatest creation. One that would be his lasting legacy to a world that had shunned him.

The above makes no sense with any of the rest of the story, and increasingly so as it progresses.

But now it seemed that even it preferred the company of others and went out on its own at night to terrify the villagers down the lane.

Again, this sentence makes no sense, and straight up contradictory - how could the villagers not understand what's going on, and furthermore, it clearly isn't actually going out on it's own.

Working with only one arm, he had come up with a way to turn the keys simultaneously: twist the front one enough and the clockwork arm sprung to life and turned the one in the back. It had taken him a year to figure that out, and another year to get the movements to align precisely.

The clear implication here is that the device is purely clockwork and not magical at all, otherwise getting the "movements to align precisely" would just be a matter of getting it to understand what to do.  Every other indication is that the device is in fact magical, and could easily be made of wood for all the difference the clockwork makes.  At least some expicit attempt to clarify what is intended here would be nice.

There were lines on the arm after all, but they seemed to make a haphazard kind of sense; clearly intentional but lacking any artistic logic. That's when he saw the angular teeth and the looped handles.

Cmon, really?  Any editor should be able to tell you this is bad writing.  Take vague and incomprehensible imagery, and then say "that's when he saw teeth and handles" and knew it was made of keys.  Why didn't he see teeth or handles before?  Why are there teeth or handles on melted keys, anyway?  How could you have anything approaching precise clockwork with material that retains characteristics of being keys?  This line makes no sense on any level.

the key. With it, he might regain control of his creation and dismantle it,

This defies logic, if the device is attached to him and can knock him out at will.  The key serves no purpose but to activate it, and he should have stayed as far from it as he could.  This is needless misdirection, and is basically the author making the character act like a fool for no reason other than to railroad the story into the direction the author wants it to go.

This is all on top of things in the story that don't belong there, like the creation going out and stealing brass keys, specifically.  No iron keys?  No brass doorknobs?  What's so special about brass keys?  The thing is literally surrounded by well-made gears and quality materials, so why is it going out foraging for substandard parts?

Overall, pretty disappointing.  Not enough thought went into this one, by a long shot.
Personally, its the, "It didn't want to share a body" line that needed to be edited it out. The entire thing makes much more sense if the automaton is a different creature that is trying to "fix" its dying creator by replacing his rotting, plague ridden body parts with artificial ones that it built.
I really liked the tone of this story, and the writing. Giving cards like Chronomaton such a strong identity is amazing.

But I have to agree with chronego and CommanderJim about the ambiguity of the twist. Since the beginning I felt something was kind of off, as if I skipped a paragraph or missed something important. It sounds like the writer wrote this while expecting readers to pick up too many things by themselves, but he didnt provide enough hints. Being the only survivor of the plague is something, but not enough.

The ending is really strong and visceral, but the confusion that leads into it kind of dampens its effect.

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

192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
Personally, its the, "It didn't want to share a body" line that needed to be edited it out. The entire thing makes much more sense if the automaton is a different creature that is trying to "fix" its dying creator by replacing his rotting, plague ridden body parts with artificial ones that it built.



^ This, exactly. It's the easiest way to fix the story, because the twist doesn't work like it is now, as was pointed out. It would also help the reader sympathize a little with the dumb, well-meaning, murdering clockwork machine. The horror is far greater if the thing actually wants to help its creator, like a human child would, but inadvertently brings death.

Except for the ending, I think the story was very well written and rounded, so it is definitely worth fixing.
Personally, its the, "It didn't want to share a body" line that needed to be edited it out. The entire thing makes much more sense if the automaton is a different creature that is trying to "fix" its dying creator by replacing his rotting, plague ridden body parts with artificial ones that it built.



^ This, exactly. It's the easiest way to fix the story, because the twist doesn't work like it is now, as was pointed out. It would also help the reader sympathize a little with the dumb, well-meaning, murdering clockwork machine. The horror is far greater if the thing actually wants to help its creator, like a human child would, but inadvertently brings death.

Except for the ending, I think the story was very well written and rounded, so it is definitely worth fixing.



I like this reinterpretation as well, but for a different reason. To me, it is less horrific, even if the outcome is the same, if the machine genuinely trying to save its master. I guess I'm a little exhausted of nonstop horror after a whole horror block.

I like the current way, the twist that he survived the plague by becoming a machine, but it's vague and confusing as written.
I like the current way, the twist that he survived the plague by becoming a machine, but it's vague and confusing as written.



Sometimes a story is like an ankle. If you twist it too hard, you risk breaking it. Wink
The point of the story was to be weird and confusing and somewhat dizzying. We're understanding it from the mind of a plague-ridden hermit who went insane years ago.
I didn't get it either, and I'm still not sure what's supposed to be happening. He's giving himself new body parts and doesn't know it?

I like the proposed fix that it's not him, and is trying to save him by replacing his diseased body parts.
I'm really enjoying this column - I think it's more content per page than has been on DailyMTG for quite a while (since Mark Gottlieb?).

I thought the payoff was well worth the confusion.  However, since it sounds like pretty much everyone had to go back and reread (including me), maybe there was some other way to build the story just so the reread wouldn't have to occur.

It's a good point that "this guy's been insane for years" - it would have maybe helped to have some examples of that earlier on, so that we'd know to mistrust his perceptions more as we read.
The writing is actually fairly advanced. It reminds me of any number of classic short stories. The idea here is to have you be lead in one direction the whole time, and finish with the fact that all the assumptions you've made prior were incorrect. If you still haven't figured it all out, you need to pay closer attention to the reading. It's trying to mimic the prose we used to read in English. I won't say its flawless, but I will say many are reading it too fast and not thinking it through.
I think that's what it's aiming for, Senyuno, but I don't think it quite carries it off. I think a good editor (or a second good editor if it had one already) could help the author make sure all the pieces fit well enough that most people get it when the end twist is revealed, rather than needing to reread it.

It is a very cool idea though.
Thanks for reading everyone!!  I can see how the twist could be confusing, I was going for a twilight zone motif but that can be hard to pull off.  

I like the idea that maybe the machine was trying to save his master, but ends up killing him instead, I find that to be more creepy than what I wrote :D

I wanted to convey his madness at being isolated for so long, which is why I had him talking to himself throughout the piece.  I'm sure to some it may make more sense that he should have been two separate entities, but the twist at the end was what I was going for the whole time, so it would kind of miss the point.

I hope to work with Jenna on more of these, so your constructive feedback is really valuable!  Thanks all!  
Ryan Miller Game Designer Wizards of the Coast
Thanks for reading everyone!!  I can see how the twist could be confusing, I was going for a twilight zone motif but that can be hard to pull off.  

I like the idea that maybe the machine was trying to save his master, but ends up killing him instead, I find that to be more creepy than what I wrote :D

I wanted to convey his madness at being isolated for so long, which is why I had him talking to himself throughout the piece.  I'm sure to some it may make more sense that he should have been two separate entities, but the twist at the end was what I was going for the whole time, so it would kind of miss the point.

I hope to work with Jenna on more of these, so your constructive feedback is really valuable!  Thanks all!  



Personally, this story was just wonderful, and I like this column more every time wednesday rolls around. It was so creepy and horrific that I'm lucky I didn't have a nightmare last night. I'm certainly fine with either the clockwork machine wanting to kill his maker or trying to save him. Both of these versions are just wonderful. I can't wait for next Wednesday!
Thanks for reading everyone!!  I can see how the twist could be confusing, I was going for a twilight zone motif but that can be hard to pull off.  

I like the idea that maybe the machine was trying to save his master, but ends up killing him instead, I find that to be more creepy than what I wrote :D

I wanted to convey his madness at being isolated for so long, which is why I had him talking to himself throughout the piece.  I'm sure to some it may make more sense that he should have been two separate entities, but the twist at the end was what I was going for the whole time, so it would kind of miss the point.



Is the twist at the end supposed to be that the creation doesn't want to share a body, or that it is his body in the first place?  Because if it's the second, you could at least fix the tone of the piece, if not the inconsistencies, by changing its supposed motivation.

Also, a little misdirection goes a long way.  Glossing over major flaws in the perception of everybody mentioned in the story is not an interesting way to trick your reader.  And when you start outright lying to your readers and blaming it on "he was crazy", that crosses the line into tediousness, rather than creepiness.

I'm a fan of a good twist as much as anyone, and I don't mind having to go back and reread so everything makes sense.  But the whole reason twists are fun is because suddenly everything makes sense, not because suddenly everything doesn't make sense.  If there are no hints or strange inconsistencies that the twist explains, then there was no point to the twist in the first place.


I wanted to convey his madness at being isolated for so long, which is why I had him talking to himself throughout the piece.  I'm sure to some it may make more sense that he should have been two separate entities, but the twist at the end was what I was going for the whole time, so it would kind of miss the point.

I hope to work with Jenna on more of these, so your constructive feedback is really valuable!  Thanks all!  



I think part of the problem was that he kept addressing it as a second entity, especially the part about it wandering off at night instead of staying with him. Rather just talking to himself, all of which were reasonable thoughts, focus on other signs of insanity, such as missing time. The man lives in a house surrounded by clocks - surely he would notice if several hours of his life were just disappearing! Rather than mentioning him chaining the creature up, have him wonder why he's waking up in mud covered legs, that sort of thing.

I wanted to convey his madness at being isolated for so long, which is why I had him talking to himself throughout the piece.  I'm sure to some it may make more sense that he should have been two separate entities, but the twist at the end was what I was going for the whole time, so it would kind of miss the point.

Interesting. I got the feeling that you came up with the twist about two-thirds of the way through, because having gone back and re-read it, even knowing the twist, it still doesn't make sense. The first two thirds are not consistent with the way it ends.

You can fall back on "He was crazy", but that's the lazy way to do an untrustworthy narrator. The key is ambiguity, not outright misleading statements. Instead of making everything point to it being a different being until the end where you go "Surprise, I lied, it was actually him all along", you need to make sure all your sentences work for either result. You have to thread in enough of a mix between ambiguous statements and clever foreshaowing that, when your reader goes back and revisits it, s/he has a moment of "Oh, THAT'S what that actually meant? I read it this way..."

An example would be Sixth Sense, where the first time through, it looks like the main character is talking to other people, and everything he's saying to them makes sense. But when you rewatch it, you realize nobody actually ever replied, or reacted in any way, to him. The twist both amplifies and is amplified by the story up to that point; it makes us view the rest of the piece in a new light on subsequent viewings, rather than just negate everything that happened before the twist.

This... did not do that. It was a cool story up until the end, but the twist completely ruined it for me. I'm sorry. No offense though; true twist endings are extremely difficult to pull off. You're a talented writer, and I look forward to reading your next piece.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I wanted to convey his madness at being isolated for so long, which is why I had him talking to himself throughout the piece.  I'm sure to some it may make more sense that he should have been two separate entities, but the twist at the end was what I was going for the whole time, so it would kind of miss the point.

Interesting. I got the feeling that you came up with the twist about two-thirds of the way through, because having gone back and re-read it, even knowing the twist, it still doesn't make sense. The first two thirds are not consistent with the way it ends.

You can fall back on "He was crazy", but that's the lazy way to do an untrustworthy narrator. The key is ambiguity, not outright misleading statements. Instead of making everything point to it being a different being until the end where you go "Surprise, I lied, it was actually him all along", you need to make sure all your sentences work for either result. You have to thread in enough of a mix between ambiguous statements and clever foreshaowing that, when your reader goes back and revisits it, s/he has a moment of "Oh, THAT'S what that actually meant? I read it this way..."

An example would be Sixth Sense, where the first time through, it looks like the main character is talking to other people, and everything he's saying to them makes sense. But when you rewatch it, you realize nobody actually ever replied, or reacted in any way, to him. The twist both amplifies and is amplified by the story up to that point; it makes us view the rest of the piece in a new light on subsequent viewings, rather than just negate everything that happened before the twist.

This... did not do that. It was a cool story up until the end, but the twist completely ruined it for me. I'm sorry. No offense though; true twist endings are extremely difficult to pull off. You're a talented writer, and I look forward to reading your next piece.



Excellent - I think your point about ambiguity is really salient.  I had the twist in mind the whole time, I was just worried about over-cluing it and tipping the reader off too soon.  Looks like I took that idea too far.  I don't think I was outright lying to the reader either, or rather that wasn't my intent.  

Thanks all! 
Ryan Miller Game Designer Wizards of the Coast
Bah. An author responding to his readers? That's not how you're supposed to do things. You're supposed to ignore us in the forums so we can thrash you without needing any of that 'logic' stuff. How on earth are we supposed to build up an audience resentment like the one against JVL when you're here being all 'reasonable' and 'open to audience feedback.' It takes all the fun out of being a soulless heckler, I will tell you that.

In other news: Yeah, what the other guys said. I'm gonna go complain somewhere else now. 
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
This article almost made me change my profile picture to chronomaton.
OMG click HERE! OMG! How to autocard and use decklist format
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For autocarding, write [c][/c] with the name of the card inside it. [c]Island[/c] = Island For linking a card to Gatherer without writting the name of said card for readers, use the autocard brackets together with and equal sign and right the name of the real card. Then put the message you want inside the tags, like you would do with autocarding. Like this: [c=Curse of the Cabal]Captain Never-resolves[/c] = Captain Never-resolves For using the decklist format, follow this: [deck] 4* Terramorphic Expanse 4* Evolving Wilds ... [/deck] It equals:
Real signature, Sblocked for space:
57817638 wrote:
I like storm crow because I really like crows in real life, as an animal, and the card isn't terribly stupid, but packs a good deal of nostalgia and also a chunck of the game's history. So it's perhaps one of the cards I have most affection to, but not because "lol storm crow is bad hurr hurr durr".
Listen to my SoundCloud while you read my signature. The Island, Come And See, The Landlord's Daughter, You'll Not Feel The Drowning - The Decemberists by vimschy IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/rkvR.gif)IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/L3es.gif) IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/m71H.gif)
Quotes
56747598 wrote:
57295478 wrote:
Although I do assume you deliberately refer to them (DCI) as The Grand Imperial Convocation of Evil just for the purposes of making them sound like an ancient and terrible conspiracy.
Now, now. 1994 doesn't quite qualify as "ancient".
56734518 wrote:
Oh, it's a brilliant plan. You see, Bolas was travelling through shadowmoor, causing trouble, when he saw a Wickerbough Elder with its stylin' dead scarecrow hat. Now, Bolas being Bolas took the awesome hat and he put it on his head, but even with all his titanic powers of magic he couldn't make it fit. He grabbed some more scarecrows, but then a little kithkin girl asked if he was trying to build a toupee. "BY ALL THE POWERS IN THE MULTIVERSE!" he roared, "I WILL HAVE A HAT WORTHY OF MY GLORY." and so he went through his Dark Lore of Doom (tm) looking for something he could make into a hat that would look as stylish on him as a scarecrow does on a treefolk. He thought about the Phyrexians, but they were covered in goopy oil that would make his nonexistant hair greasy. He Tried out angels for a while but they didn't sit quite right. Then, he looked under "e" (because in the Elder Draconic alphabet, "e" for Eldrazi is right next to "h" for Hat) in his Dark Lore of Doom and saw depictions of the Eldrazi, and all their forms. "THIS SHALL BE MY HAT!" he declared, poking a picture of Emrakul, "AND WITH IT I WILL USHER IN A NEW AGE OF DARKNESS -- ER, I MEAN A NEW AGE OF FASHION!" And so Nicol Bolas masterminded the release of the Eldrazi.
57864098 wrote:
Rhox War Monk just flips pancakes, and if games have told us anything, it's that food = life.
56747598 wrote:
76973988 wrote:
This thread has gotten creepy. XP
Really? Really? The last couple days have been roughly every perverse fetish imaginable, but it only got "creepy" when speculation on Mother of Runes's mob affiliation came up?
76672808 wrote:
57864098 wrote:
57531048 wrote:
Nice mana base. Not really.
Yeah, really. If my deck was going to cost $1000+, I'd at least make it good.
99812049 wrote:
I like to think up what I consider clever names for my decks, only later to be laughed at by my wife. It kills me a little on the inside, but thats what marriage is about.
56816728 wrote:
56854588 wrote:
Of course, the best use [of tolaria west] is transmuting for the real Tolaria. ;)
Absolutely. I used to loose to my buddy's Banding deck for ages, it was then that I found out about Tolaria, and I was finally able win my first game.
70246459 wrote:
WOAH wait wait wait
56957928 wrote:
You know, being shallow and jusdgmental aside, "I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people"
56957928 wrote:
"I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people"
56957928 wrote:
Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates
56957928 wrote:
OH MY GOD
109874309 wrote:
The only way I'd cast this card is into a bonfire.
82032421 wrote:
The short answer is that there's no rule barring annoying people from posting, but there a rule barring us from harassing them about it.
56747598 wrote:
Browbeat is a card that is an appropriate deck choice when there's no better idea available. "No better idea available" was pretty much the running theme of Odyssey era.
56874518 wrote:
Or perhaps it was a more straightforward comment indicating a wish for you to be bitten (Perhaps repeatedly) by a small yet highly venomous arachnid.
70246459 wrote:
58280208 wrote:
You're an idiot, and I'm in no mood for silliness.
57817638 wrote:
57145078 wrote:
You just... Vektor it.
That's the answer to everything.
70246459 wrote:
58347268 wrote:
I think the problem is that you don't exist.
This would sound great out of context!
56965458 wrote:
Modern is like playing a new tournament every time : you build a deck, you win with it, don't bother keeping it. Just build another, its key pieces will get banned.
57864098 wrote:
57309598 wrote:
I specifically remember posting a thread when I was just a witty bitty noob.
You make it sound like that's still not the case.
58325628 wrote:
Rap is what happens when the c from crap is taken away.
Doug Beyer:
But sometimes it's also challenging. Because sometimes OH MY GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS THING?
141434757 wrote:
Flashforward five thousand years (Click for atmosphere) :
57927608 wrote:
to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum, Vektor finds a way.
58347268 wrote:
when in rome **** AND PILLAGE
143229641 wrote:
I always find it helpful when im angry to dress up in an owl costume and rub pennies all over my body in front of a full body mirror next to the window.
Dymecoar:
Playing Magic without Blue is like sleeping without any sheets or blankets. You can do it...but why?
Omega137:
Me: "I love the moment when a control deck stabilizes. It feels so... right." Omega137: "I like the life drop part until you get there, it's the MtG variant of bungee jumping"
Zigeif777:
Just do it like Yu-Gi-Oh or monkeys: throw all the crap you got at them and hope it works or else the by-standers (or opponents) just get dirty and pissed.
57471038 wrote:
58258708 wrote:
It's true that Alpha and Beta didn't contain any cards like Tarmogoyf, Darksteel Colossus, or Platinum Angel. It just contained weak, insignificant cards like Black Lotus, Mox Sapphire, and Time Walk.
Normally it's difficult to pick up on your jokes/sarcasm. But this one's pretty much out there. Good progress. You have moved up to Humanoid. You'll be Human in no time.
91893448 wrote:
94618431 wrote:
I didn't know Samurai were known to be able to cut down whole armies...
They can when they're using lightsabers!
57129358 wrote:
97980259 wrote:
My wife brought home a baby black squirrel they found on a horse track and cared for it for a few days. We named it Grixis, but it died.
Unearth it!
70246459 wrote:
[/spoiler] And I'm on Magic Arcana. How about you? Oh, by the way, I'm also on From the Lab now. Twice, actually. And now with my own submited decklist!
This article almost made me change my profile picture to chronomaton.

With googly eyes, I presume?

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

This article almost made me change my profile picture to chronomaton.

That's a pretty strong endorsement.

...Except that now I'm imagining you struggling to keep your robot arm from lopping off your head. And all your posts after that point just consist of ticking and whirring sounds.

I can't tell if this is terrifying or just really, really silly.



Anyway, to echo the others, I thought the story was interesting overall but the twist didn't quite work. That said, it was cool to see the card get expanded on this way. It has a great flavor on its own, and this adds a lot to it.

Ryan, are you on the creative team, or another team at WotC?
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The twist also didn't work for me.  I was enjoying the story up to that point, though.

The implication also seems to be that the arm and head were the only parts that were still human.  The torso contained that intricate clockwork and those two parts were the only parts the creature needed to replace with clockwork to be "complete".  Even setting aside the question of how he could survive without a heart, lung, digestive system, etc., I can't see the logistics of it: how would a man with one arm be able to remove that arm and his head and reattach them to a clockwork frame?  Or, how would he be able to remove his torso to replace it with the clockwork one?
The twist also didn't work for me.  I was enjoying the story up to that point, though.

The implication also seems to be that the arm and head were the only parts that were still human.  The torso contained that intricate clockwork and those two parts were the only parts the creature needed to replace with clockwork to be "complete".  Even setting aside the question of how he could survive without a heart, lung, digestive system, etc., I can't see the logistics of it: how would a man with one arm be able to remove that arm and his head and reattach them to a clockwork frame?  Or, how would he be able to remove his torso to replace it with the clockwork one?



Are you really asking questions like this in a universe with artificers, phyrexians, and being who create other beings from purely mana?  I mean seriously, this was a short story, not a novel. I'm sure he could've written a much longer story about just the process of how the clockwork maker did what he did, but it's really not essential to the story.

Edit:  I liked the story, but the ending was a little confusing.  I could see some of the loose connections when I got to the big reveal, but it had a few too many "wait, what about..." parts. 
But he was characterized as being a clockmaker who'd turned his skill with clockwork to other uses.  He used clockwork to sustain his life, and he used his own hands and eyes to make that clockwork.  There was no indication that he was actually a wizard with such magical control over his own biology.

The story hinges on its twist.  A good twist makes the whole previous story suddenly make much more sense (or different sene).  As others have noted, this twist actually makes the story make less sense, since it contradicts what was established.  And I think that, given the premises of the story, the twist is also implausible.