Finishing Valjan

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Due to the beautiful work of Digitalsurealist, Keeper and I wanted to flesh out and finish what was one of our oldest planes in the Project.

Here's a link to the world as it stands now: Valjan

The things The need the most attention:
-We need a B/W section
-Many developed areas need races and culture. Bsically anything that isn't the PEtrified Forest, Archipelgo, The Spires, or Onen. And even Onen could likely be beffed up a bit.
-The role of the sole Planeswalker (currently) on the wold should be fleshed out as well.
-We may want to revisit some fo the more polished areas and make sure they are up to snuff

I will start with some of my own ideas in the next post.

EDIT:

A very rough map of Valjan as it stands now.


The spires actually span from the Vertical Expanse all the way over to the Verdant Crater/River Flat and the Archipelego.
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-B/W area: The best I can come up with is a massive ancient "graveyard" of civiliations/and beasts spanning a large part of the southern continent. Now covered with a mysterious miasma that can be deadly.

-Races: The Lost Waters are most likely populated with merfolk, but some other semi aquatic ace could work. Amphin and Siren's are both posibilites.

The verdant crater I think should be home to viashino. I can't think of another race that isn't used somewhere else that fits really. 

The River Flats have me mostly stumped. Humans of course (humans are as always all over mostly I think). This could be a place for sirens or amphin if not used somewhere else. But neither one of them seems right.. Vedalkin could also work I think.

If we go with the idea of the BW area above I think Harpies would fit. But given the aven of the RW area two flying races may be too much, but not sure whatelse to put in there.

Cultures...These I'm less sure of. I would have to meditate on them.

Kayin: She is a loxodon heiromancer who is in control of the River Flats and finds the orderless lands of Valjan repulsive. I think she is imperialistic, and sekks to march the forces of the
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If I can suggest something from a meta perspective here:

It seems to me that the main driving feature of this world is its unique terrain. I think we can and should play that up as a main theme. In fact, Kayin could probably be positioned as an enemy to this strange diversity. It also sets the plane apart from Ravnica in an interesting way.

Are there basic lands on this plane at all, I wonder? Possibly not.

Ugh, I'll say more tomorrow when I can get my brain to work. I had an awful night's sleep last night and just finished doing my taxes, so I'm burnt out. 
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That's actually a question I've been working on. For example in art would the islands just depict the obsidian spires, or would they be more mundance versions with these special location's being more like rare dual lands? Would there even be basic lands here?

Yeah the land needs to be the focus. No civilization is particularly advanced (save maybe the elves of the archipelego). One reason I'm waiting on cultures is they should reflect the land.

For example: The Gari worship life and death, and they reside in a land that is both alive and dead. Onen is one giant organism, and all races contribute to the overseeing of the land. Some others may need to be touched up to reflect it like this. 
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It reminds me of playing Minecraft with a bunch of extra biomes mods. The experience is one of seeing the familiar suddenly interspersed with the alien and the fantastic. That's kind of where Valjan is, I think... in that space of the unfamiliar and fantastic. It's almost like there are ten basic lands on that plane, and they're all crazy. 
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It reminds me of playing Minecraft with a bunch of extra biomes mods. The experience is one of seeing the familiar suddenly interspersed with the alien and the fantastic. That's kind of where Valjan is, I think... in that space of the unfamiliar and fantastic. It's almost like there are ten basic lands on that plane, and they're all crazy. 



I like that idea. It a true jewel of oddity in the multiverse. Make it a fairly mana rich plane to help explain why the land is so warped and potent, as well as the magic of thing like the spireborn.
 
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I think a departure from basic land for a whole block/setting is a mistake, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily a bad idea, or something we can't work with.

Have you thought about non-basic only Landfall? 

EDIT: I've been thinking about that B/W area a little bit. (It occurs to me I do a lot of thinking about B/W in general. Hm...) I don't think I massive graveyard is something you want to go for. I mean, B/W have spirits, yea, but its been done. B/W don't just overlap on terms of death, the overlap on terms of order and rationality. (Which they both share with Blue - At least the rationality part.) For both Black and White, things have to make sense: You have to be able to rationalize what your doing is for the good of everyone (White) or that what your doing is worth it because it is good for you (Black).

From a geographical standpoint, you've got Plains and Swamps, which are simliar enough that muddying up some grassy fields give you a B/W landscape, but that doesn't seem fantastical enough for this. Making it a graveyard like area just give you the Dead Marshes from LOTR. (Creepy.) So, what's my point?

I think you should have a really big sinkhole. Or perhaps a series of them.

So, we start with some salt flats, and some generic swamp. Where they collide and begin to merge and warp the landscape, it creates these massive, seemingly endless sinkholes that are capable of opening suddenly and trapping things inside. In a sense, this area is hungry. The mana is so volatile, however, that it swallows the body and the spirit, so this area wouldn't be haunted. Instead, it would be completely muted. Uninhabited. A wasteland of mana that seeks only to serve itself (Black) and preserve its order for eternity (White).

Perhaps there was once a civilization here that was sucked into the earth. Perhaps a single, ivory building remains, and can be seen from a distance, but no one can approach it due to the dangerous landscape. Simply entering this place dims colors and sound, as though the whole land is holding it's breath, and is under near constant cloudcover.

I would imagine severe windstorms would force flying creatures to the ground, which in turn would force them into the ground.

Maybe something like this, tell me what you think.
I think a departure from basic land for a whole block/setting is a mistake, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily a bad idea, or something we can't work with.

Have you thought about non-basic only Landfall? 



It would be not unlike what they are doing with gatecrash, where instead of basic lands you get a guild gate (except in this case you get one of our oddball dual lands).

It wouldn't work perfectly in a real card block, as it would bea very slow limited format if all the lands came into play tapped. But this isn't necessarily about mechanics. I imagine the basic lands would actually just depic one of the 4 zones of each color. Forests for example would depict the stone like dead trees of the pertified forests, a gathering of trees seemingly all connect in Onen, the primal jungle of thhe verdant crater, or the strange plants of the archepelego. With non basic lands showing them in their full two colored glory.

For good limited play we can't not have basic lands, unfortuantely. But this would be another full art land plane at least.

I don't really want to get side tracked with mechanics though. But it's a world of land matters with a very strong (almost equal) sub theme of dual colors. So landfall is something that would fit here.

So we have our themes: Land and two color pairs. So something of note for future discussion is how the land travels from one region to another. For example when I made the map this is how I pictured red flowing. You start with the Vertical Expanse, which winds into the obsidian spires as it nears the blue source (getting normal mountians between them). the spires theen careenthrough the lost depts and give way to the rim of the verdant crater (again with normal mountains forming between), and finally cascading out of the crater wall into the desolate lava pools. Blue is even easier to track as it is concentradted in the lost depths and mingles on the shoeres of the river flats  and archepelgo, forcing up to the sky in the spires. Black follows a similar pattern. White and green are harder to trace as eloquently.

But it also means we really need to define the land first and then shape the cultures and creatures out of the land. which means defining the BW area is very important, then beefing up some of the undeveloped regions to better show their weirdness. THen placing creatures and cultures through out. Does that sound like a valid game plan.
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Oops, I spent so long editing my previous post with idea that someone came and posted after me. O.o

Er, sorry about that.
My main concern with that set up for the BW area is it's dead space. It leaves no culture to create, nothing to explore. It's a space on a map to be a space on a map. 

I do want it to be kind of baren and inhospitable, but not entirely. Some things should live there.
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True.

Depsite my ranting from before, I'm beginning to feel as though spirits would fit well here. Deathly silent spectres, who simply watch as anyone attempting to cross the area gets swallowed by the earth.

But why would they be there? Could they be the remnants of the civilization that used to exist here? Have they been bound for some inscrutable purpose?

What sort of story could we apply to the B/W lands?
The biggest thing is there would have to be a reason for people to try and cross. In the end I think it's too inhospitable. Putting spirits doesnt solve the problem of why would anyone try to traverse this place to begin with.

On another note I do think with this world we need to keep in mind: rule of cool. This is a place to go big or go home. I mean this plane started with a tribe of necromancer shaman centaur canibals ruled by a centaur lich. Next came a race of living golems that can turn into weapons and are formed by lighting strikes. I mean these are kind of out there ideas, and I think the every zone can use this kind of big out there hook.

The land is a character here, but it's not the only character like on Zendikar.

EDIT: Also what do people think about this being more hybrid than gold: i.e. more about how colors overlap than how they combine? Just a random thought. 
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So I've been sitting on a lot of this for the last few days, and I'm mostly at a loss.

There is a great kernel of cool here, there really is. But I just can't get a lot of these things to come together. I just can't find a b/w landscape that is both cool and still able to have stories told in it. I continue to question some of the old locations we created.

I'm gonna keep brainstorming. 
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