ty Makes a Set — Mercadian Dusk

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The Cho-Arrim had won; the Mercadian Revolution was successful.  Ramos and Orhop had been united, and evil had been cleansed from the plane. The wicked kyren were ousted; with the destruction of the Phyrexian ships they had lost the backing of Rath and it was easy for the Cho-Arrim to dispatch the goblins back to their mountains.

The Uniter — both Ramos and Orhop — retired to its henge to slumber.  All was well in Mercadia for while.

But the kyren remembered.  Centuries passed, and slowly some of the kyren returned to Mercadia City.  The merchants of the metropolis on top of the inverted mountain had grown more tolerant under the rule of Cho-Manno and his descendants, and, though integration took many generations, the kyren were eventually accepted as part of the city.

The kyren slowly rekindled their ties with those who were unhappy with the Cho's rule.  Descendants of the old Magistrate, the Caterans, the witches — there were many who would have power again.  And the kyren knew where all the power of Mercadia resided: the slumbering Uniter.

Through arcane secrets, though it took centuries longer, the kyren found out how to wake only Orhop.  The godling, the dragon engine, shuddered as it awoke.  It heard the wish of the kyren and the Cateran and the witches and it fulfilled them.  Ancient gears creaked as the dragon engine siphoned mana from its god-twin, Ramos.  The power of two gods was channelled to one purpose:

White mana was snuffed out.  Dusk descended on the plane.

The Uniter was destroyed by the effort.  But the Cho were no more.  Order was gone from Mercadia.  The Rushwood river still and grew stagnant.  The kyren and their allies returned to rule Mercadia.  For a long time, the trade city grew more and more barbarous.  Religion died without white mana to support it. Uncontrolled greed was rewarded.  Riches accumulated. Merchants gained and lost influence over the city, small squabbling duchies and witchdoms rose and fell in scant months.  Centrality was lost: the ruling powers of Mercadia shifted between a different lordling every day.

Millennia passed without white mana. The plane grew unstable in its absence.  Magic itself could feel the hole
 where white mana had been ripped out.  Like air to a vacuum, white mana was attracted to the edges of the plane, suffusing it softly.

Over time, raw white mana started to seeped through.  Otherworldly monstrocities appeared for an instant.  Titanic elementals appeared in the otherwise deserted plains.  Stories were told of slavers whose slaves had suddenly became invulnerable and turned on them.  Sudden religious fit of ecstacy decended on once profane mechants.  

The kyren grew afraid.  Could the Mercadian dusk be lifting?



Mercadian Dusk




Mercadian Dusk
 is a stand-alone large set which takes place thousands of years after the events of Mercadian Masques.  Much has changed on the plane since then — though Mercadia is still very much a city built on trade, the absence of white mana has warped the city a lot.  The power balance in the city changes constantly — one day a group of kyren might be the most powerful; the next a loose coalition of mechants;  the next a gang of Rishadan pirate-lords; the next the Witchocracy; the next the Dryad Queendom.  

The set opens on a time where the years of the four-coloured-plane appear to be lifting.  Raw white mana manifests itself in myriad horrific ways — possessions are frequent, horrors appear and disappear, religious fervor grips then abandons people, and there are even rumors an entire city has appeared on the plains for an infinite instant.

The set has two main themes: the first is a tribal theme.  The second is opposition between red-black (the ruling powers) and the recently resurgent white.  The set has multicoloured cards, but they will only appear where red or black are one of the colours.  The tribe division is consequently lop-sided: red and black each get three tribes (each sharing one with each of its allies); blue and green each get two; white only gets one.

The tribes are as follows:


  • Goblins ()

  • Mercenaries ()

  • Witches ( and )

  • Pirates ()

  • Merchants ( and )

  • Dryads ()

  • Giants ( and )

  • Horrors ()



The card allocation is:


  • Common: 101 cards (14 , 19x4 , 7 artifacts, 5 lands)

  • Uncommon: 60 cards (9 , 12x4 , 3 artifacts)

  • Rare: 53 cards (7 , 8x4 , 4 multicoloured, 5 artifacts, 5 lands)

  • Mythic rare: 15 cards (3 , 2x4 , 4 multicoloured)

  • Basic lands: 19 cards (1 plains, 3 islands, 6 swamps, 6 mountains, 3 forests)

  • Total: 248 cards (33 , 41x4 , 8 multicoloured, 15 artifacts, 9 nonbasic lands, 19 basic lands)


Reserved .
Reserved.
Reserved.
Reserved.
Ah!  Too much space still empty!  :D
Interesting. I have a partly-completed Mercadia set somewhere in MSE, so far it looks like the two have no similarities except the presence of Mercenaries (which is almost required by the setting anyways).



  • Horrors ()





great scott
192884403 wrote:
firstrike
56965458 wrote:
97820278 wrote:
56965458 wrote:
97820278 wrote:
Ceci n'est pas une pipe.
This definitely doesn't mean what you think it means.
I was referring to the painting The Treachery of Images.
I know.
I want you to know that I will be very dissapointed if you do not make use of the fact that Mercadia has sapient bipedal unicorns. That should be your primary tribe, in my opinion.
Reserved

 

120.6. Some effects replace card draws.

 

why are you here when NGA exists and is just better

Very interesting... I particularly like that white will have "horrors" which in this case I'm guessing will be unusual (and probably disturbing) beings of pure white mana. This seems like it has huge potential.

-*-*-*-*-Reserved for Further Comment-*-*-*-*- 
I want you to know that I will be very dissapointed if you do not make use of the fact that Mercadia has sapient bipedal unicorns. That should be your primary tribe, in my opinion.


Mercadia doesn't have them anymore.  All white mana and white-aligned beings ceased to exist, including bipedal unicorns.
I'm not a fan of color-lopsided sets. But I am a fan of ty. So I'm torn.

I wanna see some cards. 
Hoard of Notions: Cards and general design musings from yours truly.
I'm not a fan of color-lopsided sets. But I am a fan of ty. So I'm torn.

QFT.

PORTRAIT OF A PLANESWALKER – Coming October 13th, 2013

IMAGE(http://sprites.pokecheck.org/i/385.gif)

The reappearance of white mana in Mercadia has caused consternation in some circles — especially magi and witches.  But for most of the inhabitants of the city, life goes on as usual.  Maybe things are a bit more tense (one hears rumors, and most inhabitants have seen the occasional speaking in tongues) but coin must be earnt.


Impfruit Trapper
Creature — Human Scout (U)
When Impfruit Trapper enters the battlefield, each opponent puts a 1/1 Plant Imp creature onto the battlefield.
: Impfruit Trapper fights target Plant.  If it wins the fight, add 2 gold to your treasury.
Impfruit are considered a delicacy, though few Mercadians are willing to brave the string of curses and scratches that usually accompany them.
2/2
If it wins the fight, add 2 gold to your treasury.


calm down, sport.

 

120.6. Some effects replace card draws.

 

why are you here when NGA exists and is just better

Now, I do not have a problem with coming up with new play terminology as such, but it seems like you could just say "you get two gold counters." That would use words that players already know to communicate the same thing. Unless it wouldn't, I don't really have enough information to tell.
Excellent write-up, I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with it.

(Between this set and Wizards revisiting old planes, I'm getting a strong urge to pick up my cardmaking tools once again and carve out Return to Utopia)
From nothing came teeth.
Hey, it's that guy whose name is held in such esteem by the Cool Kids Club
Excellent write-up, I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with it.

(Between this set and Wizards revisiting old planes, I'm getting a strong urge to pick up my cardmaking tools once again and carve out Return to Utopia)


Excellent idea.
More seriously, the emergence of gold as a set mechanic is a bit of a winding path.  There were two separate issues I had:  first, I wanted to play up Mercadia's status as a hub of commerce.  There's no point in me using it as a setting (especially where I've changed it quite substantively) if I don't utilise its strenghts.  So I needed a mechanic which shows off trade somehow, which is harder to do than you think — you can't have classical trading of resources in a usual constructed or limited setting because, most of the time, your opponent can screw you over.  

The second issue I had was that I wanted to develop a mechanic I developed years earlier called Diplomacy.  This was in a combat-themed set which added a third type of role creatures could perform in combat.  When those creature got through to a player, then you could do their diplomacy effect.  Diplomacy struck me as something that would be useful to introduce into Mercadia in one form or another.

Eventually, I realised that Diplomacy could be used to solve the first problem, with a few tweaks.  The tweaks became Barter.  Barter is a replacement ability of creatures.  Barter — [effect] means "If this creature would deal combat damage to a player, you may have it deal that damage in the form of gold added to that player's treasury instead.  If you do, [effect]."

A couple of things to note about barter — it replaces combat damage and gives your opponent an advantage, so the effects are a little more aggressive than they would be on your standard combat damage trigger.  While gold is useful in the set, it's not fantastic — one of my concerns when balancing Barter was to ensure that it wasn't too parasitic.  It wouldn't be fun if the gold drawback was too big in limited (because gold was too good to give your opponent), but it's also important the Barter cards are playable in constructed with other sets without the gold mechanic.  Devaluing gold and pumping up the barter effects helps that a bit.

Barter's gold mechanic has bled a bit into the rest of the set, but not massively — I was being a little silly posting Impfruit Trapper as the first card that dealt with gold.  You're right of course, Aaarrrgh, that the gold mechanic could simply use counters, and in practice, I think players probably would to remember their gold anyway.  I've decided to word it this way (a) to increase the flavour metaphor, because it's the set's dominant mechanic, and (b) because I think counters are things that go on permanents and I don't like things (like poison counters) which go on players.

Anyway.  Some cards:



Alchemical Day-trader
Creature — Human Merchant (C)
Barter — draw a card (You may have this deal its combat damage a player in the form of gold.  When you do, do its barter effect.)
"There are two ways to turn mercury into gold.  Sometimes I try transmutation.  Other times I sell it."
1/2



Hex Peddler —
Creature — Human Witch (C)
Barter — Creature defending player controls get -1/-1 until end of turn. (You may have this deal its combat damage a player in the form of gold.  When you do, do its barter effect.)
2/4 


Evergreen Seeder
Creature — Dryad Druid
(U) 
Barter — Search your library for a Forest and put it into play, then shuffle your library. (You may have this deal its combat damage a player in the form of gold.  When you do, do its barter effect.)
Root  (You may play this card face-down as a forest.  Turn it up at any time for its root cost.)
3/2


Back-alley Draftsman
Creature — Human Mercenary (R)
Barter — Draw X cards, where X is Back-alley Draftsman's power.
Pay 2 life: Back-alley Draftsman gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
1/1 


Kyren Secret-Seller —
Creature — Goblin Merchant (C)
Barter — draw a card, then discard two cards at random. (You may have this deal its combat damage a player in the form of gold.  When you do, do its barter effect.)
1/1
Did I miss the part where you explained what players use gold for?
Not sure, did you?


One thing Dream Spinner suggested was to split out barter from its effect:


Lurid Fire-Eater —
Creature — Human Mystic Merchant (C)
Barter (You may have this deal its combat damage to players in the form of gold.)
Whenever Lurid Fire-Eater barters with a player, it deals 2 damage to itself and to target creature that player controls.
2/1

Or even as a keyword action (which opens it up to noncombat applications but sort of detracts from the flavour a bit, I feel):


Feathered Poisoner
Creature — Harpy Mercenary
Flying
When Feathered Poisoner dies, it barters with target opponent.  Creatures that player controls get -1/-1 until end of turn. (That opponent adds gold to his or her treasury equal to this creature's power.)
3/3

Thoughts?  I like the split out version more, I think.


Otherworldly Shard — 
Tribal Instant — Horror (R)  
Exile target creature.  Its controller puts a plains land token into play. 
Mercadia was already well-known for its sandstorms, but the sudden appearance of an entire desert was another thing entirely.


Ballooning Venture — 
Tribal Enchantment — Merchant Aura (C)
Enchant merchant creature
Enchanted creature has flying, barter and "Whenever this creature barters with a player, draw a card." (You may have it deal combat damage to players in the form of gold.) 


Pyramid Scheme
Tribal Enchantment — Goblin Merchant (R)
Players have no maximum hand size.
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, put a hype counter on Pyramid Scheme, then that player draws a card for each hype counter on it.
When a player has 10 or more cards in hand, sacrifice Pyramid Scheme.  Each player discards his or her hand.
I like the newer version of barter more than the old one.

Ballooning Venture could be clearer if you made the barter trigger an ability of the Aura itself. Right now it's unclear because the barter reminder text isn't next to the barter ability, and the rest of the line doesn't make any sense if you don't know what Barter does.

Ballooning Venture
Tribal Enchantment - Merchant Aura
Enchant Merchant creature
Enchanted creature has flying and barter. (You may have it deal combat damage to players in the form of gold.)
Whenever enchanted creature barters with a player, draw a card.


Another thing: are you sure you don't want barter to be a normal replacement effect instead of a wither-type "in the form of" ability? Right now, bartering trips damage triggers, which feels kind of weird because it's not really damage.

http://nogoblinsallowed.com/

You're right, Ballooning Venture looks better like that.  Thanks!

I'm totally open to a normal replacement ability — when designing the keyword I was just playing around with reminder texts to get something short and punchy, and this is as elegant as I could get it (and lets you reference power without writing it out, which is nice).

What would a replacement reminder text look like?  "If this would deal combat damage to a player, you may add that much gold to his or her treasury instead."? 
I prefer that newer wording instead.
What would a replacement reminder text look like?  "If this would deal combat damage to a player, you may add that much gold to his or her treasury instead."? 


yes

 

120.6. Some effects replace card draws.

 

why are you here when NGA exists and is just better

The weird thing is that, you don't want to pump your creature, because they just get more gold, yet you get no additional effect. 
Not sure, did you?


Uh... I wasn't trying to be sarcastic or rude. I want to know what gold is used for.
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