Q:Ruric Thar has two heads with separate personalities. Do beings like him still have a single soul for the purpose of having a planeswalker spark?
Let’s explore the matrix of options:
1A: Ruric Thar have one soul, but no spark.
1B: Ruric Thar have one soul, but they do have the spark. If it ignited, they would become a planeswalker with two heads and two personalities.
2A: Ruric Thar has two souls, in some sense, but it doesn’t matter because they have no spark.
2B: Ruric Thar has two souls, but for planeswalkery purposes they have a single spark. I’m not sure if this is actually possible. But if that spark ignited, they would become a planeswalker with two heads, two personalities, and two souls.
2C: Ruric Thar has two souls, and TWO SPARKS. To me, that means their sparks could ignite together or, theoretically, independently, if one of them somehow had some trauma or dramatic experience that the other one didn’t. If one tried to planeswalk while the other one didn’t have a spark, I don’t know what would happen. It would probably be fatal — the spark may help protect you in the Blind Eternities, and the hypothetical half-planeswalker Ruric Thar might only be half-protected.
My guess is that 1A or 1B is the real answer. I lean toward Ruric Thar (and two-headed creatures in general, I guess) being one person with two personalities, not two separate people trapped in one body. But it’s an interesting thought experiment.
Q:I love that you put the story's end on the cards this time. Alara/Zendikar/Scars/Innistrad blocks were all god because the big conclusions of those stories were all reflected in the environment, but one of the things perpetually frustrating about Return to Ravnica block is that the story seems to stop unless you buy your E-Book (which, no matter how much I love it, will always be a small portion of the audience). All out guild warfare becomes the race of the Maze and then nothing.
Right. There are a lot of players who do care about what happens in the story, but for whom the response of ”And go read this other thing to learn what happens!” just translates to ”And you’ll never get to learn what happens!” Jumping through those hoops is just not a great answer for them, and we don’t want those hoops to be a requirement for enjoying the main highlights of Magic's story.
And to be clear, when we hear this from people, we understand that it’s not because they are story-hostile or anti-Vorthos or something. What we’ve heard is a polite statement about what we need to do to meet them where they are. They’re saying, “Look, no offense, but I am just never going to go seek out your thing. I’m not ever going to take the time to find and read the whole backstory. I do want to know how the block story ends — I do want to be engaged with the story and be excited about its resolution — but you’re going to have to tell me what happened clearly, in a place I already look, or I will just not know it.” That is not an anti-story sentiment, you know? That is an anti-high-barrier-to-entry sentiment, and that’s a thing we can work on in the future.
Q:Aside from humans could we ever see another planeswalker that is of the same race as an existing character?
Any new planeswalker character needs to have a substantially different look or vibe or magical theme that distinguishes her from other ones. But assuming we could clearly differentiate the new nonhuman character from an existing one, it seems likely we would do that in the fullness of time.
Q:So, I feel like Deicide and Revel of the Fallen God spoiled a big part of the ending of Theros block for me. Did Creative not spot this when the time came to do flavour text, or was it planned? And do you have any idea if this could be avoided in future, maybe by releasing the novels earlier?
We knew we wanted Journey into Nyx to reflect major revelations in the story. Cards can sometimes give you an advance peek at what happens, since they come out basically all at once instead of according to the chronology of the story. But we still wanted the set to depict those important moments, such as Elspeth’s defeat of Xenagos, rather than leave them completely off of cards and have nobody know what’s going on. We’ve heard from players that “hiding” the story in the novel, Uncharted Realms, or other non-card venues was diminishing their ability to follow along; cards make the story real for many players.
This does represent a bit of a shift in strategy — our “story deployment strategy” you might call it. In the past, we’ve tried showing tons of story events on cards, even when they weren’t very important or interesting (such as during the Weatherlight story). We’ve also tried going the other direction and having basically zero plot on cards (I have whole Savor the Flavor articles talking about how “cards are a bad story medium,” and so, for example, the Innistrad block story is very murky for many players).
We’re moving toward a new model where we select the most crucial, visually impactful moments of the story and depicting those in the card sets. There will still be other story venues that go into more detail about the story; there is always tons more depth and character development and action that a single card can’t communicate. But we’re going to be looking for opportunities to show off those big events on cards. Deicide is an example of that.
Would we have liked it if the rest of the e-book was available by the end of Journey previews? Yep. Ideally, you’d be reading the final page of Godsend at the same moment that the pixels of Deicide dot card preview gallery dot jpeg were hitting your eyeballs, merging into one brain-shattering moment. But chronology across different media is tricky, and it didn’t work out as ideally as we had hoped this time.
We have some thoughts about improving the orchestration in the future, but it’s important to note that while stories are chronological, it’s the nature of all card sets to release all at once. The majority of players get their sense of what’s happening in the story through what they see in the card sets, so we’ll always have the job of somehow communicating what came first, this card or that card, this event or that event. That will always be the case, no matter when a novel releases or lore goes up on the web or whatever. We have some ideas to help with that communication, and to keep revelations impactful and enjoyable for everyone. For now, we hope everybody enjoys seeing the spotlight shone on those dramatic moments, and we hope you guys preorder part 2 of Godsend to get the complete story. :)
Q:Please give a high five to whoever was responsible for the creative side of Deicide. That art and flavor text are insane. I can't wait for Godsend part 2 now!
Will do! It shall be a super solemn, dramatic high five with heavens-shaking import.
I really enjoyed reading your responses yesterday. You guys are BUSY with many THINGS. I hope you got a chance to peek through the comments, too. I feel like a huge part of the value of us all being here at this blog is you guys interacting with each other, not just via me. A web model, not a spoke-hub model, if you get what I’m saying.
Anyway, here’s my schedule today, since you guys shared so much with me:
- Quick check-in meeting with Brand
- Weekly meeting with Creative to discuss far-flung future topics
- Work on a typey-typey thing destined to go on the web eventually
- Work on naming keywords for a set
- Significant other will be doing errands near Wizards at midday, so we’ll probably do lunch together. I’m thinking teriyaki
- There might be a meeting to do more topline concepts for a different set
- Finalize some video script stuff, and then get going on the next one
- Have my weekly 1-on-1 check-in meeting with my manager
- I think there’s another meeting I’m forgetting about — I’ll have to check my calendar when I get in the office
- Commute home
- Frozen should have arrived from Netflix by tonight? I haven’t seen it yet, I’m excited
Hope you have a better day than yesterday.
How are you doing? What are you up to today?
Q:What part of Xenagos's personality is green? He seems too power-hungry and too willing to upset the natural order of the world to have any green in his personality. He strikes me more as mono-red or probably more appropriately, black-red. Could you please explain what part of Xenagos embodies green's philosophy.
He’s upsetting the order of the pantheon of Nyx, not of nature on Theros. As a reveler, he’s all about having people get back to their primal instincts, and he sees the division between mortals and gods as a kind of artifice. He’s anti-structure, anti-order, and some might argue anti-intellectual, but he’s certainly not anti-nature.
The larger issue is that if we tacked black onto every villain who ever hurt someone on their way to achieving their goals, or who ever wanted to become a prominent and powerful figure, we would never have any variety in villains. Someone can cause great upheaval for their own personal goals and not be black-aligned. Villainy does not necessitate black mana.
Q:I'm narrowing down my options for a new EDH deck and wondered about the funereal rites practiced on Theros. I know there are no Angels so they are out. Are there different ceremonies according to which God was primarily worshiped? From my understanding- the fates destine when you will die, you have a funeral and are given a clay mask by your family/friends, you meet Atheros as a spirit, your clay mask is coined and you are given a new gold mask. Erebos keeps you forever regardless of good deeds.
Since Theros’s fates are human, I think they’re more predictors than determiners. And you yourself are often the one who forges your gold mask in the underworld. But otherwise, yep, I think that’s a good sum-up of the general kicking-the-bucket process on Theros.
Q:Is Wizards ever likely to do a two-Planeswalker card? Something like "Gideon and Chandra Jura *insert suitable picture and mechanics* (type line) Planeswalker: Gideon Chandra".
The planeswalker art aspect (i.e., the ratio of height to width of the art box in the planeswalker frame) isn’t really optimized for showing two figures, composition-wise. But if an artist could make it look good, then there could be some cool things about trying that. I believe the two subtype thing works fine in the rules. Maybe someday.