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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:44 am 
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About a month ago I mentioned in the Random Plot Generator thread that I had plans for Tey'von. Now, with the help of the ever brilliant RuwinReborn, those plans are coming to fruition. Or at least they can be more publicly hinted at. There are many plans at work here; some mine, some Ruwin's. But more on that as this drama develops. For now, without further ado, enjoy Seek and You Shall Find, co-authored by Ruwin and myself:

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Last edited by Aaarrrgh on Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:26 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:40 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:38 pm 
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This was a fun one to work on with Aaarrrgh and I'm glad he was so patient with me, all things considered. Tey'von is a fun and interesting character, and while I am afraid I did not do him the justice he deserved in the portions I wrote, I like the way the piece as a whole turned out. :D

@Raven

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:34 am 
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I liked this story as well. The writing style is concise and informative without being boring.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:42 pm 
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Aaarrrgh wrote:
Dragons, unfortunately, are frightening and awesome.

Yes. Yes they are.

:D

Anyway, I have been *massively* delinquent in not carving-out time to really sit down with this story until now. And, it turns out that -- unsurprisingly -- I have really just been cheating myself, because this piece is wonderful! Thanks so much, Aaarrrgh and Ruwin, for sharing it with us!

This is -- as others have noted -- a very interesting encounter. There's a sort of quietness to Tey'von that really draws me to him, and his humility and self-knowledge -- both about what he does know and about what he does not -- continue to fascinate me. Meanwhile, the Wanderer must appear -- at a surface level, at least -- to be almost exactly what Tey'von has been searching for all this time. Less as a singular figure, because I'm not sure that Tey'von is really looking for a singular figure (and I'm not sure whether he's sure, either), but more as a sort of exemplar of faith. And so it's easy to see why Tey'von is going to want to follow the Wanderer, and to learn more about him, and about his Great Work, as it were.

Of course, that seems to offer the promise of danger as much as enlightenment. Because, for precisely this reason, the Wanderer is in a sort of uniquely advantageous position, vis-à-vis Tey'von, and it remains to be seen just where our dragon's true motivations lie...

I wonder, I wonder, I wonder...

:plot:

Anyway, I love the broader themes at play, here, but I also love the very small moments, too. That line that Raven called-out, for example, is an absolute gem:

Aaarrrgh wrote:
On the other hand (he had four, which greatly extended his capacity to argue with himself), it would do him no harm to investigate.

God, do I love that line. There's some really amazing writing that happens around the M:EM. :D

Anyway, at the risk of echoing what has been said before, I am *very* intrigued to see where we may go from here!

Thanks again for sharing, Aaarrrgh and Ruwin!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 2:04 am 
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Thank you all for the kind words!

That line about the hands came about because I realized that I had never given any kind of physical description of Tey'von (except mentioning that he is about as tall as Kahr-ret-Taris). And because there are vedalken of both the two- and four-armed variety, I wanted to find a way to establish which kind Tey'von is. And that's when I thought if the joke. It was a moment of pure inspiration, and I must admit that I made myself chuckle a bit.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:07 pm 
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I, too, was amused by that joke, though I wonder whether Tey'von would be more likely to use "another" instead of "the other" in that phrase.

It's interesting that Tey'von, while not exactly naïve, is willing to accept explanations at face value when not contradicted by other evidence. He seeks truth and goodness, and wants to believe that other people are good at heart. He knows not to worship the Wanderer, but still accepts what he's told about the goals and history of the Great Work. He's mostly curious about its effects, and won't question the motives until presented a reason to.

Quote:
“Who are you, and what are you doing in my home?”
This can be seen either as suspicious, or as a reasonable request by someone who feels that their space has been violated. It's one of several bits where the Wanderer comes across as being manipulative and distrustful, but only because one line in another story shows us the face that he doesn't present to others. He has almost become his image, but the cracks show us that something's wrong underneath, which gives a delightfully disconcerting overtone to everything he does.

Quote:
In the prime of my life "impressive" would have seemed such an inadequate word.
What a way to take a compliment! But indeed, what Tey'von compliments is a shadow of what it once was, and the Wanderer's personal anguish over that loss prevents him from taking comfort in what is left.

Grammar nitpick: The phrase at the beginning is long enough to separate with a comma, and single quotes would be more appropriate for the nested quotation.

Quote:
Dragons, unfortunately, are frightening and awesome.
Indeed, though "awe-inspiring" might be a better choice of word here, unless you want to portray the Wanderer as out of touch with language drift.

Quote:
The difference is, you seek to find it, and I seek to create it.
It takes a particular kind of person to create a religion, though I suspect that oldwalker power would encourage that kind of thing. Yet Tey'von doesn't see this as a red flag. The Wanderer, after all, would be perfectly happy to subsume Tey'von's whole Church if necessary. Whether he will do so, or at least try, remains to be seen, and may partly depend on Tey'von.

Quote:
Peace reined on thousands of worlds.
I've been seeing this theme thrown around quite a bit, perhaps because it's the classic red-white conflict. Is perfect peace worth the cost of freedom? Where would Tey'von fall on this line?

Grammar nitpick: You mean "reigned" (as in "reigned over a kingdom") instead of "reined" (as in "reined in a horse").

Thank you for sharing! I really like the tone of this piece; though it's not as emotion-laden as many, it works well for the characters and subject matter. Though I'd be curious to know how whether those less familiar with the Wanderer would pick up some of the nuance.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:18 pm 
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Thanks for commenting, Brentain! You make good points all around, and I'm looking forward to when the answers to your questions and concerns will be revealed.

And I did notice the "reined" typo, I just forgot to fix it. Will do that now.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:30 am 
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Quote:
Immediately, he knew what his next move was.

Should this be "what his next move should be"? I feel there's something ever-so-slightly off with this sentence.

Quote:
There was a time when planeswalkers had more in common with gods than we did with mortals." Wanderer said quietly. "I sought to use that divinity for good, where so many others used it for themselves. I was opposed, of course, but I was also supported.

I think I will never tire of "we were gods once" references. Of course, it may just be that I've been spoiled with good ones.

So, firstly, I'd like to say that this is an interesting little piece, though I have a few structural problems with it.

The early bits especially seem to have paragraphs that run on kind of long, as if they should be multiple paragraphs.

The entire thing also seems to go by... Kind of quickly? Like, it's implied that Tey'von spent a while on [unnamed plane 1] before going to the desert on [unnamed plane 2], and then spending who knows how long crossing the desert, but we really get none of that. Then his meditations and travels between the two temples (even if we accept that he managed to perfectly 'walk between the two) was kind of passed over. The talk with the Wanderer also seems kind of rushed, the two accepting each other and going on to business seemingly over a few minutes' time.

What I'm saying is, I'd like to see this padded out a bit more. I feel like not enough weight has really been given to the events here.

Now, I want to address some others' commentary on this.

Firstly, Raven mentioned the Wanderer's shapeshifting being an issue, though the way I see it this plays into the classic D&D style of dragon, where that ability is just something native to the highly-magical-in-nature dragons. And, considering we don't know where the Wanderer came from or what his powers actually entail, I'd be more than willing to entertain this ability for now, so long as we don't tie it to his status as an oldwalker.

Brentain wrote:
Quote:
Dragons, unfortunately, are frightening and awesome.

Indeed, though "awe-inspiring" might be a better choice of word here, unless you want to portray the Wanderer as out of touch with language drift.

I strongly disagree. To begin with, despite the times when I do knowingly or unwittingly use the word in its modern context, I am a proponent of "awesome" being reserved for actual awe-inspiring sights -- this is in large part to being introduced to comedian Eddy Izzard while young.*

Secondly, it was established in Climb Every Mountain which introduced the Wanderer (though I imagine that you may not have read that yet) that he was magically asleep for presumably thousands of years, enough that his presence had transformed the land around him into a perpetual winter, so, yeah, I'd imagine he'd be a little out of touch with the language drift.

Lastly, this is high fantasy and the line in question is character dialogue to boot. I believe that you can get away with more in character dialogue because even native speakers aren't going to be speaking perfectly all the time, and if you pay attention even the people whose job it is to give speeches (such as politicians) will stutter, stumble over words, repeat themselves, and choose something other than their intended meaning. This being high fantasy means we should also try to distance ourselves at least a little from more modern language; in fact I bring up word issues like that whenever I feel it's appropriate. With the word awesome still actually meaning "something which inspires awe" despite how frequently it's tossed around, I feel it's perfectly serviceable in this instance.


*The joke in question involved some assuredly low-brand hot dog (although hot dog alone make it sound cheap) called Awesome Hotdog and Eddy Izzard pointed out that what that implies if you called seeing the earthrise from the surface of the moon "awesome" -- the response from Houston being a short pause followed by "What, like a hot dog?"


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:30 pm 
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Secondly, it was established in Climb Every Mountain which introduced the Wanderer (though I imagine that you may not have read that yet) that he was magically asleep for presumably thousands of years, enough that his presence had transformed the land around him into a perpetual winter, so, yeah, I'd imagine he'd be a little out of touch with the language drift.

Lastly, this is high fantasy and the line in question is character dialogue to boot. I believe that you can get away with more in character dialogue because even native speakers aren't going to be speaking perfectly all the time, and if you pay attention even the people whose job it is to give speeches (such as politicians) will stutter, stumble over words, repeat themselves, and choose something other than their intended meaning. This being high fantasy means we should also try to distance ourselves at least a little from more modern language; in fact I bring up word issues like that whenever I feel it's appropriate. With the word awesome still actually meaning "something which inspires awe" despite how frequently it's tossed around, I feel it's perfectly serviceable in this instance.

This is why I can understand the wording choice if it's done with that purpose in mind. Here, though, it pulls focus from the story without contributing significantly to our understanding of the character, or at all to the plot. Indeed, the Wanderer is portrayed as more careful in word choice than this would lead one to believe.

On top of that, it does so in a very English-centric way, which ends up reminding me that these characters probably don't speak English. Granted, language issues have been explicitly hand-waved in at least one story, probably an official one, as something the spark is just supposed to take care of.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:58 pm 
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Firstly, Raven mentioned the Wanderer's shapeshifting being an issue, though the way I see it this plays into the classic D&D style of dragon, where that ability is just something native to the highly-magical-in-nature dragons. And, considering we don't know where the Wanderer came from or what his powers actually entail, I'd be more than willing to entertain this ability for now, so long as we don't tie it to his status as an oldwalker.

And that is precisely why I would like the point clarified in-story. Because this isn't D&D, the fact that the Wanderer can shapeshift has far more implications, and it's already far too easy for people who come to the project without a wide knowledge of MTG to make false assumptions. In the MTG and M:EM canons, dragons cannot inherently shapeshift, and planeswalkers can't inherently shapeshift anymore, meaning that unless the Wanderer was using external magic (which Ruwin indicated outside of the story that he was) this passage could mislead potential readers into making false assumptions about dragons, planeswalkers, or both.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:40 pm 
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My two cents for editing, before I finish reading: In the first paraghraph, you wrote " On the other hand" twice. I believe you meant "On one hand" and then " On the other hand..."

:two:

I would vote yea


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:30 am 
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So, a year and a half later, I am finally fulfilling my promise to address Raven's concerns about this piece. I have edited the passage where Wanderer transforms to state that he used to be able to shapeshift freely at will, but now only has the two forms he shows here.

Now, will this need a new vote, or can this carry it into the Archives with Raven's approval?

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:32 am 
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Aaarrrgh wrote:
So, a year and a half later, I am finally fulfilling my promise to address Raven's concerns about this piece. I have edited the passage where Wanderer transforms to state that he used to be able to shapeshift freely at will, but now only has the two forms he shows here.

Now, will this need a new vote, or can this carry it into the Archives with Raven's approval?

Well, this one is a very strange case. Technically, the vote passed with 4 "yea" votes to 2 "Not as is" votes. However, both authors expressed a desire to hold off acceptance until my issue was addressed:

I will say that while this squeaks by on majority vote, and just barely, I am still planning on enacting the changes Raven has suggested and maybe sprucing up the story in general. If it pleases the general "you", we can keep this out of the archive until it is edited, or I can edit it after it has been put in. Whatever is most convenient.

Aaarrrgh wrote:
I'm with Ruwin on this. I want to turn at least one of the NAI's into a Yea before this gets in.

So, we wind up in this strange sort of situation where, technically, the story is already in, but kind of not. I sort of want to ask for a re-vote on the grounds that A: It's been quite a while since this story went up and B: I feel weird about it coming down to "If Raven says it's in, it's in." I neither have nor want that kind of authority, and this story has nothing to do with me.

Of course, re-voting has its own problems, as we, the M:EM, have a much thinner roster than we did before, so I don't know.

As to the change itself, I do think it's better this new way (for my concern), but I'm not convinced that it is the correct fix. My problem with the original shapeshifting scene is that it's important to me personally that neither dragons nor current-day planeswalkers can shapeshift because they are dragons or planeswalkers. I have no problem with any one character shapeshifting, provided there is an additional reason that they can. If a character IS a shapeshifter, meaning the "race," no problem. If a character has learned shapeshifting magic, no problem. If the character has access to some kind of artifact that grants that ability, cool. I just want it to be clear that a dragon can't shapeshift just because it's a dragon, and a planeswalker can't shapeshift just because they're a planeswalker.

So it doesn't matter to me how many forms Wanderer has, just as long as there's a reason Wanderer can shapeshift in the first place beyond dragonhood/planeswalkership. Ruwin indicated outside of the story that yes, Wanderer knows shapeshifting magic. I'm fine with that, but it's important to me that that fact is at least hinted at in-story, so that we don't send false impressions to future readers of this piece.

That's my take, anyway. Do remember that at least 4 people didn't agree with me, and voted Yea on this piece. So take my opinions on this matter (and all others) with a grain of salt.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:36 pm 
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Ok, I see your point. However, explaining why and how Wanderer can shapeshift is kind of a spoiler at this point. I can't think of a way to be any clearer than it is without giving away too much. Let me just say that there is a lot of subtext in the new line which will become clear when we get to the end of this story arc.

And yes, this is a weird situation. If we had gotten the edit done back then we would all feel better now. But that didn't happen, so I am playing this by ear.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:20 pm 
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My instinct is that the simplest thing to do is to just do a re-vote with the new text? It may mean a little whipping to get a quorum, but it ought to be achievable. And it's a reason to re-read the story, which is no bad thing, in my mind!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:49 am 
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I think that I will simply wait until I finish the next story or two and put them up for vote together. That will take a while though, because this month is crazy for me. Maybe I can actually write something in November.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:14 pm 
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Seems like a perfectly reasonable plan!

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