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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:10 pm 
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I'm not sure which thread it was recently that I was complaining about the direction that Magic has gone over the last... 5? 10 years?, but I had a minor epiphany today because of some old cards from before my time and I thought I'd share.

I probably would not have made this connection had I not finally gotten into D&D and adjacent fantasy RPGs, but I can't help but notice, as I look at the general aesthetic of Magic as I know it, how it seems to be converging on the same aesthetic as D&D-like high fantasy. I'm talking mostly about the artistic look of the last couple of worlds and races which I was familiar with - Tarkir, Innistrad, Amonkhet - but I feel like it's probably just as prevalent now as my 5-year-old memories tell me it was then.

I remember someone, I think it was Keeper, once saying how, in latter-day Magic, there is no room for strange one-offs like Hunted Lammasu because the style guides are so rigidly adhered to. IIRC, the talk at the time was that it was a double-edged sword: on the one hand, older Magic sets could be an hodgepodge of mismatched elements that didn't mesh with each other into a cohesive whole; on the other hand, the narrow focus on what the style guides dictated made the worlds feel much smaller than they used to, and had fewer interesting mysteries.

But then I take a look at some of the old Nantuko cards and just see something completely different to what modern Magic does with its style. It feels less about the odd mix of elements, and more about just being a much more wild and unique aesthetic. Kraul Swarm looks so much like a D&D monster that I first happened upon the art as someone used it in a homebrew document for a 5e insect race, while something like Nantuko Vigilante looks nearly alien in comparison (almost like a B-horror alien, in fact), and going even further back, Thelonite Monk has a completely different aesthetic to either of them.

The one thing I'm not sure of is whether Magic always had this element of trying to copy the high fantasy of the time. I know a few decades ago, fantasy looked completely different to what it looks like now. I remember being happy at the time that Orc, as a type, was more of a "thing" for Magic, but I'm wondering if including such things are less helpful than at first they appeared.

I dunno, I'm just rambling, here.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 1:10 am 
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I remember someone, I think it was Keeper, once saying how, in latter-day Magic, there is no room for strange one-offs like Hunted Lammasu because the style guides are so rigidly adhered to. IIRC, the talk at the time was that it was a double-edged sword: on the one hand, older Magic sets could be an hodgepodge of mismatched elements that didn't mesh with each other into a cohesive whole; on the other hand, the narrow focus on what the style guides dictated made the worlds feel much smaller than they used to, and had fewer interesting mysteries.

Pretty sure it was a conversation between Keeper and I where we were attempting to elaborate on the drawbacks of the Return to Ravnica.

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The one thing I'm not sure of is whether Magic always had this element of trying to copy the high fantasy of the time. I know a few decades ago, fantasy looked completely different to what it looks like now. I remember being happy at the time that Orc, as a type, was more of a "thing" for Magic, but I'm wondering if including such things are less helpful than at first they appeared.

I dunno, I'm just rambling, here.
It kinda depends. The breadth of fantasy elements have homogenized and synthesized into a very effectively marketable sell to the **** normies at the cost of fringe creativity getting time and exposure to exist.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 6:10 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
It kinda depends. The breadth of fantasy elements have homogenized and synthesized into a very effectively marketable sell to the **** normies at the cost of fringe creativity getting time and exposure to exist.

I don't think anyone would disagree with the sentiment - even outside of Magic, fantasy in the mainstream culture has definitely homogenized - but I don't remember you sounding so resentful before. I know this year has been hard on all of us, and I really shouldn't have brought the topic up, because really regardless of what is actually said, I think all of us like having this little space to unwind and not worry about things for a while. I don't want to sound like I'm trying to step on your toes, but it just sounds like I brought up a touchy issue for you, and I think everyone, yourself included, will be better if we just drop it for now, when things aren't so stressful everywhere.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:56 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
It kinda depends. The breadth of fantasy elements have homogenized and synthesized into a very effectively marketable sell to the **** normies at the cost of fringe creativity getting time and exposure to exist.

I don't think anyone would disagree with the sentiment - even outside of Magic, fantasy in the mainstream culture has definitely homogenized - but I don't remember you sounding so resentful before. I know this year has been hard on all of us, and I really shouldn't have brought the topic up, because really regardless of what is actually said, I think all of us like having this little space to unwind and not worry about things for a while. I don't want to sound like I'm trying to step on your toes, but it just sounds like I brought up a touchy issue for you, and I think everyone, yourself included, will be better if we just drop it for now, when things aren't so stressful everywhere.

Nah, you don't have to apologize and really it's not an overly touchy subject. It's more a reflection of how much corporatism and market focuses can strangle out genuinely positive and diverse things. I lash out about the normies partly out of comedy, but partly because of the deleterious effect their disengagement in their engagement causes.
Essentially, there's a lot of money out there in the hands of people that might kinda want to get into something more fringe, but they labor under the twin lashes of not wanting to put the time and attention into cracking the background (which I honestly can't blame them for) and the social stigma attached to fringe cultures.

So, you get massive corporations only interested in ripping the money out of them and see a lot of the unique properties of something as an impediment to snatching as much cash as they can. If they turn it all into a highly marketable bland paste in the process, they won't care. They're trend chasers, not tastemakers.

In general, it's hit scifi WAY harder than fantasy, but we're kinda three generations out from the foundation of modern fantasy these days anyway.

In more positive news, I've finished the new Donagut story!
Clocking in at about 5500 words, I'm going to make another editing pass tomorrow after I reread some previous works to check for voice.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:27 pm 
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THere's a pretty good video on this subject in regards to the Game of Thrones tv adaptation.

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Cato wrote:
CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:38 am 
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:party: Happy Birthday, Barinellos! I hope it's a Magical day! :party:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:26 am 
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Haven’t played the latter 2; so got Bastion, Transistor, and Hades for Switch and gonna play them in order when taking breaks from Minecraft.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:26 am 
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Happy birthday Barinellos!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:15 pm 
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I shall echo: Happy Birthday, Barinellos!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:20 pm 
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Indeed, happy birthday, Barinellos, and I want to give a special thank-you considering... everything that's been going on.

I've had a rough go of it this week due to lack of sleep, and I'm in a bit more of a melancholic mood right now, especially worrying about things I've said, and so I just want to thank you for being there and accepting me despite all my shortcomings.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 9:40 pm 
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Happy birthday Barinellos!

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Cato wrote:
CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

TPrizesW
TPortfolioW


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:40 pm 
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Thanks everyone!
I was going to wait and let it be a surprise, but you found me out.
:)

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To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:45 am 
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So, quick works related update

I still have a donagut action tale, a semi shapeless Antony piece, a short work from Zhiran's academy, but hideously more ambitious, I've got this Jakkard story that's been sittin' in my saddle bag fer damn near a heap o' years.
And I'm half thinking it's time I pull that trigger, but that's... going to be a helluva commitment, I think.

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Yet on the morn we wake to find / that mem'ry left so far behind.
To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:20 am 
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For the first time ever, ever, an anime has successfully gotten me to read the LN.

I regret everything and nothing.

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In Minecraft, I am stuck trying to find a Nether Fortress. My essential strategy at the moment is that I’m digging a tunnel at bedrock level and creating outpost towers every 100 blocks or so. Im essentially tunnelling around walls and mountains so that covers a lot more than what it sounds like. The goal is to take over a Nether Fortress so we can get a reasonable iron farm going in the overworld; at which point it won’t be as much of a loss to actually explore the Nether. Everyone else is too afraid of death to help search so it’s slow going.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:26 pm 
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I'm ~3000 words into the Jakkard story.
The prologue could almost work as its own thing.

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To deafened ears we ask, unseen / "Which is life and which the dream?"


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:25 pm 
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Not to bring the mood down, but I've been having a rough go of it these last few weeks. I installed more security cameras because I'm still getting people obviously casing my property, but I've met some nice neighbors who are experiencing some of the same **** and said they'd look out for people acting suspect. Meanwhile, I've apparently got a mystery leak because several thousand gallons are disappearing every month and there's nowhere it could be going. All the while, work has been interminable and I haven't slept well enough to keep up (partially because of being so busy).

But, hey, through all that, I've started going down a few rabbit holes of research because a bit of collaborative worldbuilding with an AI has lit a fire under me to where I'm just about ready to create my first entire conlang just so I can stealthily fit a Greek word into a world. I even made a World Anvil account since I've heard that's such a great way to compile notes for worldbuilding, though actually writing this stuff down in a coherent fashion is going slowly, in part to the aforementioned busy work schedule.

Also I took a look through the U.S. copyright and trademark databases and couldn't find any of Magic's unique creature type names, like Loxodon. I don't know nearly enough about legal issues to say whether that means they're fair game to use as a fantasy race or whether they're still part of the product identity, though part of me wonders how far back that has to reach in order for it to be considered as such. Like, do Moonfolk still count as part of the product identity, even though they haven't been seen seemingly since '93 (with the exception of Tamiyo, who doesn't get a creature type line, being a Planeswalker card)? What about Atogs? Nephilim? I mean, I even looked up "Lorwyn" in the databases to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong, and found out the trademark on it has been DEAD since 2014 (though I'm not entirely clear what that means).


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:36 pm 
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Huh. That's interesting regarding the trademark.
I believe that things like Loxodon and Leonin wouldn't really stand up to scrutiny, but it's another matter with Vedalken or Viashino. Moonfolk is in a much more grey area because then name itself is extremely generic, but the appearance would probably infringe on intellectual copyrights.

I got about another 2000 words knocked out on my Jakkard story. It puts it roughly the same length as my last piece. HOWEVER I'm onlt just now at Chapter 3, starting the second act.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:30 am 
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Barinellos wrote:
Huh. That's interesting regarding the trademark.
I believe that things like Loxodon and Leonin wouldn't really stand up to scrutiny, but it's another matter with Vedalken or Viashino. Moonfolk is in a much more grey area because then name itself is extremely generic, but the appearance would probably infringe on intellectual copyrights.

I don't know the etymology of "Loxodon" -- I always assumed it was a twinkie. Is there something I'm missing?

I agree that races like Vedalken and Kor seem too unique to Magic, but races like Kithkin and Viashino are just familiar fantasy races with a coat of paint, apart from the names (Hobbits/Halflings for Kithkin and Dragonborn/Kobold for Viashino). There's more I also want to say about "tribal" names (see: Tritons of Theros), but I don't want to sound like I'm advocating that we push the limits of Wizards' ire. It just seems to me that we have a bit more freedom than I previously thought.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:23 am 
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Usually the standard is whether or not you could have come up with it on your own. This has both a quality and quantity aspect to it.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:44 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
Huh. That's interesting regarding the trademark.
I believe that things like Loxodon and Leonin wouldn't really stand up to scrutiny, but it's another matter with Vedalken or Viashino. Moonfolk is in a much more grey area because then name itself is extremely generic, but the appearance would probably infringe on intellectual copyrights.

I don't know the etymology of "Loxodon" -- I always assumed it was a twinkie. Is there something I'm missing?

I agree that races like Vedalken and Kor seem too unique to Magic, but races like Kithkin and Viashino are just familiar fantasy races with a coat of paint, apart from the names (Hobbits/Halflings for Kithkin and Dragonborn/Kobold for Viashino). There's more I also want to say about "tribal" names (see: Tritons of Theros), but I don't want to sound like I'm advocating that we push the limits of Wizards' ire. It just seems to me that we have a bit more freedom than I previously thought.

Loxodon is derived from the genus Loxodonta, encompassing the species of elephants.

I'd minorly argue on kithkin because I don't think it's quite as unique a term. Halfling isn't to kithkin as it is to hobbit. Viashino is just more specific and MaRo has stated in the past that he HATES that it's its own thing. I half expect it to finally meet their fate when Forgotten Realms comes around.

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