by mansarali on deviantart; it is impossible to find a picture of a *bad* elvish archer
Say you’re designing the character creation rules of a fantasy RPG (pen-and-paper or video game). Nothing fancy, just a few ability scores picked using a point-buy system and improved as the character gains levels. So far so good. But you also want to show off the amazing diversity of your fantasy setting, so you write something like this:
Elves are swift and gracious compared to clumsy humans. Elf characters get +2 Dexterity.
Seems reasonable on its face, and damn near universal in gaming. But what does it actually mean?
This article now only exists on an archive website. I’m puting it up as a pdf in case that too should vanish from the net. It’s a valuable piece of game design history.
It’s 1997. Magic: the Gathering is flying off the shelves. (I mean, it’s flying off the shelves even more today, but now we’re used to it). And this despite its seemingly customer-unfriendly practice of selling cards in randomized “boosters” with arbitrarily-assigned card “rarity”. Well a plate on a door affords pushing, and the thing to do with unsatisfied customers is to offer them a superior product. This is what Ryan Dancey (then of the Five Rings Publishing Group, later the driving force behind Dungeons & Dragons‘ unheard-of Open Gaming License) did, using the Legend of the Five Rings Collectible Card Game and a few others as guinea pigs.
The whole saga is an entertaining read, but most important is its conclusion:
(This post is about the popular Commander/EDH variant for Magic: the Gathering.)
Commander has two rules that prevent players from using cards that aren’t of their commander’s colour(s): a deckbuilding rule and an in-game rule.
- Cards in a deck may not have any colours in their identity which are not shared with the commander of the deck. (The identity of each card in the deck must be a subset of the General’s.)
- A deck may not generate mana outside its colours. If an effect would generate mana of an illegal colour, it generates colourless mana instead.
In this post, I would like to discuss the possibility of removing the first rule, and relying entirely on the second rule to keep decks colour-segregated. I will merely list all consequences I could think of, and let the reader come to their own conclusion.
- 360 custom cards
- Over 40 /tg/ contributors
- Intended to be drafted (a.k.a. a cube)
- Each card has artwork with artist credit (and occasionally flavour text)
- Each card has designer credit (designers have a symbol used as watermark)
- The set symbol is made of three C’s (for Custom Cards Cube)
- Made in a month of hard work in summer 2013
- Probably a lot better than you expect
Where to find it
Direct link to the most recent version, as a Magic Set Editor file.
Every Cube-related file, including what you’ll need to see the watermarks.
A ton of Magic-compatible art for your own projects (warning: may not stay up forever)
The state of custom Magic cards design
I used to hang around in /tg/, the “traditional games” board on 4chan. /tg/ has a very active community of custom Magic cards designers. You can pretty much always find a dedicated thread floating around, despite 4chan’s fast thread rotation. Activity varies and there’s a lot of repeats, but this still amounts to something like two original custom cards an hour, all day, every day.
Most of them are terrible.
I’m hashing out ideas for a story-heavy video game, something like The Walking Dead, Façade, or one of the more interactive visual novels. I’m not going to spoil the plot too much; it’s basically grimdark magical girl stuff like Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Working title is The Sisterhood (a surprisingly underused title, especially compared to The Brotherhood). It’s going to be very low budget if it happens at all. But I hope to make up for it with dialogue and storytelling tricks I haven’t seen before in video games. (If you have seen them before, please tell me all about it.)
by clearkid on deviantart
I don’t know if there’s a video game of Calvin & Hobbes in which you control Hobbes, but if there isn’t, they’re missing an opportunity to seriously mindfuck some players.
Wrote 20 cards (out of 120 or so). Should have a playable prototype in a month at this rate.
A Once Upon A Time/Aye, Dark Overlord-like storytelling game with Harry Potter fanfics as its theme. Cards with all the tropes we know and love: “the real chosen one”, “muggle with a shotgun”, “storyteller’s self-insert”, “time travel”, “Twilight crossover”, “male pregnancy”… Players interrupt each other with crazy plot points to try to drive a very confused story towards their Ending card (“…and Harry and Voldemort were a family again”).