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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:32 pm 
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The frigid wind whistles past its sails as the Weatherlight and her crew are headed further and further into the north. Under twinkling stars and flickering polar lights, the ship soars past frozen shores and snow-covered pines, her destination in the heart of the highlands drawing ever closer.

Coming February 2021... Dominaria: Northwind


...

Look, I've been wanting to make a thread about Dominaria's Northland for ages, long before Kaldheim was even announced, and because it might be kinda distracting, I really had to make the time to write this up before we're too deep into previews and stuff. Why bother, though? Why should anyone care about that place? After all, we don't even know anything about it, right? Wrong. For a place that has had almost no exposure, there is quite a lot that we either know for sure or that we can reasonably infer, and at least to me, the bigger picture this creates and the possibilities that come with it are pretty compelling. I don't even think it would actually clash with what Kaldheim is trying to do, even if it ends up featuring the Snow mechanic, and the Snow mechanic is probably the main reason I'd be excited to explore the Northland. Well, that and the fact that it's on Dominaria. But I'll get to that...


What we know for sure

Spoiler

What we can infer

Spoiler

How it could be used

I'm kinda exhausted right now and want to get this out there as quickly as possible, so I think I'll take a break here for now before I add my own take on what to do with all of this and how to tie it into the bigger picture. I guess my wall of text is a bit too dry and abstract to start a fruitful discussion on the topic, but it'll hopefully get clearer when I've added some ideas of my own. For now, though, I'll ask anyway: What do you guys all think? Is this a setting that you'd be interested in exploring? Would you be on board with a Snow-themed set on modern day Dominaria?



Edit: Turns out I'm so exhausted I even misspelled the title of the thread. Yay... -___-

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Last edited by Pavor Nocturnus on Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 1:46 pm 
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Okay, I'm back. So, first of all, how could any of this tie into Dominaria's modern identity? What relevant, resonant and exciting things could the Northland do that other parts of Dominaria can't?

Well, let's look at some of the things that Dominaria is all about these days:

- it's the "history plane", obviously, so there is going to be a lot of stuff to dig up
- it's a resonant fantasy world with many familiar and traditional elements in the foreground (knights, wizards, elves, dragons...) and the remnants of a very magitech past in the background, all of which combines to make it a "post-post-apocalyptic" setting
- the approach to the Dominaria set was to bring back almost everything that could conceivably still exist or have been re-established ("that old thing you liked is probably still there"), especially if it made for some good namedropping (Benalish, Keldon, Lat-Nam, Stronghold, what have you)
- the designers behind Dominaria were also looking to bring back an old keyword that had been introduced on Dominaria (as we all know, they picked Kicker)

I believe that the Northland could be used as a kind of time capsule for a lot of elements that players fondly remember from Ice Age block (including Coldsnap), which wouldn't really be possible in Terisiare where that block actually took place. In addition to that, it could do many of the things that Dominaria did AND tie up some loose ends from the Ice Age storyline. Finally, it could also show us some classic cards through a new lens, just like both Coldsnap and Dominaria have done. As I mentioned above, we know that a lot of the stuff that made Ice Age Terisiare so distinct originally came from the Northland in the first place (many creatures as well as a nordic influence on names and aesthetics), and it makes sense to assume that this happened in the opposite direction as well.

So, which specific elements that players recognise (other than random creatures like yetis and lhurgoyfs) could you bring back? I would make use of the Snow mechanic, and as I suggested above, I would bring back the Cult of Rimewind. What's more, I'd also establish that the traditions of the Zuran Enchanters and the Krovikan Elementalists live on there. Yeah, Krov doesn't exist anymore and is ancient history, but why wouldn't the elementalists keep that name alive to refer to their magical tradition? The same could be said about the Zurans, but I think it could be even better than that. I mentioned loose ends from the Ice Age storyline, and which character started a coup among the wizards of Krov that was thwarted by Jodah? Who was known to be seeking immortality and fled to the icy wastes intent on his own perfection? Who even got a card in Coldsnap? Zur the Enchanter is who.
I'd capitalise on all of that and say that Zur actually achieved immortality shortly after we saw him in Coldsnap and that he went north to unite all those leaderless and disorganised groups of wizards under his rule as the self-proclaimed King of the Northland. 'A Light in the Forest' is almost cerainly set in that generic Harper Prism present some time after the Ice Age, and it mentions "skirmishes along the borders", so there seem to be some competing factions, nations or kingdoms, which would fit perfectly. As to how Zur might have achieved immortality, you may remember that Jodah built that magic detector out of some wires of watersilver that he used on Lim-Dûl's severd hand to track down the missing finger with the ruby ring. What if Zur used a similar method to find Jodah's lost Fountain of Youth? That's why I said shortly after we saw him in Coldsnap, because he's probably have to look younger than he does in his artwork after bathing in the fountain. I imagine there must have been a narrow window during which it wasn't covered by glaciers anymore and before it was swallowed by the ocean or was polluted by floodings. Jodah mentions in one of the novels that people kept looking for it and never returned, and that he eventually decided to stop talking about it and to not tell anyone about the source of his immortality. I think going in that direction could really tie several loose ends together in a really satisfying way, especially when you use it to set up a final confrontation between Zur and Jodah. We never got to read about their first clash after all. Bonus points if Jaya Ballard is somehow involved.

Another immortal character that just has to come back is Garza Zol, Plague Queen. She wasn't present during the final battle in Coldsnap and - along with her fellow Krovikan Vampires - simply disappears from history after that. Since the one story that's actually set in the Northland even mentions vampires, I really like to think that she's still kicking way up north. Maybe the vampires simply followed the elementalists or something. The vampires we saw in Krov have a really cool and distinct look, with porcelaine white skin, black hair and piercing red eyes. As much as I love the Sengir line, some variety to spice things up is good.

As for the setting as a whole, how would it be different from modern day New Argive? I think that would be quite simple to achieve, since New Argive is presumably a pretty unified modern civilisation with great centres of learning, well-defined and well-defended borders and archaeological digs that more often than not are going to unearth the expected (and there is nothing wrong with that). The habitable parts of the Northland (mostly that big forested peninsula and the nearby mountains), on the other hand, seem to be a pretty sparsely populated region that almost has a kind of frontier spirit to it, with caravans and mercenaries moving between larger settlements, trekking through dark forests and rugged valleys, making camp in ancient ruined temples and always wary of orcs, werewolves or the undead (or, you know, the lhurgoyf). The highlands could be home to more sinister creatures, but also to dwarves (as we already know) and the aforementioned Court of King Zur.

What's more, you could do a few more things to bring this more in line with what Dominaria was doing. Those "abandoned lava mines" that were mentioned in the short story? Those could be the remnants of an old Thran forge or mana rig, or even just one of several. The peninsula north of Terisiare would definitely be in the right geographic area for another Thran colony. Heck, the Modern Horizons artwork on Snow-Covered Plains even has that shape in it that looks a lot like one of those Thran monoliths that Dominaria sprinkled all over the place. Yeah, it's probably just a really big piece of ice, but the similarity is pretty evocative. And if you're going to have mana rigs, well, those were used to make powerstones, right? What was the Rimewind's version of powerstones? That's right, Coldsteel Heart. They had discovered some information about powerstones in the books that Heidar brought back from Tresserhorn, and they tried very hard to replicate them in the form of ice crystals (until Heidar prayed to Yawgmoth really hard in a desperate last-ditch attempt). What if they've succeeded in the last 1,500 years or so and are now using the remnants of an old mana rig to channel mana from the earth into ice crystals?

In fact, the Cult of Rimewind was doing in the Coldsnap story what people all over Dominaria are doing now: Looking back and digging up the relics of the past to use them for their own purposes. Except, you know, they also infused them with their magic and made them Snow Artifacts in the process, which seems like a pretty good blending of Historic and Snow. I encourage you to look up artifact cards from Ice Age block, and then try to imagine which of those people could have brought with them from Terisiare when they moved to the Northland, and how cool it would be to see a modern spin on some of them as Snow Artifacts. I guess you could even drag things along the lines of Arcum's Astrolabe into it (itself a riff on Astrolabe), relics that have been lying under some glacier in New Argive for so long that they've assumed Snow properties completely on their own.
That's not even talking about other riffs on old cards that the Coldsnap designers came up with, e.g. Sea Serpent / Ronom Serpent, Terror / Chill to the Bone, Drudge Skeletons / Rimebound Dead etc. A set in the Northland could create the perfect marriage of a Snow theme on the one hand and nostalgia and History theme on the other hand.

Speaking of mechanics, in addition to Snow and presumably Historic, I'd really want double-faced cards in this to help us explore the werewolves and other were-creatures that are said to live there. Magic had been trying to nail the mechanics behind that sort of thing since forever when Innistrad came along and solved the problem. So why not give us a nod to old cards like Greater Werewolf, Lesser Werewolf, Treacherous Werewolf and their friends Werebear and Dirty Wererat? (What? They are going full D&D anyway.) You'll notice that most of them are :b:, and I'd actually put the werewolves of the Northland in :b: and :g:. Black to stay true to the classic versions of Magic's oldschool werewolves, and green to connect it to Innistrad's Werewolf tribal and to the way in which that intersects with Wolf tribal. Zombies and Vampires are both classic Innistrad tribes that got a big boost from a third colour in recent years (both from :w:), and I think adding that :b: branch to Werewolves would be really exciting.

You could honestly look at all Snow-related cards from Modern Horizons and reprint them with the same art and flavour text (minus Dead of Winter and Marit Lage's Slumber that both have more explicit ties to the historical Ice Age), and they'd probably fit there. Speaking of Marit Lage, I have some ideas for her as well, but I'll leave it at that for now, the wall of text is big enough as it is.


Feel free to grab some hot chocolate and share your thoughts ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:59 am 
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I hadn't even realized that there were still continents on Dominaria that hadn't been fleshed out. I thought the real estate over there was getting pretty crowded.
I'm a little disappointed that most of what you mentioned is either quitr expected from an arctic setting or just common throughout MTG. The martial arts elves were cool, but nothing really blew me away (although I've only read your first post so far).
Unfortunately this steps on the toes of Kaldheim, so I don't think we'll see the Northlands fleshed out for some time.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:54 am 
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You could have a history theme by taking some inspiration from At The Mountains of Madness in the sense of there being the vast remnants of one of Dominaria's older civilizations hidden beneath the Northland glaciers.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2020 1:00 pm 
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TPmanW wrote:
I hadn't even realized that there were still continents on Dominaria that hadn't been fleshed out. I thought the real estate over there was getting pretty crowded.
I guess that depends on your definition of both "continents" and "fleshed out". The habitable parts of the Northland that you could use for a set are probably restricted to the green, forested spots on the worldmap, especially that big peninsula north of Terisiare, plus the nearby islands, plus the icy mountains northwest of that, and maybe the border regions along the ice to the north. That still makes for a pretty big area, though, even if most of the continent is presuambly a lifeless, icy wasteland.

As to the crowded real estate, well, there is a looot of stuff on Dominaria that we haven't really seen in the cardgame. If you look at everything that has been featured on the cards as one expression of Dominaria, there is basically a whole other Dominaria behind it that has only been described in sources outside of the cards. Corondor is perhaps the biggest deal on that front, because it's basically a small continent where many of the old comics and a computer game were set and that has a bazillion named and well-established locations but almost zero representation on the cards. The settings of the two Legends trilogies also haven't really featured in the game. That's not even taking into account the fact that we haven't seen most parts of Dominaria in a long time, so we don't really know how much they have changed. It works in the opposite direction as well, because there is still some random stuff we've seen on cards that doesn't have an established place in the worldbuilding, so you could still do tons of micro-managing and integrating of material there. Like, what's the deal with Eternal Flame? How do those wizard organisations from Invasion fit into the bigger picture? What kind of people live in Karakas? Where are Riverspan or Gal-Shan or a dozen other named locations? The list goes on and on.
There is a reason #AllTheDominaria has become my trademark catchphrase after all. The current plane hopping model frustrates the hell out of me, and I've argued many times that it's bad for the IP and that Magic needs to dial it back a bit and put more emphasis on Dominaria again.


TPmanW wrote:
I'm a little disappointed that most of what you mentioned is either quitr expected from an arctic setting or just common throughout MTG. The martial arts elves were cool, but nothing really blew me away (although I've only read your first post so far).
Sort of? I guess my second post was the more ineresting part where I really tried to develop some concrete ideas, the first one was mostly about research and gathering fatcs. I'd argue that the Dominaria set also did a lot of things that were exactly that: expected and common throughout MtG, but it was a roaring success. A lot of the things that Dominaria as a setting has to offer are going to feel pretty familiar, because Dominaria was where they were originally introduced to Magic.

So as a TL;DR for the second post:
- have Snow, Historic and double-faced cards as the mechanics
- use it as a time capsule to bring back elements of Ice Age block and tie up some loose ends of that storyline in a way that you couldn't do anywhere else
- bring it in line with Dominaria's modern identity and imagine classic old cards through a new lens
- capture the feel of both Ice Age for the colder parts and 'A Light in the Forest' for the more hospitable parts (frontier spirit, dangerous wilderness full of monsters, mysterious remnants of old civilisations)

Now, I absolutely get that, from WotC's perspective, looking at obscure old snippets of worlbuilding and trying to create a set from them isn't the way to go about this. But the point I'm trying to make is that you could actually start by looking at Ice Age block through the Dominaria lens, then start digging up the obscure old snippets to help you flesh out the details and stay consistent with established lore (as was the philosophy behind Dominaria). Both directions go together extremely well here, in my opinion. In fact, there was a survey a while ago that asked people which elements they'd like to see in a future visit to Dominaria, and the Ice Age was one of the options (and I'm pretty sure Snow was mentioned as well). So if you look at it that way, I'd say a set about the Northland (or at least featuring it alongside other locations) wouldn't be such an outlandish concept. It could definitely preserve a fair share of familiar names that Terisiare on its own simply couldn't.


TPmanW wrote:
Unfortunately this steps on the toes of Kaldheim, so I don't think we'll see the Northlands fleshed out for some time.
I was a little bit afraid that it would at first, but at this point I'd be surprised if we got any Snow cards in Kaldheim because there's simply so much other stuff going on in that set already. And even then, I'm pretty sure that two Snow settings could co-exist in Magic, and that they'd be sufficiently different in terms of flavour.


You could have a history theme by taking some inspiration from At The Mountains of Madness in the sense of there being the vast remnants of one of Dominaria's older civilizations hidden beneath the Northland glaciers.
Something like that could be cool, yeah. It's actually already hinted at in 'A Light in the Forest'. In addition to the Thran colony that I suggested above, maybe there could be another lost city from the time of the Primeval dragon empire. The proximity to Terisiare means that you could maybe even use Marit Lage, or perhaps some of the sunken ruins and treasure troves in the underwater parts of Terisiare. I've always been a big fan of the visual design of Arctic Merfolk (and their flavour in general, really), so between that and the many islands there, all aquatic options are on the table. And I just remembered that the flavour text on Deep Freeze is a thing, so some of those Tolarians seem really interested in Snow magic...

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:24 am 
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Do you have a link to pics of the northlands?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 11:54 am 
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TPmanW wrote:
Do you have a link to pics of the northlands?
Sure:

Spoiler


Terisiare is on the right-hand side of the map, and the part of the Norhland that seems to be the most relevant is that big peninsula right above it. I assume that's where 'A Light in the Forest' is set, and it's also the part that was connected to Terisiare during the Ice Age.

If you'd like more info about the worldmap, here's an article Ethan wrote on how he made it:
https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... 2018-04-20

There is also a digital 3D model of the Dominarian globe that you can rotate. Because why the hell not?

https://www.maptoglobe.com/r1jkfxnnf

;)

___________________________________

I think it would also be cool to see what Dominaria could do with double-faced cards beyond just werewolves and other were-creatures. Maybe have excavation sites that start as lands and have whatever is being excavated on the back (a fancy artefact or artefact creature, a better land...)? They could also make cards that have a Saga on one side and something else on the other. Plus, Dominaria has selkies (the ones from folklore that can transform, not the Shadowmoor ones that are stuck between their humanoid and aquatic form). We've seen them in Almaaz and in the seas around Otaria, but I think they'd be a great fit for the Northland as well. Or they could sprinkle in other parts of Dominaria alongside the Northland and just use the ones from Otaria or Almaaz, that would be cool too.

Edit: And I think Selkie should be its own creature type, let's be real.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:37 am 
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I agree that Northland has some potential to be explored in some future Dominaria set. The thematic ties to Ice Age block would give players a good hook, I think. Maybe someday.

I'm pretty sure that Northland is smaller than Jamuraa, though. It looks huge in that Mercator projection I made, but if you look on the 3D globe, I'm pretty sure it's smaller in overall area than Jamuraa.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:02 pm 
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WotC_Ethan wrote:
I'm pretty sure that Northland is smaller than Jamuraa, though. It looks huge in that Mercator projection I made, but if you look on the 3D globe, I'm pretty sure it's smaller in overall area than Jamuraa.
Hmm... I think I actuall went by the 3D globe in the first place when I wrote that, but I'm not sure how I came to that conclusion. Maybe I counted Jamuraa as three separate landmasses or something, but they are technically connected, so you are right, Jamuraa is larger.

WotC_Ethan wrote:
I agree that Northland has some potential to be explored in some future Dominaria set. The thematic ties to Ice Age block would give players a good hook, I think. Maybe someday.
Wuuuh, great to hear that! I guess the fact that someone at WotC sees some validity in my long-winded ramblings means I'm not entirely crazy, so that's reassuring :party:

I've noticed that a lot of the Snow cards in Kaldheim have pretty setting-neutral names, and I think that's great because it opens the door for more reprints in another Snow set. Search for Glory is exactly the kind of effect I'd love to see in a Snow set on Dominaria, and Avalanche Caller and Frost Augur would make for great Rimewind mages.

I'd kill for another story about Jodah and Jaya going on an adventure, and getting that final confrontation between Jodah and Zur would be a great way to wrap up the loose ends from Ice Age, just saying. Besides, Dominaria didn't reunite Jaya and Jodah because the whole thing was basically a Gatewatch story anyway (or because the second set got cut for the Core Set that ruined the Elder Dragons), so it would be great if the natives and their stories could finally get the love and focus they deserve.

Oh, and since you mentioned wanting to use Marit Lage eventually in the Dominaria podcast, let me throw a random idea at you: I've always wondered why Ice Age Terisiare had mutant yetis and people with eldritch skin-conditions, but maybe Marit Lage's influence could have something to do with it, with her being the resident Lovecraftian tentacle-monster and all that. I think it would be awesome if there was a Cult of Marit Lage with members that are starting to look like that Balduvian Conjurer (which I'd say looks different enough from the Eldrazi body horror in Eldritch Moon). I always like it when weird old stuff gets an explanation and a place in the worldbuilding somehow.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:22 pm 
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Just getting that out there.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:26 am 
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I'm Team #RavenMan=LimDûl

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:42 am 
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The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of releasing the hypothetical Northland set right after a Terisiare/New Argive set, and it would be even cooler if they turned it into a pseudo-block that started with a return to Sarpadia (so that would be Sarpadia --> Terisiare/New Argive --> Northland). All three settings have a shared geographic and historical throughline, so to speak. It'd probably be much easier for newer and less enfranchised people to grasp each individual set if they were presented alongside each other to form a bigger picture out of their shared history. Plus, I'm convinced it would be a lot easier for the people at WotC to do the research and build on it if they could take advantage of that connection. The juxtaposition of Terisiare and the Northland in particular would allow them to maximise the Ice Age hook that the Nortland would provide, mostly because you'd need both to include all the relevant name-dropping. (I'm wondering whether all those knightly orders from Kjeldor like the White Shield or the Sacred Torch etc. still exist. They seemed to still be around during Coldsnap, but I don't remember whether Jeff Grubb's trilogy has a reference to their eventual decline or something). And it would improve the thematic connection if the Northland set could include some Snow Artifacts that share the flavour of Arcum's Astrolabe as objects that reference New Argive but that actually date back to the Ice Age. Plus, Terisiare/New Argive could have a shared mechanic with the Northland if they both used double-faced cards (the former mostly for archaeological excavations that let you "dig up" the other face of the card, and the latter mostly for Innistrad-style were-creatures that transform). They could technically also reverse the set order and go Northland --> Terisiare/New Argive --> Sarpadia, depending on the needs of the sets before and after that, but it kinda feels right to have the Snow set be the first or the final set of the "block" if possible.

______________________________________

Going back to something we talked about earlier, if it's ever revealed that there's an old city (or cities) from the time of the Primevals in the Northland, it would be cool if that era became more relevant in general. That and the rule of the Numena are things we only know the broad strokes of, but they could be explored further if Dominaria ever ran out of fuel for its history theme, or if WotC just wanted to do something with the Primevals again. The 'Mountains of Madness' style background events in 'A Light in the Forest' could probably be tied to that somehow. Would be cool to learn the locations of all the Thran cities and some of the Primeval ones. I really like the idea I came up with in the geography thread when I tried to find a place for the Primeval city from 'Hero of the People' in The Dragons of Magic. One very compelling option that the geography seems to allow for was the following (I'll just copy-paste what I wrote there):

Spoiler


______________________________________

I'm team "Liliana is dead to me and I don't care about the Raven Man anymore".

There was a time when I really wanted him to be Lim-Dûl, but considering they've wasted Liliana's character and pretty much all related plot threads, I hope he's not someone we know, and I'd be happy to never see him or Liliana show up on Dominaria again. And frankly, I think the "mystery" surrounding the Raven Man has overstayed its welcome by a few years. It's blatantly obvious that neither the Raven Man's identity nor the Chain Veil arc or Liliana's demon plot or the fate of the Onakke (not to mention Garruk's curse) have followed their original plan (if there ever was one in the first place). It's made even worse by the fact that the demon arc was "resolved" with a stupid retcon that had Bolas take control of the contract after Belzenlok's death, and by the fact that they fudged how the Mending works to remove the accelerated aging part. The fact that she couldn't stop her (normal, non-accelerated) aging when there were lots of wizards before her who could and was dumb enough to enter into that contract without knowing how it worked just makes her look pathetic. Nothing about the way she got out of the contract through Gideon's sacrifice made sense either.

That said, I think the Raven Man himself is probably the only part you could salvage from the remnants of Liliana's story arc. They should just kill her off already and find a way to keep the Raven Man around as a separate character. I'd have to look at the stories he was in again to be absolutely sure what would or wouldn't make sense for him, but I'd say it would be pretty cool if they revealed him to be one of those Entities we learned about in Children of the Nameless (that's also how I would fix Aminatou btw). IIRC, he was around at the fall of the Onakke ages ago, right? They also kinda have to do something with him if they ever want to resolve all that Shandalar stuff that's been sidelined for ages. The Onakke, the Chain Veil, what have you. And I really want to know what happened to Lim-Dûl on Shandalar, because the fact that the Great Barrier isn't there anymore tells us that something must have happened. By extension, Arzakon is another character who seems potentially relevant to this. I really hope Shandalar will get the same treatment as Dominaria one day and have all the old material reconciled with all the new material so we can get a proper visit there to tie up all loose ends. A man can dream...

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Tell why Truth must fight with Falsehood, and why Truth will always win."
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 7:10 pm 
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Since you brought up Sarpadia, I'd been toying imagining that there where more portals than just the Vodalian one, but they all had the unfortunate unintended time skip thing. Namely, I had been trying to see if it could work with Ulgrotha and the dwarves. Tarkir issues would be avoided by saying the Mending made Dominaria's timeline rather fixed. I'm not sure if that idea could help with concepting how to make your "block" work, but I figured I might as well throw the idea out there.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:31 am 
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Since you brought up Sarpadia, I'd been toying imagining that there where more portals than just the Vodalian one, but they all had the unfortunate unintended time skip thing. Namely, I had been trying to see if it could work with Ulgrotha and the dwarves. Tarkir issues would be avoided by saying the Mending made Dominaria's timeline rather fixed. I'm not sure if that idea could help with concepting how to make your "block" work, but I figured I might as well throw the idea out there.
I'm not quite sure I can follow you here. Do you mean establishing that the dwarves that came to Ulgrotha through the dwarven gate came from Sarpadia would help with a return to Sarpadia (e.g. having it be the place that Baron Sengir invaded with his army)? Considering all the information that we have, I'd say that wouldn't work very well and probably cause more trouble than it's worth. For starters, the portal we see in 'Return of the Empress' (http://web.archive.org/web/199904220802 ... lcome.html) isn't a stable portal like the dwarven gate on Ulgrotha, it's just a spell that Galina's wizards use to escape. The culture of the Ulgrothan dwarves also doesn't quite seem to match that of the Sarpadian ones, mostly because they are pretty accomplished sailors. Besides, I'd argue that it would kinda go against the spirit of the original Homelands material, because the creators almost certainly would have explicitly mentioned that connection if they had intended to tie Ulgrotha to Sarpadia. And while I like the idea that planar portals like the dwarven gate could have a time skip effect like Galina's portal, we'd kinda run into problems with the timing of Sengir's invasion. We know that Sengir and his army marched through the portal right before the Mending, which in turn disabled all planar portals, so if the dwarven gate made people skip time and exit in the future, then all those vampires would presumably be lost forever and have no portal left to emerge from post-Mending. That's not impossible, but it would be a complete waste from a narrative standpoint.

There is another in-universe myth about the Sarpadian dwarves that I'd love to see referenced again, though, and it would probably make a Homelands connection feel redundant. The short story 'The Lady of the Mountain' in The Myths of Magic states that a few surviving dwarves from Sarpadia were supposedly rescued by The Lady of the Mountain and brought to other mountain homes. I'd say it's pretty clear from the exisiting Sarpadia material that most dwarves died, so between that and the myth about the Lady, I'd say there wouldn't be a lot of room for another rescue/migration scenario. The Lady is said to be a creation of the dwarven god Fiers (and Gaea), who might well be a planeswalker and the kernel of truth at the heart of the myth. Since the Lady of the Mountain exists as a card, it's probably safe to assume she exists (or existed) as a real creature in-universe, which makes it more likely that Fiers is real as well and that the Lady did indeed safe some Sarpadian dwarves. I've been quite vocal about wanting Fiers to show up for real and getting an actual planeswalker card, and I'd say either Sarpadia or Otaria would be the perfect place for that.


Edit: I've also made threads concerning returns to Sarpadia and New Argive, among other places, and I think WotC could absolutely go with the facts and ideas that have been thrown around there and still make them part of the same block. The historical and geographic connections are already there, the only thing they'd have to take into account would be some mechanical synergies between sets.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:58 pm 
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You know, I think reprints of those new Snow dual lands from Kaldheim would be a great way to namedrop other parts of Dominaria that are cold all year round and could qualify as "Snow". Parma definitely comes to mind, which would be especially cool because we've never seen much of it. Considering it has mountainous terrain as well as theocratic elements, :w::r: in the form of Alpine Meadow would be a great fit. The northcoast of Stahaan is another region that looks pretty cold on the worldmap, and it's never shown in Ashes of the Sun. I'd say Glacial Floodplain could work there. Northeast of Stahaan lies Vosok, the big, frozen island that's mentioned in an anthology story. We don't know much about it, except that tall blond people live there and that it has frozen fjords, which makes me think of Volatile Fjord. I don't know if there would be enough room in a hypothetical Northland set to include glimpses of those places on other cards, but reprinting the Snow duals seems like a pretty good idea, and if they are going to include those anyway, they might as well put that flavour text box to good use.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:35 am 
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I'm not quite sure I can follow you here. Do you mean establishing that the dwarves that came to Ulgrotha through the dwarven gate came from Sarpadia would help with a return to Sarpadia (e.g. having it be the place that Baron Sengir invaded with his army)? Considering all the information that we have, I'd say that wouldn't work very well and probably cause more trouble than it's worth. For starters, the portal we see in 'Return of the Empress' (http://web.archive.org/web/199904220802 ... lcome.html) isn't a stable portal like the dwarven gate on Ulgrotha, it's just a spell that Galina's wizards use to escape. The culture of the Ulgrothan dwarves also doesn't quite seem to match that of the Sarpadian ones, mostly because they are pretty accomplished sailors. Besides, I'd argue that it would kinda go against the spirit of the original Homelands material, because the creators almost certainly would have explicitly mentioned that connection if they had intended to tie Ulgrotha to Sarpadia. And while I like the idea that planar portals like the dwarven gate could have a time skip effect like Galina's portal, we'd kinda run into problems with the timing of Sengir's invasion. We know that Sengir and his army marched through the portal right before the Mending, which in turn disabled all planar portals, so if the dwarven gate made people skip time and exit in the future, then all those vampires would presumably be lost forever and have no portal left to emerge from post-Mending. That's not impossible, but it would be a complete waste from a narrative standpoint.

There is another in-universe myth about the Sarpadian dwarves that I'd love to see referenced again, though, and it would probably make a Homelands connection feel redundant. The short story 'The Lady of the Mountain' in The Myths of Magic states that a few surviving dwarves from Sarpadia were supposedly rescued by The Lady of the Mountain and brought to other mountain homes. I'd say it's pretty clear from the exisiting Sarpadia material that most dwarves died, so between that and the myth about the Lady, I'd say there wouldn't be a lot of room for another rescue/migration scenario. The Lady is said to be a creation of the dwarven god Fiers (and Gaea), who might well be a planeswalker and the kernel of truth at the heart of the myth. Since the Lady of the Mountain exists as a card, it's probably safe to assume she exists (or existed) as a real creature in-universe, which makes it more likely that Fiers is real as well and that the Lady did indeed safe some Sarpadian dwarves. I've been quite vocal about wanting Fiers to show up for real and getting an actual planeswalker card, and I'd say either Sarpadia or Otaria would be the perfect place for that.


Hence *toying* (For similar reasons as you said, it wasn't really succeeding due the differences in the Dwarf cultures even with giving a lot of leeway to how the Sarpadians could've interacted before going all isolationist). The idea with how it interacts with the Mending is that the Mending with regards to time is more of a meta timeline. Since Sengir entered "before" the Mending fixed things in a meta sense, it'll work out fine even if he pops out way past when the Mending occurs on the normal timeline. The Mending would be more about restricting such shenanigans regardless of time in the metatimeline, not the normal one. So if someone had traveled back and forth in time around the Mending and jumped to the Ice Age, after the "Mending metatime," that person wouldn't be able to go back to the person's "current time" and is stuck in the past.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:11 pm 
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Hence *toying* (For similar reasons as you said, it wasn't really succeeding due the differences in the Dwarf cultures even with giving a lot of leeway to how the Sarpadians could've interacted before going all isolationist). The idea with how it interacts with the Mending is that the Mending with regards to time is more of a meta timeline. Since Sengir entered "before" the Mending fixed things in a meta sense, it'll work out fine even if he pops out way past when the Mending occurs on the normal timeline. The Mending would be more about restricting such shenanigans regardless of time in the metatimeline, not the normal one. So if someone had traveled back and forth in time around the Mending and jumped to the Ice Age, after the "Mending metatime," that person wouldn't be able to go back to the person's "current time" and is stuck in the past.
I mean, I really, really hope we'll never see timetravel (to the past) in Magic ever again in any shape or form. The Tarkir trauma is real. As far as portal shenanigans are concerned, Galina ending up 3.000 years in the future isn't technically timetravel, or at least it's a completely different animal from what Karn did back in the day. It's explained in either Timestreams or one of the Time Spiral novels that you can't use the Karn/Urza method to travel to the future, because the future hasn't happened yet and so that part of the timestream doesn't exist yet. It only allows you to travel to the past by forcing your way backwards through the timestream (which is why you have to be made of silver*, and even then it's really straining), and it also keeps you anchored to your original point in time and pulls you back eventually. Going to the future would have to involve just "skipping" time, like when you want to send a text to someone but your connection is really bad and it takes the message forever to arrive, which I think is a good analogy for what must have happened to Galina. Alternatively, creatures and objects (or, you know, entire landmasses) that are phased out are removed from the timestream and re-enter it at a later point when they phase back in, so from their perspective they also skipped time and travelled to the future.

*I just love how silver is said in The Thran to be the metal that corresponds to :u: in the colour pie, which is very fitting considering that :u: is the colour most closely associated with time manipulation. Silver Myr and the rest of that cycle even preserved the exact connections between different kinds of metal and the colours of mana mentioned in The Thran. It's awesome when the worldbuilding is consistent like that.



Your thought experiment raises a pretty good question, though: What would be a good place for Baron Sengir and his vampire army to end up, and what would be a satisfying way for that story to play out?

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Tell why Truth must fight with Falsehood, and why Truth will always win."
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