Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

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The Martini
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby The Martini » 21 Oct 2015, 08:37

Noyan Dar and Gideon meet up at the Retreat at Coralhelm, and it's so good. SO GOOD! I'll summarize, but you should read

Shaping an Army

At Coralhelm, floating in a Tazeem canyon, Noyan Dar is surrounded by his incompetent, irritating roil-mage initiates. Their discordant practice rituals are interrupted as a kitesailer arrives, dropping of its passenger hundreds of feet from the ground.

Gideon meteor-drops into Coralhelm in a blaze of golden light.

The Commander-General of the Allies asks for the help of Noyan Dar as his elementalists; he is direct, genuine, and earnest. This irritates the Merfolk to no end and it's fantastic. Noyan explains that they are not elementalists and relates to Gideon a Cosi story (see Home Waters) wherein the trickster god convinces Ula to take a pearl from the heart of the ocean. Ula's arm makes the heart sneeze, which traps him in snot (ew). The point is, the Roil is Zendikar's sneeze to the Eldrazi's irritation. The Roilmages encourage and control the roil so that it destroys the Eldrazi and not themselves. They evoke the irritation by being uncontrolled, chaotic, and dissonant.

"Maybe . . . maybe this was not a good idea," croaked Gideon.

This annoys Noyan even more, so he insists on a practical demonstration. The roilmages and the Commander-General find the biggest swarm of Eldrazi they can spot nearby and start irritating Zendikar, much to the protest of Gideon.

Gideon balked, asking many annoying questions regarding contingencies Noyan assured him would not come into play. Eventually Gideon was reduced to communicating through raising eyebrows. He displayed a remarkable facility at raising both his left and right eyebrows. He was a man of many talents, this Gideon Jura.

Noyan and the roilmage initiates begin working their magic as Gideon fights the endless swarm of Eldrazi. They irritate the land, but refuse to let it release the tension, building up massive power. Finally, just before they are overrun, Noyan Dar releases the roil, and the entire host (and Gideon) are swallowed in a chasm.

Gideon, of course, is fine. He agrees that their power is great, and can't wait for them to join him at Sea Gate.

"I am sorry, Noyan, for any doubt. That display was amazing." Gideon smiled, and Noyan stood there, silent and stunned at how proud he felt, just because an idiot warrior had praised him.

Before he leaves, Gideon asks who ended up with the pearl in the story. Cosi did, of course; in many of the stories, Cosi tricks Ula into doing something foolish, and Cosi benefits.

Let me restate that for anyone wondering what Oath of the Gatewatch will bring: Kozilek tricks Ulamog into doing something stupid, and then Kozilek sweeps in and benefits.



Why is this story SOOOOOOOO GOOD (/teen girl squad!)? Noyan is the voice of us, the players, pointing out everything we find annoying about Gideon: he's simple, he's earnest, he's obnoxiously Lawful Stupid. That'd be ok, a funny story so we could laugh at Chad. But then, it flips it and shows that Gideon knew exactly what he was doing the entire time! Gideon is simple and earnest and good, but he's also incredibly competent and a powerful leader.

And then the dreadful hint of things to come is just icing on the cake.

Seriously, y'all should go read this one. There's a reason I used a bunch of quotes here - anything snarky that I'd usually say in these articles has already been done, three times snarkier, in the story. Good job, Ken Troop!
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby The Martini » 21 Oct 2015, 08:49

AGHGHGHGHGHGHG I missed it on the first pass. IT'S EVEN BETTER!

The Cosi story isn't just foreshadowing for the next set. GIDEON SLAM-BURNED NOYAN DAR!

Gideon turned back. "One question, though, before I leave. In the story you were telling me, the one about Cosi and Ula, who ended up with the pearl?"

Noyan smirked. "Cosi did, of course. That's how most Cosi stories end up, with Cosi convincing Ula to do something that Ula hadn't initially wanted to do, and then Cosi ends up benefiting from it." Noyan loved the Cosi stories.

Gideon smiled. "Smart one, that Cosi. Too smart for me, anyway. I'll see you at Sea Gate, Noyan." Gideon turned and strapped himself into the kitesail harness, and the kitesailer and Gideon began their ascent back to Sea Gate. Noyan watched them go, bemused at Gideon's open admission of his limited mental faculties, and pondering the strange easy smile on Gideon's face.

It was only later in the evening, after much alcohol and further deliberation on Gideon's last words, that Noyan Dar's elation turned into a very flat stare.


Who's Cosi and who's Ula in Shaping an Army? :D :D :D :D
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby The Martini » 05 Nov 2015, 10:29

Well, when I don't jump right on it, you know that I'm not as fired up about this week's - well, last week's - Uncharted Realms.

The Liberation of Sea Gate

Gideon leads the army of Zendikar against the Eldrazi in Sea Gate. It goes badly. He gets a stern talking to from Tazri about what it means to be a leader as opposed to a hero. They spend some time learning and planning. The army strikes again, this time with strategy and coordination. Kiora shows up and thanks them for helping her retake Sea Gate. Jori En returns and warns them that Ulamog is approaching.

OK, story recap done. Let's talk about why I've liked and not liked some of these articles. Reddit (don't read past the first few comments on ANY of these posts, it gets real bad) would say that most of these are badly written; the authors are bad and they should feel bad. I don't think that's the case though.

They're not really articles as such; they're shared-universe, shared-storyline multi-author short stories ('chapters'). While I think the creative team is doing a good job on keeping the story straight, the characterization reasonably consistent, and the narrative interesting, the one thing that's really different between the 'chapters' and authors is tone. If I look over the chapters since I started this thread, first it's clear that there's a tone that I prefer, but also that it's not that I don't like the others, it's just that it's jarring to have such a switch.

The chapters that I've really enjoyed (Catching Up, Shaping an Army) are personal - you're in someone's head, and while they may be dealing with world-altering things, the part of the story that matters to the reader is what the character is thinking and how they react to other characters and situations. Others are lore-building through conversation, where one character knows more than another and there is tension about what they will learn or decide to do based on that knowledge or the lack of it.

The Gideon chapters by James Wyatt and the Nissa chapters by Kim Kreines are much more epic in tone. The viewpoint might know what they are thinking, but that's not the point of the story. The main character is doing something big, narrative time goes quickly. Emotions and actions are extreme, dramatic sometimes edging into melodramatic. It's not that I don't like these kinds of stories, but it jars with the more personal tone of the others.

Stirring From Slumber is one that sits somewhere in between the two broad categories as far as tone. Nahiri is walking between mountain ranges in moments, closing her eyes and opening them days or maybe years later, crashing valleys closed on swarms of Eldrazi - epic stuff. But we are also deep in her head: how did she get here, what does she think of what she sees, what should she do now? - very personal.

Anyway, my conclusion is thus: I don't think that the stories that I don't like as much in this series are necessarily bad or badly written, I just think that the tone shifts pretty dramatically week to week some times, and I prefer a more personal tone than an epic one.

Thoughts?
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby winterpanda » 05 Nov 2015, 17:35

My main problem with this article is that it tries to squish all the characters in short scenes. I think would work if it were in a novel where it could have been longer, but it doesn't work as well in this article form. I also can't comment much on the authors since I don't know how much collaboration goes into writing them as a whole.

This week (and possibly next few weeks) takes us to Commander Town which I haven't read yet. I guess it also means BfZ Vorthos is on hiatus.
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby MowDownJoe » 06 Nov 2015, 04:53

Just this week and next week is Commander related. Though I did enjoy this week's story of the girl from Jund, Meren.
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby The Martini » 06 Nov 2015, 07:17

Yea. The preview for the next BFZ article and the titles for the next few are up on the Story site.

Hedron Alignment
At Any Cost
Promises To Keep
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby RadioshackRaider » 07 Nov 2015, 13:33

Can I just talk about the flavour of Dominator Drone and Carrier Thrall/ Dominator Drone is the vampire and the eldrazi together making one creature who's power and toughness is equal to the P/T of Carrier Thrall and the Scion it makes. It's essentially the same thing happening, but in a different way. One's from the Eldrazi point of view, the other the Vampire. It's super neat that they did that.
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby Lycodrake » 09 Dec 2015, 10:48

Kelly Digges did very well today in writing Kozilek's presence, at the very least doing well to describe the cosmic-horror and reality-distorter aspects.

Meanwhile, Kiora gets a whopping piece of humble pie.
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby The Martini » 09 Dec 2015, 15:19

I've been totally out of impetus to write these up anymore. I mean, I still like them. This week's was another winner! I just haven't felt the drive to do anything with it. :(

I think the best lines from this weeks summed up the difference between these bad guys and others.

The Theros god Thassa was furious with Kiora; Kozilek didn't even know (or care) that she existed or what it was doing to destroy them all, they were so far beneath its notice.
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby square1 » 09 Dec 2015, 22:17

I'm bummed Chandra ditched the abbot robes. I like her armor just fine but it would have been neat to see her in an alternative outfit.

Thanks for making this thread Martini :-) really got me back into reading the lore.
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby Lycodrake » 10 Dec 2015, 10:18

I wonder: could the new Chandra make red Monk tokens with Prowess?
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby The Martini » 10 Dec 2015, 10:32

Lycodrake wrote:I wonder: could the new Chandra make red Monk tokens with Prowess?

Maybe for about 15 minutes while she was in charge :D I think that after telling the monks not to listen to her, creating monk tokens is pretty much out of the question.
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Re: Vorthos Story Corner: Battle for Zendikar

Postby The Martini » 14 Dec 2015, 10:44

Well, darn it. For completeness sake, I'm going to try to summarize and snark on the rest of the BFZ stories. Soooon...
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