Urban Wastelands: A World After Apocalypse - Community Set Brainstorm

Tue, 2016-03-01 06:54
TheBrokenUrn
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Hello all. I have been working on my Urban Wastelands set for several months with very little progress. I have discovered that some people were interested in helping out; I do appreciate it. I will show you my current framework.

Where is Urban Wastelands taking place?
Simple; Earth. More detailed, a version of Earth where the apocalypse occurred within the past few years.

What creatures exist in set (when I was working on it)?
Humans. This is Earth; with critters like rats, birds, dogs, cats, and a large amount of artifacts.

What is the focus of the set (when I was working on it)?
Crafting new sources of mana and "gang wars."

What are some of the "gangs" that are important to the story?
Main Street Warriors (red, but bleeds into all colors), Ashfall Shadows (blue, but bleeds into all colors), and the Concrete Collective (white, but bleeds into all colors).

What are some of the other "gangs"?
Rooftop Rogues (primarily blue, but have white and black; recon)
Oilcan Gang (red and black; hit-and-run)
Northside Army (white; aggressive)
Vinecamp (green; preserving the past)

And that is all I currently have. I could use the assistance and I need the community to make this set work.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Tue, 2016-03-01 09:47
Ameise
Ameise's picture

Magic on earth sounds like a cool idea. How do you imagine the mana there? Because you wrote that one focus will be the crafting of new mana sources, but this is earth and as far as I know earth has none.

Tue, 2016-03-01 10:01
TheBrokenUrn
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Well, when I was working on it, I was trying to find a route to craft tech mana; another route I had was using Scrap mana. After all, in a post apocalyptic environment, mana might be a little hard to find, so you have to use the scraps and pieces to eke out a living.

I am willing to change this. The questions-and-answers above are what I was going for. I am willing to change anything to make this work.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Tue, 2016-03-01 18:38
voltaic-qui
Featured Set Editor - Best Set of 2015 - Community Award
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Where in the world is this, incidentally? If you're going to set this on Earth you might as well pick a specific city.

formerly jacquipup

"It's exciting to create something that demonstrates how clever you are, that you pushed in a direction that players didn't anticipate. The problem is that the point of game design isn't to be clever, it's to create a great game."

Tue, 2016-03-01 18:45
ZephyrPhantom
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If this is post modern-day Earth, yet there is mana, what caused the apocalypse? Was it a conflict caused by mana?

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Tue, 2016-03-01 19:51
Ameise
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I think ZephyrPhantom has a good idea by tying the reason for the apocalypse and the occurence of mana together. It saves you all the troubles of creating (and templating) five new mana symbols and 'colors'.
As to the question on where on earth the set does play exactly: I don't think that you will have the luxury to find enough post-apocalyptic artwork to show a specific say asian metropolis or something. I think you'll be just fine by setting it into a not further described multi-ethnical former city where all kinds of buildings and humans used to live.

Tue, 2016-03-01 22:43
digiman619
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If you're looking for a post-apocolypse, but with mana, look into the lore of the Rifts RPG.

Tue, 2016-03-01 23:05
Guitarweeps
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Actually I worked on a similar idea for awhile but put it on hold to pursue other things. I'll give some of the ideas I had:

- The story had planeswalkers arriving to earth and trying to take advantage of the magic-ignorant earth. One of them became involved with a techno-corporation and they used magic infused technology to create high powered weapons. Other corporations started to follow suit as earth starting catching on to magic. Governments tried to get involved to regulate but the corporations grew to the size that they were more powerful then government. War ensued and the planet gets nuked. Also a Marine caught in one the blasts becomes the first planeswalker just as the nukes go off. He returns years later to try and rebuild the planet. Of course this is all backstory not of the set itself.

- One theme was that people don't really know magic that well so how does that look?

- I used a "scrap mana" which is basically a colorless mana that never empties your pool. You couldn't produce it normally with lands and usually got it by recycling artifacts. It was used in costs as well. Used the gear symbol.

- In addition to humans I had vampires, zombies, and mutant type creatures. They were products of the combination of radiation and magic. The vampires actually evolved from scarcity of food and started living off blood/flesh instead. Drinking blood from radiated people led to a vampirism mutation. Some radiated people would rise from the dead and become zombies. Some beings were mutated from the radiation and magic into pwoerful beings, not just humans but other races as well (think Radscorpion from Fallout).

- Equipment played a big role as well as artifacts. Former technology was something that had to be used to get ahead in this new world especially since magic is in its infancy stage. Also had a new type, vehicle, which could "equip" to multiple creatures as long as they all attacked or blocked at the same time.

- Also used infect to represent radiation poisoning. (Wouldn't recommend this though) Also I would note that I came up with this BEFORE infect was real. Shows how long ago this was...

- Delve was the returning keyword and I think that fits well in a "claw for resources" type of setting.

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Wed, 2016-03-02 02:53
TheBrokenUrn
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@Zephyr and Guitarweeps: I understand and thanks for your input. The framework I posted above was when I was working on it by myself. I was trying to combine (thematically) non-alien Fallout, Last of Us, Apocalypse Man (awesome History Channel special, btw), and a little bit of Call of Duty Ghosts 2. Oh yeah and urban exploration with urban survival.

Guitarweeps, that story blurb you posted is helping my writer's block.

@Ameise: Technically, the city is called New Haven; a non-existent city on Earth today. Essentially, if one could guess, New York City.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Wed, 2016-03-02 02:56
TheBrokenUrn
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Also, Guitarweeps, I had an older idea of this where the mana has been hiding within the land and no one knew its existence until after apocalypse when the wars actually opened up the leylines within the Earth.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Wed, 2016-03-02 03:09
Autumnstar00
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I kind of like the idea of delve in a post apocalyptic set. Self mill could represent scavenging for resources and delve would be utilizing those resources.

Wed, 2016-03-02 03:12
Guitarweeps
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Glad I could help! Although the only reason I even had that worked out was for the planeswalker. It would be kinda cool on the flipside to have the reason for the destcruction to be completely lost on the survivors.

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Wed, 2016-03-02 06:41
JBPuffin
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I'd suggest some wither in the set; radioactive critters weaken others, but infect has...issues, so just use the safe part of it.

Wed, 2016-03-02 09:50
TheBrokenUrn
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It is both weird and amazing how when the word "apocalypse" immediately conjures up radioactive critters (Fallout) or zombies.

Am I the only one who actually thinks more realistically? "How are we going to rebuild" and "With no government or police, how do we survive until tomorrow"?

Am I alone in that scenario; a non-zombie, non-radioactive-Fallout apocalypse?

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Wed, 2016-03-02 10:05
TheBrokenUrn
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Even still, the apocalypse can mean different things to different people and those two seem to be the most popular, mostly due to books and films as well as video games.

The original vision for Urban Wastelands was "Mad Max in the City" meets urban exploration. I now see that would be a very finite area to try and make a set like that.

Is that too finite of an area or should I expand on it to include mana magic?

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Wed, 2016-03-02 10:39
Ameise
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Well Mad Max meets urban exploration does sound like a fruitful scenario for a set. Considering the radioactive critters, zombies, etc. this is simply something which many people associate with a post-apocalyptic world. I would propose that, if you don't like these aspects so much, you keep them on a low level but not erase them completely because many people in the audience expect them.
What you should think about imo is what caused the apocalypse. Because this will be a major (or 'mayor'? Which one is correct here?) factor which will determine not only if there is usual mtg mana in your set but also which creatures will be be present there.

Wed, 2016-03-02 10:55
TheBrokenUrn
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@Ameise: Thanks for the input.

Actually, cause of the apocalypse would be a tough one to nail down in the old picture I had in mind, so I will throw out a few possibilities, and we can vote on it.

Possible Causes of the Apocalypse (Vote by number)
1: World War 3 sparked numerous civil wars around the world, bringing civilization to its knees and the people suffered greatly. Less than 2 billion people exist.
2: Countless non-nuclear bombs dropped after a universal ban of nuclear in war. Constant bombing razed the earth so bad that new energies form, into what we know as mana.
3: After a major war, a rift exposes Earth to the Blind Eternities and raw untamed mana wrecks havoc throughout the world, bring civilization to near death; only a few learned how to tap into the power of mana.
4: Zombie virus.
5: Constant thermonuclear bombs destroy major cities, governments in shambles, radioactive creatures start bringing humans to near death.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Wed, 2016-03-02 11:31
Neottolemo
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Guitarweeps, that set idea seems awesome.
What if the rift exposing Earth to the Blind Eternities and mana opened because of people looking where they shouldn't have been looking (think Lovercraft's novels, expeditions to remote places like the North Pole or the Ocean's depths, opening the tomb of Tutankhamen, that sort of thing), then the mana who erupted in the world this way was harnessed by the various governments in mana bombs which led to the apocalypse?
Otherwise, I'm fine with any combination of 3 and 5, and the zombie virus can be justified by radiaction or by magic so we can put that one in if we want to do it.

Wed, 2016-03-02 11:45
TheBrokenUrn
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@Neo: I will admit that your idea is not a bad idea. No offense, but the Lovecraftian approach sounds, well, . . . Lovecraftian. I understand the route you are taking and it is justifiable for another set quite possibly.

After all, a Tomb Curse approach to the mana being leaked out might actually sound like a cool idea for its own set.

@Everybody: If it is not apparent by now, I am not a zombie person. I do play zombies from time to time, but in terms of artwork, not my forte.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Wed, 2016-03-02 21:10
Autumnstar00
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Number 3 seems pretty cool

Wed, 2016-03-02 21:11
Ameise
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I also advocate for nbr. 3. A happy smile

Wed, 2016-03-02 21:26
digiman619
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At the risk of being unoriginal, I also vote 3.

Wed, 2016-03-02 22:37
Mur96
Mur96's picture

I choose 3. Its pretty Magic-esque, and can work with more than just Post-apocalyptic brute humans and hoe-digging mole rats.

Wed, 2016-03-02 22:40
pang4
pang4's picture

Love this idea A happy smile

When talking mechanics, what themes do we want to work with?

Crafting from scraps
Crafting things from scraps seems like a cool concept. Scraps can be a variation of Gold tokens, creatures can both create and use them. Some example designs:

Scraps
Token Artifact
Sacrifice Scraps: Add Colorless mana symbol to your mana pool.

Scavenge Scout 2 mana symbolBlue mana symbol
Creature - Human Scout Common
Flying
When Scavenge Scout enters the battlefield, put a colorless artifact token named Scraps onto the battlefield. It has "Sacrifice this artifact: Add Colorless mana symbol to your mana pool."
1/1
"People underestimate what you can build out of tin roofing tiles. Armor, weapons, shelter... good metal."

Scrapyard Bomber 3 mana symbolRed mana symbol
Creature - Human Artificer Uncommon
2 mana symbolRed mana symbol, Sacrifice an Artifact: Scrapyard Bomber deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
2/4
He found a stash of C4 way back. Ever since, anyone who comes to 3rd street with leftover food leaves with a makeshift grenade. Those who come with guns get the grenade anyway.

Other themes are starvation, radioactivity, and ruin, all of which can be accomplished by bringing back Wither, as some have suggested.

Otherwise, I could see depleting counters as a theme, to represent scarcity. Like:

Spoiler:
Ex-Cop 1 mana symbolWhite mana symbol
Creature - Human Soldier Common
Ex-Cop enters the battlefield with 2 Charge Counters on it.
Remove a Charge Counter from Ex-Cop: Ex-Cop gains First Strike until end of turn.
2/1
"Bullets are scarce these days, but luckily nobody feels like depleting mine."

Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

Thu, 2016-03-03 01:56
Autumnstar00
Autumnstar00's picture

Scavenge scout is worse than eldrazi skyspawner, so unless the cost is lowered, another artifact theme would be needed. Like heavy red artifact sac, or something like metalcraft... That is, of course, if people like the scraps mechanic. I like it, but not as much as other ways to show salvaging.

Thu, 2016-03-03 02:23
Touhoufanatic
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i just found this. i like this. i shall assist in this.

i shall vote upon apocalypse idea number 3 with a possible alteration idea, just to get it out there.
War is/ can be, overused as a start to things. if a rift opens mana up from the planet core or whatever, why not have it been a natural disaster that causes it, say a meteor or something? if the reason for it is natural you could easily have numerous things happen, such as--
Religion based entirely on mana
Conflicting ideas on what exactly happened, as not everyone would recall events the same
could even bring in inter planar meddling into the picture too.

just the first idea that popped to my head.

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Thu, 2016-03-03 02:27
TheBrokenUrn
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Looks like the third option is the route we going to go for. Awesome!

Let's talk about the thread of the set.

What I mean is what is going to happen? Are we using the groups I have mentioned earlier or are we going to create a whole new setup? What colors will they represent? What style are they?

While we are on the subject of these groups and their styles, let us also think what would be their unifying trait and/or mechanic?

I want to hold off on the actual creation of cards, though I appreciate your enthusiasm, pang4. But we have to get all of the core information done first before we make a card that contradicts the whole set.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Thu, 2016-03-03 05:24
Autumnstar00
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I feel like gangs would indeed be a part of it, but shouldn't be all of it. There could also be the tattered she'll of an old government trying to keep the pieces of humanity intact. I also like Touhou's idea. Maybe there could people that kind of use mana as a drug (whatever that would mean). It would be an excuse for a place to fit the now evergreen prowess in if we're even going to add it.

Thu, 2016-03-03 05:28
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
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Ummm...Edlrazi Skyspawner is one of the best commons in BFZ so I wouldn't use that as the test.

I agree on doing the worldbuilding before designing. That worked out really well with Ashura. Although not everyone is interested or skilled in world building so there is that.

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Thu, 2016-03-03 05:34
Autumnstar00
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I know skyspawner is a little ridiculous, but one less power, loss of flying, AND the token not being a creature kinda is a big difference.

Thu, 2016-03-03 06:29
TheBrokenUrn
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@Touhou: You ninja'ed my response a while back. I apologize; I didn't know you had input into this. Forgive me.

Even still, Touhou is right. I have forgotten the Worldbuild and this would be a major part for the set.

Upon reflection of the choices, Touhou, I never did say that the major war was a cause of the rift to the Blind Eternities but it did sound like it was assumed. However, a meteor hitting Earth causing the rift sounds a bit too much like Final Fantasy 7. I want to differentiate from that wonderful game and its inevitable return.

So world build thoughts? A natural disaster sounds alright but how? What kind of natural disaster will cause a rift to the Blind Eternities and cause an apocalypse wide event? What are some thoughts of earth manipulation (and please, let's leave Nicol Bolas out of this)? Maybe another malevolent force or group?

Again I am open to ideas.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Thu, 2016-03-03 06:41
digiman619
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I'm going to co-opt Rift's mythos:

Whenever a person dies, their mystical energy doubles in that brief instant (which is why so many rituals call for sacrifice). A massive earthquake leads to flooding. Between these two events, millions perish. This sudden influx of power opens the ley lines, leading to even greater destruction. The leylines empower all those who remain.

Thu, 2016-03-03 06:49
Touhoufanatic
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@mtg: ninja'd eh, that seems to happen alot despite my animated icon. also i apologize as i merely meant my idea as a potential alteration, nor did i assume war, just was throeing my idea of war ia used a lot out, so i apologize.

imma throw ideas out for world building now, specifically as to the start of apocolypse.
- Massive Ten point earthquake in the ring of fire, lighting volcanoes and blowing parts of the deep crust apart. the destruction and loss of life causes mana to burn into the world like a sacrificial flame.
- multiversal organization intent on releasing magic across the multiverse in extremely high quantities for an unknown purpose tears a whole into them multiverse to allow magic to pour into earth, or something.
- ye old planetary alignment.
- archaeological dig unearths a "lock" on the planets mana and accidentally breaks it. chaos breaks out because of it as weather systems begin actign strange and people randomly gain abilities they do not understand.
- particle collider + dark matter + experimentation = bad days ahead.

....that's all i got for the moment.

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Thu, 2016-03-03 09:31
Ameise
Ameise's picture

Well I think the reason for the apocalypse is good to know before going on but it does not have to be fleshed out to the last detail. As the story will mostly be told via flavortexts and names of the cards there will be very few information about the cause of the apocalypse. Because, in any scenario mentioned so far, the vast majority of earth's population won't really know why is has happend just that they now have to adapt and survive.
So I would say that "mana comes to earth, leading to chaos" is almost enough as a background story for the moment and the details cn then be told through the cards so players can discover the lore while playing with the set.

Thu, 2016-03-03 09:46
TheBrokenUrn
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@Ameise: Not a bad point.

Even though the chances of this being written into a book are extremely slim, some key pointers (like the Guilds in Ravnica) helps understand the set a bit better; therefore, a basic framework and a basic primer for flavor text for the card creators to refer to.

@Touhou: BTW, that last option sounds like you are developing a DC Comic set with The Flash and Arrow at the center of it. Hell, I would help you if my comic book knowledge was better.

Perhaps, we could flesh out the groups that would be prevalent to the different mechanics, keywords, and strategies. Heck, maybe flesh out more about Earth-version of mana magic.
My current thoughts are :
White mana symbol Weapon Tech and light magic
Blue mana symbol Recon Tech and water magic
Black mana symbol Power drugs and ?? magic (necromancy doesn't make sense to me in this sense)
Red mana symbol Power tech/drugs and Fire magic (maybe a little electric magic as well)
Green mana symbol Growth tech (agriculture) and plant magic

Does that sound any good?

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Thu, 2016-03-03 10:52
Ameise
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Sounds good. But maybe it helps to say one or two sentences about the philosophy of each fraction first. For example white is kind of a pseudo religion which wants to shape a (communist?) paradise on earth, green wants to get rid of technology once and for all because they blame it for causing the apocalypse which brought so much pain on earth, etc.

What do you think?

Thu, 2016-03-03 11:25
TheBrokenUrn
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@Ameise: Well, I was not working out the names of each group/faction. I am just getting to the core of what the color pie would look like if it were used on Earth.

Even still, I can see your angle about green. I personally thought agriculture tech which would provide food for the region would be a very green thing to do while using plant magic to keep the balance of good tech and bad tech.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Thu, 2016-03-03 11:40
Guitarweeps
Friendly MSE Designer
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I really feel that if this is happening on earth that it's destruction should fall in our hands not just happen to us. If is some natural disaster or mana rift or whatever then it should just be a new plane. The dynamic of "we caused this" I think is an integral part of apocalyptic settings and having it on earth without that falls flat IMO.

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Thu, 2016-03-03 12:09
ZephyrPhantom
Moderator
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Late vote for 3, because it seems like the smoothest way to intertwine the two themes.

Expanding on Guitarweeps said, I think a simple way to implement the cause of the apocalypse would be "mana proliferation" caused by too many power hungry nations fighting with the newly discovered source of power. You know how Metal Gear Solid's Earth constantly fears nuclear proliferation and Fallout's Earth is the result of nuclear proliferation? Take that and add the potential destructive power of human discovered/controlled magic in.

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Thu, 2016-03-03 12:46
pang4
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Suggestion for the black magic: Decay. The world is already starving and shriveling up, the black mages speed up the process until nothing is left but dust...

Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

Thu, 2016-03-03 12:56
TheBrokenUrn
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@Guitarweeps & Zephyr: I cannot agree any more than that. The natural proliferation of mana does sound a bit weak and a lot like Time Spiral. A human-cause disaster of over using magic-based weaponry?

@Zephyr: So it is starting to sound a combination of 2 & 3 but with mana weapons and the constant civil wars to control mana caused the apocalypse; even after a major war between the superpowers on the planet.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Thu, 2016-03-03 13:00
ZephyrPhantom
Moderator
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@ MTGEmperor - That's my point, actually, using too much magic based weaponry is the disaster. Much like how too many nukes on the world would render it a barren primitive wasteland, whatever the humans did (e.g. giant magic missiles or the war you mentioned) not only reduced Earth to a barren primitive state, it also reduced it to a state where magic is difficult to control beyond small scraps.

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Thu, 2016-03-03 13:30
Neottolemo
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Just some random advice that popped in my head: don't make it too much about the different gangs, make it about the people in the different factions. People change ideas and allegiances easily when the world is ending.

I support what Zephyr and Guitarweeps said about the cause of the apocalypse.

Messing with electricity sounds Blue mana symbol for what concerns hacking and all that and Red mana symbol for what concerns frying stuff.
We need some kind of artifact, like a tank of oil or alcohol or that sort of thing, which makes Red mana symbol's fire magic stronger because they can blow it up.
I know you don't want a zombie virus, but necromancy for Black mana symbol makes sense if we view it as a short-term benefit kind of magic. Like, people can reanimate corpses and control them for a while, but then they inevitably lose control of them. The zombies don't make other zombies with their bite, but they are one hell of a nuisance to kill.

Fri, 2016-03-04 00:00
Autumnstar00
Autumnstar00's picture

Well are we doing factions? It seems inevitable, so we should figure out their philosophies. Black and red seem to already share some themes, and the fous anarchy colors in an apocalypse set seem perfect. If we are adding necromancy then I agree that it should be temporary control/ existence. Black and red might be the colors where necromancers "perfect" the craft by making ghouls so unstable that they'll just explode or something long before the necromancer loses control. Something like spark runner

Fri, 2016-03-04 10:56
TheBrokenUrn
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@Autumnstar: We are doing factions but I wanted to get some details fleshed out first. After all, you need to know what kind of magic will be there in the world before you can figure out which group will use what.

Magic and Tech Type:
White mana symbol Weapon Tech and Light magic
Blue mana symbol Recon Tech and Water/Electric magic
Black mana symbol Power drugs and Decay magic (temporary necromancy possible)
Red mana symbol Power tech/drugs and Fire magic (maybe a little lightning magic as well)
Green mana symbol Growth tech (agriculture) and Plant magic

So does this color framework look good now?

EDIT: I will set up a more updatable Community Set Construction forum soon. Your entire input has helped my writer's block; thank you all.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.

Fri, 2016-03-04 18:49
Autumnstar00
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I kind of like that framework. I'm assuming colored artifacts are gonna be a big part of the tech stuff

Sat, 2016-03-05 13:21
TheBrokenUrn
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I think it would make more sense.

The artifacts themselves may be hybrid style, such as A 2/R hybrid mana symbol. as opposed to being a required color cost; much like Esper back in the Alara days.

90% of the time, I'm wrong. The other 110%, I'm right.