Empire of Chanam

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Fri, 2017-02-03 06:50
marshmellow's picture

to a forum thread near you

illustration by Wooh Nayoung

The plane of Chanam is unique among the multiverse for one thing: its uncommon unity. With the marriage of Queen Wolgwang of the Sayun Elves into the Chanam Dynasty, the entire plane is officially united under the banner of King Taeyang.

At least, that's the official story. But scratch just beneath the surface and you'll find that Chanam's politics are as divided as any other plane. The nobles of Kansong play court games with the royal family, while the secretive Kan Song Bu police round up and repress the Hacheung underclass across the plane. Meanwhile, the Sayun elves are still integrating--with difficulty--into the milieu of Chanam society, and the Goyan-Gan of Banyuk maintain their relative independence only through oppressive tributes to the king.

To survive in this world, it's necessary to be a master schemer. As every citizen from the lowliest street merchant to the highest government official pulls every string they can reach to enact their own agendas, corruption runs rampant across the kingdom; is this a country headed for a civil war to end all civil wars, or can societal collapse be staved off a few more years so that true unity can be achieved across all factions?

If you can't tell from the blurb, Chanam's major theme is politics. Mechanically, this comes through as colors matter, with a side of EVERYTHING matters. A chaotic board state is the norm here, and nowhere is this better exemplified than by the Noble creature class. Nobles are creatures above the curve, and typically have some form of protection. More importantly however, they also grant bonuses--to everyone. Often such bonuses are for creatures of a common color, or creatures of a common type, and more exotic variations such as "creatures with even toughness" or "creatures with a converted mana cost of 3 or less." Nobles can be a double-edged sword, but they can also be the means by which a massive blowout can be achieved.

Also in keeping with the political theme, there are schemes EVERYWHERE. Morph makes a comeback, and Intrigue ensures you'll always have a trump card handy. Instants are no longer the only thing you need to worry about from your opponent.

White mana symbolBlue mana symbol COURT OF KANSONG Blue mana symbolWhite mana symbol

Kansong, capital of Chanam, jewel of the plane and home to the most cutthroat band of backstabbers and traitors the world over. I speak, of course, of the Nobles of the Court. Specializing in Intrigue, the aristocratic denizens of Kansong keep themselves occupied playing political games. Everyone is somebody's pawn, and everyone has someone else dancing in the palm of their hand.

Blue mana symbolBlack mana symbol KAN SONG BU Black mana symbolBlue mana symbol

Nominally, the secret police that serve the King. These wraiths stalk the streets, taking away anyone suspected of fomenting rebellion or conspiring against the king. With near-unlimited powers of surveillance, the Kan Song Bu are a formidable ally to the King--but their insular nature may hide schemes that even the Sun of Chanam is unaware of.

Black mana symbolRed mana symbol HACHEUNGSAHOE Red mana symbolBlack mana symbol

Unfortunately, not everyone is smart enough to be born into nobility. The Hacheung underclass constitutes all the little people, also known as the sort of people that the nobility love to screw over. Tensions are high currently, with the unification of Chanam bringing about a golden age of prosperity for some, at the expense of the Hacheung. Riots aren't uncommon in this day and age, and while rebellious cells have been swiftly silenced so far, the populace is just itching for an excuse to start a full-on revolution.

Red mana symbolGreen mana symbol GOYAN-GAN Green mana symbolRed mana symbol

The Goyan-Gan of Banyuk province are a tribe of leonids. Their society is highly traditional and honor-based. Currently they've managed to avoid the worst of these tumultuous times, but that peace is only bought from the King through massive taxation. Skilled warriors though they are, the Goyan understand that they have little hope of defeating the overwhelming numbers of the Royal Military. And once the King turns away from the Sayun elves, the Goyan know that they'll be next to be assimilated.

Green mana symbolWhite mana symbol ELVES OF SAYUN White mana symbolGreen mana symbol

After centuries of tension between Chanam and the Sayun territory, political maneuvering has finally forced a marriage between King Taeyang and the former Sayun princess, Queen Wolgwang. On paper, the elves are full and equal citizens of Chanam. In practice, however, the elves often find themselves ostracized, both by the nobility and the peasants. For their own protection, Sayun elves stick together, always, and are more loyal to their kin than country... or to any planeswalker that might summon them.

Making a comeback, because everybody loved it in Tarkir, it's... Morph!

New mechanics include:
Intrigue <cost>: You may exile this card face-down from your hand for 2 mana symbol any time you could cast a sorcery. Whenever a creature enters the battlefield, if this card is exiled face-down, you may cast it for its intrigue cost.
Riot N: When this permanent enters the battlefield, up to N target creatures can’t block this turn.
Kindred: Kindred — Whenever a nontoken creature enters the battlefield, if it shares a creature type with CARDNAME, [effect]

And more to come... maybe!

Here in Chanam we have cool dudes!

We have elves!

We have schemes!

We have riots sometimes!

We have furries!

We have Batman!


Wait... what's that?

Is that a plot thread

Fri, 2017-02-03 14:58
ZephyrPhantom's picture

Noble tribal, huh....interesting. Liking the take on feudal Asia so far, as well; it's a very different side that Kamigawa and Tarkir didn't quite cover.

Somewhere out there Rising Waters is rolling in its grave of watery competition

Looking for fun? Try Battle Boards!

Sat, 2017-02-04 06:06
marshmellow's picture

There is a reason for Midnight Official's weirdness! And that reason is... I made a mistake and he's not actually a noble! Just a human rogue!

No, I figured I'd save the nobles for a later post. Like this one, for instance.

Nobles come in all sorts of varieties!

There are other benefits to having a few nobles around, as well!

Sat, 2017-02-04 06:15
ZephyrPhantom's picture

You're doing a really good job with consistent art selection.

Moon Ya seems like he'd do very little outside of his native environment (not necessarily a bad thing, given that this set seems to be focused on being draftabe in a vacuum, but I do think it's worth noting). Seems like drafts could turn into a fight between people drafting Race tribal, people drafting Rebel Tribal, and people drafting Noble tribal. I like the implications of that.

Looking for fun? Try Battle Boards!

Sat, 2017-02-04 06:43
marshmellow's picture

i've given up entirely on the art, almost nobody draws joseon-era korea stuff, and of the few people that do all they draw is women in hanbok! you'd think people would want to draw some joseon royalty but no i can't even find proper government officials >:I

...i have found a surprisingly large number of korean cat people, though

Sat, 2017-08-12 16:57
marshmellow's picture

Today we'll go over some related cards, flavor-wise and mechanically. Some of these you may have seen before, but now you get to see them in their wider context!

The Disciples
As we all know, this being a forum for scholars of Korean history and culture, philosophy has long been a major presence in Korean history. As such, you'll find that Chanam is host to a number of esteemed scholars, each of which is, coincidentally, aligned with one of the mana philosophies. And naturally, those philosophers have... followers.

In addition to those, you may remember these good-looking guys from before, who comprise a pair.

Pheasants and Falcons and Temples, Oh My
Occasionally, I have been known to rip off actual bits of Korean legends wholesale.

Some Tricks
Here's another pair that has a bit of flexibility.

Inyung the Dollmaker
What's that, you say you like running artifacts? Well too bad, Chanam isn't an artifacts-focused plane. We do have a few bones to throw you, though...

The Royal Family
Last but certainly not least, let's wrap this up with an exclusive interview with Chanam's number one celebrities, the royal family!

The great king himself, Taeyang the Sun of Chanam. Accomplishments include assimilation of the Sayun elves, unification of the plane of Chanam, and possibly the political assassination of his own child and/or ex-wife. But you didn't hear that last one from me!

Queen Wolwang of Sayun, controller of the fate of an entire race! Her marriage to King Taeyang has unified Chanam, but currently her power is merely symbolic. Or is it? Once again, you didn't hear this from me, but it seems a number of rebel cells pledge their allegiance to her...

And finally, the Queen Dowager, Byeol Bi! Mother to the king, naturally she wants what's best for him. And what's best for him is, naturally, what's best for her. An early proponent of Taeyang and Wolgwang's unification, she seems to have soured a bit on it lately. On paper she may not have a lot of political clout, but in practice her threads of influence resemble a spider's web through the court, making her possibly one of the most powerful individuals in the palace.

And there you have it! Stay tuned for the next update in 2018!

Sat, 2017-08-12 17:34
marshmellow's picture

i'm going for the former, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of precedent for that particular effect in mtg (go figure). i am accepting suggestions for revision (on byeol bi, but also on other cards with ambiguous/too ambitious effects)