Hello everyone! =D
In parallel of the main thread
where we design the set of Rezatta, we decided a while ago to separate the world building into a separate conversation to help both discussions breathe a little ^^ First, you can find the old creative thread here:Renaissance Set - Creative Team
The goal for this conversation is less to make a set of cards, and more to make a world guide, like the Planeshift files. Obviously, the two threads are very connected and what we do here will impact the cards on the other thread, just as we're limited in the world building by what we can actually show on cards ^^
I'm going to summarize a little where we're at in different areas ^^I - RENAISSANCE TROPES AND FEEL OF THE SET
- The main theme for the set is Renaissance, especially Italian Renaissance. Some of the themes and characters below are actually subthemes of this main theme.
- A secondary theme to complement the set and make it more than an MTG intepretation of real life Renaissance is Emotions. Think of it as how the Bolas theme complements the Egyptian theme of Amonkhet. In particular, this plane has the Muses of Emotions, a cycle of five legendary creatures that inspire the people of Rezatta.
- Art is a strong trope for the set. A defining feature of Rezatta is that the magic of the plane spontaneously gives life to beautiful art pieces.
- Other Renaissance tropes we need to interpret in our own way and give a unique spin to them would be scientific progress, humanism, and religion.
- To emphasize the idea of Renaissance as in "rebirth", we have a theme of cycling. More specifically, the plane lives a cycle of long winters (= Dark Ages) and long Springs (= Renaissance). Tropes evoking Springs and Summer, like warm sun, butterflies, flowers, singing birds,... are all welcome in this set.
- Overall, the feel of the set should be optimistic, bubbly, and give a sense of warmth. This also means we have to discuss how to depict negativity and death. We can decrease its occurrences, or give it a romantic feel (think the Aetherborn of Kaladesh), or even lean on dark humour (they do this a bit in Battlebond). II - PLOT
We discussed a lot of things but couldn't get past the exploratory phase so far. What we need is to decide a type of plot. Coincidentally, I just bought a book for a completely different reason, and it just happens to talk about how to write a story (it's called The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne). This may help us define the structure of our story and the elements we need in it. I'll talk about this aspect a bit later in a dedicated post ^^III - CHARACTERS
As we don't have a story plot yet we don't really have characters locked in, but we discussed many characters that could be interesting. Some of them being direct Renaissance tropes. Here's a short list of potential characters we talked about a bit:
- One of the most interesting characters we have is a young girl that is mute but can express herself through music. It's a very poetic character who shows you can express yourself through emotions withtout needing words, which ties the art theme and emotion theme together perfectly. There's an artist called WLOP that drew the same characters a bunch of time in various situations (which could be useful for us to create a story around one character, since we're very limited by the Art we find.) Here's a picture of this character:
- Da Vinci is THE Man of Renaissance and an absolute must-have in a Renaissance set. So far, the version we discussed would be a planeswalker that likes to visit other planes in search of inspiration for his crazy inventions.
- Mona Lisa is the most famous painting of Da Vinci. Since Art is alive on this plane, we may as well have her join the party ^^
- Niccolo Machiavelli is a very iconic figure of Renaissance that could make an excellent legendary creature.
- Artist wise, basically all the "ninja turtles" artists should resonate with the wide public: Leonardo Da Vinci was already on our list, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael. Note that if we find a fith one it could be a cool horizontal cycle.IV - CREATURE TYPES
Finally, we'll get to fill the Creature Grid of the set: A grid of creature types living on this plane giving to make sure we have consistent races in every colour for small, medium and large creatures, both flying and non-flying (note red doesn't get small flyiers, and green doesn't get flyiers at all.) This kind of details will be locked later, but we've still started to discuss a few possibilities:
- As Living Art is a thing on this plane, we know it's going to be a creature type, probably of all types and colours since it's a very central feature of the plane, but this will depend on the mechanical aspect as well.
- We know we have five Muses of Emotions.
- We talked about Gorgons as they tie in the art theme, because they make statues (this also add a little bit of dark humour to the set.)
- Sirens are good at singing, a form of art, so they could make an interesting creature type.
- Golems and Constructs could also fit well because of animated statues and such.
- We mentioned Faeries as an optimistic, playful tribe because they have that "sparkly" feel to them. (Not the blue/black ones.)
- Finally, anthropomorphized animals seem to be a popular theme, which happens to emphasise the humanism theme of Renaissance in a quirky way.V - RELIGION
We discussed what kind of religion(s) could be on Rezatta. There's actually a religion already existing in MTG that perfectly fits the theme of the set, the Church of Serra. Briefly, Serra is a planeswalker that visited multiple planes where she was often revered as a Goddess (as a lot of planeswalkers before the Mending) which makes it totally possible that she spread her religion on Rezatta a long time ago. More importantly, the Church of Serra has a lot of qualities that perfectly fit into the Renaissance feel of the set: the four Virtues of the Church of Serra are Discourse, Freedom, Peace and **ART**, they sing the words of Serra in "the Song of All" which has over a thousand "Canti" (an **ITALIAN** word for songs), and Serra represents Rebirth ("Renaissance" means Rebirth). The latest apparition of the Church of Serra in Magic is in the Dominaria set, and you can learn more here: http://media.wizards.com/2018/podcasts/magic/MSPodcast_20180510_d8axGQ5.mp3
For these reasons, we could actually have a version of the Church of Serra appear on Rezatta (they already counted five strands of this religion in the official story so...)