Insidious or Enlightened? Create-a-Cult Challenge



  • @Rayne-Lord, thnx! Yes, that's true I shouldn't assume too many things...
    But if able ill do that...

    Also, @MemoryHead, id be interested to see your feedback on how I did that divergence thing? What do you think?
  • edited January 2021
    Alright. I'm going to start with a few technical notes, since I'm guessing they might be worth mention:

     - The main mechanic I'm trying to work around is transforming cards. Due to this and the fact that I really like things to look fancy, the images I upload here will be using a non-Cardsmith format because I want my custom transform borders and symbols. I will still be making versions of the cards on Cardsmith, and the images will link to their appropriate cards / transformation halves on Cardsmith.

     - Due to the often-difficult nature of matching aesthetics and design goals with the two art pieces needed for transforming cards, I've made (and will probably continue to make in future weeks) edits to some of the art I'm using. As such, some pieces may not perfectly match the art as it can be found in the artist's personal archives.

    Now that that's over, I guess it's time to introduce them. The Innovation is a loosely organized philosophy-cult whose members tend to share a number of views on the flesh and how blatantly suboptimal it is. They're a little too open as a group to have a single obvious demographic of entrants, but many initiates tend to be people who have experienced the flaws of a mortal frame first-hand and understand the need to correct it:

    Like the group itself, becoming a part of the Innovation isn't much of a controlled affair. The Innovation's members rarely tolerate those who seem entirely content with their unmodified selves for long, though, and so a tradition exists to correct such issues in new recruits:

    Crossing a member of the Innovation's never a good idea. The group might not have a specific method for dealing with those they don't like, but all that means is that whoever you just angered won't be restricted in the creativity of their retaliation:

    The Innovation's lack of systematic organization isn't mirrored in all of its aspects, of course. Many of its members are unified as individuals by more personal projects, and the group does have a system of codes so people can identify and collaborate with comrades whose links to the Innovation might not be immediately obvious:

    And finally, a heap of metal. There are a lot of them lying around, and they don't appear to be important. The Innovation's more flamboyant creators do seem to have a bit of an obsession with them, though...

    Insidious or enlightened? Probably neither, but hey. Ingenious will do.

    For the sake of hit-listing, I'm pretty sure I've ticked all of the goals and sub-goals off. Also, the fact that all of the transforms are into 3/3s is total coincidence. I designed some cards, did some balancing, and 3/3 just ended up being the point of focus for all of them.
  • Well, @MemoryHead? (neat cards) Do you like my divergence thing? Or is there formatting improvements on that part?
  • @MemoryHead That's one interesting group of nerds right here! Oh and I absolutely adore the custom frames, how did you do all that?
  • edited January 2021
    @ThePhantomJoker Thanks! The frames were done using Magic Set Editor. Basically just a combination of the current mainframe templates mixed with some transform icons (currently just the spanner-and-screwdriver, and the gear) created by me.
  • @TheDukeOfPork Okay. Looked at it for a bit, thought about it for a bit, made and then scrapped a somewhat rant-y block of feedback on it, followed by another, more neutral one. Third try's the charm, I hope. For anybody who quite reasonably doesn't give a damn, there's a tl;dr at the bottom. I'll just write some notes, start with the single overarching message the card gives me:

     - This probably shouldn't be a divergent card. Nothing about the design says to me that divergence really fits. The abilities and overall design are clearly being cramped immensely by the frame's demands, and you aren't getting anything in return except for scuffed formatting, general visual messiness, and a visit from everybody's favorite torture device character limit.

    I'm not going to in-detail all of the issues from that since it'd take a lot of time, but in brief:
    • As mentioned, the general format's scuffed. Lines are messy, "Human Wizard" is off-centre, that sort of thing.
    • I don't like the shorthanding of "unblockable", and I really don't like the shorthanding of "Naturalize". I'm operating under the vague assumption that it means "the effect of the spell Naturalize", but I really can't be sure and a lot of people might not even know it. These are clearly caused by space and character limit issues.
    • On a slightly different note, I really don't like the card not having a base creature type. I understand why, but that doesn't make me approve at all. By extension to this the reminder text for divergence technically needs rewording around that fact, though the fact that I'm pushing heavily for "this shouldn't use divergence" means that's probably not too important.
     - Continuing that previous point, I really feel like this should be an MDFC or something, rather than divergent. Divergence isn't being used well and isn't contributing, so clearly it shouldn't be here. The convenient, recent format of MDFC allowing you to vary costs on the two divergent paths according to balance, and to actually have space to write abilities, seems like it'd be positive. The nature of the sides is also such that they probably need a degree of reworking anyway, and losing the level-up-y nature of improve that's innate to divergence won't hurt as a result.

     - Final point, the (un)balance of the sides. Assuming that "Naturalize" means "the spell effect", clearly there's something off about it. Breaking down the sides:
    • Human Wizard lets you just infinitely counter whatever your opponent does for near-no cost. I know it's fragile, but that's not a justification. And then it "Improves" into something that's arguably worse, and doesn't feel linked? Whatever the logic is, I'm not following it.
    • Beast gives you a first mode that's kind of just meh, and then an improve that just lets you infinitely gun down anything your opponents try to do with artifacts or enchantment for free. I think the sound "ech" is a good one for encompassing my feelings there.
    And if you think about this further, you'll notice that this card's an uncommon. Are either of these effects uncommon? Heck no. When they're literally on the same card so you can choose which one you want? Just imagine "heck no" but with a greater degree of heck and a lot of emphasis on the "no".

    Right, that's enough rambling. That tl;dr I mentioned: Balance clearly needs overhaul, to a degree that I'm not providing personal contributions. Use of divergence appears utterly unnecessary, stop. Maybe do an MDFC if you want to keep the two "sides" on one card.
  • @TheRacingTurtle I plan on entering with a RGB cult, just need to find some art
  • Looking forward to it IzItTru. About 24 hours until the first week is judged and I put up the second week’s prompt. Remember, you can still earn previous week’s bonus points if you’re late, but you’ll miss out on competing for the best entries this week.
  • edited January 2021
    Prompt #1:

    Prompt #2:


    The Silverblade Order is was a defunct guild of vampire hunters who were bound together by some ritualistic pact and a fervent compulsion to eliminate the night-stalking fiends. Their full numbers were never known, but the fortress on Silvermoon Moor was once bustling with activity. However, one day they all suddenly vanished without a trace. Their castle sat empty for years, and the Order faded into obscurity.

    Now a light has been seen coming from the tower on the moor, and women have been disappearing in the middle of the night; they seem to have left in a hurry.
    There are a lot more crows around town lately...
  • edited February 2021
    Introducing the Oniko Clan.  This clan exists on the plane of Kamigawa and its story intertwines with that of the Kami War though its existence, by design, is not widely known.
    -Typical cult member.

    The Oniko clan was born out of the instinct for survival, at any cost.  At a time when the kami were sweeping through Kamigawa, leaving death and destruction in their wake, a group of mortals sought out the mightiest of the kami, O-Kagachi, and made a deal for their lives.  They would offer up their bodies as vessels for the invading kami to exact their vengeance for the theft of That Which Was Taken.  Those kami who chose not to take on corporeal form in the mortal world could inhabit the bodies of clan members and fight the battle through them.
    -Recruitment process, food reference.

    As opportunists, the clan sought members by following in the wake of kami raids, approaching surrounding villages with the offer of power and security to individuals who would be willing to sell out their world.
    -Clan justice, token generation.

    Of course, not everyone would be quick to turn their backs on their people.  This would be their one and only encounter with the Oniko as the willing would be taken, the dissenters executed, and the scene staged to look like another kami raid.  This tactic of leaving no survivors, except for those who would be brought into the fold, accounts for the general unawareness of Kamigawans to the existence of the clan.

    The base and training grounds for the Oniko is a temple surrounding another rift similar to the one that allowed Lord Konda to steal the scion that started the Kami War.  This is also where the rituals for the possessing of the clan members takes place, where the divide between the mortal and spirit worlds is at its weakest.  Recruits to the clan train rigorously before even attempting this ritual as the kami demand only the strongest of hosts and those who fail to meet their standards vanish, never to be seen again.
    -Clan signal

    Kisho is also the clan's armoury, where they forge spiritually imbued weaponry to use in their fight.

    This is a bonus card depicting the story arc from the inciting of the Kami War to the inception of the Oniko Clan.  This would've been one of the submissions for the week but...meh, MTGCS.
  • You can only submit five cards. Also, what is possess?
  • @AboveAndAbout The last card is not part of the challenge, just for fun.  It shouldn't in any way be considered part of the submission.  Possess will be a key mechanic to the clan that's similar to but not as limited as Mutate, Bestow, and Soulbond.  The details have yet to be revealed because the challenge hasn't called for it yet, stay tuned.
  • [@MemoryHead] ;


    I shouldn't have asked. I didn't need to read half of that to realise it's a trash, awful terrible card, and I'll just delete it. 

    Just for clarification, naturalize is a ,echanic of my own, meaning- [cost]: Target creaure becomes a forest land in addition to its other types. 

    And it can't "gun down artifacts and enchantments" because, as you know, that is not what the mechanic means. 

    What you said is a attempt of a  way of neutralizing (watch my awful spelling) what you're actually saying: "This is a terrible card". 

  • @TheDukeOfPork don't let it get you down, no one gets it right every single time.  This is especially true when using someone else's mechanic because it's their baby and they probably had a vision for how it would be used.  You're no mind-reader.

    As a practical matter of formatting, if you use the Divergence mechanic again, I recommend creating the card not as a creature type but as a custom type and then manually enter "Creature" and the subtype so that you don't have the awkward P/T box at the bottom-right that's different from the other three you'll create.  Just my thoughts.
  • edited January 2021
    @Jadefire The P/T box being ugly in the corner almost certainly isn't an issue of custom typing or anything (you're able to remove power/toughness boxes from creatures on CS anyway), but an issue of the character limit being the character limit. Obviously I didn't make Duke's card and so can't be 100% certain that it's the issue here, but divergent cards clash against the character limit like crazy and both of my "originals" had to use the ugly "real" P/T box because there just weren't enough characters left to push the aesthetic-matching symbol one.
  • @MemoryHead That's true, I forgot that the P/T box isn't a necessity, or even a given, for creature cards.  It's hard to understand why such a character limit would be enforced given that not all characters take up the same amount of space.
  • @TheRacingTurtle is it too late to change our entries?

  • edited February 2021
    Hi Rayne-Lord, 'tis a little late I'm afraid, I've been doing the work on this week's entries over the last two hours. Judging and second week's prompt will be up soon.
  • Week 2: Electric Boogalo, at the Feast of Saint Stabs-a-Lot

    Due Date: Sunday 7th February 2021 (I'll be judging it Monday morning here in good ol' Australia). The next week's challenges will be posted after that.

    Prompt 1: A legendary creature to lead the masses.
    Put a face to the faceless! Show me a legendary creature that leads the followers of your cult in their practices. How do they embody the organisation's ideals? Are they a wicked priest, an orange politician, or a a British actor paid off to appear as the leader of a terrorist organisation?

    *Note: I'd like you to focus on a character leading the cult in person, whether it be a local chapter or the club president, not the cult's over-all deity/focus of worship. Think of it as the high prophet, not the god. Spoiler - we'll be tackling the big one later.

    Prompt 2: A priceless relic.
    Whether it be a mighty weapon, a grand obsidian monolith, or a shard of saintly toenail, many of these organisations have something physical they consider most holy. Show me the goods! This does not strictly have to be an artifact-type card, but I want the relic to be the focus of the card.

    Bonus Objectives (For each one you manage to tick among your cards, you score a point!)
    - They're just jealous. One of your cards shows or references your cult's key adversary by name. "Those darned priests" - no. "The Inquisitors of the Noodly Appendage" - yes.
    - Dog person or a sliver person? One of your cards shows or references an animal (that is, a non-humanoid creature-type in this scenario) either as a constant companion or venerated icon of the cult.
    - What's a colour identity? One of your cards is of a colour that you haven't used in week 1's entries. If you ticked off every colour already, then make a multi-coloured card instead.
    - Mondays suck. This isn't a bonus objective, just a statement. Oh, I really follow my own rules? Ok, uhh... One of your cards shows or references a holiday or special calendar event for your cult. That is, The Feast of Saint Stabs-a-Lot, as opposed to the regular Thursday night brains and hymns by the fire.
    - This club is rated XXX. One of your cards has an X in it's mana cost, or in a cost among it's rules text.

    First week's results being posted next.
  • edited February 2021
    Results after Week 1:

    I am awarding this week's top entries to:
    1st . @MemoryHead and The Innovation (7pts)
    2nd. @ningyounk and The Bitter Sisters (5 pts)
    3rd. @Rayne-Lord and House of the Two-Moons (3 pts)

    MemoryHead – The Innovation 12
    ningyounk – The Bitter Sisters 8
    Rayne-Lord – House of the Two-Moons 7
    AboveAndAbout -Krelli 5
    Jadefire – Oniko Clan 5
    ThePhantomJoker – The Heroreapers 5
    Red_Tower – The Silverblade Order3
    TheDukeOfPork – Unjay Cult 3
    SpellPiper2213 – The Tannarian Society 1

    Thank you to all who have participated so far, I have loved the creative spirit and diverse entries. Hopefully the points system I have come up with keeps things competitive throughout the four weeks. I won't make any changes to the system during the competition, but I'm happy to take on feedback afterwards for future endeavours. If you believe you may have been shorted on some bonus points please feel free to message me privately, I looked at all cards closely to tick them off but may have missed something obscure.
  • Not trying to stir up any trouble, just some minor confusion on points/scoring. Is a point awarded for meeting the weekly prompt, or are points only awarded for scoring in the top 3 and doing the bonus objectives? Or are there other additional points as you see fit that aren't specifically outlined?
    I mainly ask because taking a quick look at the scoreboard, I see I have 4 points. I believe I completed three of the bonus objectives (being the password, the land, and the token). So I know I should have a minimum of 3 points, which I do. However, I have a 4th point. Cool! So I look at how others scored. Not to signal anyone out, but since SpellPiper has a score of 1, I looked at their submission for the week to see what all they did or didn't do. They submitted cards for the main prompt, and submitted a card for that completed one of the bonus objectives (the land). So they should have a minimum of 1 point for the bonus objective, which they do. Cool! So my main confusion comes from, where did my extra point come from if we essentially participated in the same ways, I simple ticked of two more objectives. 
    Sorry for being a little ranty, just was hoping for some more clarity is all!
  • Possibly the reference to what happens when you mess with the cult, in Silverblade Purifier?
  • Hey Red_Tower, happy to clarify!

    1. You have to meet the two prompts to play, no points awarded for making them.

    2. The first/second/third points of 7/5/3 are awarded based on my judgement of those two cards across how well they meet the prompts, how well they mesh within the overall design of your cult as you establish it, and how well the card is designed from a mechanical stand point (are rules correct, understandable, does it make sense as a Magic card etc.).

    3. You earn one point per bonus objective ticked off, whether you do that in the two prompted cards, or your up to three bonus cards.

    The answer as to why you appear to have one extra point is... human error! It looks like I ticked you off as having "One of your cards show or references the ill-results of trying to hassle a cult member." in that spot on my spreadsheet, and that's ended up on the leaderboard. I have edited that now in the results post.

    Never apologise for being a little ranty, detailed and descriptive feedback is much better than "that don't look right".

    While I'm here talking one on one, I love the idea with your Nightmare Prophecy! Drawing the card to then suspend it for free is really cool. I might go and play with the concept myself, maybe make the suspend cost have less of a delay to make for a more impactful gameplay choice when they draw it.

  • Thanks for the clarity! While unfortunate to lose a point, I'd rather play fair. And glad you liked the idea, I was very unsure of how much to balance it in one way or another, in retrospect I probably would have made it 4 or even 3 time counters to give players less time to prepare for it.
  • edited February 2021
  • @HeroKP A quote from the start:
    Joining late? No worries. If you design cards for the previous weeks I will still award you bonus points for the various challenges you complete, you just won't be in each week's running to win the 7/5/3 points. You'll still need to meet each week's core prompts as well.
  • @MemoryHead

    Thank you so much. Reading comprehension lacking.
  • To be fair, there's a lot of my ranting to get through there as well. Looking forward to seeing what you make HeroKP.
  • edited February 2021
    Hooray! Week two!

    The ominous leader behind the Unjay is Kairia. A mad, vengeful monk with immense powers. He was taught as a boy to herald Jaliau and his beleif turned into madness. He started the cult because of the house of wisdom attacking and offending (blasphemy) Jaliau and her forces. 

    He often lurks in the shrine garden during the attacks, biding time and defending. When he does go out, the aetheric defense between the castle and the house breaks, and an all-out battle usually breaks out. So he is rarely willing. But when he is in the garden, he is either praising Jaliau, purifying himself or creating weapons and defending. 
    When the Unjay monks die, there bodies are preserved in the tomb. The tomb is said to be "Jaliau's only gift", because of its use of many things: A storage of plunder and knowledge, a tomb to preserve bodies, a place to throw the skeletons of their dead enemies and a prison chamber. If it was stolen the Unjay would be...somewhat dead already. 

    So that's the end of week two! Imma make some notes that i should have last time:

    -This cult is all about improving things. That could be life total, creatures, top cards of your library, artifacts, etcetera, etcetera.

    -I'll be trying to use (If the prompts don't stop me) things like level up, divergence (and I won't be asking for feedback this time, i know all i'll get is negative.) and adventure.

    -I will be using mechanics and styles from everywhere over magic (possibly with an extra cardsmith) so don't get annoyed if I use your mechanics or abilities that don't match the set and things like that.

    Now, for the final note, correct me if I'm wrong, I believe I got three bonus objectives.

  • Prompt 1:
    Thelliona Always Hungering
    (Also two colors not in week one, and a non-humanoid.)

    Thelliona is the channeler of the quasi-divine powers of the Krelli's deity. When it feels like it, Thelliona can swallow whole cities, redirecting any consumed magic to the Priceless Relic that feeds the zombies' strength. In case it wasn't clear, Thelliona loves cheese balls.

    Prompt 2:

    Nobody knows (not even Thelliona) what this thing is. The smarter zombies (Thelliona included), however, realize that the artifact is responsible for their freedom, and is a way for their deity to communicate. It has no real purpose outside of that, or so they believe.

    Christmas Spirtit
    That's right! Every year, the zombies hold a huge celebration. (Read excuse to eat brains.) First course is brains. Second course is stewed brains. Third course is pickled brains. So on and so forth. As a commemoration, Thelliona has a huge plate of cheese balls delivered directly to her inner chamber. None of the zombies know that the Priceless Relic is the object keeping the celebration running. But why...
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