Manaburst Research – Trappings of Magic

Although I haven’t been writing much about it, I’ve been making some notes on how I plan on using the Spirit of the Century system to run a Magic: the Gathering-inspired campaign for my group that I’ve previously mentioned.  One of the unknowns I since the beginning is how to handle magic – a decision made harder since I really have no idea how magic works in MtG’s Multiverse.

Sure, that card game has its mana-powered magic, but it’s made for a turn-based card game and can be considered slower and less fluid than I’d like for our campaign.  I still had two questions to answer before I could design my magic system: how exactly does one gain and spend Mana, and does summoning pull a preexisting creature to the summoner, or does it create a simulacrum.  To answer these I decided to ask WotC directly… so to speak

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A little Magic on the Side

In the past, the only use I had for my small Magic: the Gathering card collection was as a character generation tool for role-playing games.  I mentioned the process a couple years ago when talking about one of our campaigns, and the hosts of Fear the Boot, whom I game with talked about it in Episode 95 of their show.

But as I mentioned in my Backburst post, a few months ago my Saturday group and I started playing Magic to pass the time until everyone arrived for the weekly role-playing session.  If you’re like me, you’ve heard of the $500 decks and the craziness that goes into playing in tournaments, but that’s not what we’re looking to do. With just our modest collections we’ve put together a few decks each, which has been enough to provide a great side game to play casually and socialize over.

It’s been somewhat surprising to see how much fun the group is having just playing casually. A few members were a little leery at first, but when no one tries to win through strength of wallet it’s a good time. Unlike our role-playing, where there’s a story going on at the table that banter could interrupt, Magic can be an even more social experience for us since we can talk over the game with no ill effect.

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Burstback: the Return of Manaburst

The members of my Saturday gaming group are all adults with busy lives so it’s no surprise that most Saturdays at least one person winds up being late for our weekly session. Instead of starting our sessions early and having to catch people up, we’ve recently started breaking out some Magic decks and playing a few games to pass the time.

During one of our games a player mentioned that he thought a role-playing game set in a heavily Magic-inspired setting would be a lot of fun, but that playing beings like planeswalkers didn’t seem like it would work. He was surprised when I replied that not only did I think it would work fine, I had done it before.

I’m not about to usurp the Earthdawn game we have running – I enjoy it too much. But with the interested around the table it seems like it might be time to break out my Manaburst notes and look at making some revisions.  I’ve already started getting ideas on how to improve over our first attempt.

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