30 May 2017

Numerian Smart Sword

I was going through my hard drive and stumble upon this magical item I had written up for the 2015 RPG Superstar contest.

Numerian Smart Sword 

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9th

Slot none; Price 21,100 gp; Weight 16 lbs.


Inspired by Androffan smart armor, the Technic League developed a multi-function smart weapon. This +1 adamantine greatsword has active and inactive modes. While inactive it functions as a medium greatsword; however due to its great weight applies a -2 penalty to attack rolls, to any medium creature wielding it two-handed or any large creature wielding it one-handed. It can activated as a swift action, expending one charge, expanding to a large greatsword and negating any penalties related to the size; thereby, allowing a medium creature to wield it as a two-handed weapon with no additional penalties. While active it consumes one charge per round, and it can further change form as a swift action like a transformative weapon, consuming one charge and choosing from glaive, greataxe, spiked chain, or two-bladed sword, all large-sized.

Like smart armor, it has 60 charges. As a hybrid weapon the enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls and the negation of the size penalty are affected by areas of antimagic or similar effects, but not its transformative properties, those being limited by its charges.


Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Technological Arms and Armor (DC 30), bull's strength, lead blades, righteous might or giant form I, military lab; Cost 11,635 gp

The Garland  Ancient Polymorphic Weapon

Price 21,100 sp; Weight 16 lbs.


This heavy matte black sword appears to be forged from one solid piece of metal with a repeating fractal pattern etched over its entirety. It is clearly a work of craftsmanship beyond that currently available, but at the same time despite the intricacy of the etchings, it looks and feels extremely utilitarian, much like a munitions grade sword. It is in fact a product of the ancient Numerian Empire as an attempt to copy and improve upon even more ancient wonders of the Androffan Technocracy, specifically the so called "smart armor."

This adamantine greatsword has two modes, active and inactive. While inactive it functions as a greatsword; however, due to its great weight it applies a -2 penalty to attack rolls. It can be activated as part of any action involving it, expending one charge, initially folding outwards into a larger greatsword (d12 damage) and negating any penalties related to the size. While active it consumes one charge per round, and its form can be changed once per round without using any additional actions by consuming an additional charge, choosing from glaive (d10 damage), greataxe (d12), spiked chain (d8), or two swords (d10 damage), all larger than human sized.

It possesses 60 charges of a technological nature; therefore, it can only be recharged by means of radio-isotopes, extremely pure (and volatile) chemicals, or strong continuous electric current. When out of charges it reverts to its base form of a serviceable, if clumsy, greatsword. 

The Garland is the product of both foreign super-science and ancient magic, a necessity for despite how advanced the Numerians were, they were never able to reach the same heights of technological wonder that the Androffens did. Instead they 'cheated' using magic to fill in the gaps. It counts as a magic weapon for all matters that care about such things, although it does not provide bonuses to attack or damage rolls.

19 May 2017

Upon manabases

Hello y'all, I normally don't write about Magic: the Gathering on Axes and Orcs. I apologize for this brief interruption.

It's been roughly a week since ProTour Amonkhet, and I'd like to take a moment to do a bit on something that is extremely important to playing MTG, your manabase. I am focusing on the various Aetherworks Marvel lists, although this also applies to any list running any form of basic land fetching.

The other day I was watching Paul Cheon (HAUMPH) streaming. He decided to stream Temur Marvel as it was one of the best represented lists at the PT. Instead of copying any of the lists, he was cherry picking from the various highly placed lists. Why is this problem? It isn't. Paul is a pro, unlike me. However, I noticed that he was mismatching the manabase he was building with the other cards he was including. It is my personal rule of thumb that when you are running spells that fetch basic lands you include one basic for each mana symbol in the casting cost for you spells. This means if you have RR in a single card, you have at least two basic mountains. The only deviation is basic forests, as almost all the basic land fetching spells are green, you want a higher chance of drawing green sources so you can fix your mana.

But why should someone listen to me, a non-pro? You don't have to listen to me, but you might want to pay attention to the pros who took Marvel to the PT.

First, let's compare Yuuya Watanabe's and Martin Müller's lists.

Watanabe has a single mountain and none of his spells require RR.

Müller has two mountains and has Chandra, Flamecaller and Sweltering Suns, both of which require RR. But does it matter that he has four Chandra and two Sweltering Suns? Let's look at other PT lists.

Eric Froehlich has a single mountain, no RR in his maindeck, but he does has a single Chandra, Flamecaller in his sideboard. I don't agree with that, even though it's one card if only because the opportunity cost of cutting one of the duals for a mountain is relatively slim, but it is only a single sideboard card unlike Müller's four maindeck and two sideboard cards.

But let's look at something completely different, Jiachen Tao's Four Color Marvel list.

It has WW and UU and has one island and two plains. Interesting, yes? He obviously wants to be able to cast Fumigate, but is willing to wait a while to cast Memory since it's a late game card that doesn't clog up your hand, merely resting in your graveyard.

Huey Jensen's Sultai Marvel list is spicy.

He has not only BB but BBB cards in his 75, and look he's running three swamps, even though he has two Evolving Wilds, four Blooming Marsh, and four Aether Hub, clearly he, and Reid Duke who also had Demon of Dark Schemes maindeck, felt that having three basic swamps was important. Brennen Decandio and Julian To were also running Sultai Marvel, but only had a single Demon of Dark Schemes in their sideboards, and only two swamps.

If you look at the rest of the Aetherworks Marvel decks from Protour Amonkhet, there seems to be a consensus that if you are running double color in a casting cost you have two basics, unless it's a small number in the sideboard or a card that doesn't need to be cast on curve.

I encourage you to check out MTG Goldfish, which is where I made my screen captures of the decklists to check out the lists for yourself, and don't cherry pick good cards from similar lists without double-checking your manabase.