Lore Ipsum: Bargains of Water

Hello! Today’s cards are based on two myths that are loosely related to water but not really that much.

As usual, both of these myths were recounted this month in vlog form by Dael Kingsmill of Geek & Sundry, and i highly recommend you watch them before you proceed to the cards (links to the specific vlogs will follow). I won’t necessarily be covering the whole myths, only the aspects my cards drew from, and she tells them far better than me anyway. Let’s get started!


Water’s Wisdom

We embark on a Celtic myth to learn of the life of young Fionn mac Cumhaill, heir to the coolest name in the realm (because in some translations he’s known as Finn McCool; that was a pun, you see). Due to some family mishaps i won’t go into, a lot of people wanted Fionn dead, so his mother had him be raised by two warrior women in an isolated forest village, where he learned to fight and hunt until he was prepared to set out on his own.

During his travels he came across a woman grieving the death of her son at the hands of a mysterious killer, and swore to avenge him. This killer turned out to be Liath Luachra, a key player in the death of Fionn’s father and the near-annihilation of his clan, the Fianna. Easily besting him in combat, he saw that the man had been carrying a strange crane-skin bag and took it with him. This bag had in fact been his father’s, and was imbued with an enchantment that allowed it to carry a myriad of magical weapons.

Fionn was later reunited with the survivors of the Fianna and intended to take his father’s place as leader of the clan. In order to be eligible for the position, he set out to master the art of Poetry, because a great warrior needed not only strength of arm but of mind as well. He found himself tutor to the fabled poet Finn Ecas, who was himself on a quest to catch the elusive Salmon of Knowledge (this is the water bit of the myth), a fish said to give limitless knowledge to whoever ate it. Soon he did manage to catch the fish but, having no idea how to cook it, handed the task to Fionn, specifically instructing him not to eat any of the fish. However, while cooking the fish, Fionn accidentally burned himself on its skin and reflexively sucked his thumb, gaining the salmon’s knowledge and rendering the fish itself useless to Finn Eccas. Henceforth, whenever he needed any information, all Fionn had to do was suck his thumb.

His journey didn’t end there, but this particular tale does. So now we join young master Cool in his recent post-Salmon state:

Fionn mac Cumhaill Salmon of Knowledge

I intentionally gave Fionn a low mana cost and power/toughness to give me wide berth to make a stronger card for an older version of him. His abilities represent, respectively, the never-ending weapons in his crane-skin bag and the never-ending knowledge gained from his thumb. Putting the tutored cards on top of the library was just for development reasons. There is a precedent for the Equipment-tutoring cost (in fact i was disappointed to see that that creature also had vigilance, as that was the most interesting aspect of my design) but not for Instant/Sorcery-tutoring, hence the more cautious cost.

The Salmon’s design came to me randomly and i thought it was interesting enough to warrant a card, even if it doesn’t exactly fit the flavor of the myth: in the tale, you get all the knowledge regardless of how much of the salmon you eat, whereas in the card, the more the salmon is damaged (i.e. eaten), the greater the knowledge. I really like the design and can see it having a variety of uses, such as detracting your opponent from attacking with a large creature lest you chump-block it, or gaining an extra spell after an Earthquake‘s collateral damage. In fact, come to think of it, it might be a bit too powerful.


Water’s Wrath

For our second myth we return once more to Ancient Greece, joining Poseidon in his midlife crisis. Feeling that the mortals weren’t respecting him enough, he set out to become patron of a city. He found the perfect spot on the coasts of Attica but, unfortunately for him, Athena had her eyes on the place as well. Poseidon suggested they fight for the site, when Zeus intervened and demanded that a vote be cast instead. The vote ended up favoring Athena, who became the patron of the city henceforth known as Athens. Poseidon was enraged and attempted to raise the oceans to flood the city, but was thwarted by Zeus (so, technically, there’s no bargain of water here either; yes, all my post titles are lies).

Sad-face Poseidon then went on to several other locations, each time being challenged by another God, each time losing the vote to them, each time not being allowed to flood the damned mortals. Eventually he managed to gain himself patronage of Corinth, with the caveat that the acropolis go to Helios instead. Poseidon then stopped going to the game nights at Olympus, as the other Gods developed a sudden interest in Monopoly.

Claim of Poseidon

This was a tricky myth to turn into a card, since i already had a generic Poseidon card. With the Conspiracy set still fresh on my mind, however, Will of the council quickly sprang up and felt perfect in the context. Of course it couldn’t be completely accurate to the myth, as the card had to be all-upside, so Poseidon gets to flood some cities as well. Note that i use creature or land, as opposed to permanent, as those are the only permanent types able to be destroyed by this color pair (technically Planeswalker as well but, let’s face it, nobody would ever vote for another player to gain control of one); to move up to permanent i’d have to add green (or white, but green would feel more at home), and it didn’t seem worth it.


Until next time!