Campaign of the Month: January 2015
Skies of Glass
Red is one of the five colors of mana in the universe. It is drawn from the mountains and embodies the principles of impulse and chaos. The mana symbol for red is represented by a fireball. Red mana is generally allied with Black and Green, and is an enemy to White and Blue. Exceptions to this are not unusual.
To detail emotions and beliefs typically associated with those who use red mana, I’ll simply refer to a red mana users in general as Red. The same will be true for all other capitalized colors.
Red looks on the world and sees adventure. Life is a chance to experience something – many things – and for Red, there is no more worthwhile endeavor than to enjoy life through the adventure it offers. Experiences are what life is about, and to appreciate the full range of life’s experiences, Red lives by emotion. What makes one laugh, what makes one cry, what one hates and what one loves, these make up a person. A person can look only to these, Red believes, to find one’s wishes and desires in life. Deny these, and life is meaningless.
In accordance with its beliefs, Red seeks out new experiences and new ways to express itself, and seizes on them. It finds these ends in the complementary pillars of Impulse and Chaos. Impulse, to Red, means emotional action. By acting (doing) as one’s heart desires, one can only find happiness with the experience one has to show for it. With Chaos – random action – Red creates the freedom for any one to express his or her emotions. In a sense, by opening up new possibilities, Red’s Chaos frees novel experiences from the “lattice” of the status quo.
In valuing emotion and adventure so greatly, what Red truly prizes is freedom. To live life the Red way – passionately and imminently – Red must be able to act on its impulses, doing what it feels each moment without delay. It doesn’t want to be censored or controlled, because when one’s passions are kept shackled from action, a person cannot be who he is. To disallow him to be who he is, is to destroy him; in Red’s view, censorship is death. As such, the idea of rules, of pinning someone to one course even if his emotions urge him down another, is atrocious to Red. Where Red is concerned, those who dare to speak of rules and limits will meet with a furious ultimatum to shut up. Red will fight against anyone who restrains anyone else, and the tools that Red uses to make this point, and those it uses to seek its own richness of passion.
Relationships and Principles
Red’s defining characteristic in interacting with other beings is his passion. Love is not hard to define for Red, it is beautifully simple. It is caring about another individual and to a smaller extent, a sub-group, such as a family, as much as you care about your own self, if not more. This can often verge on – if not go skittering over the verge into – recklessness. Love is passion to Red, to him they are one and the same.
That being said, Red feels emotions deeply. Words like ‘slightly’ or ‘sort of’ or ‘halfway’ are meaningless to him. That isn’t to say that his emotions are simplistic or easily explained. He swings back and forth; Red is by nature a creature of extremes. Joy and sorrow, bloodlust and apology all swirl within him. This explains his dependence on extremely powerful, erratic and direct magic at the cost of card advantage or long-term gain. As a passionate person, Red, like to some degree Black, doesn’t care how much he hurts himself as long as it hurts the opponent just as much.
As an adventurer, Red is always looking to grow either physically mentally or spiritually. Any new ideas, as so long as they don’t involve law or order, are eagerly and recklessly examined and adopted. Red himself is never the same, yet his goal in the game is always the same: To beat you and have fun doing it, using as much passion, fire, stone, Goblins, Dragons and lightning bolts as he can find to chuck at you.
A neat way to look at it is through the element Red uses most often: Fire. Fire needs new fuel in order to keep its intensity, to expand. If it stays still, fire will fizzle. So the need for new adventures, ideas, is what keeps Red who he is.
Red acts without hesitation. As has been made manifestly clear, he doesn’t believe in pauses, lulls or breaks. Red wants to experience life in all its myriad forms. Red is strong, emotional and impulsive. He is a tolerant person; the one thing that truly presses his buttons is someone telling someone else what to do. As noted by other color-theorists, Red will break rules that don’t even affect him, just because he can. Red will always support the individual against the group.
Contrasted with White, Red’s appeal to others is based on his strong sense of self. Red is charismatic, poetic and artistic. Most art forms and even the idea of self-expression stem heavily from Red. People automatically warm to him – that internal fire is in everything he does.
While White can always be counted on to do what is popular or in accordance with her rigid set of morals and concepts, you can expect Red to always do the unexpected. While White depends on people considering the good of the group and neglecting personal growth, Red asks the group to think “What do I get out of this? Why should I listen to what someone else says?”
Red makes people consider their needs. Self-gratification is one of the tools Red uses to sow dissension and discord in the ranks of White and Blue. When members of a group start questioning the motives of their leaders, chaos (Red’s bailiwick) erupts.
Red places a great deal of emphasis on combat, believing that at its core, life is a meritocracy; the strong will rise and the weak should either fall or get out of the way. This is not to say he has no compassion, just that his compassion for others is limited to lovers, family members and friends. Everyone else can go screw as long as those Red cares about are taken care of. In combat he believes the best fight is a short fight. While Red respects a fair fight and respects a worthy opponent, he doesn’t take it to what he considers ludicrous extremes like White. Meaning that he will do what it takes to win, he won’t neglect an advantage. Red shares this first trait, respect for the opponent, with Green, and the desire to take advantage of all loopholes with Black. Red knows that endurance isn’t his most stunning quality, so he is invested with winning quickly and with as much force as possible.
Red’s weaknesses are the exact same as his strengths. A thinking opponent is simultaneously at a disadvantage and advantage when facing off against Red. On the one hand, he can count on the fact that Red will nearly invariably act first and think second, giving a calculating opponent a good chance of anticipating Red’s moves. However, here lies the problem, Red is so passionate he will do things that his opponents will view as utterly incomprehensible and reckless (such as damaging himself to hurt the opponent or risking it all on a long shot). Unpredictability is a huge strength of Red’s.
Hand in hand with unpredictability comes his lack of endurance. Red, as mentioned, wants to win and do it fast. He can’t handle being restrained by rules or edicts; a lockdown is usually fatal to Red as he will use up all his resources in one massive, fiery attack hoping to immolate his foe.
Hedonism is a notable weakness of Red’s. He loves physical sensation so much it is easy for him to become addicted to pleasure. His enemies know this and attempt to capitalize on it, which either has the effect of pacifying him or enraging him further if he sees through the bribe attempt.
His passion also empowers him and is vulnerable to manipulation. Red will do anything to protect those he loves, if an opponent manages to gain leverage over a loved one or Red’s emotions for them, Red would rather lose or die himself than have harm come to someone he loves.
Red puts a great deal of emphasis on action. He believes that thinking over an emotion, analyzing it to death, is to condemn it and by association himself. So he accepts emotions as they come, recognizing them as parts of himself that need to be heard. And by heard, he means acted upon.
Red acts with passion, and doing something halfheartedly is a foreign concept. Chaos is another staple of his beliefs – a world with titles, rules and regulations castrates Red and limits the possible adventures one could have. Logic, the idea of linear progression of events, irritates Red to no end. Life just doesn’t work that way, according to him. Blue would love to reduce life to a mechanistic, precise series of actions and reactions, devoid of emotions. This worldview is something Red views as antithetical to living, to loving, to experiencing the world.
Which brings us to another sub-theme of Red: Trickery. Red, compared to all the other colors, has a sense of humor. He loves a good joke. Trickery takes the idea of linear progression, order, and drop-kicks it. Life is chaos, Red maintains. Any rules you make can just as easily be used against you. Don’t fight your nature, embrace it. Have a little fun.
Interactions with Other Colors
Red and Black: In Black, Red sees another color who just isn’t afraid to enjoy itself. Red and Black, when put together, are the most individualistic color pair; their common enemy, White, feels a need to create a lawful society, which clashes with Red/Black’s desire to just have fun and live without any rules at all. In addition, Red and Black are two of the most destructive colors when paired.
Red and Green: In Green, Red sees another color that embraces its emotions on a fundamental level. Green’s natural instincts and Red’s emotional impulses, when put together, create a very short-sighted and disorganized, and yet very focused color pair that infuriates anybody going against it, especially Blue (Red/Green’s common enemy), which finds Red/Green’s shortsightedness repulsive compared to its careful contemplation. Also, since Red and Green put most value into emotions and impulses, artifacts, which represent the emotional sterility of technology, are considered abominations and are incredibly easy to bash to pieces. Red and Green, when put together, are the most aggressive colors.
Red and White: When Red and White agree, it’s usually more out of respect than actual ideological agreement. Red admires White’s ability to gather large, well-organized armies for its cause, much like how Red can gather large, ill-organized mobs for its own cause. In addition, Red also respects White’s sheer devotion to a lawful society, which mirrors Red’s devotion to a very chaotic and anarchic one. While Red disagrees with White on what an ideal society is, Red acknowledges that White does care about the fate of the people at large in the society it’s trying to create. And of course, Red shares White’s “smack the other side first” method of dealing with a threat. Red and White, when working together, end up with a very large army comprised of individually small creatures, all fighting for a common cause. Whether that cause is law or chaos depends on how much Red there is compared to White in that particular group.
Red and Blue: Red and Blue’s agreements can be summarized in one sentence: Red and Blue both hate being tied down by society’s limits. While Blue mostly wants to learn how to subvert society to gain knowledge, Red wants to subvert society to gain freedom. Hence, when Red and Blue agree, it’s the overlap between the quest for knowledge and the quest for freedom; specifically, Red and Blue put together are incredibly unconventional thinkers, and have spontaneous bursts of creativity. Red and Blue, when working together, are heavily concerned with spellcasting and immediate effects rather than conjured creatures, as bursts of pure magic aid Red/Blue’s creative process more than a static being.
Red and White: In White, Red sees a color that has ultimately lost sight of the individual in the quest for a perfect and lawful society. In Red’s eyes, even if a White government would result in a completely safe populace, it comes at the loss of civil liberties and individual voices; in short, a White society is nothing short of fascism to Red, and is completely reprehensible. The main conflict between Red and White is Chaos versus Law. Red feels that chaos can be put to good use, and that an anarchic society would ultimately end up with enough individual freedoms to embrace life to the fullest, as opposed to a sterile, law-centric, and dictatorial White society.
Red and Blue: In Blue, Red sees a color that has completely buried emotions in favor of careful, rational thought. Blue seems to completely over-think and over-study everything, and Red feels that Blue would be much better off abandoning that in favor of listening to feelings and impulses. In Red’s eyes, while White at least cares about the people that it’s trying to serve, Blue simply doesn’t see the need for a person at all outside of study fodder, and has buried the human soul completely in order to try to create perfection. The main conflict between Red and Blue is Impulse versus Logic. Red feels that impulses make human beings who they are, and that any attempt to logically define humanity is impossible; after all, human emotion by its very nature is chaotic and impulsive, and to Red, that’s what defines a human being.
Red and Black: Red occasionally can’t understand why Black thinks as much as it does. Yes, Black is certainly capable of enjoying itself, but Black can get too caught up in the long term to truly just have fun. Also, Red can’t understand Black’s willingness to cause human suffering. When Red causes suffering, it’s usually unintentional, and Red feels bad about it afterward. However, Black not only causes suffering when it acts, it sometimes goes out of its way just to make others suffer. This utter heartlessness keeps Red from completely agreeing with Black’s methods.
Red and Green: Red sometimes notices that Green is too unwilling to just care about itself. Of course, Red sees value in protecting loved ones and close friends, but sometimes Red is astonished at the lengths Green will go to in order to preserve life that Green doesn’t even know about. Also, Green can occasionally seem very blind to threats. While Red will usually strike first and try to get rid of something before it attacks, Green usually seems content to leave something alone until it does attack. In Red’s eyes, this seems very foolish; just because something isn’t attacking NOW doesn’t mean that it won’t LATER. Even this, to Red, is only a symptom of a larger problem of Green’s — while Red is highly dynamic and constantly changing, Green will actively seek to prevent change from happening, and this causes the most strife between the two colors.