Campaign of the Month: January 2015
Skies of Glass
Roleplaying your Mana Type
Characters in a Magic: The Gathering setting are encouraged to have their Color be more than a simple character generation choice, but rather an aspect of their character that is defining to who they are. Below are a number of general truths in relation to attitudes, characteristics, dress, and more that apply to specific mana types and mana types as a whole.
A person can rarely help but dress in colors matching their Color, showing it off either in the trim of their tunic or as the primary color of their robe. Characters also tends to wear equipment that shows the primary concepts or symbols of their Color. This is especially true for spellcasters, particularly the more powerful ones. While it may give away what type of mana they focus on, not doing so runs counternature to most spellcasters. However, some mage specifically looking to trick a known Warder or Spellbreaker may well wear clothing of a different color to throw them off, though most spellcasters would consider it a last resort. For characters with a particularly strong secondary mana focus, the secondary color tends to show in their dress much like their primary color; often with a subdued presence, such as in the hem of their robe or the runes on their cloak.
While no person is locked to a particular alignment in any given color, there are definitely majority alignment orientations associated with the various colors and combinations there within. If an alignment axis isn’t noted then that color/color combination doesn’t have any particular preference one way or another. If a color is “very often/rarely” or “almost always/never” one alignment or another and your character is different, finding what made him different from the norm will be very helpful to understanding your character.
- Red: Very often Chaotic and is very rarely lawful.
- Green: Leans Neutral (Good/Evil), Chaotic is common and Evil is uncommon.
- White: Very often Lawful, very rarely Chaotic, Good is common and is very rarely Evil.
- Blue: Leans Neutral (Good/Evil) and leans Lawful.
- Black: Evil is common and is rarely Good.
- Red/Green: Almost always Chaotic, commonly Neutral (Good/Evil).
- Green/White: Almost always Good, commonly Neutral (Lawful/Chaotic).
- White/Blue: Almost always Lawful, commonly Neural (Good/Evil).
- Blue/Black: Almost always Neutral (Lawful/Chaotic), commonly Evil.
- Black/Red: Almost always Chaotic Evil.
- Red/White: Almost always Lawful Good.
- Green/Blue: Very commonly True Neutral.
- White/Black: Almost always Neutral (Lawful/Chaotic), almost never Neutral (Good/Evil).
- Blue/Red: Almost always Chaotic.
- Black/Green: Almost always Neutral (Lawful/Chaotic), leans Evil.
Individualism and the Color Pie
When pulled apart from the rest of its kin, any individual can be observed to discover similar traits to its color or guild, yet toned down to a smaller, more ‘realistic’ scale. For such an example (based upon the first color of this article), White as a group works toward peace, harmony, and unity for the world. However, for White as an ordinary individual or citizen, these goals can easily be considered “too large” for their day-to-day life. To clarify the difference, a White group would believe in order and ethics, and would enforce its belief by enacting rules, ordinances, and laws. However, a White individual would do something on a much smaller scale, like prefer that his or her family eat at the dinner table and not in front of the television, would put value in dining etiquette and proper manners. A White group can outcast a troublesome individual, but an individual has little to no power in doing such a thing on his or her own.
However, there are some guidelines and some rules for determining the identity of a character.
1. There are five flexible traits, primarily present in one color but visible in characters of all colors. These five traits are as follows:
- Emotion (Red)
- Instinct (Green)
- Organization (White)
- Intelligence (Blue)
- Self-concern (Black)
An organized character is not automatically White. A character that values organization, however, may be. For reference, Green/White has shown self-concern in the form of self-curative magic, but that does not make Green/White selfish — that would be comparable to saying that a person is selfish for brushing his or her teeth. Instinct is unavoidable in all forms of non-artificial life, as even vampires must feed to sate their natural hunger. Wizards cannot learn on an empty-stomach and even they are drawn to the opposite sex — it is as nature wills, but that does not make them Green. It is the value of these traits that defines a character to a color, not the presence of them. That said, their presence should not be taken into heavy consideration.
2. Influences must be taken into account. If the character spends a great deal of time around Black characters, he or she will likely do some things that can be considered selfish or outright Black. This does not make them Black. They may be suffering under peer pressure, they may have lost or may be losing sight of morality, he or she may not be entirely aware of what they’re doing, or they could perhaps be in the process of reconsidering his or her own views and making a shift into or toward the color. Influences also come from bloodline, race, and occupation. If the character is a Goblin in the Azorius Senate, he or she may be Blue/White, but will likely have a Red influence that will surface in his or her actions, words, responses, or thoughts. Typically when an opposing influence surfaces it serves only to dilute the character’s other colors. For example, a Black/Red character with a White influence would be a much more toned down version of a Black/Red character.
3. An individual cannot be three or more colors. While they may be able to cast more than two, a core one or two colors should always define the character – even for Archmages and Planeswalkers.