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Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Argent

I enjoyed the story a lot. Davriel was a lot of fun to read about, as was Miss Highwater. I wish I had interesting things to ask about them, but I just don't know enough MTG lore to come up with anything - which leads to my first question:

  • How can a guy learn more about the lore of MTG?

And, a related question:

  • Had I been more versed in MTG lore, would I be able to recognize specific spells or creatures in this story? Davriel's eyes changed color a few times when he was casting, I figured the color might match either the color of existing spells or what you felt his spells would've been, had they been actual cards.

Brandon Sanderson

MTG lore is pretty deep (and at times, a little confusing.) I'd suggest the Dominaria stories written by Martha Wells for sheer writing quality reasons--even though they might be a little more confusing than some others. You could also go back and read the stories set on Innistrad (this plane) during the Shadows over Innistrad story sequence.

If you'd known the lore, you'd have picked out little things here and there. But they would have been easter eggs, mostly.

General Reddit 2019 ()
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Esc777

From what I understand, Sanderson (a long-time MtG fan) wrote the novel entirely of his own volition, using only the pieces of MtG lore he deemed necessary, with entirely new characters he created, and then approached WotC and said "Hey, I wrote this, do you want to publish it?"

That sounds unbelievable. Very few people just do work like that for free. I think something about that story is exaggerated.

Brandon Sanderson

It...well, it actually did happen. Kind of like /u/StrictlyFilthyCasual said (though not quite) and it is a kind of weird thing that I did that was terrible in a business sense. I wanted to do it anyway.

Basically, for years I've thought, "If I were going to write a MTG story, what would it be?" The answer was what became Children of the Nameless. I basically had it, and the characters, plotted in my head. When Wizards came to me, they wanted to hire me to write one of their stories.

I knew, right out, they wouldn't be able to afford what it would actually cost me to write a story for them. In fact, I suspected it would be orders of magnitude different. So, I counter offered and said, "Look, I have this cool story I want to write. It's in one of your worlds. I'll do it for free, as a gift to MTG and the community, but you have to let me do my own thing."

They were on board. I realize, doing something for free for a huge corporation is...well, kind of dumb. But I didn't decide to become a writer because I have good business sense... I just wanted to do my thing, and have it be a real part of MTG lore and get to have a card designed based on my character.

Leman12345

I knew, right out, they wouldn't be able to afford what it would actually cost me to write a story for them. In fact, I suspected it would be orders of magnitude different.

Does this mean its unlikely we'll see you write full length magic novels? :( Children was so good.

Brandon Sanderson

It's unlikely, I'm afraid. There's a chance I'll do another story about Dav, but it wouldn't be longer than what I've done already--and it wouldn't be anytime soon. One difficult reality is that I have promised a lot of things to those following my cosmere novels, and anything I write that isn't on one of those projects needs to be looked at skeptically on my part, if only for the purpose of keeping my promises. So it's less a matter of money, and more a matter of time.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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EndlessKng

I know you were instructed to not be as concerned with replicating game mechanics, but were there any particular cards or concepts that inspired you as you worked?

Brandon Sanderson

Rage Thrower shows up in a quite obvious moment, and I imagine the dismissal spell that Davriel uses to be Silent Departure. (My interpretation of a blue unsummon effect, as opposed to an actual creature destroying spell.) There are a few other things, like the "summon equipment" spell he learns.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Wifrin

How did you find the experience of writing in an established universe that wasn't your own? Did the setting having a much softer magic system than you usually write present a challenge you, and what do you feel it taught that you can take back to your other writing?

Did you get any access or information about Magic lore that wouldn't have been available to fans yet?

Lastly, I feel like this story had less of your trademark "Sanderlanche" in it. Do you agree? Do you think that is a function of it being a short story, or other elements? Was it intentional, or did a more gradual set of revelations just work better for this story?

Brandon Sanderson

  1. I found the experience to be a lot of fun. The system was soft, but I created my own very hard corner of it to play in, so that worked just fine for me. Most of what this taught me was how to better collaborate--I am glad for the experience in that regard, and hope it will help me better at similar writing tasks in the future.

  2. I did!

  3. Most of my short fiction has a smaller Sanderlanche. Basically, I need lots of threads intermixing so that I can start pulling them together rapid-fire for a good Sanderlanche, and short fiction will need smaller ones in turn. Most of the stories in Arcanum Unbounded had climaxes similar to this one.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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AutonomousJoy

As somebody who has little to no knowledge about Magic: The Gathering beyond the fact that it is a card game, could somebody explain how novellas like this fit into everything?

Question for Branderson: How does writing for an already established IP feel compared to writing in your own universes? Do you feel limited?

Brandon Sanderson

It's a good kind of limitation--it helps me think with restrictions, and is good for me in making certain my own pieces remain consistent and rigid in their magical approach. So yes, it's limiting--but so far, with all three tie-ins I've done, I've been given enough freedom that it's been a good kind of limitation.

As for your first question, since nobody else is answering, Magic story these days is told via novellas like this. The creative team works closely with the game team to design the setting and story for a given set, then the creative team commissions or writes stories to post on the website for the fans who want to follow the story as they play the game. (The cards themselves evoke story nicely, but their focus isn't on the narrative, but on the mechanics of the game.)

My novella is a little odd in that I designed it working from worldbuilding materials sent to me, but without requiring it to follow a specific storyline for a set.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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drostandfound

As far as I know, the Entities are new to the Magic lore. Were they your idea? What was the process like of working with creative to develop a new type of being within a very defined lore?

Brandon Sanderson

These were something I wanted to do and create, and a pitch I brought to the lore team. They were on-board from the beginning, though they did a lot of work to help me bring my idea into line with something that would work with MTG lore.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Jovh

What challenges are there in writing for an already established IP vs something of your own creation?

Brandon Sanderson

The biggest challenge is always the push and pull between what the larger story needs vs. the little story I want to tell. For example, MTG has established rules about what the planeswalkers can do--and it's important to stay in canon for the greater good of the story. (Planeswalkers, for example, can't take people with them when they hop between worlds.) That limits me, for example, if I wanted to do Davriel on another plane--he couldn't take any supporting cast with him.

That's a rule you probably wouldn't set up if this were just stories about Davriel, as the supporting cast is what makes him shine as a character. But the structure of it is important for not breaking the larger stories the team is telling.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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MagisterSieran

How would you compare writing this novella to the Wheel of Time books you wrote? Both have treasure troves of existing lore and characters and both are fantasy media that you're a fan of.

Brandon Sanderson

It was a similar experience in some ways--I had a lot of creative freedom in both cases, for example, and I had a lot of lore to draw upon.

For the WoT, though, I was very, very steeped in the lore--and made sure I did another deep dive before writing the stories. Here, I have familiarity with a lot of MTG lore, but there's a lot I don't know. I haven't read most of the fiction, particularly the older fiction, for example.

So for WoT I felt confident taking main storylines and resolving them, while for this, I tried to create my own sort of sectioned-off part of the plane to play in. Then I created my own lore for that area that I could control more specifically--traditions and lore that were related to the well-known places on Innistrad, but not exactly the same. That way, I could play with them, and undermine them, and do what I wished with them.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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drostandfound

Are these characters yours, as in you have claims to them for future writing, or do you hope to see other authors take them and move them through the multiverse?

Brandon Sanderson

I absolutely want to see other authors do things with these characters. Part of the fun for me in doing an MTG story was the chance to do something like create a character for the Marvel universe--I wanted to add to the story, and throw some of my creativity into the mix, and hope to see them get used in the future.

I'd hope that if there's ever a main-line story involving Davriel or Tacenda that I get a chance to write it, or at least consult. But I don't consider them "mine." They were a chance for me to add to the lore of something I love.

Starsight Release Party ()
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Questioner

It's known you're a big fan of Magic the Gathering and that you like house Dimir and you wrote Davriel Cane's planeswalker. Are you ever going to work with Wizards of the Coast again? And then things about Magic. It's known you play some, where would we find information on that?

Brandon Sanderson

Will I every work with Magic again? I probably will. I usually can't leave well enough alone. But the thing is, I wrote that story (which you guys can read, it's called Children of the Nameless, it's free online), I wrote that instead of doing other stuff I was kind of supposed to be doing. It is what has put me behind like on Wax and Wayne, which I wanted to have done before the next Stormlight. So, it's not likely that I will do it anytime soon. I need to catch up on things. What I would really like to do is, sometime, kind of go in at the planning stage for a plane. Like, right at the beginning, and maybe even write a book and be like, "This is set on a plane, let's use this to build the mythology of a plane," or something like that, and kind of be in from the ground up on it. But I would probably have to move to Seattle for, like, 6 months for that. So that's far off in the future.

If you want to play Magic with me, once in a while, I play at local game stores. I go to Game Grid now and then. Mostly I like to draft or to cube draft. You can watch me cube drafting online. The latest newsletter has a link to a place, some people I went and drafted with. It has been harder and harder. Early in my career, when nobody knew who I was, it was great because the signings, I would get there at 7, and they'd get done at like 8:30. And then I'd be like, "Hey! Who wants to play Magic?" and there would usually be some people who went like, "Yeah! Let's go play Magic!" We'd go to like the hotel and sit in the lobby and play Magic and stuff. Nowadays, my signings get done at like 4am. So yeah, that just doesn't happen as much anymore. Sorry about that.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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mbue

I understand that your novella will stand very well on its own, but I'm sure there will be references to existing lore. Could you point out any existing MtG novels that would particularly increase our understanding and enjoyment of some details in yours?

Brandon Sanderson

Davriel is partially a contrast to Liliana, a main-line character who also has had dealings with demons (but has done it much differently...) and who is a necromancer (exactly of the sort Davriel would hate.) I think reading about her might make for a fun contrast. She's heavily involved in the previous Innistrad story, which you might enjoy if you liked this one. You can find it on Wizards site: https://magic.wizards.com/en/content/shadows-over-innistrad-story

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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mbue

Did Tacenda and Willia start out as a pair of twins who visited the Nightwatcher in your head? Their background sounds a lot like a boon/curse pair. :)

Brandon Sanderson

More, I was looking for a curse to be involved in the story (because I liked the flavor of the curse mechanic in Innistrad) and curses/boons tend to be connected in my brain--probably from playing too many D&D games where I got a ring of wishes, and the DM was feeling grumpy.

MisCon 2018 ()
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Questioner

Who's your favorite planeswalker?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably Elspeth. When Elspeth is dressed in armor appropriate for her personality. I have a thing about that. But I really like-- I mean, it's me. I like the questing knight searching for answers who thought she found them and then they turned-- the moral axis was upended. That was a really cool story, to me.

Questioner

Would you ever write any planeswalker stories?

Brandon Sanderson

If I were asked by Wizards of the Coast to write a story, I would probably say yes... I've told them this, as well, that if they asked me to write a story, I would probably say yes.

Questioner

So that's not Secret Project, either.

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't say that.

General Reddit 2019 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

I wasn't particularly interested in writing a [Magic: The Gathering] novel that Wizards [of the Coast] wanted me to write, but I was in a position to write something I found really exciting--supported by their creative team, who helped make sure I was getting the continuity right.

I would be interested in doing something else like this, but it would have to be years in the future. I put off some of my own projects (Wax and Wayne 4, mostly) in order to do this, so I owe my readers some time staying on task and doing what I've promised them I'd do.

But, I guess the answer is, "It could happen." Novellas like this, or even something more. Like, I could see (crazy though it would be) moving to Seattle for a year or so and being part of an early lore meeting on a new world, then working with creative closely for the development of that set and writing a novel tied in. (Assuming they'd have me.) I really like Magic's creative team, and being deeply involved in the lore of a world like that would be a lot of fun.

This would be an AWFUL business decision, of course. So it's not anything I could do in the near future.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Gruuler

So did the essence of the plane give [Tacenda] the ability to planeswalk, or did she have a spark already?

Brandon Sanderson

This was left vague on purpose, because I didn't want to put the lore team in the position of being saddled with a second planeswalker I'd created--or with the lore implications of the entities granting planeswalking ability. So yes, I intended her to become a planewalker, and the entity to be the source of that ability--but I don't consider that official canon. Only that Tacenda vanished at the end of the story, and nobody is certain exactly what happened to her.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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EndlessKng

As someone who has studied Asian cultures and history and mythology, would you consider writing a story in the Kamigawa plane? It's one of my favorites but it seems to be a bit underloved, and I'd love to see some more development of it in a story.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm a big fan of Kamigawa, and would call Toshiro Umezawa an inspiration for doing a black-aligned hero in this story. So it is something I'd consider.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Ankylosaurian

I'm not sure how familiar you are with superhero comics, but if Marvel/DC offered you a similar opportunity, are there any characters that you would want to write for?

Brandon Sanderson

Marvel did actually offer me this chance, and at the end of the day, I decided I didn't have the time at that point. I'm not closing the door entirely on doing something with them, but this project was different for several reasons.

First, I could create my own characters and situation--but know they were going to be important and relevant in the future of the narrative done by others.

Second, I could write it as a novella, to fit better into the time I had to give it.

Third, I could have it released for free, as a present to the fans.

I'm quite a big fan of what Marvel has been doing with its stories, but I didn't feel like it was the right time for me to become involved.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Aaronator17

I see a lot of people commenting and suggesting that Davriel is straight up UB (as represented in this story). Would you agree that this is the case? And if a different side of Davriel were to be represented on a card (say, his days as a conquerer) what do you think his colour alignment have been then? 

Brandon Sanderson

I think Davriel is most easily explained as UB, and the creative team agreed with that.

However, I think there's a strong argument for mono black for him. His power is a mix of a thoughtsieze and the power seen often on mono black cards (like Gonti.) Granted, it's also seen on blue cards, but it can exist in mono-black.

He does have an academic side to him, but mostly for studying demonology--a very black pursuit. His past is that of a very pragmatic economist, approached from a very black-aligned view. So mono-black makes a lot of sense for him.

He could also be seen as Esper. He believes in order, and the importance of social institutions--particularly as a means of controlling the masses.

The past version of him is very in alignment with this. He never approached his conquests in a red or green way--always in U/B/W ways.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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AvatarofSleep

Some years ago I met you at a reading at Borderlands SF and asked if you'd ever write for MTG. If I may follow up -- why the change of heart? Was this a one off thing or will we see more things in the future?

Brandon Sanderson

I can't remember what point you asked me, but it might have been when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by my work load. This hit me right when I had enough space in my schedule, and they also were willing to let me do whatever I wanted with it. So it all came together!

This is intended to be a one-off. I'm not closing the door on doing more in the future, but the stars would have to align in the right way again.

Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
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Questioner

When will we get the sequel [to Children of the Nameless]?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm putting this question on here because, dear readers, I know you very well. But let's not put the cart before the horse. I would not be opposed to doing something more with these characters in the future, if Wizards is amenable, but I've also got a lot on my plate. I suspect that if I were to do something more with Magic in the future, it wouldn't be for several years. (I have Stormlight 4 to write, after all.)

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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carnivorouspickle

If you hadn't had the opportunity to write for MtG, would any of these characters have made it in one form or another into one of your other books, or would they only fit in this setting? If they would have made it into a different story, which one?

Brandon Sanderson

I've wanted to do this story for a number of years, and it was inspired by me asking myself (after my first visit to WoTC a number of years back) what I would do if I were to write a story for them.

I didn't seriously consider doing this in another setting, since the concept of demons and contracts isn't really a Cosmere one--and the first ideas were for Davriel and Miss Highwater. That said, spren bonds have some slight similarities, so it's not impossible.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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cantoXV1

Did you struggle with the limits of the Magic world and magic system since you're so used to creating your own?

Brandon Sanderson

I worried about this a lot when going into the Wheel of Time--but I found that I really like taking an established magic system and pushing it this direction or that direction. It's a lot of fun to me to dig into how something works, and see if I can "break" it in interesting ways.

I suspected I'd have a similar experience with MTG, and I did--though I did need something I could play with to be unique. I settled on the kind of "Gonti/Nightveil Specter" ability to steal spells from someone else, then use them yourself. This was a really fun space for me to play with, and I found it thoroughly engaging.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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drostandfound

It is mentioned that the Entity is the compressed power of a destroyed plane. How does this happen? Why is it sentient? Why is one in a puddle on Innistrad? Are they related to the planar souls from M15?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of this will have to be revealed at a later date, but what I can say is that yes, M15 was the inspiration--and the creation of these entities happened through some very special circumstances.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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huriel19

Maybe it's something that you cannot answer or confirm, but do you consider that the Raven man or the Chain veil are some kind of Entity?

Brandon Sanderson

I came up with the Entities on my own, but I was aware of some of the similarities between this story and Liliana's story when writing it. I toyed with using some more direct connections, then decided to back out of them for various reasons.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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KaladinarLighteyes

Are you able to comment on when [Children of the Namesless] takes place on Innistrad?

Brandon Sanderson

It is about a year or so after Eldritch Moon, though I section off my own little part of Innistrad that is off in the woods, without a lot of influence from places like Thraben. Though the story does touch on the social ramifications of some of the events in recent sets, it's mostly concerned with its own lore and history.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Gadmond

Since you knew you were writing for Magic the Gathering, did you ever think about what kind of abilities a hypothetical Davriel planeswalker card (Spoilers: or Tacenda planeswalker card) would have?

Brandon Sanderson

Davriel would, I hope, have the ability to exile a card from a player's hand, then at some point in the future play that card using black mana.

Tacenda would be tougher. Emotional manipulation is hard to capture in MTG, other than as threaten effects. But I'd want something that could mimic this.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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DataLoreHD

Aside of the mind probe stealing spell, did Davriel have any other spells of his own? If not, why didn't he try to learn something which comes in handy in battle (e.g. Doom Blade)?

Brandon Sanderson

Remember, he loses what he grabs over time. Generally, he can keep a few stolen spells in the back of his mind--but even they weaken. So he can't really learn Doom Blade. He has to work with what he finds in the brains of nearby people.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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tharmsthegreat

Davriel is UB just like Brandon's favorite colors.

Tacenda is probs WG before the entity but I guess we could see her Abzan.

I hope both of the demons get cards too.

Brandon Sanderson

As for color identities here, I'd mostly agree with you. I see Davriel as mostly black, but with a blue element to him. I could see him printed under mono black, UB, or even--under just the right circumstances--esper. (He believes in the structure of laws and society, though admittedly mostly as a thing for "other people.")

Tacenda has a strong red streak to her--in fact, my initial concept for her was a mono-red character, but one who expressed the red aspect through music, song, and passion. The entity inside of her is green, however, and the white/green nature of her society has had a big influence on her beliefs in fate, the needs of the many, and that sort of thing. So I'd make her RWG.

sskeeto620

I was considering the same colors for both of them as well. Definitely black and blue for Davriel. I was personally leaning towards Esper, however. Like you said, he does believe in structure of law and society. Also, his ability to summon weapons seems like a white effect to me.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, he stole the weapon-summoning spell. I was told I could have Davriel steal and use spells of any color, so long as it was painful for him, and it was clear he was using them as part of a theft mechanic--meaning he only had access to them for a limited time.

BreezyIsBeafy

I personally thought he was grixis. I know I am wrong but, he is a demonologist, and I know demons are mostly black, but secondarily red. As well, most devils are also red. As for stealing powers is also very dimir, so I understand that. I would like to know what is the white mana coming from?

Brandon Sanderson

He doesn't use white mana--he can use black mana to cast white spells, if they are stolen. However, there's not a lot of red in Davriel, despite his fondness for devils. He's not emotional, or artistic, and is more about planning and forethought than intuition.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Mithre

If the characters were cards, what abilities would you like them to have?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd like Davriel to steal cards out of people's hands and then play them. I don't know about Tacenda, though. I've been drawing a blank so far.

Aaronator17

What of Davriel had a unique mechanic that read something like; When an opponent casts an instant or sorcery spell, -X loyalty where X is the spell's CMC and exile it with a theft counter (activate any time you could cast an instant), and another that was +2 and return a card exiled with a theft counter to its owner's [hand/graveyard], you may cast a copy of that spell using any coloured mana?

Brandon Sanderson

That would be cool, and I would like to see planeswalker cards with odd mechanics. But I think it would be a lot of complicated wording to do something that would, in essence, be very similar to:

Minus loyalty: Look at target player's hand an exile a non-land card from it.

Zero Loyalty: You may play cards exiled with Davriel, and may use black mana as mana of any color to cast those cards.

Mithre

Maybe Tacenda would have a tap target creatures effect?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a pretty good idea.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Shpjokk

Are there any easter eggs that you either got to add or wished to add to the story that reference something Magic-related that's close to you?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm. I toyed with writing in cameos for some people I know, but decided against it, as I know Wizards isn't fond of that sort of thing in their card art, and figured it would be a bad idea in fiction.

Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Introduction: The Longer Version

Back in January this year, Wizards of the Coast approached me. Knowing of my love for their game, Magic: The Gathering, they were wondering if I would be willing to write a tie-in story for them. They mentioned since it was the 25th birthday of Magic, they wanted to do something special—and might be able to splurge on a Brandon Sanderson story.

I was, of course, interested—but went back to Wizards with a proposal that I think surprised them. You see, I knew they'd been doing some very interesting things with their stories in recent months. (The multi-part Dominaria sequence by Martha Wells is a good example, if you are interested.) I liked how they were using free stories on their website to both enhance the lore and give some work to talented writers.

Way back in the beginning of my career, one of the things I liked to do was periodically release free stories. Defending Elysium, Firstborn, and even Warbreaker are examples. Over the years, though, I've gotten busy enough that I haven't found a good opportunity to do this again. I liked the idea of doing a story for Wizards in part for this reason.

So I went back to them with a proposal: I didn't actually want payment for this story. I just wanted them to put it up for free on their website, and then if (later down the road) it generated any money by being in a collection or in print on its own, I wanted my portion of that donated to charity. In exchange for doing it for free, I wanted to be allowed to write the story my way. That meant me picking one of their settings, then developing my own characters and plot to happen there. (As opposed to writing the story for one of their official releases, as most of the other writers they hired were doing.)

It wasn't that I had anything against writing one of the main-line-setting stories. I just felt that in this case, I wanted greater flexibility. Beyond that, for several years now, I've had a story brewing in my head that I felt was a perfect match for one of their settings—a story I couldn't make work in the Cosmere, but which I really wanted to write.

Wizards was on board immediately—and so, "Secret Project" was born.

Regarding the Story

Wizards has a lot of great settings for the card game, so I had plenty of options. The story I'd been brewing was specifically inspired by their Innistrad set—a gothic horror setting with some magepunk elements underpinning it. It has had a very interesting evolution over the years, and was the setting for one of the best Magic sets of all time. Ever since writing Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, I've wanted to do another horror/fantasy hybrid, and so I dove into what became Children of the Nameless.

I don't know exactly what Wizards was expecting of me, but I suspect a 250-page behemoth of a story wasn't it. (At 50k words, the story is roughly half the size of something like Skyward.) I have to say, though, working with them was an absolute pleasure. They jumped on board with the main character pitch I made, integrating him right away into the larger Magic story. They even went so far as to loop me in on conference calls, where I could explain my character concepts so they could develop art. I'd thought they might be worried about letting me go off on my own like this, but they were instead enthusiastic and supportive.

So, it is with great pleasure I present Children of the Nameless. Consider it a Christmas present from me and from Wizards of the Coast to you. I hope you enjoy it!

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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pluto7443

Just a quick question, what colors would you think Davriel would be?

Brandon Sanderson

I think his first incarnation is likely to be mono-black--because I pitched him as a mono-black hero to the team.

lacker

Here’s what I was imagining while reading:

1UB, 3 starting loyalty

+1: Exile the top two cards of your opponent’s library

-1: You can play one card exiled with Davriel until end of turn, using mana of any color to cast it

-6: Exile your opponent’s hand

Brandon Sanderson

That's a great rendition of him. Nice work! The only problem with it that I can think of is that it feels a little like Ashiok, mechanically.

I would enjoy a Davriel who could thoughtsieze and cast those spells, as I think it aligns better--but this feels like a really dangerous ability to make repeatable on a cheap walker, but a weak ability on an expensive walker after hands are empty.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Nallebjurn

Is it a possibility that we in the future get to see the characters from Children of the Nameless represented on magic cards?

Brandon Sanderson

It is a possibility, but as the other responder mentioned, I don't have any control over this--I think it's likely, but I certainly couldn't say when. I think the fact that Dack got a card--after being created by the comic book team--bodes well for Davriel, at the very least.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

When are you going to tell us about your Secret Project?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, I have an NDA that I have signed, which says I will not tell people what it is. So, because of that, I'm staying just far away from it. I have said before, I'm letting them announce it when they want to announce it. It will be announced probably, and released, before the end of the year, is my expectation. I can't say anything else. Even if you guessed right what it was, I would have to say, "I don't know." Or "That sounds like it would be fun." But I will have to imply that I don't have any idea what you're talking about, even if you guess right.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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chaoticdust75

I have a couple questions about when Tacenda sang and played her song for the demons while Davriel Slept.

From the description it seemed like she was evoking her own story of loss and in so doing the demons saw visions. Miss Highwater was flying while Crunchgnar seemed to be seeing the fires of his home go out.

What was the magical song doing to the characters?

Brandon Sanderson

Part of Tacenda's power is to use music to enhance people's experiences, memories, and emotions. This song was exploring that power--and looking specifically at things they had lost.

chaoticdust75

Why did Miss Highwater see herself flying? Did she used to be able to or envy angels?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm afraid I'll RAFO this for now. But you are asking the right sorts of questions.

chaoticdust75

What did Davriel see?

Brandon Sanderson

Another RAFO. He was very disturbed by it, though.

chaoticdust75

I'm also just curious about the soul of the Nameless Angel. Do you have an in universe explanation for why Tacenda could see it yet no one else could? Or is it just a powerful moment that had something to do with the Bog being afraid of faith?

Brandon Sanderson

You're theorizing along the right lines, but I wanted to leave this one ambiguous. Suffice it to say that odd things were happening.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Gadmond

Were the Whisperers inspired by the card Permeating Mass? Their green color and the way they turn everyone they touch into more of themselves seems too similar to be coincidental.

Brandon Sanderson

The Whisperers were actually more inspired by the card Strangleroot Geist. (Though I can't discount the fact that other cards, like Permeating Mass, might have been unconscious influences.)

I knew going into the story that I want green-aligned villains, and so was trying to ask myself what would inspire a group of green geists--and what would motivate them. We've seen green villains in MTG before (the Kami and the Phyrexians both did a good job of this.) I wanted to see if I could approach the color from another direction, and was trying to think of what green would want. It seemed to me that completion, the pieces being gathered to the whole, could be very green--as could the idea of survival of the fittest. (In the form of the Entity putting itself into two souls, and figuring the stronger of the two would eventually consume the other and become its host.)