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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.)

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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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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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.

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.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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trimeta

Is Children of the Nameless accessible to readers who know absolutely nothing about the Magic: the Gathering world(s) and mythos? Are there any core concepts we should be familiar with before reading?

Brandon Sanderson

My goal was to treat this story so you could pick it up never having read anything about (or ever played) Magic. Judging by my writing group's reactions (few of them are familiar with it) this worked.

That said, I jump right into the story, rather than doing a big lore catch-up session, so there might be aspects that are a little confusing here and there.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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cantoXV1

Brandon, how was character creation different for Children of the Nameless compared to the rest of your other works?

Brandon Sanderson

Character creation wasn't that different--I start usually with a conflict or a theme. For Davriel, it was "Economist gets magical powers" mixed with "Person who uses contracts with demons not for crazy power, but to get good staff members."

For Tacenda, I was looking at her curse and the way she uses music. (Mixed with the conflict of being able to hear your entire village get killed--but not being able to stop it.)

From there, I did apply some MTG philosophy to the refinement of the characters.

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.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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DataLoreHD

I'm confused of the book title. Isn't "Children of the Bog" more accurate?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends. Some of the characters were children of the angel, some were children of the bog (which also has no name), and some might be considered children of something else which has no name. Notably, Davriel doesn't speak of his actual name in the story, but only the various aliases he has made up.

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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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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wiresegal

Tacenda seemed to Planeswalk at the end. Did she, or did she just "ascend" within Innistrad? Was she an unsparked planeswalker before she accepted the Entity? If she wasn't, did the Entity give her a Spark, similar to how Slobad was grafted one? And if that's not it, the third possibility... is the Entity native to the Blind Eternities, like the Eldrazi?

Brandon Sanderson

I will give you both the canon and Brandon head canon.

Canon is: ambiguous on all counts. It's not confirmed that Tacenda planeswalked at the end, or whether she (or Davriel) had sparks of their own--or if their planewalking powers are granted by the Entities. I can say, in canon, that the Entities are not native to the Blind Eternities--they are the souls of ancient, powerful planes that were destroyed, and their power harvested.

The Soul of planes sequence from m15 were their inspiration, though something special happened with these specific planes. I can't confirm or deny how many of them there were, but at least two.

Now, the Brandon Head Canon. (See my post at the top of this thread for an explanation.)

In my discussions with Wizards, they gave me leave to create one planeswalker--but in the course of the story, I decided to have Tacenda spark as well. This wasn't done with canon permission from Wizards, and I promised them that I'd leave it ambiguous in case they didn't want to have to deal with me playing loose and free with creating planeswalkers.

I personally imagine that the entities are providing the sparks for both Davriel and Tacenda. Davriel THINKS it's his own spark, and it ignited when he saw the true nature of the multiverse--and this is, right now, the canon answer. But I personally like the idea that one of the reasons these Entities are important is because they provide planeswalking ability to whoever holds them.

That has too much lore implication for me to canonize, however--and I didn't push Wizards to do so. (I also didn't ask them to make Tacenda a planeswalker; I simply wrote the story, and left them the option of using her in the future.) So take this part all with a grain of salt.

Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

I have the last quarter of this year earmarked to write the final Mistborn (Wax and Wayne) novel, which leaves me around six or seven months to play with, and I'm hoping to finish another book in the Skyward series. However, before I dive into that, there's a certain novella I need to write. We're listing that as "Secret Project" and it's not anything you're probably guessing. I'll reveal it when the time is right, but for now, it's not cosmere, and is not something I've talked about before.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Aurimus_

As a worldbuilder, I love digging into worlds I wouldn't experience otherwise - DnD setting guides, wikis and the like. From the chapter released on io9 already, and what I've seen on various reddits discussing your novella, it feels like MtG has a massive world behind it too (someone described MtG as very similar to the Cosmere?)

First off, will your novella be suitable for someone like me who has never actually dug into the MtG lore before? And secondly, where would you say a Cosmere fan should begin digging into the lore here? What are your favorite worldbuilding elements? Have any inspired elements in your stories? (Cosmere or otherwise)

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this novella will be suitable for someone who knows nothing about the lore. I wrote it expecting most wouldn't know anything about it.

If you want to dig into MTG lore, the various MTG wikis talk a lot about the world and lore--but you could do worse than just reading the other stories on Wizard's website, as a lot of them are well done.

My favorite MTG worldbuilding elements tend to be their visual worldbuilding--they have a lot of artists, and much of what they come up with is beautiful. It's a lot of fun to just go to Gatherer (the website with all the archive of cards) and pick a Set (like Innistrad) and read the flavor text at the bottom of the cards. (They are quotes or things in-world. Not every card has them, but much do.) That, with the art style, can tell you an entire story on its own.

I've been playing MTG since I was in high school, so I'd say my writing was probably influenced by it a lot--but I don't know if I can name any specifics.

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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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.

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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marquisdc

Did you go into creating Davriel with the color pie in mind? What colors would you say he is?

Brandon Sanderson

I went into the story knowing I wanted to write a black-alinged hero. Someone who showed off the pragmatic side of black, and someone whose ambition was different from traditional black-aligned ambition.

I'd say that Davriel is black primary, with a strong secondary blue aspect. There is a slight white tertiary side to him, mostly in his belief in organized systems and society that makes sense. (Though he prefers these boundaries for others more than for himself.)

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

My Year

January-March: Skyward and Legion Revisions

I kicked off the year quickly doing a second draft of Skyward. Pulling The Apocalypse Guard from the publisher, then promising them Skyward to publish in the fall of 2018, meant that I had to scramble. It wouldn't do to pull a book I judged to be of inferior quality, only to replace it with a book that I didn't have time to revise up to my standards. So you'll see a number of months dedicated to Skyward. (Which, if you somehow missed it, did come out—and is still sitting quite happily on the New York Times bestseller list many weeks later, so thank you all very much!)

Another thing I'd been putting off for months was the necessary revisions of the third Legion story. Tor was quite patient with me on this one, considering the Legion collection was scheduled for publication in the fall as well. But during these three months, I did multiple revisions of both books, eventually getting Legion into a polished state. (There was one more draft of Skyward still to do.) Legion Three, Lies of the Beholder, can be found in the Legion collection that was published earlier this year.

Finally, somewhere in here, I squeezed in an outline and world guide for Death Without Pizza. (Yes, that's a name change—no it's not the final name, but just a placeholder.) More on that later.

April: Children of the Nameless

Sometime around March of last year, Wizards of the Coast sent me an exploratory email. It being the 25th anniversary of their card game, they were wondering if I'd be interested in doing a story with them. As most of you know, I'm quite the fan of Magic: The Gathering. It's my primary hobby, and I have way too many cards. (Which still aren't enough, of course.) I was enthusiastic, and you can read more about the process I used to approach the story in this blog post.

I knew that by doing so, and by writing the story as long as it ended up, it would make getting to some of my other projects later in the year more difficult. (Namely, the fourth Wax and Wayne book, which I'll talk about shortly.) But this was kind of something I had to do, so I ask your forgiveness in taking this detour to Innistrad. I'm exceptionally pleased with the story and the response it has gotten, so if you haven't read it, I present it to you here! Reading it requires no prior knowledge of the card came or the lore surrounding it.

May: Skyward Final Draft

How long it takes to write a story depends on a lot of factors, but in general, three months gets me around 100k words. Shorter stories, with fewer viewpoints, tend to be faster—while longer stories with more intricate plotlines (like Stormlight) tend to take longer. But that's just for the rough draft. Generally, doing all the other drafts takes an equivalent amount of time to the first draft. (So, if the first draft takes three months, the second through fourth drafts will together take another three months.) You can see this at play in Skyward, which took about three months to write in the end of 2017, then took three additional months of revision to polish up.

I did sneak in a little time to do an outline for a piece called The Original in here as well, which took about a week. I'll update you on that in the secondary projects section.

June–August: Starsight First Draft

And, speaking of three month first drafts, here we get me buckling down and doing the sequel to Skyward. It's finished in its first draft form, and dominated my summer. In here, I also did detailed outlines for the third and fourth books of the series. (And this is where I determined for certain that the series would need to be four books instead of three.)

September–October: Odds and Ends

In these months I had some travel to record episodes of Writing Excuses, I did a quick second draft of Starsight to send to my publisher, and I did some revisions to Children of the Nameless. I also did more work on The Original, Death Without Pizza, and Alcatraz Six (AKA Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians, or Alcatraz vs. His Own Dumb Self). Finally, I slipped in some brainstorming with Dan Wells on how to fix The Apocalypse Guard.

Basically, I knew that November would be mostly lost to touring, and I was scrambling to get some work done on small projects to clear my plate for 2019, which will be dedicated to working on Stormlight Four.

November: Skyward Tour

I spent most of November on tour for Skyward, and quickly finishing up final revisions on Children of the Nameless. I got to see a lot of you while touring for the book, and had a blast—but these tours get more and more difficult as the lines get longer and longer. The tour for Stormlight Four in 2020 might require me to do some things I've been dreading, such as limit the lines to a certain number of tickets. It makes me sad to contemplate, but I'll keep you all in the loop about what we decide to do.

December: Death Without Pizza

I needed a break from all the other things I've been doing, so in classic Brandon style, I worked on something fresh and new to give myself a breather. This was where I was going to do Wax and Wayne Four, but doing Children of the Nameless meant that instead of three months extra space at the end of the year, I only had one month. (As CotN had taken one month to write, and one month to revise.) I had the choice of pushing back the start of Stormlight Four, or doing something else for this month and trying to sneak in W&W 4 sometime next year. I chose the latter. It's important to me that I let myself do side projects to refresh myself—but I also think it's important to keep to my Stormlight schedule. It would be too easy to keep putting off the big books until they stretch to years in the making. I told myself I was going to divide my time in half between Stormlight and other projects.

The truth is, I'm getting really anxious about getting back to Stormlight. That's a very good sign, as once I finish a Stormlight book, I'm usually feeling quite burned out on the setting, and need a number of months to recover.

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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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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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.

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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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.

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.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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Scrimshaw13

Any word on whether [Children of the Nameless will] be coming out in physical form? Just curious. I know for a while the M:TG books were eBook exclusive and the story has been website-exclusive but they're also gearing up to start publishing physical books again next year so...haha.

Brandon Sanderson

There's a pretty good chance of this, but it will be a while. Maybe late next year?

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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KaladinarLighteyes

Is there a specific plane that [Davriel] is from?

You mentioned in the article on your site that Wizards integrates him into the larger story, does that mean there’s a chance that he will show up again and things that happened here are related into the future Magic story?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, though I've been asked not to confirm this for right now. He is from a known place in the multiverse.

Yes, he should show up again in the future, before I have a chance to write another story. So keep an eye out for him.

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.

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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Rutherfox

Did you consider other planes for the story, or was Innistrad your go-to?

Brandon Sanderson

Since this story had been brewing for years as inspired by Innistrad, I didn't really consider others. I'd say that if I hadn't done Innistrad, I might have done an old-school story about one of the legends from Legends (which is the first MTG expansion I ever bought) that doesn't yet have a story.

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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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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huriel19

It's clear that Davriel is a Dimir aligned character but I find Tacenda a little bit harder to read (my closest assumption it's Boros). If she would be printed in a future which color combinations would she have?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd make Tacenda G-W-R. Green for her belief in fate, and for the power of the Entity. Red for her passion and music. White for her belief in, and protection of, her community.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Jay13x

Are Vex and Cabralin meant to be the names of planes?

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't get specific permission to name any planes--so while I intend them to be planes, for actual MTG canon I believe they have to be taken as regions inside of planes (that haven't been named yet.) You'll be safer assuming that unless Wizards decides otherwise. I don't think we should go around adding them to lists of planes on MTG wikis, for example.