Friday, April 04, 2014

D is for Dominaria and/or Dominia

Other options were Dinotopia, Dreamlands, and in particular the Dying Earth. I AM a later-day fan of Jack Vance's work, and like the RPG that came out of it, but that likely deserves its own write-up.

Instead, I'm going with a short bit on Dominaria, the setting for Magic: The Gathering, which is slightly different than Dominia, which is the setting for Magic: The Gathering. Confusing? Only a bit. Dominia is the name for the MTG's multiple planes of existence, and entire multiverse of worlds. Dominaria is the name of a single plane, still huge, which acts as the hub for its stories and background. Other planes include Mirrodin, Kamigawa, and Ravinca. Comic-book fans, think of Dominaria as Earth-1, where most of the DC universe is set, and the other planes as Elseworld comics and you have a bit of a handle on this. Non-comic book fans, don't think of it as Earth-1; it will just make your head hurt.

I'll make a brand new start of it - Dominaria, Dominia!
The Dominaria/Dominia split in part reflects both the desire for a coherent universe (united by the MTG Gameplay mechanism) and the desire for individualism in the various sets (no one has to follow the previous set's background material). If you come up with a setting that does not seem to fit the base world (the Asian-themed Kamigawa or the urbanish Ravinca), then it gets sharded off into another universe. Everything is Dominia, but not everything is Dominaria.

The end result does a good job within each block of new cards, allowing the game to be presented anew without anyone having to know a lot of back story. By the same token, it creates a lot of temporary worlds, where they are visited, then discarded (until the cycle returns for a new version should the original prove popular enough). It is an interesting approach to a universe, from a corporate standpoint, in that it tries to balance the older lore and the newer concepts and does so without getting too much in the way of the creation of the card sets.

More later,