It is Sunday which means there's no reveals today (or tomorrow), and it's the perfect time for a new Fan Community Spotlight. This week we have CivilKobold in the spotlight who last appeared on the series all the way back in FCS #9. For reference, this is FCS #138. Quite a long way, wouldn't you say. While we're waiting for new cards to be revealed for Festival of Legends, here's a spotlight to help pass the time between the reveals.
This week, we're taking a look at Pilgrimage Through The Cosmos, which is a set that is quick to catch the attention of your eyes due to the fact that all of the art in the set is entirely hand drawn by the creator of the set. As such, the set has a very unique style to it.
The new keyword for the set is Curiosity, which is a one-time effect that triggers after you add a card to your hand that didn't start in your deck. If you love to generate cards out of thin air, then this is exactly the mechanic for you.
But now is the time to put CivilKobold in the hot seat to talk about exactly what the set is.
What exactly is this set about? What is the inspiration for the set theme?
CivilKobold: "Pilgrimage through the Cosmos takes place aboard the Vindicaar during the Draenei's return voyage to Argus, their home planet of ancient ancestry. From a WoW stand point the set takes place some time around Legion, though influence for certain characters are taken throughout the journey as a whole. Velen the Wise has tasked the Legendary Elise Starseeker with mapping out safe passage through the enigmatic Cosmos. However, the Cosmos aren't as empty as they first appear to be... Legions of devilish demons, dangerous astral fauna, and even an entirely new kingdom of Elementals await any travelers who dare tread within the Cosmos.
As for inspiration, who hasn't wanted to create a set in space? Pilgrimage is the latest in a looooong line of sets I've tried designing based around the Draenei's journey through the Cosmos. Originally it was Tales of the Cosmos and was from the perspective of Velen's recollection of the Draenei's escape from Argus back during Sargeras' first arrival there. That set took a more esoteric take on Hearthstone in space, with a focus on memories and a distinct lack of non-Eredar. Although I think the story was interesting, it lacked that Hearthstone charm with very little space to put in unique characters and practically no space to put in much more than Eredar. Pilgrimage being focused on the return journey to Argus allowed for me to get more wild with it and include a wider swath of friends (and enemies) of the Draenei. As for Lyra and the new Astral Kingdom she forms, even back in Un'goro I wanted to know more about her, so I made more about her; she wants to build something new, glorious, and hers. The Cosmos gives her the space (and time) to do so. I made a small document for Supplementary Lore that is attached to the set itself, worldbuilding and designing character motivations is some of my favorite work in creative writing so I urge anyone curious to check it out!"
What is the inspiration for the Curiosity mechanic and how you use it?
CivilKobold: "Mechanically, Curiosity was inspired by two other keywords, Spellburst and Discover. It obviously encourages players to utilize Discover and add to hand effects, but also interacts with shuffling cards into your deck and then later drawing them. Star Surveyor Elise acts as the mechanic's flagship Legendary being so curious she can activate hers endlessly! Another neat use of the keyword is Dilapidated Watcher which encourages you to be very picky with your Discovery choice and aim for the stars. Xe'ra the Light Mother pops in alongside Wistful Pilgrim as some less obvious Curiosity support (and hopefully a balanced yet interesting Start of Game effect).
As for from a flavor perspective, I wanted to design a keyword that exemplified the discovery and, well, Curiosity side of space exploration. Originally the set keyword was focused on repeating spell effects to reference the old "memory" theme but as it drifted away from the mind to being more about the Cosmos themselves, I wanted to switch over to the more sciencey themed keyword."
Instantly noticeable is the choice of art direction. What was this inspired by?
CivilKobold: "I've done a few sets before and consistently my least favorite part would be scraping the internet and Hearthstone tokens for art. Mainly because of the story concessions I would inevitably have to make from grabbing premade pic. If I want a card to tell a very specific story its art needs to convey that. So I thought, "Hey why don't I just draw all 145 cards!" and with that I committed to spending 50 hours drawing sketches over a month. Although it was an absurd amount of work, the freedom it gave me for story telling was incalculable. Dedicated Starcharter is a grizzled Diligent Notetaker, Marv the Silver Hand Recruit is shaking hands with a flustered alien ooze in First Contact, Repentant Sentinel showcases an Observer that has been assimilated by the light. Even with my very novice art I was able to implement characters that wouldn't have been able to exist without major concessions.
Would I do it again? No, but I don't regret it one bit, the process taught me a ton and the end result is something I've very proud of and urge everyone to try dipping their toes in, especially if just for a card or two."
What part of the set was the most fun to design?
CivilKobold: "Paladin was definitely my favorite class to design, I focused more on small scale synergies and packages instead of blaringly obvious 4/5 card packages. Aurora Observatum works very well with both Gloryshield Vigilant and High Exarch Turalyon, without being necessary to enable either one. Commander Lothraxion and the previously mentioned Repentant Sentinel can be comboed with Traitorous Wakener to make a cute Demon Control Paladin package. Just a nice, clean, set of cards which I enjoy. Outside of enjoying their design, drawing Paladin was pretty fun.
In general I had the most fun designing cards with little stories. In Lightforged Medbay, Runi, Xyrella's daughter from the Year of the Gryphon, is all grown up and healing folks with her innate healing powers aboard the Vindicaar. Adrift showcasing an Azerothnaut floating away endlessly into nothingness. Blessed Propulsion showing what happens when a Goblin inventor gets hold of Draenei space crystals."
Are there any other cards you wish to showcase for any reason?
CivilKobold: "The set was actually nearly finished right before Death Knight was revealed, I designed their set in a rather short amount of time but am really happy with how it turned out. The Pillars are unique locations that only have 1 Durability but instead of activating like normal they do so at the end of turn with an additional cost, the low Durability essentially giving them the ability to be turned off if they're too expensive. Their capstone Legendary Reoriginator Cassios is also just plain cool.
Another Death Knight card that I thought was pretty neat was Runic Strike, a simple spell that adapts and grows in power depending on the variety of Runes you included while building your deck. It's a 3 Mana Spell that just deals 3 damage at a base... But if your deck has a Blood rune the damage has Lifesteal, if with a Frost rune it Freezes, and if with an Unholy rune it gets you a 2/2. Each of which stacking with the last! Doing the art for it also took forever, so it's burnt into my memory.
A cycle I'm very happy with, not only because I find it mechanically interesting but also because I find the story it tells even more so, is that of the Elementally assimilated Demons. The reveal of dual typed minions actually inspired their implementation, as before then Lyra's story of assimilating denizens of the stars was not very apparent mechanically (outside of her ability). There is one for each spell school, but Smolderimp, Startouched Mo'arg, and Inky Nathrezim are a few I really want to show off. Lyra sees the burning legion as a blemish on her great Cosmos so her immediate reaction is to melt them down into something more productive."
Do you have anything behind the scenes that you wish to share?
CivilKobold: "I used Krita to draw all the pictures, tried limiting myself to 20 minutes for each non-Legendary and stuck to it for the most part. Legendaries were given a bit more leeway. Warrior was the first class which I made art for with the Neutral Legendaries being the last cards to get art. Specifically Rakeesh the Breaker being the first and Lyra, Light of Renewal being the last.
This was a fairly high effort project, so I want to thank everyone who checked it out! And of course thank you for the spotlight. :)"
Do you have anything else you wish to share?
CivilKobold: "Thelbus Wimblenod
"This place is full of magic and mystery""
Our space flight has reached its destination - the end of this article. But you can still check out the entire project by clicking the banner below. Let us know what you think of the set in the comments, and I'll see you all in the next installment.