A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett – Well, this is a bit of a buggerance. A Thank You Letter by Christopher Cooper

A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett – Well, this is a bit of a buggerance. A Thank You Letter by Christopher Cooper

This article replaces the article I had planned to write for this week, which was a Dragons of Tarkir set review for the Eternal formats. However, this has now been postponed for the time being in light of the events of last Thursday. I wanted to bring you a tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett. As always I would encourage you to sign up to the Eternal Weekend here and check out the Announcement article for some updates on the venue and prize structure with new prizes to be announced over the coming weeks and months.

Finally, I would urge you to donate to this justgiving.com page in aid of the Orangutan Foundation set up as part of Sir Terry’s legacy.

Ook.

On the 12th March 2015 I came out of work and turned on my phone. I opened up Facebook and, as a low battery warning flashed up on the screen, I glimpsed the following post:

‘DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING’, said Death. ‘JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.’ RIP Terry Pratchett :o(

Then the screen went white.

At first it didn’t register. I wondered why my friend had written that particular quote. Did I misread something or miss something out. Then I realised that the name after it wasn’t just an attribution to the great man.

A large, hot tear welled up in the corner of my eye.

In the middle of the street a wave of emotion hit me, the sudden anger that he’d gone, the selfish disappointment that there would be no more witticisms and delightful turns of phrase that he’d become synonymous with. The heavy weight of grief and the lightheadedness of disbelief.

I walked home in a daze, where I picked up my daughter, sat her on my lap and started to read “Dragons at Crumbling Castle”. I enjoyed spending time with the story, delighting in Terry’s turn of phrase and at my daughter’s pleasure in the story. Since then, every night we have read “Where’s My Cow?”. It is now mostly her reading it as she knows all the words. I do the noises. My “Hruuugh!” needs a little work, but it’s getting there.

It feels right to be reading his books, to keep his legacy going even so soon after his death and sharing his works with the next generation.

After all, he did so much for my generation. He did so much for me.

Terry Pratchett was the reason that I started writing. The way he infused his stories with his inimitable wit was infectious, his metaphors ridiculously sublime. It was after hearing him speak at the Bath Literature Festival many moons ago in (if I remember correctly) May of 2008 that I was first inspired to write. Hearing him speak at the festival turned writers from being these great divine, faceless beings into approachable humans, who used to write D&D scenarios for local kids, who got the inspiration for a character from a suitcase on wheels. Whose advice to young, aspiring writers was “WRITE!”

And so I did. I wrote about what I love. For the last five years I have written almost exclusively about Magic: the Gathering in a rather dry, analytical, factual way. I have tried to inject humour. Some of it has been recognised as such. None of it has been anywhere near as successful as Terry’s, who could probably write better jokes with his penis than I can with a pen*.

reaper-king

So I thought about how best to pay tribute to such a great man, and with my style as it is, I thought it best to create one of my silly, flavour filled Commander decks drawing on the Discworld for inspiration.

‘DEATH- [card]Reaper King[/card]. “OUT OF ALL OF THE CARDS IN MAGIC: THE GATHERING THIS IS THE ONE THAT CLOSEST RESMBLES ME. IT HINTS AT THE BOOK REAPER KING THAT I STARRED IN AND DEMONSTRATES THAT I AM A PART OF EVRYTHING AND YET TRANSCEND ALL THINGS. I AM THE REAPER KING. FEAR ME AND MY SCYTHE, FOR IT IS [card]UNSCYTHE, KILLER OF KINGS[/card].”

Ahem, that’s probably enough. Having Death as the Commander for this deck seems both appropriate** and opens up access to all five colours. Where Death goes, trouble often follows, or Death of Rats as he’s more commonly known. [card]Typhoid Rats[/card] is a good fit for this little ball of mischief. As for his companion, well, I’ve been wanting to find a deck that could cope with the power of [card]Storm Crow[/card] for a long time and Quoth the Raven is a character that can withstand this level of notoriety. And we shouldn’t forget Mort, the [card]Apprentice Necromancer[/card] or his daughter, Susan Sto Helit, the [card]Avatar of Woe[/card].

When we’re talking about the Discworld we can’t forget to include the one character that is ever present throughout the novels, without whom there would be no Discworld. The Great A’tuin meanders lazily through space and time a bit like a [card]Meandering Towershell[/card].

If we zoom into the Disc, rather like a cheap special effects company, we see the sprawling Sto [card]Plains[/card], the [card]Snow-Covered Mountain[/card]s of Cori Celesti, the [card]Exotic Orchard[/card]s of Ephebe, the vast [card]Desert[/card] of the Great Nef and the great sprawling city that is the [card]Ankh of Mishra[/card], I mean, Ankh Morpork and the [card]Bad River[/card] Ankh flowing through it.

As we get closer to Ankh Morpork we can see the Tower of Art, the [card]Reliquary Tower[/card] that forms a part of the [card]Wizards’ School[/card] that is the Unseen University. We come right in to the Archchancellor’s study, where the [card]Champion’s Helm[/card] that is the Ceremonial Hat of the Archchancellor rests on its stand, the actual hat of the Archchancellor being far more practical with pockets for whiskey and other such things. Leaning next to it is his staff, the [card]Diviner’s Wand[/card] made from six solid feet of oak. With a knob on the end.

The Archchancellor himself of course can be played by none other than [card]Barrin, Master Wizard[/card], with the Lecturer in Recent Runes being [card]Etched Oracle[/card] and [card]Ponder[/card] Stibbons having rather a nice fit.

Speaking of [card]Ponder[/card], we should probably check out the [card]Riptide Laboratory[/card] that is the High Energy Magic Building. Inside it is Hex, the [card]Omen Machine[/card] that calculates things and does rather complicated magic. There is a mouse. It says squeak.

Moving on from the HEM building we come to the [card]Sylvan Library[/card], and its [card]Uktabi Orangutan[/card] incumbent, the Librarian (quick [card]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/card], hide your bananas!). He cradles a book in his soft, leathery, glove-like hands- the Octavo, the [card]Grimoire of the Dead[/card]. Nearby is Mr. Nutt, the [card]Orcish Librarian[/card]. He assures us he is safe, but it isn’t wise to get on the wrong side of either of these bibliothecaries. Let’s retreat to a safe distance.

Also retreating, often at great speed is Rincewind. To represent the great Wizzard’s greatest skill [card]Coastal Wizard[/card]’s bounce ability not only removes a danger but gets himself out of harm’s way too. If there’s still danger around, there’s a 50/50 chance its on your side too. Maybe. You can’t forget his [card]Darksteel Juggernaut[/card] of a travel accessory: the Luggage.

naya panorama

Carrying on our whistle stop tour through Ankh Morpork we come to the Watch House. Outside, sharing a comradely dog end are Nightwatchmen Sergeant Fred Colon and Corporal Nobby Nobbs, the [card]Midnight Guard[/card] and the [card]Nightguard Patrol[/card] on [card]Guard Duty[/card] for the night with [card]Charging Troll[/card] Sergeant Detritus.

Inside we see Sergeant Angua, the famous werewolf of the watch, a perfect fit for the card [card]Hanweir Watchkeep[/card]. She is the lover of Captain Carrot, who is the [card]Guardian of the Guildpact[/card] that is The Laws and Ordinances of Ankh Morpork, with some [card]Fresh Volunteers[/card] taking their [card]Guardians’ Pledge[/card].

Walking away from the Watch House is the [card]Benalish Commander[/card] Vimes. He is on his way home the his wife, Lady Sibyl Ramkin, the [card]Courtly Provocateur[/card], his child, Young Sam, who is a bit of a [card]Young Pyromancer[/card] alongside his pet dragon Errol, the [card]Hellkite Hatchling[/card].

However, there is a summons there awaiting him from Lord Vetinari, the [card]Archon of the Triumvirate[/card]. “Don’t let me detain you,” it finishes. Vimes doesn’t as he sets off again through the streets, dashing past the statue of Old Stoneface, the [card]Royal Assassin[/card].

Observing this from his lofty perch atop a [card]Courier Hawk[/card] is Buggy Swires, [card]Kemba’s Skyguard[/card]. Buggy watches Vimes for a moment as he runs to the [card]Opal Palace[/card] of Vetinari, then swoops off out over the vast Panoramas of the Discworld (this is a little bit cheaty but I wanted to include one of the Alaran Panorama cycle, so we’ll include [card]Naya Panorama[/card] to represent these).

As he climbs Buggy sees more and more of the [card]Evolving Wilds[/card] of the Discworld. If he turns Rimwards he can see the [card]Misty Rainforest[/card] of Howondaland in the [card]Jungle Hollow[/card], the [card]Blossoming Sands[/card] of Djelibeybi, home of You Bastard, the greatest mathematician ever who is also a [card]Camel[/card]. As he follows the River Djel right down to its [card]Polluted Delta[/card] he eventually comes to the Circle Sea, home of the great city states and the [card]Volcanic Island[/card] of Leshp.

If he looks carefully he can catch the sun glint off the [card]Coastal Tower[/card] of Ephebe with its giant [card]Reflecting Pool[/card] on top to channel the Sun’s rays at incoming enemy ships. Ephebe is home to a great library, curated by Didactylos, [card]Magus of the Library[/card].

seaside citadel

Carrying on round Widdershins and Hubwards we come to Omnia, home to the great [card]Seaside Citadel[/card]. There resides the Prophet Brutha ([card]Narset, Enlightened Master[/card]) and the Great God Om, the [card]Turtleshell Changeling[/card]. From here we travel round through the [card]Scrubland[/card] of the Sto [card]Plains[/card] to Quirm and Pseudopolis, with their [card]High Market[/card]s and pristine streets they look nothing like the proverbial anthill with a dead dog on it that Ankh Morpork does.

Past that we start going out to the [card]Teetering Peaks[/card] of the Ramtops, deep into the [card]Forest[/card]s of Lancre, ruled by King Verence with his Queen Magrat, the former [card]Bogbrew Witch[/card]. Magrat was the sort of witch who believes that witches should be very much witchy and doing things in a witchy manner, with [card]Bubbling Cauldron[/card]s and [card]Festering Newt[/card]s.

The other witches in Magrat’s coven were Granny Weatherwax, protecting her village like the [card]Mother of Runes[/card] and the [card]Seedcradle Witch[/card] Nanny Ogg. Magrat has since been replaced in the coven by Agnes Nitt ([card]Mistmeadow Witch[/card]). You will also need to watch out for the Nac Mac Feegle ([card]Argothian Pixies[/card]).

Beyond Lancre and the Ramtops we come into the [card]Badlands[/card] that are Überwald up on to the freezing [card]Plateau[/card]x of the villages. We skim over the [card]Dwarven Hold[/card] of the Low King [card]Rhys the Redeemed[/card] Rhysson. We pass the [card]Castle Sengir[/card] of Lady Margolotta ([card]Marchesa, the Black Rose[/card]) and on to the Vieux River which leads through the [card]Swamp[/card] and [card]Bayou[/card] out Rimwards to Genua.

If we turn our attention back towards the hub and look to the the [card]Tundra[/card] of the [card]Secluded Steppe[/card]s we will find all kinds of [card]Barbarian Horde[/card]s, the most famous of which is led by famous [card]Barbarian General[/card] Genghiz Cohen. But nestled deep in the [card]Mountain[/card]s beyond these steppes and across the [card]Tendo Ice Bridge[/card] is the [card]Mystic Monastery[/card] of Oi-Dong, home of Lu-Tze, humble [card]Riftsweeper[/card]. He has a small [card]Temple Garden[/card] where he tends to his bonsai mountains. However, Lu-Tze is not the most important person in the monastery, not by far for he is but a humble sweeper. No, that honour falls to the Abbot, [card]Monastery Mentor[/card] to the monks.

oboro

Further on up the [card]Mountain[/card]s we come to the cavernous [card]Glacial Fortress[/card]es that used to be home to the Ice Giants. If we go right on up to the Hub we find the towering Cori Celesti, home to the gods, their palace in the clouds. ([card]Oboro, Palace in the Clouds[/card])

Casting our gaze back out towards the rim on the far side of Cori Celesti we see the lost continent of Fourecks with [card]Giant Spider[/card]s, [card]Giant Scorpion[/card]s and all sorts of other weird and wonderful flora and fauna out there trying to Murder you. Slightly further round and there is the Agatean Empire with its delicate [card]Balance of Power[/card], you should never trust a political system with a grand vizier ([card]Rakshasa Vizier[/card]).

Even further round and there are a myriad of tiny [card]Island[/card]s, the Brown Islands, the Foggy Islands and the island right on the Rim, Krull. Here live the Astrozoologists, so obsessed with finding out the gender of the Great A’tuin that they hurl themselves over The Edge in all kinds of marvellous [card]Kongming’s Contraptions[/card] in attempts to do so.

Coming back Hubwards closer to Ankh Morpork we can see the Wyrmberg. This [card]Dragonskull Summit[/card] is home to the [card]Phantasmal Dragon[/card]s and the perpetually upside-down dragon rideers and is ruled by Liessa Dragonlady. We pass over Llamedos, home of the [card]Druid Lyrist[/card] Imp Y Ceylyn and back to Ankh Morpork where we can stop off at the [card]Springleaf Drum[/card] for a [card]Thousand-Year Elixir[/card].

I hope you’ve enjoyed this whistle stop tour around the Discworld and its peoples, and that you’ll have another way of remembering Sir Terry every time you see one of these cards in action. I give you:

The Magic of the Discworld: a Commander Deck by Christopher Cooper

[draft]Reaper King[/draft]

Creature (48)

[deck]1 Apprentice Necromancer
1 Archon of the Triumvirate
1 Argothian Pixies
1 Avatar of Woe
1 Barbarian General
1 Barbarian Horde
1 Barrin, Master Wizard
1 Benalish Commander
1 Bogbrew Witch
1 Camel
1 Charging Troll
1 Coastal Wizard
1 Courier Hawk
1 Courtly Provocateur
1 Darksteel Juggernaut
1 Druid Lyrist
1 Etched Oracle
1 Festering Newt
1 Fresh Volunteers
1 Giant Scorpion
1 Giant Spider
1 Guardian of the Guildpact
1 Hanweir Watchkeep
1 Hellkite Hatchling
1 Kemba’s Skyguard
1 Kongming’s Contraptions
1 Magus of the Library
1 Marchesa, the Black Rose
1 Meandering Towershell
1 Midnight Guard
1 Mistmeadow Witch
1 Monastery Mentor
1 Mother of Runes
1 Narset, Enlightened Master
1 Nightguard Patrol
1 Orcish Librarian
1 Phantasmal Dragon
1 Rakshasa Vizier
1 Rhys the Redeemed
1 Riftsweeper
1 Royal Assassin
1 Seedcradle Witch
1 Storm Crow
1 Turtleshell Changeling
1 Typhoid Rats
1 Uktabi Orangutan
1 Wild Mongrel
1 Young Pyromancer[/deck]

Artifact (8)

[deck]1 Bubbling Cauldron
1 Champion’s Helm
1 Diviner’s Wand
1 Grimoire of the Dead
1 Omen Machine
1 Springleaf Drum
1 Thousand-Year Elixir
1 Unscythe, Killer of Kings[/deck]

Sorceries (2), Enchantments (2) & Instant (1)

[deck]1 Balance of Power
1 Ponder
1 Guard Duty
1 Sylvan Library
1 Guardians’ Pledge[/deck]

Lands (37)

[deck]1 Bad River
1 Badlands
1 Bayou
1 Blossoming Sands
1 Castle Sengir
1 Coastal Tower
1 Desert
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Dwarven Hold
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Forest
1 Glacial Fortress
1 High Market
1 Island
1 Jungle Hollow
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Mystic Monastery
1 Naya Panorama
1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
1 Opal Palace
1 Plains
1 Plateau
1 Polluted Delta
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Riptide Laboratory
1 Scrubland
1 Secluded Steppe
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Swamp
1 Teetering Peaks
1 Temple Garden
1 Tendo Ice Bridge
1 Tundra
1 Volcanic Island
1 Wizards’ School[/deck]

You’ll notice that this leaves us with 99 cards. That’s because I left the most important one until last.

pratchett

[card]Magus of the Disk[/card]: 28/4/1948 – 12/3/2015

THE END

Footnotes:
{*This is a phallusy.}
{**though perhaps not as appropriate as Commander Vimes. But we’ll ignore that.}

Community Question: What Dragons of Tarkir card do you want to play with at the Pre-release in memory of Sir Terry Pratchett?

What Dragons of Tarkir card do you want to play with at the Pre-release in memory of Sir Terry Pratchett

Christopher Cooper

Please let us know what you think below...

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