Levels In Search Of A Game

Writings on all types of games, whether real or imagined.

Previously we laid out some mechanics that fit into wedge themes, and now comes the worldbuilding of it all.

The deserts and graveyard themes suggest a wasteland setting, but the artifact/Artificer themes and Manufacture mechanic suggest a strangely high tech level. How can we combine them?

Here's my take: a once-great land had a horrific catastrophe decades ago, with two remaining power centers dominating the wasteland. The Citadel of Artifex Academia (URW) preserves and teaches all things mechanical. Their original mandate, to rebuild and uplift the world, has slid into an obsessively inward focus as they sneer at the ignorant outsiders.

Their main rival is the Weaver Circle (RWB), who seeks to bind the world in stringent laws and mercilessly punish rulebreakers. They only control disparate zones outside of their main stronghold, but they are often welcomed as a relief from bandits.

The other wedges are much less organized – maybe they're more like geographical regions rather than formal factions.

Potions (GUR) – Marshy mangrove forests and geothermal craters with communities of brewers. Maybe it's for combat strength, religious ritual, recreation, or all at once.

Deserts (WBG) – A vast plain of exiles and hermits with some very strange metaphysics. They respect and revere the desert, while being acutely aware that it is murderously indifferent to them.

Reclaim/Self-Mill (BGU) – A malarial fen with a maze of covert supply lines. Anything can be traded for anything, but you might not like the exchange rate. People caught running scams are often banished to the desert, or turned over to a Weaver officer.

#MTG #Hypothetical #Kharkassakh

Potions (Artifact tokens with “2, T, Sacrifice this artifact: Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature. Activate this only as a sorcery.” In green, blue, and red.)

Manufacture (“Create a token that's a copy of an artifact token you control.” In blue, red, and white, which are also the colors of artifact/Artificer tribal.)

Reclaim (”[Cost], Exile this card from your graveyard: Draw a card.” In all colors, but weighted toward green, blue, and black.)

Curses (and punitive Auras in general) (Primarily in red, white, and black but with a tiny bit in blue.)

Deserts/lands in graveyards (Primarily in black and green, secondarily in white.)

There we go: five mechanics/themes, each more-or-less in a different wedge. But since this set doesn't have strict factions like Tarkir or isolated sub-planes like Alara, we can mix them right off the bat.

Reprocessed Brew 1 Artifact – Potion (Common) [Potion ability] Reclaim 3

I loved Eldraine's nontoken Foods and economy of uses for them, which I want to replicate here. There's also a mini-cycle of colored nontoken Potions, 1-drops with ETB effects: gaining 3 life for green, scrying 2 for blue, dealing 2 to each opponent for red.

Chemistry Technician 1U Creature – Vedalken Artificer (Uncommon) When ~ enters the battlefield, choose one- -Create a Potion token. -Manufacture. Plenty of Citadel students discreetly study the strange brews of the wilderness. 1/3

Iterated Upgrade 3U Sorcery (Uncommon) Create a 3/3 colorless Golem artifact creature token. Reclaim 4U When you reclaim ~, manufacture.

A cycle of common monocolor deserts: they enter tapped and have Reclaim 3.

Some strategic reprints help too: Desert's Hold is a great crossover, and Curse of Oblivion is some graveyard hate that most non-Curse drafters won't want.

#mtg #hypothetical #Kharkassakh

Five planets orbit a mana-rich sun, developing their own cultures and ecology in isolation. Recently, they have achieved spaceflight to cross the perilous aether and begin exchanging culture.

(In ascending order of distance from the sun: Red, Green, White, Blue, Black)

White: The bold, beautiful space program of a distant, dying homeworld. Gleaming lunar bases, with a midcentury American/Soviet Futurism hybrid style. (Maybe it's literally a collaboration between the homeworld's two biggest nations?)

Blue: Giant, sharply-angled monolithic structures hovering unperturbed in a gas giant's atmosphere. The stones can “live” and “think” on an immense timescale, and obsessively archive the solar system's history for clues to their own existence.

Black: A shattered world that accretes scrap and debris from nearby, with rings of destroyed ships and satellites. A jagged, precarious space pirate aesthetic.

Red: A very “John Carter of Mars” aesthetic. Craggy canyons and mountains on a staggering scale, with an elaborate ascension-by-combat warrior hierarchy.

Green: The vintage sci-fi conception of Venus as a lush, overgrown land of dinosaur beasts. Jungle valleys are separated by miles of earthquake-prone wastelands. Each ecosystem has developed almost entirely in isolation.

Top-down tropes, ideas, and card names: UFO abduction First Contact We Come In Peace Spaceport Space Elevator Spacewalk Voyager/Hubble/Curiosity Space Pirates Warp Drive Terraforming Invasive species/diseases Planetary annihilation Liftoff Cryptic Monolith Mission Control Dyson sphere Space race

Card Ideas:

Probing Vessel 5 Artifact – Vehicle (Uncommon) Flying When ~ enters the battlefield, exile target creature until ~ leaves the battlefield. Crew 2 3/3

Warp Launcher 1UR Artifact (Rare) Whenever a creature you control enters the battle from exile, you may draw a card. If you do, discard a card. 2, T: Exile target creature you control. Return it to the battlefield under your control tapped and attacking at the beginning of your next declare attackers step.

#mtg #hypothetical

The official Ravnica D&D book is wonderful, and I hope we can get future volumes for planes like Innistrad and Dominaria. I've spent a while thinking about how to run a campaign within it, but first I'd have to learn a lot more about both playing and running D&D games.

I also love the idea of deckbuilding-based RPGs, and have sketched out ideas for my own system before realizing, “why not use a card system proven to be great?”

And from there, why not combine the two ideas?

The basic premise is this: You start off with a 20-card deck from the guild of your choice. You fight encounters of escalating difficulty, increase your deck size and starting health, find new loot and cards, and explore entwining plotlines.

My main hurdle so far is, how to handle everything outside of card-based combat? A string of Magic matchups might work as the main gameplay throughline, but half the fun of Ravnica is all the intrigue and politicking. D&D stats might work, but then there's not much of a way to elegantly merge it with the Magic half. Freeform roleplaying feels a bit too thin and ad-hoc, too.

All that aside, here's a first draft of the game's structure:

The player's starting decks: http://tappedout.net/mtg-deck-folders/player-decks/

The encounters: http://tappedout.net/mtg-deck-folders/encounter-decks-1/

  • Start with a 20-card deck size, a 5-card opening hand, and 10 life. Each of those stats will rise as you level up and explore.

  • After winning an encounter, the player takes up to three of the enemy's cards for their collection, five if it's a boss. (Maybe 2 and 4 if there's more than one player in a party.) They also get some amount of gold and XP.

  • Boss encounters are singleton decks at a higher power level, with the boss themself in the command zone.

  • Gold can be spent at various vendors, who sell thematically relevant cards. (eg Seller of Songbirds sells Healer's Hawk, Runewing, Judge's Familiar, and Birds of Paradise.) Vendors may also have sidequests with unique rewards.

  • Undesired cards can be converted into gold at a rate of 1 for a common, 2 for an uncommon, 5 for a rare, and 10 for a mythic.

  • Every card is either from a Ravnica set or is canonically from Ravnica (eg Krenko, Shattergang Brothers), except for cards used by planeswalker characters.

Some plotline ideas:

  • An Orzhov pontiff asks for your help in neutralizing The Cozen, a debt collector gone rogue.

  • Protests erupt over a proposed broad law against Simic biomancy.

  • A mysterious ancient cult is making waves in the undercity.

  • The Gruul clans have liberated a cyclops from an Izzet laboratory.

If there's ever a third visit to Innistrad, one possible story hook is all the religious schisms in the wake of Avacyn's death, learning the truth of her creation, and the Eldrazi incursion. No single faction is strong enough to win outright, and strange alliances form and dissolve every day.

The set's factions are enemy-colored, an inversion of Innistrad's usual ally-colored creature tribes, to reflect the dissonance and upending of all the usual alliances. There's a lot of untapped potential in this- the only specifically enemy-color set so far has been Apocalypse, all the way back in 2001.

The overall mechanic identity of the set features a lot of choice, whether in modal cards or designs that are useful in multiple archetypes. Perhaps there is a cycle of “schism” enchantments, like the Sieges from Fate Reforged, representing the two factions associated with each color.

White/Black- Children of Markov

The truth about Avacyn is now public: she was not humanity's savior but a game warden, created by Sorin to balance the ecosystem (and ensure a stable food supply for vampires). Many people reject this as heresy, but the Children of Markov believe and embrace it. Its members are mostly humans and vampires, seeking to reconcile the two species.

Its mechanical identity focuses on sacrificing for the greater good, and universal effects (whether positive or negative.)

Blue/Red- The Galvanic Cabal

The Cabal holds that revering angels and demons and elementals will only bind Innistrad to its miserable past, and that scientific inquiry is the best way forward. They study lycanthropy, geists, demons, vampirism, but above all necro-alchemy. Banned scientific texts arrive in Nephalia's ports every day, to be copied and tested and expanded upon.

Its mechanical identity focuses on jolting the dead to life, looting, controlling many different permanent types, and creating Clue tokens.

Black/Green- Pact of the Crossroads

Ancient forces stir in the wilderness. Demons, elementals, and beings utterly unknown offer immense power to hermits and outcasts. Members meet on backroads to exchange gifts and secrets. Many members are werewolves, already familiar with the deep wilds and its denizens.

The Pact's mechanical identity focuses on resource conversion, power at a cost, and knowing when to take a calculated loss.

Red/White- Heron Corps

The only problem with Avacyn's incendiary purge was that it was cut short. The Heron Corps are the most militant and organized faction, claiming direct continuity with the true Church of Avacyn. Doubts and worries are drowned out by marches and slogans. They regularly fight and ostracize rival factions, but spend plenty of time turning on themselves.

The Corps' mechanical identity focuses on going all-in, punishing and hosing opponents, and never backing down.

Green/Blue- Writhing Union

Emrakul is now sealed in the moon, but trace amounts of her power still seep out. The Writhing Union seeks to release her, binding all of Innistrad in beautiful ecstatic unity. They build temples on the strongest concentrations of her influence, cultivating mutations through the generations.

The Union's mechanical identity focuses on transformations, with incentives for playing many double-faced cards.

#mtg #hypothetical

I've seen my roommate play plenty of Dark Souls, and I love its moody, atmospheric world with the motif of fire as safety and hope.

It got me thinking about an adventuring party of clerics each based on a different facet of fire. (D&D already has stats for a Forge domain, and this is just some tweaks to reflavor it.)

I'm picturing these clerics in a setting similar to Dark Souls, dominated by ancient ruins choked with ash, but a bit less bleak. A few communities have taken root, but mostly in total isolation from each other.


Forge clerics collect the ruined scraps of the old world, bless and thank them for their service, and smelt them into the tools of renewal. But metals are fickle, and may not want to take a new shape. The cleric must recognize when to respect a metal, and when to hammer it into line.

Many of the cleric's duties are mundane metalworking, but they may be called to consecrate or exorcise a relic. They may even have to stop another Forge cleric afflicted with “artsickness”– a steadily rising standard of beauty and craftsmanship, culminating in reckless destruction of an unbearably hideous world.

Plot Hooks: * A weapon from an infamous massacre calls out to be wielded again. Resist its pull, and smelt it down forever.


In a world split by distrust and isolation, the Hearth cleric fosters understanding and community. They carry tools to consecrate any small, contained fire into a sacred meeting place.

In its radius, empathetic bonds are tightened. Barriers of culture and language start to thaw, and intractable disputes can be made a little less dire. Initiating violence of any kind becomes as deeply taboo as killing a sibling. (Note that there are people who may not be swayed by that.)

Hearth clerics can also act as judges, bearing records of all their previous cases and rulings. The rulings are final, but a council of judges with more seniority and experience has the power to overrule it.

Plot Hooks: * Resolve a dispute where one (or both) parties are immune to the Hearth's pull, or refuse absolutely to step within it.


The only plants left are pale, withered things wrapped in layers of parasites. Livestock are either emaciated, feral, or cursed. But with enough ingenuity, the poisons can be extracted and ingredients combined into a nourishing meal.

Feast clerics work especially well with Hearth clerics, joining communities with the most ancient ritual of the most basic need. As they travel, they gather more ingredients and recipes, cross-pollinating a hungry world.

Plot Hooks: * A community has a ritualized meal for a birth, wedding, funeral or holiday with spiritually-significant ingredients. Many of them are extinct or extremely rare, and you must create satisfying replacements.


Few things stay satisfyingly dead in this world. Restless spirits and puppeteered corpses are common on the roads. Pyre clerics specialize in giving them a true, final end.

They also specialize in conventional funeral rites, and carry the clothing and tools for as many traditions as they can. But the undead can only be truly laid to rest by burning geistwood branches, ideally dried and aged for several years.

Plot Hooks: * Defend a geistwood grove from a necromancer who seeks to destroy it.

#hypothetical #ttrpg

Super Wario Bros.

A total moral/aesthetic inversion of the Mario universe. The inverted version of Bowser rules the land with an iron grip of fuzzy pastel kindness. You play as Wario and Waluigi, concocting absurd Rube Goldberg supervillain schemes to ruin it. The inverted versions of Peach and Daisy are your rivals, who keep crossing paths with you and sabotaging your schemes with their own.

It's as cheery and fun as any other Mario game, but with some really neat subtext about how evil is innately self-defeating but can wreck a lot along the way. And in interludes with Bowser, there's some great reflections on how stringent pacifism must reckon with people who cannot be peacefully swayed.

A Decent Paper Mario

Super Mario Odyssey was a burst of gloriously weird, clever game design. I'd love to see that spirit of innovation merged with the magnificently strange writing from Paper Mario: TTYD.

Keep the straightforwardly cartoony style, but with subtle material textures: felt, cardboard, tissue paper, etc.

Shoji doors as a mechanic?

Combat could be on a grid, like a condensed Fire Emblem.

Possible partners: a mineral Chain Chomp, a deep-sea Blooper, a grizzled veteran Bullet Bill, and a reformed former X-Naut troop.


Infighting In Bowser's Army

The immense, diverse coalition of Bowser's military is brittle at best. Whenever he leaves for tennis or go-karting, factions within it vie for power and control without outright staging a coup.

You are an entry-level recruit in a faction of your choice: the Chain Chomp keepers, the necromancers who maintain the Boos and Dry Bones, the Bob-omb Corps, a cabal of X-Naut spies, or more. Gameplay is like Fire Emblem without combat, trying to carefully balance the demands and interests of your partners and rivals to ascend the ranks.

Do Literally Anything With F-Zero

Making a difficult, high-speed racing game seems out of Nintendo's wheelhouse, and might step on the toes of Mario Kart anyway. Maybe make a whole open-world RPG in the F-Zero world, with some incidental racing as a plot element?

#nintendo #hypothetical

“Wizards of the Coast could put $100 bills in packs and players would complain about how they were folded.” -Common Adage

Factors impacting price: -Gameplay Value (How many formats is it good in? Is it an effect that decks want all four copies of? Is it at risk of being banned?) -Aesthetics (Foil? Alternate art? Misprint? Signed?) -Scarcity (Has it been out of print for long? What rarity was it printed at? Is it on the Reserved List?)


Magic: The Gathering debuted in 1993, and pioneered the genre of trading card games. Assembling a deck and playing the game can be enormously complex, but playing at high levels also demands awareness of a shifting economy of card prices. The game has accumulated over twenty thousand unique cards across its twenty-six years. The vast majority of them can be bought for a few cents, but sought-after staples can be upwards of fifty dollars, and a few sell for thousands.

Magic's parent company, Wizards of the Coast, never directly acknowledges that some cards are worth more money than others. To do so would draw the attention of anti-gambling laws, so the job is left to the secondary market. Companies like Card Kingdom, Star City Games, and Channel Fireball run marketplaces of specific cards. They also manage officially-approved tournaments, discuss strategy and lore, and drum up excitement for new sets.

Wizards of the Coast makes its share of bad decisions, but displays some understanding of how to sustain a game for twenty-six years and counting.

Gameplay Value

Gameplay value can fluctuate over time. As new cards are released, they can make older cards viable in combination with them, or they can be strong against an existing deck style. Either way, the relative usefulness of each card is embedded in a metagame that changes with every new set.

The majority of cards see no play in competitive games. Most cards are designed for Limited play, where players can only use cards opened on the spot from randomized packs. Constructed games, where players can build decks ahead of time, are much more selective. There are multiple Constructed formats: Standard (only sets within the past ~two years), Modern (most sets released since 2003), Legacy (nearly every card in the history of the game), and others. The larger and older the card pool, the more expensive the staple cards will be. The power level required to stand out is much higher, and important cards may be out of print for long stretches of time.

The game's designers have explained that designing every card for competitive Constructed play would be a disaster.{1} The ever-escalating power level would quickly render old cards completely obsolete, and any card pool will inevitably have “better” and “worse” cards.

Cards being banned or unbanned is the biggest lever to shift gameplay value. Every format has a roster of “best decks”, but ideally they will all have asymmetrical strengths and weaknesses against each other, and unconventional decks have a chance to break in. If a card dangerously warps the format, creating a deck that players must either play or devote enormous energy to countering, it will be banned. This often craters its value, and also tanks the price of cards that were only playable in conjunction with it. But the price effects are far-reaching, as the entire metagame readjusts and brings new cards to light.

Conversely, speculators may buy up cards that they suspect will be unbanned, and other cards that pair well with them.

If a card is clearly at risk of being banned, it can stay cheap. Consider Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis. It was printed in an expensive specialty set with boosters twice as expensive as most sets. For several months, it was a key card in the far-and-away best Modern deck. Yet the price stayed far lower than most Modern staples, never breaking ten dollars after the initial hype.{2} Players could see that Hogaak decks were severely warping the format, and expected Hogaak to be banned soon. Indeed it was, and now the price of Hogaak has bottomed out at two to three dollars.

{1} https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/when-cards-go-bad-2002-01-28 {2} https://www.mtggoldfish.com/price/Modern+Horizons/Hogaak+Arisen+Necropolis#paper



In randomized boosters, cards are typically printed at four rarities: Common (ten per pack), Uncommon (three per pack), Rare (one per pack), and Mythic Rare (one-in-eight chance of replacing the rare). A card's rarity is determined by complexity, Limited balancing, upper bound on gameplay power,

A number of cards from the first years of the game are on the Reserved List, a legally-binding list of cards from 1993-1999 that will never be reprinted in physical form. It was created out of panic after Wizards of the Coast flooded the market with huge numbers of reprints, and collectors complained about the plummeting value of their original cards. The Reserved List is recognized as a mistake by Wizards of the Coast and fans alike, but repealing it is a daunting task. Its impact on the price of Legacy staples is a hot topic, and Modern was created largely to have a non-rotating format completely free from its shadow.

Magic has steadily grown in size, and print runs have grown with it. Exact numbers are scarce, but an uncommon card from a set a few years ago may be about as available as a mythic rare from a recent set.


What if Wizards of the Coast no longer had a monopoly on the design and production of Magic cards?

The quality of counterfeit cards has steadily risen. As the cost of entering older formats keeps rising, players may buy counterfeits for cheaper decks, willingly or not.

Some fans design their own cards, which currently is only an exercise in speculative game design. Perhaps some day, frustrated with Wizards' design choices, a tournament will approve certain fanmade cards as legitimate.

“Broken” gets thrown around a lot to describe Magic cards and strategies, but how can we define it? What common elements ruin games over and over?

Converting one resource to another indefinitely with no transaction cost.

New players are often reluctant to willingly pay life, sacrifice permanents, or discard cards. Sooner or later, the realization hits: They're all just resources to be used in whatever way is most effective.

Yawgmoth's Bargain and Channel are prime examples. Gaining and preserving life seems important, but it doesn't win games, it just postpones losing. Sometimes that's enough, when you're stalling for time until you can assemble a combo to win on the spot.

But there's a lot you can do with drawing 19 cards or adding 19 mana at once.

Phyrexian Arena and Greed are good comparisons to Yawgmoth's Bargain. Phyrexian Arena is gated by time: only once per turn, and requires a turn cycle to do anything. Greed is gated by a mana cost for the draw, requiring another less-available input. Both are still good cards, but they don't shatter formats.

Usefulness at any stage of the game.

Strongly rewarding what you wanted to do anyway.

Bypassing mana costs and/or color restrictions.

Versatility against many styles of play.

Not having to draw the card.

After some initial confusions, Hollow Knight (Team Cherry, 2017) became one of my favorite games ever. It demands fluency in platforming, secret-hunting, and unforgiving combat, but the world unfolds into a magnificent sprawling journey.

The plot is deliberately opaque, and the metaphysics that drive it even more so. The basics are established early: the game's world, Hallownest, was once a grand kingdom of insects ruled by the “Pale King.” When we find it, it has fallen into ruin, overtaken by a glowing orange plague.

The game opens with this poem, describing the Pale King:

In wilds beyond they speak your name with reverence and regret For none could tame our savage souls yet you the challenge met Under palest watch, you taught, we changed, base instincts were redeemed A world you gave to bug and beast as they had never dreamed

Right away, this rhetoric has many historic parallels. It evokes every colonial project to uplift and edify the locals: “The White Man's Burden,” “We Will Be Greeted As Liberators,” and so on. This is the first text we see in the game, even before any visuals whatsoever. It piqued my polisci-nerd interest immediately, and the rest of the game follows through splendidly.

The opening tutorial of the game contains several tablets addressed to “higher beings,” including you, a child of the Pale King. This is in contrast to the masses, seen as blank slates to be filled with whatever the King considers useful. The King's fixation on blank slates is a central theme of the game, and we gradually learn how it ruined both him and Hallownest.

Warring States

The Pale King's power to expand and colonize is not absolute. Throughout the game, there are signs of competing polities that the King had to subdue, bargain with, or avoid entirely.

The City of Tears, the capital of Hallownest, is the base of his political power. Ornately-carved spires housed the aristocratic elite, no more resistant to the plague than any commoner. It is a hub of commerce and transport, the only region with two stag transit stations rather than one or zero. (More?)

Greenpath is a lush area under the care of Unn, an immense slug-god of verdant nature. She is also a Higher Being, and her dreams supposedly shaped Greenpath and all of its life. Public tablets advise wariness of the King, his city, and his plans. Nearby, Greenpath's blooms have been subdued into the Queen's personal gardens.

Near the bottom of Hallownest, Deepnest is a constricted maze of spiders and parasites. It has remnants of failed royal infrastructure, showing the King's sheer arrogance to ever think he could tame it.

A tribe of mantises can hold their own against both the King and the infection. They hold the line against Deepnest, but otherwise have no bond with the King.

(The Hive?)

No Mind To Think

A flaw in the King's plan emerged: if he can imprint whatever he wants on his citizens, so can any other Higher Being. Hallownest quickly succumbed to the Radiance, a moth-goddess of searing light who bears the orange plague.

The Pale King's only strategy to fight it was to make the blankest slate possible, seal the Radiance within it, and re-establish the status quo. He obsessively made and discarded thousands, if not millions, of children for this purpose.

Delving Deeper

Hollow Knight's open-ended gameplay structure is ill-suited to a straightforward narrative, so it leans heavily on atmosphere and mood to tell its story. The King's iconography marks his strongholds, and becomes rarer in the wilds. Architectural styles blend with overgrowth, (etc)

There are very few overt, non-diegetic objective markers in the game. Environmental cues and in-world signs point the way: scattered papers and humming lead you to the cartographer Cornifer. Official signage points the way to transit, the City of Tears, and the royal palace. The City of Tears has a public monument that explains the Temple of the Black Egg found near the start of the game. It seals the Hollow Knight, with the plague quarantined inside them. The monument reads:

Memorial to the HOLLOW KNIGHT in the Black Vault far above. Through its sacrifice Hallownest lasts eternal.

(Add something here?)

Despite the nonlinear structure, there are still key story milestones. Defeating the Broken Vessel, a failed attempt at a quarantine solution, is a turning point that decrypts much of the game's lore. It opens the way to claiming your inheritance, the King's Brand, and opening the pit of rejected vessels and their vengeful ghosts.

As you descend its platforms, to the lowest place on the entire map, you see one broken mask, then a cluster, then more, then a floor carpeted with them. (expand w/ Sibling details?)

Killing the Broken Vessel is also one of the triggers to transform the Forgotten Crossroads, the first zone of the game. It becomes the Infected Crossroads, its creatures Radiance-plagued and much more threatening. This is a clever way of making the first region relevant and challenging for the late game, and it advances the story once more.

The infection of the Crossroads converges story threads: the failed vessels below are linked to the failed vessel within the Temple of the Black Egg.

Life Goes On

Hallownest has a few surviving residents who are not Higher Beings, but are clearly capable of abstract individual thought. Some of them are visitors from foreign lands, but many are Hallownest natives. Are they in a caste between Higher Beings and the pliable masses?

#hollowknight #essay