Tales from the Pit
is a Photo Comic
written by Magic: The Gathering
head designer Mark "MaRo" Rosewater, giving a humorous behind-the-scenes look at life amongst Magic
's creators. ("The Pit" is the name of the part of the office where the R&D team works.) The comics are created by adding captions and Speech Bubbles
to photographs and stylizing them with an iPhone app
so that they look like panels from a Comic Book
The full archive, along with Mark's responses to reader questions about Magic
, can be found here
on his Tumblr
page; for just the comics, use this link
Not to be confused with the completely unrelated Angband - Tales from the Pit
Tales from the Pit contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Conversed here.
- The Annotated Edition: "Annotated version of yesterday's comic"
- Arch-Enemy: As always, the eternal Arch-Nemesis of the Head Designer is the devious Rules Manager (along with the copier machine).
- Arson, Murder, and Admiration: MaRo reads his email
- Big "NO!": In #313 when missing Joss Whedon's talk at San Diego Comic-Con.
- Cassandra Truth: In this strip, Mark reads a rumor site and realizes that one of the speculating fans has guessed exactly what they're doing in the next set, but nobody believes it.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- "What impresses the Muggles"
I'm the head designer for one of the largest and best-selling games in the world. I write a weekly column read by almost 100,000 people. As quoted on my Wikipedia
page, I am "One of the most influential game designers working today."
- Mark misses the point in "The Talk".
- Companion Cube:
- Conspiracy Theorist: Believes New Phyrexia is a hoax.
- Direct Demographic: Mark often replies directly to questions from Magic fans.
- Eliminated From The Race: Giant Growth is eliminated from "Core Set Survivor" thusly.
- Evil Laugh:
- Expospeak Gag: Provided by Joey, the Littlest Magic Player.
Joey: Mom, can I watch the holiday movie about the monoblack spirit tribal deck that sideboards into a white/blue Donate deck?
- Leprechaun: Aisling Leprechaun, the only Leprechaun card in the game, has made an appearance on appropriate occasions, like St. Patrick's Day.
- Mistaken for Pedophile: After getting made fun of for this comic, Maro took part in some Self-Deprecation with this one.
- Mundane Utility: In comic #728, Jace takes up therapy. He uses his memory-sculpting powers to instantly erase patients' traumatic memories.
- My Future Self and Me:
- One of Us: Rosewater admits to being a Troper.
- One Steve Limit: Lampshaded. When someone shouts for "Mark!", four different people respond. "There are a lot of Marks making Magic."
- Photo Comic
- Portal to the Past: Conversed, causing another lost day of R&D productivity as the Pit enters a heated discussion about the best way to make money using a Time Machine that can only go back exactly 24 hours.
- Prank Call: Nicol Bolas is apparently notorious for these.
Bolas: Is your refrigerator running? Of course not. I had it disabled.
- Pun: Ubiquitous. There are multiple Running Gags dedicated to punnery, including Niv-Mizzet, Dracomedian and Xenagos, Satyrist.
- Running Gag: "Another day of Magic R&D Productivity Lost" was the first. Many more would follow.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: The hidden danger of playing the lead designer of a set.
- Scylla and Charybdis: R&D Rule #8: You Can't Win. When Mark designs powerful rare cards that see tournament play, he gets angry emails about how expensive it is to play in tournaments. When the rare and mythic cards are too weak to see tournament play, he gets angry emails complaining about Junk Rares.
- Shout-Out: Quoting Goodfellas.
- Speech Bubbles: Obviously.
- The Talk: Subverted in this strip.
Adam: Why is Mommy sadly shaking her head?
- That Came Out Wrong: "If you donít understand that Iím talking about Magicís color pie, this reads poorly."
- Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Who Would Win is a common topic of conversation in the Pit, apparently. Matchups include Robocop vs. The Terminator, Transformers vs. My Little Pony, and Star Wars vs. Lord of the Rings.
- Villain Team-Up: The Rules Manager and the copier team up to defeat MaRo! Their evil plan: make duplicate copies of the relevant rules to prevent Mark's new mechanic from seeing print!
- Who's on First?: With expansion codenames in #214, "The Danger of a Poor Codename". Doubles as a Shout-Out to Abbott and Costello.