Ask Wizards

Posted in Feature on June 10, 2014

By Wizards of the Coast

Ask Wizards is a weekly feature that allows you to ask us questions! If you'd like to submit your question please email it to We aren't able to answer every question we receive but if your question is good then it might show up in the coming weeks!

Q: I read that the story [by Shawn Main] takes place in a plane called Fiora, where the High City of Paliano is. I'm from Italy and Paliano is the city next to mine, where my grandfather lives and where I usually go on Sundays. I couldn't believe when I read it, today. I wanted to know (if you can tell me) if you knew about this small city or you invented the name by yourself? And the flavor of this set is about Italian renaissance? —Aldo P

A: Adam Lee, Magic creative designer:

I had no idea that there was a city named Paliano; I just made it up—or so I thought. That's awesome!

After watching an early playtest where Dave Guskin, Shawn Main, Gavin Verhey, and Dave Humpherys faced off, I got the vibe of Conspiracy. Those guys are some of the best players in the building, so it was a treat to watch them backstab, plot, gloat, and scheme. While watching, I knew the flavor of the set was a gathering of scheming masterminds who all plotted each other's downfall. That right there made me think of Game of Thrones and the Italian Renaissance.

At the time, I was watching a couple of documentaries about the Medici and Borgia families and the television series The Tudors. The thing that fascinates me about history is how often the tides turn; one minute, one family had the upper hand and, the next minute, another family has the upper hand. Power can shift like the winds. In Conspiracy, sometimes you're one card away from sweet victory.

I had a lot of fun brainstorming the intricacies and visuals of Fiora with Richard Whitters and Jeremy Jarvis. They were excited about exploring such a rich visual feast as the Italian Renaissance and came up with a stunning look for the set and its cast of ambitious power-seeking characters, all of whom were brought to life by Magic's stable of amazing artists.

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