Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mombi the Yookoohoo?

Back when I was designing AiO, I went through the stories in significant depth to make sure that everything that happened in the books was possible in the game. But there were still some things that didn't quite fit. "Edge cases" we call them. And one of them was Mombi.

For those who haven't read the novels, Mombi is the former Wicked Witch of the North. Before she was replaced by a Good Witch (who was not Glinda), she hid away Princess Ozma so that the Wizard could assume the throne of Oz. We first meet her in The Marvelous Land of Oz where she has been reduced to a mean old woman who dabbles in magic.

But the kind of magic that she does is kind of surprising. Most, if not all, of her magic is shapechanging, or as it is called in AiO, Transformation. But that's a power that Sorcerers (the most common type of spellcaster, based mostly on Glinda and the Wizard) don't get. For a while, I thought that she might have it as a unique power of some kind, sort of the like literary Wicked Witch of the West and her telescopic eye.

It only came into focus within the last week. Maybe it was talking with Pete about the magic system and explaining exactly what a Yookoohoo is. Maybe something on the Adventures in Oz Tumblr. We may never know.

I realized that even though Mombi didn't fit well into the mold of a Sorcerer, she fit being a Yookoohoo nearly perfectly. The only magic that she uses that isn't a Transformation of some kind is using the Powder of Life, which is a magic item, anyway.

 Does this make her any less of a Witch? I don't think so. Remember that Glinda was described as a Witch in Wizard, but afterwards, she is generally known as a Sorceress. My personal theory is that Glinda was given the title of Good Witch because she was a magic user who was opposed to the Wicked Witches who ran the east and west. With the defeat of the Wicked Witches, Ozian politics was more able to accept nuance and Glinda asserted herself as a Sorceress, a practitioner of Sorcery rather than Witchcraft.

Therefore, I find it perfectly reasonable that Mombi took the title of Wicked Witch (or had it given to her) because it suited her role regardless of her precise powers.

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