Planeswalkers. Sign-Ups (a Magic the Gathering RPG)
A Magic: the Gathering RPG Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and mature situations
Welcome to the Multiverse, home to all the planes and world in existence. Within the Multiverse exist a nearly-infinite number of planes...or perhaps they're infinite? No one really knows, a well-respected scholar once theorized that there are a finite number of planes, but there are more than can be counted in the combined lifetimes of every being in existence. We may never truly know which it is.
The planes of the Multiverse are separated from each other by the space known as Blind Eternities which is filled with chaotic energies, including Ćther and mana. The inhabitants of most of these planes have no idea that theirs is not the only universe, or indeed the only world. Powerful beings, known as Planeswalkers, are the only ones who know of the different planes and are able to travel intentionally between them.
You are a Planeswalker, an traveler and explorer of different worlds from any of the myriad planes of the Multiverse. Perhaps you are a vampire from the dark world of Innistrad; or you're a merfolk from Dominaria; maybe you're a human from Kamigawa; or you might be a minotaur from an as-yet unknown and unexplored plane. Regardless of where you originated, your story has already begun...now all that's left is to see where it takes you.
Something has begun to stir, moving throughout the Multiverse, manipulating events on a cosmic scale. Beings of great power and influence are assembling weapons, artifacts, and armies. Ancient forces are rising across dozens of planes. Even more disturbingly, Planeswalkers have gone missing. Disappearing from planes they frequent, leaving no discernible clue as to where they've gone, vanishing without a trace or message of warning. And there is a pull, a feeling, passing through the remaining Planeswalkers. The magic is gathering.
It began on the plane of Kamigawa, where the balance and fragile peace between the plane's material and spirit worlds is kept by the Sisters of Flesh and Spirit. A simultaneous assault on both planes left the Sisters distracted, and a mysterious pair attacked them, stealing a piece of divinity from them. On Ravnica, a worldwide city-scape of a plane, the several of the ten Guilds were approached by various strange offers from even stranger beings. The Planeswalkers waging war on the corrupted plane of Mirrodin (now known as New Phyrexia) with the Mirran Resistance report a change in the movement of their mechanical Phyrexian enemies: it seems as if they're building something. Across the Multiverse, machinations are coming together, a mysterious force is emerging, and a plot is beginning to take shape.
Intrigued by this strange turn of events and hoping to uncover more of the mystery, you planeswalk to the Nexus of the Multiverse, the plane known as Dominaria, where you find a strange gathering of several other Planeswalkers, all drawn by the same sense of urgency and happenings across the various planes. Gathered together and made aware of the scope, it has become strikingly clear that there is something at work: an event of Multiversal scope is coming together, and how it unfolds could have disastrous consequences.
Planeswalkers are among the most powerful beings in the Multiverse, and can be born at random in any sentient race, with no outward signs of their latent power. However, there is a one in a million chance that any given sentient, natural being will be born with a Planeswalker's spark. When that being is put through a period of extreme stress—in many cases death—the spark can trigger, causing the individual to ascend and become a Planeswalker.
The defining trait of Planeswalkers is the ability to travel between separate universes with ease, while the vast majority of people throughout the Multiverse are not even aware that other worlds beside their own exist.
In the past, the Planeswalkers of old were nearly-omnipotent, immortal beings, but a cataclysmic shift in the Multiverse changed the nature of the Planeswalker spark. The new breed of Planeswalkers no longer display the near-omnipotence of their predecessors (and surviving old Planeswalkers do not possess the abilities they once had). While they are usually powerful mages, they are still physical beings that in general age normally, can be harmed, and need the same sustenance as other mortals. This is in stark contrast to the earlier Planeswalkers. Some of them have managed to suppress or avoid some of these limitation by magical means; however, these are specific to each Planeswalker.
A plane is a self-contained world or universe of any size found within the Multiverse. While planes can be governed by any conceivable set of rules and natural laws, or even indeed inconceivable ones, most planes visited in the storyline are comfortably similar to Earth.
Natural planes are naturally occurring worlds that just came into existence at some point. Most known planes just have one central, populated world, and the entire plane is typically named after it. However, it is possible that in vast universes with billions galaxies and stars, other populated worlds also exist.
There are also artificial planes, worlds created usually by the Planeswalkers of old through sheer will. The creator of such a world defines all of its rules. These planes however, are unstable and eventually collapse if there is nothing that would sustain their existence (like constant flow of mana, or technical means). It has been theorized that several new-breed Planeswalkers might be able to create an artificial plane by combining their powers.
Several Known Planes:
Alara was a world rich in mana, a world in balance...until the Sundering. In a cataclysm of unimaginable proportions, Alara was rent asunder into five separate worlds, each a refraction of the others. The cause of the cataclysm was lost to time. Some ancient lore of the Shards suggest a being of godlike power forcibly split Alara to seize its mana for himself. Some believe it was caused by the titanic battle for the fate of Alara, waged by the archangel Asha and the demon Malfegor. But for most, only the dimmest cultural memories remain of a richer world that existed before their own.
Whatever the cause of the splitting, one thing is clear: The Shards have become very different places in the time since the Sundering. Each plane was all but severed from two of the five colors of mana. The Shard of Bant, for example, lost almost all its black and red mana, maintaining only white, blue, and green.
This mana imbalance caused the Shards to evolve in wildly distinct directions over the course of thousands of years. Now only hints of a common ancestor plane remain on the five worlds, and their environments and denizens could hardly differ more. However the event known as the Conflux has recently reunited the shards, causing much chaos and mayhem to their respective residents.
Naya. Life, passion, community, and the wild—these are what flourish without the influence of black or blue mana. In this lush land, life is celebrated. Instinct triumphs over machination. Here titanic predators are shown respect, while humans, elves, and catfolk called leonin seek to revere and respect nature.
Bant. Without the destructive or selfish impulses of red and black mana, Bant has become a golden utopia. Angels rule the realm with benevolence and grace. Humans and the birdfolk called aven resolve their conflicts with ritualized combat. Duty and honor are the bedrock of this kingdom of light.
Esper. In this world of wind and wave, control is the guiding force. Cut off from the chaos of red and green mana, Esper has become a magocracy. Enigmatic sphinxes counsel powerful wizards and seers. Everything here is observed and controlled. The forces of high magic rule supreme.
Grixis. What becomes of a world without new life? The dark wasteland of Grixis answers the question. Its denizens desperately cling to its remaining lifeforce. Without the communal forces of white and green to bring life and compassion, it's every ghoul, demon, and necromancer for themselves.
Jund. In the absence of white or blue mana, Jund has devolved into a roiling, primordial cesspit. Dragons top the food chain, at home in Jund's countless volcanoes. While dragons stalk the skies, humans, goblins, and the lizardfolk called viashino lie low in Jund's tar-spotted, vine-choked canyons.
However the event known as the Conflux has recently reunited the shards, causing much chaos and mayhem to their respective residents.
Planeswalkers of old had a name for the Multiverse itself: Dominia. The plane at the center of the Multiverse, the so-called "Song of Dominia," is the sprawling plane of Dominaria. Dominaria is so vast and its history so rich that even its own veteran storytellers and historians hardly know where to begin.
Dominaria houses scores of famous locations, from the volcanic continent of Shiv, to the time-shattered isle of Tolaria, to the dark, wretched island of Urborg. The continent of Aerona contains a rich variety of terrains, from the cold mountains of Keld to the wide plains of the enduring kingdom of Benalia. To the south, the huge continent of Jamuraa features jungles, deserts, and everything in between. Dominaria is also dotted with many hundreds of smaller islands, including the Spice Isles, the Burning Isles, and countless others.
This plane is the birthplace of the brothers Urza and Mishra, master artificers who discovered ancient stones of power in the Caves of Koilos. Each desired the other's stone, and in their lust for power the brothers waged a savage war against each other that devastated Dominaria and plunged the plane into an ice age.
The end of the Brothers' War led to Urza's discovery of the dark plane of Phyrexia, a hell of flesh, metal, and grease where the lines between the living and the artificial were blurred to nothingness. Phyrexia had corrupted Urza's brother Mishra as part of its plan to conquer Dominaria, and Urza began a millennia-long plan to thwart Phyrexia and its lord and master, Yawgmoth.
Dominaria is also the origin of the skyship Weatherlight and its crew. The famous flying vessel contained ancient magical technology from the long-dead Thran Empire—technology that enabled the ship and its crew to planeswalk. The Weatherlight, its crew of heroes, and a collection of artifacts called the Legacy were all instrumental in thwarting the invasion of Dominaria by the hellish plane of Phyrexia.
One continent of Dominaria, Otaria, was relatively intact after the ravages of the Phyrexian Invasion. It was here that the barbarian-mage Kamahl sought glory in the pit fights of the notorious Cabal. Instead he found a much greater conflict—one fueled by an orb that could amplify magic and the desires of its wielder: the Mirari.
Because of its place at the core of the Multiverse, Dominaria was also the epicenter of the temporal-planar fractures that threatened the Multiverse itself. A host of cataclysms, many caused by planeswalkers themselves, had left Dominaria desolated and had destabilized the fabric of the Multiverse itself. The damage to time and space spread outward from Dominaria to affect other planes, and only the intervention of a handful of powerful planeswalkers mended the rifts in Dominaria and restabilized the Multiverse itself.
Horrifying creatures have always existed on Innistrad. The humans of this world have always relied on their faith to shield them from vampires and werewolves, spirits and ghouls. But of late, the holy wards and runes have begun to fail. The protection of travelers' shrines and rustic prayers grows weak. The spells of vampire slayers and wolf hunters are no longer proof against the creatures that prowl the shadows. The Lunarch, head of the revered church of Avacyn, knows what the village priests whisper: that the archangel Avacyn has abandoned Innistrad.
Few know why prayers to Avacyn have gone unanswered, but the consequence is clear to all—the old ways no longer carry the power they once had. In her unexplained absence, the power of Avacyn's influence fades, and the power of Innistrad's fiendish ilk grows. The aristocratic vampire families hunt peasant blood for sport and sustenance. Packs of snarling werewolves ravage caravans and villages. Geists float from their tombs and haunt cobblestone alleyways and ancient manors. The unhallowed dead feed their relentless hunger, roused by forbidden magic or stitched together by the inventions of brainsick alchemists. No longer held back by Avacynian magic, the supernatural horrors of the world are now free to prey on humanity.
Because of the renewed danger, traditions have begun to change across the four provinces of the known world. Stensian shopkeepers close their doors at nightfall. Travelers avoid the grave-riddled lowlands of Nephalia and the mist-laden woods of Kessig. Parish priests, wolf hunters, and the holy warriors known as cathars carry silver with them at all times. Even in the province of Gavony, seat of the Church, the shadows crawl with cults and conspirators.
Still, there are those who strike back against the forces of night. Armed with knowledge of their foes' vulnerabilities and the residual strength of their faith, fiend hunters venture into the haunted places of the world. Priests and specialized slayers train to face unholy fiends and protect parishes across the countryside. Humanity has lost its guardian angel, but there may yet be hope for those facing the horrors of Innistrad.
On Kamigawa, denizens of the plane waged a brutal war against their own gods.
This plane, reminiscent of sengoku-era Japan, contains two symbiotic worlds. One is the utsushiyo, the material realm of mortals, and the other is the kakuriyo, the realm of the kami. For many hundreds of years, Kamigawa's denizens peacefully worshiped the spirits inherent in everything--spirits of sacred places, objects, and ideas.
Each of these kami was a divinity, and the way to happiness was to honor the kami and live by their ways. The inhabitants of Kamigawa were content with this life of devotion. Then the unimaginable happened: their gods turned on them.
Slowly at first, kami began to take form in the material world. Some scholars believed the kami were delivering a message or a warning. But their appearance was so alien, so surreal, that no meaning could be discerned.
At that time, the plane's most powerful warlord, the daimyo Takeshi Konda, ruled over the Towabara Plains from his stronghold at Eiganjo. But even as his armies and samurai secured more territory in Konda's name, the kami manifested in ever-greater numbers.
Then came a night that changed Kamigawa forever. A few miles from Eiganjo Castle, the kami set upon the town of Reito. Scores of spirit-world monstrosities swept through the town, killing nearly every living thing. Hundreds were slain; few survived. The Kami War had begun.
Over the next twenty years, spirits of every shape and size would descend on the plains, ravage everything in their path, then inexplicably stop just short of Eiganjo. Throughout this spirit-world siege, Konda remained within his stronghold, mysteriously safe from harm.
Kamigawa's people were left to wonder why the kami betrayed them even as they fought for survival. What had they done wrong? How could they discover why the kami were so angry? And what happens when a world must kill its own gods to survive?
In truth, it was the proud daimyo Konda who began the war. With aid from moonfolk allies, Konda kidnapped a kami to secure his own power and immortality. This outraged the great O-Kagachi, the kami of all things. Its ire began a struggle that would take countless lives.
It was the self-serving machinations of the ochimusha named Toshiro Umezawa, ironically, that set the stage for the end of the Kami War. Only the intervention of Konda's daughter Michiko as well as the stolen kami itself, an entity that came to call herself Kyodai, could placate the kami and restore a fragile peace to the land of Kamigawa.
Lorwyn is an idyllic, storybook world where races of fable thrive in perpetual midsummer. The plane is covered with dense forests, meandering rivers, and gently rolling meadows. The sun never quite dips below the horizon, and winter is entirely unnown.
That's not to say Lorwyn is without conflict. Its races have their struggles and skirmishes, some isolated, some long-standing. Lorwyn is one of the few planes without humans, but many other races fill in the gap. In the outlying town of Burrenton, for example, the short-statured kithkin face the encroachment of a nearby flamekin settlement. The flamekin are the race perhaps least at home in sunny Lorwyn. Their natural fires are a threat to others who are suspicious of their impulsive natures and hot tempers.
Far away in the Porringer Valley, gangs of boggarts sneak in amid groves of treefolk to make trouble and steal "souvenirs" of their trespasses. The boggarts are greedy for sensation, always seeking out new tastes, smells, and experiences. Each boggart warren visits others for their "footbottom feasts," a chance to share the experiences accumulated by other warrens.
As these squabbles continue, the merrows, the merfolk of Lorwyn's rivers, act as diplomats, couriers, and merchants for the other races. They use underground channels and wells as conduits for communication, and because the merrows are intelligent and kind, they usually end up getting the better end of the deal.
If the merrows are Lorwyn's merchants, the giants are its arbiters and advisors. The iconoclastic, territorial giants wander Lorwyn according to their own whims, only occasionally stopping to address the concerns or complaints of the little folk. The rest of the time they sleep or bicker among themselves.
Of all Lorwyn's denizens, though, the elves are both most favored and most feared. In a world of unspoiled nature and lush forest, the elves believe themselves to be the paragons of natural beauty. Signs of elvish supremacy are widespread in this world, from their gilded forest palaces to their mercilessness toward the other, "lesser" races. Despite the elves' domination, Lorwyn's people thrive through community and tradition, and perhaps with some help from an unseen power.
Faeries are ubiquitous in Lorwyn, like bees gathering pollen. Although the capricious and mischievous creatures seem to behave unpredictably, all are guided by the will of Oona, the queen of the fae. Oona's magic is said to keep Lorwyn in its midsummer state, but few have ever seen her. Her throne, Glen Elendra, is a half-mythical place that few but the fae have ever seen.
Lorwyn is ancient and verdant, and its natural processes are locked in familiar cycles. For instance, every year for countless decades, the kithkin town of Kinsbaile has hosted the Festival of Tales, a gathering to tell stories and make merry before the Aurora, an annually occurring display of lights in the sunset sky. But some auroras are greater than others. On a long cycle that only the faerie queen Oona comprehends, an aurora can bring about a total transformation of the plane of Lorwyn. Afterward, what remains is the plane of Shadowmoor, a realm of eternal dusk.
Shadowmoor is a plane of perpetual dusk where the sun never rises, and where strange light seems to come from unseen sources. This plane is Lorwyn's opposite. Lorwyn is an idyllic midsummer, but Shadowmoor is trapped in a state of crepuscular gloom. Lorwyn's races skirmish over territory and property, but Shadowmoor's races are locked in a perpetual, life-and-death struggle for survival.
Like Lorwyn, Shadowmoor is devoid of humans. Lorwyn's many other races, however, persist in Shadowmoor...but like the plane itself, they too are transformed into darker versions of themselves.
The kithkin, once communal and cooperative, are isolated and xenophobic in Shadowmoor. They live within walled towns, shunning outsiders and attacking those who get too close. The once silver-tongued merrows are assassins and saboteurs in Shadowmoor. They use the waterways to move quickly from victim to victim, always ready to drown and loot land-dwellers. Likewise the boggarts, once mischievous and hedonistic, are in Shadowmoor vicious and warlike. Their interests have turned from curiosity to pillage, and from stealing pies to stealing babies.
The larger denizens of the world, the giants and treefolk, find themselves changed as well. The treefolk of Shadowmoor are blackened, blighted, murderous creatures. And when awakened from the long hibernations, the giants are terrible, wrathful beings that carry huge pieces of the land itself on their bodies.
The transformation of the flamekin is perhaps the most dramatic—and tragic. Once their fires burned bright, but now they are extinguished, reduced to skeletal, smoking husks called the cinders. In Lorwyn they sought emotional transcendence, but in Shadowmoor they seek only to satisfy their malevolence and need for revenge.
The imperious and vain elves of Lorwyn find themselves humbled but heroic in Shadowmoor. Whereas Lorwyn's elves sought to judge and subjugate others, Shadowmoor's elves are the world's last hope—seekers and protectors of beauty and light in a dark, ugly place.
Only one race and one place remain unchanged when the Great Aurora turns Lorwyn into Shadowmoor: the faeries and their home of Glen Elendra. The fae are the fulcrum of this transforming plane, for it was their queen, Oona, who created the Aurora.
There was a time when Lorwyn had annual seasons and was "in balance." It was Oona who sought more influence and control over the world. From her secret glen, she wove countless powerful spells into a web of magic that would grant her more power over Lorwyn. But as Oona's enchantments on the plane grew more complex, the world was thrown out of balance. The very nature of the plane's denizens, objects, and places began to split; they developed "Jekyll and Hyde" existences.
Rather than risk losing her control of Lorwyn, Oona created ever more powerful glamers to stabilize the plane. Eventually she accomplished her goal. Lorwyn's fluctuating states fell into a regular interval of long, bright, warm summers, and long, dim, creepy autumns. The costs to the plane were substantial, however. First, each interval lasted for almost three centuries. Second, on each change from the Lorwyn to Shadowmoor state, the plane's denizens lost all awareness of their previous existence.
Spoiler:- Mirrodin (now New Phyrexia):
Mirrodin is a plane made entirely of metal. Here, thorny copper trees create artificial forests, great structures of iron and rust form mountains, and the blades of grass on the plains are literally blades. Five shining suns cast their light on the shining world below them, one for each color of mana. Humans, elves, and goblins dwell here, along with vedalken, leonin, and the zombies known as the nim.
Long ago, the metal plane was created by Karn, the silver golem built by Urza, as a test of his new-found power as a planeswalker. He populated his planes with golems created in his own image and also built a "Warden" to watch over his plane as he explored the Multiverse.
But something went wrong. Karn unwittingly introduced a dark contagion to his own world: Phyrexian oil. Over the course of centuries, the oil took hold on Mirrodin, changing it and its inhabitants. The Warden grew unstable, gaining sentience and calling itself Memnarch. Over time Memnarch grew paranoid and angry, feeling abandoned by his creator.
And as Memnarch's madness grew, so did his power. Using arcane devices called soultraps, Memnarch kidnapped countless living things from other planes and brought them to Mirrodin. His goal was to find a being with the planeswalker spark and take it for himself, enabling him to leave Mirrodin and find his creator.
The elf Glissa Sunseeker was the first being born with the planeswalker spark on Mirrodin. Glissa uncovered the secret of her world: that it was hollow, and that its mythical tyrant was real and dwelled inside. Through her own guile and power as well as the help of her allies, Glissa defeated Memnarch. The soultraps were destroyed, and instantaneously the first generations of Mirrans vanished, returned to the planes from which they were taken.
The remaining Mirrans were left to deal with the disappearance of their eldest forebears. Few had any idea what had transpired inside their world—only that their grandparents, elders, and chieftains were gone. When Glissa and her goblin ally Slobad returned to the surface, they were set upon by hordes of panicked goblins. Slobad fell, and Glissa retreated back into the interior, where the tiny constructs that still scurried there kept her safe, sound, and sleeping ...
Meanwhile life continued on the surface as the Mirrans worked to resume their lives. But inside the plane, the Phyrexian contagion that Karn long ago brought to his own world continued its quiet work. The oil spread, and everything changed when the mycosynth reached the mana core that still shone inside Mirrodin. The Phyrexians had returned, and Mirrodin became overrun. It became New Phyrexia.
Spoiler:- New Phyrexia (Formerly Mirrodin):
What was once Mirrodin has been taken over and "compleated" by the newly-reborn Phyrexians. Unlike in its previous incarnation where Phyrexia fueled itself with colorless artifact mana and the black mana of decay and death, this time the Phyrexians infiltrated all five colors of mana and thus brought war on all fronts. However, this had the unintended consequence of factionalizing the Phyrexians based on their color-alignment. And so each alignment gained a Praetor to oversee that color.
The Machine Orthodoxy:
The white aligned Phyrexians, under the guidance of Elesh Norn, are a very literalist religious organization called "The Machine Orthodoxy". They worship a form of scripture called the Argent Etchings, but divide themselves into smaller sects. Three of the most prominent sects include The Flesh Singularity, The Porcelain Legion, and the Disciples of Karn. They seek to unify the Multiverse as Phyrexia in either a perfect hierarchy or level playing field.
The Flesh Singularity try to achieve total unity by literally flaying the creatures that inhabit the lands and sewing them together. The Porcelain Legion repurpose and adapt creatures by implanting white metal plates into their bodies (considering all white phyrexians have this porcelain like metal on their bodies), while the Disciples of Karn are holding Karn himself hostage and pushing him ever deeper into insanity in hopes of gleaning leadership from his madness.
The Progress Machine:
The blue aligned Phyrexians are led by Jin-Gitaxias from the ruined halls of Lumengrid. They hold themselves to higher degree of perfection than the other factions, and pursue what they refer to as "The Great Synthesis". They conduct experiments in various laboratories scattered across the Quicksilver Sea, described as "slaughterhouse like", creating new life forms and technology. They are the most organised group so far, with at least ten observable ranks. One of their great experiments is The Meldweb in which the original Pools of Insight are filled with the brains of hundreds of sentient beings all networked together.
The Seven Steel Thanes:
The Black Aligned Phyrexians are out for total and utter corruption, slaughter and enslavement, lead for the moment by Sheoldred. She is at the top of a food chain of thanes, who are all fighting a war of succession to be named the "Father of the Machines".
The Vicious Swarm:
The Green aligned phyrexians were among the first to strike, dominating the Tangle quickly. Like all phyrexians, the members of the Vicious Swarm believe that flesh is weak, but unlike the other phyrexians they believe that New Phyrexia should progress in a more natural way, based on the roles of predation, allowing the strong to emerge triumphant over the weak. They believe that artificial engineering should be restricted to make predators more efficient, and that sentience and sapience are curses, inadequate when compared to the raw power of instinct. Lacking any sort of organisation whatsoever, they are merely a massive variety of creatures that kill each other for the purpose of selecting the strongest. Vorinclex is the praetor of this faction.
The Quiet Furnace:
The Red aligned phyrexians built the Furnace Layer of Mirrodin, based on a similar layer of Old Phyrexia. Their primary function was to tend the forges there present, building weaponry and recycling failed phyrexians and mirrans alike. During the war days, they emerged to the surface in the mountains of Mirrodin, and expanded into the surface. While the majority of these phyrexians still dwell on the depths of the world, several now populate the Oxidda Chain, beasts designed in the fashion of mirran animals.Red phyrexians differ from all others in the way that they have strong emotions and individuality, and as such developed empathy for the mirrans. While still brutal creatures, their empathy proved strong enough to allow them to let mirran survivors to dwell on their plane, treating them as if they didn't exist. To hide this secret, as well as to avoid to deal with other factions, Urabrask demanded that all access to the Furnace Layer was sealed from the other factions, isolating him and his servitors; the surface phyrexians in the mountains serve as guardians to the entrances to the Furnace Layer. For the most part, the other factions ignore the Quiet Furnace, with the exception of the Progress Engine, which is paranoid about them.
The Mirran Resistance:
The Mirran Resistance are the remnants of the Mirrans that continued to be alive or uninfected even after the compleation of Mirrodin. They are composed mainly of Auriok, Vulshok, goblin, and leonin survivors together with the last remaining Moriok, Neurok, Sylvok, elf, loxodon, and vedalken inhabitants of the plane. Most of the survivors who are at the later stages of phyresis often die in the camps while they are cared for by those who are less sick. Others being the Incorruptable, who are immune to the effects of phyresis. The resistance have no centralised leadership and instead are led by several planeswalkers and other in their respective encampments. The Mirran Resistance continue to fight for the eventual purification of Mirrodin.
Ravnica is a vast, worldwide cityscape--a patchwork of grand halls, decrepit slums, ancient ruins, and layer upon layer of stonework structures. Of the world's countless civic centers, one looms large above all others: the City of Ravnica, a metropolis so vast that its name has long since become synonymous with the entire plane. It is here, amid mazes of streets and towering gothic spires, that Ravnica's guilds vie for power and controls
Ravnica's guilds had been openly at war for centuries, each claiming dominion over the others. Then something began to happen that gave the guilds pause: The spirits of the dead were lingering in the world. The guild masters of old agreed to divert their energy toward investigating the phenomenon, leading to the signing of the Guildpact, the ancient accord that established relative peace on the plane.
Each of the ten guilds mastered two of the five colors of mana, and each had its own cultural identity and essential function.
Boros (red-white): The Boros Legion believed in a higher law—one in which righteousness is fire, and justice the light that shines from it. Led by the angel Razia, the Boros were Ravnica's most formidable military force, and the enforcers of its laws.
Selesnya (green-white): "Once you are with us, you are an equal among us. Until then, you are lost," said the wolfrider evangel Tolsimir, an agent of the Selesnya Conclave. The Conclave thought itself a selfless, nurturing, spiritual congregation, but others regarded it as a brainwashing nature cult.
Golgari (black-green): The Golgari believed you can't truly live until you die. With its vast horde of undead that served as both standing army and labor force, the Golgari operated in Ravnica's undercity, slowly taking over abandoned and derelict areas like a fetid slime mold.
Dimir (blue-black): House Dimir was so secretive that only some knew that it even existed. Over the millennia, ghost stories about the Dimir grew more and more complex, telling of ancient, undead necromancer-advisors, phantasmal assassins, and slick, black horrors slithering through the endless maze of sewers under the city.
Orzhov (white-black): To find the Orzhov, the saying went, follow the gold. The so-called Guild of Deals was a rigid hierarchy with the wealthy ghost-patriarchs ruling from the top and countless indentured servants forming the base. Holding this fragile social order in place was a veneer of religious pomp and ritual, though few believed the Orzhov worship any god other than coin.
Gruul (red-green): The Gruul Clans celebrated base urges and lived by instinct, considering all of civilization to be an elaborate cage that suppresses desire. Once a powerful guild, the Gruul were an assemblage of beggars, gangs, and raiding parties, with the largest of their gangs led by the cyclops Borborygmos.
Izzet (blue-red): The undisputed masters of spellcraft and invention on Ravnica, the Izzet were rabid inventors, fusing elemental magics with technology to power their creations. Led by the capricious and unfathomably brilliant dragon Niv-Mizzet, the Izzet magewrights endlessly created and destroyed, driven only by rabid passion for discovery.
Azorius (white-blue): The Azorius Senate was the primary origin of all laws on Ravnica. The Azorius believed that their rigid system of governance kept nearly everything on Ravnica running smoothly. Justice is blind, and that included the guild's venerable Grand Arbiter, Augustin IV, who some say was blind to Ravnica's most significant problems.
Rakdos (black-red): The Cult of Rakdos was a thrill-killing, pleasure-seeking cabal led by the ancient demon Rakdos. Even as a force of chaos, the Rakdos were a resource for the law-abiding guilds; when the denizens of Ravnica needed an obstacle removed or an unsavory client entertained, the minions of Rakdos were happy to oblige.
Simic (green-blue): Amidst the chaos of Ravnican politics and strife, the researchers of the Simic Combine worked industriously to improve their world. The Simic were charged with maintaining nature on Ravnica. In ever stranger ways, the Simic "modified" nature so it could survive on a world increasingly blanketed under civilization.
If planeswalkers were moths, Zendikar would be a dazzling, fiery light.
All of Zendikar is dangerous. The world seems almost as though it's trying to kill its own denizens, whether with monsters, natural hazards, or traps laid for the unsuspecting. Everything on the plane is precarious, unpredictable, or just plain lethal. The world seems dead-set on protecting its unique treasures--both the literal ones, and the most prized, most ephemeral one: its mana.
Like other planes, Zendikar's lands flow with mana that mages can use to power their spells. However, Zendikar houses a "primal" mana. This spell-like mana seems almost alive to those who wield it. It has caused Zendikar to be a dynamic world crackling with intense magical effects. Sometimes the sea blasts forth geysers of elemental water that form floating islands; the peaks of mountains lurch up and down to crush those who would scale their heights; forests alter their own flow of gravity or patterns of growth.
To planeswalkers, this unique mana is an irresistible prize. To most of Zendikar's people, planeswalkers are foolhardy, power-hungry creatures who will risk life and limb for an elusive, unreliable prize.
Large, mysterious, stone hedrons litter the plane. They are remnants of a strange and ancient civilization that wielded unimaginable arcane power—enough to suspend gravity, to upheave the land itself, and to change the plane's life to suit its purposes. But long ago that civilization collapsed for reasons few know. Now these crumbling remains are scattered across Zendikar—some buried in the land, some slowly wearing away on the surface, and some still hanging in the sky. These ruins and artifacts still emanate power, although most denizens of the plane know better than to disturb them.
Zendikar's unique mana, the hedrons, and its own fierce ecology all combine to form erratic terrain subject to sudden, violent changes. The land itself seems alive, and its surface and botanical life sometimes writhe as though in pain, causing tectonic chaos, extreme weather, and abrupt destruction. All this volatility is collectively referred to as "The Roil."
For the sentient creatures of Zendikar, The Roil is simply a natural phenomenon—the way things are. To planeswalkers, it's obvious that this volatility is what keeps the plane dangerous and wild, free of large cities, sophisticated commerce, and other trappings of well-developed civilization. Zendikar is untamed ... and perhaps untamable.
The plane is also the location of the prisons of the Eldrazi, an ancient and powerful race that is said to have attempted to conquer the multiverse once in the past. They were sealed away three ancient Planeswalkers. But now, their prisons are weakening, and their minions are breaking free. Several Planeswalkers have returned, but their fight goes poorly.
Mages and planeswalkers of the Multiverse can cast a vast array of spells—they can drain the life of a foe, supplement their allies with arcane strength, even summon a dragon. But all magic requires mana. Mana is the magical energy that powers spells. Where do you get it? Mana comes from the land. Mages must know a place to gather mana from it. Mana is scarce, so mages don't have infinite energy to cast spells. Mana is the magical energy fueling spells of spellcasters. It is also deeply interconnected with life-force in every plane, and it can take that role by itself as well. When there is no mana in an area, everything dies, and where mana's density is very low, lifeforms become emaciated and weak.
There are five colors of mana, and each comes from a different type of land:
White - Plains
Blue - Islands
Black - Swamps
Red - Mountains
Green - Forests