Sunday, September 18, 2016

Magic the Gathering - the planes


I love the descriptions of the planes in Magic the Gathering.  They are one of the great strengths of the card game.  Every few sets, we usually visit a new plane in the multiverse, each one with its own unique character.  

Here, I will describe my three favourite planes and some ideas for adventures on them.

Zendikar

Imagine a world where every woodland is as hostile as the forest of Snatta, every hill is as dangerous as the Shamutanti hills and every plain holds a dark dungeon beneath it.  This is Zendikar, a place where nature is extremely hostile and even the largest settlements are no bigger than Kaad or Stonebridge.  
However, the land holds many treasures, artefacts left over from an ancient and powerful civilisation which still influences the land with its large magical monuments known as hedrons.  Where the magic is strong, natural laws are overturned and it can sometimes cause tectonic upheaval and storms.  This is known as the Roil.   
It is basically as if every inch of the land was like Darkwood Forest - full of hostile creatures and plants but also containing powerful magical items and lots of gold with its own dungeon underneath.  

If you are brave enough to face the dangers of the plane then great material and magical rewards are yours and may people do.  This is why there are many allies in Zendikar, who, when they work in teams, get stronger.  
Adventure hook:  You are approached by a shady wizard who has a map to a horde of treasure.  However,  you can keep most of it - the wizard just wants a hedron in order to unlock its secrets.  There will be dangers of all kinds - deadly storms, carnivorous plants, huge cliff faces to climb and an uderground cave that suffers from quakes every few hours.  Can you get the wizard to the treasure?

Ravnica

From one extreme to another.  The plane of Ravnica is one big city.  Nature forces its way through ruins, but there is no place that has not been built upon.  
On this plane, ten rival guilds vie for power, money and knowledge using different approaches and abilities.  For example, the Boros guild is an army warlike and fanatical vigilantes who mete out swift punishment to those who break the law whereas the Orzhov guild is a huge crime family which operates behind the respectable front of religion.  Think Port Blacksand but with about three times the intrigue and many hundred times the size.  
Adventure hook:  An apparently abandoned neighbourhood that you are squatting in suddenly becomes overrun by soldiers from at least three guilds.  Within minutes, the whole place is a war zone.  The first thing you have to do is get out before you end up on the wrong end of a sword.  When you are safe, you think about what could have caused such a conflict.  You have been there for a few days now and know the area and the sewers underneath it well.  Do you hire yourself out to one of the factions or try to find the object of their desires on your own?
Mirrodin

This is a realm of pure metal created by a silver golem planeswalker.  However, it used to be uninhabited before his servant went a bit mad and summoned loads of creatures to the plane in order to find a 'planeswalkers' spark' within one and take it for himself.  He is killed and the creatures he bought here are sent to their homes, but their children stay.  In the latest set, the plane is becoming corrupted and they must fight for it.
Adventure hook:  You parents have disappeared along with the rest of the elders.  You need to recreate the community on Mirrodin and prevent your tribe falling apart.

Another adventure hook:  You have spent several years surviving on a metal plane.  You have changed so that you are part metal yourself.  Suddenly, you find yourself on your own plane and have to learn to fit in again, even with your radically altered appearance.  

What's your favourite Magic the Gathering plane?  Have any planes inspired your own settings?

Have a good week!  



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