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We Make the Plane, Week 4


Welcome back, everyone. Last time, I asked you all to submit ideas for the five iconic creatures of our plane as well as ideas for the humanoid races that inhabit our world. I also asked the artists among you to submit concepts for what the five basic lands might look like for our plane. I received a ton of submissions and have a lot to cover, but before we dive, in I want to quickly talk about a discussion that has been occurring on the GMWMTP subreddit.

The discussion revolved around whether the focus of our world was being pulled in two directions between being a dream world and being a world infused with music. To view the entire discussion, please read the comments on the subreddit here. In summary, we discussed the following:

The strongest creative element for our world is the fact that this entire plane, with all of its different people, creatures, magic, and culture, is contained within the dreams of a sleeping Planeswalker. The Planeswalker found a reason to induce an eternal sleep on itself in order to create its own world within its mind, a sort of creative utopia to escape to, and that’s incredibly interesting and something we will explore on a deeper level soon. However, whether we should work to include the idea of a plane infused with music was up for debate.

The first argument is that the additional concept of a musical world infused with music is fighting for creative space, making the plane hard to grasp and to pitch. It has been suggested that we should drop the idea of a music-infused dream world in favor of focusing on only the idea of a dream world and really allow that idea to shine.

The second argument is that the music aspect is what helps define the Planeswalker whose mind we are inhabiting. Because we will be adventuring within the Planeswalker’s mind, we can use the environment as a means to paint a picture for who this Planeswalker is and what its motivations are. This argument supports the idea that the Planeswalker who is dreaming is a musician—that it created this world as its perfect dream world and that by using music-inspired undertones throughout the plane, we can create an interesting flavor for the dream world: that it isn't just any dream world, but the dream world of a musician, helping to define the Planeswalker whose mind we are adventuring in.

So, I put the final decision up to you all. Should we drop the musical aspect and focus in on the dream world or should we continue to use music as a way to show the sleeping Planeswalker’s idea of a perfect dream world?

[poll id="390"]

Creature Feature

Now let’s go into the main topic of today’s article: creatures. Last time, I asked for you all to submit both iconic creatures and humanoid races for the plane. I had originally planned to showcase those different creatures in this article and put each creature type up to a vote. In reviewing the creatures submitted, I found that there were some ideas that are definitely inspired by the idea of a world that is infused with the sleeping Planeswalker’s love of music, so I would like to wait until we decide on our final direction with the vote above before I present all of the creature ideas to you all.

A World within a Dream

You didn't think I was going to write this entire article and not have you decide on a single creature type, did you? In all of the submissions I received for creature types, there were two that were almost unanimously submitted: the Nightmares invading the dreams of the sleeping Planeswalker and Incarnations of that Planeswalker’s personality traits and emotions.

Recurring Nightmares

One of the main story points we have established for our world is that as the sleeping Planeswalker loses its power to sustain the dream plane, mysterious nightmares controlled by an unknown force have begun to infiltrate the sleeping Planeswalker’s mind. These dark entities have begun to wreak havoc across the otherwise peaceful dream world, terrorizing the inhabitants of the plane. I received three major submission ideas for the Nightmares that plague our plane, each corresponding to either the blue, black, or red slice of the color pie, and I have outlined them below.

Blue Nightmares

Far beneath the churning waters of dream-filled oceans lie unfathomable and ancient horrors. Referred to as the “deep spawn” by those native to the shores of our world, these leviathans of terror and madness rise up to strike fear into the minds of those unfortunate enough to gaze upon their hideous forms. Colossal entities composed of twisting tentacles, these nightmares embody the madness created when one begins to fear that which is unknown . . . 

Black Nightmares

Lurking within every shadow of this world are monsters born of fear—fear that, one day, a specter will come calling and that life on this blissful dream plane will be at an end. It’s fear of what awaits one in the afterlife. Smoldering fields of shadow, these dark and nightmarish creatures are manifestations of the terror brought on by the cold darkness of death’s embrace . . . 

Red Nightmares

Undulating masses of pure madness, these chaotic entities can be found rampaging across the world, consuming everything in their paths. Continuously changing masses of unfathomably terrifying shapes and proportions, these dark creatures are born from the fear of losing control . . . 

I find all of these options equally fascinating, and I can understand why each would exist in our world. The dreaming Planeswalker could be aware that the dream world it created for itself is starting to slip away, allowing multiple anxieties to creep into its mind.

Perhaps the Planeswalker fears that this loss of power is a result of its real body beginning to perish, sparking a fear of death. Could the Planeswalker be starting to fear that it will lose control over its creation, causing a fear of chaos? Might the slumbering Planeswalker not fully understand what is causing its sudden loss in power, creating a fear of the unknown? Are the Nightmares a result of a combination of two of these—or perhaps all three? I leave that decision up to you all:

[poll id="391"]

Incarnations of Inspiration

A second common theme among the submissions was the idea that there be some form of Elemental-style incarnations of the sleeping Planeswalker’s personality traits. It was suggested by many of you that these incarnations would be present across all five colors of magic (similar to the treatment given to Elementals in Lorwyn). These incarnations would be physical manifestations of the sleeping Planeswalker’s personality, embodying both the positive aspects of the Planeswalker, such as its optimism, confidence, imagination, creativity, charm, independence, and so on, as well as its negative aspects, such as arrogance, cowardice, maliciousness, vulgarity, and laziness.

So again, I ask all of you: Do you want to have a creature type (we can refer to them as incarnations for now) representing elemental forms of the sleeping Planeswalker’s personality traits present across the five colors of magic on our world?

[poll id="392"]

The Next Challenge

Finally, I would like to leave you all with a challenge. We know that our world lies within the dreams of a sleeping Planeswalker and that the world is a creation of that Planeswalker that’s meant to be a perfect dream world. What I want to know is: Why did our Planeswalker create this world? What made the Planeswalker want to induce a slumber on itself in order to construct a world of dreams to inhabit? Please post your ideas here on the GMWMTP subreddit, and contribute to the discussion of the motivations behind the Planeswalker’s actions.

Also, please feel free to continue submitting any concept art or ideas you may have for depicting our basic lands. I am still accepting (and will be for some time) all submissions for them.

I look forward to seeing the results of these polls and the world we will ultimately create together.

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