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We Make the Plane, Week 2


Welcome to Week 2 of the Gathering Magic: We Make the Plane article series. Last time, I asked all of you to submit ideas to me for a Magic plane. As the submissions for different plane ideas continued to populate my inbox, I started to notice similarities among some of the submissions. Once all submissions were in, I started to group all similar ideas together under common planar types or common ideas. After over one hundred forty unique submissions reviewed, we find ourselves here, ready to decide on the creative direction for our world.

The following twelve potential planes were the most requested among the community. For each plane below, I took all submissions that fell into a similar category and crafted a plane description using the ideas within those submissions. In doing so, I created twelve unique worlds based on all of your submitted ideas, and I have outlined them below in order to help everyone gain a better understanding of the choices for our final plane. So, without further ado, here are the twelve most submitted ideas:

Danger on the High Seas, Adventure Awaits on this Water World

In centuries past, a great deluge brought the five seas to their current levels, creating a vast ocean world dotted with small tropical islands. While some still seek a way to uncover their sunken homes, most have submitted to island life. It may all sound like fun in the sun, but brutal tropical storms and bands of raiding pirates cause harsh living conditions for land-dwellers. A life sailing the seas is no picnic either. The waters of the world are filled with warring trading companies, pirate bands, and gigantic creatures of the unknown deeps that will swallow even the mightiest ship in one, giant gulp. There be treasure out there, me matey! Are ye up fir the challenge?

Ancient Jungles Teeming with Monsters on this Prehistoric World

This is a primordial and prehistoric plane filled with gigantic lizards, fearsome beasts, and savage spellcraft. Massive dinosaurs roam the land as self-proclaimed kings of the food chain while small humanoid clans wielding stone spears attempt to survive. The humanoid tribal societies are small and tightly knit, led by powerful shamanistic leaders. The discovery of magic has led to a rebellion of sorts among the small humanoid races of the plane. While still rather crude in nature, the use of arcane spells has begun to give the smaller humanoid tribes a much-needed edge against their fearsome competition for survival. It’s survival of the fittest on this primitive plane. (Also, Garruk could ride a T-rex here, which would be sweet.)

Even the Sands of Time Cannot Stop the Dead on This Egyptian-Themed Plane

This is a desert plane with a top-down Ancient Egyptian flavor. On this plane, the dead refuse to remain that way, and they have begun to return to the world of the living in the form of incorporeal undead wraiths. In order to prevent this, the people of the plane have begun to mummify their dead in elaborate burial rituals, trapping the wraiths inside their corporeal bodies. The corpses are then entombed in large, pyramidal structures meant to hold the mummified bodies containing the captured spirits. A large, sparkling river, rich with mana, cuts through the desert, allowing a small outcropping of life to flourish along its banks. As if the undeath problem were not enough, the river has been receding as of late, causing the kingdoms and city-states along its coast to begin fighting over their loose territorial boundaries. One group has been sent on an expedition to investigate the five springs serving as the great rivers source . . . 

Survivors Scrape by on a Post-Apocalyptic Plane

Few remember what caused the destruction of their home world. Some legends speak of vengeful, godlike beings who laid waste to the plane in an act of spite, while others claim that a great war between siblings wielding advanced mechanical technologies left nothing but disaster in its wake. There are even whispers among some smaller pockets of civilization that the destruction of the plane was a last-ditch effort to cleanse the world of an evil ichor. Whatever you believe, the truth of the matter is that life here isn’t easy. The once-steady mana lines within the world have been damaged, no longer consistently flowing as they did in ages past. Small pockets of survivors have established communities within the rubble of forgotten civilizations. Scavengers scour ruins for vital materials to sustain their clans. Mutated monsters ravaged by the fallout of the world stalk the dark corners of every fallen structure. Yet, life continues to thrive on this plane, constantly struggling to forge a new future.

Deep under Ceilings of Stone, the Denizens of This Plane Thrive

Few can remember if life on the surface was once a possibility. Today, the surface is an inhospitable and chaotic storm of destructive energy and death, ready to strip the life out of any fool willing to venture there. Vast civilizations have taken root in the plane’s dark interior, carving out a way of life foreign to most not of this world. Within the underground seas, mushroom forests, and pools of molten rock can be found a vast quantity of diverse life. One must make sure not to forget that the wilds of the underground cave systems winding through the plane are just as dangerous as the surface above. Monsters lurk around each dark corridor, while stone teeth line the ceiling, threatening to fall and skewer the unwary to the stone beneath them. One civilization is determined to reach the center of the plane, believing that there is a great power residing there that will enable them to take back the surface realm and restore it to its former glory.

Adventures Abound as We Travel into the Wild, Wild West

Meet me in front of Old Murph’s place at high noon tomorrow if you are still interested in discovering everything this plane has to offer. Rumors of untapped natural resources have caused a mass migration of civilization into the uncharted regions in the western half of the world. Small towns have begun to crop up around areas rich in resources being pulled from the earth in deep and treacherous mines. Civilization has adopted a martial law as people spread into uncharted territories. Tensions with the native peoples have risen as the mining towns relentlessly pillage the land of its resources. Rumors have begun to surface that, in their mining, one town to the far southwest has stirred up some sort of ancient wurms sleeping in the earth . . . 

On This Techno-Savvy Plane, Mages Have Developed an Advanced Form of Magical Artifice

In ages past, a great calamity caused the civilized peoples of this plane to flee and travel to their distant moon and escape utter destruction. Using their advanced technologies, the people have begun to make a life for themselves on this new world filled with strange native creatures and dangerous natural phenomena. Gazing up from the surface of their moon-home, the civilizations can see their destroyed plane in full view. To their horror, massive beings seem to be slowly consuming the plane—no doubt the source of the calamity that destroyed their ancient home. The people tirelessly work to prepare themselves for the day when the creatures eventually turn their sights on the small moon . . . 

It’s a Jungle Out There—Literally. This World Is One Large and Dangerous Rainforest Waiting to Be Explored

Filled with ancient beasts, deadly fauna, and tribes of animalistic beings, this plane is no picnic. This world is characterized by its overabundance of life. The air here is thick with a form of mana vapor, causing incredible evolutions and vastly diverse species to thrive in the swelteringly hot and humid jungle. Civilizations exist in the form of shamanistic tribes based in Aztec, Mayan, and Inca-like societies. Many view the rainforest itself as one incredibly complex living organism, and some among them believe that, at its heart, lies a power beyond anything imaginable by mortal minds . . . 

Take up Arms as We Journey to This Harsh Land Infused with Norse Myth

In this distant pocket of the multiverse grows a gargantuan tree. Nestled within the entangling roots and branches of the tree are five distinct masses of land, each one large enough to be considered its own world. Every single tree that grows on each of these five worlds can follow its roots back to the world tree that holds them all together—or so it is believed. The tree has mysteriously begun to shake recently, causing minor tremors to rip through the lands held in its grasp. Only a few, however, have taken the time to notice this change. The people of this plane are obsessed with war and the glory experienced in marvelous battle. Continuously at odds with their neighbors, the people of this plane will stop at nothing to appease their gods, and each warrior seeks to prove to the world that he or she is the greatest warrior of them all.

Floating Islands of Earth Are Home to Vast Civilizations on This Fascinating World

At the center of this plane is a gigantic, swirling ball of compressed mana. If I were to describe it in earthling terms, it looks like Jupiter, Saturn, or any other gas giant. Floating high above the roiling mana clouds are large chunks of earth inhabited by a wide variety of life forms. Flying creatures drift on powerful currents released by the clouds below as they glide from island to island. The people of this world have developed artificial ships that mimic these creatures in order to travel between the floating islands of earth. Recently, some of the islands have begun to descend dangerously close to the swirling mana clouds below, causing mass exodus and war as people attempt to travel to more stable islands in order to survive.

A Worldwide War Ravages the Land on This Combative Plane

This plane is a world at war. Each of the last five dragons of the world rules over a massive army that fights in its name for planar dominance. Artistically based on medieval England and France, this plane is experiencing the true dark ages as it is ravaged by war. Each of these five great nations continuously clash, using their own uniquely crafted instruments of war as they attempt to destroy one another in a quest for planar dominance. In a blood feud that has raged for centuries, each self-proclaimed dragon-king wishes to be crowned, but only one may rule them all, so they fight, using every mortal at their disposal. This is a plane known for its huge armies, massive fortresses, and intense battles.

A Dreamworld Contained in the Mind of a Sleeping Planeswalker

Before the mending rewrote what it meant to walk the blind eternities, one creative Planeswalker induced a deep slumber on himself (or herself or itself) and created an entire plane within the realm of his dreams. This Planeswalker specialized in a bardic form of magic that utilized music as its root of power. All seemed to be perfect in this dreamworld—until the sleeping Planeswalker’s spark was suddenly changed. No longer powerful enough to sustain the creative dream-plane, the sleeping Planeswalker is beginning to wake up, spelling disaster for the world thriving within his mind. The inhabitants of the plane, representing the sleeping Planeswalker’s neuroses, personality traits, and mental instabilities, are beginning to wage war with one another as the realm becomes more and more unstable. Planeswalkers used to visit here in order to marvel in the magic of the plane that is rooted in music; however, they now fear that if they cannot cause the plane to stabilize, they will have to flee or be forever trapped within the mind of the waking Planeswalker. Devastating nightmares have also begun to creep their way into the mind of the sleeping one, causing pockets of darkness to cover the dreamscape filled with deadly entities hungry for life. Lush forests thrive, containing all of the sleeping Planeswalker’s joys, while stagnant marshes are filled with memories of his hatred in this dreamlike realm of magic and music.

In addition to these twelve major themes, I received countless unique plane submissions that did not fit into a particular group. In addition to the twelve above, the following planes will also be available to be voted for, so I have provided some brief outlines of these unique worlds.

Victorian Steampunk Setting

This is a world based on Victorian steampunk themes filled with industrial advances in magitech and artifice. Progress is the major theme for this plane, as the denizens work toward the beginnings of an industrial revolution

Hindu Lore and Mythology

This plane is a top-down world based on Hindu lore and mythology, with an ancient battle raging between five minor forces: light and darkness, wisdom and ignorance, life and death, illusion and reality, chaos and order. Mortals exist in an endless cycle of rebirth overseen by powerful deities.

African Lore and Mythology

This plane is a top-down world inspired by the myths and peoples of ancient sub-Saharan Africa. Warrior tribes battle for supremacy in this vibrant world filled with vast cultures and unique wildlife.

Film Noir

Mysteries abound in this film-noir-inspired world. Here, everyone has a secret, and it is up to one hero to investigate the murder of his or her friend.

Russian-Inspired Fantasy World

This is a top-down world inspired by czarist Russia. The overuse of magic has caused a shortage in magical resources. Magic use has become rationed and strictly controlled by the nobility of the plane. Society is desperate for a change, with one rebellious faction attempting to rise up and take back the magic of the world from the powerful czars who control it.

Philippines-Inspired Fantasy World

This top-down world is based in the legends and epic stories of the Philippines, where dark and mythical creatures terrorize the natives of the plane. Islands filled with vast mineral resources are protected from outsiders by powerful tribal warriors, while lands teeming with volcanos are inhabited by powerful elemental beings.

A Plane Where Magic Spells Come to Life

This is a plane where the mana itself takes on a life of its own. When each mortal being is born on this plane, a mana-entity that represents that person's soul is born with him or her. Use of magic on this plane is extremely unpredictable and volatile, the nature of the plane sometimes causing rogue spells to take on lives of their own and ravage nearby unsuspecting villages.

A Dyson Plane (Pyrulea)

I also received a couple planar submissions that described a plane very similar to Pyrulea, which is a Dyson sphere with its sun at the center. Here, plant life has taken on massive form, absorbing energy from its sun at peak efficiency. Insects here have also begun to thrive under the energies of the plane, growing to massive sizes and terrorizing the mortals living among the leaves.

And now it is time to vote!

[poll id="375"]

I look forward to seeing which plane we decide on as the setting for our world!

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