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The Omenpath Handbook: Thunder Junction

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Welcome back, Lore Seekers! Today I'm going to do something a little different from my usual articles. It's going to be a little bit of a flavor gems, but also talking about the worldbuilding on the cards of Thunder Junction - to fill some of the gap left by the lack of a planeswalker's guide. With that in mind, let's dive in!

The Factions of Thunder Junction

Caught in the Crossfire by Xabi Gaztelua

Like many Magic sets, Thunder Junction has five factions, although they might not all be obvious at first.

The Hellspurs (Black-Red)

The biggest faction we see this time around are the Hellspurs, who are led by the scorpion dragon Akul the Unrepentant. The Hellspurs are the black hats of Thunder Junction, the true villains, who will kill you for your pocket change and think nothing of it. It is unclear what will become of them after Akul was seemingly killed.

Lore: Corrupted Conviction, Pitiless Carnage

Iconography: Glowing Embers, black leather, red cloth

Associated Legends: Akul the Unrepentant, Laughing Jasper Flint, Vial Smasher, Gleeful Grenadier

The Freestriders (White-Green)

The Freestriders are the smallest and least obvious faction, but they're our white hats, our good guy vigilantes who aren't in it for the money. They typically have a half-sunburst motif around their shoulders.

Lore: Omenport Vigilante, Requisition Raid

Iconography: Half-Sunburst, natural leather, white, and green colors.

Associated Legends: Wylie Duke, Atiin Hero, Miriam, Herd Whisperer, Selvala, Eager Trailblazer

The Slickshots (Blue-Red)

The Slickshots are the gang that's as much in it for style as they are for crimes. Led by Lilah, Undefeated Slickshot, there's not much to say about this group other than they're the show-offs, less cutthroat than the Hellspurs but not motivated by altruism like the Freestriders.

Lore: Deadeye Duelist, Nimble Brigand, Scorching Shot

Iconography: Blue, Purple, and Red dyed leather and fabrics, of a fancier style

Associated Legends: Lilah, Undefeated Slickshot

The Sterling Company (White-Black)

The Sterling Company are the 'bought out lawman' trope of a faction. Owned by Baron Bertram Graywater, they enforce the law (that they wrote) for the right price (everything you own). They're mercenaries through and through, and just as ruthless as the Hellspurs, just not as obviously cruel.

Lore: Ruthless Lawbringer, Vengeful Townfolk

Iconography: Impeccable outfits of white, black, and silver

Associated Legends: Baron Betram Graywater, Kambal, Profiteering Mayor

Outcasters (Blue-Green)

The fifth and final faction are the aptly named Outcasters. These are the folks who are ill-at-ease in civilization and prefer to make their home in the wilderness or under the open sky. We know very little about this group other than that they generally don't interact with the others.

Lore: Map the Frontier

Iconography: Bristly Armor with Cactus Motifs

Associated Legends: Bonnie Pall, Clearcutter, Doc Aurlock, Grizzled Genius

The Place of Thunder Junction

Lassoed by the Law by Leanna Crossan

There are only two major settlements on Thunder Junction, with the rest falling into the category of smaller towns (or at least not well known settlements). Omenport is so named as it was built in the region where an unusual number of Omenpaths open. As such, it can be rather chaotic with out-of-planers constantly arriving in town. It is built in the desert, and the hallmarks include natural wood building with fading paint. Triangle motifs reminiscent of the Omenpaths are common in the architecture.

The other large settlement, which is connected by the plane's train line to Omenport, is Prosperity. Everything is pristine and whitewashed in Prosperty, reminiscent of more affluent old western towns and cities. This town seems to be owned and run by the Sterling Company, and the corrupt former Consul Kambal, Profiteering Mayor runs the day-to-day of the town.

The other two major settlements we know of are Tarnation, where the Formori Vault was located. It was also the headquarters of the Hellspurs and kept largely a secret, presumably by killing anyone who knew where it was. There's also Hardbristle (also along a train line), which is implied to be a settlement with a lot of cactusfolk. There are smaller towns as well, but they're largely inconsequential.

Other Things to Know

Step Between Worlds by Chris Ostrowski

There are a few other pieces of worldbuilding worth knowing about Thunder Junction that might not be obvious. The first is that it's named after Thunder (see Quick Draw for the lore), which is what the settlers called the wild magic that awoke on the plane when the Omenpaths arrived. It's used in all their local technology, and sought after by folks like Geralf, the Fleshwright.

Cactusfolk are the only sapient creatures native to the plane, but they're implied to have awoken recently as well (see Badlands Revival) and glow with an internal blue energy.

The Vault is a highly sought after relic of the Fomori, although it turned out Jace and Vraska were only after Loot, the Key to Everything. It rocketed off at the end of the story, but the Sol Ring from the Commander set confirms it fell back to the ground, as seen in Fomori Vault. That's likely when all the Big Score stuff came in.

The Atiin are not native to Thunder Junction, but they're a big part of the worldbuilding. They're nomads from their homeworld and have been voraciously exploring the wonders of the multiverse since the Omenpaths opened.

The Flavor Gems of Thunder Junction

And now it's time for the Flavor Gems section of this article! I'm mostly skipping the few Western references because they seem fairly obvious in the western setting, and I want to call out some other things that are fun.

Frontier Seeker introduces us to the Chocobo-like giant flightless birds of Thunder Junction. It's not clear if they're native to Thunder Junction or not, though. We've also got the... snorses(?) seen in stuff like Caustic Bronco. Rise of the Varmints shows off this plane's version of gremlins, the varmints! They're weird little pest creatures.

Deepmuck Desperado is a new homarid, a Magic-original species first seen during Fallen Empires and then rarely since. This one doesn't quite match the modern depictions of Dominarian homarids, which have been red. Loan Shark introduces sharkfolk to Magic in a pun!

Failed Fjording is a reference for fans of a certain age, that age being old enough to have played Oregon Trail (usually in school). For those of you unfamiliar, you played a simulator that took you across the continental United States from Missouri to Oregon (along the eponymous trail). You had to survive all sorts of dangers, and rarely did anyone win, but a whole lot of folks died of dysentery. An infamous part of the game was trying to get across rivers, and if you failed to ford the river your whole little pioneer wagon would die!

Unfortunate Accident is a classic film trope with older Westerns, where the villain would tie their victims to train tracks. Cunning Coyote and Resilient Roadrunner is another classic media reference to Wily E. Coyote and the Road Runner. Iron-Fist Pulverizer makes reference to the film 3:10 to Yuma, a very famous Western film.

Selected Planar References

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