|Author||The M:EM Community|
Each continent has access to only three of the colors of mana.
This absence of mana is not absolute, of course. Planeswalkers, and even stronger mages, are still often able to access their full range of mana—for a while, at least. However, some property of the plane seems to slowly weaken original mana bonds, so an individual that stays for an extended period of time on a single continent might find themselves drifting into completely new colors. Furthermore, the cultures of each continent are, as a result of their isolation, likely to interpret the presence of a new color as simply being a variation of an old one. (For example, a Cyrean visitor to Ameran might conclude that their green mana had simply taken on a new, even more balanced tone to it. Rather than viewing White as a new color, in other words, they would understand it as a particularly odd shade of Green.)
The continents are: Afresa , Ameran , Cyrea , Faskeria and Gentev .
For more detailed information view the Guide to Sertaria
When viewed from above Afresa looks like an enormous green cauliflower. The large canopy leaves not even one spot of ground visible. Green as far as the eye can see. If you would go beneath this green canopy you would come across a large network of wire thin branches, widening the further you go down.
At the bottom of this large forest is water, and lots of it. The water is green because of the algae living in it (the Kurvesh have adapted to this and have greenish tints on their skin). This enormous basin of green water is occasionally broken up by small pieces of land, sometimes barely large enough to contain a bush. Coming from beneath the water, going all the way up to the sky are the trees, their roots nested somewhere deep between the green depths.
In the center of Afresa is the largest landmass, almost as big as a Gentev city. In the middle of this island lies the only source of water with no algae in it. The Thoughtspring. This water has magical ability attributed to it. It is said to increase the intelligence and magical abilities of those that drink it.
The Food Chain
The food chain dominates everything on Afresa. It decides whether you live or die, where you live, whether you have to run away or attack. Everyone and everything is somewhat aware of their place in the food chain, but this does not mean you stick to it. Most sentient races have ways of overcoming their place. (Snakes live in villages, Faeries are always on the move, Vedalken create walls of trees, Ouphes stick to what they believe is safe). The following list shows the place of a being on the food chain. Note the absence of trees and algae; they are so massively successful that they do not adhere to the food chain.
Tier 5: Most plants, some birds, small rodents, herbivorous fish . Everything on this tier serves as food for something. They cannot hunt themselves and rely on camouflage, speed and agility or some kind of spike or armor to protect themselves. If they lived anywhere but on Afresa they could become predators, but the Afresan continent is just to hostile.
Tier 4: Small spiders and insects, predatory birds, flesh eating flowers, omnivorous fish, Ouphes. The creatures on this tier actively hunt others, but are small, stupid or not dangerous enough to be hunted themselves. They have their niche in the biology of Afresa and stick to that. They generally behave the way you would predict and are easy enough to fool.
Tier 3: Vedalken, Fairies, Snake People, larger catlike, predators, large spiders, small Baloths capable of navigating the broader branches. This tier consists of most of the sentient races of Afresa. The creatures on this spot in the food chain are the most common dangers for a planeswalker that ventures in the Afresan forest. They are strong and/or smart enough to pose a real threat.
Tier 2: Kurvesh, the oversized, sharklike Merfolk of Afresa. They are probably the creatures best adapted to their environment and they fear almost much nothing. They hunt everything, both in and out of the water. They are pretty much the winners of the Afresan struggle for survival.
Tier 1: Treefolk, Kraken, Leviathans. These creatures can be considered forces of nature. They are simply so large that nothing will mess with them. They can do whatever they please, no one is even capable of stopping them. There are legends and myths of large groups of Kurvesh hunting Kraken, but these are considered just that, legends and myths.
Gentev is a world in which only three colors of mana exist: . The climate, as a result, varies between livable extremes. In the Heartland( ), hot, dry plains give way to rolling, sandy deserts, spotted with oases that provide just enough water and food to support life. Most of Gentevan civilization gathers here. In the north( ), the highland is cold and humid marshland, where the rain never ends. And in the lowland( ), river basins support steamy jungles, filled with vicious, bloodthirsty wildlife and prone to long droughts and flash floods. This is the least civilized territory on Gentev.
The Dominion of the Pistra
The sentient races have adapted to their world’s harsh weather in various ways. Orochi( : ), reptilian snake people, thrive in the hot deserts with rhox( ) and humans( ). Nezumi( ) rat people make their lives in the northern moors and vampires( ) live wherever there are other sapients to feed on. But Gentevan vampires don’t suck blood. They dominate others in their own way.
All sentient species live together under one culture, and all of Gentev society is dominated by an extensive system of rules and guidelines known as the Pistra. According to the Pistra, every single man, woman, and child must have a place in one of the five Varni: the hierarchal castes of the world. Your varna is decided at birth, and each oversees and rules the next.
Military force and tradition aren’t the only forces holding the Pistra in place. Gentevan Angels ( ) service the first varna directly, from outside the hierarchy of the Pistra, making sure all the people of Gentev live by the laws of the Pistra in their day to day lives. They are powerful creatures and are not to be reckoned with.
Ameran, at its heart, is a world obsessed with emotion and self-expression. Every man, woman, and child in the predominant culture of Ameran is an artist of some sort, or at least aspires to be one. Art, in all its forms and media, is what Ameran is.
Ameranians build their culture around the concept of Craft. Although there is much dabbling and experimentation in Ameranian culture, magic and artifice are both passed on from masters to apprentices, with the expectation of the student eventually Crafting a great work: a capstone achievement that will justify their entire existence. The strain this puts on crafters is often enormous, as the communities they belong to expect much of them. The freedom associated with this task does counteract the strain, however, and any great work will garner the admiration of their community, regardless of its form.
Still, the great works tend to be magical or artificial in some form, so the plane focuses heavily on artifacts and enchantments.
Communities form around the most fertile regions of the plane, and usually center around a cult of philosophy, science, or art, led by a particularly influential thinker and their students, that often grow into the city-states that make up the world.
Culture and Geography
The landscape of Ameran is harshly beautiful, full of small, rugged mountain ranges and rocky valleys. Much of the continent is arranged in a series of archipelagos with occasional larger landmasses that support the fields and mountains. All of the land blends together harmoniously, in a beautiful and varied way.
Unfortunately, this type of environment is not perfectly suited to agriculture, and an absence of green mana means that aside from whatever sustenance people can gather from the sea, there is seldom an abundance of food. The landscape also makes travel and communication difficult, resulting in small pocket communities that are emotionally and culturally tied together strongly. Individuals on the plane are pulled in several directions- between their duty to their people and their desire for individual freedom and expression- and communities often come into conflict over their insular ideologies.
The sentient species of Ameran are varied and unusually long-lived. With the absence of green and black mana maintaining the cycle of life and death, it isn’t uncommon for an individual to live for 200 years or more. The isolated nature of the landscape also requires most people of Ameran to mingle together in the same small communities. As a result, few cultures or even social circles are defined by species, but rather by Craft.
Cyrea is a mass of ever changing landforms. Islands can become part of the main land, and other parts break off. Mountains rise and fall, and forests ebb and flow like the tides. This changing landscape has buried the ancient facilities and ruins of the past, and with them the secrets and discoveries made by their long past inhabitants. The ruins, and ever shifting terrain, give rise to the need for explorers and adventurers to uncover the secrets of the past. Without these individuals and the secrets they uncover, many important pieces of research never would have started.
The landscape is dotted with research facilities. These facilities are marvels like little else in the multiverse. Vats with life growing, sparks and whirring machines, or spells being flung are only the beginning of what may be seen within these temples to learning. Each facility houses several researchers, archivists and experiments. Within these halls are the backbone of Cyrean society. Biomancers toil away at developing new adaptations to make each individual better. Artificers tinker away to develop the newest advancement for the world. Mages seek to break the very laws of reality, gravity, time flow, and anything else they think they can bend to their will.
Cyrea is defined by its science. Farmers select the best live stock to breed the best for future generations, while biomancers forcefully evolve the various species and races of the world solely to learn. There is no real concept of scientific method. Projects are done at the discretion of the individual, and tabled on the same whims. Nor is there much consideration of ethics, they only get in the way of learning and research. All that matters is if a project works or not. Failure only leads to stagnation, success to further research and more knowledge, so one must be pragmatic and focus on the success of the research.
The Secret of Cyrea
Unbeknownst to most of the current inhabitants of Cyrea, they are not the sole pinnacle of the world’s studies. With Cyrea’s tendency to develop new magic, species, and technology quickly something invariably goes wrong. Every couple of millennia some experiment goes awry, time reverses too far, some weapon goes off prematurely, or even some beast is made that no one can keep control of. The world returns to its tribal roots, but only until the secrets of the ancients are uncovered once more, and the advancement begins again. And this cycle will continue until Cyreans can learn more from the past than just its blueprints, but for now Cyrea's greatest potential will remain untapped.
For decades now, Faskeria has been consumed in the Great War: a military conflict between all nations with a death toll in the realm of the absurd. Every day, armies of hundreds of men each collide on a plot of land no one particularly wants to control, and there are rarely more than a dozen survivors. The front lines haven’t shifted in years. Each faction’s goal is global domination, and no one can remember how the war got started. But no one is willing to end the war until their nation rules the world or no longer exists. The politics of Faskeria are just as stagnant as the front lines. No one is willing to agree to any demands or make any sacrifices. Diplomats and emissaries are often assassinated during the countless peace talks, and each one ends the same way: no side can see any viable option other than continuing this war of attrition. These diplomats are often acting under orders from their nation’s aristocracy, which is invariably concerned with only two things. First is that their extravagant and wasteful lifestyle can be maintained- a goal that’s getting harder to achieve every year. Second is the wealth and glory of their nation- a goal that is quickly becoming impossible. At this rate, all of Faskerian civilization is doomed to erode away into nothing.
Faskerian religion centers around the concept of ‘Good Death’, meaning dying in battle, or in service to your nation. Politicians use this in speeches, generals use it as battle cry and priests spread this message in their services. People in Faskeria truly believe that dying for your country is better than dying a coward and believe the afterlife will hold vast riches for those who die in combat.
The Pale and The Dream War
The Pale The Pale, or Mycelians when addressed as individuals, are arguably one massive organism: a sentient white fungus in the form of thin white humanoids. These individuals follow a hive mind and work toward one goal: engulf all of Faskeria. Other races see them not as a plague so much as a combatant. They’re just one more nation in the Great War. And unfortunately for everyone else, they’re built on the carnage the war creates.
The existence of the Pale has created a second front in the Great War: one fought entirely in dreams between the Pale and the Kithkin nation of Belekith. The hive mind of The Pale is similar in nature to the thoughtweft. So similar, in fact, that an individual on one system can sometimes break through to the other. This interference is at its strongest when kithkin are asleep and their minds become open and receptive. The Pale will often psychically ambush kithkin while they dream, which can harm or even kill the kith in question. But the kithkin can fight back, and even harm The Pale in turn. This can often lead to skirmishes and even all-out wars across dreams. Kithkin, who already share their dreams, band together against The Pale in a world in flux. Lucid dreamers can make their wills manifest here, and both sides take advantage of this. Battles in dreams can often become spectacular and surreal affairs, but the fight is exactly as real as anything in the waking world.