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Siraus is the setting for the Myths of Siraus mini-anthology.
I posit forth a question for you. At what point does artificiality give way to naturality? Is evolution the domain solely of the organic?
Within the Blind Eternities lies the dead plane of Siraus. Siraus is a blasted wasteland, where the bones of ancient civilizations still rest in ash and gather dust in stale air. Long and long ago, there was a war. A war that raged as so many did on so many other planes. Humans and Merfolk warred with Dwarves and Elves and other Humans, grand battles scarred the land and depleted generations at a time. The peoples of the Throne sought total domination over all the land and turned to their Merfolk allies in the oceans and their brilliant artifice and alchemy.
To that end, they built a weapon. It was a weapon of five parts, each given the task of collecting mana, it didn't matter of what type, and meeting in a singular place. There, they would unleash hell upon everything in this world, destruction unlike anything ever seen upon another plane. The ability to lay waste to entire civilizations in one fell burst.... Only... the safeties did not work. The failsafes failed and when the five components wandered away from each other, intent on following their last given order, they did not know they were the only things left moving in the universe. In one flash, one brilliant, beautiful, awful flash... skin turned to shadow, meat to ash, trees to coal and cities to mausoleums. The Throne thought they would survive to rule undisputed, but their arrogance cast empty echoes down throughout time, laughter that in their desire to conquer, they would fall to their own might.
And completely unaware of this, the five components to the weapon made by the Humans and Merfolk marched forth. They arrived at their destinations and began phase 2. Collecting the mana to recharge until their next orders would arrive. Only... it never would. The men who had built the components, each a sophisticated golem, were gone. So, in each of their five locations, the golems sat and waited. Gathering mana year after year, decade after decade..... century after century. Millennia.
They were built to follow orders, built to accomplish a single task. They were never meant to gather as much mana as they had. The accumulation of the mystic energy had an unforeseen side effect. At first, a tiny spark, but it grew. It took much longer than the war that had forged them, but eventually they became aware. Where five machines sat, there now existed five minds on a dead world. Where once they were identical, they now changed, they felt their differences from before... and they were forced to question everything they had ever seen.
These were the Primarchs. Each changed by their exposure to the mana of the land, each left with different ideas from their introspection. They met once again. They agreed that they could not leave the plane as it was, empty and pained, and so each built a new body for their brothers. All at once, they became new beings. Beings that would create beings to spread across the ash and slag.
Each built their people according to an agreed upon model, but small improvements were made here and there. Some were changed to make use of the materials at hand, others changed for design reasons, and some changed for personal reasons; And so generations passed, generations of beings who sought meaning in life, of seeking to make a better life for their descendants. Machines who made machines who made machines, centuries of changing designs, of seeking individuality and connections to their land. Until... finally, a new war broke out. One of resources, one of ideologies,... one that directly mirrored the folly that killed Siraus once before. These are the struggles of those beings. These are the Records of Siraus.
Where once the capital of the white aligned humans stood, there existed only ruins. The Primarch who came to rest here had long lifetimes to look at the glories that his masters once made. He walked among the ruins and thought of his place in the universe, of the people who made him and why they made him. He understood them... and he admired them. He cursed the beings who had forced his masters' hands. When he assumed his new mantle, he turned the works of his mind and resources into creating an army, to recreating the glory of his masters kingdoms.
To this end, he has created a multitude of small white aligned constructs in their image. The mechanic of Throneforge is one that has long been beloved to Magic fans. Kicker returns for ThroneForge. Pay the kicker on the small creatures you play and get several copies of them. The more cogs there are in the great machine, the greater the forces you can wield. For the larger creatures, you'll find effects similar to crusade on the Noble Golems, the ruling structure that lords over the Forgehome.
The great mountains where once Dwarves spent ceaseless hours hammering weapons and creating alloys was the home for the Red Primarch. He found a resource rich home and secrets, traditions, of forging superior alloys with the metals at his disposal, but deep within the heart of the mountain, he found something even more important. He found an energy source ripe to be used. The Pulseforged are notorious for their resilience, having perfected the art of combining metals, but they lack the offensive power that several of the other forged do. To make up for this, each of the Pulseforged has a direct line to the power in the mountains, and more importantly they can channel this destructive force to lay their enemies to waste.
The mechanic for the pulseforged is a high defense with low power, but the ability to harness mana to deal direct damage to their enemies before combat or increase their awesome might. Mechanics seen on cards like Ancient Hellkite and Flameblast Dragon are the cousins to the Pulseforged "Channel" mechanic. Of course, there's a fair representation of the classic Firebreathing to satisfy people.
Where once swam merfolk, where once studied scholars, the Thoughtforged dwell now. Designs for the primarchs, for weapons of power and the ideas of countless sages lay in the islands of the Merfolk. Left here to study, the Blue Primarch learned the long histories of the men and women he helped to destroy. He learned of all the secrets of magic and artifice that had lain dormant, lost in the ruins for untold years. And when he finally assumed his new mantle, his mind was abuzz with designs, of grand ideals and intricate arts. With all that he had learned of, all the knowledge of his creators, he cast himself in their image. He created the Thoughtforged, fine filigreed creations that used so little to do so much. Stuck on the islands, the Primarch had to make his resources last, cut out portions of metal that could be better served elsewhere, and most importantly, improved the aesthetics of the originals before them. Eventually, the Pulseforged began to trade with the Thoughtforged and the resources became abundant. Still... the design aesthetic did not change. Indeed, they became even more elaborate as they learned to turn a single unit into a multitude of adaptive forms. The mechanic of the Thoughtforge harks the return of flip cards. Their ability to shift into a number of different configurations proves their adaptive abilities, sometimes causing them to become more powerful, at other times more outlandish.
The Black Primarch was left to sit, surrounded by the mass graves of his master's enemies, for centuries he was surrounded by fetid remains, and then not even that. It was no surprise that when he assumed his new role, he saw resources where the other Primarchs saw graves. The Ruinforged are unique on the plane of Siraus, and they are awful to behold. They use whatever scrap they can to build their comrades and steal the fallen of the other Forges as often as possible. They are scavengers who incorporate the bones and skulls of their ancestors as armor, they use the carpals as claws and spines as cables. They are terrible and little more than beasts, hardly capable of thought. Horrendously relentless in their pursuit of resources to enhance themselves with, they hunt in packs and have no Forgehome except the pit that spawned them. They are without conscience or limits. The world is a blasted grave, but they see only one thing: material.
The mechanic of the Ruinforged is a new one. "Defile" allows you to exile cards from graveyards when your constructs come into play, gaining power or toughness, or sometimes specific abilities. At times, the Defile mechanic will add +1/+1 counters, but other times it will read differently, for example "Defile-Flying: Remove a creature with flying from a graveyard. If you do, This card gains flying." (For the record, this mechanic was dreamt up BEFORE Return to Ravnica.)
Of all the Primarch, only the Green Primarch found regret in their actions. Regardless of what they had done, of the fact they had been used to do this to the world without choice, only the Green Primarch realizes what Siraus has been reduced to. He is the only one that feels the loss of beauty or purpose, the only one to keenly miss what Siraus now lacks: Life. The sky is a gray mass of clouds, the land a withered ruin of its vibrant self, but the Green Primarch feels there is hope yet laying in the dessicated ground. He feels the heartbeat of a fatally wounded world and only he seems concerned with healing the broken husk that he has helped make. He nurtures a dream... the return of the trees he remembers in his march to that fateful meeting so long long ago. The song of birds restored to beat back the cold breath of destruction wrought on the land.... Maybe one day, even the laughter of beings unlike themselves. So, the home of the Hopeforged creates constructs intent on giving life, even if it costs them pieces of themselves.
The Hopeforged mechanic is one of sacrifice. Spells like Overrun and Giant Growth come attached to the Hopeforged, but almost all of them grant you life as you play them or as they die. Within the Hopeforged lies the seeds of life, and with them, a dream of seeing it restored to all of Siraus.
The Conflict of Siraus
Primarily the conflict arises from Throneforge, who sees what has become of the others. The White Primarch looks upon the civilizations of the other Forgehomes and sees corruption that has spread, each a perversion of their perfection, built exactly as they were millennia ago. The other primarchs have become just like the civilizations of before and if he is to win this war... he sees the need to use the weapon he was a part of again. To meet these ends, he has turned his attention to seizing the resources of the Pulseforged and the designs of the Thoughtforged. Universally, the Ruinforged are an enemy to everyone, even themselves, and would like nothing more than to take everything from the other Forgehomes. Meanwhile, quietly tucked away, the Hopeforged desperately strive to stop the Primarch of Throneforge from enacting his insane plan and to foster life back to their dead home.
Outside of the Myths of Siraus project, little has been written about this world. If you have ideas for what could be done with this plane, share them in the Expanded Multiverse forum.
Work is wrapping up on a mini-anthology of stories about each faction on Siraus. While all the story slots are currently filled, you can view the draft of the Myths of Siraus project in this thread and offer comments.