War in the Heavens: Worldbuilding Ellysium

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Alright, I've had this project sitting in the background for a while, in part because it wasn't very developed, serving only as an origin point for the character of the Expanded Multiverse, Raef. (Full blown story in that link guys, check it out.)

But as more time passed, the more I wanted to flesh out the world and in general play around with a concept: Mono-colored Five color angels. The entire premise here was to manipulate the iconography and imagery found in religious texts, mostly shying away from the more generic pop culture interpretations of what an angel is.

The problem is, While I have a lot of ideas and a lot done, I find myself reaching a limit to what I feel I can accomplish alone. So that is why I'm opening this up to public consideration. This is not a group project in the same way Jakkard was though. Ultimately, I determine the final shots, but I will fully credit the contributors where appropriate.

Just to give an idea about the aesthetics I'm shooting for in the world, a combination of Celtic and Roman, instead of the more classical middle centuries anglo-saxon imagery. Technologically they are about at a Renaissance level, but they've been in a Medieval Stasis for a long long time now. They plateaued.

Without further ado I present Ellysium:


Ellysium
In the distant ashes of ages, Ellysium was plane torn by barbarism and dark sorcery. In the time immemorial terrible forces threatened the very birth of order and civilization upon the plane. Villages were burnt, cities ransacked, and at every turn, those who sought only to establish some form of order were beset. The raiders and warlords held sway upon the plane. However, very suddenly, the balance of the world changed. People rose after death, turned into guardians through the magics wrought by a great meta-spell cast at the beginning of this new age. The natives of the plane call it... Mass Effect. (Wait, no sorry, wrong game. Seriously, that intro has always been kind of... stilted.)
The spell is called “The Rapture.” The spell recognizes when worthy beings die, and according to a number of aspects, it forces the ascension to an angelic status. Each of the angels holds a different virtue, and those virtues determine what sort of angel a being would ascend to. Duty and Valor for the white angels, Strength for the green, Passion and Creativity for the red, etc etc.

However, this was all long long ago, and people have forgotten who cast the Rapture or even when. The purpose of the spell, to some degree, has even been lost. The angels were designed to eliminate the destructive elements of those barbaric cultures, and in some ways, they excelled at their purpose. This meant... genocide. Races were hunted to utter extinction by the angels. This war happened so long ago, most histories have forgotten it. All the people of Ellysium now know is that the angels ruled peacefully for long ages. Ellysium knew prosperity and peace until the balance of power changed and the forces of the very heavens themselves turned upon each other, throwing the plane into civil war.


The Five Powers were torn apart after centuries of balance.


The Angels are known as The White Host, Blue Sphere, Green Flight, Red Chorus, and Black Dominion


The White Host

Seraphim: Called “the Shining Ones” Seraphim have flawless skin, unmarred by age or injury. They wear unique armor. Silver, steel, and gold are forged together in ways that make the metal like cloth. Runes decorate their armor, which is often built to resemble half plate when in full battle regalia. The only armor that all Seraph have in common are their helms, ornately carved masks that obscure their blazing golden eyes, though it does not impair their sight. Their physical features, such as hair and skin color, are as they were during life. Their title “Shining Ones” is derived from their wings, six white wings whose feathers are made of light itself.

They were crafted to destroy demons and devastate armies as the main force of shock troopers. They imbue their weaponry with pure mana.


The lord of the Seraph is called the Magnus. There are three ranks within the Seraph Host. Wardens and Soldiers make up the lowest Choir, Generals and Judges make up the second Choir, and The Magnus and lords makes up the Highest.

The Seraph act as the governing body of the plains, with many of the Council of Lords that the Magnus surrounds himself acting as Counts in the individual lands. The Judges act as judiciaries in criminal cases brought forwards to their attention and the Wardens contain what criminals the constabulary catch.

The prisons are self sufficient, containing only one rule: You must grow what you need to survive.

The soldiery of The Legion is broken down as follows: Soldiers, Knights, Archons, Angels.



The Blue Sphere
Hashmalim: Called “the Witnesses” They have no wings, but instead a halo of lightning that crackles about them at all times. They are robed in the winds and clouds and mist. They created the ancient glyphs which serve as the language of angelic magic, with which they cast spells and record their history. It is very common to see this language, used exclusively by the angelic, writ upon the armor of every variety of angel.

The Hashmalim are the seers of the angel, their Sphere charged with guiding the future as well as seeing the present.


The first lord of the Hashmalim was known as Enochel.


The Black Dominion

Zabaniahim: Called “the Wardens” The Zabaniahim are grim figures bearing 8 enormous raven’s wings upon their backs. Their cloaks are made of the darkness itself and hoods obscure their heads completely. Ornate glistening scales armor their body like stars on the night sky and their robes prevent any sight of the being within, leading many to believe they have no flesh at all. They wield lances of shadow that pierce the ethereal. They control the underground, a series of caves that generate the darkest mana on Ellysium. The bodies of the honored dead were stored in these catacombs in better times. The Zabaniahim were originally sired to quell the restless dead. They bound the spirits and ran the strongest of them through the crucible, reshaping them into the fierce legion known as spectres. Humanity worships them as the “Cult of Shadows”, necromantic assassins that kill by binding the spirit of their victim and slaying the body.

The Red Chorus
Ophanim: Called “the Emissaries” they were created to destroy massive areas of the land that resisted the new order. Flaming angels whose bodies are made completely of fire. They are decorated with hovering rings of gold wrapping their bodies and a multitude of “eyes” upon their twin wings (peacock). Specifically forbidden by the rules of war of using the full extent of their power on populated areas.

The Green Flight
Cherubim: Called “the Strong Ones” Talons and wings of a raptor, hooves and horns of a bull, face and body of a human, mane and fangs of a lion. Four wings. The Cherubim were created to be hunters, used to slaughter the dragons and hydra as well as dealing with the Ogres and Trolls when the Seraph were besieged.

The Angelheim Fortresses

Cherub Angelheim: The Tree of Life “Da’as”. Giant winding trees wrapping around a massive hollow space, multiple enormous redwoods growing together to form the Cherubim fortress. Gigantic leaves form lakes and large spaces in the branches provide light.

Seraph Angelheim: The Radiant Bastion “Ketheres”. A crystalline structure which floats within the sky. The construction is of magical quartz and opal. It is decorated in the specially forged metal cloth that the seraphim are known for and is the seat of the Magnus.


Ophanim Angelheim: The Ophan hollowed out a mountain and reshaped it, creating an enormous fortress of obsidian carved by the very molten rock they channeled.


Hashmallim Angelheim:


Zabaniahim Angelheim:



Races

Humans: Primarily white, though found in every color. Most live in towns and cities. The second most plentiful human color is green, where they live in clans the develop a specific territory as theirs. No matter what angelic lord they bear allegiance to, Humanity does not see differences in themselves, therefore, despite the war, commerce and cultural exchange has not diminished in Humanity's quarters.

Goliath (Giants): The Goliath revere the old ways as wel as paying allegiance to the Cherubim. They live in the large redwoods forests present in the western lands but have been found on the plains as well, though they are far from common. The Goliath are thick browed and have even thicker muscles. They mark themselves with tribal tattooing, denoting their bloodline as well as their history.


Goliath worship the old goddess Binah, the soul of the World and mother of history. She is not the creator of the world, but the source in the world from which all creation stems. She is the distaff counterpart to the old god Chokmah, whom the blue worship as the god of knowledge and the keeper of creation.


Gorgon: the gorgons move away from the monstrous depiction that magic has tied them to. They have heavy ophidian feature overtures, but don't have the freaky tentacle heads. Ornate scaly patterns around their faces, fangs and snake tongues, dark black hair on all of them, yellow snake eyes, noses a bit flatter than normal and claws.
Thicker scales turn up in other places on their body, but they're smaller on their faces.


As a group they are able to live underground, though it has been some years since they chose to live there. In better times they would be searched out for their skills to create monuments from the fallen so that people may pay respect. However, in the times since the war began, they have been animating the dead that once stood frozen. Zombie statues generated as the fighting force of the Zabaniahim which spares the sparse gorgon population from the worst of the fighting.
Their diet consists primarily of fungi, fish, and fruits.


Flamekin: They have flaming obsidian androgynine bodies of smooth stone with a feminine faces. They are born beings. (Yes, I actually DO have a process which coincides with this, but I won't get into it until someone asks.)

Missing Characteristic Races: Blue and White.



Extinct races
Leonin, Goblin, Ogre, Troll, Dragon, Demon, Hydra

So you see, I have quite a few gaps that need filling. I've considered a lot on the blue race as well, even going so far as to imagine something I like to call the Tidekin, which are essentially water based elementals.

Additionally, if there is any aspect of a civilization you'd like expanded or would like to expand, go right ahead. A lot of the civilizations lack a true culture to speak of, so go nuts in designing those.
For the Black Dominion's home thing what about a huge castle of bones from fallen foes and allies that never seems to be in the same place twice? This goes with their shadow theme and their primary purpose on Elysium.
 
For Blue's race what about Veldaken? They go well with the gathering of knowledge thing? or Aven could work because they can also fly and could make good scouts.

And lastly for white's race Aven cold work here also instead of in Blue. Also, spirits of the defeated could work. It'd be even cooler if the spirits could somehow coalesce into one bigger being so that white could get a variety of spirit creatures of different shapes and sizes.

EDIT: Also be aware that I'm more or less new to world building so I wouldn't be surprised if these are all terrible/impossible ideas for whatever reason.
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I've turned just about everything over for Blue, Vedalken, Aven, Moonfolk, even Cephalid were suggested. And Keeper (of course) suggested Bird Maiden.

The main problem with Vedalken is that they don't feel natural in the world. They are progressive beings, and this is something of a static plane. The angels kept peace, but no substantial progress was made after an initial boom. I'm open to Vedalken, I really am, but someone will have to make a very very convincing argument for them.

Aven I'm nixing, largely because I don't want a substantial "animal person" thing going on here. In part because while the angels are.... definitely different, I want them to keep a heart of humanity at their appearance. Aven would sort of defeat that since you'd have a eagle headed Hashmallim or Seraphim.... which doesn't really work. Spirits also really are more the domain of the black, so they can't work in the white.

As for the Zabaniahim's Angelheim, bones and the like doesn't feel quite right. While it does capture the dead thing going, it's a little more physical than I'd like.

So, going back to an earlier line of thought, how would you do Vedalken on this plane to make them feel right?
Oh yeah, and NO FREAKING KITHKIN.

... I guess white could have a griffin thing going on without having to develop a culture around them, allowing humans to stand front and center but still have a characteristic.

Griffins are already on the plane, so to make them full blown characteristic would be something. Thoughts on that?
What about Homonculi? I honestly know pretty much nothing about them other than they're a blue artifact race but I figured you would, so maybe...

And for the Veldaken they could be the children of Enochel or whatever the Blue God was called(can't find it again sorry) Which would make them off-limits to genocide but allowed to be enslaved and used for their lore-keeping and whatever else the Blue Sphere needed.

Another idea for the Black Angelheim is to have it be located underneath the biggest city as a sort of tricked out underground that people would be afraid to goto because of rumors and stories everyone's heard growing up and they could have a set of glamours and illusions blocking it off from most of humanity.

I can't think of any ideas for the White race right now sorry.
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Mmm Homunculi are created beings, which takes away a lot of the impact since they'd effectively have no souls. I do like the inclusion of Homunculi as a sort of side thing, and I think it could work, but not as the characteristic. If someone wants to do some development with these little guys, I'd be interested.

Chokmah was the blue god, but it's a little nebulous as to if he existed or not. Same as with regular gods in magic. Even then, Vedalken are sort of the antithesis of barbarism as well. They probably wouldn't even be on the chopping block to start and ultimately whatever the characteristic is, it has to feel natural turning into the Hashmallim alongside humans and whatever else might fit Blue's deal.

I like that idea a lot more for the Black Angelheim. At the same time the Catacombs (which is the underground) really run throughout basicaly the entire section of one part of the world, so there are probably tunnels and caves under a few cities.

Everyone should feel free to bounce ideas around between each other guys. I don't want to cut off discussion by having people think they have to wait for my responses.
The main problem with Vedalken is that they don't feel natural in the world. They are progressive beings, and this is something of a static plane. The angels kept peace, but no substantial progress was made after an initial boom. I'm open to Vedalken, I really am, but someone will have to make a very very convincing argument for them.

Not all Vedalken have to be progressive; there were Vedalken in the Azorius guild, for example, and that's about as static as it gets. Instead of being focused on progressing the world by discovering new knowledge they could focus on protecting and preserving old knowledge, ensuring its survival for use by future generations.

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Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Not all Vedalken have to be progressive; there were Vedalken in the Azorius guild, for example, and that's about as static as it gets. Instead of being focused on progressing the world by discovering new knowledge they could focus on protecting and preserving old knowledge, ensuring its survival for use by future generations.



True. It's an area that could be expanded into if we can figure out a way to make them feel right here, that would be the best place to start.
It would also further underline this sort of pendulum we have between green and blue, since Green would accentuate the Celtic roots while Blue could play upon the Roman.

Not completely sold yet, but I feel like there's definitely space there. I'd want to try and make some unique spin on the Vedalken physically to make them feel distinct....
Green is Goliath. They are giants.
Sphinx is a no, since they'd interfere with the spot that angels would take. Construct is also not very productive in the terms of things. Leonin are dead for being one of the barbaric races in the start of it all.

Illusion is disqualified for the same reason as construct, it isn't a real thing. Shade has to do with darkness and falls into black, even then, it isn't a characteristic race, but more "one of" in any given context.

Edit: As an aside, I really am trying to come up with a general "this is the primary color of the race" but at the same time, I'm also trying to create some overlap so that it isn't so segregated.

As part of this, and because the idea just came to me, the Flamekin and Gorgon have a very close relationship. The Gorgon can't turn their own to stone, but every other race is vulnerable to their gaze which puts an enormous strain on what civilizations can interact with the gorgons without taking appropriate measures (which usually means the gorgons have to be blindfolded) which you just know has to be humiliating. So, hence why they have such a flourishing relationship with the Flamekin.... because their bodies are already made of stone. It was honestly a moment of fridge brilliance.
I really like this concept.

For a aligned race, what about the Shedim? In hebrew mythology, they're like satyrs, but living in the open fields...
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You need a colorless and/or white machine race or machine angels. Get some biodiversity up in this bitzch.
WHO AM I?
HARDER THAN DIAMONDS STRONGER THAN STEEL AND BURSTING WITH VIGOR. THAT'S THE WAY THE BEAST ENGINE PLAYS.
PROUD BEARER OF THE MOST INCORRECT THING JIVANMUKTA'S READ ON THESE FORUMS YET AWARD. SO BRING IT ON. ALL OF YOU. I have taken the top of the mountain and I will accept all challenges. Attack me, all at once if you must! I will never falter! THE ONLY GLORY IS IN DEATH. AND DON'T FORGET TO COWER BEFORE THE METALLIC MIGHT OF JUSTICE.
Machine angels are a no. Biodiversity is sort of an oxymoron when talking about beings composed of mana. Aside from that, totally the wrong feel for the world's tech level.

@Shamsiel: I'm fairly married to the groups we have now. I'm not really looking to change what they are.
Not completely sold yet, but I feel like there's definitely space there. I'd want to try and make some unique spin on the Vedalken physically to make them feel distinct....

Give them hair?

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Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Vedalken for Blue seems okay, for me. They can fit in with a Roman style (they look great in togas), are visually distinct and don't make for too weird angels. If you want to put a spin on them, how about letting them have 2 arms as a normal being, and 4 as an Angel. This way they become even more distinct when they reach angelhood, which is where I guess possible confusion between races is most likely.

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Definitely no on the multiple arms. Never thought they looked good on vedalken.

Part of the Hashmallim is, without the wings, they really need something else to distinguish them since the rest of the alterations are just on top as opposed to a deeper change. I thought about messing around with something like chrome skin or something.....

The problem with that is it loses some of the angelic impact.

Hair would be weird on Vedalken. Not saying no, just... weird.
Well, to bounce off of Yxoque's idea, the Vedalken themselves would only have the normal 2 arms. Their angels would have more, and they could be modeled off of the multi-armed Hindu deities.

That would serve to distinguish them, and have real world deific tie ins, so that it more easily impresses upon a player their signifigance.

Mmm no, really don't like the multiple armed thing for Vedalken.
Aside from that I actually already have a plane based off of Eastern Indian and Indo-chinese mythology, so that would really overlap projects.

One of the things I might not have made clear is that humans can end up as Hashmallim as well. They can become any of the angels in equal numbers, though they probably have a greater chance of being Seraphim just because of lifestyle a lot of them live.
still need machine gods Barinellos you need to embrace metallic justice just look at my sig to see how important it is
WHO AM I?
HARDER THAN DIAMONDS STRONGER THAN STEEL AND BURSTING WITH VIGOR. THAT'S THE WAY THE BEAST ENGINE PLAYS.
PROUD BEARER OF THE MOST INCORRECT THING JIVANMUKTA'S READ ON THESE FORUMS YET AWARD. SO BRING IT ON. ALL OF YOU. I have taken the top of the mountain and I will accept all challenges. Attack me, all at once if you must! I will never falter! THE ONLY GLORY IS IN DEATH. AND DON'T FORGET TO COWER BEFORE THE METALLIC MIGHT OF JUSTICE.
still need machine gods Barinellos you need to embrace metallic justice just look at my sig to see how important it is



Seriously, it doesn't fit dude.
If you want machine gods, go back to the Primarchs of Siraus. Been there done that.
I'm just going to climb the mountain nearest where you live and scream this from the top of it until you get the picture. It will be loud and annoying and it will make all the dogs in your neighborhood bark constantly.

I miss Siraus. Sad face. Sigh.
WHO AM I?
HARDER THAN DIAMONDS STRONGER THAN STEEL AND BURSTING WITH VIGOR. THAT'S THE WAY THE BEAST ENGINE PLAYS.
PROUD BEARER OF THE MOST INCORRECT THING JIVANMUKTA'S READ ON THESE FORUMS YET AWARD. SO BRING IT ON. ALL OF YOU. I have taken the top of the mountain and I will accept all challenges. Attack me, all at once if you must! I will never falter! THE ONLY GLORY IS IN DEATH. AND DON'T FORGET TO COWER BEFORE THE METALLIC MIGHT OF JUSTICE.
I'm just going to climb the mountain nearest where you live and scream this from the top of it until you get the picture. It will be loud and annoying and it will make all the dogs in your neighborhood bark constantly.

I miss Siraus. Sad face. Sigh.



Beast, I like you dude, but you're actually going to become a nuisance if you aren't going to be productive. You're genuinely gonna piss me off if you aren't going to help.

hmmm.
blue shapeshifter?

white centaur? 


Hailstorm, I know you're trying to help, but could you give me more than just throwing names out?
Give me an idea of why these would fit or how we could develop them.
Very well. *military*.

I'm guessing you don't want to go in an aquatic direction with your blue race. That seems a little hackneyed, especially considering you'd have to flood a country to make it work, and that would be boring. Wasn't your blue race decided on way back like a year ago when we worked on this? That was when we decided the giants were a thing.

I say moonfolk. They're contemplative and have just enough development to exist as a race without getting the pidgeonholing the vedalken got. As a race they're ill defined, so you can make them fit your purpose.
WHO AM I?
HARDER THAN DIAMONDS STRONGER THAN STEEL AND BURSTING WITH VIGOR. THAT'S THE WAY THE BEAST ENGINE PLAYS.
PROUD BEARER OF THE MOST INCORRECT THING JIVANMUKTA'S READ ON THESE FORUMS YET AWARD. SO BRING IT ON. ALL OF YOU. I have taken the top of the mountain and I will accept all challenges. Attack me, all at once if you must! I will never falter! THE ONLY GLORY IS IN DEATH. AND DON'T FORGET TO COWER BEFORE THE METALLIC MIGHT OF JUSTICE.
But they're japenese inspired while this setting is angel dominated.

Of course, redesign could be in order.
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Like I said, they're basically a blank in terms of Magic's canon. They got next to no concrete development in-set, and Barinellos has already messed around with them in the past.
WHO AM I?
HARDER THAN DIAMONDS STRONGER THAN STEEL AND BURSTING WITH VIGOR. THAT'S THE WAY THE BEAST ENGINE PLAYS.
PROUD BEARER OF THE MOST INCORRECT THING JIVANMUKTA'S READ ON THESE FORUMS YET AWARD. SO BRING IT ON. ALL OF YOU. I have taken the top of the mountain and I will accept all challenges. Attack me, all at once if you must! I will never falter! THE ONLY GLORY IS IN DEATH. AND DON'T FORGET TO COWER BEFORE THE METALLIC MIGHT OF JUSTICE.
With something like moonfolk, there's certainly an aspect to the heavens that I could build around, but I'm not sure where I'd go with the characterization. Vedalken, for all their pigeonholed status, at least have a history associated to give me a jumping point in building.

So what could I do to the moonfolk as a culture? As well as what to do physically to delineate them from the rabbity Soratami.
Both Vedalken and Moonfolk have aspects that might work, but they both need extensive development.
(And I sort of like the aesthetic of aquatic races, but they really can't work here.)

As an aside, are there any questions or comments about what I already have that you feel we can build on? I have a lot of the cultures of the various factions and races as a blank slate.

Plus, I just sort of want feedback on what aspects of the project people like too.
Part of the Hashmallim is, without the wings, they really need something else to distinguish them since the rest of the alterations are just on top as opposed to a deeper change. I thought about messing around with something like chrome skin or something.....

They're seers, right? Make them blind. Always a classic. Maybe glowing eyes of some variety--they open onto a seemingly pure blue field...until you notice the occasional cloud in them. Rainy eyes when they're grieving, lightning storms when they're angry, that sort of thing. Ooh, and the eyes are actual windows onto the scene, so the rain and lightning "leak".

Being blind, they can't actually see the present, but they don't need to because they see a second or so into the future. So they tend to react to things a moment before they actually happen.

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Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

I like this a lot, actually.

It's worth keeping in mind, too, that you can go pretty weird here and still be fairly angelic. I mean, you know all about Thrones and the like. Something like bronze skin isn't nearly as strange as GIANT WHEELS OF EYES AND WINGS AND FIRE.

(I'm totally reading up on angels again for my own art project, so yeah, I've got the traditional models on my mind. :P)

Actually, you know how the Kami had stuff floating around them? What if you played with that aesthetic a bit, and had the Hashmallim surrounded/intersected by/encased in medieval weather instruments and navigational tools and orreries and whatnot? That could be an interesting look, especially if you paired it to Zammm's thundercloud eyedea. (oh god I am so sorry for that pun going to go take more tylonol now @_@)
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some things hopefully you could clear up a bit- the war in the heavens was between themselves or between the "spheres"? Were there any allied spheres, or just a big FFA? For some reason i cant unthink of these angels almost being derived somewhat from the Norse mythos- worthy fallen warriors become "guardians" upon death (in this case ascension upon death). I know its supposed to be more celtic/roman, but cant unthink it :s.

If you want it to be kinda celtic, then faeries could also be another blue race. Could be the form in the folklore, not the pop culture version (i.e. rarely had wings, and could be perhaps a "demoted angel" as in some folklore). Could be interesting to go with this "demoted angel" route, losing wings, and maybe even be the "angels" of the plane before the rapture spell was cast (they would be the ones who first used that angelic runes/language).They can sometimes be regarded in alchemy as sylphs (so these fairies could be the ones who use alchemy, which would bring in the homoculus previously mentioned in this thread).

There could be a major cave entrance into the main part of the black dominion's gates, somewhat like the cave(s?) that Heracles and Orpheus used in order to descend into hades while still alive (could complete the look with a river Styx approximation). There may be other entrance/exit points, but the main one could be located in a dead zone of sorts, brought that way during the angel wars. 
I would formally like to suggest centaurs as the white characteristic.
Horses tend towards grazing (ie; open fields) and centaurs as a whole have been woefully underutilized throughout Magic's history, so you could easily do something distinctive with yours.
Incidentally, just interjecting since we've got a few M:EM people contributing here, anyone that is eligible to vote should vote on Phyrexian Hailstorm's Renn and Vasilias piece, and Skibo's plane Scargotto. Skibo's has been up for three weeks now and only Jedi has voted, sooo... yeah. That needs to see some action.

Sorry, continue on.
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They're seers, right? Make them blind. Always a classic. Maybe glowing eyes of some variety--they open onto a seemingly pure blue field...until you notice the occasional cloud in them. Rainy eyes when they're grieving, lightning storms when they're angry, that sort of thing. Ooh, and the eyes are actual windows onto the scene, so the rain and lightning "leak".

Being blind, they can't actually see the present, but they don't need to because they see a second or so into the future. So they tend to react to things a moment before they actually happen.


I dunno man, the blind seer thing is a little overdone, especially when they functionally aren't blind. BUT I've already been working with a sort of "eyes are the window to the soul" thing. Part of the reason the seraphim have their eyeless helms, because their gaze burns with horrible justice that others can't stand.

Aside from that, I like the aesthetic, but I wonder how instantly recognizable it would be. Might simplify it so that it only deals with cloudy things instead of the entirety of the weather patterns. In essence, no clear skies.
Either that or just deal with eyes like scrying pools, that would sort of play to the similar idea. I like the concept of watery eyes though, with rain as tears and the like.
I like this a lot, actually.

Actually, you know how the Kami had stuff floating around them? What if you played with that aesthetic a bit, and had the Hashmallim surrounded/intersected by/encased in medieval weather instruments and navigational tools and orreries and whatnot? That could be an interesting look, especially if you paired it to Zammm's thundercloud eyedea. (oh god I am so sorry for that pun going to go take more tylonol now @_@)


Eh, I've already utilized the "stuff floating" for the Hindi plane's demons. Aside from that, I think it might be a little too esoteric to have all the junk floating around them. They already have a halo of lightning around them so...

some things hopefully you could clear up a bit- the war in the heavens was between themselves or between the "spheres"? Were there any allied spheres, or just a big FFA? For some reason i cant unthink of these angels almost being derived somewhat from the Norse mythos- worthy fallen warriors become "guardians" upon death (in this case ascension upon death). I know its supposed to be more celtic/roman, but cant unthink it :s.


In fairness, the Morrigan from the Tuatha de Danaan was also a chooser of the slain on battlefields, but the traditional modus of popular angels, particularly the warrior tropes, have definite influences from the Valkyrie. Anyways, the war is a free for all with a flow of common enemies amongst whatever alliances grow. The people on the plane are just the armies but a lot of them don't have any prejudices against those that swear allegiance to a different angelic master. Given, there isn't a lot of overlap so the issue doesn't come up a lot.

There is a sort of treaty amongst the angels so that they don't end up destroying the world and everything on it in the fighting. I uh... haven't really thought a lot about what it entails.

If you want it to be kinda celtic, then faeries could also be another blue race. Could be the form in the folklore, not the pop culture version (i.e. rarely had wings, and could be perhaps a "demoted angel" as in some folklore). Could be interesting to go with this "demoted angel" route, losing wings, and maybe even be the "angels" of the plane before the rapture spell was cast (they would be the ones who first used that angelic runes/language).They can sometimes be regarded in alchemy as sylphs (so these fairies could be the ones who use alchemy, which would bring in the homoculus previously mentioned in this thread).


The classical fae model really springs as a combination of the Alf from norse myth and the actual faeries of Celtic myth. The closest thing that magic has is the elves. Aside from that, the demoted angel thing is a really interesting idea, but doesn't match up with the mythos here. There wouldn't be demoted or fallen angels because if any angel started heading in that direction, the rest of the angels would make sure they were unmade.
It's definitely a cool concept though, something that should be kept in mind for future projects.

There could be a major cave entrance into the main part of the black dominion's gates, somewhat like the cave(s?) that Heracles and Orpheus used in order to descend into hades while still alive (could complete the look with a river Styx approximation). There may be other entrance/exit points, but the main one could be located in a dead zone of sorts, brought that way during the angel wars. 


Definitely like the concept of the "Dominion's Gate". Similar to the "Radiant Bastion" or "Tree of Life" for the angelheims. Now I just gotta find a name for the actual Zabaniahim angelheim to go with the title.
Anyways, I like what you're leading with, but could you develop it more?

I would formally like to suggest centaurs as the white characteristic.
Horses tend towards grazing (ie; open fields) and centaurs as a whole have been woefully underutilized throughout Magic's history, so you could easily do something distinctive with yours.



The major thing here, and why I've avoided the anthromorphic races, is I don't want the Seraphs to turn up looking like the Avatar of Hope and it would be weird if the centaurs lost their horse ends when they ascend.
I've always felt centaur were more white than green too, especially since horses don't live in the forests. I had another group project from ages ago that tried it, but everyone bailed on me in early stages. I totally get what you're going for too, it's just a worry I have over the rapturingtm.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Aside from that, I like the aesthetic, but I wonder how instantly recognizable it would be.


Well keep in mind, most of this is going to be portrayed in text rather than art, as much as I would like more artists in the project. So, I wouldn't worry too much about the visual recognizeability, as you can just describe that if you need to.

Could you use some variation of Sheol or Golgotha for the underworld gate? Golgotha has been used, of course, but if I remember correctly it simply means "place of the skull." Could you use that?

Sheol is a bit more Proper Nouny, but the sound is so nice...



You know, I wonder if the fallen angels become faeries thing mightn't fit a bit better in Ikass... hm, I'll have to ponder that over. There are some ideas in this thread that might be worth using in other planes, too.
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Well keep in mind, most of this is going to be portrayed in text rather than art, as much as I would like more artists in the project. So, I wouldn't worry too much about the visual recognizeability, as you can just describe that if you need to.

Could you use some variation of Sheol or Golgotha for the underworld gate? Golgotha has been used, of course, but if I remember correctly it simply means "place of the skull." Could you use that?

Sheol is a bit more Proper Nouny, but the sound is so nice...



Mmm I dunno. While I'm certainly drawing on parts of judaic lore, I don't know how much naming condition I want to deal with. Sheol certainly over Golgotha though. Golgotha comes with a buttload of luggage with it.

You know, I wonder if the fallen angels become faeries thing mightn't fit a bit better in Ikass... hm, I'll have to ponder that over. There are some ideas in this thread that might be worth using in other planes, too.



Dude, go for it. I think it's a cool idea that could stand to see some love.
Is Ikass another world builder thing? could be interesting to see. My suggestion of the faeries being blue and the "pre-angels" was more along the lines of them being one of the higher races on the plane (being "angel like" to the other races) but being one-upped by the true angels brought about by the rapture spell, demoting them to a lower rung in the heirarchy of power. Just trying to explain my thoughts a bit (re-reading my post, didnt seem like I got my thoughts across as well as i could have).

Anyway, it seems the entrance to hades in Greco-Roman myth was located in the "center of the earth", which is cast in gloom and darkness, black poplars and willow trees (Sounds perfect for the dominion). Of course there was the gate, with cerberus as the guard to make sure things didnt come OUT. Also had like 5 rivers indicating different things going through it.

Could be translated by having that gloomy, ethereal look to the entrance of the cave and everything within it.  The cave seems innocuous, but the entrance into their "fortress" would be behind a gate of some sort deep within (Gate to be easily passed  through by the specters and angels, indicating a hierarchy of sorts: specters and up live in fortress, undead live outside of it). The rivers connecting to (and beyond) this gate could be the way the dominion get from place to place underground, linking the catacombs together. Instead of cerberus (unless you want a legendary gate guardian or something) could be patrolled by their specters and undead.

I'm not sure what the actual look of the gates and fortress would be, probably cloaked in a kind of ethereal haze, making it extremely hard to spot in the low light of the cave AND the magical defenses of the haze (only allied creatures can see through it: maybe those angelic runes give them this ability). I can only think of a medieval castle type, constantly changing its form whistlessly (since it is ethereal and those who CAN get in there are also ethereal: they wouldnt care)
An ethereal haze is basically required, maybe even the only way you can tell your way through the caves, otherwise you're just lost in the underground.
Aside from that, I'm seriously trying to avoid doing medieval imagery.

Okay, so everyone, I have a question about what you find most resonant from amongst all the various things laid out so far. What thing jumps out at you most?

Also, I don't know why I didn't think of it, but the Hashmallim will have long chains of glyphs scribed on their skin. Also also, what does everyone prefer: Vedalken or Moonfolk?
aight, just replace the castle with fortress of choice XD.
Idk, maybe moonfolk could be interesting as a blue race out of the two. That being said, I wonder if you can use something more in line with the Greco-Roman/Celtic aethetic... like the merfolk or another sea based/Poseidan race (Naga?). Merfolk are definately Greco-Roman (Triton, son of Poseidan was a merman). Havent seen many Naga in magic, so that could be awesome to include. Now i can just see the blue fortress to be basically atlantis, or an island temple (this could be the plane where Lord of Atlantis originated XD). Oh god, the water temple :s

You keep making Hindu suggestions, so I'll just go ahead and leave this here:
community.wizards.com/expandedmultiverse....

I don't like legged merfolk because it effectively removes the limitations of why they need to be water dwelling beings in the first place. They might as well be lizard people if their unique feature is being taken away so they can interact with the land based races.
Who says they need to be legged? The blue angels use cloaks of wind and things like that, so maybe thats how they move on land (extreme stretch). I lean more toward the naga vs the merfolk from my example (they wouldnt NEED legs to move on land). Still, from the two you were suggesting between I would go moonfolk.

 Also- Hindu? I thought merfolk had a presence in greco-roman myth (or it at least has evidence of something similar-Triton). Huh. Ill check out your link more in depth later- seems interesting at first glance.
Who says they need to be legged? The blue angels use cloaks of wind and things like that, so maybe thats how they move on land (extreme stretch). I lean more toward the naga vs merfolk from my example (they wouldnt NEED legs to move on land). Still, from the two you were suggesting between I would go moonfolk.

 Also- Hindu? I thought merfolk had a presence in greco-roman myth (or it at least has evidence of something similar-Triton). Huh. Ill check out your link more in depth later- seems interesting at first glance.



No, I'm talking about the naga. The Naga is a hindu myth.
Merfolk... I'm not sure about actually. I don't think their roots were originally sunk into the Greco-roman as much as the popular myths surrounding sailors getting lonely at sea, which is more timeless than other things.
Merfolk as we know them are a southern european/north african invention. But rhe concept of sea people is indeed timeless.
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oh, the Naga were hindu? good to know XD. That kills that idea then. Well, at least it wouldnt be too farfetched with merfolk as a possibility if its timeless. And it would be kinda perfect since its "southern europoean/north africa" (Mediterranean). Then its the legs as a sticking point then.