Authors: Tevish Szat and KeeperofManyNames
What is Ikass?
Ikass is an Open (
) plane created by myself and expanded upon by myself and Keeper. Ikass is intended to begin as mostly a blank map, and to some extent stay that way: While the edges may be continually filled in by additions from other authors, there are ALWAYS more blank edges waiting to be filled.
The Principals of Ikass
As mentioned above, Ikass is for building with. Beyond respecting a few rules of the plane, that is something of a style guide, I thought it would be good to leave a great deal of the "fleshing out" to authors. And, planes are big, I don't see that running out any time soon.
Ikass is a bit more calm and rustic than your usual plane. The people of Ikass have known no great war amongst each other, and civilization has reached a point where the settled lands are more or less tamed. Of course, there will always be the places that have "here there be dragons" writ not for a lack of knowledge but for the sake of accuracy, but largeley your average native lives a pretty peaceful life (of course, most stories aren't written about the *average* native, now are they?). It does have more than enough space for strangeness, but tends to not be violent or in-your-face about the parts that are strange.
Ikass is also largeley unexplored by its natives. There are communities of settled land and between them or beyond them? Between them is where things get interesting...
> The Adjectival form of Ikass is Ikassian
> Races of Ikass include Centaurs, Gargoyles, Kor, and Humans. These are described races that have a significant impact on Known Ikass. These are described or referenced in entries below.
> Ikass is also home to Faeries, Orcs, and Dwarves, which recieve a short description below.
> Ikass was once home to a Lost Civilization, that built the now-ruined Cathedral of Nisk. While the Cathedral city is currently populated and active, it is possible other ruins may be found throughout Ikass
> Ikass is *not* home to Goblins or Elves. At least, not known Ikass, so if they are present they're minor players or removed from the known edges of the world.
> Ikass is probably home to merfolk of some description. These, and any other race (Homarids? Vedalken? Ratfolk?) are left as a blank edge to be filled at a later date, by whoever wishes to explore such a border.
> The current scale of Known Ikass contains a large plain, setteled lands, a mountain chain at its borders, some forests, an assortment of rivers and streams. It might or might not have a coastline (this has not been filled in). As such, there's plenty of wild world outside what the natives and right now we the writers know.
Ikassian LoreKiral Centaurs
On the broad plains of Thanth, on the plane of Ikass, there stand marble oblelisks that most natives give a wide berth to, for they mark the edge of the domain of the Kiral Centaurs.
The Kiral tribes are isolationists and mystics, their wisdom kept hidden in stone carvings and the minds of their elders. Because the Kiral tribes hold some of the only permanent settlements on the plane, their knowledge of history is unparalleled -- but reaching such wisdom as anything but a centaur yourself will always carry a high price: The centaurs crave uniqueness, and got a pearl of wisdom they will often demand new experiences or new treasures not known to their vaults and hoards.
Though rarely seen outside their own lands, some Kiral centaurs do travel across Ikass, hunting for either new experience or new treasure. These wanderers are usually less trustworthy than their isolationist brothers and sisters, more likely to show the darker side of the centaurs' passion and greed
From a Planeswalker's perspective, the Kiral Centaurs of Ikass are aligned primarily with white mana, but also with black and red. Their classes consist of white clerics and advisors mixed with black and red rogues. Often, even the white aligned members of the tribe will exact costs from their summoner.
On the far end of the Thranth plains squats a series of ruins that even the Kiral tribe centaurs avoid. These ruins of an ancient civilization are home to a race of strange creatures, stone guardians that haunt the ruins and pester travellers. This race of gargoyles seems to have spontaneously generated due to the magical properties of the ruins themselves: the buildings themselves called for a race that could inhabit them, and the Aether responded.
The gargoyle culture, such as it is, centers on the Cathedral of Nisk, a vast and lofty structure in the center of the old city. Here, or so the tales go, the stone monstrosities can be seen growing out of the great marble slabs themselves, maturing and finally taking flight to wander the city. They speak in cryptic half-truths and riddles amongst themselves, mocking all strangers in their city, and occasionally decending without warning upon trespassers, ripping them limb from limb. They exist only to complete the city.
Some claim that, berift of all other purpose, they are all born insane.
Ikass is a plane of many hidden wonders. As with many other worlds the exploration of it has been a daunting task for the natives, not to mention traveling Planeswalkers that just happen to stop over for a fortnight. Of special interest, though, to those who would better understand the lay of the land and hidden features of Ikass are its itinerant Kor.
Once, the Kor of Ikass wandered the plains in much the same way as their cousins do on any number of other planes, proud and spiritual nomads. However, in the last thousand years or so the world changed, and the Kor changed with it: as the territory of the Kiral Centaurs expanded and humanity began to raise more and more cities turning other stretches of plain into stretches of fields, the hunters found themselves in a losing battle: their choice either to face slow extinction as their territory declined or else embrace the march of civilization. On Ikass, at least, the Kor chose the latter.
The Kor still crave something of the open, wild places that were known to their ancestors, and have thus become consummate traders and explorers. Unwilling to stay in one place for very long, Kor caravans travel from city to city in search of survival while lone Kor (or sometimes small bands) forage off into the mountains, looking for treasures and trade routes in lands uncharted to the regions of their home
The unity that once kept the Kor alive and well in their old nomadic lives has resulted in their culture becoming highly insular in the civilized lands of Ikass. They are untrusted, and trust no one that is not another Kor. The mistrust of the Kor, at least, is for good reason, as the gypsy bands of Kor have earned their reputation for attempting to swindle those they trade with if they get a chance. Still, they travel so far and in such large numbers that locals will simply keep one hand on their purse when dealing with Kor traders, and discount fanciful stories of the rarity and value of untested goods.
Shiftless wanderers and sellers of snake oil, the Ikassian Kor would at first glance seem to be poor allies for even the most clever of Planeswalkers. While it is true that they lack the martial and spiritual traditions present in the Kor of planes like Dominaria and Zendikar, the Ikassian Kor still have quite a lot to offer as long as you know what you’re being sold. They have forsaken all that usually associates their people with white mana, and can be summoned primarily with red and black mana, some of the more mercantile dipping into thoughtful blue. Still, the Ikassian Kor yet possess the Kor unity, and what baneful spells they know will spare other Kor.
Ikassian humans are little different than most other breeds of humanity throughout the multiverse, save for how their world has shaped their culture and outlook. Here on Ikass, the spread of humanity has not been one to build large cities, but instead many cities and small townships in a great web across the face of the world. Humanity's population is lower here than it might be on other planes that have reached, and its population density much lower.Faeries
Individual townships come together in communities of communities for major events such as seasonal holidays, the most important of which are held in spring and fall, around the time of planting and harvest, though one would suppose that people, being rational, would take any excuse for a day or two of drunken revelry out of the year. Society is largeley agrarian, with most of the population dedicated to food production, whether through farms, ranches, or hunting. A smaller number of Ikassian humans are skilled craftsmen: Weavers, potters, blacksmiths, and other tradesmen with few shortcuts for work done by hand. Almost none travel beyond their local group of towns on a regular basis, leaving trading with distant regions to the Kor that move among them. Of course, some few will take the path of the merchant themselves, or be bitten by the exploration bug and head for lands uncharted.
Of certain note is that the Ikassian humans practice a system of superstition and folk medicine that is both oddly consistant between different groups of towns, and somewhat similar to the superstitions of the kithkin of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor.
Faeries on Ikass come in two sorts: Sprites and so-called "Greater" fae. How the two are related is unclear, but they are both tightly tied to the forests and fresh waters of Ikass. Sprites are a relativley common sight in human areas, regarded as somewhere between friends and pests depending how mischevious the mood of the sprites that loiter about the local well or stream are. Orcs
Sprites are similar in size and shape to the faeries of Lorwyn, though they lack the insectoid features of Oona's fae. The Greater fae are spirits of the forest. Neither dryads nor elves, their outlook is alien and they do not often care to speak in anything but riddles and rhymes to outsiders. They are human sized, and some sport gossamer wings like those of the sprites while others are bedecked by horns or tails. The sprites seem to have both an affinity for the fae and a knowledge of them that they cannot be coaxed into sharing. Stories abound of the greater fae playing strange sorts of games with mortals, from swapping children to rewarding good deeds and transgressions that are nothing of the sort to other folk. They are wideley feared by those humans that live and kor that travel near their terratories, if for no other reason than their known affinity for wolves.
A long time ago, when the Kor still freely roamed the plains now tilled as fields by humans, life on Ikass was not quite so peaceful as it is now. those were the days of the Orcs. Gray skinned, tusked folk somewhat taller and stockier than humans, it was their instinct to take rather than to make, meaning that they came into conflict often enough with humans, kor, and centaurs. Eventually though, lean times and internal strife the Orcs faded up into the mountains that they "share" with the dwarves.Dwarves
Nowadays, what Orcs people usually see are brigands and mercenary guards against the same, often finding themselves in the employ of Kor merchants travelling through areas farther from civilization, where beasts or other orcs are something more of a problem. The rest eek out lonely existances in the crags, their numbers kept low by their staunch refusal to settle when they believe they are somehow "above" working for their means
The Dwarves of Ikass are much like dwarves elsewhere, and they are one of the civilizations with the longest histories, predating modern Humans and Kor in their records. Even so, not even dwarven tales are clear on the people who came before, and built what ruins are found. Some dwarven legends speak of the people before, but they are remarkably vague for a people who carve their histories into stone.
The dwarves are an insular people. When trouble strikes, they prefer to seal themselves up in their mountain halls, keeping out both intruders and fair-weather friends until conditions improve. However, they are dependable for everything except shelter, and are known as a trustworthy people in tune with the earth. Practicioners of geomancy, the most respected dwarves in their own society are those who can delve into the mountains by the force of their will against the stone alone.
Other Notable Locations of Known Ikass: The River Rusk
The river Rusk winds through the fertile valley where Ikassian humans have settled. It provides an easy means of travel and trade through a number of the larger villages and is integral to trade with the Dwarves. The river is quite deep and almost magically smooth, and great fish the size of centaurs are said to swim in the depths. On the day of the summer solstice humans that live near the river keep to their houses, for the river that night is lit up by bobbing globes of light, said to come from the Sprites and Fae. The purpose for this apparent celebration is unknown, but it is a beautiful sight for those brave enough to look. The Wending Way
Eventually Rusk ends in the Mountains, where it passes into the earth through a wide cavern known as the Wending Way. As this cavern develops into a wide range of labyrinthine paths the walls gain a faintly shimmering glow in one's torchlight. Low relief carvings, done in a style similar to that found in the Cathedral of Nisk, decorate the walls. Some of the channels are clearly carved out of the stone and are supported by arches and columns not present in the main cavern. Most humans assume that the Dwarves carved these channels, but the Dwarves deny any knowledge of these caverns, and generally avoid them.
Occasionally humans will venture into the caves in search of rare cave crabs and other delicacies worth much for the various festivals that dot the calendar. Centaurs also sometimes venture into the caves when the river is lower, walking along the water in search of secrets. The caves are made dangerous, however, by occasional bands of orcs, and more opportunistic kor. Some adventurers have claimed that on the other side of the tunnels they discovered vast bodies of water too salty to drink, but this has not been verified.
> This continent is less fertile and more hostile than the Ikassian, composed primarily of tundras to the North, a great spanning desert across the middle of the continent framed by mountain ranges to the West, dissolving out into a vast network of salt flats and marshes in the lower end of the continent.
> Dellity is relatively close to the Ikassian continent, although it is not connected (on its Northern edge, at least, where the currently explored span of the Ikassian continent comes nearest to Dellity) by any kind of land bridge.
> Between the two continents lie the Glass Isles, which are not particularly hospitable to travelers, but can serve as a needed stepping stone between the two continents.
> There is not much movement of humans between the two continents, but some seafaring Orcs and Kor have built trading settlements on the harsh cliffs of Ikass's mountain ranges that allow movement back and forth, and legend has it that a hidden town lies at the other end of the Winding Way, but this has not been verified.
> The adjectival form of Dellity is Dellit (also sometimes Dellitsman or Dellitswoman).
> The continent is sometimes referred to in Kor accounts as "The Arivan Continent" after the great city that once stood on the Eastern coast.Ariva: The City of Wonders/The Sition Disruption
No discussion of Dellity can go without a discussion of Ariva, the City of Wonders, the former capital of the world. This city, founded centuries ago by a powerful man who, it is said, stepped out of the sky to tame the chaotic nature of the world's tribes, once was the grandest city in all the world. And, although few on Ikass knew it, it was one of the greatest cities of the Multiverse, and the center of a vast, plane-spanning empire.
Ariva, however, was not without enemies. The Orcs of Dellity, in particular, resented the strict rule of the city and, armed with powerful and allegedly cursed artifacts, burning with the desire to avenge the plundering of their secrets far in the nearly forgotten past, plotted insurrection as they slaved away in the city's mines. Soon, their chance for vengeance came when the lord of Ariva, the powerful planeswalker Vasilias, returned to his home in defeat:
The Mending had taken his great powers from him, and now, an old man with dwindling mana, his empire was falling to pieces. Ikass was, as his first conquest, the world that remained the most independent of his control, and he returned to discover that the very core of his empire had grown soft and vulnerable even as he spread his steel grasp out through Dominia. His regional commanders had little loyalty to their emperor, and his enemies had grown strong.
It was not long before an army of orcs had stormed Ariva itself.
And then, the legends say that with a rending howl Ariva was torn from the world, leaving a chaotic void in its wake, and scattering the orcs back to their mountains.
Vasilias, in a last desperate attempt to retain his life and his dream of domination, had turned himself into a Lich, and made Ariva itself, and everyone in it, into the phylactery for his soul. In the process, the city was broken free of Ikass and became a pocket plane orbiting its former world.
The void where Ariva once was became a region of mirage and uncertainty known as the Sition Disruption. Its strange influences roll out on the hot desert winds into the rest of Dellity, and out into the sea. Few are brave enough to challenge those waves of distortion, and fewer still are hardy enough to survive them.
Loxodons live deep in the desert, relying upon their firm skin and hardiness to keep them safe from sandstorms and the harsh sun. They tend to be somewhat migratory in inclination, but currently reside mostly within what great oasis cities remain from the rule of Ariva. They are the primary source of trade in and out of the desert, and their cities are mostly hostile to the other races, not by desire but simply by design--they tend to be reachable only by the Loxodons themselves and by the hardiest of travelers. The Loxodons have thus garnered a reputation as a somewhat secretive and reclusive race, despite their generally welcoming nature.
Orcs and Kor
Humans, under the instruction of the Lord of Ariva and with the help of their Loxodon allies, managed to cultivate great stretches of the desert to the south-west, introducing new systems of irrigation that introduced fertility to the harsh climate. Since the fall of Ariva the central organization of this region has collapsed, resulting in the desert reclaiming, to some extent, the area. However, each town still comfortably maintains its crops and survives under regional lords, only occasionally banding together into trade alliances against other cities. There is extensive trade throughout this region, and most humans are either farmers or traders who work largely at the behest of their city leader.
In the North, there is a legend that speaks of the origins of the Orcs. It says that once a Felidar bedded a white antelope, and from the union, born where the sand chills and gives way to the steppes and the tundra of the North, two children were born: the pale Kor, and the dark grey Orc. The Kor were given speed and grace, and the Orcs were granted strength and dominion.
This divide has characterized the strange relationship between the two races, one fraught with a history of violence but also unified with a history of shared culture and trade. It is possible that the two races predate the very presence of humans on the continent, and certainly it predates the migration of humans into the north. Both races, after all, began as nomads and many still travel across the steppes in search of game.
The orcs of Dellity are somewhat more settled than the orcs of the mainland, perhaps because of the civilizing influence of Ariva, or perhaps in reaction to the city's sudden disappearance. Those who make their homes further to the West of the continent have adopted the feudal lifestyle of Ikass, although they still are primarily interested in the capturing of relics from the countless ruins that are nestled away within the mountains, rather than the cultivation of what flora will grow within the rocky soil of their homes. They are not inclined towards war, and generally have a peaceful trading relationship with the humans and loxodon tribes nearby, some even settling alongside the other races, but their loyalty lies ultimately with orcs and orcs alone, so they can be capricious allies if they suspect they can get a better deal elsewhere.
The kor are similarly tribally inclined, although, like the orcs, they can and will live contentedly with humans. Most of them have retained their nomadic lifestyle and largely live either in the north, or in the east. They are the only race daring enough to brave the planar distortions and mirages of the Sition Disruption.
Within the seemingly infinite sea of sand that stretches across Dellity, there are oases that dot the land. Some have been known to house the Mandalar Fey, beings who are darkly protective of their chosen sources of water. Although more varied than their sprite cousins, they all share two features: black dragonfly wings, and scorpion tails of varying potency. Their other features can be highly varied, with some travelers describing visions of jackal-faced or leathery skinned and seemingly mummified assailants dogging their steps.
These accounts are thrown into doubt by the propensity of these pests toward mirages and nightmares. Loxodon lore claims that the Mandalar can only control the minds of those that drink from their oasis.
They have also been known to make wish-granting pacts with other mortals. Those who are in debt to the Mandalar (either through such pacts or through the theft of water) live out the rest of their life plagued by nightmares and occasional black outs that leave the victims near the Oasis again with an artifact in their hand which they appearantly stole from some wizard or museum to deliver to the Dark Sprites who they are indebted to. Some tribes have a taboo against killing the Spritemarked, as legend claims that to spill the blood of the Spritemarked is to call more of the creatures into being. This may explain why the Lord of Ariva was unable to exterminate the race, despite many attempts during his long rule.
The Surrakar of Hooses
Deep in the most barren stretch of the Arivan desert lurk the Hellions, fearsome wurmlike creatures that burn with an inner fire. These creatures lie dormant much of the year, although they will emerge from the dunes to devour nearby caravans. They have been known, however, to act as oracles for those who come to them with the proper offering.
In the south east corner of the Arivan continent, as the sand of desert meets the sand of sea, there is a vast marshland known as Hooses. The marshes contain a number of human settlements, built upon the sturdy reeds and baked mudbrick plentiful in the marshes. The arrangement of their towns tends toward tribalism rather than the feudalism farther north and west.
They live along side--and often come into conflict with--the Surrakar of the marshes, strange aquatic beings with wide mouths and shimmering, opalescent skins. The Surrakar of Hooses are, unlike their bretheren on other planes, more inclined toward the colors white and blue, rather than the more common black surrakar. They are therefore somewhat more eccentrically benevolent than their fellows, occasionally leaving strange, unidentifiable gifts with the humans. They are also known to devour crops, however, and are difficult if not impossible to get rid of once attached to a settlement, and are therefore viewed as a nuisance and generally driven away from villages. They are seldom killed, however, as the people of the marshes consider the murder of a Surrakar to be a bringer of particularly bad luck.
Other Notable Locations...Speaking Caves
Osopospents, the City of Mirages
In the deep hollows of the mountains, and in the shadowy steppes of the Arivan desert, there are caves that are said to speak, scream, and howl their secrets to those who dare to seek them out. It is said that when Vasilias first came to Ikass he sought out one such cave and, leaving his band of followers, ventured alone into its darkness. He returned assured of purpose and began his first campaign of conquest upon the continent. The cave was transformed into a mine run secretly by a single band of orcs. It is said also that the knowledge used to finally assault Ariva was stolen or smuggled from this mine, but that for the betrayal of its secrets the tribe of orcs was cursed for ten generations.
The second largest city after Ariva, and now the largest city upon the continent, is the cliff city of Osopospents. More populous than any city on Ikass's main continent, the city is built at the head of the mountains, beside a stream that brings water to the many crops that sustain the city. While relatively peaceful, and a city of thriving craft (the area is known for its ceramics guild--most of the bricks of Hooses are traded there from Osopospents in return for the rich clay of the marshes) the city has also gained a reputation among the humans and orcs of the continent as a city plagued by hauntings. On the scorching winds from the south mirages blow in, shimmering rifts in reality that seem to emanate from the now feared former city of Ariva. Furthermore, from the north in winter a chill fog rolls down from the mountains and steppes, bringing with it strange tidings, strange happenings, and occasionally strange bands of kor and humans trading in goods unlike any from the lower region. To the humans and orcs that live in Osopospents these occurences are taken as simply another simple fact of life, and for the most part they are content to labor under the relatively stable group of feudal lords that controls the city.
The king of Osopospents is a woman named Sha Menetice II, who has introduced a number of reforms much welcomed by the people but disliked by some of the lords pledged to her service in the city. It is said, however, that Menetice has curried favor with the Hellions, and so her power has thus far remained unchallenged, regardless of how dubious such claims might be.
on Mar 01, 2013 - 01:53AM