For the purpose of this post I am going to cover Innistrad because of the new set coming out April 8th, Shadows Over Innistrad. For this post I will cover lore for the original sets of Innistrad, Dark Ascension, and Avacyn's Return. I will also speculate at the end on what will come from our return to this plane on April 8th, given public knowledge at the time of writing this post.
The Land of Innistrad & Its Inhabitants
Innistrad is a plane of gothic horrors. Humanity is always on the brink of extinction. Zombies and ghosts are constantly attacking them. In the woodlands, there are packs of werewolves threatening to destroy villages and in the mountainous regions the vampires are always hunting for prey.
In the beginning there was an alchemist named Edgar Markov. He lived in the land that would become known as Stensia. There was a famine in the land that made him look into dark experiments to find a solution. Through a pact with the demon, Shilgengar, he learned the secrets of sangromancy. Using a blood ritual he was able to give people agelessness and the ability to live on blood alone; creating the first vampires. He used this ritual on his grandson, Sorin Markov. The strain of this ritual caused Sorin's spark to ignite and made him a planeswalker; able to travel to many different planes (aka worlds/locations).
There were originally 12 families of vampires in Innistrad. Over time, 3 bloodlines died out and 5 others are so small they aren’t worth mentioning, leaving 4 major bloodlines that affect the land.
Markov: This is the top bloodline created by Edgar Markov himself. They have grown steadily through the years and have vampires seeded through out all of Innistrad. These vampires can be talented with psychic magic.
Falkenrath: These vampires take pleasure in picking their victims from deep within communities that consider themselves safe. Their original sire was a falconer leading them to master flying to snatch up humans.
Stromkirk: The original vampire was Runo Stromkirk. He held a strong affinity to the coastal land of Nephalia and this clan holds true to this. They are proficient with glamors (magic) that allow them to blend in with humans and can also make themselves become like mist.
How Vampires are Created
Vampires are made by siring. This is a special type of bite that will turn a human into a vampire. A siring bite will usually be made in a place that is not easily seen to show respect to their soon-to-be equal. In order for a bite to be siring, they must introduce their blood into the wound, usually by biting their own tongue before they feed. Not all bites will transform a human into a vampire. There are cases were a vampire is interrupted before they can fully drain a human. The human will not change but will have disturbing and erotic dreams for years afterwards. In order for the siring to be complete, the victim must feed on the sires blood before the next full moon or they will die.
The blood trade is a booming industry in Innistrad. Vampires prefer the blood of the living; it taste like a fine wine to them and must be delivered within days of being "collected." Old blood, or blood from dead humans, taste like vinegar to them.
Any mortal weapons can kill vampires but weapons made from living wood will be especially potent at dispatching them.
Nephalia is the borderland along the ocean. Its shores are known as Silver Beach. Here we find the Nebelgast. This is a mist that comes in and out with the tide, bringing geists in with it. Due to the vast waterways and river systems, Nephalia is a major player in transporting goods. There are 3 major settlements in Nephalia.
Havengul: This is the largest city full of merchants and artisans. But it has a dark side. Due to the amount of people living in the city, it is easy for someone to go missing without being noticed. People are usually abducted and taken to the underground passages known as the Erdwal. Once here, they are sold to ghoulcallers and skaberen to be made into the undead or sold to vampires. The most prominent merchant here is Ludevic. He is an alchemist who uses his vast fortune to fund his experiments, which look into forbidden realms & planes.
Selhoff: This is the town most affected by the Nebelgast. It is almost always covered by the mist. This has turned most humans away, but has drawn others; namely the skaberen and alchemists. The elite of Selhoff live in towers, leading to people referring to the town as the Towers of Selhoff. One notable tower is Jenrik's Tower. The mortar for this tower was mixed with the sands of The Silver Beach, making it glisten in the moonlight. Here, Jenrik the Astronomer spends his time documenting all the movements of the stars. For this reason he is feared by the vampires.
Ghouls: Ghouls are corpses raised from the grave by ghoulcallers using black magic. They tend to carry on the tools of their trade, even being able to perform magic if they could in their past life. They are usually raised from the grafs of Nephalia; these are the burial grounds of the area. There are 3 major types of grafs:
- The Fengrafs: these are were peasants and common folk are buried.
- The Seagrafs: were sailors and fishermen are buried.
- The Diregrafs: these are places were major battles usually happened and the ghouls usually have the weapons they possessed in life with them.
Geists: These are the ghosts of Innistrad. When a spirit decides to stay attached to the world, rather then rejoin its natural essence, it becomes a geist. Usually it is because they feel a regret or grudge that makes them stay chained to the metaphysical world. Giests come tied to all colors of magic.
- The white aligned geists tend to be less harmful and more protective, usually Cathers or family members that want to protect their charges from the afterlife.
- The blue aligned geists tend to be manifestation of thought and will try and posses people making them speak in tongues and do things they would not normally do.
- Black aligned geists are always malicious and must be exorcised immediately. If not, the end result will be death to whoever they are haunting.
- The red aligned geists are the most dangerous in Innistrad. They are manifestations of emotions; unfulfilled desire and revenge. They often manifest as a red, blood-dripping mist and will inflict wounds upon those they encounter.
- Green aligned geists are usually manifestations of people who were closely linked to nature and can be summoned by druids. They are protective and often link themselves to plants, animals and landforms. If you have an angry green geist they can cause blights and famine until they are appeased.
The land of Gavony is where Humans thrive the most. It holds Innistrad's largest city, Thraben, where you can find Avacyn and her flight of angels. Due to the amount of humans in the area though, it also has the most problems with the undead.
Thraben sits on a mesa in the middle of the Lake of Herons. It is the center of power for the Church of Avacyn. The leader of the church and town is the Lunarch, Mikaeus. The city has a complex set of walls designed to defend the city.
- The outer wall is the main defense of Thraben; it is thick and high.
- The Merchant’s Wall is a grouping of halls that make a market square and the center of trade in the city.
- The Child’s Wall is a wall that surrounds the old cathedral at the center of town. It is tradition that when a child is born in Thraben the parents place its name on the wall, giving the child extra protection.
- The Fang Wall is were werewolves who are caught are hung. The fangs of the dead werewolves are then placed in the cracks of the wall.
- Last is the Bloodless Wall where vampires are chained up to die.
Just south of Thraben is the lands of Nearheath. This area is made up of several smaller villages that are afforded protection for being so close to Thraben. Beyond Nearheath is the Moorlands. This area is full of many dangers and few venture there.
These insane siblings reside in the moorlands. Gisa is a powerful ghoulcaller who uses her black magic to raise armies of ghouls. Geralf is a skaberen who has amassed army of skaabs. They are insane and use their armies to battle one another. They are relatives of Mikaeus but were exiled in some scandal.
There are currently 3-angel flights lead by Avacyn.
- The Flight of Goldnight are the angels associated with the sun. Their leader is Gisela.
- The Flight of Alabaster are the angels associated with the blessed sleep (term for death). Their leader is Bruna.
- The Flight of Herons are the angels associated with birth and purity. Their leader is Sigarda.
Kessig is a superstitious land. The people there live off the land and will make their tools rather then buy them. Ulvenwald, the Misty Wood, cuts them off from the rest of Innistrad. This dark forest is home to many creatures including werewolves, geists and other dark forces. Due to the nature of where they live, the folks of Kessig tend to be superstitious and have very set beliefs.
Werewolves and Howlpacks.
The werewolves of Innistrad are humans afflicted with the curse of Lycanthropy. They are essentially one soul split down the middle between their human side and wolf side. They can transform into a werewolf during the lunar cycle closest to the full moon. Sometimes intense stress can cause them to transform as well. Some werewolves are repentant and feel ashamed for what they do when they transform. Others give into their wolf-side and relish for the feeling again. Most werewolves are lone hunters but some seek to form groups known as howlpacks.
When most Kessigers think of howlpacks they think of The Krallenhorde. This pack can consist of anywhere from 50-200 werewolves depending on the moon cycle. The leader, or alpha of the pack, is Ulrich. He stays with the pack even when in human form. Another well-known pack is the Mondronen. These werewolves practice blood magic. Their alpha is Tovolar, a silver furred wolf who is said to never revert back to human.
Far from the towns in the woods is fissure known as Devils' Breach. It is said that smoke and flame waft from this crevasse. You can also hear voices cackling from inside. Some people have even reported seeing devils dancing at the entrance.
Demons of Innistrad.
When Sorin created Avacyn she pushed back on the evils of Innistrad. This created an equilibrium and left the opportunity for exploitation. The Soul of the plane of Innistrad consists of light and dark (white mana and black mana). The light and dark cannot be destroyed. When the equilibrium was reached in the real world it lead to a unbalance in the Soul causing the creation of demons that were once thought to be just myths. The demons and devils were quick to rise into this vacuum of power left by Avacyn. Demons are black mana reformed into a powerful entity. Devils are their servants.
The Story-line of the Original Innistrad Block
The story begins with the forces of evil pushing back on humanity. Vampires are becoming more brazen, killing without want. Howlpacks are growing to alarming sizes, ravaging the lands. Ghoulcallers and Skaberen are raising massive armies and attacking settlements. The powers of the Church of Avacyn appear to be waning and disappearing in some areas.
Sorin has returned to find out why his creation has failed in her duty. We also meet several other planeswalkers during this block. Liliana has come to Innistrad to find Griselbrand, one of the Demons that holds the contract on her life. Garruk has come searching for Liliana because she has used her Cursed Veil to corrupt him and he is slowly turning into something dark. We also meet Tamiyo the Moonsage who is on the plane to learn everything she can about it. Last we meet Tibalt, a part human, part devil who is causing chaos in Innistrad.
When Gerralf reaches Mikeaus he slays him. Liliana retrieves the body and raises him from the dead. She learns that Avacyn was challenging demons to combat and in defeating them, she would imprison them in the Helvault. Griselbrand challenged her to battle. The battle lasted for several days. In the end, Avacyn was mortally wounded, but with a last burst of effort she was able to seal Griselbrand in the Helvault. While he was being sucked in he grabbed her and pulled her in with him. So they are both currently residing in the Helvault. The only witness to this besides the angels was Mikeaus. He chose to keep this a secret in hopes that the people would not lose faith.
Liliana is unable to open the vault and must trick a servant of Avacyn into doing this. Cathers led by Thalia are protecting the Helvault. Liliana gives Thalia a choice: open the Helvault or she will destroy all of Thalia’s Cathers. Thalia destroys the vault releasing all of the demons inside. This also releases a fully restored Avacyn.
At this point Liliana tracks down Griselbrand. He offers her power in exchange for his life. She sees through the lies and destroys him. She then leaves the plane in search of the other released demons.
Once Avacyn is restored, her angel flights return to their full power. They begin cleansing the land and pushing back the darkness once again. In her crusade to cleanse the land she comes across a group of werewolves that wish to be turned human again. She tells them she is unable to cure them but she can cast a spell that would fuse their two warring sides of man and beast. They agree, becoming the noble Wolfir servants of Avacyn. There is a unintended side effect as the cursemute spell takes hold though. It travels through the lands, abolishing many curses that are affecting the people. The cursemute even has an effect on Garruk. It causes the curse to recede and gives him back his sanity. In newer stories coming out for Shadows Over Innistrad, we find out that some werewolves found them selves cured and would not transform thanks to the cursemute. But the madness of Avacyn has caused them to start transforming again.
Dark Ascension Trailer
Avacyn Restored Trailer
Shadows over Innistrad (upcoming release in April)
The Future of Innistrad -Shadows Over Innistrad Block
Things we know so far: Jace is on Innistrad trying to find Sorin and discovers that something crazy is going on. He starts following the clues. One of them is Tamiyo's journal. We don't know if she is dead or alive at this point. Avacyn has gone insane and is killing humans. We don't know what has caused this. She has already turned two of the angel flights against humanity. Sigarda is holding out and trying to find allies to fight Avacyn. Avacyn has reversed the cursemute, causing werewolves to run rampant again. Sorin has returned to Innistrad looking for Nahiri and finds that she has destroyed Markov manor.
Some people speculate that the Eldrazi menace known as Emrakul is on Innistrad causing the corruption. I believe this to be false. I think that there are several possible reasons that Avacyn has lost her mind:
1. Tibalt is trying to seek revenge on Sorin. What better way then to corrupt Avacyn and create chaos?
-This one I like and hope to be the truth.
2. Nahiri has corrupted her to get back at Sorin for the near annihilation of her home plane of Zendikar.
-I don't like this reasoning because this is not her mana affinity style. She is more likely there tearing up the vampires to get to Sorin rather than trying to corrupt Avacyn.
3. Avacyn has just gone insane all on her own. She hears every prayer on the plane. Maybe it has just finally gotten to her.
-I don't like this one because the way she is acting; it seems like an outside force is effecting her.
4. Originally the 3 three heads of the angelic flights had a 4th sister. She sought to understand the darker side of Innistrad and regularly interacted with vampires and werewolves. Avacyn declared her a heretic and had her destroyed when she sought conversations with demons.
-What if she wasn't destroyed and this is her way of getting revenge on Avacyn; causing her to go mad and destroy those she was to protect? I like this one but would find it more appropriate if she showed back up to help Sigarda fight Avacyn.
5. What if when Avacyn used the cursemute to cure Garruk the corruption of the Cursed Veil rubbed off on her?
-This could explain why she slowly got corrupted and is very plausible.
Hello, I'm Ron. I'm a passionate nerd who loves a good
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