Suppose you woke up and find yourself somewhere in the Magic the Gathering multiverse, on one of the many planes. What would you do? Where would you go?
There’s lots of options here that depend a great deal on which plane you ended up on.
If you land on Ravnica for example, you might go watch a Rakdos show, or visit one of the Selesnya sanctuaries. If you land on Gobakhan you’ll want to pick up some diamonds from the sand, because they’re literally everywhere. If you’re on Kaladesh you’ll probably want to find a steampunk pet of some kind to follow you around, and if you happen to be on Ixalan it would be cool to meet some of the domesticated dinosaurs and maybe make a friend.
Lots of things to do. :-)
First things first though. If we assume you’ve landed on a random point in a random plane in the multiverse, it follows naturally you probably didn’t land in a city. Unless you landed in Ravnica, where the city covers the entire planet, you will probably find yourself in one of the many vast expanses of untouched wilderness, filled with enormous baloths, ravenous wurms, and vicious drakes. And worse things. Much worse things.
Ah, nature. :-)
So what should you do if you want to survive the night? In most planes, the first thing you’ll want to do is find civilization right away. How to do that is going to depend on the plane though, and of course you have to survive the local wildlife long enough to make the trek all the way to the nearest village.
Discussing each plane in turn will take time though. I’m hoping to cover that in later entries, but for now, here’s some quick and dirty tips for surviving as an unarmed, unmagical human who just woke up in the Magic the Gathering multiverse.
1. The first priorities in any survival situation are water, food, and shelter. The easiest way to find all three is to find civilization, as just about every plane we know about has some kind of civilization (though not all). There are of course some spiritual or mental planes where you don’t technically need any of these things. Let’s not worry about those yet.
2. Keep an eye on the weather. Some planes are plagued with dangerous weather patterns such as manastorms, voidstorms, diamond storms, lavalanches, stone rain, fire rain, and of course, elemental activity. On these sorts of planes shelter becomes an even greater priority than normal.
3. Avoid the larger wildlife, most of which will eat you if it finds you. There are a stunning number of apex predators in the multiverse, so many it makes you wonder how sentient life ever evolved here. Avoid open spaces, watch your back at every turn, and basically don’t relax until you can find friendly sentient life.
4. Also, don’t trust your previous understanding of how nature works. Even familiar looking creatures might work completely differently, depending on where you landed. Watch animals closely before approaching, looking for unexpected fangs, wings, and other oddities. Avoid corpses, which might not be completely dead. Try to figure out which plantlife is sentient and which isn’t before gathering firewood or building a shelter. In fact, you should probably ask every branch and stone for permission before picking it up, just in case.
5. If you have to live in the wilderness for a bit, trust plains or islands over forests or mountains, and forests or mountains over swamps. Avoid swamps at all costs. Plains and island creatures (white and blue creatures) tend to be a bit friendlier to innocents.
7. Make sure you know the language before you head to a large city. You might find you know the language right away, and you might not know why. There’s no lore explanation for this, but every plane seems to speak the same language despite thousands of years of history and very little cultural sharing. The answer, of course, is because of magical influence between the planes, so my best estimate is if you don’t know the language right away you will probably be able to pick it up really quick.
8. Don’t travel alone if you can avoid it. Travel with a companion or even a caravan, as there is bound to be someone headed to the city eventually who can help keep you safe, if only from your own ignorance.
9. Once you’re in a city, avoid the obvious danger zones: cults, gangs, and warclans. Remember: you are an unarmed, unmagical human and a foreigner. You are a target. Try not to stick out too much. You don’t want to end this trip as a necromancer’s undead minion, and that is very likely if you can’t watch your step.
10. If you can learn some magic, do it, but not at the risk of joining a sketchy organization. There are a lot of different forms and sources of magic in the multiverse, so the quicker you can learn, the quicker you can find a place in this plane’s society. Find your niche.
11. Be tolerant. Racism is a huge problem on many planes, but you can’t afford to get caught up in it. Some planes don’t have humans, and on others the best connections you can make might not be human. Try to understand, and at the very least try not to offend. You can’t afford to be too picky about allies in a world where the isolated get eaten, beaten, turned into the undead, or all three.
12. Speaking of which, join a team. Maybe not right away, but once you’ve learned a bit about the city you’re in and how the plane is divided into its respective parts, find the part that appeals to you most and seek it out. You’ll learn faster that way, and have someone to watch your back.