The Yggdrani

Three powerful beings of cosmic nature style themselves as the Farmers of Planar Seedlings. Chant goes that these creatures, who call themselves Yggdrani (pronounced ig-DRAH-nee), are outsiders of neutrality who may or may not once have been rilmani paragons. Or perhaps they predated the rilmani. Nobody seems to recall when these bloods first emerged, so maybe they’ve always been here, lurking at the very edges of the Outlands.

The few cutters who’ve laid eyes on one says they look like slender humanoids with the characteristic inscrutability of a rilmani, except their bodies are not formed from alchemical metals, but rather they seem to be carved, or grown, from wood. Their true names are not known, only their titles.

The Forager

(Planar yggdrani [they/them] / N)

Role: Naturalist-collector

Location: Wandering Yggdrasil, the Astral or planes of the Great Ring

Who seeks, preserves and plants the seeds of Yggdrasil

The Forager is said to have grown from the first acorn produced by the first oak tree. Their face is weathered, with a thoughtful philosophical expression, and they delight in seeing a creature they have never spied before. They are the most well-known of the three Yggdrani, for their role is to roam the planes, seeking the seeds of Yggdrasil.

Now of course, the World Ash is infinite in size, so the Forager does not do this alone. As well as druids of Yggdrasil, the chant goes the Forager has a network of collectors that scamper up and down Yggdrasil continuously; the ratatosk. Notoriously playful and hard to control, the ratatosk are not the most reliable of servants, but they seem to respect the Forager enough to help them. When a wandering ratatosk scout spots the tell-tale shape of a forming samara—the name for the winged seeds of the World Ash—word usually gets back to to the Forager. It is apparently a task of great skill and precision to harvest the samara at the right time. Too early, and the seed will die. Too late and the seed breaks away and flutters off on the Astral tides, probably lost forever.

The Forager isn’t just out looking for seeds. They’re also collecting creatures to populate the new demiplanes as they grow. And this is probably the most likely reason a basher would meet the Forager—the yggdrani occasionally employs adventurer types to capture particular planar beasts; alive, of course.

The Ploughshare

(Planar yggdrani [they/them] / N)

Role: Farmer-destroyer

Location: Wandering the Hinterlands

Who churns up the lands that are no longer needed, to till the philosophical soils, and prepare them for fresh belief

The Ploughshare is a solemn cutter who rarely speaks. Their role is to prepare the land for the seeds of Yggdrasil to be planted, so they can grow unfettered. Germinating demiplanes from these seeds is no easy task, and the Ploughshare carefully selects the optimal location that each seed should be planted.

The Ploughshare is an enormous figure with arms as thick as tree trunks, with skin the colour of silver birch. They wear the enigmatic expression so common to rilmani, even while undertaking strenuous physical work.

Preparing the ground is the next step, and the one most fraught with problems. Once the Ploughshare has chosen the location, they begin to plough the ground in furrows. The area might be as small as a stadium or as large as several miles. The rhythmic action of tilling the land with their magical plough summons the abbau, giant purple worms which tunnel mercilessly through the area, literally deconstructing the land. Similar to the entropes of the Inner Planes (and some graybeards reckon the Doomguard may have captured an abbau to breed their first entrope), this destabilises the plane locally, causing it to crumble and return to the Maelstrom. It’s this primal state of swirling quintessence that it the perfect planting ground for Yggdrasil’s seeds.

All this is very well, but what is the ‘perfect’ place to plough happens to contain your village? This is the plight that occasionally befalls isolated Hinterlands communities when the time has come for their part of the Land to be recycled, and this is the situation that adventurers are most likely to find themselves face-to-face with the Ploughshare.

The Yeoman

(Planar yggdrani [they/them] / N)

Role: Philosopher-botanist

Location: Wandering the nascent planelettes of the Splinterlands

Who tends to the planar seedlings, nurturing them and protecting them until they are ready to be cut loose as planes or layers

The task of the Yeoman is to continuously explore the growing planelettes of the Splinterlands, ensuring they are developing smoothly and according to the unknowable plan of the Yggdrani. For reasons known only to themselves, the Yggdrani mission is to germinate noxious planes as well as paradises; presumably this is all part of the Balance.

The Yeoman is a stout figure with limbs and skin of elegant mahogany wood. They bear a sturdy staff, reputed to wield powerful magics of primal nature. Of the three Yggdrani, the Yeoman appears to be the least ancient, and this is because the role they play is arguably the most dangerous.

As well as ensuring the planelettes are on track, the Yeoman must also defend them from unworthy owners. Stealing away a potentially infinite amount of territory is a tempting target for many a rapacious demipower, archmage or fiend. The Yeoman’s role is to seek out the beings who desire to make their kip on one of these planes, assess whether they are suitable residents, according to the Balance. In this way, many powers have set up realms in these places, with the tacit or explicit approval of the Yeoman.

However, every so often a being seeks to snatch control of one of these planelettes that is not part of the great plan of Balance. In these cases, the Yeoman will challenge them to a duel—well, perhaps duel is the wrong word for this since the chant goes the Yeoman is capable of summoning great elemental forces from the land, animating trees, calling down angry mortai and even more terrible things. Sometimes even this is not enough, and the Yeoman is defeated. In this case, the challenger has proved themselves worthy and the two remaining Yggdrani bow their heads and allow the demiplane to be taken away. They then grow a new Yeoman, or perhaps the defeated one reincarnated, nobody is quite sure about that.

The Yeoman is most likely to be encountered inside one of the planelettes, wandering the lands and checking on the state of the Balance. There are some whispers though that this blood also maintains a museum of sorts, which houses defunct and defective demiplanes, which did not develop according to the Balance and had to be weeded out. Where this museum of planarology might be located though, is dark.

DM’s Note: I suggest using the stats for aurumachs for these beings, giving them the ability to summon ratatosk/living trees, purple worms with the powers of entropes and elementals respectively. Although getting into combat with such ancient beings is pretty unwise, they’re intended more for storytelling purposes.

Source: Jon Winter-Holt. Canonwatch: The Yggdrani, the Planes of Cordance and the concept of the Splinterlands are homebrew and non-canonical. From Greg’s original conception of the Planes of Cordance as full planes between the Outlands and the Great Ring in the 1990s, I’ve toned this down a little making them planelettes budding at the edge of the Outlands, which (a) explains why they are so little known, and (b) makes them easier to ignore if you don’t want to use them.

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