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The Dark Barony.jpg
First seen Homelands
Last seen Future Sight (novel)
Planeswalkers Daria, Ravi, Sandruu
Rabiah Scale 9[1]
Status Unknown

Ulgrotha, whose name means "Garden", was a small backwater plane, far from Dominaria, sometimes called the "Homelands" by its inhabitants. Ulgrotha was the setting for the Homelands expansion.[2][3]

History[edit | edit source]

Apart from being a world very rich in mana and diverse life forms, Ulgrotha wasn't much different from any of the other planes that made up the fabric of the Multiverse. On this plane was the citadel of the Tolgath, a group of planeswalkers directly opposed to their rivals, the Ancients.

Around 3200 AR, when the two warred on the plane, the battle was so massive that one of the Ancients was forced to open a rift from Ulgrotha to a different world, just to fuel their spells. To bring a drastic end to the war, the Tolgath Ravi rang the Apocalypse Chime, given to her by her master. The effects of the chime were monstrous, as the artifact caused a magical backlash that erupted across the entire plane, with effect even on the distant Dominaria and Kamigawa. The Chime, attuned to the mana patterns and streams of Ulgrotha, disrupted mana channels all over the plane. All creatures perished, and all of the duelists who could not escape in time were burnt by the colorless fire, as an entire world of energy surged against them. The land died, the energy channels run dry, and most of the summoned creatures died, their lifeforce drank by the very soil of the Dead Zone. Where before the rich earth had produced mana, now it drank mana and life from any creature who walked across its surface. Only the deep sea was safe. Ravi hid herself in a magical coffin in the Basalt Spire, but was later unable to free herself. Only a small section of the plane remained relatively unscathed, as it was fueled by the mana pouring through the rift that was opened by the Ancient wizard.[3]

Twenty years later, on the inhabitable plains of Ulgrotha, a nomadic human culture starts to form from a mish-mash of the summoned warriors, healers, sorcerers, and the like. Goblins and orcs also make their homes in the Koskun Mountains, and are starting to dig through the rich soil. The plane is going through some serious changes; there are constant and violent storm, as are going to be unpredictable seasons and weather patterns. Another forty years, and the tales of the Great War start to become only tales for grandchildren; with the passing of the centuries, they continue to degenerate even more, as there is no single and widespread written language.

Around 3420 AR, a colony of Dwarves from another plane dig through a subterranean planar gate to Ulgrotha, in search of minerals and gems. They arrived deep beneath the mountains of the Homelands, where they establish a Dwarven city, called New Freedom in the Dwarven tongue. The Dwarves dig to the surface, and start to build a great stone castle called Morning Light overlooking the saltmarsh. A number of the Dwarves build sailing ships to explore the local world they have found their way into, and leave the rest of their kin to finish the castle. After two unknown planeswalkers duelled in the swamps near the uncompleted castle, an ancient Vampire Lord by the name of Baron Sengir is left stranded on the plane. When the Sea-Dwarves return, they find that all of their kin have been slain or turned into undead by the Baron. Even though they know many ways to get into their own castle, Baron Sengir proves too strong for them. In one of the raids in the dwarven mines, Baron Sengir captures the Dwarven King's daughter, Irini, and turns her into a vampire. Finally, the Dwarves accept the fact that they will never be able to reconquer the castle, and leave it to the victor. The dwarves, beaten and demoralized, go to find their own home in this world. The survivors swear a life oath of vengeance and strike the knowledge of the planar gate from their history. Soon after, the Baron discovers the resting place of Ravi, who has gone mad in centuries of imprisonment. He frees her from the coffin, and brings her with him, renaming her Grandmother Sengir.

At the same time, the planeswalker Serra arrives in the Homelands. Although temperamental and impulsive, she encourages peace between the various plains nomads and the foundation of the state of Aysen. She takes on the role of protector over the people of Aysen, which sees her as a goddess. Meanwhile, the sea faring dwarves learn that the other inhabitants of the Homelands don't know of the other planes of the Multiverse. Still following their oath of keeping the existence of the planar gate a secret, they decide to try to uncover the fragmented history of the devastated plane. Baron Sengir also starts sending his vampires to Aysen, in order to instill fear in the populace.

Around 3560 AR, another planeswalker, Feroz, arrives on Ulgrotha. He encounters both the latent planeswalker and soon-to-be apprentice Sandruu and Serra, with whom he quickly falls in love. Sensing the presence of the planeswalkers, the Baron approaches them and moves to minimize the obstacle they represent to his plans of conquest. This prompts Serra and Feroz to actively tend to the people of Ulgrotha, in order to give the plane a new chance of renewal. During this time, Feroz founds the Wizards' School on the Floating Isle, to teach the people of the Homelands the rudiments of magic, and Aysen Abbey is build in the city of Onella, in honor to Serra.

The relative peace of the Homelands is abruptly broke when a jealous Taysir follows Sandruu (now a proper planeswalker) on Ulgrotha. The duel is won by Taysir, who exiles Sandruu on a remote plane. Taysir is then confronted and defeated by Feroz, but with great damage to the pacific culture of the Anaba minotaurs. The now married Feroz and Serra realize the danger that wandering planeswalkers represent for the fragile balance of Ulgrotha, and decide to cast a magical barrier over the world to guard it from further despoil at the hands of strangers. Due to the side-effects of Feroz's Ban, the Autumn Willow gains sentience and a great deal of power over the Great Wood. Almost at the same time, the immortal Eron becomes the King of the goblins of Koskun Keep.[2]

The tenuous balance of the Homelands, however, was not meant to last long. Around 4110 AR, Feroz tragically dies in an laboratory accident, and Serra is manipulated by Sengir to leave the plane in sadness and guilt. The countries of Ulgrotha then start to fall to inner conflict and Baron Sengirs uses this to tighten his grasp of fear over the plane. With Feroz's death, the ban began to fail, and planeswalkers are once again able to reach Ulgrotha. Among the known planeswalkers to visit the Homelands are Leshrac and Nicol Bolas. During his brief staying on the plane around 4500 AR, Leshrac has seen a vampire army marching in the night at the reluctant command of Ihsan's Shade, the lieutenant of Baron Sengir, probably hinting that the vampire lord has completed his conquest of Ulgrotha. Leshrac sensed the existence of a vibrant forest and of short, sturdy mountains, however the dominant mana in the land was black. Interestingly enough, the plane has been described as being without rivers or oceans. If this means that the state of Ulgrotha has worsened from the fall of Feroz's Ban, or if it was only a mistake from the author's part, it is unknown.[4]

Inhabitants[edit | edit source]

Almost all of the races that inhabit Ulgrotha are descendants of the few survivors of the Great War. Among them are the humans of Aysen and An-Havva; the same is true for the goblins, orcs and minotaurs who reside in the Koskun Mountains. The dwarves (both mountain-dwellers and sea clans) arrived in the Homelands from an unnamed plane through a planar gate and, since the conquest of their castle by Baron Sengir, are trapped on Ulgrotha. With the coming of Sengir, other vampires and werewolves were created. Meanwhile, after the birth of Autumn Willow, Faeries appeared in the Great Wood. In the sea of Ulgrotha live sea trolls and even a few merfolk.[3]

Geography[edit | edit source]

The majority of the plane is a Dead Zone, a cursed place that strips way not only the mana, but the very life of everything touching it. This effect doesn't extend in the deep sea and on its surface, provided to remain at large from the shore. Only a small portion of the plane, on the edge of the Greater Sea, was spared from the devastation caused by the Apocalypse Chime, since it was close to an extraplanar rift opened by an Ancient planeswalker, deep under the surface. The steady flow of mana kept the area alive and not drinking; an oasis on a plane thirsty for energy. The inhabitants call this region the Homelands.

Most of the humans drifted to the Northern Plains, where they would found the country of Aysen, while goblins and orc found a home within the mountains to the South, naming them Koskun Mountains. The mountain range was already inhabited by the minotaurs, that lived secluded within the vales of the Kher Ridge; they continued with their lives in much the same fashion, relatively unaffected by the dramatic turn of events. Bordered by the Dead Zone, the Sea and the Koskun Mountains, the eastern swamps were for the most part unpopulated, at least until the arrival of the dwarves first, and Baron Sengir later, who would transform them into his Dark Barony. One forest at the western base of the Koskun mountains still contained many creatures and monsters, some indigenous to the plane, others summoned and left behind. A small island near the Homelands coast also didn't have the draining effect found elsewhere in the world.[3]

Planar portals[edit | edit source]

Ulgrotha has a planar portal, which is located in the abandoned dwarven city under Castle Sengir. Where it leads is unknown, although Ulgrotha's dwarf population emigrated from beyond it. Another portal leads from Dominaria's Sursi to the Koskun Mountains.[5]

Notable locations[edit | edit source]

Planeswalker visitors[edit | edit source]

In-game references[edit | edit source]

As Ulgrotha[edit | edit source]

Represented in:

As Homelands[edit | edit source]

Quoted or referred to:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater (November 29, 2016). "The Rabiah Scale". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. a b D. G. Chichester (February, 1996) "Homelands
  3. a b c d Backstory for Magic the Gathering : Homelands
  4. Scott McGough and John Delaney (2007) Magic: The Gathering - Future Sight.
  5. Magic Arcana (May 08, 2007). "Sursi Lore". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.

Gallery[edit | edit source]