Good Morning folks! I hope you’re all ready for this week’s post, DnD 5e Ysgard Explained. This plane of endless war is an interesting one as it’s truly filled with countless beings. Home to a couple of deities, and has plenty of events and places to visit.
So get your stretchy pants on in case we go to the Endless-Banquet and get ready as we dive into this week’s post.
What is Ysgard?
This outer plane is one that embodies the nature of chaos, at least as far as Chaotic Good, and Chaotic Neutral. It is split into three layers, the topmost layer is also called Ysgard, the middle one is called Muspelheim, and the lowest layer is Nidavellir.
As one might guess, most of the action takes place on the topmost layer, the one that gives this plane its namesake, Ysgard. This layer is home to most of the inhabitants of this plane. Here, endless war wages, but one built out of the love of war and conquest. Those who revel in battle typically go here once they die, they are then reformed into their peak fighting form and are able to battle endlessly without the worry of permanent death, or maiming.
While the endless war is likely the main feature of this plane, there are many other things that go on here, the deities, Kord and Olidammar, both exist here in their respective realms. There are also realms dedicated to the Elves who call this plane home, there are clans of Fire Giants, as well as living Dwarf and Gnome Realms, as well as Drow. There really aren’t many areas of this plane that don’t have something going on.
It is said that the plane is of massive size, the topmost layer is made up of massive-sized floating islands, below which run gargantuan-sized rivers of earth, and below that exist expansive cavern networks which are home to many secrets. The great mountains in this plane form from these massive earthen rivers colliding and forming said mountains. It is truly a plane that embodies the nature of chaos, without it being aligned with evil.
What’s in Ysgard?
A vast plane, with much to see and home to many being means it would be difficult to see everything that this realm contains, it would take a lifetime, or maybe an after-lifetime, okay bad joke.
The topmost layer of this plane of existence shares the same name as the plane itself. This is likely due to the fact that this layer is the most traveled, and most well-known layer within Ysgard. Made up of many floating islands and continents endless war is waged on most of these lands.
The interesting thing with this war however is it is not fought out of hatred or malice, it is fought for the love of battle and conquest. Permanent death or maiming is not something that exists here for the petitioners, the ones that fight in these wars. After 24 hours, any petitioner that has died in the war will be brought back. This has been occurring for millennia on this plane.
Hall of The Valiant
This is Kords domain, his realm. Kord, at least to me embodies the nature of the Greek and Viking legends, he is very much all about Strength and Courage. He is, however, not an evil God, more Neutral Good, maybe a little bit of Chaos in there depending on how he’s feeling. His domain is a massive structure that is said to be entirely built from the wood of one gargantuan ash tree.
This hall is where the Endless-Banquet exists, which takes inspiration from Viking lore. There are always beings here, and it seems to be like a revolving door of folk, when someone leaves, someone will join, it is always packed to the brim. During the banquet, there is competitive bare-handed fighting that occurs, which sometimes even Kord will get involved in, which is said to be a sight to truly behold.
Plain of Ida
This massive field exists right outside of The Hall of the Valiant. It contains The Great Free City of Himinborg, which contains links to the material plane. This city is the largest of its kind in this plane, and is the hub for trade and commerce. Here skill and knowledge in battle are valued above anything else.
This realm is populated by Elves. It is an alternative location for the souls of Elves to go that may not wish to go to Arvandor. It is said to be a place of such beauty and happiness that it will inevitably rub off on you. Here the Elves play games and meditate among the untouched lands. They do not participate in the war that exists within Ysgard but will protect their realm if threatened.
Den of Olidammara
The home of the God of Thieves, Olidammara. The structure is said to be a strange mashup of different cultures, almost showing off Olidammara’s eclectic nature of things that he values. The inside of which is a maze of dead ends, locked doors all of which surround a massive grand hall where guests are expected to join in the dancing and enjoyment of the parties that take place here.
Known as The Land of Fire, this is the middle layer of Ysgard. Large chunks of Earth float atop flowing rivers of Earth and Fire. The very ground here burns to walk on. The rivers themselves flow toward a massive mountain range known as The Serpent Spine. Atop which live many hundreds of clans of Fire Giants. The realm of the Fire Giants is very well guarded by massive watchtowers and fortified citadels.
There is also a tower nestled in the expansive mountains, where it’s said that pious Fire Giants worship an unknown deity, this black stone tower is known as The Spire.
The lowest layer of Ysgard is a labyrinth of caverns and caves, which expand the entire plane beneath the flowing rivers of Earth on the layer known Muspelheim. This massive layer contains many interesting sights, such as underground forests, which only need heat to survive, I like to imagine there being bioluminescent spores that give off minor light in these areas. Almost any known precious material that can be mined can be found here in large quantities, however, the lands are well protected by those that call this home.
The Dwarves and the Gnomes have respective kingdoms here. These beings are also typically alive and well, most are not Petitioners. Both these races have basically carved up most of Nidavellir amongst themselves. It exists as a beacon of crafting expertise, smithing weapons, armor, and magical goods fit for the Gods themselves. It must be said that it is not always peaceful between the Dwarves and the Gnomes, but they will however unite their efforts against their common enemy, the Drow.
This is the Drow stronghold of this plane. While the Dwarves and Gnomes hate the Drow with all their being, these particular Drow are not nearly anywhere as evil as their Material Plane cousins. These Drow like to be left alone in peace. They will protect their lands with a twisted ferocity only known by the Drow.
Who’s in Ysgard?
As you can see, Ysgard is filled with numerous locations and beings, so I’ll briefly cover some of the major players here.
These are the souls of those who revel in battle and war. Although, typically speaking these beings will have been either good or neutral aligned. These being battle on the topmost layer of Ysgard and live in small settlements and strongholds that can change hands relatively often.
The war that wages here, is primarily for enjoyment, the Petitioners that participate can be killed but they are resurrected every 24 hours. The resurrection is considered a True Resurrection, so any lost limbs or damage is completely reset, allowing the petitioner to join the fray once more.
The deity of the Strong and Brave. He is the embodiment of the word Hero. Think Hercules, Odin, Thor, all of these beings are known for fighting, but their wisdom in battle often leads to wisdom outside of the battlefield as well. That is what Kord is, the wise old bear of a warrior archetype. This plane is where he calls home, and here he rewards any who seek his domain with endless feasts, competition, and general roughhousing.
Known as The Laughing Rogue, this deity is the God of Thieves. Known for throwing lavish parties, those in attendance are often Rogues, Bards, and lovers of the fine things life can offer. He is a very respected deity because it is said that even other Gods do not know when he is present due to his ability to change his form using his mask. Often known as a bit of a trickster as well, playing pranks on both Gods and Mortals alike.
There are said to be hundreds of clans of Fire Giants that call the mountains of Muspelheim their home. Not much is known about them, as they are often very secluded and distrustful of strangers. Although those devout among the Fire Giants pray to an unknown deity in a massive needle-thin tower known as The Spire.
I’d mentioned before that the Elves within Ysgard exist primarily within Alfheim. Where they isolate themselves from the other goings-on within Ysgard. They exist here to enjoy themselves, which is really a big part of Ysgard. They play games and spend their time meditating and in very typical Elf fashion, living amongst a beautiful landscape and forest among the creatures that dwell there.
One other interesting thing is that some of the Elves also live within an area of Alfheim known as The Glittering Caves. When the harsh winter rolls around they all retreat to and seal the entrance, which is then buried under the mass snowfall during the winter months. They emerge once the season has passed and the snow has thawed.
Dwarves and Gnomes
These two are very much two sides of the same coin. Both exist in Ysgard’s third layer, Nidavellir. They strive to perfect their crafting techniques, be it in smithing weapons, forging armor, or working in runecraft creating magical items. These two races embody everything it means to strive for the perfection of one’s craft.
As mentioned they aren’t always peaceful with one another, which can often lead to war, which since most of these beings are actually mortal, can lead to some serious bloodshed over certain precious materials and locations of significance. Although they do put their differences aside to attack and defend themselves from the Drow that exists here as well.
Like the Dwarves and Gnomes, the Drow have a small portion of Nidavellir cared out for themselves. Hated by the Dwarves and Gnomes they often have to fiercely defend their lands from them to prevent all-out extinction. This typically gives them a rather poor reputation; on top of the reputation, they earn due to their cousins on the material plane being truly evil.
What is Ysgard in DnD 5e?
So to sum up the post, Ysgard is an Outer Plane made up of 3 layers, Ysgard, Muspelheim, and Nidavellir. It is mostly known for being a plane of endless war, but a war for enjoyment, where the good and neutral souls go who revel in battle and strength. It is a place where skill in battle is valued above all else.
How to get to Ysgard in DnD 5e?
Interestingly this plane does not share links to the other planes the same way most of the other planes I’ve covered so far. There is a place within the plane known as The Infinite Staircase which contains portals to some of the other planes.
There is also a portal within the Great Free City of Himinborg, that leads to the Material Plane, allowing for trade and commerce to exist within this major city.
Long post, but wow, I never really knew a lot of Ysgard, and honestly researching this topic made me want to take my players there as soon as possible. The concept of an almost friendly war, almost like a LARP but entirely real is quite cool. The fact as well that there are SO MANY beings that call this plane home, there is just so much to see and do in Ysgard that you could play an entire campaign here. So as always, I hope you learned something, and I’ll see you all again in the next post. Until next time, may your week be a Critical Success!