|Alignment||Chaotic Neutral (Good)|
|Number of layers||3|
|Inhabitants of Ysgard|
Though the Heroic Domains of Ysgard are most associated with the Aesir — so much so that the Asgardian names of the plane and its layers have long since supplanted whatever other names they may have once held — they are far from the whole of the plane. Still, they do well exemplify the core of Ysgard: struggle. Whether it's carving out a life on the earthbergs or pouring blood, sweat, and tears into the perfect piece of art, success cannot come on Ysgard without struggle.
The Heroic Domains stand in contrast to Bytopia: much like that plane, on Ysgard nothing can be gained without being worked for. In Bytopia, however, the struggle is in the name of proving ones participation in the social contract, in proving intent to cooperate in some way as a productive member of society. In Ysgard, it is instead to prove ones own personal worthiness. Not a demonstration of worth, but a fight for it.
Ysgard also stands in opposition to Acheron, another plane well-associated with bloodshed and warfare. However, on Acheron battle is engaged at the word of others for the sake of goals held not by those fighting, but by those who command them; the plane of organized, widespread war as engaged by whole nations, worlds, or peoples. On Ysgard, none fight but those who wish to fight, and none would choose to fight for reasons not of their own; battle is small in scale, and engaged for glory, for joy, or to take that which one wishes to claim for their own.
The lands of Ysgard are harsh on any layer, from the sharp conditions of Ysgard to the broiling of Muspelheim to the clammy dark of Nidavellir. Natural light is rare and dim, and nights are long; even the flames of the land give little in the way of light. The weather is harsh, and the air is thin. The creatures are vicious and numerous. Life is fulfilling on Ysgard, but it is never easy.
The basic structure of Ysgard is the same across all three layers. Each layer is formed of innumerous islands known as "earthbergs" floating in an infinite atmosphere, one side frigid and the other volcanic; within the layers of Ysgard and Nidavellir, inhabitants walk upon the frigid side, while within Muspelheim inhabitants walk upon the volcanic side. These earthbergs are no larger than the largest Prime islands, possessing seas, forests, deserts, and all the other biomes one would find upon the Material. Connecting the earthbergs are great thermal currents filled with loose rock and stone, on which skilled pilots can lead sailing ships between the debris and across the air.
None of the climates of Ysgard are easy. But in all, one can survive, given effort. The innumerous peoples of Ysgard eke out a living that, while not comfortable, is rewarding in its own right. They make their way only by their own skills, talents, and ability. Yet the struggle of Ysgard doesn't express itself purely by a fight for survival. Any act or effort that requires risk, personal investment, and great effort can reap great rewards here; as such, many great creative endeavors have been enacted here. As have, of course, many failed attempts. Such is the pure force of creativity and risk here that the Infinite Staircase itself spawns here, touching ground upon Ysgard as the heart and soul of artistic endeavor itself.
|Abjuration||Abjuration spells do not function.|
|Conjuration||Spells of the Calling or Summoning subschools can bring forth Ysgardian targets without failure, but any attempts at calling other creatures has a 10% chance of failure. Spells of the Healing subschool are memorized as though one spell level higher; this also applies to spontaneous casting. Spells of the Teleportation subschool fail to function.|
|Divination||All Divination spells are treated as though affected by the Extend and Enlarge Spell metamagic feats, with no increase in spell level. However, any spells of the Scrying subschool can focus only on a single individual at a time; scrying on groups, locations, or events is impossible.|
|Illusion||Illusion spells function only when the caster is not in present danger.|
|Necromancy||All Necromancy spells are memorized as though one spell level higher.|
The Ysgardian spell keys were said to have first been discovered by Odin from the Well of Knowledge, who passed along the runes to his people as their first writings. Every variety of magic can be unlocked by the proper combination of these runes, whether spoken aloud or carved within the material components of the spellwork. General schools and colleges are unlocked by general runes corresponding conceptually, while specific spells are enabled through more widely-known kennings representing the specific enchantments.
- Aegir - Sea
- Baldur - Beauty, charisma
- Forseti - Justice
- Frey - Sunshine, rain, fertility, horses
- Freya - Love, passion, human fertility
- Frigga - Sky, domestic life, marriage
- Heimdall - Light, guardianship
- Idun - Youth, spring
- Loki - Mischief, strife
- Magni - Strength
- Modi - Courage, berserk rage
- Odin - War, wisdom, poetry, knowledge
- Sif - Excellence, skill
- Surtr - Fire giants
- Thor - Thunder, weather, sky, crops
- Thrym - Cold, ice
- Tyr - Courage, law, swordsmanship
- Uller - Hunting, archery, winter
- The Valkyries - Fallen heroes
- Vidar - Strength, silence
- Celestial Bureaucracy
- Shou Hsing - Long life
- Cerilian Pantheon
- Cuiraécen - Battle, storms
- Draconic Pantheon
- Aasterinian - Invention, pleasure
- Drow Pantheon
- Eilistraee - Song, dance, swordwork, hunting
- Dwarven Pantheon
- Muamman Duathal - Wanderers, expatriates
- Faerunian Pantheon
- Krynnish Pantheon
- Branchala - Music, forests, beauty
- Oerthian Pantheon
- Pantheon of the Kami
- Vedic Pantheon
- Manual of the Planes (3e), pp.90-92
- Planes of Chaos - Book of Chaos, pp.102-128