Custom Card Game Design

Story Time: Overworld

Overworld is a set that I’m trying to finish for far too long now. I was never quite satisfied with how it turned out. But I have a few new ideas now, and I hope that I can finally finish the set. I will talk about those ideas in the next post. Here, I want to share most of the Iamur storyline, told through the cards of Overworld.

Only here for the cards? That’s fine too. Tell me in comments if you think one needs a few changes. Otherwise, enjoy the silly story of Iamur. And if you think there is something I can improve upon, please tell me as well.

Iamur Story

Kiora doing Kiora-things.

Kiora Atua

Kiora journeyed to Iamur, having heard stories of its vast, primordial ocean covering the entirety of the plane. She hoped to gather the creatures of the sea and harness their powers for the battle against the Eldrazi on Zendikar. But what she found was not the world she was hoping for, but a world ruled by humans and other land-dwelling lowlife. She would have continued her search in the depths of the sea, but someone or something was preventing her from diving into the deep.

While traveling the plane, Kiora met Kayisha, a mermaid native to the underwater realm. They briefly traveled the Overworld together, Kiora learning more about its lore from the native planeswalker. Shortly after, they came upon a desolate lighthouse and were attacked by its guardians. Inside the lighthouse, she found the answers she was looking for.

Millennia ago, the angelic planeswalker Auria defeated the gods of the deep and imprisoned them beneath the sea, separating the two worlds with an ethereal barrier. The barrier was maintained by an array of power stones scattered across the endless sea. With the intention of releasing the creatures of the deep, Kiora summoned a gigantic tsunami to destroy the lighthouse and the power stone inside. The barrier endured, although weakened, and Kiora set off to find more stones to destroy. Eventually, the barrier was sufficiently weakened that the old god Nolgul could enter the Overworld. Nolgul obliterated the remainder of the power stones, collapsing the barrier. Meanwhile, Kayisha, horrified by Kiora’s reckless act, descended back into her world, to warn her kin of the events to come.

The Ur-Kraken.


Kalimaras is the god of the deep, the progenitor of all creatures of the sea. Known as the Ur-Kraken, he is as old as Iamur itself. During the first age, he ruled the seas with his mate, Atqu. The humans were living isolated on small islands, too afraid to venture out into the sea. Then Auria came to Iamur, and liberated the humans. The angel slew Atqu, and banished the remainder of the gods to the depths. Kalimaras withdrew himself to the bottom of the sea, mourning the loss of his mate, while leaving the underwater realm to be ruled by his sons, Nolgul and Ctaleth.

Slowly, hate corrupted the two brothers, and they spent every day attempting to break the barrier and exact vengeance on humanity. Kalimaras was only awakened again millennia later, when Kayisha, the deepkin shaman Tidesprite, and the merfolk explorer Aquiti reached his lair at the bottom of the sea.

Tidesprite beseeched Kalimaras to stop the invasion of the Overworld. In exchange, she would agree to become his new mate. The old god did not care to care to help the humans, those who had slain his companion, but after seeing what had become of his children, he accepted Tidesprite’s offer. He struck down his sons and consumed their essences. Without the old gods to lead the naga, the denizens of the Overworld could easily vanquish the invaders.

Mother of Krakens.


Naandr is a demigod, and the progenitor of a new lineage of sea creatures. She is the offspring of the union between Kalimaras and Tidesprite. Whereas her half-brothers were embodiments of destruction, Naandr embodies life and creation. Within her, Iamur found balance. Now, the denizens of the Overworld and the denizens of the deep lived together in… well, harmony would be a stretch. There was a balance. We will leave it at that.

A planeswalker from Tel Atar on Iamur.

Commodore Kavira

Kavira was a Tel Atarian captain in command of a small galleon. While tracking down a group of smugglers, his ship was attacked by a kraken at Crimson Coast. Most of his men were able to escape, but Kavira stayed on the sinking ship. Facing certain death, Kavira’s spark ignited and he was pulled away from Iamur. Kavira was excited about the possibilities of exploring new worlds, but he also knew that his own world needed him now more than ever. He planeswalked back to Iamur and when he returned to Tel Atar, he quickly became a legend. He was declared dead, but now a story was passed among sailors that Kavira was devoured by a kraken, only to cut through its stomach and slay the beast single-handedly. A tale Kavira did not care to dispute. He was promoted to Commodore and now commands a fleet from his new flagship, the “Ocean’s Cry.”

A vampire planeswalker from an unknown plane.

Bloodlord Szavos

Szavos is the son of a royal vampire family from an unknown plane. His family was exploiting the human population of the plane, driving them to near exctinction. During her journey across the multiverse, the angelic planeswalker Auria also visited his world. An ally of humanity wherever she goes, Auria wiped out the vampires of the plane, including Szavos’s family. When the angel ran her sword through Szavos’s mother, his spark ignited. He escaped the massacre.

Now Szavos travels across the planes with the sole purpose of tracking down Auria and exacting revenge for butchering his family. When it came to his attention that the seal of Auria was broken on Iamur, he traveled to the plane, expecting that the guardian of Iamur would return to defend humanity once again. But to his surprise, Auria was nowhere to be found.

A humorless elf.

Amras, King of Autumn Isle

Amras is the king of the elves since time immemorial. He is nearly as old as Kalimaras himself, ruling the elves from the mystical Autumn Isle ever since. Many human adventurers attempted to find the Autumn Isle, but all failed as it cannot be found by following a conventional map. Amras himself, like most elves, is no adventurer. He left his home only once in his entire life. At the dawn of the second age, when the gods of the deep were defeated and the humans laid claim to the sea, he met with other leaders on Khamora to discuss the order of the world. When the invasion of the Overworld began, Khamora invited him to join another meeting, but he declined, and decreed that this war was not the elves’ affair.

It’s a Turtle. And an Island.

Turtle Island

Iamur is home to the most majestic turtles in the multiverse. Each island you set foot on might not even be an island, but the shell of a giant turtle swimming across the sea. And even ordinary islands were at one time grown on a turtle’s back. Every few centuries, a giant turtle discards its shell and plants a new island in the endless sea.

Turtles are ancient beings and many have lived since the first age. They sleep for most of their lives, and only awaken when events of great import are about to occur. When Nolgul was seen walking the Overworld, the turtles congregated to discuss what their role should be in the upcoming conflict. Unfortunately, turtles deal in vastly different time scales than most mortals.

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Stormtide Sovereign

The island of Myria trains the most proficient breed of hydromancers on Iamur. They are employed by Myria’s navy, their tasks ranging from divination, to navigation, to serving as a ship’s “armament.” But some of these wizards choose a different path after their training, and become explorers and adventurers.

The most skilled hydromancers are able to move across the sea without the need of a vessel, and are able to conjure elementals from the tidal waves on which they surf. Myrians are pacifists, though, and seek knowledge above all else. Myrian hydromancers are forbidden from using their powers in battle, except in self-defense.


4 responses to “Story Time: Overworld

  1. Udelude May 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Nice article! However, I have a few comments about the cards:
    – Despite the high cost on Naandr, drawing about 4 cards and putting a 5/5 onto the battlefield each turn is too powerful.
    – Stormtide Sovereign makes no sense unless you give the token haste. Anyway, the high power of the token and the sacrifice ability are usually Red things, but considering all damage dealt by the token to players is in form of card draw, it might be okay in Blue. I’m not sure, though.

  2. antaresmtg May 22, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Naandr: I feel like the draw ability overshadows the other options a bit, and should be brought down so that the other options become more attractive. I don’t think getting a 5/5 each turn is too powerful, though.
    Stormtide Sovereign: The token gets exiled at the end of YOUR turn only, so you can activate it on the opponent’s turn and attack with it. I considered giving them haste instead, and I can do that if it doesn’t feel like color pie violation too much because it can’t deal damage to opponents. The current version is probably too confusing.

    Thanks for commenting!

    • Udelude May 24, 2015 at 9:42 am

      Naandr: You’re right, getting a 5/5 each turn isn’t that powerful, but getting a 5/5 and another one of her abilities is.
      Stormited Sovereign: Oh, I see, but that’s a bit too confusing and impractical for players. It would be better to give the token haste. It’s a bit of a stretch of the color pie, but it’s a mythic, so it wouldn’t be a big problem, even because the token will deal damage in form of card draw.

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