The pan-multiversal nature of Arahbo and the Ur-Dragon plays into an interesting space (one that I don't expect to be explored? Unless it has something to with the Eldrazi or an upcoming, ongoing threat). I'm not sure what to make of it.
It makes sense within the larger metaphysics of the Multiverse. If you’ve wondered why species like Dragons seem to pop up on every world, it’s because there’s a divine sort of presence out there guiding their development.
It also plays into the whole summoning aspect of magic somewhat. The Eternal Ice has Lim-Dul explain summoning like this:
“When you cast the spell, you envisioned that which you would to create, a perfect ‘chair’ that you were trying to emulate. I have heard, and I believe, that there is an ultimate ‘ chair’ somewhere that we both model our thoughts from - one that has the basics of all ‘chair-ness.’
Now, I’m not saying there is an Ur-Chair out there somewhere, but it’s a similar concept. The Ur-Dragon and Arahbo are both avatars of that ultimate ‘Dragon’ or ‘Cat’ out there. Frankly, I don’t want it explained anymore, because the mystique of it is really interesting.
Hey Mark, It's my birthday today and having started playing way back in 95 with Ice Age I figured I'd ask for some trivia about my favorite character Jaya Ballard. I keep hoping we'll see her and some more snow type stuff. (Also Lim-Dul, but I'm pretty sure he died... not that should stop a necromancer, but you know).
Jaya Ballard is named after the Seattle suburb Ballard.
So wait...why does Bolas need the Planar Bridge to stage an invasion? Isn't it a more straightforward plan to access an enormous load of mana and just summon your army across planes? The planar bridge being a physical thing you need to actually march troops through seems much less efficient.
Great question! The answer is that summoning doesn’t actually pull a real creature. They’re relatively temporary beings constructed from Mana. Both Nissa and Elspeth were shown in lore creating ‘soldiers’ and ‘elves’ this way, and there are other examples, too. Explanations after the keep reading line.
How would I best read (and find!) the stories about Lim-Dul?
Lim-Dûl the Necromancer is referenced on 34 cards(!) in Magic, so you can always start there to get a sense of him. I also got another ask about the timeline here, so I’m including the dates of events.
~430 AR:The Gathering Dark novel tells the origin of Jodah and Mairsil. This novel is out-of-print and not available digitally. You can find it used pretty easily for its retail price.
2934 AR: Armada Comic’s Ice Age on the World of Magic: the Gathering #2-4 and The Eternal Ice novel tell roughly the same story about Lim-Dûl’s assault on Terisiare and the ending of the Ice Age. In both accounts, he’s transported to Shandalar. The novel retcons details from the comics (his horns being a blessing vs a curse, who he leaves with, and Mairsil’s influence are the biggest differences). You can download the Ice Age comics (for free) from Wizards of the Coast directly on the Coldsnap Mini-site - the mini-site is long gone but the links for the comic still works. The novel is out-of-print and not available digitally. You can find it used pretty easily for its retail price.
Note: In the canon version of events, Leshrac removes
Lim-Dûl’s hand and leaves it, and Mairsil’s ring behind. This is when they become separate, as Mairsil’s essence remains behind in the ring.
2934-2946 AR (On Shandalar): Armada Comic’s Magic: the Gathering - Shandalar #1-2 comics tell of what happened to Lim-Dûl after he was taken from Dominaria and transplanted onto Shandalar. It serves as a prequel to the Microprose game. It’s out-of-print but you can find used copies pretty easily for a few dollars each.
2954 AR (On Dominaria): The Shatttered Alliance novel tells the story of Mairsil’s end back on Dominaria and Jaya’s ascension as a planeswalker. This novel is out-of-print and not available digitally. You can find it used for an absurdly high price (usually $30+). It’s not essential reading for
Lim-Dûl, but it does show what happened to Mairsil.
???? AR (On Shandalar): The backstory for Microprose’s Magic: the Gathering computer game happens in the manual, and then the game happens. You might be able to find a scan of the manual online somewhere. You can find youtube videos of people playing through the game itself, but there’s basically no plot to it so just search for the opening and ending.