The Races of Zendikar

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Vampires live openly in Guul Draz and are famed for the decadence and perversion of their lifestyle. Bloodchiefs, the progenitors of their race, control the opulent city of Malakir. Vampire society is divided by “family” allegiances, each family beholden to its Bloodchief. Each family controls a small amount of territory and routes through the swamp, although the main currency of any family is in its connections and relationships. The tastes and passions of the Bloodchief tend to be imprinted on the vampires he or she creates.

There are five greater families in Guul Draz: Nirkana, Kalastria, Emevera, Urnaav, and Ghet. Dozens of other lesser families are scattered across Guul Draz, each with a contingent of undead nulls appropriate to their place in vampire society. Whenever a vampire fully drains the blood of a living creature without destroying the husk, a vampire null is created from the body. If nulls are left without orders, they will hunt and kill living things that they can find.

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“I both adore and abhor my lineage. Rabid and perverse, they whine like demanding infants. But they are mine, and I would slaughter thousands before I would see them bow down and be slaves to anyone.”
—Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet


The kor live a spare and nomadic existence. They travel mercilessly light, carrying with them only the essentials, valuing the portability of individual skill and strength of character over more “static” virtues. “We were not meant to put down roots,” they say. “The heart is a moving organ.” Despite their constant motion, the kor revere locations in a deep sense. They travel in small bands along one of several pilgrimage routes, visiting dozens of sacred sites across Zendikar. Each pilgrimage circuit takes decades, and many are lost to Zendikar’s dangers along the way.

The kor are masters of ropes and hooks, using them to travel and to hunt, and incorporating them into their spirituality. They rarely use unreliable devices such as crossbows to propel their grappling hooks onto cliff faces or into flying game, relying instead on simple, sturdy rope and the skill of the arm. A hooked line is also a social and sacred symbol for the kor, representing their connection to each other and to the world around them.

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“The drakes struck the cliff-haven as dusk was falling. They blended into stormy sky, so the scouts didn’t call the warning until it was too late. Half our kitesailors plummeted into the river in the initial assault. We scrambled to string the lines across the expanse, bringing down the big bull with a razor line across his throat. But our hookmasters were the heroes of this battle. Fearless on the cliff edge, they snared the matrons, and the pups soon deserted the fight. As always, we bless Kamsa for the lines that bind us.”
—Rana Cloudwake, Kor skyfisher


More merfolk live in Tazeem than elsewhere, but they can be found on every continent in Zendikar. Although the merfolk are born in the water, they have adapted to life on land. Curious, thoughtful, and analytical, the merfolk are natural explorers. Merfolk tend to be more solitary than other races and don’t cultivate large communities. But even merfolk who spend most of their time exploring will establish a home base, a place they return to before setting out again.

Run by merfolk scholars, the Lighthouse at Sea Gate is the center of learning for explorers of all races. A library filled with scrolls, and maps, and writings about the lost civilization, this is a storehouse of all the collected knowledge about Zendikar.

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“We alone of the races can sense the Roil as it moves across the land. Only merfolk can lull this wild earth and make it still. But my kin mistake the source of such power. They put their faith in Em of the Air or Ula of the Sea. I know that my strength is from Cosi, The Trickster
—Noyan Dar, Tazeem lullmage


Goblins thrive in Akoum, Murasa, and Ondu as well as in most settlements and outposts. Although there are numerous tribes, the Tuktuk and Grotag tribes boast the largest warrens. Much of a goblin’s life is devoted to finding and plundering ruin sites. The goblins choose their tribal leaders by their perceived industriousness. The goblin that leads is the one who has managed to retrieve the most interesting or powerful object from a ruin. In Affa, the main settlement in Akoum, many goblins hire themselves out as guides or trapfinders. Of course, the normal plan is to help find something of value, trigger a trap intentionally, steal the object, and run away.

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Bala Ged is the homeland of the Joraga elves and the planeswalker Nissa Revane. The Joraga elves have little respect for any other race or even other elves. They see the survival of their nation as most important, and jealously guard their traditions. Many outsiders view their nomadic clans as roving bands of murderers, but there is a complex culture behind their aggressive exterior.

After splitting from the Joraga Nation, the Tajuru elves settled in Murasa and Tazeem. Large numbers of Joraga have made homes in the towering trees of the Oran-Rief forest, where they inhabit villages suspended from the treetops. The Tajuru are rumored to be the best guides in Zendikar. Using zip-lines and expert climbing techniques, the elves fearlessly span the gaps between branches or cliff faces.


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The Races of Zendikar

Codex Anathema, vol. VIII: Rise of the Quori Gonz Gonz