Shadows over Innistrad
When the light fades and the moon rises over Innistrad, humanity becomes the universal prey.
Packs of werewolves emerge like the tide, drawn out by the moon, their humanity washed away by animal rage. The vampire families bare their fangs at the scent of human blood. Hordes of the walking dead lurch across the manors and moors, driven by an innate hunger for the living. Alchemically created abominations twitch to life in alchemists' laboratories. Geists haunt the huddled human towns and terrify travelers along the dark crossways in between. From Innistrad's deeper chasms, powerful demons and impish devils plot humanity's downfall, their influence spreading into all echelons of human society.
The humans of Innistrad have done their best to fight back. They form torch-wielding mobs to cleanse the abominations with fire. They train specialized holy warriors, called cathars, to strike back against the supernatural horrors. Most of all, they brandish the power of their faith in the Church of Avacyn.
But the weapons of commoners, soldiers, and priests are all failing. Their whispered prayers and runic wards don't hold their same power. Talismans of silver no longer frighten nocturnal horrors. The holy symbol of Avacyn no longer keeps trespassers from disturbing the entombed dead. Things are getting progressively worse for humanity across the four major regions of the plane.
The Church of Avacyn
Humanity's true religion on Innistrad is the Church of Avacyn. The central figure in the Church is Avacyn herself, an archangel so true and so mighty that she held back the darkness of Innistrad. Until recently, Avacyn's presence was so powerful that faith in her yielded true power for clerics and other faithful: prayers to her could cause evil creatures to turn away, silver weapons blessed by her priests could slay great horrors, and runes marked with her symbol could protect entire villages. The Church's efficacy was real and plain to see—a welcome weapon in a world of monster
But the archangel It may be that Avacyn has truly vanished. What was once humanity's greatest weapon has abandoned them, and the Church's power to hold back the dark forces of Innistrad is beginning to wane.Avacyn has not been seen over the last few seasons, and her absence is beginning to tell. Since Avacyn has disappeared, prayers have not spared remote villages from werewolf attacks as they once did. Holy symbols have not stopped vampires from preying on travelers in the high mountain passes. The dead are not protected from tampering by ghoulcallers and flesh-animating alchemists called skaberen. If the elders in the Church, including Mikaeus, the ruling Lunarch, know what has happened to Avacyn, they've given no word.
It may be that Avacyn has truly vanished. What was once humanity's greatest weapon has abandoned them, and the Church's power to hold back the dark forces of Innistrad is beginning to wane.
The Blessed Sleep
A key tenet of the Church of Avacyn concerns the conditions of death. For the citizens of Innistrad, the goal of a good life is not to seek to live forever, but to have a restful "sleep" after death. The Blessed Sleep is an eternity of tranquil oblivion, much preferable to the shame of becoming a tormented spirit, mutilated corpse, or undead abomination, as so often happens on Innistrad. The Blessed Sleep is considered a reward for a virtuous and vigilant life. "May you spend an eternity in the ground" is a common blessing among the people of Innistrad.