Welcome to the lore database! This section is simply intended to go over some key points of the Bleach franchise, and build a basic foundation for both players new to the series, and those very familiar with it. One thing to remember about Plain of Ice is that it is not non-canon/AU for no reason: a lot of things are different, a lot of other things were omitted (we do not have Bounts, Fullbringers, or the Wandenreich, and the Soul King is entirely different, among other things, for instance). In short, even those familiar with the series are starting somewhat on even ground with those that aren't; our differences can be quite staggering and strange, so please don't come in expecting a vanilla, standard Bleach experience. We decided that was boring c;
If you have any questions, you're more than welcome to message one of the staff (their names are red), or post in the chatbox. You can also post a topic in the Player Corner forum.
The setting focuses primarily on two groups; both groups are a type of human soul. The first is the shinigami, in a sense a special class of normal human souls, that gain above-average spiritual power, making them able to use kidou (magic-ish in this universe) and manifest a unique weapon called a zanpakutou (soul cutter sword). The second is the hollow, or menos, a human soul that has fallen to deep levels of despair, anger, or one that was consumed by another hollow. Hollows have lost their sense of reason, and are left only with a driving need to consume other souls, and are masked creatures of varying appearance, with a hole in them somewhere. The whole basis of Bleach revolves around the interactions within and between these two types of spirit, with shinigami being tasked with sending pure human souls, pluses, to the Soul Society to live out their afterlife, and someday be reborn when they die again, and protecting those plus spirits, living humans, and often themselves, from hollows.
There are two kinds of hybrid of shinigami and hollow, these being the Arrancar and the Vizard. Arrancar are hollows that removed their mask and gained shinigami powers, as well as regained their sense. Vizard are shinigami that were either naturally hybridised through being born of a hybrid, or were infected with hollow DNA in some manner, typically by a hollow. For many centuries, these two hybrid types were exceedingly rare, and the shinigami hardly were aware they existed. As such, they lived, and many still do, on the fringe, neither one or the other. Shinigami see them as hollows, hollows see them as shinigami. That is, now, changing, very slowly.
Twenty years ago, a cluster of Arrancar that called themselves the Espada, led by an Arrancar, arose in the hollow world of Hueco Mundo. In time, however, this group began to clash with another group of Arrancar in Hueco Mundo, much older than they, that also were called Espada (not by them; by the hollows). It is unknown which group came to be first, and neither does it really matter. The two's warring eventually began to spread into the living world, and it is thought that, ultimately, the Goteijusantai sought to intervene and prevent the two groups' battles from damaging the living world, or the lives that were led there, and ended up entangled in the war just the same. In the end, with the three unable to overcome one another, the battling escalated to a level unheard of, until finally, a lone Arrancar, unaffiliated with any of the three groups, intervened, and did enough damage to all sides that the fighting had no choice but to stop.
Those that survived stuck together, and backed down. Stray members of both groups, and rogues alike, have been joining one or another of the three, with a large number of Arrancar now in the Goteijusantai. Once bitter enemies must now learn to live and work together, despite all sides having lost a lot during their battling, but rumour has it not everyone fully accepted defeat, and perhaps, someday, the wheels of war may once again begin to turn.
All races currently available for play are a race borne of human souls; thus everyone in this game is technically dead. There are some notable races to remember exist, but are not playable, that are mentioned here, too.
A plus spirit is a regular human soul. Everyone that dies is automatically a plus, at first. Humans can also be separated from their soul, and a chain, called the inga no kusari (chain of fate) anchors their soul to their body. When that chain breaks, it signals death. Plus souls on the living world side still retain the severed chain, anchored over where their heart would be. The chain will slowly errode away, and when it is gone, the plus mutates into a menos, or a Hollow. Plus spirits can also become Hollows by reaching a deep level of despair, anger, or loneliness. In a strange twist of fate, many terrible humans turn out to automatically be a Hollow already upon death.
Plus spirits must be sent on through a short rite called konso (soul burial). This regenerates a physical shell, this time comprised of reishi (spiritual particles), and sends the soul to the Soul Society, where they'll live out their next life. A vast majority of plus spirits live in the Rukongai (alley of wandering souls) part of Soul Society, a series of districts across the bulk of the dimension. It is much like our own world, perhaps less technologically advanced, but this is changing rapidly.
All spirits have a small amount of reiryoku; generally, this isn't enough to affect them at all, and plus spirits in Soul Society don't feel hunger. However, a small number of plus souls will eventually develop higher than average reiryoku, and become capable of manipulating it, and expressing it as reiatsu (spiritual pressure) and Kidou (demon arts, basically magic). These souls do feel hunger, and must receive training in order to learn to control their reiryoku or they will constantly leak it as reiatsu and injure themselves, and others around them, on a regular basis. Some may also incidentally starve themselves to death this way.
A soul with higher reiryoku must travel to the Seireitei (court of pure souls), a circular white walled fortress in the centre of Soul Society, where the Goteijusantai operate, and attend and graduate from the Shinoreijutsuin (spiritual arts academy). In time, they may manifest stronger reiatsu than normal, and go through the Shino Academy to officially become...
Most Shinigami are a part of the Goteijusantai. They have the ability to use and manipulate their own reiryoku to perform impressive feats and cast Kidou spells, as well as heightened endurance, durability, and stamina. It is said, as well, that a Zanpakutou is born with their Shinigami, and dies with them, too. A Zanpakutou is a part of a Shinigami's soul fashioned into a physical form. These have a separate consciousness, and after a certain power level, become capable of manifesting in the spiritual world and interacting with other souls. Each Zanpakutou has two stages: the first is the Shikai (first release), whereupon the Zanpakutou changes form and develops special abilities unique to itself. The second stage is Bankai (final release). The weapon often changes form a second time, and has special abilities unique to itself only available in bankai stage.
While Shikai can generally be reached relatively easily, mastering it is a whole other story. Bankai is, however, extremely rare, and only Captains and Lieutenants have any hope of reaching it, let alone mastering it. A Shinigami relies on their Zanpakutou, and their Zanpakutou relies on them. Certain situations can cause one to be unable to communicate with, and subsequently release, their Zanpakutou. Extreme despair, or just the wrong mindset in general, can cause a shinigami to lose track of the voice that is their Zanpakutou. A Zanpakutou also cannot be released without the Shinigami knowing what its name and release command are, and what exactly a Zanpakutou will require before telling the Shinigami its name and release command vary. Some tell very easily; others don't. It is also possible to call a Zanpakutou the wrong name and release a stunted version of its shikai; Zanpakutou may also not tell its wielder that its shikai abilities are incomplete, and it is also possible for a bankai to be incomplete. The more the shinigami learns and grows, the more command they have over these release states and any abilities those release states offer, and when a Zanpakutou feels its wielder is ready, it will unleash its full power.
In some, rare cases, plus spirits that gain very high amounts of reiryoku may be able to manifest their Zanpakutou on their own. These instances rarely ever take the form of an actual weapon, but some still do.
On occasion, a Hollow may be able to infect a Shinigami with Hollow genetics, causing...
First discovered through accidental circumstances, the vizard are shinigami that have gained hollow powers. Not just hollow abilities, but they generally have a facet of their soul that is a hollow, this is referred to as their inner hollow. Much like their Zanpakutou spirit, the inner hollow has its own consciousness, and while it can't manifest in the spiritual world, it does tend to wreak havoc in one's inner world. Much like mastering one's Zanpakutou can require defeating the Zanpakutou spirit, mastering one's hollow powers requires defeating their inner hollow, and this is, due to the virulity of hollows, usually the first thing a Vizard needs to do.
Vizard can access their hollow abilities by calling their hollow mask; each vizard has a differently designed mask, and wearing theirs makes their inner hollow more active. Losing control over their spiritual equilibrium can cause the hollow to take over, and don the mask by itself. This is a dangerous state to be in, as they are often locked in combat with their inner hollow within their inner world, and must win, or the hollow takes over permanently. However, while a vizard can use basic hollow powers, such as sonido and cero, their Zanpakutou does not ultimately change, and they will not be able to access the true power of a hollow. Ultimately, while hybridised successfully, the vizard are essentially a failed experiment.
While normal hollows can accidentally create vizard of a shinigami it fights, if it has the right abilities, this is very rare. As such, vizard are, too. However, vizard can be born, either of another vizard, or an arrancar. They will operate like a shinigami until later in life, when they reach a higher power level, at which time they will face their inner hollow and gain their vizard powers.
Menos is the technical name for a Hollow of any kind, meaning minus in Spanish. Menos can be formed through a plus spirit spending too long in the living world, and the inga no kusari eroding away, falling to despair, anger, or loneliness, or another menos consuming them. Menos are unique in that when they are first formed, they have unpredictable abilities, that are unique to them and their particular hollow form. All menos bear a mask, which hides their identity in life from others, enabling Shinigami to fight and defeat them without fear. Only a Zanpakutou can kill a hollow and not destroy them; Zanpakutou will cleanse a menos of the wrong-doing they've done while a menos, release any other souls they have consumed, and send them on to the Soul Society. All other weapons will destroy them. Sometimes a hollow does bad things in life; these people, killers and sadists, will instead be claimed by hell, though the specifics of how it works is not known, even to shinigami.
A menos is stripped of its reason, and seeks only to consume living humans and plus spirits as a source of sustenance. This restores any spiritual energy they've expended, and in some cases, grants them more powers and slowly ups their power level. Shinigami and stronger hollows are dangerous opponents, but those capable of defeating and consuming one enjoy quite the power boost. Eventually, a menos will consume enough souls to evolve into the next stage...
A gillian class menos is a very large, primarily black creature with a non-descript mask, a conglomeration of souls with no true will of its own. Gillians are ruled only by instinct and self-preservation, and will generally leave other beings alone unless threatened. Their powers are very basic; they've only really ever been seen using Cero (Spanish for Zero, it is the basic energy shot attack Hollows and Hollow-hybrids can use).
In that giant blob of gillian menos is a sea of thousands of souls all fighting for dominance. Sooner or later, but often more later, one of those souls will come out on top, and take control of the entire mass. This triggers evolution to...
An adjuchas menos, the result of a single soul taking command of an entire cluster of them, is notably more powerful than a gillian and below. Likewise, their specific powers and abilities are unique to them, and are dangerously unpredictable. Adjuchas menos are generally more logical, but not entirely; in many cases, more powerful menos are at least logical enough to understand how menos evolution works, and understand that they do, unfortunately, still need to consume other souls in order to continue evolving. Adjuchas are smaller than normal menos, and much smaller than gillian, and tend to take animal-like appearances, albeit they do always still retain something of a mask.
An adjuchas that has been consumed in part by another menos will stop evolving. Adjuchas menos are rare in general, but even rarer is the adjuchas that doesn't hit an innate power wall, wherein despite still being capable of continuing to progress and someday evolve again, their power levels never seem to go up. It is also thought, though it's never been proven, that an adjuchas whose spiritual balance has been severely disturbed can be de-evolved back into a gillian. However, in a few notable cases, this disturbance and or strong feelings of loneliness have caused an adjuchas and higher class menos to separate into two, essentially splitting out one or several of the souls that the menos had consumed. Most often, regardless of how many souls are actually separated out, the result is still only one other.
Very rarely, an adjuchas can eventually evolve again...
Vasto Lorde Class
The number of Vasto Lorde class menos can be counted on two hands. Exceedingly rare, Vasto Lordes are the strongest menos class, and the most logical. Similarly, they are also the smallest, and most human-like of them all. Vasto Lordes generally keep to themselves; there's nothing beyond Vasto Lorde to reach, and they are capable of enough reasoning to understand there is no point in continuing to participate in the evolutionary cannibalism that menos rely on.
They also understand the value of teamwork, and emotions, to a much better degree. While they may still be cautious and perhaps flighty, a Vasto rarely attacks anything, even shinigami, despite knowing the majority of them could be defeated by them quite easily. Vasto Lordes still retain something of a mask, but it may be much smaller and reveal more of their actual appearance than usual.
An arrancar is what happens when a menos purposely removes, or suffers breakage of, their hollow mask. When the mask is removed or damaged to enough extent, regular menos and gillian class menos will die. Adjuchas and Vasto Lorde class menos, however, evolve into another type of soul. This is generally very jarring and usually somewhat painful for a menos to go through, but the end result is the gaining of some shinigami abilities, and a return of one's reason. Even arrancar, however, still retain their hollow hole, and some small vestige of their mask, called their mask fragments.
Like shinigami, arrancar gain a weapon called a zanpakutou. Unlike a shinigami's weapon, however, an arrancar's zanpakutou is simply the arrancar's former hollow form sealed into an object, and it does not always necessarily take the form of a weapon (it seems, however, that stronger arrancar do tend toward blades in particular, while weaker arrancar may have non-weapon sealed states instead). Arrancar will automatically know, instinctively, their zanpakutou's name and release command. Like shinigami zanpakutou, an arrancar's has a shikai state, called the resurreccion for them, but this state is simply their original hollow abilities, and often returns their physical form to a closer resemblance of their last hollow form.
Only two or three arrancar are known to have reached it, but arrancar zanpakutou do have a second release state called the segunda etapa (the second stage). As so few arrancar are capable of it, it is unknown what it actually is, though it does seem to operate and have the power levels of a shinigami's bankai. It is also unknown if a segunda etapa is the last possible release state for an arrancar, or if it can continue progressing beyond that.
Living humans are just like you and me, and generally anything spiritual-based, like shinigami and hollows, are invisible to them. Shinigami have developed a technology called a gigai, or a false body, that a spirit can inhabit in order to be seen by and interact with living humans.
Once in a while, a living human will already have a higher than average reiryoku level. This causes them to become capable of seeing shinigami, plus spirits, menos, etc. In most cases, a soul seer simply sees spirits; how well they can see them varies. The weakest seer ability can actually not see them at all, only hear them. The strongest seer may be incapable of telling the difference between a dead person and a living person by simply looking at them.
Very rarely, a soul seer will begin to develop rudimentary defensive abilities, unique to them, that they can use to defend themselves and their loved ones from hollows. This usually takes a long time to develop, however. Seers that have shinigami blood in them anywhere, or quincy blood, will find they are much stronger than is typical for a seer.
Finally, Quincy are a cluster of soul seers that, due to their reduced ability to store reiryoku in themselves, learned instead to manipulate the reishi around them and channel it as a weapon. Quincy use an artifact called a quincy cross as a focal point for their powers, but they can also use a variety of other specialised technologies and items to assist their abilities. Quincy generally manifest a spiritual bow, anchored at the cross (which may or may not take the shape of an actual cross), which they use to fire pure reishi arrows. Unfortunately, even these pure reishi arrows destroy hollows, and the Quincy were beginning to tip the spiritual balance by destroying too many souls, and the Shinigami had no choice but to stop them with war. There is only one known Quincy lineage remaining, of which there are only two living members.
Soul Society is comprised of Rukongai and the Seireitei, and is where plus spirits must go after death to live out their next incarnation. In Soul Society, no one feels hunger unless they reach higher than standard levels of reiryoku, so most only need to be concerned with shelter and water.
Rukongai is the bulk of Soul Society, and is comprised of North, East, South, and West Rukongai, each holding districts numbered one to ninety. The further away from the Seireitei (thus the higher-numbered) a district is, the more dangerous it is, with the seventies and up generally being lawless and honourless messes, while districts one to ten are actually very pleasant. Rukongai is home to many different villages, settlements, towns, and cities, and in recent years, has gained the Crimson Butterflies and the Iron Dragons as self-made defence militias.
The Seireitei is a large circular, white-walled fortress. This fortress has an invisible, spherical barrier around it, protecting it from invasion, and is the home of the Goteijusantai, and where the Shinigami noble families live. The Goteijusantai is led by the Council of Thirteen, while the noble families are led by the Union of Noble Families.
This is the world between, the cushion between the living world, soul society, and hueco mundo, that keeps the dimensions apart, but bridged. Through opening a Senkaimon, or Garganta for hollows and arrancar, spirits can travel between one and the other freely, though a Garganta will go through a different part of the Dangai than a Senkaimon. Users of the Senkaimon must have a hell butterfly guide, or the Dangai will try to destroy them.
Hueco Mundo has two distinct regions; the first is Las Dias, the endless, white desert across the surface, and the second is the Forest of Menos, under the desert and characterised by crystalline trees. There is another part of Hueco Mundo, full of tall rock pillars, but no one's named it yet, as it is difficult to find. Hueco Mundo is perpetually night, and mostly features a cloudless sky. The moon phase is always the opposite of what it is in the living world. This place has no rulers, and no real regions or boundaries. Kill and don't get killed; that's the law of Hueco Mundo.
Essentially, all anyone knows for sure about hell is that it exists. Actually, we have more established on that, and have for a long time (LONG before the Hell Chapter), but have opted not to release it unless there is serious interest.
This is the redesign of the Gotei uniform. Captains and Lieutenants both now have a badge, with the Division emblem on it in the centre. The badge can be anywhere as long as it's visible. Lieutenants have a black badge with a coloured lining, and Captains have a coloured badge with black lining. Captains also have a gold metal belt centrepiece and gold uniform accents, with Lieutenants having bronze. The colour is the Division's colour, base it off the colours used for the Division character groups. (Yes, the Gotei make a rainbow, now.)
The Goteijusantai (Thirteen Court Guard Squads, technically), are the only organisation of shinigami in any dimension. They operate as a military, with Thirteen divisions (two add-ons), a Captain at the lead, a Lieutenant just under them, and then seated ranks going from third seat at the highest below Lieutenant to fifteenth at the lowest. New academy graduates are often unseated. More than one officer can hold the same seat rank in the same division, depending on varying factors, but the top ten seats rarely see multiples. The Ichibantai, or First Division, is the executive command of the entire Goteijusantai, and their Captain is called the Sotaichou (Captain-Commander), whom leads the whole Gotei. Each Division has a different speciality, and different duties that are theirs. See the ranking page for information on what each division does.
The Espada, sword, are an elite group of Arrancar that operate in Hueco Mundo. Essentially borne of an Arrancar's fitting in with neither shinigami nor hollow, there have been many Espada throughout the course of human history, each one operating a little differently, but the war twenty years ago was the result of what happened the very first time there were two Espada in Hueco Mundo at once. Many on both sides died, but some still remain, and there are small clusters of both Espada groups still scattered around. Many Arrancar from both groups have left Hueco Mundo and allied with the Goteijusantai, as well.
Typically, the Espada are ranked strongest to weakest, numbered 0 to 9. An Espada can usurp another, higher ranked Espada, by defeating or killing the Espada holding that rank. Below them are the Numeros, Arrancar that weren't strong enough to become an Espada. Each Espada usually has at least one Fraccion, a Numeros that personally assists and serves a specific Espada.
The Shinkuchou are one of the organised groups in Rukongai. As the Goteijusantai does not pay much attention to the higher-numbered districts, the Shinkuchou are one of the groups that formed in effort of keeping some semblance of control over the outer districts. In some sense, this was successful, but depending upon whom, exactly, is calling the shots currently, the Shinkuchou can and do see plenty of their own internal strife and corruption. The Butterflies rule primarily in Eastern Rukongai, districts 45-74.
The Tetsuryuu are one of the organised groups in Rukongai. As the Goteijusantai does not pay much attention to the higher-numbered districts, the Tetsuryuu are one of the groups that formed in effort of keeping some semblance of control over the outer districts. In some sense, this was successful, but depending upon whom, exactly, is calling the shots currently, the Tetsuryuu can and do see plenty of their own internal strife and corruption. The Dragons rule primarily in Western Rukongai, districts 42-68.
There are three kinds of Kidou: Hado, or destructive; Bakudo, or binding; and Yudo, or healing. Hado deals damage, and that's all it's intended to do. Bakudo is intended to impede an opponent's movements, defend the user, or distract opponents. Yudo repairs physical damage and ailments.
Each kind of Kidou, called a branch, has 99 spells in it, with the lower numbered spells being easier and generally weaker, while higher numbered spells are more difficult to cast and stronger. Kidou spells have a number, a name, and an incantation. More skilled users of Kidou can skip the incantation, but doing so results in a weaker cast; in canon, at least. We have altered this for Plain of Ice so that the incantation does not exist, because they are long, unwieldy, and fall under the header of "Why does the enemy not take this five minutes of changing forms/talking to just gut this bitch?"
While there is a list of Hado and Bakudo, as well as their names, ranks, and often their incantations too, in several places on the internet, we actually have our own list, which will be written up and posted soon. Over the 12 years of Plain of Ice's predecessor running, we have changed and added to it, and invented the entire Yudo branch, so it is incoming. (Basically, Arceus has to wanna recreate the lists and make them editable by members. It's a pain in the bum.) For now, just refer to the Hado and Bakudo lists available on varying Bleach wikis.