The Gods Among Us Universe consists of planets and realms both within the current, known universe, as well as in other dimensional realities. Travel between planets and realms is through the use of portals, essentially wormholes, that connect the two locations. While the ability to manipulate portal energy does exist for some immortals, it is not common, and most must rely on portal technology embedded in stone circles, standing rings, or the Asgardian bifrost.
Time, a construct of spatial reality, differs between the so-called 'mortal' realm and the immortal realms due to our relative locations within the Milky Way galaxy. Five years on Earth, located on the Orion arm of the galaxy, are equivalent to one year on Asgard, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Muspelheim, and Niflheim, as these planets are closer to the galactic centre on the nearby Scutum-Centaurus arm. Time is slightly more chaotic on Jotunheim and Helheim, although it averages out to the same as the Asgardian Calendar. In contrast, twelve years on Earth are equivalent to one year on Kunlun due to the gravitational effects of a local black hole near the Kunlun system.
also called Litaui
Earth is home to humans, who evolved here, but numerous other humanoid races and creatures have had or do have a presence within this mortal realm. It is coveted both for it's abundant water, ideal temperatures, and particularly for the fast-growing, short-lived, fecund humans that populate its surface.
also called Olympus
Asgard is home to the Asgardians. Being closer to the galactic core, the planet formed eons before Earth, with nine billion years passing before Earth formed and cooled. In this extensive time span, the Aesir developed and had their Age of Enlightenment, with scientific discoveries that led to development of their bifrost. This new ability to explore other worlds reliably led to the Age of Inquiry. The closest planet to them, the Vanir were soon forced to defend themselves when the war-like Aesir attacked, leading to treaties and marriages between the two peoples.
The Aesir encountered Earth, which had already been colonized by the dragon demons of Muspelheim two hundred million years before. War between the Aesir and the dragon demons flared on and off for territory within this new world, made worse when the Jotuns also joined the fight to divide the land. Further competition for Earth came about when protohumans developed, attracting the Aos Si (the races of Alfheim), and the soul, blood, and flesh stealers of Niflheim to the hapless planet. A final, bloody war between the Asgardians and the combined forces of Muspelheim and Niflheim was violent enough to flip the magnetic pole of the Earth seven hundred and seventy millennia ago, but successfully kicked the dragon demons from the planet. This was the start of the Age of Ascension, and Asgard's supremacy of the known planets.
also called The Garden
Vanaheim is comprised of forests, fertile lands, and lakes of fresh water. It is the nearest planet to Asgard, and because of this, the two peoples have fought and interbred from as soon as they could travel between planets. Less war-like than their neighbours, the Vanir are less technologically advanced, but their long association with Asgard has protected them from other invaders.
also called Tir na nOg
Alfheim is an unusual planet that has three moons. The planetary rotation wobbles on its axis and coincides with the movement of the planet around its star. Because of this, one side of the planet is primarily in sunlight, with only short nights when the moons block the sun, whereas the other side of the planet is primarily in night, except for the moons' reflection of light onto the dark side. The crust of the planet formed with pockets, creating both a surface ocean and lands, as well as extensive below surface seas and caverns.
This is the home of the Aos Si and the Fomorans. The Aos Si evolved into the Tuatha de Danann (or Sidhe), the Dvergr (the dwarves), and the fae creatures. Over millennia, the Sidhe further divided into the Seelie, or light elves who chose to live on the sunny side of the planet, and the Unseelie, or dark elves who chose to live on the dark side of the planet.
Alfheim has natural mists that persist on multiple dimensional planes and the Sidhe have taken advantage of this unusual planetary characteristic multiple the mists and cloak most of the planet from the eyes of Asgard after several wars, but particularly four thousand years ago during Freya's War after Odin divorced her and Baldur's accidental death when Loki's childish prank goes awry.
also called The Summer Realm
The Summer Realm is the sunny side of Alfheim's surface. It is ruled by the Summer Court of Seelie Elves, who rely on the ample sunlight to energize their innate magical powers. Unlike the Asgardians who studied the science behind their powers, blending it with technology, the Seelie have maintained a less advanced lifestyle and manipulate growing things into their homes and tree cities. Extensive forests, some meadows and small grasslands cover the warm Summer Realm lands.
also called The Winter Realm
The Winter Realm is the dark side of Alfheim's surface and the caverns within the large mountainsides. This side of the planet has sparse forests on high mountain ranges, glaciers, and year-round cold temperatures. Within the underground caverns, bioluminescent lichen provide light for a surprisingly diverse forest ecosystem.
The Winter Realm is ruled by the Winter Court of Unseelie Elves, who rely on ritual sacrifice of humans to energize their innate magical powers. While not technologically advanced like the Asgardians, the Unseelie are experts at using the natural environment as tools, such as the stone circles they create to use as portals between worlds.
also called The Four Kingdoms
Nidavellir is the home of the Dvergr, the dwarves. Entirely underground on the planet Alfheim, the extensive labyrinth of caverns has been expanded by the dwarves. Four major sets of caverns are each linked by underground seas, allowing the dwarves to move between with ease. A king rules each set of caverns, hence the dwarven realm is also known as the Four Kingdoms. While the dwarves evolved from the same base humanoid as the Sidhe, greater gravity at lower levels of the planet has resulted in massive, strong body forms far more powerful than that of their nearest cousins, the elves. The dwarven kingdoms are powered by tapping into the molten core of Alfheim.
also called Fomoria
Atlantia consists of underwater cities and outposts, both on Alfheim as well as on Earth. The Fomorians (called Atlanteans by outsiders) evolved on Alfheim, separating from the Aos Si ancestors much earlier in their evolutionary history. Isolated by the extensive surface and subsurface seas and oceans on Alfheim, they advanced as the water-breathing humanoids to create technology that rivals and exceeds that of the Asgardians. Yet their insular nature and lack of competition for the water realms has allowed the Fomorians to spread to Earth's oceans when natural underwater portals were discovered. Like the Asgardians, the Fomorians learned to create portals at will with circular gates set up between their cities on Earth and on Alfheim. While their cities were initially floating at the surface, conflicts with the Shen and Unseelie on Earth, and with the Unseelie on Alfheim led them to develop shield barrier technology. Now their cities and outposts are in the depths of the seas and oceans, protected from attack.
The planet of the giants, the Jotuns, is a realm of chaotic multidimensional magical energies and primordial wilderness. The red dwarf star that provides light to Jotunheim also sends fluctuating magnetic fields and solar flares towards the planet at unpredictable intervals. A high oxygen atmosphere has promoted the evolution of megafauna. Massive beasts such as sabretooth cats, wooly mammoths, herds of three thousand pound aurochs, snow griffins, and dire wolves are just a few of the many wild creatures that call this planet home. Wide swaths of dark forests, tall mountains with craggy slopes, volcanic plains, lowland temperate forests, wild seas, and high frozen glaciers have challenged the Jotuns to evolve to match, resulting in a diversity of giants on this planet.
also called The Underworld, Annwn
Despite being called the Underworld, Helheim is its own planet. Yet accessing this planet is complicated as it sits in an adjacent multidimensional plane to the other planets with known life. The energy, or soul, is attracted to this other dimension as within it, souls are able to experience another life. Dimensional gates naturally form on several planets (Earth, Asgard, Vanaheim, Alfheim, and Kunlun) wherever the greatest concentration of soul energy draws it, then allowing the souls to pass through to Helheim. Souls provide energy to Helheim for as long as they live, but when they die here, the energy disperses back into the cosmos. The realm also gains energy from the volcanic activity, and the star that the planet circles.
The planet itself consists of frozen high plateaus and glacier mountainous areas ruled by Hecate, and lower volcanic plains, temperate fields, oceanside bluffs, and islands ruled by Hades (or Hela due to their gender fluid nature).
This planet Muspelheim is highly volcanic, leading to considerable ash and elements in the air that create a red sky. The star the planet circles is a yellow sun, like that of Sol within Earth's solar system. However Muspelheim is actually a moon, orbiting a gas giant within its solar system, creating a tug-of-war between the gas giant and the star to fluctuate gravitational forces. Within Muspelheim, floating sky islands realms of Pazunia, Vourukasha, and Dragon's Breath are above the surface-based volcanic plains of Baator and salt water oceans. The Astral Sea is a set of forested islands within a massive fresh water lake that connects to an underground fresh water sea, the Abzu. Two separate continents bear the mountainous regions of Kur and Sabu.
A diversity of demon races, dominated by the Apkallu dragon demons have developed on Muspelheim due to the varied topography, fluctuating gravity, and specific energies that influence their genetics.
This planet is surrounded by nebula, and like Helheim, overlaps but doesn't entirely share the same multidimensional reality as the other known planets. Because of this and the supermassive blue giant star that Helheim orbits, energies are in flux for the races that evolved on this world. Some souls are drawn through natural gates that form between Nilfheim and other worlds, and the creatures take immediate advantage. Predators of all types evolved here from soul-stealers, to blood drinkers, to those that consume flesh, as they are all ways for these races to draw energy in this cold, desolate realm of endless seas and misty marshes.
The planet Kunlun is nearest to the galactic centre, but challenged by the presence of a black hole that creates a time distortion between this realm and Earth. Due to this much slower 12:1 ratio, Kunlun only recently located Earth one hundred millennia ago, well after the other immortal races. Despite this, the Shen who developed on Kunlun have managed to monopolize the far east and maintain strict control over the few portal gates between Kunlun and Earth, all of which are located in China.