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Guide to Ethereals, Headcanons, Lore, & More

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Hello there, I'm Haziz, and this is my own take on Ethereals, featuring headcanons, technology concepts, guides to Ethereal politics, and what to try to avoid when RPing an Ethereal. This'll also cover how Ethereal alignments work, as well as how Ethereal society functions at large. Beware, much of this takes speculation off of what little lore we have for Ethereals so far, and some of it is just my own creative guesses. Not everything in this guide is to be taken literally, and nuance should be applied. This forum will be subject to regular change and updates. I appreciate and love feedback!

Who are the Ethereals?

Ethereals, at large, are a race of capitalism-centric, arcane humanoids that traverse the Twisting Nether at will through the uses of their own technology, visiting many worlds, places, and even other dimensions such as the Void. Originally made of organic material, they inhabited the planet of K'aresh as the implied dominant sentient species. It can be somewhat inferred that their powerful technology, or someone wielding it, drew the powerful manifestation of the Void Lord Dimensius to K'aresh. However, Dimensius was not entirely prepared for the power of K'aresh's inhabitants, and for a very long time the Ethereals managed to use arcane magic and technology to keep the powerful energies of the Void from destroying their cities via the use of magical barriers, keeping Dimensius and his forces from destroying their cities and fighting him to a standstill. The usage of their technology and magic however, in combination with the conditions being thrust upon them, infused their souls with enough magic to turn them into what they are now. Due to their enhanced magic and minds this proved to be a blessing to the Ethereals, though required to bind themselves with enchanted strips of cloth. Eventually though Dimensius did overrun K'aresh's defenders by opening countless portals to the Void, allowing more of his forces to pour through, thus forcing the Ethereals to abandon their homeworld and scatter across the Twisting Nether, becoming as they are now.

The first faction created was born of K'aresh's aristocracy, known as the Ethereum, they swore to avenge their fallen world and hunt down Dimensius, as well as destroy the Void. The Ethereum gradually grew dark and twisted in their desires, causing many of the Nexus-Princes to leave the council and form their own organizations with their own goals. Undeterred, the Ethereum continued in the search for vengeance against Dimensius, destroying anyone in their way. The Protectorate was formed by a Nexus-Prince, who left the council, to stop the Ethereum in their destructive path.

Ethereal Government & Culture

From what we know about Ethereals, they were originally a high fantasy monarchy. My take on this is that the Ethereals of K'aresh founded their government in idolization of science, technology, and magic. Aka, the ones who produce the most or best of these lead the faction. Something of an autocratic magocracy. It also seems likely that the Ethereals used the word 'Nexus' to refer to their sphere of influence, as opposed to a traditional 'kingdom'. My next note is on how Ethereals are currently, or how the majority are. They seem to have abandoned most traces of autocratic government, favoring political companies where terms of royalty are commonly substituted for ranks within their companies. These seem to be traditional holdouts, as there's a very clear difference between the Ethereum and companies like the Consortium, or Shaffar's Ethereals. The difference is that Ethereals that favor a company setting follow their leaders for a paycheck, and that the Ethereum still holds onto their aristocracy. Therefore I'd say the status quo of Ethereal politics is to hold the position of companies over nobility, since they've socially evolved much since their exodus from K'aresh. It can also be speculated that there may be other Ethereal factions that follow a monarchy, since I doubt that they'd all want to abandon absolute power and instantly turn to a merit-based system, however factions like these likely aren't seen in a very positive light from the point of view of most Ethereals that left the Ethereum.

It's also confirmed that as of Legion, there are other Void-adhering Ethereals than the Ethereum, and seem to take it to an even more extreme level. The Shadowguard seem to have a government similar to the Ethereum, though it's possible that they're on the more corporate side of things, having a 'Viceroy', a title commonly associated with the governor of a territory, most-commonly used by the Spanish Empire. The concept is similar to a proprietor.

We can also speculate that Ethereals aren't an inherently violent race, and do have a system of vague morality, given that they at large abandoned the Ethereum's total war strategy of destroying anything and everything that stood in the way of their vengeance. We can assume that though much of their morality stems from self-interest, though they do have consciences. It can also be assumed that the main opponents of the Ethereum were lesser races, as in several quest chains it's confirmed that they have ravaged countless worlds, and probably was why so many left the Ethereum. This may also simply represent that the average Ethereal just doesn't want their potential business partners to be vaporized and consumed by the Void. One stern fact of the average Ethereal's morality is probably their intense dislike or hatred of the Void, unless they sway near the Ethereum or Shadowguard side of things.

It's also my headcanon that Ethereals do have a music industry, flowing with common themes such as pop, EDM, D&B, dubstep, trap, and other genres of electronic music. Other styles of music aren't uncommon, but these are likely the most-common for Ethereals to listen to.

Level of Technology & Magic

Ethereal technology seems to be above that of the Draenei, and near or equal to that of the Naaru. Their magic seems to be able to take them from planet to planet in a near instant, and their portals can very obviously do the same. They seem to have no difficulty operating technology like the Manaforges, or Dimensional Ships such as the Mechanar. They also are capable of making extensive usage of holographic displays, and therefore probably record much of their information in a system similar to both the Internet and HoloNet (from Star Wars), given that Nexus-Prince Haramad communicates from an extremely long distance away to adventurers in Stormspire. My own headcanon is that Ethereals likely possess their own spaceships for hauling cargo that isn't easily just teleported, or even use them as social attractions, living spaces, and cities. Something like a spaceship would be terribly impressive to races not at their own level of technology, and prove as a strange new adventure. A tourist trap. This isn't too far off from their operations in the Outlands that feature advanced terraforming technology, capable of turning barren wastes to fertile jungles and reviving parts of the original Farahlon.

Ethereals have likely thoroughly explored most modern fields of technology and beyond. Things like DNA, antibiotics, quantum mechanics, chemistry, computing, and advanced physics should be relatively common to the average Ethereal, and jobs in these professions are likely highly specialized. It's also important to realize that you should try to keep a limit on what you do in roleplay as to avoid abusing your highly powerful racial benefits, and that you should have a clear objective for your character. This will be covered more in the 'Things to Avoid' section.

Arcanobiology & Reproduction

As a race we know very little about, I believe that headcanons (within reason) are necessary to explain several things in Ethereal lore. The first thing I'd like to cover is pre-Dimensius biology, which takes into account the arid environment of K'aresh. A planet similar to Tattooine, and having two suns, the planet was practically an arid wasteland. I believe it's highly possible that the Ethereal species once resembled taller, leaner Argonians, or something similar to the Saurok. As we know, Ethereals aren't a sexually dimorphic species, and I believe that they likely express their gender in ways that only they really understand. Female Ethereals -do- exist, or at least from what I've heard from voicelines during the Mac'Aree questlines, and it wouldn't make much sense for them to not exist. This is considering that Blizzard has a hobby of leaving males or females of species tragically undefined, yet they still exist.

Another headcanon I have is that considering they're arcane masses of energy, Ethereals can likely direct different bodily senses to small zones around them, as well as broaden them. For example, if they wanted to, they could see omnidirectionally, though this might take excess mana usage.

Onto reproduction, this section is entirely based off of headcanon. My own take on Ethereal reproduction is that they likely undergo some sort of soul meiosis in which two Ethereals combine parts of their energy and formulate an offspring similar to a wisp or arcane sprite. This offspring then matures via feeding off of arcane or whatever energy is given to it, gradually maturing into an Ethereal. It seems entirely unlikely to me that Ethereals are unable to reproduce.

More will be added to this section following things revealed from patch 7.3, and headcanons here are subject to change.

Things to Avoid

This section will cover things to typically avoid when roleplaying an Ethereal, things that generally just make RP bland or unappealing, and will cover commonly found archetypes of Ethereal RPers that I've seen that make Ethereals unappealing to others.

-The Everything Merchant-
This person is someone that, on their own, can provide anything and everything to another RPer for an IC fee. They're the Merchant Sue most of the time, and often can serve as an Ethereal ex Machina or MacGuffin that can fill any and every role, and they'll justify it using their race as an Ethereal. While it isn't implausible for an Ethereal to have a very broad stock, there should be a limit to what they have, and if it's something special or character development related, there should be progression to acquire said item. A much better version of this is the 'Deal with the Devil', who can acquire something that you want (maybe not exactly) for a very heavy IC fee on other characters, but this is especially difficult to pull off depending on the RP climate. Or for instance, you could be a merchant that claims to have pretty much everything, but really end up like a pawn shop sort of character. There's plenty of ways to avoid this and make a more interesting design for an Ethereal. In my opinion, the Merchant Sue should be avoided simply because their ability to acquire anything and everything necessary for development or casual items just makes things boring and implausible to most RPers. The reason I'd like to emphasize on this type of RPer is because many Ethereal RPers start off as this, and they aren't necessarily bad RPers, just very new to RPing an Ethereal. Even I went through a phase like this on one of my first Ethereals.

-The Omnipotent-
An Ethereal that abuses their choice of race is no better than a dragon RPer that does the same exact thing. Just because one RPs a very powerful race doesn't mean it has to be bad, but there's nothing more annoying than someone who roleplays an unrestricted character from a typically advanced race. This character flaunts their highly powerful magic and uses OOC arguments to justify it, and while they may be correct in some cases, characters all need limitations. For example, my main character tries to avoid combat because he's an utter coward. My point is that something should be there to handicap your otherwise extreme abilities, or you'll just come off as annoying and bland. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

-Why is a CEO in a Tavern?-
Roleplaying a high rank in a corporation or guild can be done well, but your character should often be restricted to your own phase past a certain point, unless going to meet with another character for an important business meeting or something crucial to the development of your character. A character with a high rank ICly should often be preoccupied with other tasks such as managing their establishment, contacting other higher-ups, or dealing with business partners. It comes off as incredibly unrealistic for a character with a high rank to just be gallivanting around some random phase. This is something that originally, I wasn't guilty of, but as my character progressed, found that it to be a problem. Something you could do is have a representative character that you also roleplay, or have your guildmates go about and conduct traveling business.

This list will also be updated, and I appreciate feedback.

Classes & Professions

This will serve as an area to list potential classes for your Ethereal that are common only among Ethereals, but definitely doesn't limit it. With Ethereals, the stars are the limit in terms of creativity!

Technomancer - A combination of an Ethereal mage and an engineer, a technomancer manipulates technology with magic, or often combines the two. Their creations are practically endless, and can even feature things like miniature pocket dimensions or IC transmogrification. Enchanting is also a skillset probably included within a technomancer's range.

Nethermancer - An Ethereal that specializes in manipulating and fine-tuning the energies of the Twisting Nether, this character can use space-time warping abilities, such as phasing or teleportation, and is often associated with transmutation. These characters study the Nether and its intricacies, and can travel it at will.



Engineer - The Ethereal take on an engineer is interesting and much more broad, and comes with the fun of using your gadgets to your advantage, selling them, or simply having fun inventing new creations or innovations for other RPers. This class is a much more technical route.

Priest - Ethereals, as evidenced by the Sunwell and quests in Netherstorm, are capable of wielding the Light. They are also extremely capable of infusing themselves with Void, and so would be able to do the same with the Light, yet we have no examples of this so far. This may be because whatever motivation Ethereals have to use the Light is driven by self-interest rather than utter devotion, such as those who give themselves to the Void. The flip side to the Light is the Void, and a Void-based Ethereal will feature the powers of a shadow priest and then some.

Ologist - When playing the 'Ologist', it's practically your job to be a historian! To figure out everything and anything, and to catalog it. Roleplayers of this class should be careful to avoid nearing the 'Omnipotent' archetype, and roleplay progressing their own knowledge, as opposed to just 'knowing' it already.

Xenobiologist - While Ethereals are no longer biological, one could certainly have fun roleplaying one that studies other species and their cultures, as well as their genetic makeup. The xenobiologist is just such a class, and it's really your take on how you roleplay them. You could be a pacifist, or someone that attempts to forcefully study other species, engaging in sickening experiments.

Nether-Stalker - An arcane rogue, the Nether-Stalker fills the role of a scout, assassin, and operative for whomever has hired them to perform this task. They're adept in subterfuge and other rogue skills, wielding glaives or other spell-imbued weaponry. Most of your abilities will have an arcane theme.

Astromancer - Ethereals especially would have a need to study the stars, and so an astromancer might be common--one who studies stellar anomalies, charts routes, and draws on celestial bodies for strength in their spellcasting. Think of it as a mix between a diviner and a conjurer with a dash of Ethereal sci-fi thrown in for good measure.

Nexus-Stalker - The Ethereal equivalent of a demon hunter, Nexus-Stalkers are Nether-Stalkers who've turned to embrace the Void, bolstering their already supernatural agility and imbuing them with the powers of the Void. These characters may typically suffer from the Void's madness unless fully embracing it, and struggle to control it. They are capable of shifting into the Void, bringing their prey there, and a variety of other abilities.

Wind Trader - Merchants that specialize in otherwise exotic goods, their stock isn't exactly common and is oftentimes bizarre, sold for various different forms of currency other than gold. Some of these Ethereals will take the essence or soul of a creature as payment for their items. These merchants may typically be unaffiliated with a larger company, and often act as a small business owner. These traders have the ability to visit other dimensions and timelines.

More information and classes will likely be added to this section in time!

Creativity with Bindings

An Ethereal's bindings are apart of them, and how you style or customize your Ethereal is up to you! While I prefer to use an Ethereal model, many people might be put off by using the same types of models, at least until 7.3 is in. The basic idea here is that you can use whatever base race model you want, and them customize them with a variety of different types of armor or robes, using glances to describe that you're indeed an Ethereal, and appear (maybe not) as such. Your bindings can be as simple as enchanted cloth, or as complex as an entire suit of armor. As they're enchanted by nature, feel free to customize what additional enchantments your bindings may have, but try not to take it too far. For instance, your bindings might also include items that your character uses for their specific type of spellcasting, as opposed to a weapon like a staff or blade.

Not only that, but there's plenty of other models that can be used instead of a regular Ethereal, just judging from how Ethereals can freely modify their shape and form via the use of a 'binding'.


This is the part of the forum where I try to compile all we know about Ethereal history and conclude a timeline or frame for how old the Ethereal species is! So, what we know right now is that Dimensius has attacked other worlds, such as Karkora. We also know that the Ethereum once included all of the Ethereal species, but gradually lost membership over time. Another thing we know is that the Ethereum and other Ethereal factions have spread across the Twisting Nether and other dimensions on a broad scope, and as we know, this would require time to do. Dimensius was banished from the world of Karkora before the Eredar joined the Burning Legion approximately 25,000+ years ago. My own opinion is that the Ethereal exodus from K'aresh took place sometime before Dimensius was banished from Karkora, having left K'aresh to find another world to consume and the Ethereum was lead to follow.

As always, thank you for reading, and I'd appreciate feedback!

Romeo likes this

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Very nice! I'll take this into consideration with my own Ethereal. Also, I found the section of archetypes very informative and helpful, as I RP a non-Ethereal merchant, and I found I might have been dangerously close to 'The Everything Merchant' stereotype. Thank you!


The stars align; Elune be with you.

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