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Machines aren't alive. The world is. The Anthem is the clay it's molded from.
Cortex
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The World Icon

Anthem takes place on a beautiful planet called Coda.

It is impossible for the people of this world to go beyond the confinements of this planet’s atmosphere[1]. Coda is disconnected from the universe in space and time—it constantly pulls relics of the old, perhaps from unknown spaces into itself for unknown reasons[2].

People have been living here for so long that they have learned to make use of these millennia old technology, which they have been calling Shaper technology, but they barely understand how it all works. However, they have learned enough for them to build powerful exo-suits called javelins to traverse the world and protect themselves from dangers. The Arcanists, regardless of what region or nation they belong to, are the people who study the world and uncover its mysteries.

Neither the true shape nor the distribution of land and seas of Coda is revealed. However, the closest concept to seeing a full map of Coda is seen on the World Event icon used in-game. The icon may show how Coda looks like, but it could also be a generic placeolder.

Etymology and History

The word Coda comes from a musical terminology, as with all concepts in Anthem. Coda means the concluding passage of a piece or movement, typically forming an addition to the basic structure. It can also mean a concluding event, remark, or section. Both these definitions suggest that Coda is at the edge or transition of some place, which is unknown.

Clash between Shaper Energy from Relics and Anthem Energy from Echoes

It has been claimed several times throughout history that Coda was created by The Shapers, because there are several monumental structures all over this planet whose origins are mysterious. In fact, these structures, commonly called Shaper Instruments, are constantly on a clash with the Anthem of Creation. According to legend, the Anthem itself was used by the Shapers to create Coda and everything in it.

Although the Shapers created Coda, they vanished at the end of their time, described as The Time of the Shapers, before completing their creations, leaving Coda unfinished. They left several tools scattered across the planet which could do marvellous things. Some of these have very clear purposes, but many remain as secrets which may never be unraveled.

Cliffs and Mountains during Springtime

It is true that not only Coda was created by the Shapers, but also bulk of the living and non-living creatures that exist within its confinements. Coda’s atmosphere is covered in natural Ripstreams that are unevenly spread out. So, any object within a certain size that is inside the planet, whether existing naturally, created artificially, or summoned by relics, will always be trapped in it. There are stories of people and objects vanishing, reappearing, or even appearing out of thin air, but it has never been possible to leave Coda, even today, the year 468 Legion Victorious. The only way, currently known, for a living being to escape Coda is through death, and non-living entity, by its destruction or annihilation.

There is no known demonym for the people who are a part of Coda, possibly because there aren’t any known planets around it. There are, however, several stellar bodies, satellite bodies, and meteoroids that Arcanists have studied time and time again by constructing their own equipment.

Cortex Entry

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Check Cortex Entry: The Anthem of Creation (3) for More Information

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Oh! When did the world start singing? Who brought forth the song?
Did the Shapers write the music, or did they just sing along?
Why did their choir so suddenly abandon all they made?
Did they choose to leave their instruments, or were they just mislaid?
Mothers won't you sing to us, teach us how to play?
Fathers take us in your arms, and hum to us the way.
The Anthem of Creation lives within us all.
Will you sing your melody? Will you hear its call?

Traditional Spiritual

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For a Collection of similar Cortex Entries, See: World (Cortex Collection)

Geography

Lava amid the Greenery

Coda has a myriad of biomes all across its lands, seas, and even skies! It also has tectonic activity because there have been earthquakes, either caused by the planet itself, or formed due to a mishap through a Shaper Instrument.

Coda has vast jungles, arid deserts, volcanic canyons, sulfurous acid pools, rift valleys, cold tundra, treacherous oceans, swampy marshlands, cavernous lowlands, open grasslands, mountainous highlands and many more forms of natural environments. Coda experiences a steady day-night cycle. It rains heavily on Coda—downpour that can make things in the front barely visible with debris gyrating around everything on sight.

The planet has a thick, but breathable atmosphere. This atmosphere is covered in a natural wind-barrier that repels or teleports objects to a lower level called Ripstream. The ripstream phenomenon seems to have a size threshold, above which it doesn’t repel objects—quantities such as mountain peaks, larger than life Shaper instruments, and cliffs do not seem to be affected by ripstreams. Vegetation can grow on such objects without any ripstream preventing their growth.

Coda has a multitude of water reservoirs. From raging seas to calm underwater lakes to shallow pools ponds and inlet caves, there is plenty of water for life to thrive on this planet. Even waterfalls of a variety of shapes and sizes exist. Sometimes, some relics can even make the waterfalls go upward if disturbed!

Overgrown Human and Shaper Ruins during Winter

There have been ruins left by various species, including Humans, Anzu, Urgoth, and possibly, some unknown sapient lifeforms. The Shapers themselves left Shaper structures everywhere, many of which have been overgrown by the nature; those that aren't, still stand strong and unscathed by time immemorial.

When the Scars arrived in Bastion, they began changing the geography due to their utilitarian nature. Location occupied by Scars usually have an abhorrent presence, as if the land itself is dying. Trees barely grow around Scar occupied areas. Often, the bushes and minor plants near such areas have a dried appearance, which is an indication of them rotting away. Foul insects, such as vesnids tend to form colonies around such places.

The living creatures of Coda have a tendency to create the organic acid, which can corrode the toughest of armor and dissolve it. Lightning discharge and electrical activity are quite common, to such an extent that even small relics that go volatile can create electrically charged Shaper nodes in a vast area around them. Some creatures and plants can easily project jolt of electric shocks. Fire on Coda is peculiar. It oftentimes cannot be extinguished by natural phenomena such as rain or water, but can only be extinguished through ice. Ice can be so cold, that it freezes anything coming in its contact instantly. There are fauna and chimeras that spew fire and ice among other things.

A Storm Gate Opens to a Conjunction

When Shaper relics go haywire, they can form dangerous cataclysms that literally change the planet’s geography, create new and unfathomable structures, bring forth violent Shaper Storms, summon Storm Gates which form through inverted energies to become the leeway to Conjunctions (Shaper or otherwise), and even go so far as to alter reality itself! This is actually a very common occurrence, regardless of their hazardous precariousness. Not all cataclysms are created equal. Sometimes the reality changes in such a way that people don’t even realize that it has transformed the world. This was quite common in the days of the old, when there weren’t many reliable ways to keep records, and much of Coda’s history has been lost or altered. Fortunately, instruments such as Archives, Survey Beacons, Early Warnings systems, and communication services such as Radio (as antiquated as it may be) and even Cyphers or people connected to the Gateway, have helped keep a track of any changes that occur in the world today.

As dangerous as Coda is, it is equally beautiful. Its skies are filled with numerous cloud formations that change over the course of the day, and throughout the year. It has beautiful sun rises and sun sets, vistas of unimaginable splendor, waterfall formations that rival the equally magnificent bioluminescent lifeforms underwater, and breathtaking sights to enjoy. The animals and plants of Coda, hostile or docile, are vibrant and have a propensity to be bioluminescent.

Weather and Climate

Sunrise amid Snowfall

Coda’s climate is harsh and everchanging. It can be as cold as solid ice at one moment, in the next instant, there can be snow that burns everything it touches. These changes are caused by natural phenomena, as well as from the clash between the Anthem of Creation and Shaper Energy—this generally happens in Shaper instruments such as relics and ruins—bringing forth destructive situations, for both sentient lifeforms, and the geography of the world. Since Shaper structures can be found above ground and underwater, it is possible for the world to have changed, while its denizens remain unaware of these conversions.

Coda is a planet with a tilt. This means, it has seasons that can be experienced at different times of the year. Coda has 12 months in its yearly cycle. In the continent of Mirrus, when there is summer, most things are lush and green—it usually makes up for most of the climate in regions such as Northern Bastion. During autumn, mysterious fog can creep down from unknown sources. In winter, the lush green leaves become deep red, while a layer of snow might cover the ground depending on the location. The sky also can become permanently cloudy during this season. When spring arrives, flowers of pink, purple, and white petals can bloom all over the verdant trees and thickets. From what little that is known, the Northern Continent is always frozen throughout the year, covered deep in snow and ice. Part of this is because of a cataclysm that froze the land, as told by the Bard of Fort Tarsis.

Debris Scrambling During a Downpour

It is thought that places such as Northern Bastion, the region which the Freelancer has been exploring and patrolling as of 468 LV, exist around or below Coda’s equator, from the way it and several other locations are described in the cortex and lore. The extent of the continent of Mirrus is as vague as the shape of Coda is. In the northern parts of Mirrus is Bastion’s northern frontier called Northern Bastion. Beyond that is a cold sea called the Sundric Sea. About 10 leagues from Bastion’s north-eastern edge, is the currently known southernmost landmass of the Northern Continent with an unrevealed name. In it, is the cold Dominion nation of Stralheim, a frozen land of snow and blizzard, filled with brutalist architecture. Stralheim itself is in the northern parts of Coda. Further north, beyond the Dominion borders, is a dark and even colder place which is only referred to as the Urgoth Nation. From the conversation between the Freelancer and Owen, Northern Bastion itself is very far south from Stralheim, so the true northern extent of the Northern Continent is unclear.

Weather varies depending on the location of a place, the season, and the mood of any Shaper relic in that area. When relics' Shaper energy and the Anthem clash, they can cause localized changes in the weather. Until the relic is silenced, the weather won’t return to its normal self—normal, being a relative term.

Shaper structures can remain active at times and calm themselves down. Such temporary changes can be witnessed inside Shaper structures like Shaper globes. The Cataclysms formed by the clash between Shaper and Anthem energies are also natural reasons for weather and climatic changes. However, through settling down these clashes, cataclysms can be contained, and only freelancers can turn the situation back to normal. Other lancers can try to silence them, but may not be successful.

Civilizations

Mysterious Storm inside an Anzu Ruin

There are currently five sapient species that exist on Coda: Anzu, Humans, Elementals, Urgoth, and Scars. Only some of these species have been dominant on Coda, but at different times.

The Shapers, although sapient, vanished from Coda after its creation. But not only did they once exist, they created Coda and almost everything in it. It is not known if they ever lived on Coda, or whether they wanted to. So, even though they are sentient (perhaps the most sentient among all known species), they are not considered as a civilization.

The most dominant species during The Age of Chaos were the Anzu. They are beings of dark origins who worshipped the Shapers and created unique block-shaped architecture across Coda. They used metals and materials previously unfound anywhere for construction. All Anzu related structures have now become ruins and only some Anzu are thought to ezist today.

Elementals are sentient creatures created by relics and the Anthem during intense cataclysmic activities. Elementals themselves do not create anything that can be considered as a complex society. Some Arcanists consider Elementals to be modern incarnation of the Anzu, but it is highly debatable.

During The Rule of Urgoth, large sentient creatures called Urgoth made their way into the continent of Mirrus from their northern home. They discovered that, on this land, there were minor sentient creatures who could manipulate ember to make it useful. The Urgoth, who themselves could not handle ember, enslaved these sentient beings called Humans. They built several of their own architectural marvels and monuments all across Mirrus using these slaves.

An Urgoth Statue Carved on a Cliff

Eventually, Humans, who had their own lifestyle and architecture before being enslaved, began resisting the Urgoth during a time called The Human Resistance. They then drove them away to their dark homeland by using new, but not fully comprehensible technology made using embers called javelins. Finally, the Humans rebuilt their broken civilization to bring it into a new dawn, the present era called Legion Victorious.

As time passed, nearly half a millennium later, Humans have become the most dominant species on Coda, more or less, and have invented new nations, technology, architecture, lifestyle, and society. They are the only known sentient species that currently have active societies in two continents.

More recently, a utilitarian sentient species called Scars have been brought into Coda through a cataclysm. They are competing against Humans for resources and building marginally stable structures all across Northern Bastion. They haven’t been allowed to spread beyond this region and Antium Region by the Freelancers and Sentinels of Bastion, for the time being. The previously chased out Urgoth slavers from the dark northern lands have also returned to Mirrus, but their motivation currently remains unknown.

Flora and Fauna

Weaponized and Elemental Fauna Battling amid the Mesmerizing Vegetation

If there is one thing that expresses how extreme the geography of coda is, it is its myriad of Fauna and Flora, most of which are vicious and perilous. In fact, because of the constant clash between Shaper instruments and the Anthem, creatures and plants can undergo chimerification to become even more dangerous chimeras. Sentient Elementals and previously-unheard-of creatures, such as the Hesperian Serpent can form from relics—especially when cataclysms emerge from the clash between Shaper Energy and the Anthem of Creation.

Dangers lurk everywhere in the form of acid spewing, fire breathing, frost projecting, electrocuting varieties of animals on this planet. Most fauna and flora currently known are from Northern Bastion. There are some that came into Coda through cataclysms, such as Skorpions, and others through conjunctions that may or may not link alternate realities, such as the Bristleback. Other creatures such as Blirpbits, that were once thought to have gone extinct, have been rediscovered on Coda.

Dangerous plants aren’t rare either. There are plants that can create spores and hazes of acid mist, like the Quick Maw. Vines that can shock anyone coming into its contact, but only at night, like the Night Vine. There are even varieties of trees that are so old that their trunks and branches have become rocks; perhaps that is how the Eddian Grove always was. But there are also plants that are used for food and as resources.

Creatures Depicted on the Freelancer Enclave Wall

Exciting creatures and vegetations are not the only life that add to the majesty of Coda. Different types of animals like to be active in different seasons. Likewise, a variety of plants flower only bloom during certain times of the year. Temperature plays a major role in determining the way a lifeform expresses itself. Trees as old as the planet itself, underwater bioluminescent beings, docile colorful animals, vibrant melodious birds, and coruscating fungi that produce glowing spores are also a part of this planet.

There are innumerable species of plants and animals that haven’t even been discovered, let alone named or identified, on this planet secluded from the universe itself.

In fact, the Freelancer Enclave wall of Fort Tarsis are painted with creatures that haven’t been witnessed in Northern Bastion, even by the Freelancer who silenced the largest cataclysms to have ever formed—the Heart of Rage.

Locations

Human Ruins from the Destroyed City of Shadowmark

Coda is a planet filled with mysterious and exceptional locations, each of which has its own history, geography, culture, and people. For a list of all locations, go to this page.

Continents

Currently, there are 2 known continents. There may be more that haven’t been discovered or mentioned.

Nations

There are 5 known nations in Coda. There may be more, that are unrevealed.

  • Bastion (Mirrus)
  • Fortuo (Mirrus, sometimes depicted as an autonomous part of Bastion)
  • Stralheim (The Northern Continent)
  • Urgoth Nation (The Northern Continent)
  • Paladins Nation (The Northern Continent, possibly defunct)

Regions

Each nation may be sub divided into several regions depending on its geo-political structure. Bastion behaves like an empire, but it has several regions under it, each of which are headed by a Governor. Fortuo currently has one known location called Fortuo itself. The Dominion, even though have a homeland in Stralheim in the Northern Continent, have conquered other regions found in Mirrus. It is worth noting that each region also has several sub-region, each of which are divided into districts, which may or may not contain settlements and hidden places.

Northern Bastion has its own list of Sub Regions, Districts, Settlements, and Hidden Places which aren’t mentioned here.

REGIONS
Bastion
Dominion

Settlements

There are several cities, towns, and village settlements in every nation. They may or may not be walled. The following are divided into bustling (currently active with people alive and not in ruins), ruins (destroyed by various circumstances, including war and cataclysms), and unknown (their current status is unknown) categories.

The cities are not divided based on their nations for convenience. If nothing is mention in parenthesis, it means the settlement is under Bastion's jurisdiction.

SETTLEMENTS
Bustling
Ruins
Unknown
  • Bawlf
  • Frostkeln (Dominion)
  • Ibar (Dominion)
  • Primoris
  • Toffield

Other Locations

The following are other locations that aren’t clearly classifiable because of their vague descriptions:

  • Blackstone
  • Croassus Mountains
  • Deadfall
  • Deadlight Caverns
  • Esterod
  • Hammertop Mountain
  • Hesperian Tide
  • Indigo Veil
  • Red Tomb Valley
  • Scavenger Point
  • Shadowgap Trench
  • Sundric Sea (a sea between Bastion and Stralheim)
  • The Sunken Cell
  • Western Pass

Unknown Locations

The following locations could be places found in unknown parts of Coda. It is also possible that they are areas in different realities. These areas are called Conjunctions and they can only be entered through open Storm Gates. The Following loactions have their storm gates present in Northern Bastion:

Mysteries

An Overgrown Shaper Tunnel

Coda is literally secluded from the rest of the Universe. As a matter of fact, there are a few possibilities that express Coda to be a different kind of world: never before seen, never to be seen again. Anything that comes into Coda becomes a part of it, forever, even in ruins, in death, and in collapse.

As with this mystified perplexity, it has conundrums and paradoxes that aren’t unraveled yet. The most prevalent among these are the Anthem of Creation, primal beings like the Shapers and Anzu, the Shaper Structures, formation of ember and unusual resources, fantastical creatures and vegetation, existence of pocket universes within Coda, secret organizations, hidden locations, mystical environments, more than meets the eye Science, Arcane ruins of various civilizations, energy pockets that can magically aid or hinder anyone coming in contact with it, plant and animal life beyond imagination, and many, many more enigmatic mysteries which may never come to light or at no time be solved.

The most mind-bending feature of this planet is the technology that can change reality itself, be it through creation, chimerification, destruction, or modification—it can alter reality in such a way that people may not be able to realize that they have become one with a different reality!

Beyond Coda

Moons of Coda Seen at Night from above Fort Tarsis

It is impossible to go out of Coda because of the way its natural ripstreams behave. However, when observed, there is one star in the center of the system, around which planet Coda revolves. Coda itself has two heavenly bodies revolving around it.

Of the two bodies, red and blue, only the blue is confirmed to be a moon that has existed for a long time. The red object, however, doesn’t have any direct mentions in historic documents. But all recent documentations have made notes of two moons. This could either mean that a reality altering event had taken place, or the historic documents are inaccurate.

Coda’s skies are covered in clouds since the Icetide of 468 LV. But when not cloudy, at night, it can be seen that the red and blue bodies are tidally locked to Coda, while Coda itself has a regular day-night cycle. When there are clear skies, mesmerizing stars can be seen twinkling on the night sky.

Trivia

  • Coda is not Planet Earth or any future or past variant of it.
  • It has been mentioned by the developers that all universes could be pocket universes in Coda[3].
  • Whether or not Humans or any of Coda’s sentient species are indigenous to the planet is questionable. Scars are definitely known not to have origins on Coda as they came into it through a cataclysm.
  • It can be concluded that all other universes are pocket universes that are spontaneously created on Coda, if Coda is completely secluded from another universe. This can explain the references to other Bioware universes in-game, as being pocket universes in the one which Coda exists.
  • Several location names are only mentioned indirectly through NPC conversations, named enemies, and conversations between the Freelancer and another character in Fort Tarsis.
  • Nothing in Coda is mass-produced; everything is handcrafted by its residents.
  • Although Northern Bastion shows only a handful of environments, Coda has all kinds of imaginable and unimaginable biomes, as mentioned in the Art of Anthem.
  • The planet’s name was never revealed in the game as Coda.
  • The planet’s name was first revealed through a conversation between Madam Chronicler and another Cypher called Ty Garron through an ARG twitter conversation around the time of the release of Elysian Caches. Unfortunately, it did not receive any promotion[4].
  • The only other instances of the planet’s name being mentioned is in the short story Bountiful Hunt and in the Bioware Gear Store that features an Anthem key art T-shirt[5].

See Also

Gallery

References

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