Few know why prayers to Avacyn have gone unanswered, but the consequence is clear to all—the old ways no longer carry the power they once had. In her unexplained absence, the power of Avacyn's influence fades, and the power of Innistrad's fiendish ilk grows. The aristocratic vampire families hunt peasant blood for sport and sustenance. Packs of snarling werewolves ravage caravans and villages. Geists float from their tombs and haunt cobblestone alleyways and ancient manors. The unhallowed dead feed their relentless hunger, roused by forbidden magic or stitched together by the inventions of brainsick alchemists. No longer held back by Avacynian magic, the supernatural horrors of the world are now free to prey on humanity.
Because of the renewed danger, traditions have begun to change across the four provinces of the known world. Stensian shopkeepers close their doors at nightfall. Travelers avoid the grave-riddled lowlands of Nephalia and the mist-laden woods of Kessig. Parish priests, wolfhunters, and the holy warriors known as cathars carry silver with them at all times. Even in the province of Gavony, seat of the Church, the shadows crawl with cults and conspirators.
Still, there are those who strike back against the forces of night. Armed with knowledge of their foes' vulnerabilities and the residual strength of their faith, fiend hunters venture into the haunted places of the world. Priests and specialized slayers train to face unholy fiends and protect parishes across the countryside.
To complicate matters, two visitors have arrived on Innistrad with agendas that will stir ancient secrets of the plane. The Planeswalker Liliana Vess, the ambitious death-mage, has come here seeking a demon. She believes that if she can slay it, she'll be one step closer to being free of an infernal bargain and reclaiming her precious soul. Though her purpose here is self-serving, her mission will drive her straight into the heart of Innistrad's mysteries.
The Planeswalker Garruk Wildspeaker also seeks to hunt down his chosen prey here in Innistrad, but his target is the witch Vess herself. At their last meeting, Liliana used the power of the Chain Veil artifact to curse Garruk, corrupting his power to summon wild beasts. She still carries the shadowy artifact, and Garruk still holds a grudge. If he can survive his curse, Garruk will employ his hunter's instincts to track her down.
The Church of Avacyn
Just as the archangel Avacyn is the focal point of worship for the people of Innistrad, the Church is at the center of human society. No boundary separates the Church of Avacyn from public life; the Church is involved in all aspects of daily life from law and governance to education and the military. Priests and slayers' faith in Avacyn holds true power to protect them from evil, so her disappearance has dealt humanity a heavy blow. For centuries the power of the Church has guided and protected Innistrad, and now it seems that that foundation may be shaken to the core.