What are their organizations like? (Family, groups, communities, tribes, clans etc)
- Kingdom – Much like the human nations and kingdoms, the Syndar are ruled by the same type of king and queen structure that most kingdoms utilize. Unlike other Monarchies, however, The King and Queen rule together, and are elected officials. The Queen is not second to the King, and there is no blood heir privilege to the throne. This system mimics the rule of their two gods, Solar and Lunara, who rule together. Syndar live a long time, so continuous democratic votes keep a King and Queen in check during their reign. Enclaves have gone to war to remove an unworthy King and Queen, and some kingdoms have even seen a King or Queen call upon the help of the Enclaves loyal to them to remove their counterpart should their duties prove to be failing.
- Enclave – Similar to the human’s House or to the Ulven Clans, a Syndar Enclave is the leadership that combines numerous communes of Syndar. They hold considerable sway over political issues related to the kingdom they currently reside in. Kings and Queens work hard to gain and keep the favor of the Enclaves. An enclave is ruled by the High Magis Tribunal, which are Magis selected from the different communes of the enclave.
- Commune – A Commune is a community of Syndar similar to a Human noble’s Estate or an Ulven Pack. They normally live in a single geographical area. They are not bound by blood and may come and go freely and join different communes with the blessing of the Magis. The spirit of “family” is almost non-existent and is replaced with the spirit of “community”. Syndar children roam freely between the habitants of the Commune and theoretically have numerous parents and countless brothers and sisters. Enclave’s will encourage the communes to grow and prosper so that they themselves grow and become stronger politically. Commune’s are ruled by a Magis, who can be male or female, the only requirement being that they must be a spellcaster.
- Tribes – There are some Syndar so long removed from the civilization of their brethren, that they have gone back to tribal or feral roots. These are usually small communities or families that do not communicate regularly with the main civilization of the Syndar. They are shunned or at best regarded very coldly by the other Syndar. Tribes are ruled by a Shaman or other applicable spiritual leader, much like a Commune is ruled by a Magis.
How do they handle ceremonies? (Marriage, funerals, etc)
- All ceremonies are conducted by the Magis or other important figures and usually involve meditation and the channeling of energy. This varies based on the occasion and also based on the lineage. Feral Syndar may do drum circles and chants, where the other Syndar may do trances and meditation circles.
What kind of leaders do they have and what is their structure and importance?
- Magis are local leaders of communes.
- High Magis are part of a Tribunal that is selected from all the Magis’ of the communes of a particular Enclave.
- A King & Queen oversee the rule of all the Enclave’s in their kingdom.
What gods do they believe in for religion and what is their spirituality like?
- Syndar believe in the God Solar and the Goddess Lunara, the sun and the moon, and both have heavy symbolism within their culture.
- Syndar as a whole are very spiritual and religious beings. They have a gift of magic given to them at birth and they believe it is granted by a higher power.
- The Syndar religion and lore revolves around the God Solar and Goddess Lunara ruling over all existence in perfect harmony as equals. Long ago, the two gods created children to walk among the earth. The first children were born from the animals and were flawed; their skin, horns and fangs betraying their beastial Fae nature. The first children were named the Feral Syndar. The gods then created their second children, born from the elements of the world and were imperfect; their skin and ears being more of natural flesh. These second children were named the Serous Syndar. The gods then created their third children, born from the stars, and were perfect; their skin and features celestial gold and silver to match that of their own. The third children were named the Celestine Syndar. The god’s final gift to their children was that of their magic essence, and with it the means to express their spirituality.
How do they commonly view the other races? The Undead? The Mordok?
- Syndar very openly believe that they are superior to all other races. This is not flaunted or used in disdain when dealing with Humans and Ulven, though some may misinterpret it that way. While considered a lesser race, humans are still regarded as both highly useful or pleasing company to the Syndar. The Syndar believe that their race has been touched by magic and is just that much closer to how all races are meant to be, not that it is any other races fault for not being “up to par” with the Syndar. To Syndar, it isn’t the fault of other races that they aren’t as superior as the Syndar, so it is rude to use it to mock other races.
- Serous and Celestine Syndar will openly mock or be rude (but not unreasonably hostile) to Feral Syndar. They believe they are part of the lesser children of Solar and Lunara and are to be treated as such.
- The Syndar view the Undead as a plague began by humans for their wanton use and unguided expansion of magic. There is no real proof of this, but they find it coincidental that the Undead Plague began around the same generation as some large breakthroughs in magic for the humans.
- The Syndar on the colony of Mardrun view the Mordok as an even lesser race than the Humans and Ulven. Where the Ulven denounce the Mordok as an intelligent race and Humans tend to view them as monsters, the Syndar regard all races as lesser, and the Mordok are just the lowest. Some Syndar are fascinated with the Mordok culture though, for a society with such primitive technology should not be able to do as well as they are.
How do they handle honor and integrity?
- Syndar handle honor and integrity much like humans do. Some highly regard it, some do not. Almost all Syndar of importance, such as leaders and rulers, make integrity a top priority because winning over their followers to rule for a long time is very important to them.
How do they handle grudges and revenge?
- Syndar are calculated and rarely commit crimes of passion. They realize that when they are emotional or worked up about something, that they can still retain control of their actions. They are less excitable than other races. Their overall manner is sometimes compared to a mix between a scholar and a martial artist, where responses and reactions are thought out ahead of time before they are acted upon.
- They are very slow to gain or give trust to other people. It can take many years and many trials to gain the loyalty of other Syndar.
- On the flip side, Syndar hold terrible grudges and never forget who has slighted, cheated, or disrespected them. There are stories of young humans being given the cold shoulder by Syndar for transgressions of their fathers before them.
- Syndar wronged gravely can take the mark of the Rahd Noc, which is an oath of vengeance. Sanctified by a Magis or High Magis, the wearer of the Rahd Noc uses a mixture of their own blood and of red magical paint to mark themselves from the top of the brow to the tip of their chin. It is obvious if a mark is genuine or just merely paint. The bearer of the Rahd Noc then bears the burden of extracting revenge for whatever deed had wrong them. The Rahd Noc remains on them until they have completed this task. This is a way for some Syndar to cope through tragedy. After fighting for vengeance, they can return to a Magis or High Magis and get the Rahd Noc removed. By doing so, they wash their souls of the grievous emotions that weigh them down and it helps them move on.
How do they handle combat and war?
- When Syndar go to war, it is a much slower and thought out process than humans. It is not uncommon for two Syndar kingdoms or factions to wage war on each other that involves very little death and destruction. Closely resembling a game of chess, the generals will position and reposition troops to gain the upper hand, with feints and troop movements meant to give the impression of victory instead of grinding it into their opponent. There once was a war between two smaller nations that lasted almost 50 years and involved very little bloodshed. They continued to outmaneuver each other, attack supply routes, displace smaller villages, etc. Finally, one nation surrendered after the other nation had the upper hand. Victory was imminent but there was no fiery and bloody battle to the end common with human war tactics.
- The Syndar view surrendering differently than humans. To them, surrender is not a cowardly way out but a respectful way to admit that one has been outmatched or beaten. They also typically treat any prisoners very well and even return them to their home nations or factions; the barbaric treatment or slaughter of prisoners by humans is alien and it completely shocked the Syndar during the first wars that broke out between the two races. This actually led to the Undead’s initial surge of troops on Faedrun during the war, as Syndar settlements and armies who surrendered were massacred and turned into undead ground troops.
How do they handle justice and punishment?
- Justice is not swift with Syndar, who normally take a lengthy amount of time determining the guilt and punishment of offenders. Each commune will have a group of lawgivers that follow the directive of their Magis and will determine guilt or innocence through a series of trials and debates. For minor infractions, it is not uncommon for a Syndar trial to last longer than the actual sentence.
- Syndar who have severely wronged others or have been repeated offenders may be judged to Reclamation. Clerics of the Reclament will be summoned to reclaim the guilty Syndar’s essence of mana. This is a painful process and removes the mana entirely, leaving the Syndar Hollowed. Some Syndar feel that to be Hollowed is worse than death.
How do they handle death?
- When Syndar die, their Commune will hold a burial service that involves channeling mana out of the deceased and back to members of the Commune or into mana stones. It is believed that through this act, the magic inside the deceased is returned to the community. The body is sometimes embalmed and mummified and placed in earthen or stone built tombs if the deceased was an important or influential figure. Although rare, there are some Syndar that are so sensitive to the flow of mana, that they can detect if a Syndar corpse, long lost or buried, was properly laid to rest and the mana retrieved from the deceased. There is a sect of divine cleric’s known as the Reclament that have devoted their entire life to divining the location of Syndar that were killed and not laid to rest and giving them proper burials. It is very common that all burial’s will be supervised or visited by a Reclament cleric, but a Magis can fulfill this duty if one is not available.
- Death itself can be both easily overcome or devastating to Syndar. If a Syndar did not know someone really well, their death is mourned and respected, but it is not a very big deal to most Syndar. If a close family member or the significant other of a long term relationship dies, it can be extremely difficult for them to cope with. When Syndar grow accustomed to people for many years, their death hits them that much harder and can be plagued by immense depression that requires time and meditation to overcome.
How do they handle economy and wealth?
- Very much like humans, they have a currency system in their home kingdoms and different classes of wealthy Syndar. This “chit” system is variable based on what it is paired with, and the pairings can change. Economy for Syndar is more complicated than humans and can fluctuate rapidly, so they tend to stick to the Vandregonian Silver coin out of respect and ease of trade. So far, the currency of the Syndar has not made it into the human nation’s economy much and it has not come over to Mardrun at all.
How do they handle politics (voting, representation, race-scale changes, etc)?
- The entirety of Syndar culture revolves around democracy. Everyone has a say, or picks representatives that voice their opinions and votes. This goes all the way up to the Kings and Queens of each kingdom. The people give their voice to the Magis, who then gives their voice to the Enclave, and each Enclave’s Tribunal will make decisions.
- Each nation or kingdom will hold a number of “Gatherings” where important political matters are discussed. This is normally done in a massive auditorium where the commoner Syndar can come and be a part of the process too. Each Enclave is given a certain number of seats to fill in this auditorium and a common vote is cast that is decided upon by all attending Syndar. More than once has a large decision by a High Magis been trumped or shot down by the collective voice of all present at the Gathering. Feral Syndar are excluded from these gatherings.
What are some common mannerisms for their race?
- Numerous communes and enclaves have developed their own customs of body art or symbols depicted on their flesh which normally are mystical or magical looking clean lines and swirls. The quick and large smudge lines of traditional human or ulven face paint are uncommon. There is, however, one mark that is universally recognized by all the Syndar and that is the Rahd Noc.
- Although the standard greeting for humans is to shake hands and for Ulven is to shake forearms, the Syndar see such a greeting as odd. They do not and have never shook hands as a greeting. This has sometimes come off as arrogance when a Syndar does not shake hands/forearms, but was probably the result of innocent ignorance as most Syndar do not realize the importance of the gesture the other races.
- The formal greeting to another Syndar is a slight bow of the head, a closing of the eyes, and the stating of the phrase “Siala Kay Nu”.
- Proper or older Syndar in polite or formal occasions find it rude to be direct in their conversations. Asking “How is your sister?” is considered rude. Making a round-about statement of “Your sister and I were always such friends, it is a shame she became ill recently” opens up the possibility of the other speaker to say how their sister is doing. This practice has continued to decline as humans don’t practice it and even more so on Mardrun as Ulven have no patience for such round-about speech.
Are there any symbols or animals important to this race?
- Symbols for the Sun and Moon are commonly used on their equipment, decoration, and art.
- The elements are also important for most Syndar, so sometimes markings or runes related to the elements are worked into their designs and art.
- Some Feral Syndar find different animals important and can base their cultures off of them as well or adorn their items with their image.
Is there anything considered taboo or forbidden to this race?
- Any Syndar who has had (willingly or not) their fae qualities (horns, pointed ears, etc) removed or altered to look like a humans is considered completely revolting to other Syndar. It would be the equivalent of a human cutting off their ears or noses to look like another race. The act of removing horns is more revolting than a Syndar with them.
- Same sex partners are commonly seen as taboo, much like how they are regarded by most humans. When couples only produce such limited offspring to the commune and a trend of decreasing birth rate for the entire race is noticeable, same sex marriages don’t make sense to most Syndar.
Are there any common sayings that are used by this race?
- “Siala Kay Nu” (See-alla Kai-Noo) which is a saying that roughly translates to “With the sun and the moon”. It is a generalized blessing used for many occasions and a greeting.
What is a common appearance (eyes, skin, ears, fangs, etc) for them? Is there an uncommon or taboo appearance for them?
- All Syndar have pointed ears of some kind. These can range in size and shape. Syndar very commonly have strikingly colored eyes of various colors and are usually not a measure of importance for any of the lineages.
- Feral Syndar bloodlines tend to have brightly or oddly colored skin and more predominant horns and features like enlarged canines or fangs. To the Serous and Celestine Syndar, the Feral Syndar are looked down upon and treated poorly.
- Serous Syndar commonly have “normal” colored skin, a lack of horns, more “normal” colored eyes, and pointed ears of some kind. Most of the Syndar population is made up of Serous Syndar.
- Celestine Syndar do not have horns or fangs of any kind. They commonly have strikingly colored eyes and a skin colored tinted gold or silver. The Serous and Feral Syndar revere the Celestine as prestigious members of Syndar society.
What overall theme/style do they tend to have? (Clothing, look, etc)
- Syndar clothing tends to edge closer to fantasy or regal looks, sometimes with a bit more color. They also have basic clothing, and some of the tribal/feral Syndar will wear furs and uncivilized clothing. The most common look or appearance of most Syndar is that of a more organic and fantasy theme. It is also very common for their clothing to be flowing, larger, and/or layered.
How do they regard magic? What kind of magical people or classes do they have and what do they do?
- All Syndar are in tune with magic more so than other races. They are usually more receptive to certain changes in magic and mana and are able to sense things that other races cannot. This has given the Syndar the ability to become very powerful arcane and divine spell casters and the use of magic is much more dominant in their society than in others.
- They completely recognize the two schools of magic, arcane and divine, and try to further their knowledge in both. Although Syndar are born with magical aptitude, they do not possess the ability to channel both divine and arcane magic in the way that the Ulven do. This has made way for a number of scholars to hunt down answers but so far no real progress has been made.
- Almost all Syndar worship both gods, but they feel that Arcane magic is a gift from Solar and Divine magic is a gift from Lunara.
Is there a rite of passage or coming of age for them to become adult?
- Due to the longevity of a Syndar’s life, they do not have an official coming of age rite or time. It is mainly just recognized when they are ready for reproduction and developed physically. This usually occurs between 16 and 20 years of age.
What is their courting & relationship process like?
- Syndar do not believe in marriage. They go through a courtship like the Humans where the male and female try to impress each other. If they find the other Syndar to their liking, they enter a relationship but there is no further step that solidifies that relationship. This does not mean that the Syndar are promiscuous and they do not cast relationships aside lightly, but the Syndar live a long time, and the concept of being forced or feeling forced to be with someone when they do not want to be is alien to them. It is not uncommon for Syndar that have been in love for decades to drift apart because of their separate lives or changes in their behavior. This parting is usually a mutual agreement that is less confrontational than with other races.
How long do they live and what is their birth/child process like?
- Syndar live a long time, averaging 150-200 years, but they grow from infants to children and then to adult Syndar at about the same speed as humans do. The main difference is that large families are very rare, most parents only having 1-3 children.
- Syndar birth rate has been on the decline for the last 500 years. It is not enough to cause major alarm for their race, but it can become an issue if a large war or disease kills a lot of their kind. They will not reproduce as quickly as the other races.
- Syndar children almost always take on the lineage and traits of the mother, not the father. It is very rare for the traits of the father to be dominant for the child and even more rare for a Celestine child to be born.
- All communes and enclaves are expected to turn over any Celestine children to the Enlightened. It is a great honor for a member of a commune or enclave to produce a Celestine offspring. Their birth is random and the parents willingly hand over the child to the mages of the Enlightened so they can begin their studies immediately. It is very rare for Celestine Syndar to be born to any Feral Syndar.
How do they handle their own names? Is there meaning to how they are structured?
- Syndar names tend to be more rolling, smooth, or flowing. For example, Syndar names could be Sialyth, Sintare, Tilinian, Silorian, Nuvalish, etc. Abrupt, short, or mundane names are uncommon to the Syndar. There is no real meaning for their structure and they do not exhibit commune or enclave identification of their names. Last names are used but not common.
Are there any special groups or factions within this race?
- The Reclament is a holy order of Syndar clerics devoted to finding and laying to rest lost Syndar. They believe that the mana gifted to all Syndar at birth is a resource that if abused and neglected will wither and die. The act of finding and returning the magical essence of all Syndar helps keep this energy in the community and in the Syndar race. This group can also carry out punishment by reclaiming the mana essence of a Syndar criminal, forcing them to become Hollowed.
- The Enlightened is a scholarly order that researches arcane magic at its highest levels and overlooks the education of the Celestine Syndar. They are powerful mages who also keep track of the massive libraries created in reference to magic and the lore of the world.
- Any Syndar who have lost their magical essence due to foul magic, a defect at birth, been sentenced to Reclamation, or some form of experiment or experience is called a Hollow. They are typically shunned by the Syndar communities, and more often than not become wanderers. These Syndar tend to act differently than other Syndar, and are generally easy to spot. The appearance of a Hollowed Syndar can be described as somber, depressed, or even haunted. It is not known if this is an actual side effect of losing their essence or a burdening sense of shame, or a demeanor that has grown from being viewed as broken or less than whole by other Syndar.
Were there any large/significant events that happened for this race?
- The Battle of Grayfield was the turning point in easing human and Syndar tension. When the Vandregonions proved that they would take up arms to stop their own kind from attacking the Syndar, it changed the way the Syndar viewed the Humans.
- The Undead on Faedrun hit the Syndar border nations hard. The speed of the plague, and the penitent cause taking hold were so alien to most Syndar, that they did not know how to respond. Their previous tactics made combating the undead plague difficult. It is suspected that most of the Syndar race was eradicated on Faedrun during the war, but it is impossible to accurately estimate numbers.
- Starting over on Mardrun was extremely difficult to the surviving Syndar. Cut off from their homeland, their history, and their teachings the thought of beginning anew is terrifying to them. Most Syndar have joined together into new communes and live in Newhope or have created their own settlement close to Newhope.
What was this race like on Faedrun? On Mardrun?
- On Faedrun, the Syndar have been around for a very long time. They kept to themselves and did not expand their territories much. Their kingdoms and nations were doing very well and they flourished in their pursuit of the magic and spirituality. It wasn’t until recently (for the Syndar at least) when the Human kingdoms matured enough to expand their borders and fighting broke out between the two races, that the Syndar experienced any major changes. Even following some bloody battles between the humans and Syndar, the Syndar race as a whole remained steady, but they expanded or opened their borders as more and more Syndar began to travel and trade with the humans. When the great war began on Faedrun with the undead, the Syndar nations held their own ground but also committed to helping Vandregon, even if from different angles or sending support in the form of smaller units. After a while, the Syndar nations collapsed at the borders and their entire race was split up or fell back to the farthest reaches of their lands. What was once a proud and great series of kingdoms was decimated.
- The refugees fleeing Faedrun that arrived on Mardrun are nothing more than just that. They are refugees in a foreign land with no governing group or political structure. Syndar have banded together and kept to the colony of Newhope or have tried to create their own communes near colonized locations. These groups are scraping by, but the complete collapse of their government and political structure is hard on the Syndar on Mardrun.
Is this race a unified group or are there obvious differences between its members? What common ground does this race share?
- A majority of the Syndar work together as a whole and generally do everything according to the overall direction of their entire race. Religion and Lore keep most of the Syndar race unified and differences are normally worked out diplomatically. The Kingdom of Teillorien is the flagship nation of the Syndar and most of the smaller nations follow their lead.
- The only main differences are the Feral Tribes and the Hollow, who are regarded coldly and almost as bad as outsiders. Hollow are ignored and feral tribes are not included in any politics.
How do they handle teaching & knowledge?
- The Syndar normally handle teaching much like humans with the use of classes and teachers. This is normally done within the commune and each Enclave can have institutes that can specialize in different areas. The main difference is that all teaching, training, and schooling done is always free and each and every Syndar has the opportunity to learn more at any given time. Popular courses will either get more teachers or have a waiting list to get in.
- Because of a Syndar’s long life, they tend to have a curiosity or thirst for knowledge more so than other races. They know that they, on average, will be around for a long time and the more well rounded they are, the better.
- The Enlightened maintain a prestigious school that is designed to take in, teach, and raise the Celestine Syndar. Although the teachers may be non-Celestine, all of the students are. They are taught higher level education related to leadership, core principles of the entire Syndar race, and of spirituality and magic. They are groomed to be powerful spell casters and leaders of the Syndar.
What kind of superstitions does this race have? (sayings, totems, rituals, beliefs)?
- A Solar or Lunar eclipse is a big deal to the Syndar. It is believed that the gods of Solar and Lunara touch and are completely in tune with the flow of magic and that is a time for meditation and spiritual enlightenment. Communes will sometimes fast and meditate in large groups on these days. It is not uncommon for entire communes or even enclaves to completely shut down for the day of a Solar or Lunar eclipse to allow its people to meditate.
- A New Moon is a time when most communes will make small offers or sacrifices, usually in the form of art, incense, or food. A small moon shrine may be visited by members and small contributions donated at the base of the shrine. This is an ancient custom that is still around that is meant to ask Lunara to return to the world, it is meant to bring on good luck.
What kind of structures do they build and to what style?
- There are a wide variety of Syndar dwellings, ranging from natural vegetation and simple earthen and brush buildings, to smooth and sturdy rock buildings. Aesthetics are always a priority and even earthen buildings will look more like fantasy dwellings or groves. With the help of magic, they reinforce and sturdy these rocks and walls. A supposedly weak building can withstand immense punishment. The architecture is smooth, flowing, and organic when compared to the more rudimentary human styles.
- Syndar buildings are usually complexes involving small living spaces for each member, with much larger gathering or common rooms.
What kind of weapons and armor are common to the race? Is there something that has special meaning?
- Medium and lighter armors are common; heavily armored soldiers are fairly rare to the Syndar. There are no iconic weapons or armor that the Syndar use, but the use of staff or double bladed weapons are more common than other races due to the higher percentage of arcane spellcasters.
What kind of fighters does this race have? Are they known for anything in particular?
- The Syndar field all manner of soldiers when it comes to battle and war, but they are primarily more archery and dexterity based fighters. Their use of arcane warriors is common as well, providing magical support to break enemy shields and push their lines apart. They field excellent scouts, rangers, skirmishers and spellcasters.
Is there a particular talent, trade skill, or resource that this race has or focuses on?
- Mana Stones were first discovered by the Syndar and to this day, only the Syndar possess the knowledge of how to create them. They are special gems or items that can store mana and their construction is a closely guarded secret.
- The recovering, transferring, harnessing, or storing of mana is a skill that the Syndar have learned and mastered over time.
What is the population of this race (if known)?
- The collective number of all the Syndar nations and kingdoms put their numbers at about 10 million on Faedrun, but the entire Syndar race was decimated by the war. It is suspected that over half of their entire race was killed in the war, and the remaining majority of their race retreated back to the northern edge of the continent of Faedrun. A small percentage of Syndar are still with human forces scattered around Faedrun fighting the undead.
- Another small percentage has fled the continent and started a new life on Mardrun. It is expected that at only a couple hundred Syndar made it to Mardrun.