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The Storytellers of Sypressa


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The Storytellers of Sypressa (SYP)


Geography – The Greywood Coast is renowned for its signature coastal greywoods. These towering evergreen varieties can live for thousands of years and reach hundreds of feet into the sky thanks to the abundant rainfall driven into the coast from the southeast during the winter. In particularly dry summers, wildfires threaten the less-hardy species of the forest. The greywood pine, with its exceptionally thick layer of fire-resistant bark, is among one of the few plants that can survive and thrive after these blazes and thus it dominates the forest. The majority of the region's population lives amongst the trees for cultural reasons, but there are a few small coastal settlements with artificially propagated groves. This shoreline is cold, deep, and rocky in nature, with a flourishing underwater kelp forest.

People – Sypressans are a mixed bunch united more by shared cultural practices than by race. Roughly half of the population is human, and the other half can be described as a much more varied form of Merlyn. Or perhaps the Merlyn can be described as a single, proliferated instance of a Sypressan wood elf. The similarities end with their elegant and lithe forms, long pointed ears, and exceptionally long life spans. Sypressan wood elves are omnivorous, have a wide range of horn and antler shapes, and usually posses a normal amount of ego. Both the elves and humans of the Greywood Coast have a darker skin tone that blends in with the dappled shade of the forest floor.

Culture – When a Sypressan comes of age, whether that age be their human teenage years or their early elven century, they join a Story. Some Stories are wrought by a single pair of hands, and some are tended by an entire village. All Stories are tenderly carved, line by line and chip by chip, into the thick bark of an enormous and long-lived greywood tree. To perform acts that will make for exceptional carvings in one's Story is the goal of every Hero, and to accuse another of leaving no memorable mark upon one's Story is the gravest of insults. While maintaining the carvings of the existing story is not as glamorous as designing new motifs, it is nonetheless the life work of many Sypressans. Writing and lettering upon one's Story are taboo, and individuals with a knack for translating images and patterns into a compelling narrative are highly esteemed. 

Government – The largest and oldest greywood tree contains the Story for all of Sypressa. To ensure that the Story continues uninterrupted, every few years a new adolescent Storyteller is adopted into the national Story. They undergo apprenticeship for about a decade, in which the older Storytellers teach them the craft. At the end of this apprenticeship, they become the Master Storyteller for a few years before retiring to mentor new talent.

Faith – Most Sypressan incorporate worship of the Lunar Penteon into their daily life, leaving small but simple offerings at local shrines.

The Greywood Coast's most beloved goddess is Alyta, the wanderer and goddess of the path. She is represented by the off-axis moon and the Greywood Coast's winding river of the same name. Temples to Alyta are a common sight along its banks, each decorated with a single, long, circular grey-blue thread intertwined amongst the statues and wrapped around the sanctums pillars. It is customary for heroes, travelers, and weavers to pray for Alyta's guidance by hanging a silver bell upon this thread when embarking on a new quest, voyage, or project.

The luminous Aerlys is the goddess of beginnings. Every barn and coop in the Greywood Coast bears her elliptical sigil above the door and serves as her temple. Ranchers pray to Aerlys for the health and safety of their newborn cygnets and fawns by placing a woven crown of herbs upon their brow. Those that live agrarian lives offer her a pinch of seed from every stock before planting in the spring to bless the growth of their fields.

Branwyn, the darkest and largest moon, is the unknowable goddess of endings. She is rarely mentioned in Sypressan teachings, but every gravestone bears a shard of shattered pottery in her name.

The Winding Rose, Yrona, is prayed to by village leaders and thieves alike as the goddess of good fortune. Every village or town has a stone hearth dedicated to her near the center. To make an offering, an enterprising soul must pluck a greywood pinecone (which are only about 2 inches long) from a living tree, then burn the cone upon the hearth. The higher up the pinecone, the better fortune Yrona will grant you.

The smallest goddess, Aoife, is said to be the font of all inspiration. Her temples are found in places of great beauty, which are often precarious cliffs, hidden valleys, and isolated coves. Story carvers, tinkerers, and poets leave found (never plucked!) feathers upon her shrines in the hope of gaining a glimmer of her wisdom.

Resource – The elaborate carvings of the massive greywoods result in piles of discarded greywood bark. The bark has a high quantity of fire-resistant tannin, a potent tanning agent. When the bark is boiled, the resulting concentrated broth can be used as a dye to color textiles a deep grey-blue. 

Required Resource – Carving tools, mirrors, lanterns, armor, and deershoes. The uses for metal are endless, and the supply of ore is practically non-existent in the Greywood Coast. The roots of the coastal greywoods run deep, and any excavation that disturbs these ancient watertaps is strictly forbidden. 

Starting Technology – The forests of the Greywood Coast leave little land for farming. Most villages hunt, forage, and raise domestic animals to sustain their population. The most popular domesticates for animal husbandry are the spotted and nimble blue-tailed deer (milk, labor), the iridescent-feathered swans (eggs), and the prolific four-tailed squirrels (meat).

Edited by aerin13 (see edit history)
Starting ruler
5d4 4,3,3,1,1
Reroll a one
1d4 1
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