Friday, February 19, 2016

Nation Spotlight: Sytheria


The homeland of the Ophiduans, Sytheria, is an ancient nation, full of rich and proud history. At one point, Sytheria covered the entirety of the continent, though over millenia, other Ophiduan nations began to splinter off. These nations slowly fell to the predations and expansions of the younger races, until for the last 2000 years, Sytheria was alone as the homeland of the Ophiduans once more.

The Ophiduans state that the empire of Sytheria was the third great empire of their people. The last two empires were the ancient Qunori, and the prehistoric Umshtalli. Ophiduans are not just a long lived race, they are a truly ancient culture stretching back over a hundred thousand years of recorded history, and some Umshtalli writings speak of 4 ancient empires of their own.

Prior to the breaking, the Ophiduans were biding their time. They controlled the north east of the continent, and were content to wait for the humans to provide their own downfall so that they could reclaim the continent again. Ophiduan patience proved to be a mistake however. Though they watched with some interest during the war, even providing some minor support to the Faithless, they simply assumed the humans would wipe themselves out, allowing them to begin to spread back out to the world again.

When the breaking commenced, they cried out in horror as a tsunami smashed against their coasts, driving miles inland and washing ancient cities away, wiping out almost half of their species. Even as the waters receded, the land of lush jungle had given way to brackish marshland. The lizardfolk (E-tar-i in the Ophiduan language), degenerate throwbacks to their past, claimed these new lands that were perfectly suited to them.

When Sytheros also broke away, Sytheria became a nation on the brink of extinction. The ophiduans of both nations now desperately search for a way to increase their fecundity, lest the "lesser" races outbreed them in this dangerous new world.


Sytherian culture focuses on self reliance and is a ruthless meritocracy. Every member of their society is expected to show some use, or risk becoming a total pariah. Those that succeed are rewarded, whereas failure is treated with disdain. The Ophiduans as a people do not believe in good or bad luck, so success or failure is always attributed to skill. When hatchlings are going through formative education, they are closely monitored to determine if any show promise towards particular skills, and then those skills are fostered aggressively. This means that most often a life path is laid out for them before they have a chance to choose one.

Sytheria is ruled by a council of elders. To be selected to the council is a high honour, and is usually the culmination of a lifetime of achievement. The council votes on each new member, and tends towards a conservative view. However, those that research ways to increase Ophiduan birth-rates are seen as potential candidates should they achieve success.

Sytherians do not have a sense of family, as females lay 1-2 eggs during fertility cycle in a communal chamber. Once hatched, the hatchlings are taken to brood-keepers and raised until they have had their first moult. After this, the younglings are taken into class, and intense psionic training begins.

Sytherian culture has always had a focus on the psionic, as Ophiduans as a race are naturally psionic. It is not uncommon to see Ophiduan psionic masters teaching classes to young members of their race, eager to allow their skills to be shared amongst their people. However, the concept of monetising their skills is a relatively new idea to them, but one that is beginning to take hold. The Guild of Psionics now has many Ophiduan members sharing the deep psionic history and secrets of their race.

Language and Culture

The official language of Sytheria is Sisthassian, a sibilant language punctuated with trilling clicks and growls. It is a difficult language for non-ophiduans to replicate, though Dromites come close to it with their clicking mandibles.

Sisthassian names are usually sibilant sounding, with the symbol " - " representing a trilling click or growl depending on the individual name. The closest most non-Ophiduans can come to this sound is a poppping or click with the tongue. Sisthassian names are very descriptive, and may change slightly over the lifespan of the Ophiduan, as someone's successes or failures may add qualifying descriptions.

Names are gendered, with female names always beginning with vowels or the letter y and male names always beginning with consonants. They always contain sibilant S sounds, sometimes multiple times. Ophiduans names are mononymous.

Male names: Bass-ssistas, B-shallass, Cass-ssasas, Dossas-sor, Gussoss-is, Ha-ssossos, Joss-osses, Kassis-aress, Losho-ssir, Quoss-lossh, Rississ-mos, Sshas-siras, So-sslostis, Tsils-shosor, Vash-tashas, Xi-ss-sathish, Zoshi-missos.

Female names: A-ssossusa, Ashi-shassa, Assu-saess,  E-sselessus, Ees-shalaes, Ess-isisthra, Ishtassish-as, Iss-orsisser, O-oshass-shi, Oonsha-ossars, Uisha-ssanssa, Usoss-ussassa, Yiss-anthrass, Yolshashassa-sa.

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