OOC Info Nyka Information, Linkmap and Guide

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Known as the Celestial Seat, Nyka is a religious city in Northern Sylira. Ruled by four demigods and traversed by a large crevice, the monk-city is both mystical and dangerous. [Lore]

Nyka Information, Linkmap and Guide

Postby Balderdash on March 24th, 2013, 3:12 am

Nyka Information and Linkmap


Nyka is divided into four quarters, each maintained and patrolled by the monks of its respective Alvina. At the center of the city lies the Celestial Square, a neutral ground that touches each quarter and houses the Four Celestials themselves. The streets are narrow and many, opening into small plazas at nearly every block. The buildings are mostly square and made of the same light red stone, but every wall is otherwise colored with a mural in honor of the presiding deity or a hanging banner proclaiming their sigil. Some walls, especially around residential areas, may also contain symbols and wards meant to protect the house from the shadows of the Aperture.

The Aperture is a great crevice, running east to west, around which the city was built. It contains the ruins of Nykalia and is said to be the source of great magic, breathing life and character into the city, or great evil, stealing people in the night and attracting monsters. Nonetheless, Nykans call it the Heart of the World and trust the Four to keep them from harm. Twelve bridges cross the Aperture, each connecting two different quarters, with monks from each quarter guarding both ends. Citizens are free to cross the bridges as they will, though may be subject to harassment or taxation by the monks on either side. It would be unwise for a monk to enter another quarter unless they are seeking trouble; they may use the battlements on the wall to reach the gate and enter the outlands.

Note: There is an informal dusk to dawn curfew in every quarter, including in the Celestial Square, for every citizen who is not a monk. Those who do wander at night do so at their own peril.

The Cardinal Quarters
A key for the city layout.
    Southern Quarter Occupied by Monks of the Bountiful Wheat, near the farmlands.
    Eastern Quarter Occupied by Monks of the Heavy Coffers, near the docks.
    Northern Quarter Occupied by Monks of the Sharp Blade, near the warfields.
    Western Quarter Occupied by Monks of the Tempered Anvil, near the stone quarries.
    Celestial Square Located at the center of the city, where all neutral decisions are made.

City Entrance
All PCs entering Nyka must post here first.
    The Gates Presumably haunted and heavily manned, it is the only means of getting through the wall. (West)

Public Lodging
Where you sleep at night depends on who you are.

Government and Religion
Because they're basically the same thing.

Markets and Business
For the good citizens to make their livings.

Study and Recreation
Other places of interest.

The Outlands
Though wild and dangerous, many must labor beyond the Wall.
    The Docks At the center of a large bay, it is the center of trade and fishing.
    The Nykshela Quarries Surrounding the city's entrance is the source of its stone.
    The Warfields An extensive maze designed specifically for training in urban warfare.
    The Farmlands All of the city's food and clothing material grows under Skerr's watchful hand.
    Iron Fist School An acadamy for the unarmed arts run by the reformed rogue Ximal.(North)
    Widowmaker Reef Site of a Zeltivan shipwreck, along with treasure and danger in equally great measure.

Private Residences
Acquired via Palace of the Supplicants and a PM to a local storyteller.
Last edited by Balderdash on July 9th, 2015, 11:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Nyka Information, Linkmap and Guide

Postby Balderdash on March 24th, 2013, 3:12 am

The following are some frequently asked questions that should clarify a few things about living in Nyka. If you have any more questions, feel free to PM me or post them here and I will consider including them in this post.

    I just arrived in Nyka. How do I start?
The city is not very hospitable to foreigners, but with a little effort to assimilate they can earn the city’s respect. Think you’re exempt because you’re human? Think again. Nykans dislike all non-Nykans, and almost everyone has to earn their right to access to the city. You can go to the Safe Haven Hostel for temporary lodging and the last pick of food. If you want to stay for a while and get a better food ration, you have to sign up for it at the Palace of the Supplicants, where you have to wait for a week or so to be allotted your share. In the meantime, you will have to beg for food, or go into your own supply, earn some beggars of your own, and still suffer the weight of discrimination.

    What races are not allowed in Nyka?
Myrians and those marked by Myri are prohibited. Zith are despised but not barred. Anyone who does not look like a Nykan will be treated with some suspicion and hostility.

    Do I have to buy a home or a hostel room? Can I live in the Outlands or in the streets?
Due to the dangers that emerge in nighttime, no one can live on the Nykan streets. The outlands are just as dangerous, considering the monsters that are attracted to the power of the Aperture. As such, if you would like to live anywhere but indoors, you must be approved by a local storyteller.

    My character is from Nyka. How should I frame his past?
Nykans are passionate, competitive, and violent. Your character has probably been in a few fights and maybe even boasts a few scars. Nykans are also religious and superstitious, and while they honor tradition, they are not traditionally honorable. Your character has grown up in a world where laws are not always enforced, and offending a monk in any way is grounds for punishment. They have learned that the essence of Order is more important than its strict enforcement. Despite the danger of living here, very few deaths occur between native-born citizens. Alongside the violence and uncertainty is a profound respect for each other. The whole of Nyka is one quarreling family, ready to take each other’s side should an outsider stray into their isolated world.

    How do Nykans view their city?
Nyka is sometimes referred to as the Mother City, for good reason. Her citizens understand that the very walls breathe, and that the city rewards them and punishes them as any mother would. They leave offerings at their doorstep in the evening, and She returns their favor with protection and love. If they stray or disrupt, they are more likely to suffer some bad luck or be taken in the night. Because they don't work for food, Nykans have learned that to work is to thank the city, to contribute to the collective is their greatest duty. Nyka is one giant organism; its four factions are its humors, its buildings the organs, and the people are its blood, working together to keep it alive and ordered. In this way, strangers are treated as a disease until they prove their ability to become a part of the greater whole.

    Do I have to worship the Celestials?
The Alvina themselves do not require worship. They expect order and gratitude and certainly appreciate prayers and offerings, but are content to rule their own domains and watch the city, which they built from ashes, flourish. On the other hand, the factions of monks that have risen in devotion to each of them demand more than mere gratitude from the people they claim to protect. Theirs are the hands that enforce worship, though the only trouble they usually have is with foreigners. Many Nykans worship the Celestials inherently, if only because of their direct contact with them.

    What do Nykans think of other gods?
Like most people of Mizahar, they worship those gods that are relevant to their lives, with some emphasis on Bala, Semele, and Xyna. They understand how the gods affect the world and many are even marked, but they tend to be more drawn to the tangibility of the Alvina that govern them. Most share an antagonism for Myri the Godslayer, who ate the heart of Uphis's father and stole his domain.

    Is the Aperture Evil?
No. The Aperture is the Heart of the World, the source of the city’s life force and arguably that of every city. It is a blessing and a curse, a symbiosis with the organism that is Nyka, and while it is incredibly dangerous, Nykans respect it more than they fear it. They protect it as much as it protects them, and feel inherently connected to it through the power of the area’s mutual djed.

    Are all monks really thugs?
Mostly. Each monk is an individual with his own past, desires, and ambitions. You could say that they are bound by their devotion to their Alvina, but even that is only mostly true. To become a monk, you must know how to live like a Nykan—that is, to fight, to work, and to live passionately—and you must be utterly devoted to the Alvina you hope to serve. But the factions are loosely regulated, and it is easy to lose sight of religion when given the power and free-range that the monks ultimately earn when they step out of the Aperture. First and foremost, they are religious and devoted to the protection of the city. They are only secondarily bullies, and even then many honorable monks remain in the ranks.

    Is there a set of laws somewhere so I know what I’m doing wrong?
Do not kill, do not steal, do not infringe on the family and property of a fellow citizen. This society functions because of the aforementioned natural order. Because they work as a piece of a greater whole, Nykans understand that some disturbances can be tolerated, to some degree, and others cannot be. Fights are fine and encouraged. Thieves are branded the first time they are caught, and killed the second time. While killing is discouraged, it can be dismissed for a variety of reasons. Petty slights can be forgiven or punished, depending on the mood of the person who catches you. This means it is about as easy to get flogged by a monk as it is to slip out of his notice, or to bribe him into ignorance. Causing too much trouble disrupts the flow of Nyka, the organism, and is punishable.

    What is it like to live in the Western Quarter?
The West is full of artists and craftsman who take their work very seriously. They appreciate the beauty in the world and are most likely to think abstractly and discuss ideas. They are also typically more individualistic in their thoughts and motivations. Though their chosen professions do not tend to be basically useful, they are not a frivolous people; they understand that it takes a powerful mind to think creatively, and they are grateful to have the luxury to hone theirs. While they tend to be less aggressive than other Nykans, they are hardly peaceful. In fighting, just as in everything else, they value ingenuity and style.

    What is it like to live in the Northern Quarter?
The people of the North embody the idea of sharpness. They appreciate straightforward eloquence and quick, consistent thought. Infighting is most prominent here, where prowess with both fist and blade is highly valued. It is perhaps because of this that they are most likely to live by an honor code, which prevents the severe consequences associated with near constant duels. They tend to be smiths, hunters, and general laborers, though do not typically define themselves with their work. They would prefer to challenge one another with riddles, insults, and brawls than consider the solitude of business or craft.

    What is it like to live in the Eastern Quarter?
The East is arguably the most corrupt of the four quarters, but the people of the East do not think so. They revel in the complexity of bureaucracy and business, and love to measure and discuss the value of things. Always ready to haggle, they tend to be shrewd but argumentative even outside of their businesses. Though they consider such treatment the most respectful, they sometimes come off as abrasive to foreigners. Ironically, they tend to be most hospitable to foreigners, as most of those who bother to visit are travelling merchants who have the same values. When their quarrels turn physical, they tend to use ranged and evasive tactics.

    What is it like to live in the Southern Quarter?
The South is heavily communal and interdependent. They understand that food is not only necessary for survival, but that its abundance is the presiding factor in their overall happiness. They are typically farmers and cooks, and to a lesser extent, animal specialists. The crops they grow require many hands to harvest and prepare, and they have a similar philosophy about their families. Any Southern citizen is a brother or sister to another; to a lesser extent, so is all of Nyka. They are known to be loving and outspoken, at least to those of Nykan descent. But family members bicker, and brawls in the South therefore tend to be particularly impassioned.
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Nyka Information, Linkmap and Guide

Postby Balderdash on March 24th, 2013, 3:14 am


The Monks of Nyka

Please make sure you read the lore entry on the monks before you continue.

Those who choose the path of a Nykan monk make a lifelong commitment of worship and service. They forsake all worldly possessions and devote themselves to the protection of Nyka, whatever the cost. They may face threats from beyond and within the city walls, those they must defeat with either the strength of their weapons or the strength of their will. Though their lives are predominately violent, they spend many of their hours in worship of their respective Alvina through perfection of their trade: be it agriculture, business, defense, or art.

    The Starting Package
As of the completion of a monk’s Selection Test, they add to their basic player starting package the following: a monk’s robes (embroidered with the sigil of their chosen Alvina) and sandals, their awarded weapon, and the water canteen that accompanied them in to the Aperture. Every monk receives a small efficiency room within the headquarters, but it is not uncommon for them to sleep elsewhere, if only occasionally. The food provided to them is first choice, but even so they tend not to indulge.

A monk’s skill points are typically allotted to best prepare them for duty. The majority tend to be in their respective weapon, with some in unarmed combat or quarterstaff. These weapons are:

throwing discs
any manner of blade
hammers or bows

A substantial percentage of points should also be assigned to their chosen trade. This may include, but is not limited to:
agriculture/botany/cooking/animal husbandry
dual wield/weaponsmithing/blacksmithing

After these, some monks choose to spend their remaining points in social skills such as leadership, politics, and intimidation. Many take meditation, as well. World magic is exclusive to monks of the Tempered Anvil, and they would not begin their training until after passing the Selection Test. Personal magics are not forbidden, but neither are they typical due to their inherent dangers. Remember that these are only guidelines, and that every individual is unique. So long as your character shows true devotion to the Celestials and their city, (s)he is a candidate for the priesthood.

    Relationship With Each Other
Within their own orders, monks typically share in a friendly competition which helps to fuel their training in combat as well as their respective trades. They may not enjoy the company of every individual with whom they share a sigil, but they generally treat each other within the bounds of honor and mutual respect.

They tend to be more hostile towards monks from other orders, however. It is uncommon to see a monk of another order in any particular quarter, unless (s)he is doing Skerr’s work by handing out food, or seeking trouble. While most monks do try to assert their superiority through fights and competition, killing outside of deep personal vendettas is extremely rare. The antagonism is as much symbolic as it is aggressive. Monks who do not wear the coin do not touch laats because it would be a disgrace to their own Alvina; monks who do not wear the anvil do not engage in craft because their Alvina expects otherwise. Of course, should the city as a whole encounter mutual danger, it is the monks’ duty to lay aside their differences in defense of Nyka.

Most novice monks are chosen as wards by an acolyte or prior who sees some potential in them. They serve as sponsors, who mentor the young monks about their role in the city and pass down their specific knowledge of weapon and trade. They may be chosen any time before or after their Selection Test, depending on the whim of the sponsor. A ward typically has only one sponsor, while a sponsor may have multiple wards.

    Relationship With The People
First and foremost, the monks are sworn to protect the people of Nyka. They are the policemen, who enforce the law as well as carry out punishment to law-breakers. They are the management, who keep workers working and the city running. And of course, they are the defense, who ensure the safety of the people from any and all threats. Whether a monk is vicious or merciful is dependent on the individual or even the circumstances; the people of Nyka have learned not to vex any of them for fear of the former.

Though monks do not take a vow of chastity, they are not advised to make any lasting attachments due to the nature of their work. Still, it is not uncommon for monks to take so-called shadow spouses and visit them often; these people, like a monk’s sponsor, understand the risk of being close to such a person and may treat the relationship with varying seriousness. Nonetheless, they are not permitted a bed at the headquarters.

    Becoming a Monk: The Selection Test
The Selection Test has four steps: the Fight, the Interview, the Trial, and the Ceremony. All four MUST be included in a single solo thread and submitted for grading, in order to receive the additional items and play as a monk. Feel free to PM me with questions concerning any part of your Selection Test thread.

The Fight
The physical prowess of the hopeful monk is judged in a hand-to-hand duel against one other randomly chosen contender. Each pair fights in the training hall of their respective headquarters until one manages to pin or otherwise incapacitate the other. Higher ranking monks, mostly those that will conduct the Interviews, watch and judge the fights; they rarely interfere, for in their eyes the concept of foul play is a loose one. It is entirely possible that the fighter who is ultimately pinned is chosen to move forward, if that person showed greater ingenuity and talent. After all, the events of the journey are far more substantial than the moment of its end.

Half of the prospective monks continue from this stage. Should the applicant lose their match, they are introduced the door.

The Interview
The victors of the fight will be lead singularly into a separate room, where they will be alone with a higher ranking monk for any length of time. This is your character’s chance to explain and prove their devotion, especially to the Alvina for whom they hope to swear their lives, as well as explain their philosophies concerning the Celestials, the Aperture, and Nykan law. The interviewer may ask any number of questions and have any manner of personality, but (s)he is never the hopeful monk’s sponsor.

While anyone may sign up to participate in the Selection Test, most foreigners who do are weeded out at this stage. Some interviewers may be even harder on them, and will seek proof of their assimilation as Nykans as well as dedication to their home, culture, and rulers: the Celestials.

None or all of the prospective monks may continue from this stage. Should the interview deem the applicant ineligible for the next stage, they are introduced the door.

The Trial
The remaining monks are clothed in pure white robes and taken in a small procession to one of the twelve bridges over the Aperture (it is uncommon that more than twelve make it to this stage). A ladder is thrown over the edge by the candidate’s sponsor, if they already have one, or by the monk who interviewed them. They are given a full canteen of water, which they may carry in their hands or between their teeth as they descend into the Aperture. The ladder is drawn up and is not thrown down again for three days.

All the prospective monk must do is survive. They may encounter anything or nothing. They may be attacked by ferocious beasts from which they have no defense but their hands; they may be faced with shadows and demons of the mind that haunt them with doubt and fear. They may stumble upon the ruins of Nykalia, or the corpse of a defeated hopeful, or suffer hallucinations beyond their wildest imaginations. The sun may or may not give a glimpse of the surroundings for a short period of time, which may or may not be good for their sanities. Nykans throw food into the Aperture every day as offering; it is the choice of the applicant and his moral code, whether he will steal a bite.

Many die at this stage, most by the will of the Aperture, but some are also executed after they are caught escaping dishonorably. Those that come up alive at the end of the third day are barely so, their white robes displaying to the world the filth and blood of their triumph.

The prospective monks that survive are ushered proudly to the Celestial Palace to take their vows.

The Ceremony
With the Four Celestials present to witness, the new monks of all four orders stand side by side to be presented with their new titles. They strip themselves of their dirty robes and their old lives, and then another monk of the same order, a sponsor if applicable, gives each a new set of robes to don immediately. Thus garbed, they recite the vows which they have long since memorized:

I am a monk of Nyka. My body has strength and my mind has purpose. I know not the weaknesses of the flesh. I may be killed, but I shall not die.
I serve the city that gave me life by giving her my life. Should I renounce my duties, forever I shall be banished.
I am always prepared. I shall never turn down a challenge that my opponent has the right or opportunity to issue.
At war, I am relentless. At peace, I am industrious. I know no rest in battle, or luxury in my house. I shall own nothing but be thankful for what the city gives unto me.
My gratitude to Nyka and her founders has no bounds. I shall not worship the immortals who plot against Nyka or those who have wronged the Celestials.

Then they are presented with the weapon of their order, and assume their duties as monks.

Credits to thread's contents to Liar.
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Nyka Information, Linkmap and Guide

Postby Balderdash on July 19th, 2013, 7:14 pm

doo doo do-do doo...

While Nyka is a city packed to the gills with bizarre and supernatural occurances, there are certain strange events which are more common than others. Below are a small handful of phenomena that happen often enough to be used freely in your threads (within reason!)

The Snake In The Walls:
Voices coming out of the walls. These voices being of people who have been talking about the individual hearing them before in the same location.

The Lecher's Palm: The sensation of being felt up- accompanied by a game of "spot the pervert" as this only happens when someone in the immediate area is thinking naughty thoughts about the recipient.

The Mist: A strange, silver-tinged mist that causes those who breathe it to feel disconnected from their bodies. It emenates from the Aperture, and only at night. It smells vaguely of chamomile. A smell that often announces it long before it's seen.

Avalis Knocking:
A simple tapping at one's window, usually at night. Looking out said window will show somewhere... Different. Like the basement of a granary. Or a bedroom in the Safehaven Hostel.

The Jerk:
The sensation of falling right before one goes to sleep, followed by a brief moment of intense "hallucination" in which the sleeper shares senses with a person undergoing a traumatic experience in or around the city. Monks advise reporting such a thing as soon as possible, as these experiences are very, very real.
The Rush: A sudden, intense outpouring of emotion coupled with a sudden relaxation of inhibition. Generally caused by an attempt to suppress said emotion for too long, or when the emotion was too powerful. Putting on a false smile for too long, denying one's feelings to the object of one's affection's face, etc. Often preceded by a sensation akin to vomiting.

The Lady in Purple:
A mysterious figure completely shrouded in deep purple robes. Though no part of her body can be seen, nor has anybody actually touched her, her voice has been heard on rare occasions- and she has never brought good news. The lady in purple is a bit of a bogeyman for Nykans. Though all she really does is appear in odd places- rooftops, alleys, the middle of crowds- and stand around, disaster is sure to strike when she does. At least, that's what common knowledge says.

Morwen's Embrace: A spontaneous, short-lived bout of paralysis in the joints coupled with the sensation of being embraced from behind. Some have reported feeling as if someone was running their hands over their body. Occurs only at night.

The Lance: a sudden thought crossing the mind in a voice that is not one's own, bringing a realization, an epiphany, a dejà vu or simply a warning.

More to come... Eventually... [right][size=85]Moderator's note: While you may use any of these little happenings freely and without prior approval, making the Lady in Purple talk requires a ST's permission.

Last edited by Balderdash on June 28th, 2015, 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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