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Syka

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Syka
RegionFalyndar
NotabilityA Tropical Paradise Settlement
LeaderMathias Okavis
Population>100
Races
Human60%
Kelvic15%
Akalak10%
Konti5%
Verusk5%
Other5%
LanguagesCommon
CurrencyMiza
ImportsMetal, Trade Goods, People To Settle
ExportsFruits, Herbs, Artifacts, Medicine, Fur, Leather, Feathers, Spices, and Exotic Animals.



Syka is a newly formed community that has been built on the ruins of a larger pre-Valterrian Suvan science research facility called Pavena. This situation is unbeknownst to Syka's Founders. James, Mathias, and Randal are indeed starting to suspect the startling links to the past due to the sheer amount of ruins they are discovering surrounding the new settlement. There exists a large quantity of artifacts that turn up washed ashore or found after high water events throughout the surrounding jungles known as The Maw. This new settlement lies along the Suvan Sea on the eastern edge of Falyndar so its location is indeed tropical with a large stretch of beach making up its eastern boundary.

Contents

Settlement Overview

Syka is a very basic settlement surrounding one deep water mooring that services The Veronica and a single mercantile that caters to the entire area and its very new population. Syka has a scattering of buildings that are linked together by sand or lightly cobbled pathways that would be wide enough for a single horseman or several people walking two or three abreast to travel. Line of sight, unless one is on the beach, is very limited.

Most buildings are not visible to each other, being sprawled out throughout the east coast side of The Maw. One end of the settlement is miles from the other mainly due to the fact that each settler is being granted 5 acres of land from the Founders once they prove they are willing to settle and provide some sort of service to the settlement. As a result, most residents are fairly young, physically fit, and tend to do a lot of walking on a daily basis in order to survive or socialize.

More telling, perhaps, is what Syka is secretly built upon. Syka's inhabitants walk among the great ruins of a once thriving hub of science and magic unknowingly each and every day. The very air they breathe was once filled with the promise of dreams being fulfilled and ideas made into reality.

Even the world gate sits undiscovered, its shadow casting light on the beaches of Syka each sunset.

Syka has been inadvertently placed on the ruins of a pre-valterrian settlement known as Pavena. Why? Happenchance. The resources, food, fresh water, and relatively peaceful climate are all there. Its very environment lends itself to success in survival and ease of living. People that want not for food often turn to other studies to fulfill their needs... scholarship, art, science, and even magic. Pavena was a technological fortress and its surrounding supporting city owned by Myrna Kelvic who specialized in off world exploration. Myrna, twin to Marcus Kelvic, was a very well recognized and accomplished scientist and mage in her own right. Pavena was her fortress much like Ironrock was Marcus'. Her work, at least the ruins of it, remain in the area of Syka today. Most of it is undiscovered as of yet by the settlers who are just now trying to unbeknownst to them re-establish civilization here.

History

Setting

Climate

Syka's rainforest environment is a luxuriant, dense forest rich in biodiversity and characterized by consistently heavy rainfall. This ecosystem combines an abundance of sunlight, rain, and high temperatures to create a very moist, almost steamy atmosphere. This atmosphere encourages rapid growth within the forest. In the rainforest there is an average of 90% humidity.

Syka, and indeed Falyndar itself, contains more than half of all living things known to Mizahar and is bursting with ecological diversity unmatched in other ecological zones. Therefore one will see much more variety of types of plants, trees, flowers, animals, birds, insects, and reptiles than is found elsewhere on Mizahar.

Environment

Syka's rainforest can be divided into four layers. Each layer is in itself its own niche. Within these major niches are smaller niches. Even single tree, living or fallen, can house its own ecosystem and thus become its own niche.

  • Emergents – Ranging from 130-270 Ft above ground, this top layer of the rainforest consists of large trees which poke out of the canopy.
  • The Canopy – Ranging from 65-130 Ft above the ground, this mid level section of the rain forest is exposed to the sunlight and provides shade below.
  • The Understory – All vegetation above the ground rising to 65 Ft consists of this section. It houses a wide array of life creating a shady, moist environment.
  • The Leaf Litter or Cryptoshere – This ground floor level of the rain forest provides a rich layer of decomposing leaves and wood for the soil. The vast majority of large creatures lives in this section including most of the sentient life.

Singular trees can exist in multiple layers at a time as evident by the diagram. They can emerge from the forest floor and rise up all the way through the emergent layers.

Flora

To put plant life in Syka in perspective, one needs to understand a few things about Falyndar. Just try to find two trees of the same species in a short period of time (walking, hiking a straight line, etc) will prove difficult. That means while the term ‘massive biodiversity’ seems impressive, the scale and scope are hard to understand until you are indeed standing in The Maw among the vast diversity of life therein. You can keep walking and spot a whole host of different trees but not necessarily two trees of the same kind. Falyndar has the highest diversity of plants known in the world.

However, the norm in Falyndar is this: Many species, few specimens.

What does that mean? Anywhere between 20 to 50 species of tree can be found in an acre plot of land with very few species in duplicate. This is the typical scenario for anywhere in Falyndar.

Syka, however, is a bit different. This difference is one of the reasons the settlement was placed in this area. The settlement founders discovered numerous edible vegetables already seemingly growing wild and a whole host of crop plants already in place growing wild. Some example of these plants are Mango, Lemon, Sweet Oranges, Sugar Cane, Yucca, Banana, Plantain, Avacado, Macadamia Nuts, Tapioca, Papaya, Passion Fruit, Guava, Pineapple and a whole host of other things. Syka is also home to numerous varieties of coconut which is abundant and easily accessible.

While it is impossible to discuss all the plants found in Syka and the surrounding jungles, the information below further touches upon some of the important kinds of plants and what they mean to Syka, its residences, and the rainforest surrounding it.

  • Common Plants Used For Food And Trade
    • Allspice - The small, aromatic fruits have a subtle flavor like a mixture of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg, hence the name "allspice. The berries-- shaped like peppercorns-- of this evergreen tree can grow up to 100' in height in height.
    • Avocado – A pear-shaped fruit with a rough leathery skin, smooth oily edible flesh, surrounding a large seed called a stone.
    • Banana – A delicious fruit which is highly nutritious. There are 21 species and subspecies which are edible.
    • Black Pepper - A vine native to Falydar. Black pepper is made by drying the entire fruit (peppercorn) and white pepper is produced by first hulling the fruit, then grinding.
    • Caspicum annum- A generic name for peppers of all kind. Cayenne pepper, sweet pepper, paprika, and jalapenos are just four of the many cultivars of this plant.
    • Cardamom - Native to Faylandar, the third most expensive spice after saffron and vanilla.
    • Chocolate/Cocoa - Chocolate and cocoa are made from the dried, ground seeds or "beans" of this small tree.
    • Cinnamon – The bark of this small tree is considered a very valuable spice.
    • Citrus - Citrus fruits produce oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, tangerines, and others. The largest citrus is the Pummelo. Citrus trees are tropical evergreens.
    • Cloves - The aromatic flower buds are from a tropical evergreen.
    • Coconut - The large, oval, brown seed of a tropical palm, consisting of a hard shell lined with edible white flesh and containing a clear liquid. It grows inside a woody husk, surrounded by fiber. It is used for food, oils, and fibers.
    • Coffee – The seed or "bean" of this small tree or shrub is brewed to produce a potent drink.
    • Guava - An edible pale orange tropical fruit with pink, juicy flesh and a strong, sweet aroma.
    • Ginger - Root tubers used as a spice and in perfumes.
    • Mango – A fleshy yellowish-red tropical fruit that is eaten ripe or used green for pickles or chutneys.
    • Mung Bean – A small round green bean that makes a nutritious and versatile flour.
    • Nuts – Macadamia nuts, Cashews, and hundreds of other nuts are completely edible and deliciously nutritious
    • Nutmeg – The hard, aromatic, almost spherical seed of a tropical tree used as a popular spice. Mace is another spice derived from nutmeg.
    • Papaya – A tropical fruit shaped like an elongated melon, with edible orange flesh and small black seeds.
    • Passion Fruit – A edible purple fruit with a tasty inside meat that grows from a climbing vine.
    • Peanut - The plant of the pea family that bears an encased bean, which develops in pods that ripen underground. It is widely cultivated for food and is favored roasted and salted.
    • Pineapple - One of the rare forest floor fruits used in all sorts of ways as food.
    • Saffron - An autumn-flowering crocus with reddish-purple flowers. Enormous numbers of flowers are required to produce a small quantity of the large red stigmas used for the spice which makes it the single most expensive spice known to Mizahar.
    • Sesame - An ancient oil seed plant that is highly nutritious.
    • Squash/ Cucumber - Eaten raw in salads or cooked into a wide variety of things from soups to breads and even desserts such as pie
    • Sugar Cane - A perennial tropical grass with tall stout jointed stems from which sugar is extracted. The fibrous residue can be used as fuel, paper, and for a number of other purposes.
    • Tapioca - A starchy substance in the form of hard white grains, obtained by cooking down the roots of a cassava plant. Tapioca is a delicious thickener and used in cooking puddings and other dishes.
    • Turmeric - Dried, ground rhizomes produce the spice.
    • Tamarind - Of the legume family, this small tree has fruit that is used as a table fruit, drink, preserves, and also has medicinal properties.
    • Vanilla - Made from the dried seeds of the rainforest orchid tree. This is a powerful delicious seasoning.
    • Yucca – A plant of the agave family with stiff sword like leaves and spikes of white bell-shaped flowers. Fruits and roots of Yucca are delicious and rich in nutrients.

The fact that Syka was rich in food crops growing wild was somewhat mysterious until the settlement of Syka was created and ruins revealing the remnants of an ancient civilization was discovered littered all over jungle peninsula known as The Maw. James and Mathias theorize this abundance of specific food are the deliberate remains of Pavena's agricultural production. Please note that the average settler and visitor to Syka, and indeed most of the Sykan Founders, do not know the original name of the ruins they have recolonized.

While almost all of the plants within Syka's region are not named nor classified, one can safely assume that the vast majority of them (up to one quarter) are epiphytes that are often found above the forest floor. An Epiphyte is a plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic. Epiphytes encompass a wide range of plants: some ferns, orchids, cacti and mosses have the ability to live virtually in mid-air.

Syka is alive with beautiful flowers and scents. A shining star among oddities with importance is the bromeliads. These plants typically have short stems with rosettes of stiff, usually spiny, leaves. They often flower in profusion with deep intense colors. They are found throughout all the layers of rainforest - especially as epiphytes where they accumulate rainfall water and detritus in their cup-like structures. Because of this 'water bowl' or 'water glass' effect, tree frogs, snails and other species have are utterly dependent on bromeliads to complete part of their life cycles in these complex plant structures. Bromeliads provide them with shelter in some of their more vulnerable egg and tadpole forms.

Other plants that are common both as creepers and epiphytes in The Maw are the aroids, which include philodendrons. These plants begin life on the ground and grow as a tendril that goes up tree trunks and attaches to them by aerial roots. They eventually lose their ground roots and become climbing epiphytes. These types of flora assist local fauna in their travels up and down throughout the vertical layers of the rainforest.

Upon the forest floor are hundreds of thousands of herbaceous plants. Along with herbaceous plants, shrubs and small trees also prevail. Too numerous to list, the notable shining star of the Cryptoshere is fungi. There are thought to be about a half a million or more species of fungi in Falyandar, which vastly outnumber the regular vascular plants of which everything discussed so far falls into. Fungi do not need sunlight to survive and they need large amounts of water to thrive. They literally feed on dead or dying plant material and digest it for their nutrition.

Thus rainforests such as Syka's The Maw provide outstanding habitats for fungi and indeed depend upon them to break down dead plant materials to help further create rich nutrients. Ironically, most of these half a million species are too small to be noticed, with only about 5% of fungi produce fruiting bodies that are large enough to be seen by humans and other creatures. Fungi can be edible (and used make alcohol, bread, cheese or soy), poisonous, or can fall somewhere in between causing hallucinogens and confusion.

Fauna

Resources

Medicines and Dyes

  • Annato - Red dye
  • Curare - Muscle relaxant
  • Diogenin - Arthritis and Asthma treatments, steroid and birth control
  • Quassia - Insecticide
  • Quinine - Anti-malarial and pneumonia treatment
  • Reserpine - Sedative and tranquilizer
  • Strophanthus - Heart disease treatment
  • Strychnine - Emetic and stimulant
  • Tuba root - Pesticide and flea control


Woods

Trees, especially large ones, hold the vast majority of the biomass contained within Syka's rainforest. These woods can be utilized in the Syka Sawmill and exported so long as the settlers of Syka keep their logging operations selective and sparse. If PCs cut more than they require for their immediate needs or start long term larger scale export schemes they are going to destroy the diversity and abundance of food in and around the settlement.

  • Afromosia
  • Amboyna (Misc spp)
  • Aniegre (Misc spp)
  • Balsa
  • Blackwood (Misc spp)
  • Bloodwood
  • Bocote
  • Boxwood (Misc spp)
  • Bubinga
  • Canary Wood
  • Cedar (Misc spp)
  • Chac Te Koke
  • Chechen
  • Cocobolo
  • Cocuswood
  • Ebony (Misc spp)
  • Fustic
  • Granadillo
  • Goncalo Alves
  • Imbuya
  • Iroko
  • Jarrah
  • Jatoba
  • Katalox
  • Kingwood (Misc spp)
  • Koa
  • Lignum Vitae
  • Lychee (Misc spp)
  • Mahogany (Misc spp)
  • Marblewood
  • Palm (Misc spp)
  • Parota (Misc spp)
  • Pau Amarello
  • Pink Ivory
  • Primavera
  • Rosewood (Misc spp)
  • Sapele
  • Shedua
  • Teak (Misc spp)
  • Thuya (Misc spp)
  • Tulipwood
  • Tzalan
  • Walnut (Misc spp)
  • Wenge
  • Yellow Narra
  • Zebrawood
  • Ziricote


Fibers

  • Bamboo - Used to make furniture and baskets
  • Jute/hemp - Used to make rope and burlap
  • Kapol - Used to for insulation, soundproofing and floating material
  • Raffia - Used to make rope, cord and baskets
  • Ramie - Used to make cotton-ramie fabric and fishing line
  • Rattan - Used to make furniture, wickerwork and baskets


Oils

  • Bay Oil - Perfumes
  • Camphor Oil - Perfumes, soap, disinfectant and deodorant
  • Cascarilla Oil - Confections, beverages
  • Coconut Oil - Suntan lotion, candles
  • Eucalyptus Oil - Perfumes, cough drops
  • Guaic Oil - Perfumes
  • Palm Oil - Shampoo, detergents
  • Patchouli Oil - Perfumes
  • Rosewood Oil - Perfumes, cosmetics, flavorings
  • Sandalwood Oil - Perfumes
  • Oil of Star-Anise - Scenting, confections, beverages, cough drops
  • Tola Balsam Oil - Confections, soaps, cosmetics, cough drops
  • Ylang-ylang - Perfumes


Gums and Resins

  • Chicle latex - Chewing gum
  • Copaiba - Perfumes, fuel
  • Copal - Paints and varnishes
  • Gutta percha - Various coverings
  • Rubber latex - Rubber products
  • Tung oil - Wood finishing

Culture

Architecture

Everything in the city of Syka has been built recently and mostly of native materials. That means a great deal of its architecture is made from heavy rainforest trees that are dragged down to the beach or even washed ashore as flotsam or driftwood logs. Furnishings are simple hardwood made by furniture carvers that produce heavy simple pieces that withstand the warmth and wear.

Mattresses are stuffed with feathers and fur or even the soft down of tree bark. Weavers use natural materials to create privacy screens or open dividers between rooms. Many complex buildings are made from wrapped bamboo and sport palm frond roofs. Thatch and weaving is used a great deal. Due to the weather being so warm, buildings are often built without solid walls and sometimes even floors. More advanced builders often make sure their construction is lofted to catch the breezes and avoid ground level pests and predators. More adventuresome builders will place buildings rancho style out over the water perched on pylons that are coated in natural creosote to prevent rotting.

Interiors are simplistic. Sleeping areas are often lofted if nothing else in a structure is. Cooking is carried out in fire pits over open flames. The settlement has a few closed ovens for baking, though such things are rare. Decor often consists of seashells, some massive, and a lot of drift wood that has been turned into tables, chairs and benches. Light often comes from tiki style torches.

Cuisine

Fashion

Syka is probably the one place on Mizahar where there is a melting pot of cultural dress that tends to bleed into virtually nothing after a settler arrives. Fashion is prevalent in many cities and often one can be identified by one's clothing as to where one originates. That is true almost anywhere except Syka. Syka's residents have two modes of dress that reflect the dual nature of the settlement. One mode of dress is minimalistic. Nudity is not an issue in Syka first and foremost due to the extremely warm climate. Heat can be oppressive especially after a rain storm. Feet, on the beach and within the main settlement itself, are often bare or just minimally covered with leather sandals or basic wraps. Swimming nude is common and often both men and women forego any garments on their upper torsos. Shorts and wraps are also common in both males and females. Most residents sleep unclothed completely.

When venturing into the jungle things change. Heavy boots, leather pants, and even long sleeve shirts are very common. Despite the heat, it is far more important that most of what one wears in the heart of the jungle is good quality leather. From boots to gloves to even a head covering, leather is important to keep out claws, fangs, bites and a whole host of other things that could harm one - including accidental scratches. To this end many Sykans dress in layers and the deeper in they venture the more layers they have on. The further out to the coast and eventually to the beach itself, the less they wear.

To this end rugged and roomier packs are very common. Not only do they house food and water, but they often hold the comfortable changes of clothing and the very necessary rain slicker or poncho made of well oiled canvas that every resident needs.

Laws

Syka has no formal laws. The ultimate authority in Syka however resides in the three founders who decide if someone's actions are deserving of response or correcting. Their authority is absolute and they are the ones that are handing out land, assigning jobs, and basically governing the new settlement. Eventually they will draft some sort of charter for the new 'city' when it shows signs of being successfully settled and thriving. Until then the city is fairly open to ideas though does not enjoy the lawlessness of say Sunberth. To someone used to Syliras and its strict laws, Syka would seem to be somewhat a breath of fresh air.

Economics

Professions, Employment and Businesses

Even though food is plentiful, the Founders of Syka have made it their business to make sure everyone contributes to the settlement in order for it to succeed. If one isn't contributing, one will be asked to leave. To those that do contribute, the rewards are very lucrative. Five acres of land is given to each person, which include a portion of the beach (while it lasts) stretching up into the jungle. Most of the settlers have chosen to make their homes off the beach portion where safety is more guaranteed than up in the heavy bush. Settlers are required to have a skill that is marketable be it a trade or education that can be passed on to others. Folks with skills in healing and survival are doubly valued because they ensure the settlement remains safe. Combat is looked upon favorably but it is not something one can completely rely upon to survive.

The settlement has one guard and he may or may not hire helpers at his leisure. When laws are voted on and imposed, it will be this man and his men who will enforce those laws. The Founders will become the judges and jury of the settlement at that time.

Until then, people are encouraged to create, craft, and pass on their knowledge to others.

Trade

Syka has no vast established trade routes. In fact, they tend to trade solely with two groups. The first comes in the form of the Veronica which makes three trips a season to Riverfall to exchange goods and resupply the settlement. The other source of trade mainly includes the Svefra that regularly visit Syka's shores.

  • Riverfall: Fruit, Medicine, Fur, Leather, Feathers, Spices, and Exotic Animals. Some gold and minerals are also included along with a small portion of clay.
  • Svefra: Meat, Fruit, Medicine, Fur, Leather, Feathers, Spices, and Exotic Animals.
  • Misc Ships: Occasionally larger trading ships will visit and trade odds and ends on their way around the horn to Lhavit or to one of Eyktol's cities.


Individuals in the settlement might very well trade their own goods and services such as pottery, jewellery, or brews.

People of Syka

The Syka NPC Masterlist is the most completely up to date list of the notable NPC's of Syka. In the main forum, the Character Registry is the most up to date list of the Player Characters that are active in Syka of the current in game Timestamp.

The Founding Triad

Mathias Okavis - Without question the leader of the ill-fated expedition that tried to get the pathway to Syka open years ago, Mathias didn't give up until he succeeded with a smaller group and a new ship. Mathias grew up in Zeltiva, was educated at the University of Zeltiva, and joined the Zeltiva's Sailor's Guild when he decided the academic life wasn't for him. Years later in his pursuit of knowledge, he came across Xhyvas and impressed him, becoming instrumental in getting the God up to date on what had happened in history since he went underground. Today, Mathias is the only known priest of Xhyvas.

Captain James Chaliva - Captain of the clipper Veronica, named for his lost daughter, James Chalvia has been sailing most of his life. Part Svefra, he has the distinct blue eyes of his people though he was raised at sea and cannot really say he's from anywhere. James worked his way up through the Merchant ranks and is probably one of the most well traveled men on Mizahar. Syka is his retirement project because in all his years of travel, he's finally feeling the urge to settle down. He makes quick trips across the Suvan Sea to Riverfall each season.

Randal Zor - Randal accompanied Mathias and Captain James on their second Syka expedition. He was along as an animal expert, tracker, and handler. His skills at carpentry proved invaluable as it was he himself who started the six rentals to visitors and new residents to Syka. He found it a fruitful way to make trade coin to fund Captain James' occasional trips to Riverfall to resupply.

Attitudes

Sykans have two modes. The first is the most common - laid back and relaxed. Partially responsible for this Syka Ease is their surrounding, of course, but more so is the absolute abundance of food all around the residents that generates this ease of living. Once a typical settler of Syka has gotten used to plucking dinner off a tree, there isn't much survival necessary on the edge of the jungle tucked up against the coast. Days are spent fishing, napping, and improving one's already good quality of living. There isn't much tangible luxury in Syka, but once one settles in and truly understands the nature of the place - the actual physical wealth is staggering.

Newcomers often don't understand that there is no true seasonality to Syka. They don't have to spend their entire Spring and Summer putting away food for Winter when the snow flies and starvation is a real threat. Syka's temperature fluxuates about ten degrees seasonally and that is all. Mangos and bananas grow year round as well as a whole host of other fruits. There is no 'set' time for say Passion Fruit to flower and grow heavy on the vines. Instead, one tree might do so this season, while another does so the following one. Fish are always abundant as well. They do not seasonally migrate in the tropics as they do in the colder more northern waters. Birds are plentiful and the chickens the settlers have introduced into the area lay all year round. Pork is also a very staple protein as the pigs that roam the beaches near Syka procreate profusely and seem to threaten to take over at any given time making the settlers not at all inhibited in their harvesting of these animals.

Perhaps the only compromise is the availability of certain imported goods that can be had through the mercantile. Anything brought from the outside world often has to fit into the seasonality of other places.

The second mode is one of strict survival. Away from the beach and the life of absolute abundance is a very dangerous world. Just footsteps, less than a half mile into the jungle, lies a whole new world of danger. That's when things get serious. Creatures that dwell in the jungle can and will kill the residents of Syka. The ruins of Pavena are rife with dangers and only the very well armed or very well skilled will venture forth into the heart of The Maw and live to tell about it. There are poisonous snakes, insects, and predators so large that Talderian creatures even tremble. Survival is never a matter of luck. Survival is always a matter of careful planning, cautious advancement, and meticulous training. And tough choices need to be made in the jungle. If someone slows the group down, that person might well be left behind rather than cost an entire group their lives.

Demographics

Syka has a very small population, so its hard to actually call this settlement particularly diverse. However, despite the small population, Syka does enjoy a wide variety of peoples. While humanity makes up 65% of the total population, by and large that population of humans is made up of mostly Svefra. Mixed humans are next - the type that have no defined subculture. It is very rare to find a Drykas or Vantha among the humans of Syka.

For all their differences, Syka is unique in that the three Founders keep the settlement in cooperation and working together to make sure everyone survives. If someone is not a social person or one that tends to join in a group effort, they will not survive long in Syka. The set up of the city precludes loaners from thriving too long. That includes people like Myrians acting on age old racial biases against Dhani. If any of the racism or culturalism that exists elsewhere comes to light in Syka, a settlement member would be quietly dealt with perhaps by asking them to move on or using them to feed the big predators off the shore that come into the shallows at high tide to feed.

Notable Locations