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Come Into My Parlor
Height5-6.5 feet
Weight80-180 pounds
Lifespanup to 90 years
Major featuresPale, ashy skin, slightly elongated arms, black "claws", fangs
AbilitiesCan scale surfaces and dispense venom, climbing automatically given as a full skill
Most common inKalinor
ReputationApproach with caution and armed
Racial godsViratas, god of blood
Racial bonus+10 Acrobatics
Subraceshalves, but only those with a Symenestran mother

They call themselves the Symenestra, but most derisively refer to them as "Widows". The Symenestra are a humanoid race with an unnerving similarity to venomous spiders in their abilities, diet and elegant build. With claws that can catch and fangs to poison, they endeavor to counteract the fragility of their frame.



Before the Valterrian, the Symenestra were tree dwellers in the northern jungles of Falyndar, part of the Suvan Empire. Their suspended city was a marvel, crafted with ingenuity and care from wood and glass, the structures connected only by graceful streams of fabric. Agile as they were, they required nothing else for a bridge. They lived in peace until the Myrian conquest reached the furthermost edges of Falyndar. The Symenestra did not expect the barbarous race to move so far north and were unprepared for the attacks. Choosing survival over territory, they migrated to Kalea and rebuilt their elevated city for roughly two-hundred years. This city was called Kalinad, meaning above Kalea. Kalinad had a greater sense of permanence, as its construction used more elements of adobe and clay in addition to the traditional styles.

When the world began to crumble around them and their airy city was lost again, the surviving Symenestra fled underground. They hid in caves and grew accustomed to the dim, coming out only at dusk to hunt. Dwellings were gradually built in a particularly vast cavern, resembling their old treetop homes, but they were a dour shade of the grace the Symenestra had once known. That city was called Kalinor or "beaneath Kalea".

As generations passed, the Symenestra began venturing back into the brighter light of day. Their population had dwindled, and the wives were demanding surrogate mothers. Both male and female Symenestra would roam the land looking for suitable female surrogates, chosen for their beauty and strength. These journeys were referred to as "harvests". Most of the captured surrogates were treated as pampered prisoners until the child's birth and their consequential death.

Division has arisen among the Symenestra in the last eighty years, as some were uncomfortable with this barbaric practice. A vocal minority exists that encourages Symenestra to carry their own children, taking the risks of having the child cut out before birth. These dissenters also believe that with each generation, mothers may become more immune to their children's venom. The very nature of this group's protest makes their numbers small. Surprisingly, this dissent was led by female Symenestra who sympathized with the plight of the captives. They were also sensitive to the moral corruption the harvesting practice bred. Less kindhearted proponents assert that the harvest is a pollution of hallowed blood and feel that the continued presence of foreign blood will distort the race. These dissenters are collectively called Esterians, in honor of the woman, Esteria, who began the outcry.

There are roughly 900 Symenestra left in existence. The population is divided between those who dwell in the cavern community in southern Kalea and those who wander abroad.


Physical Appearance

The Symenestra are elegantly humanoid in face and form, but seem like a thing left too long in the dim. Their skin is ashen and morbidly pale, often showing a faint lace of delicate gray veins, and their hair ranges between a cobweb color, to varying shades of silver to deepest black. Symenestran eyes are human in shape with especially large pupils, and irises in only three different colors: gold, red and amethyst. In the darkness, the pupil will sometimes appear to glow with the eyeshine commonly seen in nocturnal creatures.

Stronger than they look

Symenestra vary from human proportions with their slightly elongated arms and hands, likely to make for easier travel on all fours. They also possess especially strong, black nails that are commonly used as claws. It takes the better part of ten years to grow a usable set of crescent "claws", so most Symenestra are loath to file them down (a difficult process due to the nail's strength). However, the toenails are usually kept filed in order to wear shoes. The most notable aspect of the Symenestra, though, are their long, sharp canine teeth that can dispense a corrosive venom. The teeth are visible only if the Symenestra opens his mouth or smiles. When a Symenestra is riled or about to bite, their canines can extend up to half an inch longer. However, it may take up to a minute for the fangs to retract.

Common Traits

Most Symenestra wear light, shell-like armor over their body; this is due to the delicacy of their skeleton. The lightness of their bones gives them speed, but the sort of blows that would break a human will literally shatter a Symenestra frame. As a result, their fighting style revolves around not being caught and long-range weapons. Many are even cautious of jostling crowds.

Age and Reproduction

Symenestra can reach ninety, but few do in this violent age. The female Symenestra die either in their fertile twenties, if impregnated by another Symenestra, or age normally. It is incredibly rare in current times for female Symenestra to give birth to a non Dra, averaging maybe one to two a year. This is because of the grisly reproductive process.

Every Symenestra is a killer within a minute of its birth. The newly born Symenestra has an especially potent dose of venom, and they instinctively destroy their mothers for their first meal. Before the child is delivered, the child has begun to spread its acidic venom and corrode the mother from the inside out. Symenestra females might survive only by having the child delivered prematurely or carefully cut out of them before the birthing process. In only three percent of cases, will the mother survive the procedure.

Symenestra males have a limited ability to sire, resulting in no more than three children. After the second or third child a male is infertile. The male's fertility follows a lunar cycle so Symenestra are able to predict when they would be able to sire a child and when they would not. At the height of this cycle, the male grows especially aggressive. If a male does not sire by late middle age, he never will.

In recent times, reproduction has been used as a means of destroying other races while preserving their own. Symenestra men impregnate foreign women, increasing Symenestra numbers while killing the enemy females. Sired half-breeds take on the race and abilities of the father, but may draw subtle facial characteristics from the mother. These Symenestra are considered and appear full Symenestra and comprise the bulk of the population now.

However, half-breeds carried by a female Symenestra are true halves in both appearance and heritage. Symenestra blood tends to dominate other races but will not overcome it entirely. Offspring tend to inherit the grayish skin, fangs, and an awkward length of limb. Halves will have a weaker venom, allowing the mother to survive the birth. As adults, these half-breeds have a denser build and are unable to climb surfaces or produce potent venom. Inconveniently, their dietary needs are the same as full Symenestra; they cannot eat solid food. These halves are socially scorned for polluting an already small gene pool.


Prepared Symenestra food.

Symenestra cuisine is reviled by all outsiders for its texture. The race lacks the digestive system necessary to inwardly break down complex foods. Instead the Symenestra pierce the skin of whatever they intend to eat with their fangs and use the venom they produce to break down the inner parts of the food. Some softer fruits and vegetables can be chewed, made into jam or stewed instead of dissolved with venom.

Once the fare is properly liquefied, the Symenestra are able to suck it out of the fruit or animal. This process takes several hours, resulting in Symenestra eating maybe twice a day. It is a common misconception that the Symenestra are blood drinkers. While it does make a part of their diet, it is a poor replacement for liquefied protein and broken down sugars.

Special Abilities

Symenestra have three abilities that make them peculiar from most races:

They are able to see well in poor lighting conditions, dilating their pupils at will. What is murky to human eyes is fairly clear to a Symenestra, and what is pitch black to a human is only foggy to a Symenestra.

Also, they can produce a venom dispensed from their fangs. This venom works like a potent stomach acid, breaking down organic structures into liquid form. It begins the process by dispensing an agent that relaxes the body of the prey before beginning the painful process. A humane Symenestra kills their prey before this portion of the venom begins. The strength of the venom is based on how long the Symenestra has gone without eating: the longer between meals, the deadlier the bite. If a Symenestra has eaten with the past two days, then its venom is painful but not fatal. Symenestra can control the dispensation of venom for the most part, but venom tends to be produced involuntarily when the idea of hunger is introduced. However, desire and hunger can trigger it in the same way, so a benevolent Symenestra lover must handle themselves with focus and care. The expression "the Kiss of a Symenestra" is often used to describe a bittersweet experience.

The strangest ability of a Symenestra is their defiance of gravity. Symenestra can extend a host of microscopic hooks from their skin that enable them to scale seemingly smooth walls. This also allows them to carry more weight than imagined possible due to the distribution of the burden across every inch of skin. In order for a Symenestra to adhere to a surface or object there must be no more than a delicate fabric separating his skin from the object he wishes to scale. For this reason, Symenestra prefer to wear light sandals, easily removed, or nothing at all on their feet. Ranekissra silk is also popular, as the strong fabric still allows for adherence when worn.


Social Structure

Due to the nature of their religion, Symenestra have a great respect for bloodlines and family. The original ruling family was decided by the purity of its connection to the first Symenestra. The position can pass from one generation to another, but only one child may inherit a position. The other ruler is selected by trials. This process is a metaphor for the race as it endures today. Since all Symenestra are both "adopted" and sired, they see both the merit of a literal bloodline and a symbolic one.

Symenestra believe good blood will speak for itself. Physical and mental trials are held to decide who deserves to lead the people. Symenestra feel the purest blood will excel and be worthy of the position. Once the ruling pair is established by trial and/or genealogy they are compelled to marry.

Currently, the Symenestra have a ruling couple that govern the daily concerns that arise in their small cavern community: Nessora Hyacinth and Avadon Hyacinth.


Symenestra are unfailingly literate, and fluent in both the common tongue and their own language: Symenos. Their ability to charm and persuade verbally is a key tool in the hunt for surrogates, as they would rather coax than fight and risk damaging a healthy surrogate.

Symenos is a softly spoken language that creeps off the tongue. Some find the sound of it entrancing while others think it eerie.

The Symenos word "Symenestra" is unique in that it can be both an adjective or a noun, singular or plural. This is a purposeful use that demonstrates the Symenestra idea of the unifying power of blood and heritage. Common speakers tend to use Symenestran as an adjective and Symenestras as the plural form, adjusting it to their language patterns.


There are few formal rules for the naming of full Symenestran children or Half-Symenstra with a Symenestra father. Masculine names are usually denoted by their use of "D's" and "V's", while feminine names tend to use "S's" and "N's". Names are to be pleasant to the ear when spoken aloud and often have three syllables. This is a more recent trend, introduced with the rise of the "Harvest". Few women would be inclined to stop for Thrack, but Duvalis might have better luck.

Surnames are taken from the father's side and are derived from jungle flora, as they were once a tree-top dwelling people. The first Symenestra Webs were identified by their proximity to certain plants. As the culture was exposed to medicinal flowers from other climates, a few more names were integrated into their bloodlines. However, the common language's name for the plant is always used, as the Symenestra titles often had double meanings that might connote something undesirable.


Daratur Balsam, Soraya Avenca, Valdyor Curare, Nalessa Erva, Avadon Scarlet, Enella Orchid etc.

Half-Symenestra with a Symenestra mother have the prefix of "Dra". The prefix literally means "little", and a demeaning connotation is often read into it. Their first names will usually have two syllables. They will have no surname. Please note Mizahar does not allow the use of "Dra" as part of an offical character name. So the below examples would have an account name of Sosai, Lenev, and Altha... the PCs themselves can refer to themselves as Dra-(their name here) in threads.

Examples: Dra-Sosai, Dra-Lenev, Dra-Altha


Symenestra will sometimes employ honorifics to show levels of relation or affection. If the speaker is familiar with the audience's first name, he will add the last syllable of the name to the end of the title. For example, a friend of Daratur Balsam would call him Pryzatur. Or Soraya Avenca would be called Sibeaya by a complimentary young man. If the first name is not known, the title stands alone or precedes the family name for extra formality. "Dra" is the exception to these rules when relating to a half Symenestra. In this case, it is always used alone or preceding the full first name. This usage resembles human syntax, emphasizing the estrangement of a Dra to his race.

Mabda – a respectful term for an older or married woman, literally "good mother"

Dovna – a respectful term for a male, usually for a superior. Implies a position of command.

Sibea – An admiring term for a woman. Implies beauty and good breeding.

Enda - A common term for young, unmarried women.

Versda - A term for younger men. An abbreviation of "good brother".

Bitta - An endearing term for a little girl or baby.

Dra – "little" used on small children endearingly or adults and halves mockingly.

Pryza - A term good friends would use for one another. Literally "gift"

Krova - A catch-all term for any Symenestra. Usually used when in the presence of other races or for a peer in a professional capacity. Literally "of the blood".

Family Life

Symenestran culture is based largely on community dynamics and the race tends to be covetous of their privacy. Family groups are referred to as "Webs". Mothers may be related to children by blood or adoption; the latter comprise the majority. Unlike previous centuries, no distinction is made between an adoptive Symenestra mother and a natural Symenestra mother. Whichever Symenestra female was wed to the child's father at the time of siring and/or raised the child is considered its true mother.

Within Kalea, Webs live in close proximity to one another and tend to govern themselves in a traditional fashion. The monarchs rarely intercede into the affairs of Webs, choosing to make decisions that affect the race as a whole.

The eldest child is designated to conduct a harvest, if one is necessary, bringing back surrogates for all his or her siblings. The second born male leads religious rituals for his Web, but is not viewed as a priest. Symenestra religion encourages all its members to be familiar with its principles and rituals and does not require a priesthood. However, especially wise and devout second sons are often looked to for spiritual guidance within the community. Any child may conduct a gleaning, which is a kind of intellectual harvest, but they are primarily undertaken by the eldest.

Marriage and Courtship Traditions

Courtship is familiar to human patterns and the process is informal until the couple is bound in a ritual called vezanya which means "tied together". This is the equivalent of a betrothal. A suitor will present a beautiful swath of brightly colored silk that he has helped weave in some fashion to the woman. If the woman accepts the gift, family and friends are brought together for a small celebration. During which, the couple are wrapped together in the silk in a lighthearted ceremony, much to the amusement of those gathered. It is a lively ceremony mostly seen as a chance to tease the couple and often performed in a dance. After the couple is released (or releases themselves), two strips are cut from the fabric and tied about the upper arm of each. This token is worn by both until they are wed.

Wedding ceremonies are usually conducted in the Clade or a Temple to Viratas. Demonstrating the race's unexpected love of color, the bride wears red, symbolizing blood and passion where the groom wears blue, representing the depth and heights he will go to for his family. Family tapestries are raised in front of the couple as they make vows of fealty and devotion to both each other and the memory of those who have come before. The most notable part of the ritual is the binding of hands. The strands of fabric previously worn about the arms are tied together then wrapped about the couple's clasped hands by the bride's father. Friends and family will then bring forward their own strips of fabric bearing their wishes for the couple and add to the binding. The bonds remain about the couple's hands until the celebration following the ritual ends. The next morning, the couple usually sit and read all the messages woven or painted on the strands of fabric.

Art and Industry


Symenestra art is embodied in three words: dark, elegant and delicate. When they lived among the treetops, their style of architecture was organic and weightless with arabesques and thin filigree. In the caverns, the design has darkened while retaining its eerily organic feel. Smooth black and white structures hang like cocoons from the cavern ceiling, suspended between stalactites and flowing over the edges of limestone flows. Ladders and bridges do not exist, only narrow ropes making a web between structures. It is impossible to ascend or descend into their community without a Symenestra willing to escort you.

An Aerial dancer.

Non-Symenestra have difficulty navigating structures as nooks and hammocks for sleep or sitting are often out of human reach. The saving grace for visitors is the Symenestra preoccupation with weaving fabric. Male and female can learn how to work a loom at a young age and create silky textiles at the weaving school. Fabric is liberally strewn and layered on the floor of Symenestra structures creating a nest of sorts.

This also influences the Symenestra style of dress. Beneath their exoskeleton of armor, male and female wear snug leggings then wrap themselves in long strips of Symenestran silk from the Ranekissra moth. It's a time consuming process akin to bandaging the whole body. When in Kalinor or a secure place, the armor is not worn, and women tend to don slim gowns over the wrappings and men wear stylized tunics slit down the sides for ease of motion. A lauded benefit of Symenestran silk is its ability to allow for adhesion from the skin beneath it. Symenestra are commonly drawn to deep jewel tones that recall their heritage in the lush jungles of Falyndar.

The love affair with fabric and gravity defying abilities have led to the creation of a beautiful Aerial Dance style. Aerial Dancers perform a weightless form of dance that defies typical stage structures.

Aerial Dancers are often wrapped in silk and carry a long swath of the same. This swath is used to connect to other dancers or nearby structures, but its most common usage is as a flourish to the dancer's movements. Like another limb, the silk swath will move in concert or wrap around the dancer's body to achieve exquisite poses.


Symenestra are known for producing lightweight, durable and easily dyed silk and other beautiful textiles. They are also able to gather otherwise inaccessible minerals and gems indigenous to caverns, such as opalgloams (a phosphorous stone used in place of candles) and the medicinal mountain balsam.

Harvests and Gleanings

Harvests are strictly for purposes of obtaining surrogates for breeding and are always undertaken by a firstborn. How they are carried out is based on the predilection's of the individual Symenestra. They are commonly conducted alone or in very small groups to avoid notice. Sometimes an adolescent, firstborn Symenestra will shadow an elder cousin on these trips to learn tactics. Parents never bring or accompany children on harvests, as it is considered a rite of passage to be undertaken without the powerful presence of a parent or the softening influence of a child.

Gleanings were begun as an attempt to obscure the purposes of the harvest. Symenestra will commonly claim that true harvests are a myth based on racial prejudice and gleanings are what take Symenestra abroad. A gleaning is a kind of intellectual harvest. Symenestra will seek out people with particular talents or knowledge and endeavor to bring them back to Kalinor to add to the Cribellum, a small library of knowledge. During their stay, the gleaned person is treated with the utmost courtesy and often compensated for their contribution. By doing this, Symenestra both add to their collective knowledge and create a person willing to attest to the general "misunderstanding" of the race. Firstborns will frequently glean to prepare for a true harvest and become accustomed to the world beyond Kalinor.


The Symenestra worship Viratas, the god of blood. If asked, they would say they worship the god of the essence, life and connection. While outsiders see the faith as barbaric, the Symenestra find a great serenity in their beliefs. Blood sustains life, binds peoples and serves as the ultimate sacrifice. Any crime against life and community is a crime against their god.

Beliefs and rituals are drawn from a sacred text called the Viratassa. The text is rather short, and most Symenestra have memorized large portions of it. Apart from detailing the mechanics of rituals, the text emphasizes a hierarchy. It calls for devotion to god, the Viratassa and sentient life. The prime virtues the text espouses are sacrifice, patience, devotion and respect for all people that bear blood.

One of the original rituals of worship included the letting of blood from an animal and commonly the penitent. Animals used in this ceremony would have been raised as pets by the worshiper, so their sacrifice would emphasize the gravity of the penitent's wrongdoing. This gesture was not intended for every temple visit, but to mark any significant transgressions in the worshipper's life. If the worshipper kept no animals, a blood oath could be taken in which the worshipper would swear to make recompense to the community or person wronged. Failure to uphold the oath could result in a divine reckoning.

In present times, some fringe worshipers have become more violent. They see the nature of Viratas as connected to sustenance and violence instead of life and community. Their rituals reflect this shift in perspective and tend to be literal bloodbaths followed by feasting on sacrifices

Some Symenestra PCs

The Widows of Mizahar