Cultural Packet - Smittyari (Scavengers)

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Strava Plot

Gettysburg Staff

Note: This information is from the perspective of, and for the background of, the Scavengers.

Mist-Travelers and other playable cultures will not come into game with this information.

Smittyari - The Scavengers​

Forgetting and being forgotten is a hazard of life on the surface. The Smittyari (Smeet-YAR-ee) are accustomed to keeping personal records, carrying medallions on their person that are inscribed with who they were - a name, a profession, whatever they feel is important. Books, scrolls, tablets, anything without a spirit can’t be touched by the Fading, becoming important currency between those who remain on the surface and their counterparts underground.

Some have made peace with the possibility of losing themselves, while others cling to journals and possessions that anchor their memory to a life before. Those who choose this life are willing to risk everything - for freedom? for hope? for material gain? Others do not choose to become scavengers, banished as a danger to the Meshkantsi - the dwellers - who remain underground, living beneath the hollow cage that supports their caverns after the vitrified remains of an ancient beast were scraped away piece by piece.

Together or alone, they know danger, but they know the stars, they know the walls, they know the feeling of the sea breeze and the compulsion to move that permeates Strava. On quiet nights, some claim to know deeper urges, the influences that roil beneath the skin of the world and find supplicants. They know their numbers dwindle when the numbers of Blank Bodies, “Blanks” increase.

Historia Calamitatum​

What scavengers know of their history depends heavily on how much proximity they have had to the palace, how much memory they have lost, and what books they have found that have made history available to them. By all accounts, the Fading - a phenomenon that claims their number and leaves nothing but a sense of unease and untethered memories and emotions - started approximately 200 years ago. Some know that the royal family were Selunari, and accounts regarding their fate are of little consequence to the people who live above.

Most Dryads began to awaken in the past twenty years, though there were some early risers. All dryads awoke underground, some in subterranean arboretums lit by bound shards of fire elementals hanging above to give heat and light, shielded during night cycles. Those who chose to rejoin the surface did so on their own whims.

From what they have found and shared with one another, the city was once a thriving place of trade, famed for their magical items and artifacts. It was a jewel of Celestial magic in the eyes of outside travelers and traders, and the sea gate protected the city from war and siege by covetous outsiders. Some speak of old abandoned maps that show a place like Strava but much larger than the city walls, further inland from the sea, though the names of towns and features are written in a forgotten language.

Perils of the Surface World​

The Fading - Though everywhere is a potential danger, the closer any Smittyar gets to the palace, the more of themself they lose at a faster rate. It starts with short term memory, especially of recent dangers or trauma. The longer someone stays near the palace, the more likely they are to emerge changed, not remembering key events that shaped who they are. The effects are less pervasive further away from the palace they go, but what damage is done is difficult if not impossible to reverse.

Blank Bodies - Blank Bodies, or Blanks, are prevalent dangers in the middle zones between the palace and the outer areas. There are legends and rumors that tell they were once people who willingly gave themselves over to horrific influences, sacrificing parts of themselves that brought them pain. Now, they are pitiless guards of unknowable immortal masters. They tend to bar the way when Smittyari go too deep into the city, making egress difficult. Those who have crossed the way of these featureless monstrosities have seldom escaped.

The Butchers - The existence of the Butchers is widely regarded as a myth or story to discourage Smittyari from trusting those they do not know. Legend says that they will take the faces of friends one thought to be lost, or aspects of them, and wear the visage with a glamer to seem less threatening so they can ply their trade. It is said they made a deal with the influence behind the Fading, that they create the Blanks by removing “imperfections” of mortals - their insecurities, their fears. Once they have a mortal ensnared, it is but a matter of time before they are whittled down to being unrecoverable.

Encrusted Elementals - These elementals have lost much of their former glory, strategy, and intellect. They glisten with a crystalline material that seems to crust over and encase them, but that hasn’t blunted their fury at being trapped on the material plane. Most of these elementals were summoned long ago and plied by mages, though their employers have long since passed from the world.

The Glass Knight - There’s something that guards the palace, based on the ramblings of those who went too deep into the heart of the city. Smittyari who have been rescued from too long near the Palace scavenging in the academies have muttered about the last thing they witnessed before their escape being a knight with glass armor that drove them or carried them away.

Points of Interest​

The Academies - The foundation and magisterium academies are very close to the palace walls, and for those who are bold enough to enter, they are a high risk and high reward place for Smittyari who work with the Doslidnyky - researchers of the Research League. Tomes, magic items, and research notes can still be found within their libraries and offices. There are circles of power within them for identification and resurrection, but without anyone known to have access to them, trying to resurrect within would be dangerous.

The Tower - Accessible via the merchant district (though it notably doesn’t seem to have a door at ground level), there’s a tower with a plethora of permanent warder glyphs around doorways on entrances that have been found. In the evening, a figure has been spotted in the top of the tower and despite the location they have never been seen to enter or exit, and they have seemingly been there for decades or more.

Burial Mounds - Dotted at the edge of town, there are burial mounds with narrow entrances that the brave can and have sheltered in. They’re less accessible than private homes and have made grim places to set up camp and to rest, though the rumors of Smittyari who have turned to necromancy to stay alive are strengthened by such a macabre choice.

Food Forests and Community Gardens - Maintained by those with green thumbs and a will toward a more peaceful state of existence, these are generally available to the public. Their tenders seem to only take issue if the copses of trees and polycultures they cultivate are vandalized or overpicked. Many have crude signage and all Smittyari know not to mess with the people of the gardens - they have survived long enough to cultivate this sort of existence for a reason.

The Palace - Most don’t come close enough to see the figures on the old, faded banners. Smittyar signs warn travelers on the paths and ways in so that the cursed place doesn’t trap them and steal their thoughts.

The Sea Gate
- For those who dream of greater freedom, the Sea Gate’s mechanisms long being rusted shut are a nuisance. Some have tried to fashion rope ladders and climb their way out. They haven’t been seen again! They haven’t been seen again.


The Golden Leaves
- known for wearing leaves in autumnal colors on their clothing, especially golden leaves made of leather, they are - or claim to be - the stewards of the gardens and forests and regulate hunting to make sure Smittyari have enough food without overhunting the animals who live in the outer rings.

- a family of Selunari who wear dark colors and have a tendency to stay out of the way unless they have a prophecy to deliver. Widely regarded as annoyingly cryptic and a touch spooky, but if you can get to know them and get to know their means and ways of disappearing through uninhabited tunnels, they can be a great boon.

Doslidnyky - the Research League, or Researchers. They strike out onto the surface on missions only, and tend to be receptive to buying cultural artifacts and books from Smittyari who happen to recover them in exchange for supplies that are hard to come by on the surface and magical items that they have created or traded for. They have a lot of wild stories about how this land used to be protected by dragons.


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