Selunari

OleanderSky

Artisan
New Hampshire Staff
Marshal
Diversity Committee
Wanderlust, Sela, and the Mists

Selunari are an extended family more than a culture or nation. Every Selunari, regardless of blood relation, is connected to one another by a deep empathetic bond called sela. Even a Selunari stranded away from their kin feel the pull of this bond. Likewise they do not feel this bond with others, who they call eshdir. Though the rare member of another race who has found themselves living among Selunari may share love with their adopted family, no eshdir can ever feel the true bond of sela. Selunari place family concerns above all others -- first their blood family, then their caravan, and then Selunari as a whole, before any eshdir.

Selunari also attribute their intense wanderlust to sela, viewed in this context as connection to the stars. The urge to travel is felt as a dire need more than a cultural value or personality trait. The Mists are the most dangerous frontier, but also the most attractive. Selunari grow willing to risk death or madness in the Mists rather than ignore the call of exploration. Though sela draws the Selunari into danger, the stars grant them aid in navigating the unpredictable, unchartable Mists. So long as they enter with a destination in mind, they will never become lost. Even an individual who has not been to a particular Realm can find it as long as it is thoroughly described to them. This applies even to the moving Ember Yard of the High Ogres.

Selunari sometimes find abandoned settlements in the Mists, and can find them again as surely as any realm. Mines, cities, and even Earth circles dot the dim and bizarre landscape within the Mists. Mines supply valuable and beautiful resources, though it is dangerous to linger in the Mists and mining comes at a price. Ruins hold rusted metals and rotted wood at worst, but stone and other preserved items as well.

The ability to navigate the Mists ensures that Selunari can find their way out, but this offers no protection from the monsters within during their travels. Caravans are often attacked, and the Selunari could not survive if they lived as nomads within the Mists at all times. Instead, they travel between the relative safety of Realms, moving within and between the Realms when they cannot ignore their calling.

History

Selunari believe their people have always been nomads. When the Mists were new, the Selunari were not yet familiar with where they could find safe havens, and therefore they became lost in the Mists. Caravans which remained together often chose to live as best they could within the Mists. This was extremely dangerous, with monstrous creatures approaching from all sides and little way to make a defensible position. Though foraging or hunting was risky and unreliable, individuals who survived going away from the group soon found they were always able to find their way back. While the Selunari would later hear of cities falling to population loss as people simply vanished away from companions and into the Mists, Selunari could consistently stay on the same path. Roads often led to seemingly nowhere or back to where they began, but caravans wandered these unpredictable paths together.

Some Selunari hoped to wait out the Mists rather than trying to escape them. They sought shelter in the refuge surrounding their Earth Circle, which provided better defense than circled wagons. The Selunari continued to Invest others as they became skilled in Earth Magic, maintaining its function as a waypoint for reconvening. Since it was completely covered by the Mists, the Selunari believed they were the only ones who could find, as well as enter, the Circle. Time passed and many of the Selunari began to wonder if the Mists would clear before they were all killed by the monstrous creatures within them. They eventually found that these creatures were a danger to more than just their lives.

One day, a figure in black approached the settlement, ignoring all who tried to speak to them. The Selunari confronted them, suspecting them to be yet another monster from the Mists, perhaps aiming for the vulnerable among the encampment. What they did not expect to be vulnerable was the Earth Circle, which until now they had found impenetrable by the uninvested. The humanoid creature fought those who stood between them and the Circle, placed their hands upon it, and destroyed the Circle completely in an instant. They left as wordlessly as they had come, fighting only those who stood in their way. With no Earth Circle to call their own, the Selunari had to seek out the safe havens and Circles of other peoples.

In time the Selunari’s travels brought them to Realms where they could stay safe from the Mists. They readily paused from their nomadic ways, staying as long as sela allowed and traveling within Realms more than between them. The Selunari adopted the way of life they have maintained to the present day.

Codes of Honor and Social Structure

The Selunari are few, due to the extreme danger of the Mists. It is all they can do to maintain their population. Every caravan knows the pain of loss in frequent skirmishes, and almost all Selunari train martially or magically for defense of their community. Non-combatants are often the most skilled artisans, musicians, or caregivers. Each caravan, ranging from fifteen to fifty members, must be self-sufficient for months at a time.

Selunari hold tradition in very high regard. Each caravan has its own Code of Honor by which all families within abide. These Codes describe customs and expectations, rather than a list of vows like a Code of Chivalry. Thus Codes of Honor may vary widely between caravans, but some expectations are consistent throughout. Murder, assault, and theft are unacceptable. Selunari believe that Necromancy leads to personal ruin and most Codes of Honor forbid it. Each caravan has a leader, usually the eldest, who commands the caravan and the consensus of the caravan’s members.

Selunari [2.0 update] used to be able to learn powerful Curse magic unlike that of any Earth caster. These curses had unusual and permanent effects. It was forbidden by every Code of Honor to use this Curse lightly. It was reserved for punishment of those judged as highly disrespectful of the Code of Honor and of their family, especially those who shared family secrets with eshdir. Selunari have recently lost this Curse magic and instead have become able to resist Curse magic.

The bonds of sela and Codes of Honor do not stop family conflicts both within a caravan and between them. Conflicts between caravans regarding differing Codes of Honor may strain meetings, and rivalries between siblings or families are common. Value is placed on keeping such disputes private, and Selunari who take time away among eshdir are unlikely to disclose the root of conflict even as they seek out new perspectives and solutions.

Culture

Selunari wanderlust brings them into contact with multiple cultures, and long ago there were many more. Though most of their old knowledge has been lost, varied accents and styles of dress remain, with wide variety of colors, fabrics, and jewelry from cultures past and present. Specific color palettes may have meaning within a caravan and different significance in another, or none at all.

Selunari occasionally encounter adventuresome or lost member of other races in the Mists. Selunari do not hold animosity toward eshdir on the whole, and usually offer aid to the lost. However, there is a gap between Selunari and those who do not feel sela, and this cannot truly be bridged. Eshdir they find lost in the Mists are usually offered to join with the Selunari and travel more safely. While in Realms, friendly but only passing through, Selunari may take on travelers or see off the lost and found. Selunari readily trade goods and stories where they are accepted.

Celebrations

Selunari generally enjoy music and dancing without need for an excuse. Celebrations typically go on longer and louder than other revelry.

Entering the Mists: Selunari must take leaving a Realm extremely seriously. Travel through the Mists is dangerous and resources are scarce. Though the Selunari can be confident that they will not lose their way, they still cannot be sure how long the journey will take, because the route to a destination can change at any time. A Caravan can expect to suffer the loss of family along the way, with no guarantee they will be waiting in the Realm’s Earth Circle. Selunari know that the night before their travels might be the last they see of a family member or friend. Rather than dwell on the risks, they try to embrace the spirit of adventure and celebrate sela.

Entering a Realm: It is likely that a caravan will reach their destination with fewer travelers than began the journey. The group will soon continue on to the Realm’s Earth Circle looking for their fallen members. Before doing so, they celebrate that they reached the destination at all. If they were so fortunate that no one dissipated during their journey, their celebration is a raucous affair. Celebrations that are a mix of relief and sorrow are more subdued, with glasses raised in a wish of luck that the spirits of their loved ones stay strong.

Welcoming new members: Selunari caravans cross paths in both the Mists and Realms. Though they may have differing Codes of Honor, they are likely to travel together a while. Friendships and romances may form during this time, and a Selunari may choose to join the other caravan when they part. An individual who has Resurrected and waited long for their own caravan might join the next that passes through. Members are sometimes exchanged simply because they have enough disagreement within their own caravan that they want to leave. Whatever the reason, new members are welcomed with a celebration in their honor.

Permanent death: Selunari can rarely be certain that a caravan member has died their permanent death. Their bodies reform where they fell in travel, and navigating the Mists back to where they came from may never use the same route again. Selunari are rarely Invested in Circles, and so the spirits attempting Resurrection are not recognized by the healers who feel them fail. Usually they can only be sure of the loss of those who die in an encampment, or without attempting Resurrection -- typically the elderly or ill. Selunari hold funerals for the proven permanently dead. The losses of young people, under twenty, are mourned and seen as cut too short. An adult is grieved as well, but their life is to be celebrated. Their deeds and stories are told over drinks and food, and though they are mourned, there is joy in remembering a life well-lived.

The Realms and Eshdir

Selunari venturing into eshdir settlements are often viewed as wild or unruly, since sela brings lust for life to the forefront. Selunari are often outgoing and irrepressibly free-spirited. Individual Selunari seeking a change of scenery may find a good fit with nomadic Chaosborn, but much shorter companionship among those who do not travel. Selunari who spend time among another culture take care to learn the Code of Honor or laws of the land so they do not embarrass their family.

Videa
Videa is a large Realm surrounded by a powerful magic barrier. Anyone entering this Realm at most times is struck dead. Safe times of the year can be calculated, but they are infrequent. The people within this realm are generally friendly. The Humans of the Kingdom of Videa find the Selunari unusual and rowdy. The High Orcs are more focused on their tasks than visitors. Chaosborn are the most welcoming, and Selunari may stay for years in their forests until sela calls them away. Though the Chaosborn rarely intermingle with the Selunari long-term, they are often interested in trade and visits.

The Ember Yard
The High Ogres welcome the Selunari, though their Realm is cramped and they cannot host long. They are generally friendly and the trade is good.

Tine, the Tundra
The Oathsworn who occupy this huge, bitterly cold Realm welcome the Selunari to trade and tell stories. Their Oaths resemble Selunari codes of honor. Selunari are free to stay in Tine, though they must make their own way and cannot integrate with Oathsworn Kiths. The Oathsworn deeply distrust Celestial Magic and warn of a Cockatrice that is linked to the bad luck of Sky Magic, so they do not fully welcome a people who embrace this danger. Selunari tales also include attacks by an icy bird-like creature, though they do not share the Oathsworn’s superstitions surrounding this creature.

The Sigiled Plains
Magic is outlawed by the Sarr who dominate the Realm that Selunari call the Sigiled Plains. Selunari trade briefly with the Sarr who regard them with a wary eye, ready and willing to violently turn them away if they show their spells or spellbooks. Some Wylderkin are curious about or even interested in learning Magic. Some Selunari are willing to teach, if there is no Sarr settlement nearby. The Gnolls in this Realm are unfriendly and disorganized. They offer no trade and no quarter.

The Cursed Forest
Dryads live in a forest that holds no nutritious life below roughly 30 feet up. Selunari who enter initially find an inhospitable landscape. One need only look up to understand why the Dryads have not left. Plant life flourishes in the Canopies, where the Dryads live and grow food on platforms. Selunari must travel deep into the Realm before finding the suspended settlements, but once there they are welcomed. Dryads offer trade with the Selunari, and they may stay if they make and maintain space.

The Setverian Desert
The Elves of the Setverian Desert rarely travel closer than 3 to 4 miles from the edges of their Realm. There is little food and water to be found here, and the only advantage over the Mists is that it is easier to see creatures coming. The Elves are not typically interested in trade and may raid a caravan to take their resources forcibly.

Domain of Hastvan
Selunari warn each other of a fortress in the Mists that, if approached, spells certain death. Constructs rain magical and physical assault down from atop the rune-inscribed walls.

The Rachis Mountains - Vane
The Biata of the Rachis Mountains are hostile toward the Selunari. Biata frequently attack Selunari immediately, suspecting them to be monstrous creatures from the Mists or dangerous deceivers. The approach into Vane is rural at first, and many Selunari know that if they find a farm tended by a Biata, it is best to turn back. There is nothing to be found here but violence.

The Rachis Mountains - The Peak of Mount Verdure
Selunari sometimes resurrect in the Earth Circle attended by the Dark Elves. The Dark Elves see to their needs and wait for Stone Elven traders to escort them down the mountain, where they may find their caravan. The Dark Elven settlement is extremely difficult to access, and therefore Selunari do not trade with them.

The Rachis Mountains - Stone Elves

The Stone Elves offer a cherished safe haven for the Selunari. They are a people with ample space and food, and willing to offer rest and trade. Selunari are free to stay in this area and sometimes do so for years, though they mostly keep to their own encampments. Individuals who resurrect on the mountain without their memories, and therefore do not know where to look for their caravan, may stay in a Stone Elf settlement until their own or another caravan finds them. The Stone Elves enforce their strict law against Necromancy.

The Great Guildhall
The Selunari know they have reached the Great Guildhall because the Mists end abruptly at a well-maintained fifty foot wall. Though enterprising Selunari have occasionally scaled this wall, it is far safer to wander the perimeter until a “Fletcher” or “Wainwright” notices the prospective traders and lets them in at a gate. The Hoblings and Biata largely disregard the Selunari unless they are flush with wealth or information, but it is at least a shelter from the Mists even for the poorly supplied. Laws in the Guildhall are lax and rarely enforced. Selunari are encouraged to complete their trade and leave promptly.

Playing a Selunari

You might consider playing a Selunari if you would like to play a well-traveled and outgoing character. Selunari have passing familiarity with most cultures, even though most have not been to all the Realms.

Boisterous nomads are a fantasy staple. Please be mindful that this has a long history of offensive stereotypes and words. Please do not incorporate any real-world names for nomadic cultures into your gameplay.
 
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