Sylvania is a party town, with plenty of bars, inns, shows and the like. There’s tons of eladrin and Sensates (and Sensate eladrin just to make it more fun) all over the place. So if you’re looking to relax after a hard couple of days, this is the place. Some would even say that the festivities rival those of Dionysus. It is a place teeming with life and energy at all hours of the day or night. A body can always be sure to find “their” brand of entertainment in one of the many inns or taverns that litter the streets of Sylvania.
There is a certain atmosphere of fierce independence, autonomy and creativity that permeates the air here. The diversity of form and function is readily apparent when walking down any of Sylvania’s streets. Individualism and freedom of expression can be seen in every facet of life, from architecture to economy to nature. Most notable of the architectural variety is the Sensate Embassy, which is a majestic pyramid, created entirely of petrified wood! Amidst the majestic splendor of the Embassy, a body cannot miss the temples that call kip to this jovial and irreverent town. In spite of it all, if a traveler finds their way to Sylvania, one thing is for certain, they are sure to find a good time…and perhaps more!
As barmy of a burg as Sylvania is, its governing body… err…bodies…are even more unique. Sylvania is run by seven beings that are simply known as the Seven Spiritors. Folks are not quite sure if these high-ups are undead, petitioners, proxies, an ancient race or even powers. One thing is for sure, everyone seems content to leave it well enough alone. Gratefully, the Seven Spiritors are a liberal lot that leave folks to their own agendas, providing they don’t go off on some murderous, raping and pillaging spree.
The Seven Spiritors rule Sylvania through possession of bodies. Of important note, is the fact that most folks who are possessed are volunteers and do it of their own free will. However, violent bashers have been known to come down with a sudden change of heart…So be weary if you have a short fuse and taste for blood! The Seven Spiritors are known by their respective attributes:
Action (in a male elf body)
Knowledge (in a male gnome body)
Pain (in a male human body)
Passion (in a female elf body)
Reflection (in a male bariaur body)
Rest (in a female human body)
Thought (in a female bariaur body)
Sylvania is home to two large and ornate temples, each of which are visually aesthetic and remarkably detailed in their own right.
The elven temple is a large, delicate crystalline structure with spires that soar to dizzying heights; the sunlight is refracted off the pure and flawlessly sculpted crystal which gives the illusion of a rainbow dancing through a myriad of colors. It is truly a magnificent site that could steal the breath from even the hardiest of air dancers. It houses shrines and altars to such elven powers as:
The human temple is dedicated to the Olympian pantheon, it is a large and highly detailed structure with intricately carved marble columns and buttresses throughout. The white marble has veins of gold that ripple through it, as pure and harmonious as the locks of hair that ebb and flow from the head of an Arboreal nymph. This temple is every bit as beautifully detailed as its elven counterpart and houses statues and altars to such Olympian powers as:
It is a wise idea for any sod roaming the streets to stay clear of the petitioners of Arvandor and Olympus when they collide. These two tend to favor public (and brutal) displays of devotion to their gods, while striving to establish supremacy over the other.
Sylvania imports elaborate silks, satins and furs, as well as several posh and eclectic spirits and beverages. Among these are such delicacies as:
Baatorian Blood Wine - A very unique crimson red wine that has a pungent, roasted, fruity aroma with just a hint of an acidic tingle in the nostrils. The dark of this drink claims that a body can mildly resist heat and acid for a time. This particular vintage sells for 500 gp a bottle or 65 gp a goblet.
Karasuthran Spring Water - This is an extremely rare item, in fact a sod may spend a lifetime trying to lay claim to a flask of it. The chant is this water can actually restore life to a body…Problem is, finding it. It is available in Sylvania only once every 10 years at an unknown time and in a random establishment. If a sod can tumble to a flask of this unique water, he better have plenty of sparkle… It sells for 5,000 gp a flask!
Arcadian Sun Rose Wine - (A favorite of Sensates) This ethereal elixir is blended from the nectar of highly prized sun roses that grow only on the slopes of Mount Clangeddin in Arcadia. It is a very light, aromatic and sweet wine, which has a pristine amber hue. Drinking this wine is said to fill a body with feelings of ecstasy and elation. It has also been rumored to make a body more “appealing.” This delicate vintage sells for 800 gp a bottle or 100 gp a chalice.
Tannangier’s Stout (Meade) - This hearty, full-bodied meade comes from the prime world of Toril. A cutter by the name of Tannangier Strongheart calls kip to a region of this prime world known as Icewind Dale. It is an unforgiving wilderness of ice and snow for the better part of their calendar that by its very nature demands that the inhabitants be a sturdy and resourceful lot. This red-brown meade has a strong woodsy smell with a thick, rich, foamy head. Its robust flavor is believed to give a body unnatural warmth thereby allowing one to better endure the colder climes. This brew sells for 20 gp a tankard.
Moradin’s Milk (Ale) - This thick brew is not for the faint of heart! It is a dwarven ale through and through. Made by the dwarves that inhabit the Dwarven Mountain in the Outlands, this bitter, black ale resembles a finely aged molasses in both appearance and texture. But mind you berk, it has got a bite to it. Chant is this ale has been known to make even a pit-fiend bally. This “special” brew sells for 45 gp a tankard, and worth every bauble!.
Sylvania has many exotic, creative and expensive items they export. Magical weapons, magical armor, fine art and spell components to name a few. The art and spell components are some of the most revered in all of the multiverse.
Arborean Thane Pear Wine - This delicacy is one of their most prolific exports, it has been nick-named the “nectar of the gods” and for good reason. It is a delicate, airy wine with an immaculate consistency and a rosy peach color seems to have a vibrancy all its own. It has the refreshingly subtle, yet sweet taste of the Thane pear that Arborea is so famous for. The perfect purity of this wine has been rumored to cure many forms of maladies. This vintage sells for 650 gp a bottle or 80 gp a chalice.
Dipping Dragon Inn
This is arguably the most structurally interesting building in Sylvania. The upper floors are shaped like a dragon which can actually raise and lower its head to “drink” from a pool! The pool lies at the center of a fantastical courtyard within the Inn itself. This courtyard is inundated with exotic flora from other worlds, providing a truly primal atmosphere in this cozy and hospitable Inn. Aside from the unique architecture, the Dipping Dragon Inn is renowned for its drink and fun. A gnome, Takiri Gemshine created the Inn about 100 years ago with the help of a few of his cousins who hailed from a place called Mt. Nevermind on the prime world known as Ansalon and he has been running it ever since. He is quite the jovial and fun-loving sort, always wearing a bright orange robe with lime-green trim and lemon yellow runes about the trim. Some folks consider him a bit barmy, but mind your manners berk, this graybeard is not nearly as bally as he comes off.
The Pixie’s Stick
The mortared rock design of this Inn gives it quite a naturalistic look, resembling that of an enormous pyre. It is very quaint and rustic inside, which gives a body the feel of being right at home. The owner is a jolly, old druid with curly, snow-white hair that has ivy and mistletoe haplessly braided throughout. Her plump frame and short stature gives her a “grandmotherly” appearance which she does not seem to mind in the least. Folks know her only as “Momma Nature” and nobody seems to ever recall hearing her actual name, and of course she is perfectly content to leave things that way. She is famous throughout the berg for her cooking, baking and desserts - in particular, a sweet and tantalizing treat that she affectionately calls a pixie stick. The chant is this delectable treat actually comes from gently shaking the dust from a pixie’s wings and blending it with flavored honey… One thing is for sure, a body will leave with a warm, fuzzy feeling, not to mention a full belly!
The Tree O’ Life
A massive, ancient oak tree is kip to this regal establishment. The rich, woodsy aroma of this finely aged oak permeates throughout the surrounding area. As a body approaches this “establishment,” the meticulously manicured landscape surrounding the tree announces itself with royal declaration. The inside of the Tree O’ Life is ornately decorated with imported crystal dinner ware and fine mithril dining utensils. There are many tapestries and paintings that adorn the walls of this Inn from both local and far distant artists. The elven proprietor Anorwynn Starsong is stunningly beautiful, with long flowing blonde hair and deep, forest green eyes. Her beauty is matched only by her wit. Her establishment is infamous for the finest gourmet food anywhere! The roasted peacock in a juniper demi-glaze and apricot chutney, served with saffron spiced potatoes and steamed asparagus is highly recommended!.
Indovale’s World of Wonders
Even a leatherhead can tell they are not in Sigil anymore when they step into this shop. A barmy finger-waggler by the name of Indovale owns and operates this phenomenal, exotic and diverse magical goods store. The establishment is a modest, two-story, wooden structure on the outside, but on the inside, things become entirely different. When a body steps through the doors, they find themselves in a much larger area than the outside of the building could possibly contain. The interior is a five-story, worked stone, castle-like place with a winding staircase going up to each of the floors. Each floor contains magical items of certain categories. 1st floor: potions, powders, oils and elixirs, 2nd floor: magical clothing, robes, hats, cloaks, gloves, boots and belts, 3rd floor: magical rods, staves, wands, rings, amulets, tomes and oddities, 4th floor: magical armors, shields and bracers, 5th floor: magical weapons and ammunition. Prices of items range from 10 gp to “if you have to ask…” When you come, you had better plan on spending a good deal of time in this store, because his selections are as endless as his good-natured stories.
The gate to Arborea lies within the woods that surround Sylvania. Problem is the only way for a sod to tumble to the gate is by sheer happenstance. The gate, like most others is invisible and it randomly moves…so all a body has to do is get lost...literally.
Plots and Rumors
The chant is that there is an elven basher calling kip somewhere in Sylvania known only as Shadowfax. He is alleged to be the ringleader of a group of six bloods known as the Blood Thorns. These professional assassins/mercenaries are reputed to be the finest, most lethal group in the known multiverse. Virtually nothing is known about this group, other than their trademark left on their victims. This unmistakable “calling card” is a ring of black razorvine left around the victims’ neck and a single rose petal placed over each eye. There have been precious little of any clues as to the identity of Shadowfax and it is obvious that he is well-lanned and peery to his surroundings.
Arborea is named after its endless, rolling forests, but half of it's a land of fields, orchards and meadows. Most of Arborea is harmless, and most of the time a cutter's as safe as a sheep in the fold. But there's wolves in the hinterlands, and even prowling powers. Arborea doesn't have the wild, bloody dangers of the Beastlands or the obvious death traps of the Abyss, but all the same, a cutter'd better watch herself. The powers and the nature spirits demand their due, and woe to the berk who doesn't appease them - or worse, scorns their might.
Arborea's a land of deep emotions and powerful curses, loves and hatreds. Petitioners are quick to react with anger, lust, greed and envy. The good news is that charity, love, justice and kindness run just as strong on the plane. Enchangments and charms function very well in the emotionally charged atmosphere of Arborea. Of course, like emotions, the backlash is stronger if a spell fails.
Magic requires small sacrifices to the nature spirits that rule every brook and grove of the plane. Spell keys in Arborea take the form of ritual offerings to the earth and nature spirits that make spells function. Wine, oat cakes, milk, gold, olive oil, fine idols, unblemished animals and a mage's blood are typical offerings that make magic possible. Unfortunately, each school and sometimes each spell has its own offering that serves as a key, enough to make even a wizard's head ache.
Arboreans live unrestrained lives of hedonism. Lots of bashers think it's because Arborea is the home of the Sensates, but they've got their causality backwards. Arborea's nota place where short-tempered berks gather: it's a place that makes everyone short-tempered, passionate and more prone to play the fool. In some ways, Arborea's emotion embodies the opposite of the logic of Mechanus, though it ain't the pure, formless chaos of Limbo either.
The curses of the powers can bring about tragic ends, including such ugly fates as exile, slavery, patricide and blindness. Comparing oneself favorably to the gods, failing to make a sacrifice (or offering one that is insufficient), breaking an oath - these things are all trouble. Sad truth is, any sod can make a mistake. But in Arborea, the powers'll hold it against him. That's chaos, but it ain't pretty.
The greatest numbers of petitioners are the elves of Arvandor and the humans of Olympus. Sensates can be found in both camps, and the faction seems to rule the plane. In addition, the petitioners of Arborea include almost all sylvan races from centaurs, elves and gnomes to satyrs, nixies and harpies. They're the commoners of the plane, tending to the good of the woodlands and meadows. Though not as wild as the Beastlands, Arborea still has many ancient groves in need of care. The Arborean petitioners treat this work with as much dilligence and concern as peasants treat their crops elsewhere.
The petitioners are just pikers compared to the nature spirits that rule the land: every tree, every brook and every hillock of Arborea. The elfin asrai are the water spirits, the powerful oreads rule every peak - including Mount Olympus - and dryads and sylphs rule the woods and the heights. The spirits require sacrifices in many springs, sacred groves and ancient caverns of prophecy and judgement. Small shrines alert travelers that a spirit lives nearby. Ignoring them brings bad luck, and any traveler barmy enough to give 'em the laugh pays the price.
Worse are the bacchae: roving gangs of bubbers, capering half-mad mobs of pleasure and destruction that roam the countryside. If they tell a basher to drink with them, she drinks. Trouble is, she's likely to become one of them if she starts to enjoy their company and they accept her. Petitioners in Arborea don't always stay petitioners until they merge with the plane - they become bacchae as often as planars do. How it happens isn't clear, but the magic of music and dance is said to trigger it. The powers blame the creation of the bacchae on Dionysus, though Pan is sometimes named as well. Whatever their origins, they're a danger to all travelers, especially those who provoke them. Most anything provokes the bacchae: failure to offer wine, offering inferiour wine or failing to be as joyous and drunk as they are.
Philosophers of Thrassos and the Guvners still argue whether petitioners who become bacchae ever regain their normal form. Of course, what really matters is that they lost it in the first place. A basher should just be greatful that no planar's ever become one against his will.
The wildness and size of the plane allow many of the former rulers of the layers to do more than nurse their grudges in Ysgard or Carceri. The titans, Lolth and the gods of the giants have agents and proxies who spy on and torment their enemies. They also have gates that allow them to return and wreak vengeance against the usurpers.
While journeys of passion might prove difficult enough, the open regions between the realms are often almost impassibly wild. The less settled any region is, the more hostile its hills, mountains and forests are to visitors. Though it's been said of many places on the Great Ring, in Arborea it's true: Every mountain is the highest, every forest the lushest and every ocean deeper than can be imagined. Arborea's wilderness just doesn't quit, and if a cutter means to get anywhere, he'd better hire a guide.
That said, even if a basher finds himself lost in the wilds, he ain't likely to starve. The plane is bountiful, and even a city berk from Sigil can live off the land here. All it takes is hands to pluck the berries from the shrubs and the will to climb a tree to get the fruit. The streams are brimming with immense fish (though they're wily and take skill to catch), and the meadows are replete with herds of red deer and elk. All this bounty doesn't mean the petitioners don't farm; they need grain and hay for their livestock and likewise the best and largest fruit and vegetables are easier grown than gathered. Petitioners strive to outdo each other, but their prize animals and most impressive vegetables are usually sacrificed to the powers. Arboreans eat heartily and the mobs of Sigil fight over the scraps and leftovers that the merchants send through the Outland gate-town of Sylvania. Arborea's reputation as a rich plane is well deserved, but the inhabitants like to claim the credit for themselves.
Arborea's the breadbasket of the Outer Planes, supplying grains, vegetables and stranger nourishment (ram's blood, oak sap wine, fermented fish and so on) to the many races of Sigil. Arborea's reputation for first-quality foodstuffs comes partly from its natural fertile climate, and partly from the belief that the Sensates know what's best. Most addle-coves don't stop to think - the Sensates eat Arborean food because they live in Arborea. But because most berks are gullible, lots of merchants hawk their goods as Arborean. This is absolute rot. Cabbages are sold as "pure Arborean" even if they've just been carted in from the Outlands. If all the rations sold under that title were the true goods, no portals would ever have room for planewalkers, and Sylvania would be nothing but a trough of foodstuffs (which isn't far from the truth, already).
Layers of Arborea:
The Grandfather Oak
The Gilded Hall
The River Oceanus