Sylvari

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Sylvari 01 concept art (white).jpg

Sylvari are not born. They awaken beneath the Pale Tree with knowledge gleaned in their pre-life Dream. These noble beings travel, seeking adventure and pursuing quests. They struggle to balance curiosity with duty, eagerness with chivalry, and warfare with honor. Magic and mystery entwine to shape the future of this race that has so recently appeared.

— In-game description

The sylvari are a young, inquisitive race of botanical humanoids. The first Sylvari sprouted from the Pale Tree in Arbor Bay, emerging in 1302 AE. The tree was planted by Ronan and raised by Ventari, who were attempting to escape the violence that engulfed Tyria.

Sylvari are one of the five playable races in Guild Wars 2.

Character creation[edit]

Selecting a sylvari character will start players off in the tutorial Fighting the Nightmare where players fight the corruption within the Dream of Dreams before awakening.

During character creation, a player can customize a sylvari's physical appearance and answer three race specific biography questions which affect their personal story:

  • which quest they dreamed of.
  • most important of Ventari's teachings.
  • what day time cycle they were born in.

The sylvari home instance is in the Dreamer's Terrace in The Grove.

Sylvari racial skills focus on support with themes of plant manipulation.

Physiology[edit]

Anatomy of sylvari.

The sylvari are omnivorous humanoid plants. Some sylvari closely resemble humans but with a fey cast to their features such as tilted eyes and pointed ear tips; most display plantlike features such as hard wood for bone structure, have foliage and petals for hair, and bark acting as flesh. Golden sap moves through their veins instead of blood and pollen falls off of them as they move. They are much more slender than the average human and about a head shorter. While sylvari can seemingly absorb sunlight and become rejuvenated, they still must eat and drink to survive.[1] Sylvari do infact have thermoreceptors as referenced by a Sylvari explorer in the Grove. She states that she dislikes Hoelbrak as it is too cold.

Sylvari emerge fully formed from golden fruit pods which grow on the branches of the Pale Tree. Their "sex" is selected by the Pale Tree prior to emergence and is distinguished by the same general features as human sexes.[2] It is unknown whether the sylvari die of old age as sylvari have only died through violence, poison or disease so far and no sylvari has shown signs of aging.[3] When a sylvari is harmed, instead of scarring tissue they heal via tendrils and expanding bark, but heal at the same general rate as humans.[3] All sylvari have luminescent cells in their skin, causing them to glow in the dark.

Prior to emergence they share a bond through the Pale Tree which they call the Dream of Dreams. In this dream a growing sylvari is exposed to the consciousness of the Pale Tree and the vast pool of knowledge and memories of what every other sylvari has thought and learned of the world. When they emerge a portion of this knowledge remains with them, including basic wisdom and understanding from the Pale Tree and a small fraction of what other sylvari have seen and experienced, though this rarely includes specific memories. After emergence the bond with the Pale Tree is weaker but it links all sylvari and, to an extent, other plants. On rare occasion twins can emerge from the same pod and they exhibit a greater empathy toward one another.

Culture[edit]

Sylvari are usually honest, direct and focused, taking most things at face value. With the dream ensuring there is so much in common with the other sylvari, experience is cherished for creating uniqueness between them. They are eager to learn, experience and understand.

Sylvari morality and ethics are based on those of the Pale Tree. These were formed by following the lives of Ronan and Ventari, during the early growth of the Pale Tree and later written on Ventari's Tablet situated at the base of the tree. After emergence a sylvari is guided by older sylvari to understand what they have dreamed and ensure they have a clear understanding of the tablet, their history and the world.

Despite the kick start of knowledge from the dream they still seem naive as there are some matters which seem beyond their comprehension. Emotions and tact, in particular, are difficult for them to grasp, so often a sylvari will state out loud something which would normally be politely avoided by other races. Death too is not fully understood but viewed as something to be embraced and, as with many things in a sylvari's life, is viewed with a great degree of curiosity. These views serve to form an acceptance of and fascination with death that other races may find disturbing.

As they are all born from the Pale Tree they could be considered all of the same family; however, their family bond is not as strong as most families, with many sylvari considering others more like distant relatives with few exceptions, such as twins born from the same pod or those who shared dreams, though the latter may also result in lovers. Romance is practiced among the sylvari, disregarding gender between those involved. To a sylvari, love is spiritual and eternal, regardless of physical form and contact, and sexuality is simply a natural part of life. So long as it is entered into with good will and joy, the gender doesn't make a difference.

Sylvari craft their armor and weapons from organic material, such as roots, leaves or leather, and sometimes grow their armor out of their own bodies in the form of leafy padding, spines or bark.

Religion[edit]

The sylvari have an agnostic view of the Human Gods, wishing to see proof of the gods' existence and work.[4] They venerate the Ventari Tablet as their most sacred artifact and testament. The Pale Tree is also much revered, though more as a wise parent than as a deity. If the sylvari need counseling, they often travel to the heart of the mighty tree and commune with her there.

Government[edit]

The Pale Tree leads the sylvari; she manifests a spectral being in a chamber at the base of the tree to communicate with others easily and give her guidance and instructions. Various sylvari act as ambassadors to the other races and will send reports to her so that she may judge what to do. On difficult decisions, the Pale Tree will call upon the Firstborn and any sylvari who may be a specialist in the situation(s). The Firstborn, being the oldest and having the most experience of the world, act as leaders to the sylvari, being respected for their wisdom and in turn they lead the sylvari underneath the Pale Tree. Four of them in particular (one of each cycle) have taken on positions of leadership, organization, teaching, and guidance for the sylvari people.

Names[edit]

Sylvari names are generally inspired by Celtic (Irish and Welsh) names. Sylvari do not have surnames, as they're all part of the same "family," though to each other they are more like distant relatives except in special cases.

History[edit]

The origin of the sylvari is still unclear. What is known is that the Pale Tree was born of a fist-sized seed from a cave which Ronan, a human soldier, found. This cave was said to have been guarded by monstrous plant-creatures, though any details on them or the location of the tree is unknown, even to modern sylvari who have been looking for this cave since their race's birth from the Pale Tree. On returning to home, Ronan discovered his home destroyed and his family killed by the mursaat. He planted the seed on the graves of his family and swore never to fight again. Ronan formed an unlikely friendship with the centaur Ventari and together they built a refuge near the growing tree for those who sought peace and shelter.

As the Pale Tree grew, the war between the centaurs and Krytans became more brutal. Fewer listened to Ventari and the outpost grew smaller. Before he passed away in 1180 AE, Ventari carved his life lessons on a tablet which he placed at the base of the tree in the hope travelers might read it.

Over one hundred years later, golden fruit formed for the first time on the Pale Tree. In 1302 AE, these opened to reveal the first of the sylvari. The tablet at the base of the tree and the Dream of Dreams guide the sylvari, who are imprinted by the morality and ethics of Ventari and the bravery of Ronan. Two years later in 1304 AE the Secondborn began to emerge from the Pale Tree. The first of the Secondborn was Cadeyrn, who became the founder of the Nightmare Court. After the Secondborn, sylvari continued to sprout from the pale tree with an increasing rate.

In 1325 AE, the existence of a second sylvari tree was confirmed via Malyck who believes his tree lies on the western edge of a river that runs through Brisban Wildlands, which places it within either The Falls or Tangle Root of Magus Falls depending how far west along the river the tree lies. The existence of a third or more trees is unknown.

Gallery[edit]

Concept art[edit]

Renders[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • The term sylvari is used in the plural, possessive and singular forms.
  • The sylvari race underwent a redesign early on, the results of which were revealed on August 8, 2011.
  • The sylvari race was playable for the first time during the 3rd Beta Weekend Event.
  • Though "25 years ago" is often used to describe the age of the sylvari race, they first awakened in 1302 AE, per the novels' timeline.

Trivia[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sylvari Lore Interview with Ree Soesbee & Kristen Perry, TalkTyria.net
  2. ^ Post by Martin Kerstein, Guild Wars 2 Guru
  3. ^ a b Ashenfold Cartel Interview with Jeff Grubb and Eric Flannum!, The Ashenfold Cartel
  4. ^ Wiispace Interview With Ree Soesbee, World Designer and Writer For Guild Wars 2, Wiispace
  5. ^ Eurogamer interview on Youtube, Colin Johanson