Sinai Player Guide v5.0

Sinai Player Guide v5.0

3.0 Lore of Sinai
  • 3.1 Sky Islands
  • 3.2 Airships
  • 3.3 Ancient History
  • 3.3.1 The Expedition
  • 3.3.2 The First Ones
  • 3.3.3 The Sifras
  • 3.4 Commonly Known Flora and Fauna
  • 3.5 Common Games
  • 3.6 Religions of Sinai

  • The following is some general information about the world of Sinai, which might be known by those who live there -- at least by some of the better educated peoples that live in a central place such as Rephidim. If you have a PC which has purchased Lore of Sinai, you can click on sub-sections that provide additional information, to give you a rough idea of what sort of knowledge your PC should be privy to.

    3.1 Sky Islands

    More than twenty other sky islands exist. Their erratic movements make them difficult to predict. They look like flying mountains covered with vegetation, and are often populated by exotic animals not found on the surface. Their undersides are thick rock that tapers down to long stalactite-like formations. No two sky islands are alike, and they vary from two miles in diameter to Rephidim's twenty mile oval.

    Sky islands hover above Sinai at an elevation of approximately 10,000 feet ASL (above sea level). Although flight at this altitude would normally be hazardous due to low air pressure and low temperature, sky islands have an "envelope" that accompanies them, varying in intensity according to the relative size of the island. Larger sky islands are able to maintain more temperate climates and air pressure, while the smaller ones tend to still be fairly cold and with low air pressure compared to the surface. Due to this phenomenon, large sky islands are essentially permanent, mobile high-pressure fronts, and it is common for storms to be spawned as a herald of the coming of a particularly large island such as Rephidim. Sky islands are also often surrounded by obscuring clouds, making them hard to locate at times.

    Lore of Sinai: Sky Islands

    3.2 Airships

    Rephidim and several races sail airships which are lifted by hydrogen gasbags and propelled by sails. Most airships transport cargo and passengers. There are warships to defend merchanters from pirates and "hold" the sky over contested territory. Rephidim warships are armed with arbalests and burning oil bombs, and sometimes actual guns (very carefully handled). In very recent years, airships have started to be fitted with alcohol-powered engines and propellers ... or replaced entirely by zeppelins of unique construction. Due to the ever-present threat of Quantum Uncertainty, these machines still need "quantum stabilizers". These take many forms, but they are typically spinning wheels, bobbing armatures, and other pieces that really serve no obvious mechanical purpose. Engineers have discovered that, amazingly enough, machines with extra "doo-dads" like this actually become more reliable than those without ... just so long as the devices aren't installed in such a way as to jeopardize the structural integrity of the craft. Also, hand-made decorations, a fresh coat of paint and other attentions paid to fixing up the machine to look nice seem to have a certain positive effect on performance, amazingly enough.

    Some of the ground-living races resent Rephidim and their control of the skies. Airships are occasionally shot down, forcing the downed crew to fight their way through bandits and attempt to escape to a friendly village where they can light a signal fire to attract Rephidim's attention.

    3.3 Ancient History

    The Temple calendar (denoted in years by "Rephidim Time Reckoning", or "RTR") goes back over six thousand years ... but it is believed that the world of Sinai is a great deal older than that. Theories and legends abound about who may have walked Sinai before the present age.

    3.3.1 The Expedition

    According to the Temple calendar, the period or event known as the Expedition occurred over some six thousand years ago, officially marked as Year 0, Rephidim Time Reckoning, give or take a century or so. It is generally believed that all of the present known sapient races have origins dating back no further than this point in time.

    3.3.2 The First Ones

    The ruins of many races lie buried in the ground of Sinai. Some say they were destroyed by a great unknown nemesis. Whether this is true or not, their works remain enigma: twenty sites have been cataloged and their contents assessed largely as "works of art" or "religious icons" for a lack of better understanding of their true nature. Perhaps one day the key to the functioning of these sites will be determined. Current thought suggests that the Sifra may be related to these early races because some artifacts have been linked to that culture, and may even be the First Ones themselves. The true extent of their involvement is unknown.

    Unopened sites are highly dangerous. They may be guarded or function in ways unpredictable and deadly to unprotected explorers. Local dwellers may forbid exploration of "holy" sites or require large amounts of tribute to allow digging. Rephidim's priest-bureaucracy frowns highly on the unsanctioned opening of sites.

    In many cultures, Rephidim included, the "First Ones" are treated as deities or patron spirits, and often invoked in prayer and exclamations. Reverence and/or worship of the First Ones, however, is not particularly well-organized as religions go.

    3.3.3 The Sifras

    While the common man may know of the First Ones (or think he knows of them), the term "Sifra" is only used in scholarly circles. The Sifra culture is believed to be of ancient origin, and its identity is often blurred with that of the First Ones. Perhaps the Sifras were the First Ones. Whatever the case, they are believed to be extinct, and their handiwork is typified by strange formations of crystal rock that display luminescent properties, and sometimes take on a "molten" or even organic appearance. Some believe that the Sifras are somehow responsible for the powers of magic on Sinai ... or perhaps even the creation of Sinai.

    3.4 Commonly-Known Flora and Fauna

    It has long been accepted that it would be impossible to catalog all of the species of creatures and examples of plant-life to be found on Sinai, particularly with the amount of mutation that takes place on the surface, and the occasional influx of new types through the Forbidden Zones.

    Although many of these creatures are alien in nature and appearance, there are many examples of species that would be found on Earth, though they tend to collect in certain "pockets" on Sinai's surface, such as the woodlands of Sylvania. This helps to explain the occasional reference to, say, an Eeee as a "bat", or a Skreek as a "rat", since it wouldn't make any sense to use such terms unless the "real" animals were present to draw comparisons to. Many people of Sinai never actually see such creatures, and might be particularly shocked if they encountered non-sapient, non-humanoid versions of themselves.

    The following present a sampling of the more unique creatures and plants that a well-traveled Sinaian might know about.

    More Details on Flora and Fauna of Sinai

    3.5 Common Games

    There are a number of popular games that are played not only in Rephidim, but enjoy some use elsewhere, thanks to the advent of airship travel.

    Some of the more popular games include:

  • Airships: A dice game played by most gamblers anywhere, where only a small flat area is needed. More Details on Airships
  • K'tinzhai: A game of strategy popular in the Khattan Emirate, a close analog to chess.
  • K'trinzhai: A close relative of K'tinzhai, but played on a triangular board instead of a square. This version is played between three opponents, rather than two. It is viewed with distaste by some, but greatly valued by others, as a certain element of "psychology" is required to master this game, since victory requires that you play both of your opponents against each other, rather than letting them conspire against you.

  • 3.6 Religions of Sinai

    There are countless religions to be found on Sinai, as even "common" religions have so many sects ... and some of the major religions don't have a central organized "bible" to serve as any sort of standard on doctrine.

    More on Religions of Sinai