Mythalenairra Ethnicity in The Sundered Worlds | World Anvil
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Mythalenairra (mith-ALL-en-air-uh)

Contributing Authors: Faithful Silence, Jhaxaryon Virind Jiquen, Silken

We have always been a people of change. When Queen Maev and Once King Oberon banished Lilryth to the newly-formed Abyss, her followers took advantage of their weakness and broke through the planar barriers—a feat previously thought impossible—to find her. Though their understanding of the planes and planar travel was limited, they knew enough to stay away from the Abyss proper. They settled on the Prime Material Plane and sought its deepest, darkest locales. They found the places where the planes were thin and they could reach out to the Abyss from safety.
After a time, her followers found her. After a longer time, they reconnected with and began to heal her. Though the post-Sundering chaos had mostly settled, the faith and devotion brought to bear raised Lilryth to godhood. As a reminder of all that she had suffered and all that her people had endured, she remained in the Abyss, claiming the Demonweb as her divine domain. So her people stayed in the place that had come to be called the Deep Beneath where they were closest to her.
Today, we thrive in our underground cities. We are an attentive, private society with an affinity for enchantment magic. While we are majority elf, our nature makes our cities a welcome refuge for anyone from any walk of life, and peoples both mortal and not are likely to be found among us.

Ideals & Values

When our forebears left the Feywild, they were embarking on a journey whose outcome could not be predicted by the wisest sages. They were hurting and determined and not interested in the opinions of anyone who didn't intimately know how they were feeling in those moments. They took solace in the the remoteness of the Deep Beneath; it was comforting to grieve in that kind of privacy. Today, those


Before I came to the Deep, I knew that the Mythalenairra were secretive and aloof, their cities full of criminals and monsters. I was both, so it seemed a perfect fit. It's true that outlaws and folks in hiding can find a place to lay low without nosy neighbors putting them at risk. Keep your head down and no one asks questions.
Except, the people around me were neither secretive nor aloof. They were open and accommodating. They listened when I talked and never pushed me to say more than I wanted. It felt like a trap at first, and I didn't trust it. But if an entire goddess could find healing in these people, who was I to rebuff them?
Those who see the Mythalenairra as demon-woshippers, cultists, and dark enigmas just haven't made any effort to understand.
traditions have come to mean that we don't pry, nor do we request information not freely offered. We accept others' need for space and do not insert ourselves where we have not been invited.
Indeed, our people understand too well what may lurk below the surface. Ascending to divinity didn't erase Lilryth's torment. Her time trapped in the Abyss affected her, became so much a part of her that she made it her divine domain. She sits now, on her throne of webs and legs, ruling from her Demonweb Pits. To any onlooker, she seems the picture of vicious caprice, of a monarch so fully content in their power all the world around them bows to it. But we know this isn't the case. We understand that she copes as well as she can, that she wants to control the horror that was inflicted upon her, and that she wants to be reminded what not to become. We understand we are privileged to know this, and no one owes anyone else their trauma.
In the early days of discovering Lilryth, our forebears couldn't reach her. She was violent and afraid and vengeful. She wouldn't speak with them. Our people never gave up, and eventually discovered other ways to connect with her, to
sense her feelings and make their care known. Without that connection, they would never have been able to heal her. Without their efforts, she would never have healed. We hold it near sacred to understand one's own body, mind, and spirit. It's a personal duty to seek help when needed and to maintain individual well-being.


People are messy and it's impossible to never hurt anyone. A person doesn't need to strive for perfection, but to know how to right their own wrongs. They know their own boundaries and enforce them without using them against others. Taking care of yourself makes the entire community better.


Mind-altering substances are for private; public inebriation endagers others' comfort and agency. It's likewise inappropriate to raise a child independently; that's an irresponsible amount of care for one person. Local votaries serve as acting parents to anyone who doesn't have partners or co-parents of their own.

Conventions & Customs

Unlike the {DWARVES} of the Titansgrave Mountains and the {KOBOLDS} of {OTHER MOUNTAIN RANGE}, we live truly underground, in the vast caverns and natural tunnels of {CONTINENT} known as the Deep Beneath. We've learned to farm without sunlight and have established a trade network across all of {CONTINENT} to provide anything we can't grow or make ourselves.
That concept of inter-connectedness is the core of everything we are; a community looking out for each member is what saved Lilryth. Her worship is more practical than ceremonial, and we strive to keep the more religious aspects separate from the secular ones. Mental care and emotional wellness are pillars of Lilryth's devotion, but a votary like myself will counsel any member of my community however is most useful to that member.
In all things, we are private and compassionate. Our arts are deeply emotional and our artists never rushed. Because personal limits are a sacred responsibility, no one is expected to give more of themselves than they have.

Daily Life

Among the Mythalenairra, our work is our lifestyle. That's not to say we're entirely beholden to our vocations, but that we only practice labor in a way that brings us joy. An artisan is free to work intermittently throughout the day, nonstop for days on end, or only as the mood strikes them. Because communities are built around the idea that no one person should shoulder an entire burden, no one is required to "work" to survive, and people are never seen as burdens. I carried a lot of guilt while I was healing, but the community never made me feel rushed or like I was draining them.
My favorite side effect of this is that organizing community events is as common as it spontaneous. A handful of farmers might set up a strike ball tournament after a few rounds with the more athletically-inclined votaries, or a weavers' guild may put on a craft show one afternoon because were were each thrilled about our individual projects. The ephemeral nature of community gatherings is rooted in fey traditions and reminds us that we're individuals comprising a collective.

Personal Identity

"Person" isn't as loosely defined as it is in the Feywild, but it's certainly nebulous. In Mythalenairran society, we as individuals choose vocations, paths personal and professional that represent who we are to ourselves and our community. The most common vocations are artistry, faithful service, parenthood, crafting, and trade. As a Mythenairra grows and changes, so might their vocation, or maybe they accept more vocations later in life. I haven't decided if "adventurer" is a new vocation, but I'm excited to find out. I don't believe I'll take a new name for it, but it's pretty common for Mythalenairra to add or change their aspirational names as they add or change vocations. That makes names a bit complicated, so most of our greetings involve speaking our full name to keep everyone up to date.
Vocational identity means we also have no concept of gender—or rather, our genders are as varied as their vocations. I remember being "woman" before the Mythalenairra took me in, but I'd never really thought about what that meant. It's less important to me now, but maybe that will change. Sexuality is the same way. We're just not that concerned with it as a whole, and we leave room for those who find it important. Mythalenairra more closely associated with non-fey cultures more or less ascribe to identities of those associated cultures, and adopting genders, sexualities, and orientations is trendy among Mythalenairran young folks in the more metropolitan cities.

Language Groups & Dialects

Luckily for me, the Mythalenairra were one of the earliest adopters of Common as a full language. With so much of their lifestyle reliant on trade, it behooved them to have a robust trade language. It helped spread the word of Lilryth too.
Like the other elves and fey-related cultures around the world, the original Mythalenairra spoke Sylvan. But they also spoke Abyssal to connect to Lilryth and deal with Abyssal magic. Over time, the Sylvan came to sound a little more like the Abyssal, so today, most Mythalenairra speak Deep Sylvan, Abyssal, and Common, though Abyssal is mostly used in religious ceremonies.
Each spoken language has an assoicated sign language, but only the Web of Faith really knows Abyssal sign. The rest of us learn Sylvan and Common sign with the spoken language.

Naming Conventions

Mythalenairran names are meant to reflect us, and the lives we've lead. My partners encouraged me to keep my {DRACONIC} name when I formally embraced life with them because it was a record of who I have been. We took a Draconic word for our family name because they wanted to honor the heritage

A Note on Names

"Mythal" is the Sylvan word for "people." Mythalenairra—meaning "the people who have chosen to follow"—refers to the ethnicity as a whole while Mythenairra refers to a single individual of the community. In both cases, the adjective form simply appends -n to the end of the word (Mythalenairran and Mythenairran). In Common, the Followers of Lilryth or Lilrytha are acceptable translations, while Folzere is their Abyssal name.
I brought to our children. Our children were named for the witness they bore to the creation of our family, the winter so cold we felt it underground, and the wonder that never faded.
Given names are supposed to capture the moment of birth, I understand it's some fey tradtion about capturing the ephemeral. Chosen names are vocational. My partners are Eldantir Melrae (named for his parents' surpise at his conception and the agility necessary for a weaver) and Nathda Survivors Askilln (named for the war their parents' ran from, the family those parents created after they survived, and the Abyssal records they study). When we married, they became Eldantir Melrae Jiquen and Nathda Askilln Jiquen, because that's what worked for us.
Whether a person adds or replaces name, when they do it, or even if they change or remove one is an entirely personal choice. There're no rules to how to go about it, and the local votaries keep records of all the changes so everyone is called what they want to be.
It's different in Lilyr'ythra, where Lilryth's followers first set down roots. It's the seat of the Web of Faith, and descent from its founders is an important part of those descendants' identity. Their family gives them virtuous or aspirational names at birth to mark what they hope the kid achieves, and then they keep their family names their whole lives. When the different houses marry, a complicated mess of lineage and prestige determines which family name any children will have.
Most Mythalenairran families are like mine, where more than two people raise kids. Kids refer to all of their parents using the Sylvan words for parent, so we're Lana Nathda, Lena Virind, and Lena Eldantir. Most fae don't give birth the way mortals do, so the Sylvan words for parent (lanalin and lenalin) are more like "primary creator" and "secondary creator" respectively. We use them for "parent who gave birth" and "parent who did not give birth."

Rites & Rituals

Faithful votaries fill many roles in our society. We are defenders, counsellors, therapists, childcare-givers, healers, civic planners, and spiritual guides. No one person performs all of those duties, but all of those duties are performed by those who have dedicated themselves to the Web of Faith. While we tend to oversee most traditions and events, Lilryth's worship is about doing, not preaching.
Giving birth is a lot of work for the vast majority of folks, so we aim to make the lead-up as simple as possible. The whole family spends the pregnancy getting their home ready, and if more than one person is pregnant, friends, family, and Faithful might be called in to help. Once the baby arrives, they're named based on the moment and wrapped in a spider silk blanket. These blankets usually pass down through families, but ours was made just for us, and all of our children used it.
Coming of Age
Mythalenairran societies are filled with a vast array of mortal heritage, so we don't put a lot of stock in someone's age after childhood. Dedicating themself to their first vocation and taking a vocational name is more a marker of that Mythenairran formally joining society and less becoming an adult. We don't really have widely-practiced ceremonies or celebrations for it, but the local votaries usually display the person's new name publically, like on a town notice board or chapel registry.
Some brave or foolish souls undertake a pilgrimmage to the Demonweb Pits to pay homage to Lilryth directly. Our settlements are built near or around Abyssal rifts because it's a sacred right for Lilryth's followers to be able to make the harrowing journey themselves. On the flipside, some people take advantage of these open rifts and adventure into the Abyss for thrill, treasure, or powerful magic. Called rift grifting, the Web does their best to discourage the practice.
We believe in care and rest, so romantic partners almost always occur in groups of three or more. Courtship is simple and intentions are clear from the start, lasting as long as all parties are comfortable with. There is no taboo against sex or child rearing (so long as more than one parent is involved in the child's life), and elven longevity has created a decidedly unhurried air about the whole affair.
Unlike a lot of other stuff we do, marriages involved the entire community. The betrothed stand beneath a small gazebo while their friends and family weave spider silk between the posts, cocooning them inside. In the privacy of their marriage gazebo, they speak their vows to each other. After their vows, the newlyweds unweave the silk and present themselves to the community. Then there's food and dancing.
Divorce is simply leaving the relationship, no formalities are involved in undoing a marriage.
Fire does poorly in the closed-off caverns of the Deep, and raw stone makes for a shallow grave. Instead, the votaries of the Web mummify our dead. Weavers within the Web as well as members of independent guilds such as myself craft and enchant spider silk burial shrouds to keep the Abyssal energies at bay. We keep our dead in warded stone tombs as an additional layer of protection.
We don't visit the bodies of our dearly departed until after this process is complete, but the tombs are open to the community at all times so we can grieve whenever and however we need to.
Because the tombs are regularly cleared to renew wards against demonic possession, we don't really do shrines, effigies, or mementos. When the grieving want to host a memorial, they hold performances or small gatherings that focus on memory and the intangible spirit of the lost.
Holy Orders
Joining the Web of Faith is no more complex than speaking with the votaries. Every prospective Faithful is invited to begin training whenever they show interest, and we maintain clear and constant communication with the initaiate throughout. Once they've completed training, the initiate can decide to specialize, joining the Web in full, or to choose a different vocation. A vocational name is typically chosen at the time of specialization.
The nature of the Faithful puts them in a position of guidance for those who take orders for other faiths, guiding the acolyte from a theraputic standpoint instead of a religious one.

The Arts

We are a people defined by darkness. From our history to our environment, we've become accustomed life without light. Our games, arts, and hobbies rely on sound, scent, and texture as much as or more than sight.


Most Mythalenairra live underground—in the Deep Beneath—and rely on lichens, mushrooms, molds, and other fungi unable to be classified for nutrition. What meat there is comes from the strange, sightless aquatic life in the underground waterways and the overgrown insects that thrive in the darkness.
Even above ground, we're fond of mushrooms. Grilled purple shanklet pairs wonderfully with most root vegetables from the surface, while undercrawler stew almost always contains shaggystalk caps or deepsaddle stalks. Powdered bootlace mushroom adds a sharp, savory kick to any dish, while the yellow-stemmed ori can be dried and ground to provide a warm sweetness. Our trade network gives us access to the produce of the Range and the herbs of the Hinterland Swamp, but fungi will always be a staple.
Notably, we almost never cook with open flame: the Deep is poorly ventilated. We grill over smokeless coals or boil with heated stones. Surface produce is usually eaten raw, but the risk of poison or illness isn't worth it for most underground foods.
There's no day-night cycle underground, and even on the surface we only sort of have certain foods for certain times of day. The first meal of the day is short and small, and we usually prepare and eat it by ourselves. Anyone in a food production or preparation vocation spends most of their day feeding their community (which can be as small as a single household, as large as an entire town, or anything in between). They serve it buffet-style, and we stop to eat however's convenient for us.


Mythalenairran clothing is not about visually striking patterns or cutting silhouettes or intriguing colors, but texture and, occasionally, sound. The average laborer will wear thick, sturdy tunics with long sleeves and high necks to protect against crawling things, and their trousers will leave room to move. The garments will be made of surface cotton or cave reed and almost certainly undyed.
Merchants, researchers, crafters, and enchanters are more likely to wear full-body wraps or togas that can be adjusted or draped to suit the wearer's needs in the moment. Clasps and pins will be made or stone, wood, carapace, gems, or traded metal and are likely crafted to make noise when they move.
Formalwear—for events like weddings or diplomatic meetings—involves enough jewelry to make noise when the wearer moves, each person a walking symphony. Sometimes, we sew metallic rivets or carapace plates into clothing to both change the weight and feel of the garment for the wearer and create fashionable sounds for others.
The Faithful wear gowns and robes made of treated spider silk. They're smooth and cool to the touch and swish rythmically when they move. Web patterns and spider motifs stiched onto collars and hems provide a contrasting texture.


Music is everywhere, but the Mythalenairra have made a name for ourselves in the music world. Most folks know about the massive organs carved into entire caverns, choirs that sing enchanments, and all the percussion instruments made from the carapaces of the massive insects that live down here.
And where there's music, there's dance. Dancing is involved in almost everything we do, and ranges from casual and spontaneous to traditional and organized. The costumes usually involve bells or other noise-makers to add to the spectacle.


Though writing is not the premiere pastime of a people living mostly in darkness, our poets have the benefit of Sylvan native fluency. Unlike the works of the Ranyth, Mythalenairran songs and poetry are often written in a combination of Sylvan and Abyssal, or written to flow in both languages. They are darker and more raw, often deceptively simple, using basic forms to represent broader themes without losing much—or only what they intend to lose—in translation.
Fiction novels are less popular than more poignant poetry or more meaningful memoirs, but our people will always have a place on our shelves for a good romance or thriller. Adventure tales based on rift grifters, while timeless, are discouraged by the Web for romanticizing a dangerous lifestyle.
Academically, my people have quite literally written the books on subterranean fungi and boast the most in-depth studies of mortal mental wellness and emotional development. Because of our trading efforts, we've developed primiere business, anthropology, and linguistics institutions and the seminal texts thereof.


Generally, our hobbies fall into one of two categories: large team activities in which no one person is required to participate all the time, and individual recreation that doesn't expect time or energy from anyone else.
Groups are mostly things like looselegs, strike ball, synchronized swimming, cavern choirs, and artisan leagues. Individual sports are most often bouldering, swimming, sullei meditation, the arts, and spider games.

Arachnid Affinity

The use of spiders is a common misconception outside of Mythalenairran communities. While we do keep them as cattle, giant spiders are not eaten, though their eggs are. Certain breeds produce silk for cloth and textiles, others are kept as pack animals, and still others are bred for sport. These last are divided into racing spiders, climbing spiders, and dancing spiders.


Though visual arts have taken a backseat in Mythalenairran societies, artisans and crafters have not. Our architecture is likely our most notable; where it doesn't use the natural cave formations directly, it emulates them. Our cities are known for dazzling spires, impressive columns, and enchanting carvings directly on the stone walls. Our Deep cities are grand, and those visiting for the first time might find that they appear suddenly, as if staring at an optical illusion that just came into focus.
Weavers are our next most impressive crafters, and while the Web of Faith counts weavers among our number, secular guilds and individuals make up the majority of these artisans. Our tapestries and clothing are one of the most important exports of any given city, alongside raw silk and carapace instruments.


Magic permeates both the Feywild and the Abyss. It's a pervasive force that shapes everything it touches, including the people and creatures steeped in it. By necessity of adapting to life underground, we have developed an affinity for enchantment and nature magic. Our enchanters are known for everyday magic: clothing that doesn't get dirty, hats that stay on the wearer's head until intentionally removed, cauldrons that rapidly cool once removed from a heat source, and tools that never dull.

Character Creation

Use the guide and statistics below to create a Mythalenairran adventurer. By their nature, the Mythalenairra are not suspicous of any ancestry or subclass, and even active curiosity would be muted. As long as the character does not disrupt the privacy and boundaries of the community, they are accepted without question.

A list of names to use directly or help generate ideas can be found here.


Most Mythalenairra are elves with appearances that reflect or complement their subterranean lives. With their emphasis on acceptance and privacy, mortals of virtually every ancestry are found in their Deep cities, particularly those less welcomed on the surface. For a variety of reasons, certain ancestries are more likely to be found among the Mythalenairra than others.
Most Likely Ancestries
Elf, heblin, gnome, human, nephilim, shapeshifter, psilocybe, genasi (earth), dhampir, reborn, lothran, batfolk, abolethi, cephalid, gith
Least Likely Ancestries
Genasi (air, ice, dust), birdfolk, krokon, vinefolk, petallion, couatl folk, tembota


Adventurers from the ranks of the Mythalenairra are generally votaries on pilgrimmages or holy callings, or Abyssal hunters seeking greater glory.
Most Likely Classes
Barbarian (ancestral guardian, zealot), bard (any), blood hunter (any), cleric (grave, life, nature, order, peace, twilight), druid (dreams, spores), fighter (any), monk (astral self, long death, mercy, shadow), paladin (ancients, devotion, redemption), ranger (fey wanderer, gloom stalker, horizon walker, monster slayer), rogue (any), sorcerer (divine soul, shadow magic), warlock (archfey, celestial) witch (crystal), wizard (abjuration, enchantment, transmutation)
Least Likely Classes
Artificer (any), barbarian (beast, berserker, storm herald), cleric (forge, light, tempest, trickery), druid (moon, stars, wildfire), monk (drunken master, four elements, sun soul), paladin (conquest, vengeance), sorcerer (clockwork soul, storm sorcery), witch (constellation, herb), wizard (chronurgy, evocation, illusion)


The Mythalenairra still live in the vast subterranean caverns of the Underdark on {CONTINENT}. Though individual cities and settlements each have a unique character, their common history and shared religion create a few mutual traits.

Languages. The Mythalenairra have connections to both the Feywild and the Abyss, as well as a dependence on surface trade. Your character can speak, read, write, and understand Sylvan, Abyssal, and Common, as well as the sign languages for Sylvan and Common.

Superior Darkvision. If you have darkvision from your ancestry, it has a radius of 120 feet. If you do not have darkvision from your ancestry, you have adapted to a life of underground darkness. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.

Twinkling Tricks. Mythalenairran culture honors Lilryth by incorporating her magic into everyday life. You know the dancing lights cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the faerie fire spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the darkness spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells. You do not need material components to cast these spells in this way.

Sunlight Sensitivity. You've spent a signficant portion of your life underground, far away from the sunlight. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight. This trait no longer affects you when you have been above ground for one year.


As a people intimately familiar with grief and healing, the Mythalenairra recognize a society's need to prioritize health and awareness. Mythalenairran society emphasizes boundaries, mutual aid, and personal care. A Mythenairra character has strong opinions on the following statements, regardless of whether they align with their kin's.

Compassion. Not all struggles are for you to know about. Do not add to the burdens you're unaware of.

Privacy. People are entitled to their own time and company. We owe no explanation when we choose to exercise that right.

Well-being. We are obligated to understand our needs and limits and to respect others'.

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Given Names

While given names are most commonly derived from Sylvan, Common and Abyssal names aren't unheard-of, especially in more metropolitan cities. They're given to trends and fads, but this isn't a negative among the Mythalenairra, rather they appreciate the preservation of the moment.

Vocational Names

Vocational names are almost always aspirational, and are just as likely to be Abyssal or Common as they are to be Sylvan. Those entering the Faith are more likely to choose Abyssal names and surface traders or travellers lean toward Common names, but there is no correlation beyond that.

Cover image: by Athevra via Adobe Spark


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Feb 19, 2023 09:08 by George Sanders

You mentioned you weren't sure about the first person perspective. Who are they talking to? Is it an recent immigrant? or someone coming of age perhaps? How is the player coming into the game when they select this culture?   I like the overview. It is a lot of information but a player would know the culture.

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Feb 19, 2023 21:03 by Athevra Woods

I think the story is that a third party is collecting cultural information for someone, or maybe themself. I'll have an intro article for this section like, "I am this person, I have collected this information, you may find it useful in your journeys" or something. Maybe I'll get a bit meta with it and they're collecting it for budding adventurers as a "here are the peoples you may encounter" type deal.

Feb 20, 2023 04:53 by George Sanders

Sounds good! Making a couple articles could be good too.

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