Or as I like to call it, “So You Were Just Born Yesterday: A Sylvari FAQ.”

Sylvari, right? They’re pretty weird. Some roleplayers don’t think much of them, while others want to understand them, but find knowledge about them to be scattered or lacking. Well, with the debut of sylvari in the Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event, all the knowledge is out there. And now, that knowledge is also right here, in friendly FAQ format.

This guide has two purposes: to educate roleplayers about sylvari and to stimulate thoughtful sylvari roleplay. Each topic contains quotations that provide both source and context to the information being provided. Unless stated otherwise, all of these quotes are from sylvari in the Grove, Caledon Forest, and Kessex Hills. Some of the quotes are from interviews with the ArenaNet team, and links to those interviews are also provided.


Table of Contents

I. THE DREAM


What is the Dream?

  • "[T]he Dream shapes us all before we awaken [...]" -Caithe

  • "We're all the physical manifestation of some element of the Dream. We all have a role to play."
  • "If that's true, then that charr is the physical manifestation of heartburn." -sylvari conversation

  • "All we know is that the subject of the Dream is life in all its beautiful and terrible moments. The Dream focuses our attention upon the world at large. It expands our awareness beyond ourselves." -sylvari mentor

  • "The Mother Tree [...] exists both in reality and in the Dream." -Caithe

The Dream of Dreams--also referred to simply as the Dream--is both thing and a place outside of the real world and parallel to it, and to some unclear degree it knows all things--past, present and future. It communicates its knowledge and will to those connected to it, and some beings--such as the Pale Tree and the unawakened sylvari--reside both within the Dream and within the world of Tyria.

  • "The water here scintillates with a dream-like quality that awakens the imagination. Among sylvari, it is legendary as a landmark that straddles the barrier between the Dream and the real world." -Waterfall Skill Challenge

  • "The Dream is many things. It is light and dark, love and anger, good and evil. So are we." -Nightmare Court Recruiter

  • "Everyone and all things are reflected in the Dream of Dreams." –sylvari

  • "[W]hen you are asleep, before you are born, you are living in the dream. It's like a real world [...]" -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview[1]

The Dream reflects all things in the world, but much of it is out of reach even to the Pale Tree. The Dream's purpose, too, is beyond our understanding. It connects the sylvari to one another and shows them what they're meant to see, yet its true nature remains a mystery.

  • "We've made a name for ourselves despite our race's youth. And the new things we discover become a part of the Dream for those still within their pods." -Weilond

  • "[T]he Dream is built from our memories and our experiences." –Ghorm

It is important to note that all that the sylvari race and the Pale Tree know of the Dream is the collected knowledge, memories and experiences of the Pale Tree and every sylvari to ever live, and it is from this pool of knowledge that sylvari are given their Dream.

Beyond this knowledge, however, the Dream is also capable of showing the Pale Tree and some sylvari visions from beyond those already witnessed or experienced by others. These are rare, however, and often followed by a call to a Wyld Hunt.

  • "Life is learning. The Dream gives us the what, and sometimes the how, but it rarely gives us the why. Though your connection to the Dream is a great gift, do not rely on it entirely. The wise sylvari always questions." -sylvari mentor

  • "When I dipped my ladle into the Dream's knowledge pool, I think I accidentally used the straining spoon."
  • "(laugh) I know what you mean. My knowledge of the world feels spotty, at best."
  • "Oh, to be omniscient. (laugh) I haven't the slightest idea how to cook, but I know a word like "omniscient.""
  • "(laugh) The Pale Tree sees all. We must believe she showed us exactly what we need to know." -sylvari sapling conversation

Based on their experience within the Dream some sylvari may feel the urge to travel, or to explore the world. Some may be drawn to specific professions or organizations. Still others may feel inclined to remain in and around the Grove, aiding their people. The sylvari are as diverse in their chosen paths as any other race because of the Dream.

  • "I could enter warden training as well, and then we could train together."
  • "If the Dream calls you to it, then I say, "Yay!" If not, then to force it would be disastrous." -sylvari conversation

  • "For me, the Dream was almost empty. I remember hearing and feeling things, but my sight was always muddled. So I help the Wardens when I can, but I tend to get lost." -Eithne

  • "In my Dream, I was surrounded by enormous mountains. Blue-black ice shards were falling from the sky, and the land bled where the shards impaled it. What do you think it meant?" -Evryn

Sometimes the visions a sylvari sees within the Dream are figurative or unclear, and require interpretation. A sylvari may seek aid in interpretting their Dream from sylvari Mentors, as well as from the Firstborn Luminary of their Cycle.

  • "The leader of your cycle has offered to interpret your Dream and offer wisdom. I sense that you will need this guidance." -Caithe

The Dream is also thought of as a source of inspiration for sylvari, from where one's true calling in life emerges. In rare cases the Dream will actually "communicate" with a sylvari, summoning them to a heroic task. This is what is known as a Wyld Hunt.

  • "We sylvari were carried in the womb of the Pale Tree, and there, we were nourished with the blood of the Dream itself." -sylvari mentor

What is the Pale Tree?

  • "No, dear heart. I do not control the Dream. I am simply its caretaker." -The Pale Tree

  • "I have seen your memories in the Dream, and I know how much you and Ysvelta loved one another." -The Pale Tree

The nature of the Pale Tree is also a mystery. She is a being that exists both in the real world and in the Dream, and she is connected empathically to all of her children.

  • "Mother? How far do your branches reach into the Dream?"
"The intertwining is more complex than that, my sapling. Before you awakened, you were of the Dream, and I am the vein through which you flowed into this ring of existence. We are all one, all connected, all of the same source." -sylvari conversation with the Pale Tree

The Pale Tree is the mother of the sylvari race, each of her children growing in pods beneath her boughs until they Awaken. She imparts upon them her knowledge, collected from the potent and prominent experiences and emotions of herself and her children.

  • "The Pale Tree is a gift beyond measure. Even the surrounding forest understands its value. Look and see how the trees bend inward to protect it." -sylvari mentor

  • "[W]hen [...] you're born into the world, your connection to the tree is not that strong anymore, it's much more a very gentle empathy, the tree can sort of send out a feeling to you like a wild hunt. But there is no mental connection, there is no telepathy or anything like that, it's just an empathic sense of the world and of each other and of what the tree desires." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

  • "May the sunshine fall lightly upon you, Blessed Source." -sylvari hero (to the Pale Tree)

The Pale Tree is also known as Mother Tree, (the/our) Mother, Blessed Mother, Blessed Source, and the Tree. The sylvari are considered her children, and to each other they are siblings--brothers and sisters, though their bond is entirely unlike that of brothers and sisters of other races.

  • "It is by [...] the love of all my children that I flourish." -The Pale Tree

  • "She is their mother. They don't worship her, they don't serve her in a way that the Humans serve Melandru. She walks among them. They can go to her in her chamber, her council chamber and she will manifest and speak to them if they have problems. And no one takes that very lightly, but you can go and completely interact with the Tree. [...] When you're born as a Sylvari now you don't get to see the Tree nearly as much as [the Firstborn] did. She's very busy." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

A sylvari may go and speak to the Pale Tree, to ask for her counsel and guidance, though doing so is not taken lightly as she is often very busy with her many other children. She is not a goddess to the sylvari, but she is revered as the mother and leader of the sylvari race.

  • "Although we must leave the Dream when we awaken, I have always wanted to remain near the Pale Tree." -Gardener Theoir

  • "Are you here to see the Blessed Mother?"
  • "I'm here to bask in her warmth." -sylvari conversation with Protector of the Grove

Sylvari find comfort in the Pale Tree’s presence, feeling her in their connection to the Dream, and so many may visit not to speak with her, but to simply stand near or in her boughs and bask in her presence.

  • "Know that you would? No. But I knew that you could. That is the inspiration of the Dream." -The Pale Tree

  • "The Pale Tree would cry if she saw what we had to do." -sylvari

The Pale Tree does not know everything. She knows only what the Dream chooses to show her, and she knows only the most memorable deeds of her children--those deeds to which significant emotions are attached.

  • "[T]he dream of the tree had been sort of collecting the memories from the Sylvari that had already been born and the tree continues to do this. It's a very random sort of thing whether the tree gets a memory. If it's a powerful memory then she will more likely pick it up and when a Sylvari is born, he is born with basic understanding the world." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

The Tree imparts the knowledge and experiences collected from her children randomly upon those who have not yet awoke, and so every sylvari is born with unique knowledge of skills and of the world.

  • "Do not question the Dream. We must all play our parts." -The Pale Tree

What is Awakening?

  • "Steady, sapling. You just woke. You were calling out in your Dream." -sylvari Mender Serimon

  • "How do you know where to begin your life?"
  • "You don't have to worry about it. It's already begun." -sylvari conversation

Awakening is synonymous with birth for a sylvari. It is a disorienting time in a sylvari's life when they emerge from their pods and Awaken into the world.

  • "Look up, Valiant. Do you see those blue fruit? When you awoke, you were lowered from the boughs by the Pale Tree." -Mender Serimon

  • "We menders take care of newly-awakened sylvari. We also tend the sick or injured." -Mender Serimon

Menders help them adjust to their Awakening from the Dream.

  • "Before you awakened, you were of the Dream, and I am the vein through which you flowed into this ring of existence. We are all one, all connected, all of the same source.” –The Pale Tree

They are no longer creatures of the Dream like their Mother, but they retain an empathic link to the Dream.

  • "I feel so ephemeral. As if I still have one foot in the Dream."
  • "Your life will acquire substance as you live it."
  • "I am eager and curious, as if I could swallow the whole world in one bite."
  • "You've stepped into the current of life. Open your mouth wide and let it all flow in." -sylvari conversation

  • "It's sort of distinct to each Sylvari what they experience in their dream, what they know. So once you're born, the Firstborn still gather each cycle and there're tutors and theachers in each area. If you're born in the cycle of the day, you'll meet the Firstborn, you meet teachers, you meet menders, which are like healers and people who can give you really concrete understanding of the world." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Newly Awakened sylvari are brought into the community and introduced to older, wiser sylvari--especially those who share the same Cycle as the newborn--and taught the ways of their people and the world.

For the sylvari of the Nightmare Court, 'true awakening' comes when a sylvari leaves the shackles of the Dream to embrace the Nightmare.

How do sylvari interact with the Dream and each other before Awakening?

  • "[T]he Dream shapes us all before we awaken, just as it is now shaping you." -Caithe

  • "Often what we see in the Dream guides us to lessons we might learn." -Caithe

  • "When I dipped my ladle into the Dream's knowledge pool, I think I accidentally used the straining spoon."
  • "(laugh) I know what you mean. My knowledge of the world feels spotty, at best."
  • "Oh, to be omniscient. (laugh) I haven't the slightest idea how to cook, but I know a word like "omniscient.""
  • "(laugh) The Pale Tree sees all. We must believe she showed us exactly what we need to know." -sylvari sapling conversation

Sylvari traverse their Dream, the visions and experiences they are meant to see and absorb within. No sylvari has control over what they see in the Dream; this serves to make each and every one of them unique.

  • "For me, the Dream was almost empty. I remember hearing and feeling things, but my sight was always muddled. So I help the Wardens when I can, but I tend to get lost." -Eithne

  • "In my Dream, I was surrounded by enormous mountains. Blue-black ice shards were falling from the sky, and the land bled where the shards impaled it. What do you think it meant?" -Evryn

  • "He knows what a sword is, he knows how to swing it, but he has never ACTUALLY swung it. It's like seeing magazine pictures of chicken but never having eaten it. You understand what it is, but you don' t really know." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Though sylvari see and feel many things while in the Dream, they are all like distant memories. Experiencing things within the Dream does not compare to experiencing them first-hand, in the real world.

  • "Being a Wyld Hunt valiant makes me no better than anyone else. It merely means I have a more firmly defined purpose."
  • "You have a responsibility."
  • "I have a responsibility because I am alive. We all do. Being a Wyld Hunt valiant just means I know quite clearly how to fulfull mine." -sylvari sapling conversation

Every sylvari gains some limited awareness of their path and purpose from their time spent in the Dream. For some, very little insight is gained, if any. For others, clearly defined skills are bestowed upon them, marking their purpose. For a rare few, their entire destiny is defined by a noble purpose set upon them by the Dream: a Wyld Hunt.

  • "The leader of your cycle has offered to interpret your Dream and offer wisdom. I sense that you will need this guidance." -Caithe

Sometimes the visions a sylvari sees within the Dream are figurative or unclear, and require interpretation. A sylvari may seek aid in interpretting their Dream from sylvari Mentors, as well as from the Firstborn Luminary of their Cycle.

  • "If the Dream calls you to it, then I say, "Yay!" If not, then to force it would be disastrous."
  • "They'd put me with elementalist trainees, I suppose. My gifts lie there." -sylvari conversation

  • "My Dream instilled me with knowledge about leatherworking. Maybe I can become the finest crafter in the Grove." -Blath

Based on their experience within the Dream some sylvari may feel the urge to travel, or to explore the world. Some may be drawn to specific professions or organizations. Still others may feel inclined to remain in their homeland, aiding their people. The sylvari are as diverse in their chosen paths as any other race because of the Dream.

  • "I'm newly awakened, yes. Just yesterday, actually. I know some things, but not everything. I know, for example, a lot about leatherworking." -Blath

  • "In my Dream, I saw a city that never stops moving. A city built entirely from metal. After much questioning and searching, I found this citadel. It's breathtaking." -Vienathari

  • "I know your face. I saw you in my Dream." -Blath

  • "I know your face from my Dream." -sylvari

Some sylvari may see the faces of other people or sylvari in the Dream, or other places and things that exist in the world. Some unawakened sylvari may even meet each other within the Dream and walk the same path together. When they Awaken, these sylvari often find each other again and become good friends, and even lovers.

  • “The Dream can impart knowledge and sensation, but not actual experience. Upon being served a leg of roast moa bird, Killeen states that she knows from the Dream what it is and how it will taste, despite never yet having done so herself.” – Dream of Dreams, Guild Wars 2 Wiki[2]

Knowledge acquired in the Dream is not limited to things that can be seen. Any sensation, such as the taste of something, may also be remembered to sylvari within the Dream.

  • "In the Dream, I witnessed a sylvari being killed by [a charr], and although I understand that they aren't all bloodthirsty, it still colors the way I look at them." –Buih

  • "The Sylvari have no interest in bringing the krait into an alliance of all teh races against the dragon, because the Krait are simply evil. They were very, very touchy on the Asura for years [...] individual Sylvari especially those who have memories or were born with dreams that told them of the things the Asura did, they find it hard to get over it bias." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Memories witnessed in a Dream can have profound impacts upon a sylvari’s personality, including their fears and prejudices.

  • "There were others hurt in the Dream. They could use your help." –Mender Serimon

  • "I apologize, but I'm rather busy with my patient. The recent disturbances in the Dream have given her nightmares."
  • "Disturbances in the Dream? Are many sylvari affected?"
  • "Not this severely, but yes. ... [M]any young sylvari might have been lost." -conversation with Mender Glyndowr

Sylvari can be metaphysically affected, harmed, and perhaps even killed within the Dream by the influences of the Nightmare.

  • "You cannot rely on information you received from the Dream."
  • "Of course I can. The Dream reflects all things."
  • "You assume, my darling, that nothing ever changes." -sylvari conversation

  • "You can't trust the dream. The dream isn't really reliable. If I go out and learn a lot with a sword , that doesn't mean the next Sylvari born from the tree does know how to use a sword." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

How do sylvari interact with the Dream and each other after Awakening?

  • "In the Dream of Dreams, one grows one's identity. When once Awakened into the world, we leave the Dream behind, for the most part. But what we learn in the world goes back into the Dream to help new Sylvari understand. [...] But knowledge is rarely specific. A face, an item, perhaps a name, may stay with us once we Awaken. We may feel drawn to a particular place or person, or feel that some task needs to be done. Occasionally, something in the Dream echoes back to an awakened sylvari, but it is more a feeling than a vision filled with details and specifics." –Killeen, Ghosts of Ascalon

A sylvari’s connection to the Dream is much less clear once they’ve Awakened. What they continue to perceive of the Dream are empathic feelings, sometimes drawing them to familiar things.

  • "I hate gate travel. For a split second, I feel completely disconnected from the Dream. [...] I'm worried about that split second when I'm all alone." -sylvari traveler

  • "Very subtle, very subtle. Sort of like feeling like you dreamed of people before, especially in cases where they have. A Sylvari who is new-born may occasionally recognize a Sylvari from their dream, because something had happened in that other Sylvari's past that was communicated to the tree, that was communicated to the dream and then the new-born saw that image in their own dream." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

  • "We've made a name for ourselves despite our race's youth. And the new things we discover become a part of the Dream for those still within their pods." -Weilond

  • "[W]hen [...] you're born into the world, your connection to the tree is not that strong anymore, it's much more a very gentle empathy, the tree can sort of send out a feeling to you like a wild hunt. But there is no mental connection, there is no telepathy or anything like that, it's just an empathic sense of the world and of each other and of what the tree desires." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Sylvari are connected to each other empathically through the Dream. The presence of a sylvari's entire race can be felt within the Dream, and it is comforting to most of them.

  • "As a race, the sylvari consider the Pale Tree to be their 'mother,' and in that way, yes, they all consider one another to be family. During the early years of the race, when only the Firstborn (and the First and Secondborn) were walking the world, that sense was even closer. There was a tight bond between these individuals, because they were alike within a very strange world. As more and more sylvari awakened, this bond lessened - it's difficult to know every sylvari in the world now! - but it did not fade entirely, and most sylvari have a genuine sense of community and family with other sylvari in the world. This contributes strongly to the race's sense of empathy toward one another." -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview[3]

The sylvari have a faint sense of community, of familiarity, with every member of their race. There is an understanding that they are all of the same source—the Dream, and the same mother—the Pale Tree. They are therefore all brothers and sisters, even though it is impossible for them to truly know each and every member of their “family”.

  • "I brought you some leftover cinnamon bread. I felt your hunger." -sylvari

  • "I wonder whether he feels the loss of us...the way I feel the loss of him."
  • "If nothing else, sweet pea, I would imagine that he feels your loss of him." -sylvari conversation

Sylvari can sense the feelings and emotions of those nearby in an abstract way.

  • "I felt echoes of you this morning. Is everything alright?" -sylvari

  • "But it's my choice and my responsibility. Why are YOU angry?"
  • "Your choices affect me because I love you. When you hurt, I hurt." -sylvari conversation

  • "They found...his body. They believe...it was the undead that killed him."
  • "I'm so sorry. Your suffering is breaking my heart." -sylvari conversation

Sometimes when certain sylvari grow close, they can distinguish the emotions of one another from those of others, and feel them more strongly.

  • "Fear [is] stronger with nobody to share it." -Soundless sylvari

While it is truer for some than for others, sylvari share the burden of their emotions with each other, strengthening their resolve as a whole. Even those who are more reserved take comfort in their connection to their siblings in the Dream.

  • "I wanted to search for my own path without being influenced by those around me. I'm not Soundless like the folks at the Weeping Isle; I just wanted to be sure anything I did was for my own reasons." -Eryd

  • "Hello, sibling. [...] I sensed your joy and exhiliration when you stepped beneath the Pale Tree's canopy. [...] I have felt such intense emanations from many sylvari who have gone out into the world. Fear. Anxiety. Hatred."
  • "You must be particularly sensitive to those emanations."
  • "I've always felt ripples from the Dream more strongly than most. I think that's why I feel called to remain here...to be available for those who need me." -sylvari conversation with Garradoir

All sylvari are empathically connected, and to some degree have an influence on each other. Some are more sensitive than others to the happiness, sorrow or desires of their siblings.

  • "Last night, I was overcome with thoughts...images of my companions back home." -Quillyn

  • "I felt [the Dream's] emotions so strongly, it nearly knocked me off my feet."
  • "How terrifying for you. What did you do?"
  • "I grabbed onto the nearest thing, which turned out to be a norn. He nearly knocked me off my feet too."
  • "(laugh)" -sylvari conversation

Sylvari cannot control what they feel of others in the Dream.

  • "I will always feel the suffering of others. I would not be sylvari if I didn't. But I also feel the anguish of those others who are not as strong as me, and we must take care of those who suffer most."
  • "You are a true sylvari. The others will be made stronger by your strength." -sylvari conversation

  • "Why aren't you afraid? I sense no fear in you at all."
  • "I'm afraid. I just bury it deep, beneath the call of my purpose." -sylvari conversation

It is the demeanor and willpower of an individual alone that determines in what way they are influenced by others.

  • "Do you think they were your nightmares, or someone else's?"
  • "I can't imagine such horrible things could originate in me." -sylvari conversation

The thoughts and emotions in the Dream can also slip into the minds of sylvari as they sleep, as dreams or as nightmares.

  • "I apologize, but I'm rather busy with my patient. The recent disturbances in the Dream have given her nightmares." -Mender Glyndowr

Disturbances in the Dream caused by surges of Nightmare can disturb sylvari on an empathic level. All sylvari can feel the presence of Nightmare in the Dream, and some are more personally affected by it than others.

  • "There are times, fleeting times, when I envy the Soundless."
  • "I know what you mean. But I wouldn't give up my connection to the Dream for anything." -sylvari conversation

Who are the Soundless?

  • "Are you looking for anything in particular? Peace, perhaps?" -Soundless sylvari

While most sylvari are comforted by the Dream and their empathic connection to their siblings, a small number of sylvari cannot tolerate their connection to the Dream for one reason or another.

  • "Last night, I was overcome with thoughts...images of my companions back home."
  • "That's to be expected. In time, with more practice, you will be able to purge yourself of such unwelcome intrusions." -Soundless sylvari conversation

Through isolation and concentration they cut themselves off from the Dream, and become one of the Soundless.

  • "I need to find a quiet corner of the world just for me, where I have only my own emotions to deal with." -sylvari

  • "I'm not scared, now that I can't sense the evil Nightmare Court."
  • "They were frightful! I sure feel calmer."
  • "The threat of a gruesome death at their hands does seem further away." -Soundless sylvari conversation

While many are driven away from the Dream by the myriad thoughts and emotions they must feel from others, some are driven away by their fear of the Nightmare, and their desire to no longer sense its influence in the Dream.

  • "My silence isn't as deep as some others', but one doesn't change overnight. I still struggle." -Soundless sylvari

  • "I hear that Nemi has left us to return to Astoria."
  • "Not all are capable of living outside of the Dream. I hope she finds happiness in its stifling embrace." -Soundless sylvari conversation

Being a Soundless is not an easy thing, and it often necessitates moving far away from other sylvari, living alone or with other Soundless.

  • "I don't understand. The Dream feeds us!"
  • "It doesn't feed me. It forces itself down my throat until I'm gagging on it."
  • "I'll be lonely."
  • "Perhaps. But I must go. I must find a way to break this curse."
  • "The Dream is not a curse!" -sylvari conversation

  • "We keep to ourselves and avoid sharing our thoughts and emotions, so they call us Soundless." -Soundless sylvari

  • "They seem to make the rest of the sylvari uncomfortable, but they seem pleasant enough." -Lionguard Wyckes

Most sylvari find the idea of one of their own wanting to cut themselves off from the Dream to be bizarre, as the thought of being cut off from the Dream is often an unpleasant one. For this reason the Soundless make other sylvari uncomfortable, even suspicious.

  • "Fear [is] stronger with nobody to share it." -Soundless sylvari

While the Soundless may escape the unpleasantness of the Dream, they face a different kind of unpleasantness: being alone with their own thoughts. Without the support a connection to the other minds within the Dream, it can be easy to succumb to negative emotions. For this reason, many Soundless live together and offer moral support to each other.

  • "Don't judge me, and don't look for a tragic reason for my Soundlessness. I choose it because I must, just as you follow your Wyld Hunt because you must." -Soundless sylvari 

II. SOCIETY


What is the Grove?

  • "I've never felt more at home anywhere else outside the Grove. [...] Maybe the sea air. Perhaps the spirit of cooperation." –sylvari

  • "The Grove, of course, began from the moment the first sylvari awoke."
  • "You're talking about the firstborn."
  • "Yes. The firstborn twelve emerged from the Blessed Mother, and although two of them left to explore their new world, the others stayed behind and began to slowly grow the city."
  • "Grow the city?"
  • "They quickly learned to use their plant-shaping talents to grow their housing and other structures. With each successive generation, the city has literally grown to what it is now."
  • "Has it always looked like this?"
  • "Blessed Mother, no! Because it is mostly alive, the city is constantly changing and evolving. Very little beyond the Pale Tree herself resembles the Grove as it was in the beginning." -conversation with Mentor Gealach

The Grove is the city of the sylvari. It is a city grown--not built--by the Firstborn sylvari years ago under the boughs of the Pale Tree herself, and it continues to grow and change by the day. Like its people, the city is made of plants, shaped into necessary buildings and structures, and many of the homes of the sylvari blend naturally into the environment itself.

  • "It's so exciting to be here at the hub of it all! To see it all in one place, like Tyria's a spring blossom, opening its petals before me." -sylvari

The Grove stands not just as a city, but as a shining testament to the spirit of the Dream. The Firstborn sylvari direct the society under the guidance of the Pale Tree and the Ventari Tablet, fostering a spirit of community and cooperation that bolsters the Dream itself. The majority of the Dreamers make their homes in the Grove.

  • "There's no place like the Grove." -sylvari

Who are the Dreamers?

Dreamers are those sylvari who are allied with the Dream and the Pale Tree, in defense of both. Dreamers invariably follow the teachings of Ventari.

The word "Dreamer" also refers to those sylvari who have not yet awoken from their pods, and still reside within the Dream.

Among the Nightmare Court, the word "Dreamer" is a derisive term, referring to those sylvari who continue to follow Ventari's Tablet rather than embrace the Nightmare.

What are sylvan hounds?

  • "Our beloved sylvan hounds are born from the Mother Tree. I raise and train them to protect the Grove." -Pup Trainer

Sylvan hounds are born alongside sylvari, from the Pale Tree. They are very much like dogs, but more similar to the sylvari in that their bodies are made entirely of plant material and have the same regenerative qualities as plants. They are grown as loyal and faithful companions for the sylvari people, just as regular dogs are domesticated as companions for humans.

  • "It takes [sylvan hounds] a few months to gain their full growth. Aren't they adorable?" -Pup Trainer

Sylvan hounds are different from sylvari in that they are born in a smaller, less mature state. In this form they are called puppies, and over a short period they grow into full-sized hounds. Their capabilities and intelligence are comparable to regular dogs, and they are treated by the sylvari as such.

  • "The hound has learned from its pain and now embodies strength. It will show me the way." -Nightmare Recruit

Another way that sylvari hounds differ from sylvari is that, when a hound is corrupted by the Nightmare—accomplished by way of treating the hound with cruelty and abuse—it will physically change, taking on a darker, more monstrous form. Just like members of the Nightmare Court, a hound that is corrupted and altered by the Nightmare can never be cured of its evil.

What is Ventari's Tablet?

  • "The sylvari have a group of tenets, or ideals, written on the Ventari Tablet. They adhere to these, and believe that they are a guideline toward living a 'good' or benevolent life. The sylvari naturally feel a desire to be productive within the world, to take care of Tyria, and to learn from and interact with other races. Certainly, their culture is still growing and evolving, but the basis of that culture and the core beliefs, are firm." -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview

  • I. Live life well and fully, and waste nothing.
  • II. Do not fear difficulty. Hard ground makes stronger roots.
  • III. The only lasting peace is the peace within your own soul.
  • IV. All things have a right to grow. The blossom is brother to the weed.
  • V. Never leave a wrong to ripen into evil or sorrow.
  • VI. Act with wisdom, but act.
  • VII. From the smallest blade of grass to the highest mountain, where life goes--so, too, should you.

These are the seven tenets inscribed upon Ventari's Tablet, the most sacred artifact of the sylvari. Written two and a half centuries ago by the centaur Ventari as he nurtured the young Pale Tree, the tenets on this tablet form the foundation of sylvari morality and ethics.

  • "You cannot expect the world to give you peace. You must find it...within yourself." -Ventari

Today Ventari is revered as a prophet by the sylvari people.

  • "Ventari wanted to spread peace and harmony. His hope was that those who read his tenets would think about the impact they have on our world." -Mentor Arduine

What is the importance of Ventari's Tablet in sylvari society?

  • "[T]he tree had sort of taken those lessons into itself and taught them to her children, internalized them in the dream. So that when the Sylvari come out of the dream, they know these lessons and they kind of hold fast to them as a code of morality." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

The ideology of the Ventari Tablet is inscribed upon the minds of every sylvari before they Awaken, and its wisdom is prevalent in the Dream. It is the standard for sylvari morality by which all other standards are appraised. It is more than a set of guidelines; Ventari's Tablet is a part of the collective unconscious of the sylvari race. This is why the Nightmare Court reject both the Tablet and the Dream.

  • "The sylvari have their own ideas, and their own culture. It is influenced both by human culture, and by the ideals of the peaceful centaur, Ventari, but over the years that the sylvari have been awake and aware, they have taken those ideals and made them into a culture." -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview

  • "The tablet guides us. It bears wisdom, but encourages each sylvari to decide their own path." -Tiachren

Ventari's tenets are rather flexible and permissive, their wisdom easy to interpret in a personal way. Sylvari society is surprisingly neutral and accepting of many practices; while they teach their younger siblings wisdom, only the Tablet itself is law. To break the tenets is considered taboo--even wicked--in sylvari society.

  • "I don't understand why you're so angry."
  • "Do you think the firstborn would welcome your breaking the tenets of the Ventari Tablet?" -sylvari conversation

Many sylvari of course are not so quick to believe that Ventari's teachings are the only wisdom necessary to understand life, the world and one's purpose in it. Rather, the tenets are meant to be the foundation for understanding the world and finding their place within in.

  • "It's obvious to me. Why else would we have started awakening if it weren't to fight dragons?"
  • "Humans have a concept called "coincidence." It means two events that appear related but that are not."
  • "Then why do I feel the call to fight them and their creations?"
  • "Humans have another concept called "mystery."' -sylvari sapling conversation

Sylvari will often interpret the nuances of Ventari's tenets—as well as other facets of their society—in unique ways, but often agree with its underlying wisdom and guidance.

  • "I took Ventari's tablet to my core as I grew, and I was nourished. My leaves whisper his wisdom. Take heed and learn well the meaning of Ventari's counsel, for the tablet is all the guidance you need." -The Pale Tree

  • "You will face four challenges in your travels. Fear, addiction, power, and convenience. [...] You'll recognize them when you face them. Hopefully before, not after." -sylvari mentor

  • "If you examine the tablet, you'll find only one tenet that refers to evil. It says, "Never leave a wrong to ripen into evil or sorrow." It says nothing about evil that arises naturally. Rather, the fourth tenet implies that evil has its place in the world." -sylvari mentor

The tenets are enforced by the Wardens, who will either jail heinous offenders or exile them from the Grove.

  • "They made sure he understood he wasn't welcome here anymore."
  • "That's what happens when you withdraw your oath of fealty to the Grove." -sylvari conversation

Outside of notable acts of wickedness, the sylvari police themselves, settling most disputes with duels of honor that can sometimes end in death.

  • "Now, he's telling his friends that I've been chasing him, like a starving wolf after a sheep."
  • "That cad! What are you going to do?"
  • "I'm going to call him to the dueling field and knock the cad right out of him." -sylvari conversation

  • "He challenges young sylvari to duels and then fights them to the death. When Bercilak insulted my honor, Eladus had no other option. He loves me, after all." -Dagdar

Caithe herself kills captured Nightmare Court members rather than let them free to report back to the Court, much to the chagrin of others.

  • "Thank you. Now, we'll keep our word. We won't tell anyone that you talked...before you died." -Caithe

For sylvari, evil is only that which defies Ventari's tenets and defiles the Dream, through undue or extreme pain, misery and suffering. Only the Nightmare Court openly reject the wisdom inherent in the Tablet.

  • "[The Nightmare Court] go out of their way and try to defy the tablet to go against its basic code of morality and in so doing they try to be as horrible and vicious and cruel as they can, because the trees dream that educates new Sylvari when they're born is built of memories of current Sylvari in the world." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

What is a Mender?

  • "Menders are healers, trained in sylvari biology. Our skills save lives."
  • "Sylvari biology?" Are we so different from other races?"
  • "Actually, yes. Where we have sap and vine, they have blood and bone. It's very interesting to study the differences!" -conversation with Mender Glyndowr

  • "We are healers and shapers. We cure sylvari of ailments and wounds, and try to keep the land healthy." -Mender Aviala

Sylvari are nothing like the other races of Tyria, and a regular doctor or chirurgeon wouldn't know how to begin helping an injured one. Sylvari have their own healers, known as Menders.

Menders are sylvari who are specially trained to understand the sylvari body, and how to heal it through the application of ointments, potions, and special remedies.

  • "I'm trying to mix together a sleeping potion for our patient. She's had terrible nightmares lately." -Mender Aine

Menders are also familiar with the mental maladies brought on by attacks from Nightmare within the Dream--those that may harm or even kill Dreamers before they Awaken.

  • "I apologize, but I'm rather busy with my patient. The recent disturbances in the Dream have given her nightmares."
  • "Disturbances in the Dream? Are many sylvari affected?"
  • "Not this severely, but yes. ... [M]any young sylvari might have been lost." -conversation with Mender Glyndowr

A sylvari may be plagued by nightmares as a result of serious trauma. When this happens, it is usually a Mender that tends to them while they recover both physically and mentally.

  • "We menders take care of newly-awakened sylvari. We also tend the sick or injured." -Mender Serimon

Menders also help newborn sylvari adjust to the real world upon emerging from their pods.

Who are the Wardens?

  • "My name is Niamh, and I was born at the zenith of the first day of our race. I am a warrior, and a defender, and I founded the Wardens."
  • "The Wardens? I've seen them in the grove. Who are they?"
  • "They are honorable friends, dedicated to protecting the Grove from any who would harm the sylvari or the Pale Tree." -conversation with Niamh

Led by the Noon Luminary Niamh, the Wardens defend their people from threats both outside and in. They are sylvari tasked both with upholding Ventari's tenets and guarding the sylvari people wherever they may settle.

  • "What sort of prisoners do you keep in the Grove?"
  • "Mostly Nightmare Court members. But also Soundless who commit crimes, hylek who harrass our citizens, and creatures who wander too close to our borders." -conversation with Warden Agam

Wardens can be found standing watch in every sylvari village and outpost that has ties to the Grove, and they can be found in force within the Grove itself, protecting the Pale Tree and her children from anything that may endanger them.

What is a Gardener?

  • "Grow the city?"
  • "They quickly learned to use their plant-shaping talents to grow their housing and other structures. With each successive generation, the city has literally grown to what it is now."
  • "Has it always looked like this?"
  • "Blessed Mother, no! Because it is mostly alive, the city is constantly changing and evolving. Very little beyond the Pale Tree herself resembles the Grove as it was in the beginning." -conversation with Mentor Gealach

Gardener is the title given to a sylvari whose job it is to maintain the plant structures within the Grove, and to direct the growth of the city.

  • "I'm a gardener. We keep the Grove's wildlife in harmony, plant seeds and saplings, and care for those that are ill." -Gardener Theoir

Gardeners also care for the wildlife in the Grove and ensure the harmony of their habitat.

What is the Wyld Hunt and who are the Valiants?

  • "Simply, it is a purpose. A calling, given by the Dream itself, that sings deep in your soul, and it cannot be ignored." -Caithe

  • "A Wyld Hunt is a sacred thing, a burden placed by the Dream upon the strongest a bravest of my children." -The Pale Tree

Sometimes the Dream will summon champions from among the sylvari race to defend it--and the whole world--from the forces of evil.

  • "We each have our own calling. Maybe your Wyld Hunt is here."
  • "Perhaps you're right.I certainly do feel passionate about defending Astorea and her inhabitants."
  • "Keep that in mind." -sylvari conversation with Bloue
  • "What's it like to feel the call?"
  • "It's difficult to describe. It's a tightness in your chest and a buzz in the back of your head. You can't stop thinking about what must be done. It gnaws at you and climbs your soul like a parasitic vine."
  • "That sounds unpleasant." -sylvari sapling conversation

The Wyld Hunt is more than just a calling; it is a deep longing, a compulsion that cannot be ignored. When a sylvari is summoned by the Dream, he or she is shown a place or event in the present or future, and it is their destiny to go there and do what they are summoned to do.

  • "Some Sylvari in the area or some Sylvari who is particularly well suited to handle the situation will suddenly feel themselves called to go north, called to go to this place and when they get there they will feel themselves called to help the humans and defeat the undead. And that sort of wild hunt or that sort of quest comes subconsciously from the dream, it comes from the tree and from the tree having a sense for Tyria, for what needs to be done to save the world from the dragons." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Invariably, the defense of the world from the Elder Dragons underscores the purpose of a Wyld Hunt, whether the task is to defeat their encroaching minions, or to travel to faraway lands to learn more about them.

  • "By the Tree! A Wyld Hunt, so soon? And such a momentous task. To be a Valiant of the Wyld Hunt is a difficult charge. Bear this calling with pride." –Mender Serimon

  • "Why aren't you afraid? I sense no fear in you at all."
  • "I'm afraid. I just bury it deep, beneath the call of my purpose." -sylvari conversation

  • "A Sylvari who goes on a wild hunt is the exception, because he has recieved the calling to go to a place and to do a thing. And in that case he usuall has to rely on himself, it's not often that more than one Sylvari will be send to a place to go and do a thing, because there just aren't many Sylvari." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

  • “I feel the call, but the thought of leaving the Grove both thrills and terrifies me.” –sylvari

  • "Being a Wyld Hunt valiant makes me no better than anyone else. It merely means I have a more firmly defined purpose."
  • "You have a responsibility."
  • "I have a responsibility because I am alive. We all do. Being a Wyld Hunt valiant just means I know quite clearly how to fulfill mine." -sylvari sapling conversation

The Wyld Hunt is a heavy burden, but it is one taken gladly and zealously by those who are summoned. Being called to a Wyld Hunt is often a charge that one must carry out alone, and it can be a fearful thing.

  • "Within the Dream, I learned of the pain and suffering caused by the undead hordes. My path has been set since I first awakened. I will fight and slay the undead until my last breath passes." -Wyld Hunt Valiant Caillech

  • "A Wyld Hunt is a purpose given to a sylvari by the Dream of Dreams. They are very rare, and always very important."
  • "Do all newly-awakened sylvari have a Wyld Hunt?"
  • "Not at all! It is rare to awaken with one [...]" -sylvari conversation with Mender Serimon

It is very rare for a sylvari to be called to a Wyld Hunt, and even rarer to be called before their Awakening; it almost never happens.

  • "Every day, I wonder if the Wyld Hunt will call me. I've never heard the calling, but I feel like I was meant for something more. When the time comes, I will answer." -sylvari

More often, strong, wise and capable sylvari may be called during their lives to defend the Dream. At the point at which they are called, they become a Valiant of the Wyld Hunt. Wyld Hunt Valiants devote their entire lives to the defense of their people and the world.

  • "You're on a Wyld Hunt?"
  • "This is where the Dream called me, where I am needed most. I didn't choose to come here, I simply came. Protecting this place is my Wyld Hunt." -conversation with sylvari valiant

  • "What was the darkness you saw in the Dream?"
  • "It was darkness without form, but when I came here, I found that Orrian undead had marched in from the west. There are deep seas there, perfect for the undead to travel through." -conversation with sylvari valiant

  • "He was called on a Wyld Hunt last season. He completed his calling, and now he waits." -sylvari

  • "The Sylvari have sort of a calling called the wild hunt and not every Sylvari gets it. A Sylvari who has a wild hunt and completes it doesn' t necessarily get a new one." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

A Valiant who completes their task may be called to another by the Dream. Valiants who have completed their Hunt await the next time the Dream may call upon them.

  • "I'm a wyld hunt valiant. I assume you've met others like me during your travels. I was accompanying an important diplomat from the Grove."
  • "That was your big quest?"
  • "A valiant's quest is rarely all visible. Like the iceberg citadels of the kodan, the majority of my quest remains hidden below the surface. I proceed one step at a time." -conversation with Caol

During that time they may stay in the Grove to defend their people, they may go out into Caledon Forest to defend their home from the Nightmare Court and the undead, they may assist other Valiants in their own Wyld Hunts, or they may travel the world, fighting evil in all its forms. They may even join with other guilds and groups to defend the world and its people.

  • "My quest tugs at my heart." -sylvari

Whatever their choice, their cause is noble, and their pursuit is tireless.

  • "Is there such a thing as an impossible Hunt?"
  • "Yes. A Hunt you do not survive." -conversation with Caithe 

III. THE NIGHTMARE


What is the Nightmare?

  • "Where does nightmare come from?"
  • "Nowhere. Everywhere. It has always been and always will be. It's as much a part of existence as the land, the water, air or fire. As much as the Dream." -Nightmare Court conversation

  • "It is a manifestation of hope and faith. In Nightmare, it will be just the opposite -- a creature of despair and hatred." -Gavin

  • "[W]ith every drop of blood we draw, every tear we inspire, and every heart we break, we strengthen nightmare's hold on the Dream." -Executioner Eorana

  • "The Dream is many things. It is light and dark, love and anger, good and evil. So are we." -Nightmare Court Recruiter

  • "[T]he Dream shapes us all before we awaken, just as it is now shaping you. A darkness within it takes root in our hearts and becomes a lasting shadow there." -Caithe

The Dream is neither entirely good nor entirely evil. Rather, there is a constant struggle between the forces of good and positive emotions, and the forces of evil and negative emotions. The Nightmare is the corruption of evil, horrific, sorrowful and hurtful memories and emotions within the Dream.

  • "When I saw you approach, I was afraid you might be one of those Nightmare Court traitors. Now I can see you're not. There's a tranquility in your eyes that only comes from the Dream." -Tamer Chyde

  • "The darkness...the darkness is approaching...it's approaching..." -sylvari captive of the Nightmare Court

  • "Please...make it stop... twisted roots and vines!... no hope. No hope at all..." -wounded sylvari

The Nightmare disturbs and harms sylvari, and can have a corrupting effect, replacing positive feelings (hope, faith, joy) with negative feelings (despair, fear, hatred). Likewise, sources of great hope and peace within the Dream can ease the hearts of those tormented by fear and despair.

  • "[My nightmares] could be a symptom of the darkness in my heart."
  • "You can't think that way. You are good and gentle. It's a trap. Don't lose yourself."
  • "I'm not even sure who I am anymore." -sylvari

  • "Can you feel their presence? It's as though their numbers grow with each passing moment."
  • "What do you mean?"
  • "It's the undead? Can't you feel their corruption?" -conversation with sylvari valiant

All sylvari feel the presence of darkness in their connection to the Dream. Like the balance between a conscience and temptation to evil, they must always struggle to do what is right, and find peace within their soul.

  • "What is the Grove's greatest danger?"
  • "It is the darkness within our hearts. Too many saplings heed that darkness and turn to the Nightmare Court for answers."
  • "Do you think that the Nightmare Court can be stopped?"
  • "The court, yes. The nightmare, no. We all sense the darkness within the Dream, and we must struggle constantly to keep the light alive." -conversation with Warden Fermeoir

  • "Those born free of the nightmare are stout of heart."
  • "Then you are a failure and must be taught a lesson. All true hearts weep for the suffering of others." -Nightmare Court conversation

  • "Nightmare never relinquishes those it has enthralled." -Caithe

The difference between other races and the sylvari is that the struggle between good and evil in their hearts is a tangible one, reflected in the Dream. If a sylvari gives in and embraces evil or madness, they can never return to good.

  • "Would you do evil in my name? Would you cause devastation, as the charr do? Or justify wickedness in the name of knowledge, as the asura do? No, Cadeyrn. We come into this world to destroy the dragons. We must not lose ourselves in that challenge." -The Pale Tree, Dream and Nightmare[4]

  • "If you become corrupted...there is no cure." -Caithe

Who are the Nightmare Court?

  • "I take it they're not very nice."
  • "That's an understatement. The Nightmare courtiers believe it's their role in the world to make others suffer."
"Definitely not nice." -conversation with Gaire

  • "Members of the Nightmare Court are cruel. They're capable of terrible evil." -sylvari

  • "So, it's true. Once you join the Nightmare Court, you change. Ysvelta can't return to the Dream." -sylvari hero

Sylvari may break the tenets of Ventari, and they may do bad or unkind things.

  • "The Pale Tree would cry if she saw what we had to do." -sylvari

Sylvari may also be misled into commiting bad deeds.

  • "Hey, twig! Wanna get some food?"
  • "You're asking me?"
  • "Yeah! We're gonna butcher a cow. It's fun."
  • "I know I should try new things. Do they sell spring water there?"
  • "We'll stop off at a spring. And then we're gonna surprise a farmer."
  • "Yes, that definitely qualifies as something new. I'm in." -conversation between a charr and a sylvari in Lion's Arch

However, to be truly evil requires a greater commitment. Just as a human would have to deny or abandon all that is good and pure in their heart in order to embrace evil, a sylvari must do this in order to embrace Nightmare.

  • "How can nature evolve if its inhabitants deny the darkest urges of their souls?" -Apprentice Toindra

  • "It is a manifestation of hope and faith. In Nightmare, it will be just the opposite -- a creature of despair and hatred." -Gavin

  • "Strength comes only through suffering. Because Dreamers reject pain, suffering, and death, they can never fully appreciate the gift of life." -Nightmare Recruit

  • "[W]ith every drop of blood we draw, every tear we inspire, and every heart we break, we strengthen nightmare's hold on the Dream." -Executioner Eorana

A sylvari that embraces the Nightmare, unlike an evil human, is irredeemable. Once a sylvari falls to Nightmare, they are pure evil until they draw their last breath.

  • "Don't listen! It's nothing but mindless slavery!" -sylvari captive of the Nightmare Court

  • "I warned you that it might be too late, Tiachren. Nightmare never relinquishes those it has enthralled." -Caithe

This is because when a sylvari embraces the Nightmare, the Nightmare embraces the sylvari in turn. Enthralled by the Nightmare, a sylvari can never return to the Dream, and is compelled to join the Nightmare Court and to further the hold of Nightmare in the Dream.

  • "We must take them to the edge of death and show them the future they've worked so hard to deny. Only then can they truly know the taste of nightmare." -Nightmare Recruit

  • "This group of villagers is terrified of their own anger. Don't they realize that anger is the key to fulfillment?"
  • "Hatred is the only path worth taking."
  • "We must show them what it is to live. Would you care to help me demonstrate the value of pain?" -Nightmare Court conversation

  • "The Dream is a lie. It whispers sweetness to the youth and blinds them to the truth upon awakening." -Nightmare Duelist

Some unfortunate sylvari are born with darkness in their hearts--not unlike humans--and they choose to embrace this darkness. For them, there is also no cure once they embrace the Nightmare--and the Nightmare Court.

  • "Once I awoke from the dream, I found myself drawn toward the Nightmare Court. It was clearly my destiny to join them." -Nightmare Recruit

  • "Before my awakening, all I knew was the nightmare. I was never meant for the pleasantries of the Grove." -Nightmare Recruit

  • "Where there is pain, there is power. These beasts will show me my true path." -Nightmare Recruit

The Nightmare Court is comprised of many different sylvari, with different personalities and motivations. Yet they are all united under the thrall of the Nightmare, and their commitment to the Nightmare Court's agenda.

  • "They're going to love dragging down the lines in your face. You look like you smile far too often."
  • "My smile has thorns."
  • "Ah, so it does. Good. I see you enjoy the nightmares you inflict upon others. You'll fit in here just fine." -Nightmare Court conversation

They are also united in the enjoyment they derive from spreading their twisted vision.

  • "An earlier me might have pitied your optimism. Now, I'll throw pity to the undead, and take great pleasure in opening you to the truth about yourself." -Nightmare Court sylvari

  • "Resist all you want. It just makes breaking you that much sweeter." -Nightmare Court sylvari

  • "With Bercilak's death, so ends his petty tyranny." -Caithe

  • "Sariel wouldn't actually attack the Pale Tree's city just out of wounded pride...would she?"
  • "You underestimate the Nightmare Court. They will do whatever they must, to get their way."
  • "At least Gavin still had a sense of honor. How can he and Sariel both be in the Nightmare Court?"
Evil has many forms. Some desire tyranny. Others, chaos." -conversation with Caithe

  • "My friend, I apologize for Sariel's behavior. She's young. She hasn't learned to temper power with wisdom."
  • "What's there to understand? The Nightmare Court is evil. It's destructive. You and Sariel are two of a kind."
  • "You wound me. I am nothing like Sariel. She is an honorless craven, and I have been your friend. The Court doesn't seek to destroy either the sylvari or the Pale Tree. We're trying to free you from the influence of Ventari's Tablet." -conversation with Gavin

What is the agenda of the Nightmare Court?

  • "[The Nightmare Court] believes that Ventaris tablet is wrong and that those lessons were forced upon the tree and forced upon the Sylvari during the trees very formative years and they think that real Sylvari, what they should have been, shouldn't be influenced by the tablet, because the tablet was an external, was outside forced, making them believe things" -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

  • "The firstborns' decree that we follow the laws of Ventari seem contrived. He is of another race, of another time. In contrast, the Nightmare Court's goals have a ring of purity." -Nightmare Recruit

  • "Ventari's tablet shackles us. In its shadow, we're slaves to an imposed morality, rooted in foreign ground and trapped forever." -Nightmare Court Recruiter

The Nightmare Court rejects the wisdom and morality of the non-sylvari Ventari as false, corruptive and misleading. They seek to construct a new society and moral code that is exclusive to their race. This society will be founded on the darkness and decadence of the Nightmare, the side of the Dream that the Ventari Tablet rejects, and that the Pale Tree and her Dreamer children fight against.

  • "Welcome to the fold. I remember when I was new, like you. I still experience the thrill that comes with knowing you're going to awaken the world." -Apprentice Toindra

  • "Dreamers?"
  • "Those who embrace the Dream and Ventari's teachings as the only path. Much like the Soundless, they've cut themselve off from a vast part of themselves." -Nightmare Court conversation

Led by the Grand Duchess Faolain--a firstborn--the Nightmare Court aims to corrupt the Dream with Nightmare, and to taint all goodness and purity therein with their evil.

  • "[W]ith each act of cruelty and evil, they add their nightmares to the tree and hope, one day, to change the balance and turn their parent to their side. The leader of the Nightmare Court is one of the firstborn: the Duchess Faolain, once the cherished companion of Caithe." –Guild Wars 2 Official Website[5]

  • "When Nightmare grows strong enough enough, the Pale Tree will turn away from the Tablet, and our race will be free." -Nightmare Court Recruiter

Their ultimate goal is to corrupt the Pale Tree herself, and turn her away from the Dream.

  • "Only the most twisted plants grow in darkness, but grow they do." -sylvari

  • "Only by exercising strength can we become more powerful. Learn this lesson, or be a victim of it." -Nightmare Court Recruiter

The Court believes that there is strength in pain and weakness in mercy. Since the Pale Tree is connected empathically to all of her children, the Nightmare Court understands that by spreading horror, sorrow and misery among the sylvari, they can taint the Tree herself, causing her to turn away from Ventari's Teachings.

The more tainted the Dream and the Pale Tree are by Nightmare, the more likely it is that new sylvari will be born into Nightmare's thrall.

  • "Have we not already lost ourselves, Mother? We are not centaurs or humans. Let me destroy the tablet, and we will see what it truly means to be sylvari." -Cadeyrn, Dream and Nightmare

The xenophobic Nightmare Court rejects the influences of other races, intent on establishing sylvari as the dominant race in Tyria.

  • "If the sylvari are to survive, we must learn from the poison thorn and the stinging nettle, the vine that crushes the very sapling which holds it to the light. We will raise the nightmare. We will see Tyria remade in our image. We will grow until nightmare swallows the world." -Cadeyrn, Dream and Nightmare

They believe that the path to strengthening their people lies in embracing the Nightmare. The ultimate agenda of the Nightmare Court is to conquer the world, and to cast it into darkness.

  • "The Nightmare Court uses pain and suffering to force others into darkness. They prey upon the newly awakened, and so, they frequently raid Astorea and the Grove." -Warden Captain Uathach

  • "It is too bad we must force them to see. Sometimes pain is the best teacher..." -Nightmare Courtier

What are the methods of the Nightmare Court?

  • "You're a newly awakened sapling. They'll be eager to recruit you. Speak to them cautiously and earn their trust. [...] But before you go, a warning: do not listen to their lies. If you become corrupted...there is no cure." -Caithe

  • "Your eyes should be open! Yet they are closed to all but the teachings of long-dead philosophers." -Nightmare Court Recruiter

  • "You reek of the pale tree. Are you new to this life, or are you scouting the grove?"
  • "My presence there was in service to the nightmare."
  • "Were you able to locate any newly awakened that could be turned to our cause?" -Nightmare Court conversation

The Nightmare Court will frequently send recruiters secretly (and sometimes publicly) into the Grove and to other sylvari towns looking to sway sylvari--especially young sylvari--to their twisted philosophies.

  • "The dreamers break so easily."
  • "Separate them from their roots and they snap like twigs." -Nightmare Court conversation

  • "[The Nightmare Court] go out of their way and try to defy the tablet to go against its basic code of morality and in so doing they try to be as horrible and vicious and cruel as they can, because the trees dream that educates new Sylvari when they're born is built of memories of current Sylvari in the world." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

  • "The Nightmare Court are evil. [...] I've seen them use this poison against sylvari who refuse to join them." -Mender Aviala

  • "After the Nightmare Court turned to the darkest part of the Dream, they began abducting animals and torturing them into servitude. And once turned, even I can't restore a spider." -Tamer Chyde

They also employ more direct methods in converting others and spreading the Nightmare.

  • "The Nightmare Court tortures those who won't join them. I think they figure that even if they can't convert them, they further their cause." -Smith Talaith

  • "Be calm my brethren, for you'll need your strength to enjoy the many pleasantries we've prepared." -Nightmare Court Guard

  • "What do you want? These captives are in the process of being turned." -Nightmare Court Guard

  • "The darkness is eating away at me. I can barely feel any of the joys of the Dream." -sylvari captive of the Nightmare Court

When the opportunity arises, the Nightmare Court will kidnap sylvari from their homes and villages--especially newly awakened sylvari--and bring them back to their lairs. There, they commit horrifying atrocities upon these sylvari, until pain and darkness is all they know.

  • "Aren't you tired of fearing pain? Join us and we'll set you free." -Nightmare Court Guard

Some sylvari give in to their torment, relenting to the Nightmare and becoming members of the Court.

  • "Death is the greatest example of nightmare. All creatures fear it. Thinking beings spend their whole lives pretending it will never happen to them."
  • "So we must kill them."
  • "No. We must take them to the edge of death and show them the future they've worked so hard to deny. Only then can they truly know the taste of nightmare." -Nightmare Court conversation

Even the sylvari who die before they will submit serve their purpose, as the memories of their pain and misery echo through the Dream, darkening it.

  • "The hound has learned from its pain and now embodies strength. It will show me the way." -Nightmare Recruit

When a sylvari embraces the Nightmare, they are treated to the depraved rites and rituals of the Court. They may choose to pursue the cause of the Court however they see fit. Some choose to conquer and destroy, to satisfy their sadism by tormenting others. Perhaps most horrifying of all are the ones who contribute to Nightmare through masochistic pursuits.

  • "The Nightmare Court could be hiding right within these walls, and we would never know." -sylvari

  • "I just need to harden myself to them. I can't let them get to me."
  • "No, that's exactly what the Nightmare Court wants. They want you to stop feeling." -sylvari conversation

  • "I met one, outside Lion's Arch. That city holds many dangers."
  • "You met someone from the Nightmare Court? And you survived?"
  • "I did. Others...didn't. Members of the Nightmare Court are cruel. They're capable of terrible evil. When you're near them, you feel nothing from them but a cold emptiness. When the Nightmare Court was stalking us, it was the darkest night I've ever known."
  • "You must have been terrified. How did you get away?"
  • "We ran faster than those who didn't." -sylvari conversation

The greatest weapon the Nightmare Court employs is fear. By making their presence known--and by leaving some of their victims alive--they spread their horrifying legend, and that fear becomes a shadow over the heart of every sylvari.

  • "Come closer. Nightmares are contagious." -Nightmare Court sylvari

  • "Hard ground makes for broken roots."
  • "The only lasting peace is in the grave." -Nightmare Court corruptions of Ventari's tenets

What is the structure of the Nightmare Court?

  • "The Nightmare Court grows stronger with each passing year as more Sylvari are born, but also as they twist the dream more towards nightmare." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

  • “When a sylvari joins the Nightmare Court, they are initiated in a ritual pageant designed to awaken the nightmare within their spirit.” -Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

  • "It seems that to be initiated into the court, he was required to seduce an innocent and use this innocent to deliver a new seedling to be corrupted." -Leanuit

  • “They spend time as a courtier, learning the ways of the Nightmare Court, acting as a servant to higher-ranking members, and studying ways to break free of the tablet’s influence. They may choose to serve under a more senior member of the Court, becoming a squire or an apprentice. Once they have earned the ability to spread nightmare on their own, they become a knight. -Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

  • "Santach. Seducer of my soul's heart. He calls himself the Knight of Avarice now. He bewitched me to help him, and used me to secure his place in the Court of Nightmares." –Leanuit

  • “It is a knight’s duty to spread fear and despair in the name of the Nightmare Court, creating traumatic memories and experiences that they hope will be taken into the Pale Tree and help to turn her—and her as-yet-unawakened children—away from the lessons of Ventari’s Tablet. To further enhance the fear they hope to create, they often take a title, and are called such during their time as a knight in the court. Such titles include Knight of Decay, Knight of Blades, Knight of Lies, or Knight of the Shattered Star. The highest ranks among the Nightmare Court are known as the Retinue. Knights who have done well are elevated into the Retinue by the Grand Duchess Faolain, who rewards them with rank and position. Baron, count, countess, duke, and duchess: all bear responsibility and a great deal of respect within the hierarchy of the court. Some knights elect to retain the title they chose for themselves as well, becoming the Count of Blades or the Duchess of Frozen Snow.” -Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

  • "[The Nightmare Court] have much more of a structure and a hierarchy. They're individuals in the Nightmare Court who have very much seized power and commanding the other ones around. Because they don't have the Tree, they don't have that gentle wisdom they can call on, they don't have the dream. They have the nightmare and without that connection they're kind of have to be more organized. They have to be more structured. They have to able to say these people are in charge and we will listen to them, because they can't fall back on the wisdom of the Tree in the same way the regular Sylvari can." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

How do the Nightmare Court feel about the Elder Dragons?

  • "They believe that fighting the dragons isn't part of the tablet. The tablet doesn't say anything about the dragons. So they agree, the dragons are bad, but their primary goal is free the Sylvari. Because how can we fight the dragons when we're all slaves to the tablet? For all we know there's something we should be doing, there's something else Tyria needs, how will we ever know? We can't get past the tablet. It is twisted the dream. So they see that as a secondary goal." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

  • "All sylvari fight the dragon's servants [...]" -The Pale Tree

How do the Nightmare Court feel about other races?

  • "They don't like the Asura at all. because they remember the Asura used the Sylvari when they first awakened and they have a very strong sense of vengeance in the Nightmare Court, because it's a dark emotion, any dark emotion powers them, it fuels them and fuels their nightmare. The other races, when they do bump into them, they don't get as much from doing horrible things to them, because if I do a horrible thing to a Sylvari, my dark joy of doing a bad thing might go into the dream and your screaming because you're in pain might go into the dream. If I do that to a human it's only half as good. So they really don't focus on the other races, again, they're very, very almost obsessively focused on freeing the tree. Once the tree is freed then we can focus on the rest of the world." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview 

IV. PERSONALITY


What are the sylvari like?

  • "One of the few things you can count on in this world is diversity."
  • "(laughter) So true. We are all special flowers." -sylvari conversation

  • "Other races are absolutely uncertain about the sylvari [...] This uncertainty comes from the entirety of sylvari existence: they are a new race, with little history; they are 'born' fully grown with a strange understanding of simple concepts of the world; and their physiology is not mammalian, but is instead plant-based (even though it bears similarities to human form). The other races are still trying to figure them out, both physically and in regards to their culture." -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview

  • "I'd say no matter what subject, [sylvari] are astonished and contemplative, wondering and wild." -asura in Lion's Arch

Just like any other race, the sylvari people have incredibly diverse personalities. Yet there are several personality traits that are characteristic of the race as a whole.

  • "Your golem is strange. Was strange, rather."
  • "You drove it away, you know that? I've never seen a golem run that fast."
  • "I just wanted to ask a a few questions."
  • "Yeah, I know. You guys are full of them."
  • "Oh, yes. What's it like to be a golem? Does it dream? Does it have a family?"
  • "That was the last straw you know. After that question about turtles in the desert, you asked it about its mother."
  • "So?"
  • "It doesn't have a mother. It's a golem. You crossed its circuits. I don't know how, but you weirded out MY golem!"
  • "So you are the mother? Or the father?"
  • "What? Well I guess I...oh no. You're not getting in my head. You just stand there and help me monitor the gate. Am I the mother? Blazing braces, this is what I get for working with the tree children." -conversation between a sylvari and an asura

  • "Look at you! You're...you're...you're... Human! I never expected your kind to be so...so...imposing. Can I touch you?"
  • "Sure. Why not?"
  • "Your skin appears so fragile, but there's strength inside, like petals on hardwood." -human conversation with Blath

Sylvari are, as a people, incredibly curious about the world. When they are young they ask many questions, of the kind you would expect a child to ask.

  • "I've been waiting for months to see an asura come through here. [...] I want to know how they got to be so inventive! I wonder if, because of their small stature, they felt compelled to leave their mark upon the world. [...] I just hope I don't offend them simply by asking the question." –Faoi

Sylvari do not wish to offend other races, but are often clueless about the cultures and customs of others. They may know nothing at all of them, or they may have some incomplete picture of how to behave with other races.

  • "Hello, hello, Human. Tell me, would you? What is your culture's method for greeting one another? A hug? A handshake? Bow? Curtsy? A punch in the arm?"
  • "A simple "how do you do" will suffice." -human conversation with Fiodh

  • "It's absurd. How are we expected to relate to other races when we're so different? We have a horrible disadvantage [...] We're closer related to vegetation than to the other races in Tyria. We can never experience their kinds of sicknesses, or death, or things like hair. [...] We can learn about others, but we cannot know them like they know each other. I feel out of place in this world." -Rheoln

Many sylvari actually find the various differences between themselves and other races to be quite frustrating, or at least inconvenient. Most see it as an opportunity to learn.

  • "It's obvious to me. Why else would we have started awakening if it weren't to fight dragons?"
  • "Humans have a concept called "coincidence." It means two events that appear related but that are not."
  • "Then why do I feel the call to fight them and their creations?"
  • "Humans have another concept called "mystery."' -sylvari sapling conversation

Sylvari may also, depending upon what they are shown in the Dream, be aware or unaware of even simple concepts and practices that all other races understand intimately.

  • "I have never understood the need of other races to stand around and do nothing."
  • "I like waiting around. It gives me a chance to ask more questions. Like, I know why the sky is blue, but how big is it?" -sylvari conversation

  • "This place tickles my senses. It's so vibrant. It's very...pleasant. Of course, Pellan isn't as much of a fan. He's more set in his ways than Vanus ans I are. We awoke very recently, you know?" -Meme

Older sylvari are more reserved, but no less curious.

  • "Do you ever tire of teaching? Or dream of making your way beyond the Grove?"
  • "No. I experience greater adventure in the minds of my novices than I could ever find elsewhere." -sylvari mentor conversation

  • "I have so much trouble understanding charr technology. It's so lifeless. But I continue to try." -sylvari

  • "I keep hearing about the Eternal Alchemy. I'll have to read up on that." –sylvari

Some sylvari are drawn to boldly leave the Grove and explore the wonders of the world, while others seek to explore mysteries through scholarly pursuits--study, research and observation.

  • "Although we must leave the Dream when we awaken, I have always wanted to remain near the Pale Tree." -Gardener Theoir

  • "So good to live here, just outside the city."
  • "Agreed. I don't think I could live farther away." -sylvari conversation

  • "Your feet have seen many hills and valleys. How do your roots stretch so far without breaking?"
  • "My roots?"
  • "Your connection to those you love, those who make up your history. I've never left the Grove, but someday I will, and the thought frightens me." -conversation with Corcair

There are sylvari who do not feel inclined to leave the comfort of the Grove and their people. Even those who are called away into the world by a higher purpose may find such a prospect to be overwhelming. This is in part due to the Grove having the highest population of sylvari. They get the greatest sense of being among their people through their empathic connection to the Dream there. It is also near the Grove that the sylvari feel closest to their mother, the Pale Tree.

  • "I swear to Bear, if one more sylvari asks me if it hurts to grow a beard..."
  • "Don't strain yourself. It's probably the same thing I'll do if another one tugs my tail to see if it's attached." -conversation between a norn and a charr

  • "I'm bored. Let's find a traveler and invite them to eat with us."
  • "I saw a human and a norn. One of them could be entertaining." -sylvari conversation

  • "Hey, twig! Wanna get some food?"
  • "You're asking me?"
  • "Yeah! We're gonna butcher a cow. It's fun."
  • "I know I should try new things. Do they sell spring water there?"
  • "We'll stop off at a spring. And then we're gonna surprise a farmer."
  • "Yes, that definitely qualifies as something new. I'm in." -conversation between a charr and a sylvari in Lion's Arch

No matter the method, sylvari love to learn. However, their inexperience with the world and its people means that their desire to learn can often get them into trouble.

  • "If the Dream knows everything, and we know the Dream, why do we have to study?" -sylvari novice

  • "Thorns! I don't suppose you've seen a tall, hard-wood sapling with ferns on her head, have you? I'm supposed to be mentoring her, but she keeps wandering off, chasing butterflies and hummingbirds. [...] I worry about her. Her eyes are still full of stars for this world. I don't want to ever see that light die." -sylvari

  • "The young ones sometimes get caught up in their excitement to learn new things. Usually they make it back, but sometimes... I just wish they'd heeded my advice." -Warden Rhys

  • "Tomorrow we will be taking you to the training fields where you can put your energy to good use."
  • "I'm ready now. Why must we wait?"
  • "Before all else, you must learn to master your own needs. Food. Water. Rest." -sylvari conversation

  • "I just finished a lesson with my mentor, and we parted on bad terms. [...] He suggested I stop pursuing the Elementalist path and switch to Thief training."
  • "Why would he do that?"
  • "Apparently, I have great prowess with light blades. But I don't want to be a Thief--I want to use magic!" -sylvari conversation with Thainrell

Younger sylvari are often impatient to learn and explore and to do things their way, and their curiosity must be tempered with wisdom through the patient mentoring of older sylvari.

  • "Have you heard? There's a human in the Grove."
  • "I heard. I plan to go in search of it tomorrow." -sylvari conversation

  • "I want to go spy on them. What harm can it do?"
  • "I'm willing to go, just not during the day. The hylek are most active then. We're strong in the dark, and you know it. We're both of the Cycle of Night."
  • "I know, but I'm afraid all we'll get to see are sleeping hylek. How boring!" -sylvari conversation

  • "Somewhere out there, someone has more information on Ventari. I will find it if it's the last thing I do."
  • "Your quest is bold and important. I salute you." -sylvari conversation

Sylvari never outgrow their boldness, ever willing to ask questions that will help them to better understand the world, with no fear of the answers.

  • "Not all that is hidden should be revealed." -sylvari

  • "Language is magic. Words carry power." -sylvari mentor

  • "A whisper in the right ear can kill a culture." -sylvari mentor

On the other hand, some sylvari—especially those of the Cycle of Night—know the value of secrets.

  • "The sylvari naturally feel a desire to be productive within the world, to take care of Tyria, and to learn from and interact with other races." -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview

Still, sylvari in general are naturally inclined to learn, to want to have a place and a purpose in the world, and to interact with other benevolent races.

  • "I started warden training yesterday."
  • "So you won't be leaving the Grove after all? That's beautiful news."
  • "No, I changed my mind about leaving. Tomorrow, I may feel differently." -sylvari conversation

  • "He left yesterday. One minute he was here, and the next, he was gone."
  • "You're not surprised, I assume?"
  • "I sensed his restlessness, though I'd hoped for some warning."
  • "The wind gives no warning. It blows where it will and takes the leaves by surprise." -sylvari conversation

  • "I don't live anywhere. I'm like a leaf on the wind, tumbling wherever it takes me. And just yesterday it brought me here."
  • "Have you ever been this far from the Grove?"
  • "Is it that obvious? I must seem like a complete ninny." -conversation with a sylvari in Lion's Arch

Those sylvari without a clear path or calling can be rather capricious. Even those with a calling can seem this way, as they are eager to go where their heart calls them to.

  • "Ah, there it is. The moment when night gives up its dominion, and day opens its eyes upon the world." -sylvari warden

  • "There are many strands in this tapestry, and yours is only one." -Caithe

  • "Wisdom doesn't translate as easily as knowledge. It must be earned." -sylvari mentor

  • "Oh, how the vines of our lives twist and twine. And through it all, the one thing we can count on, no matter what, is change." -sylvari

  • "You've stepped into the current of life. Open your mouth wide and let it all flow in." -sylvari mentor

  • "Do you think we're capable of finding meaning without guidance?"
  • "Well, what a silly question. Of course we do. If I see a hole dug in the ground, I can use my reason to find out why it's there." -conversation with Lianuna

Sylvari are poetic and philosophical, and they derive from the Dream deep wisdom, which they pass on to their younger brethren. Despite their lack of knowledge and experience, they are generally quick learners, and at times their young age belies their cleverness and intellect.

  • "Curse that betrayer! Stand back, please. My anger is in full bloom, and my thorns may prick anyone in proximity." -Leanuit

  • "So far, mandrake is the most joyous plant I've ever known."
  • "Their roots are shaped like us. Perhaps that is why." -sylvari conversation

  • "The datura bush outside my hut is blooming. Its flowers spiral open."
  • "I've seen them. They have great wisdom." -sylvari conversation

  • "For months he whispered his love for me. He made my blood rush like a raging river, and I have never before felt such devotion and faith [...] I would have hunted the moon for him if he had but asked." -Leanuit

Sylvari have a penchant for personification and poetic metaphor, and speak eloquently and beautifully.

  • "If you look closely, you'll find war, love, and life all around you." -sylvari mentor

  • "My quest tugs at my heart." -sylvari

  • "They say a sprig of goldenrod will attract your true love." -sylvari

  • "He challenges young sylvari to duels and then fights them to the death. When Bercilak insulted my honor, Eladus had no other option. He loves me, after all." –Dagdar

  • "I scattered rose petals around the hut and made a special dinner for him. I even brewed a pot of the ginger tea that he loves so well." –sylvari

Sylvari are deeply in touch with their emotions, and express them more freely than any other race. They are also incredibly romantic, their love pure and affectionate.

  • "I'm not hungry. I'm too swollen with sorrow to eat anything. They found...his body. They believe...it was the undead that killed him."
  • "I'm so sorry. Your suffering is breaking my heart." -sylvari conversation

  • "In her eyes, I am dishonored. I cannot even look at her in my current state."
  • "My friend, you couldn't help what happened."
  • "It doesn't matter. I failed, and therefore, I am unowrthy of her love." -sylvari conversation

  • "How could I forget her when she rules my heart?" -sylvari

  • "I wonder whether he feels the loss of us...the way I feel the loss of him."
  • "If nothing else, sweet pea, I would imagine that he feels your loss of him." -sylvari conversation

  • "I know you are in pain. Remember that the heart is also a garden. Though burned, it may still bloom again one day."
  • "Thank you. It gives me peace to know that Ysvelta's spirit will live on within the Dream." -conversation between the Pale Tree and Tiachren

Their hearts break and are uplifted, as easily as human hearts, but they are generally more open with these feelings.

  • "A true warrior dedicates his life to training and upholding the natural laws. All life is sacred, but not guaranteed. A warrior must be ready to sacrifice his own life to save his fellows." -sylvari warden

  • "I imagine the sparkling amor and lines of soldiers marching into battle!"
  • "The stamping of boots and the voices raised in glory!" -sylvari conversation

  • "I'll challenge her new love to a duel."
  • "But you lost to him last time."
  • "This time I'll be ready. I'll practice until my hands bleed." -sylvari conversation

The sylvari are noble and honorable. They have a romanticized perspective on war and death that may remind some of the norn, yet they have a spirit of cooperation and dedication to duty unmatched by the norn people.

  • "Now, he's telling his friends that I've been chasing him, like a starving wolf after a sheep."
  • "That cad! What are you going to do?"
  • "I'm going to call him to the dueling field and knock the cad right out of him." -sylvari conversation

  • "Noble as it is to continue fighting, I can't help but fear that we're nothing more than sand fleas upon Zhaitan's rotted bulk. [...]"
  • "Will you stand idly by while Tyria fights?"
  • "Oh, I will fight, but only so that I may die with honor. Nothing more." -sylvari conversation

  • "I knew, but she threatened me. Said they'd break my hands, leave me useless. Take away my purpose and joy. Still, once I saw what they'd done with my masterwork... Disgusting. I should have thrown myself from the cliffs." -Occam

A sylvari is nothing without their honor, and will fight and sometimes die to defend it. This spirit of honor is upheld among all Dreamers, and those without honor are looked down upon. Even enemies with honor are considered more favorably than those without.

  • "At least Gavin still had a sense of honor. How can he and Sariel both be in the Nightmare Court?" -sylvari hero

  • "His death was not for naught. He was answering the call and will be remembered as a hero."
  • "But I should have been there with him."
  • "The only thing you "should" do is respond to your own calling. Not everyone has the same destiny." -sylvari conversation

To die in pursuit of one's path--and especially in pursuit of a Wyld Hunt--is a noble and honorable thing.

  • "I've seen many things in my travels, but never have I seen a sentient being birthed from a plant."
  • "They're fragile and weak. I don't imagine they'll survive long."
  • "Don't underestimate them. They learn strength from ivy and viciousness from blackberry bushes." -conversation between a norn and a charr

Are the the sylvari a very social race?

Yes. The sylvari thrive on social interaction in all forms.

  • "[Sylvari] really work better in teams. They really work better as a group. They like to rely on each other, they like to learn each others' strengths and utilize those, like tactics, much more than going alone. [...] [T]hey very much prefer to be with others." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Sylvari are very group-oriented. They seem to understand the limitations of their own knowledge and welcome group input as a learning experience. They value the specialties of others, and ideally wish to utilize the strengths of every member of their party.

  • "[W]hen a Sylvari goes out into the world they often get into groups with lots of other races. Anyone they can find. Because when they like the socialization. They like to learn, they like to experience things and that's always better, when you have someone else to answer your questions or to talk to or to share their wisdom." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

The sylvari are fascinated with the world and the many people in it, and see an opportunity to gain valuable experience and enjoyment out of all sorts of social interaction.

  • "The Sylvari have no interest in bringing the krait into an alliance of all teh races against the dragon, because the Krait are simply evil. They were very, very touchy on the Asura for years [...] individual Sylvari especially those who have memories or were born with dreams that told them of the things the Asura did, they find it hard to get over it bias." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

The sylvari are not naive. They understand that there are bad people in the world, and do not seek to interact socially with everyone. Some are born with memories of certain groups or races committing harmful or evil acts, and are wary of these races. Others may develop biases as other races do.

  • “[T]hey are people with a goal and when you have someone who is very driven towards a goal that person is not always easy to get along with.” -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

  • “[B]ecause they never experienced childhood sometimes their emotions can be a little too strong. […] And it's not like their children or babies, it's very much like they just respond so passionately that sometimes they're not nice to be around. Sometimes they're very difficult.” -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

In some ways, the goal-oriented nature of the sylvari can actually make them reserved, withdrawn and generally difficult to get along with. Sylvari are also capable of being over-emotional to the point of being disagreeable, and such sylvari are naturally not always sociable creatures.

Are all sylvari noble warriors?

  • "I seek to know the ways of combat. I don't believe that I, myself, could ever fight another person, but I still want to know how the world works." –Baduc

As a people, sylvari are noble creatures who fight with honor and often solve disputes by dueling. However, this does not mean that all sylvari are capable of fighting, or even that all sylvari are inherently brave and noble.

  • “Every Sylvari feels a certain call not always to fight, sometimes to be a blacksmith, sometimes to otherwise support their race. All Sylvari have a sense, the dragons are evil and the minions should be destroyed.” -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Some sylvari do pursue a path of peace, though many of these contribute to their society in other ways--by mentoring, gardening, or crafting.

  • “More violets, I say. Less violence.” –sylvari vendor

How do sylvari usually talk?

Surprise and wonder:
  • "Look at you! You're...you're...you're... Human! I never expected your kind to be so...so...imposing. Can I touch you?"
  • "Sure. Why not?"
  • "Your skin appears so fragile, but there's strength inside, like petals on hardwood." -human conversation with Blath

Frustration and bullheadedness:
  • "You're not a Night bloom, are you? Thorns, those evasive, sneaky beasts make me insane. Why can't they just give me a straight answer?"
  • "You're a Noon, aren't you?"
  • "That obvious, hm? I don't see any purpose to sneaking around a bush. Just get in there and hack it down. That's what a weapon is for."
  • "Yeah. You're definitely a Noon bloom." -sylvari conversation with Zedyronea

Nobility and virtue:
  • "We should make a vow to always stay together."
  • "But what if I'm called to a Wyld Hunt and have to go?"
  • "The Dream would not be so cruel."
  • "Being a Wyld Hunt valiant makes me no better than anyone else. It merely means I have a more firmly defined purpose."
  • "You have a responsibility."
  • "I have a responsibility because I am alive. We all do. Being a Wyld Hunt valiant just means I know quite clearly how to fulfull mine." -sylvari sapling conversation

Passion and devotion:
  • "For months he whispered his love for me. He made my blood rush like a raging river, and I have never before felt such devotion and faith [...] I would have hunted the moon for him if he had but asked." –Leanuit

Poetic romanticism and metaphor:
  • "My quest tugs at my heart." –sylvari

Philosophy and intellect:
  • "It's obvious to me. Why else would we have started awakening if it weren't to fight dragons?"
  • "Humans have a concept called "coincidence." It means two events that appear related but that are not."
  • "Then why do I feel the call to fight them and their creations?"
  • "Humans have another concept called "mystery."' -sylvari sapling conversation

Cleverness and reasoning:
  • "Do you think we're capable of finding meaning without guidance?"
  • "Well, what a silly question. Of course we do. If I see a hole dug in the ground, I can use my reason to find out why it's there." -conversation with Lianuna

Curiosity versus curtness:
  • "I think I turned one the other day. How many seasons have you seen?"
  • "I have no idea. Some of us don't embrace that peculiar concept of time. Other races put numbers on their lives because they can't remember their childhood." -sylvari conversation

These examples paint a general picture of how sylvari express themselves with language. Sylvari are polite, eloquent and thoughtful with their speech, using formal grammar and poetic language all the time, even when agitated.

All sylvari are portrayed as having British accents.

What are some words and phrases typically used by the sylvari?

  • "Thorns! I don't suppose you've seen a tall, hard-wood sapling with ferns on her head, have you?" –sylvari

  • "Oh, aren't you adorable. Do be careful out there. I'd hate for the world to lose such a lovely blossom." –sylvari

  • “What a sensitive fern you are. I hope you have an interesting day.” –sylvari

Words and phrases specific to the sylvari are often plant-related.

Terms of endearment include: “Fern”, “Blossom”.

Terms of insult include: “Weed”, “Thorn”.

Exclamations and curses include: “Thorns”, “Brambles”, “By the Tree”, “Blessed Mother”, “By the tangled roots” (Nightmare Court members prefer this to referencing the Pale Tree).

  • "When I brought one of the newly Awakened before him, he revealed his true nature. [...] He hit me so hard I fell into the Dreamless sleep! When I woke, he and the seedling were gone." -Leanuit

Terms for young sylvari: “Sapling”, “Seedling”, “Sprout”.

Uncommon term for unconsciousness: “Dreamless sleep”.

  • "Curse that betrayer! Stand back, please. My anger is in full bloom, and my thorns may prick anyone in proximity." –Leanuit

Sylvari may also make up poetic phrases to express themselves, employing metaphors that are also often plant- or nature-related.

  • "May the sunshine fall lightly upon you, Blessed Source." -sylvari hero (to the Pale Tree)

A common greeting/farewell is “may the sun shine gently upon you” or some variation of this.

  • "May Ventari's wisdom always be with you and the Dream bless you." -Farmer Annat

This is another sylvari blessing. In general, many of Ventari’s tenets are shortened and used as blessings, such as “live life well” and “act with wisdom”.

  • “Seize the bloody moment.” –sylvari

The most common sylvari blessing by far is “seize the moment”.

  • “Oh, goodness! I…I…oh, you’re teasing me, aren’t you? You’re wicked.” –Mender Aine

Sylvari may sometimes use expressive adjectives that are unsurprisingly plant- or nature-related (such as “plum wonderful”). They also may use normal but less common ones, such as calling someone “wicked”. “Bloody” is also an adjective that sylvari use, no doubt lending to the British inspiration for their voices and speech patterns. 

V. BEHAVIOR


Why are the Cycles so significant to the sylvari and who are the Luminaries?

  • "Dreams change as the hours pass. We find that knowing someone's cycle helps us discover their true strengths." -Firstborn Luminaries

The sylvari belief that the time of day in which a sylvari Awakens determines their personality seems to be proven consistently enough that it is used as a basis for detemining the potential of newborn sylvari.

  • "The sylvari have distinctions based on their time of birth, which they have noted does affect their personalities. These 'cycles' are organized into Dawn, Noon, Dusk and Night." -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview

Each Cycle is represented by one of the Firstborn. These Firstborn are known as the Luminaries of their Cycle, and they act as mentors and paragons of their Cycle, in addition to their other duties as the leaders of their race.

  • Dawn sylvari are typically diplomatic, sociable, and notably empathic; they are travelers and lovers of the world, kind and clever. The Dawn Luminary is Aife.[6]

  • Noon sylvari are warriors, soldiers and daredevils; they are seekers of adventure and battle, and are often the first to take action. The Noon Luminary is Niamh.[7]

  • Dusk sylvari are especially intelligent and inquisitive; they are given to scholarly pursuits such as science, magic and history. The Dusk Luminary is Kahedins.[8]

  • Night sylvari are secretive and thoughtful; they may be sentinels or scoundrels, but they may also be mathematically inclined. The Night Luminary is Malomedies.[9]

A sylvari's Cycle is not the only thing that determines their personality, of course; sylvari are as varied in demeanor as any other race. For example, Kahedins is a kind and empathic sylvari while also being an intellectual scholar, whereas Aife is both a diplomat and a skillful combatant with a bow.

  • "You're not a Night bloom, are you? Thorns, those evasive, sneaky beasts make me insane. Why can't they just give me a straight answer?"
  • "You're a Noon, aren't you?"
  • "That obvious, hm? I don't see any purpose to sneaking around a bush. Just get in there and hack it down. That's what a weapon is for."
  • "Yeah. You're definitely a Noon bloom." -sylvari conversation with Zedyronea

Oftentimes, however, sylvari Cycles are fairly reliable indicators of personality, to the point that stereotypes have developed in sylvari society based upon them.

What does it mean to the sylvari that they have never experienced childhood?

  • "At the moment, we're discussing other races and how they differ from us. For example, the way other races have young who are--at first--completely dependent on adults, like animals."
  • "Hard to imagine, isn't it?"
  • "Oh yes. I can't imagine being small and pink, and so completely dependent on another being. It's...terrifying."
  • "It explains much about them." -sylvari conversation

Sylvari don't know what it's like to be incapable and dependent on the protection of a parent. They are born with the ability to fight or flee, and with knowledge gifted to them from the Dream. They are never so helpless like children are.

  • "They are so curious. Families and children. Children are just fascinating to a sylvari! They're smaller and they are like ... a sylvari does not physically grow. He comes out of the tree, full born. So it's interesting to see a mini-human and it does not know as much and it has a really different way of thinking, it's very strange. They feel very protective towards it, because they do not have any. So they understand that this child is smaller and weaker and not able to take care of itself. And that's sort of strange, because none of them experience that stage. But at the same time it's got to be scary or the child, right? So that's the way they approach it. [Ellie laughs] They understand a Certain amount of family, because they understand groups and socializations, because they do fall in love. Sylvari who fall in love and have a relationship wants to live in the same house, will congregate together. But children - they're just mystified." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Sylvari find things like families, children, aging, and even growing taller/older to be very strange and fascinating, and they often attempt to try and understand these changes and relationships based on what they experience.

  • "The Cycle of Dawn's teacher says that we must be very careful and polite around the other races. They have many...nicks and scars on their emotions from when they were small." -Leinn

Because sylvari have not experienced childhood, they are born with the knowledge and capabilities of an adult, but with the curiosity and pure, innocent emotions of children. They are more emotionally open than the other races, and their motivations are far more honest and pure, but also much more trusting--unfamiliar with betrayal and heartache. With time, they learn what these things are.

  • “[B]ecause they never experienced childhood sometimes their emotions can be a little too strong. When you're ten years old and someone steals your toy or smash your hand - boy, are you angry! You just don't know what to do with that anger, you're throwing things at the wall and the Sylvari have to go through that too, they have to understand what those emotions mean, they still have them very powerfully and they don't always have the sort of defense mechanic out of growing up, defense mechanisms to really just deal with it in a mature fashion. And it's not like their children or babies, it's very much like they just respond so passionately that sometimes they're not nice to be around. Sometimes they're very difficult.” - Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

The disadvantage to not having experienced childhood is that, as adults, their untamed emotional responses can be upsettingly childlike at times, as they experience certain powerful emotions for the first time and are overwhelmed by them. As a child this can be considered a part of growing up. For sylvari who Awaken with an immature understanding of emotions, their emotional responses might baffle and annoy other races.

  • “[A] Sylvari who goes out in the world is maybe...say two years old. [...] So imagine consolidating your whole childhood into two years. That's how much time you've had with those lessons.” - Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

What is sylvari humor like?

  • "You're coming with me to the practice field tomorrow, right?"
  • "We'll be there, cheering for our champion!"
  • "And we'll toss in a cheer or two for you as well."
  • "(chuckle) Oooh! You're terrible!" -sylvari conversation

  • "When I dipped my ladle into the Dream's knowledge pool, I think I accidentally used the straining spoon." -sylvari sapling

Sylvari aren't born with a firm grasp of humor, and may struggle with jokes at a younger age. They usually develop a rather dry sense of humor, and the fact that they're joking may not be immediately apparent to other races.

  • "We rarely see humans here. What brings you to the Grove?"
  • "Truth is, I...took a jig when I should've taken a jag. I was heading toward Lion's Arch."
  • "You're way off track. I bet you can't even find your mouth when you're hungry! Just joking." -conversation between a sylvari and a human

  • "(laugh)"
  • "Wait, wait. Stop. If you're going to kill me, let me fix my hair. I want to leave a handsome corpse."
  • "It won't matter. The worms will still crawl in and out and in and out." -sylvari conversation

Their jokes can occasionally seem inappropriate, even morbid. Sylvari don't understand the sensibilities of other races very well when it comes to humor. Like most things, it takes some time to figure out.

  • "[...] I worry that Wardenhurst could fall."
  • "Would you like me to hold you?"
  • "Does that move work on other guys?" –sylvari warden conversation

What do sylvari think of gender?

They don't.

  • "Sylvari fall in and out of love, just like other races do. They have a romanticized view of devotion, and they’re curious about passion in all its forms. There are male and female sylvari, but none has ever produced a child as other races do. Because of this, traditional human-style gender roles have no meaning to sylvari, either in their society or in their romantic relationships. Often, a sylvari’s ardor is expressed with courtly zeal—emotional, empathic, personal—and is not necessarily defined by gender." -Angel McCoy, The Sylvari Soul[10]

  • "[T]he sylvari do not segregate by sexual preference. To them, the idea of distinctions for gender, or sexual preference, would seem as odd to them as a distinction based on creamy vs. chunky peanut butter to humans here on earth. Love simply is. If you love someone who is of the same gender, and that love ends, and you begin again with someone of a different gender, there is no distinction; the sylvari simply celebrate that you have found love within your life, and that you are seeking mutual happiness. A sylvari probably wouldn't even think to ask the gender of your lover if you mentioned that you had one. Sexuality is simply a natural part of life, and so long as it is entered into with good will and joy, the gender doesn't make a difference. -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview

Sylvari don't understand why the Pale Tree made them male and female when they cannot reproduce. As such, the concept of "gender norms" is meaningless to them.

  • "To a sylvari, love is about inspiration. Physical touch, ardor, and sensuality are beautiful things, but what the heart feels, what gives joy to the spirit – these are most important, and that has nothing at all to do with the physical form. Love is not bound by gender. It does not ignore the pairing of hearts simply because the bodies are alike. Indeed, the sylvari feel free to love (and love openly) regardless of the physical qualities of their beloved. It would surprise them to hear that someone of any race felt differently. They would say that love is too precious to be passed over simply because someone’s eyes are blue, their hair is dark, or because they are of the same sex." -Ree Soesbee[11]

Unlike other races, sylvari do not look for romantic partners based on gender, or even based on appearance. Sylvari are pansexual, and they fall in love with whomever they please.

  • "Because of their physical design (male-female gendered), the sylvari are typically ascribed to 'standard' gender roles by the other races. This does lead to awkwardness, a bit of confusion, and some eye-rolling on the part of the sylvari, who whisper among themselves that the other races of Tyria are a bit 'backwards' when it comes to gender roles. However, most of these misinterpretations are good-natured, caused out of ignorance rather than bigotry, and thus both sides use them as a means of learning more about one another." -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview

For them, love is inspiration--whomever inspires joy and love in your heart is worth loving. To deny an opportunity to love someone based on what they look like is unheard of among sylvari.

  • "Within the sylvari, all forms of benevolent love are encouraged. If love makes you and the recipient stronger, if it encourages you to positive action and heroism, then it should be respected and celebrated. The sylvari see this as only natural. The other races are curious about it, true, because many of them aren't used to seeing that kind of relationship." -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview

How do sylvari express affection differently from other races?

  • "Lovely day, blossom. May I ask your advice on something?"
  • "You may."
  • "I'm fascinated by other races and their quirks. Just the other day, I went to hug a human male, and he looked at me like I had two heads!"
  • "(laugh) I'm afraid humans are not as affectionate as we are."
  • "What a shame! I wonder why. Is it because they don't trust each other, do you think?"
  • "In many cases, they have good reason not to trust each other." –male sylvari conversation with Fiodh

Sylvari are much more openly affectionate than other races.

  • "Then she kissed me, like we've seen humans do. She just put her lips on mine."
  • "And?"
  • "Then she turned around and kissed someone else. And then someone else!" -sylvari conversation

Sylvari may adopt the affectionate behavior of other races and then practice such things far more openly than other races, without shame. Feeling ashamed of affectionate gestures is not something that sylvari understand, however they do feel embarrassment when their "improper" behavior offends other races.

How do sylvari feel about nudity and modesty?

  • "Hello, hello. Say, can I ask you a difficult question?"
  • "I don't mind. What's on your mind?"
  • "I've heard of this thing called modesty. How do I figure out which parts of myself I can show to the other races without offending them? How much coverage should I grow on myself?"
  • "What do you mean?"
  • "Humans show only a portion of their bodies, while norn show a lot. Charr have fur, so they're naturally covered; but asura keep much of themselves covered. How do I know what is appropriate?"
  • "Be conservative, and you risk offending no one."
  • "That is true, but is that really the best choice? I would be terribly uncomfortable covered from head to toe."
  • "Do whatever you feel is best." –female sylvari conversation with Fiodh

  • “As an adopted custom, they cover themselves as humans do, concealing certain portions of their anatomy where it seems culturally appropriate.” -Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

Sylvari do not understand the point of modesty, and do not feel shame in nudity. They do feel shame in offending the older races, however, and they wear clothing or grow clothing over themselves so as not to upset the sensibilities of non-sylvari.

  • "I wouldn't mind a trip to Lion's Arch. I need new clothes."
  • "What's wrong with the shops here?"
  • "Just not my style." –sylvari

  • “Some sylvari wear armor made by other races or weave clothing in a more traditional manner, just out of preference.” -Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

Also, they appreciate clothing for decorative purposes, beauty and fashion.

A sylvari's understanding of nudity is further complicated by the fact that their bodies are very different from those of other races. For instance, sylvari--males and females alike--lack nipples, and therefore sylvari females lack a practical reason to cover their chests.

Can sylvari grow clothing onto their bodies?

  • “Their bodies create petal-like coverings, vines, and leaves that they shape into pleasing garments. When they wish to remove the garments, they simply shed their petal clothing as a human might cut their hair.” - Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

Yes, but there is apparently a limit to what sort of clothing a sylvari can grow on themselves, and the quality of it. Sylvari will often grow clothing--especially armor--from other plants, as well as make or buy armor and clothing in the style of the other races.

  • "How much coverage should I grow on myself?" -Fiodh

How are sylvari connected with other plants?

  • "You're a plant, and you can talk. Do you talk to other plants?"
  • "Not exactly. I sense things about them."
  • "Can you sense which have the greatest concentration of poison?"
  • "No."
  • "Bah! What good are you?" -conversation between an asura and a sylvari

  • "The plants around here are on edge. That's not a good sign." -sylvari

  • "I mean no offense. But when I think of all the plants, trees, and flowers that died to make room for this place...I cannot help but feel pain." -Vienathari

Sylvari have an empathic connection to plants that is similar to the sense they have of each other.

  • "The Pale Tree is a gift beyond measure. Even the surrounding forest understands its value. Look and see how the trees bend inward to protect it." -sylvari mentor

  • "Just a little bit more. That's perfect. Don't move! I've spent the past two hours coaxing these vines into place [...] I'm shaping these plants, persuading them to grow into the shapes you see before you. [...] Our people can manipulate the plant life here. Our Mother Tree blessed us with the ability to commune with plants and trees." -Liath

The sylvari can communicate their will and intentions to plants to some degree, and coax them into growing in certain ways.

  • "What can we "tell" them to do, exactly?"
  • "Nothing that they wouldn't normally do. We simply direct their growth, and they listen, taking the shapes we desire." -sylvari conversation with Liath

A sylvari cannot tell a plant to do something it cannot already do naturally, but they can direct a plant's growth and shape.

  • "I need you to heal the ailing plants. Unfortunately, our innate magic alone isn't strong enough." –Arias

To some degree, sylvari can use their connection with plants to heal them. They can at least better understand and pinpoint what is harming a plant than other races can.

  • "Grow the city?"
  • "They quickly learned to use their plant-shaping talents to grow their housing and other structures. With each successive generation, the city has literally grown to what it is now." -conversation with Mentor Gealach

  • "Did you hear that human's armor? It made such a racket!"
  • "I tried it once. The cacophony nearly drove me Soundless."
  • "Homegrown armor is prettier, too." -sylvari conversation

  • "The wardenlight tree is the symbol of the Wardens. We cultivate parts of it to use in special weapons and armor to help them fight various threats in the area." -Arie

Sylvari grow their own armor, weapons and buildings through this method of coaxing particular plants to change shape. The plant life in and around the grove is incredibly diverse, and so there are many species available to suit their needs.

  • "You need water, hemlock, and bloodflower? You know they're poisonous, right?" -sylvari

  • "It's absolutely clear to me. Sweetgrass purifies the air."
  • "Sage also purifies, but with less subtlety. I prefer it." -sylvari conversation

  • "Have you ever really looked at trees? Have you felt their movement? Nothing is ever truly still." -sylvari mentor

  • "I was noticing the other day how plants resemble the body part they heal."
  • "Like how a slice of carrot looks like an eye?"
  • "Exactly. And how a cocoa bean resembles a broken heart." -sylvari conversation

Most sylvari are expert herbalists and gardeners, naturally.

  • "Some farmers use sylvari workers during the growing season. I want to look into that."
  • "I hear they're great at getting crops to grow." -human farmers in Queensdale

It should be noted that despite their connection with plants, they have no problem consuming fruits, vegetables and herbs, and will grow and help grow plants for the purposes of consumption.

  • "Oh my goodness. Poor little plants." –sylvari 

VI. CULTURE


What are the naming conventions of the sylvari?

Sylvari are born knowing their names. Sylvari names are always one word, with no last names.

While sylvari names in the game are often based on Welsh or Gaelic names, this is hardly always the case. Sylvari names may originate as names in Spanish (Arias, Clarete), German (Tiachren), Italian (Nemi), Romanian (Baduc, Voisa), French (Gellia, Laille, Estiene), and just about any other language you can imagine, from Europe to Russia and from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. The real-world gender of a name is sometimes ignored, with some sylvari female NPCs named with male names and vice-versa.

Do not feel too restricted when naming your sylvari, though do note that sylvari names have no meaning in their language, which is New Krytan. Also, sylvari names are often the rarer names from the real-world languages they are taken from, not more common names like Ashley or John.

How old is the sylvari race?

As of 1325 AE, the sylvari race is 25 years old. The Firstborn twelve Awakened 25 years ago. Cadeyrn, the first "secondborn" Awakened 6-7 years later--18-19 years ago.

  • "Cadeyrn’s fall from grace happens over the course of a few years, not all at once; the events are separated in time. There is a total passage of about five years from the beginning to the end of the story. It feels a bit ‘rushed’ because it’s all told in succession, as the blog posts have to be, to try to keep them small. The firstborn came from the tree, then six or seven years passed, and then the secondborn… and then more generations, each coming closer in time together and producing larger groups, until we get to the present day, where sylvari are being born… oh, about as fast as players are making characters." -Ree Soesbee[12]

The Nightmare Court was established roughly 5 years after the Awakening of Cadeyrn, around 13-14 years ago.

What do the sylvari know of their history?

  • "Ventari was a centaur who lived over two hundred years ago. He was wise and curious, and when a human named Ronan brought him a strange seed pod, they planted it together. [...] The see became the Pale Tree with Ventari's gentle care, while all around him his own kind became brutal and savage. [...] When Ventari sensed his time was near, he carved his life's lessons onto a marble tablet and died beneath the tree he'd tended." -Mentor Arduine

The sylvari know a great deal about their history. Everything that the Pale Tree witnessed from her time with Ventari and Ronan to the present is part of the vast pool of knowledge available to her children, and taught by the older sylvari to the young.

  • "Do you remember Ventari?"
  • "I remember of him, wise, half man, half horse. He blessed us when he left his tablet near the site of my planting. He and a human named Ronan dreamt of creating a haven here."
  • "Why do you cradle his tablet in your branches?"
  • "I took Ventari's tablet to my core as I grew, and I was nourished. My leaves whisper his wisdom. Take heed and learn well the meaning of Ventari's counsel, for the tablet is all the guidance you need." -sylvari conversation with the Pale Tree

  • "We've made a name for ourselves despite our race's youth. And the new things we discover become a part of the Dream for those still within their pods." –Weilond

Additionally, most of the great events that have occurred in the brief twenty-five years that the sylvari have existed have been recorded in the Dream from the memories of those who experienced them. Sylvari are therefore acutely aware of their history, and of their greatest heroes.

  • "I traveled to see the grave of Killeen for myself. She's my hero. She was a necromancer who traveled into the Dragonbrand." –Althair

The history of the entire sylvari race is contained within the Dream, emphasizing its importance to sylvari culture.

  • "Your feet have seen many hills and valleys. How do your roots stretch so far without breaking?"
  • "My roots?"
  • "Your connection to those you love, those who make up your history. I've never left the Grove, but someday I will, and the thought frightens me." -conversation with Corcair

How did sylvari culture develop?

  • "The sylvari have their own ideas, and their own culture. It is influenced both by human culture, and by the ideals of the peaceful centaur, Ventari, but over the years that the sylvari have been awake and aware, they have taken those ideals and made them into a culture. Courtly love --love that has no reliance on the idea of sexuality between the lovers--is one of these natural extrapolations. As the sylvari don't physically reproduce, they simply put less emphasis on gender." -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview

The sylvari derive much of their cultural understandings from humans, both from the Pale Tree’s memories of Ronan and other humans, and from their present human allies. After the asura, the sylvari encountered the humans of Kryta, who became one of their strongest allies and contributed the most to their present understanding of the world of Tyria.

  • "The sylvari have a group of tenets, or ideals, written on the Ventari Tablet. They adhere to these, and believe that they are a guideline toward living a 'good' or benevolent life. The sylvari naturally feel a desire to be productive within the world, to take care of Tyria, and to learn from and interact with other races. Certainly, their culture is still growing and evolving, but the basis of that culture and the core beliefs, are firm." -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview

However, the sylvari people do have a unique society, based upon their unique perspectives, their connection with the Dream and each other, their unique birth and physiology, and other factors that make them fundamentally different from anything that exists in Tyria.

  • “Every Sylvari feels a certain call not always to fight, sometimes to be a blacksmith, sometimes to otherwise support their race. All Sylvari have a sense, the dragons are evil and the minions should be destroyed. […] There aren't just not enough Sylvari to do it alone even if they all gather together and threw themselves at Orr. They aren't enough and they don't have the information, they don't have the wisdom. It would be just throwing themselves against a tide of battle. Charrs knowledge of tactics and history and historical battle would be hugely invaluable there; the Sylvari just don't have it. So they know they need to seek out those other races and they need to bring them together in order to fight against the threats that they see in the dragons.” -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

The sylvari are a small race, born as adults with the curiosity of children, with a strong sense of purpose and a unified goal. These factors have shaped the culture of the sylvari heavily, with sylvari already firmly established as the peacemaking race of Tyria, the glue that strives to hold the various orders, factions and races together.

Is there a hierarchy among the sylvari?

  • "They have respect for one another. Especially for the Firstborn. Because they came first and they've seen the most. But other than that it very much comes down to who knows more about this thing." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

  • "If three Sylvari wander into the world, they wouldn't have a leadershipssstem, so much they would have 'You know the most about this, so we'll follow you now. Oh, we're doing something different? He knows the most about this, so we'll follow him now.' They have a very egaliterian system in that way." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

No. Sylvari respect knowledge and wisdom, and will follow whoever has the most knowledge and wisdom about a relevant activity, such as fighting or healing. The sylvari see the Firstborn as leaders of their people because the Firstborn simply have the most experience with all things, including the Mother Tree.

  • “And as this continued while each generation of Sylvari was born, the Sylvari began to create a culture where the first-borns led, because they were the wisest, they had seen the most of the world. But the younger ones were off in the adventures to take the information they had gained and go off into the world and do something with it. The tree herself provides the center of the culture and the city around the tree is where they congregate, where they live.” -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

The Pale Tree is both the racial leader of the sylvari and the center of sylvari culture. The sylvari obey the will of the Firstborn and the Pale Tree, but many may also leave the city and that leadership and go out into the world to contribute to it in their own way. This behavior is quite natural in sylvari culture.

  • “Although the other firstborn are considered wise mentors and have certain authority, the Luminaries fulfill the primary tasks of maintaining society and guiding the sylvari as a whole.” -Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

The Firstborn who specifically fill the leadership position among the sylvari are the Luminaries, though each one is respected equally.

How do the sylvari feel about their leaders, the Firstborn?

  • "Did you see the charr that arrived yesterday?"
  • "I saw. If I had my way, I'd have slaughtered it for its insolence to the firstborn." -sylvari conversation

  • "They have respect for one another. Especially for the Firstborn. Because they came first and they've seen the most. [...] And [the Firstborn] had the most time with the Tree, because they had several years where it was just them and the Tree. So they sort of understand her better, they have a little more closeness to her." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

The Firstborn--the first and oldest sylvari--are the leaders of the sylvari people, and they are highly respected and held in great esteem.

  • "The firstborn asked me to entertain one of the visiting dignitaries." -sylvari

  • "The firstborn sent them on a quest. They didn't know how long they'd be gone."
  • "Did they say what the quest was?"
  • "No. Only that it was important to the Grove's safety." -sylvari conversation

The Firstborn commune directly with the Pale Tree, and make her will known to the other sylvari. They will often task individual sylvari with various assignments or missions, depending upon their skills.

  • "Caithe is a delicious example of those born in the Cycle of Night. She is a mystery to us all, which is probably why she's so popular...and so feared." -sylvari

  • "Trahearne is so noble, standing watch between us and Orr. And to do so without being a part of any of the orders... (sigh)" -sylvari

  • "I heard Caithe was in town the other day."
  • "Really? Did you actually see her?"
  • "You never see Caithe unless she wants you to." -sylvari conversation

Some of the Firstborn--such as the Luminaries of each Cycle--are regularly seen going about their business or mentoring sylvari of their Cycle, as they never leave the Grove. Other Firstborn--such as Trahearne and Caithe--are rarely seen, and have become legendary among their people.

Do all sylvari oppose the Elder Dragons?

  • "Yet many dream of an enigmatic danger that threatens the awakened world. For most, it is but a fleeting glimpse. Only a rare few, the great heroes of their race, see the shadows of dragons and know it as a danger that threatens the world. As a result, of all the races, the sylvari see the challenge of the Elder Dragons most directly." -Guild Wars 2 Official Website

The sylvari people believe that they were created specifically to oppose the Elder Dragons. Even those among them who believe there is no hope in defeating this ancient evil commit themselves to the fight out of duty to the Dream and in defense of the Pale Tree.

  • "While the other races may be corrupted by the Elder Dragons, turned into undead minions or crystalline creatures of the Brand, the sylvari are never turned. Those born of the Pale Tree simply die before the corruption takes hold. Many sylvari believe that this is because they were born to battle the dragons, blessed with a certain protection against their most horrible powers. Some non-sylvari scholars state instead that the sylvari's strange biology foils the corruption of the dragons. A few clever souls state that sylvari just taste bad to dragons. No one knows for certain which is the truth." -Guild Wars 2 Official Website

The sylvari are completely immune to the corruption of the Elder Dragons. Sylvari are killed by the corrupting magic of the dragons before it can enthrall them. You will not see any branded or undead sylvari in the game.

  • "Noble as it is to continue fighting, I can't help but fear that we're nothing more than sand fleas upon Zhaitan's rotted bulk. [...]"
  • "Will you stand idly by while Tyria fights?"
  • "Oh, I will fight, but only so that I may die with honor. Nothing more." -sylvari conversation

  • "The Court doesn't seek to destroy either the sylvari or the Pale Tree. We're trying to free you from the influence of Ventari's Tablet." –Gavin

  • "[The Nightmare Court] agree, the dragons are bad […] If you see Nightmare Court on the beach with the undead, they'll fight them. But their primary goal is the dream and the tree." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Even the Nightmare Court oppose the Elder Dragons, for if the Pale Tree is lost, their cause, too, is lost.

  • "All sylvari fight the dragon's servants [...]" -The Pale Tree

  • "We come into this world to destroy the dragons. We must not lose ourselves in that challenge." -The Pale Tree, Dream and Nightmare

How do sylvari feel about aging?

  • "And to think, other races have been warring a hundred times longer than I've been alive." -sylvari

In general, sylvari are fascinated by how old the world and its peoples are. Having only been alive for a few years, the concept of so many things existing for so long amazes them.

  • "I can't wait to grow old. Can you imagine? Human bodies change so dramatically."
  • "I shall be beautiful when I'm old. I'll be dignified and strong, like they describe the human queen."
  • "Oh, she's very old, from what I've heard. Already almost thirty." -sylvari conversation

  • “No one knows how long the sylvari live. The oldest of their race are the firstborn, all of whom awakened twenty-five years ago. Sylvari show little signs of growing old, and none have yet died of advanced age.” -Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

Everything is old to a sylvari, and aging fascinates them. So far, none of their people have changed enough in twenty-five years to show them what sylvari aging is like, and no sylvari has ever died of natural causes. Aging is something that many still look forward to, not understanding its potential drawbacks.

  • "You speak of the ancient among your race as if they've lost their usefulness. I don't understand this."
  • "Just wait. In another 50 years or so, when you're old, you'll get it." -conversation between a sylvari and a human

For sylvari, there may be no drawbacks at all to aging--or any change for that matter. It remains to be seen.

  • "I polish my war medals once a month."
  • "How nice! I think it's noble that you honor your past." -conversation between an older human and a sylvari in Lion's Arch

Sylvari in general have a notable respect for the older members of other races in particular, believing them to be noble and wise.

  • "I think I turned one the other day. How many seasons have you seen?"
  • "I have no idea. Some of us don't embrace that peculiar concept of time. Other races put numbers on their lives because they can't remember their childhood." -sylvari conversation

Of course, some sylvari care less about about aging than others, and don't even bother to keep track of it.

What is the sylvari perception of gods, spirituality, and destiny?

  • "They are very agnostic. They've never met a god. They've never been able to ask it questions. When I ask two priests of the same god answers their questions sometimes are not exactly the same. So the sylvari are not sure what to think. They have not made any religious determinations. You can call them agnostic." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

The sylvari do not have a universal belief in any gods or deity figures. Most question the existence and nature of such beings.

  • "The Sylvari tend to bury their dead, they very much are returned to the earth sort of a system, but once someone has died the body itself is returned to the earth and it's less important than the spirit, because the Sylvari don't know much about the mists. They aren't entirely sure what the mists mean to them, but they do know the dream. And in your dream your memories are still a alive. If you and I loved one another and you die in the dream I might find someone with that memory of that love as if they saw it. And so you are still alive and the fact that I loved is still alive somewhere in the dream, somewhere in other peoples memories and within the tree. And so they have this hope, that goes on even past death, this continued empathy and emotion for each other that surpasses death." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Sylvari spirituality tends to revolve around the Dream and the preservation of personalities and memories of those sylvari who have lived before. They have no understanding of the Mists, where all spirits are said to go. They do not know how the Mists apply to their race. There is only the Dream.

  • "Everyone and all things are reflected in the Dream of Dreams." –sylvari

  • "No, dear heart. I do not control the Dream. I am simply its caretaker." -The Pale Tree

  • "I believe in a force that creates and shapes everything. It may be the Dream, but the Dream is built from our memories and our experiences. So, I don't know." –Ghorm

Still, the nature of the Dream is not fully understood, not even by the Pale Tree. The Dream seems to know more than simply the collected knowledge of the sylvari race. Some sylvari do wonder whether there is some greater force—greater than the Dream—guiding their existence and purpose, and perhaps that of all races.

  • "We're all the physical manifestation of some element of the Dream. We all have a role to play." –sylvari

  • "Do not question the Dream. We must all play our parts." -The Pale Tree

The idea of a sylvari’s destiny being shaped before they Awaken is prominent in sylvari culture.

  • "I'm afraid. I just bury it deep, beneath the call of my purpose." –sylvari

  • "Being a Wyld Hunt valiant makes me no better than anyone else. It merely means I have a more firmly defined purpose." -sylvari sapling

Based on what they learn and are shown within the Dream, sylvari glean their purpose, their intended role in the world. Sylvari are driven by a sense of purpose and place, and so the concept of predestination is strong within the culture.

  • "Is there such a thing as an impossible Hunt?"
  • "Yes. A Hunt you do not survive." -conversation with Caithe

  • "Do you ever wonder about your purpose?"
  • "Purpose? You mean why are we here?"
  • "Yes. I know that many believe we are put here for some meaning that only gods or spirits can understand. But I don't think that's true."
  • "What do you believe?"
  • "I guess I believe there's some sort of power out there. And maybe that power put us here, I don't know. But I think whatever that power is, it wants us to find our own purpose." -conversation with Lianuna

On the other hand, sylvari tend to believe that not everything is pre-deternined. Some may believe that everyone has a path in life to take, but it is not a path on which you are guaranteed to reach the end successfully. Wyld Hunt valiants tend most often to believe this, at least in terms of their own destiny.

  • "I just finished a lesson with my mentor, and we parted on bad terms. [...] He suggested I stop pursuing the Elementalist path and switch to Thief training."
  • "Why would he do that?"
  • "Apparently, I have great prowess with light blades. But I don't want to be a Thief--I want to use magic!"
  • "We choose our own paths. Good luck." -sylvari conversation with Thainrell

Still others believe that while the Dream provides guidance, in the end everyone chooses their own path to follow, and perhaps makes their own destiny.

  • "It's obvious to me. Why else would we have started awakening if it weren't to fight dragons?"
  • "Humans have a concept called "coincidence." It means two events that appear related but that are not."
  • "Then why do I feel the call to fight them and their creations?"
  • "Humans have another concept called "mystery."' -sylvari sapling conversation

Though many sylvari at least believe that they came into being specifically to fight the Elder Dragons, there is no true consensus on how much of a role fate plays in the lives of the sylvari people.

  • "Know that you would? No. But I knew that you could. That is the inspiration of the Dream." -The Pale Tree

How do sylvari deal with death?

  • "From awakening, all know the risks of life. Grieve if you must, but they lived well." -sylvari warden

The sylvari believe that all life is sacred, and it is a worthy cause to preserve life. They grieve its loss.

  • "I'm not hungry. I'm too swollen with sorrow to eat anything. They found...his body. They believe...it was the undead that killed him."
  • "I'm so sorry. Your suffering is breaking my heart." -sylvari conversation

The sylvari are an emotional people. They mourn death sometimes quite dramatically, and yet as a people they understand that death is the proof of the worth of life.

  • "I still mourn the loss of by beloved, but I can't stay by his grave forever."
  • "Mourning alone only brings more sorrow." -sylvari conversation

The sylvari will bury their dead in the ground. When a sylvari mourns, they may seek to be alone, yet they do find comfort in the compassionate emotions of others.

  • "All life is sacred, but not guaranteed. A warrior must be ready to sacrifice his own life to save his fellows."
  • "This from a guy who's younger than my calluses." -conversation between a sylvari and a human

  • "His death was not for naught. He was answering the call and will be remembered as a hero."
  • "But I should have been there with him."
  • "The only thing you "should" do is respond to your own calling. Not everyone has the same destiny." -sylvari conversation

For sylvari, death in pursuit of a noble cause is a worthy and heroic death. To die in pursuit of one's calling is something to be remembered and admired.

  • "May your memories spread among the Dream, and may your noble spirit return through the awakening of others." -Gairwen

The strong emotions and most potent memories of every sylvari are remembered in the Dream, contributing to the well of knowledge and experiences that may be passed on to other Dreamers before they Awaken. In this way sylvari live on eternally in the Dream.

  • "It gives me peace to know that Ysvelta's spirit will live on within the Dream." -Tiachren

  • "I will be remembered...in the Dream." –Gavin

How do sylvari feel about necromancy?

  • "I traveled to see the grave of Killeen for myself. She's my hero. She was a necromancer who traveled into the Dragonbrand." –Althair

At least one of the Firstborn, Trahearne, is a powerful necromancer. Killeen too was a necromancer. Both of them are well known and respected among the sylvari people. Necromancy would appear to be no more reviled or taboo than any other destructive form of magic or combat. Those who wield such forces for good are considered heroes. 

VII. BIOLOGY


How well can sylvari heal themselves?

  • "I think limb regeneration is possible, though in the game we don’t sever limbs. Sylvari tend to heal at the same general rate as humans, though the nature of that healing may be different (neat tendrils and bark forming as opposed to scar tissue)." -Jeff Grubb[13]

Sylvari can heal themselves quite effectively—regenerating even lost body parts—though only at roughly the same rate as humans do. If a sylvari’s skin forms a scar, the material would be like tough bark, as opposed to rough scar tissue.

Can sylvari grow back limbs?

  • "I think limb regeneration is possible, though in the game we don’t sever limbs." -Jeff Grubb

Yes.

Do sylvari breathe oxygen or carbon dioxide?

Sylvari breathe air; oxygen and carbon dioxide are not words that exist in Tyria. The kind of air sylvari breathe is never distinguished from the air that other races breathe, and they are seen using the same underwater breathing masks as everyone else. Plants are not observed to breathe at all in the world of Tyria.

How do sylvari breathe?

Sylvari breathe through their noses and mouths like any other race. One can observe sylvari chests expanding and contracting as they inhale and exhale, and they utilize air to speak as other races do.

Do sylvari have internal organs?

  • “Where we have sap and vine, they have blood and bone. It's very interesting to study the differences!" –sylvari conversation with Mender Glyndowr

Sylvari possess internal structures--such as a stomach area for digesting food--that perform the same functions as the organs possessed by other races.

  • “[T]hey have sap instead of blood, they have hardwood where bones are, they're built very much like a plant trying to replicate what's humans. Like it had looked at them, had seen them and understood how they worked and it made a plan shape of a human.” -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

It is noted that there is a vast difference between the internal structure of a sylvari and that of any other race, so much so that sylvari have their own doctors--called Menders--to tend to their illnesses and wounds.

Do sylvari photosynthesize?

  • “They gain enjoyment from sitting in the sunlight—and it invigorates them—but can’t live on it as plants do.” - Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

No. Sylvari do not appear to gain any nutrition as a result of photosynthesis and must eat food and drink water. Spending time in the sun does feel refreshing to a sylvari, but that is all that it seems to do for them.

Do sylvari need to sleep?

  • “Sylvari do sleep, and they can eat both meat and vegetables.” -Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

Yes.

Do sylvari need to eat food?

  • “They do have a stomach area in their body, it does decompose material just like a humans would and then uses that material to fuel the body.” -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Yes. Sylvari lack roots or any other way of gaining nutrition except for eating and drinking as other races do. They instead have structures within their bodies that perform the same functions as a human digestive system.

What kind of food do sylvari eat?

  • “They can eat anything, they can eat other plants, they can eat salad, they can eat meat if they want to - much like a venus fly trap.” -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

Sylvari can and will eat anything that any other race can eat—plant or animal. They enjoy tasty food just as much as other races.

Can sylvari get drunk?

  • “They drink, as other races do, and they get tipsy on alcoholic beverages.” -Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

Yes. This also suggests that they are affected by chemicals and poisons in similar ways as other races.

Can sylvari get sick, and if so, can they get sick from the same illnesses as other races?

  • "We're closer related to vegetation than to the other races in Tyria. We can never experience their kinds of sicknesses, or death, or things like hair." –Rheoln

Sylvari can get sick, but their illnesses are not the same as those suffered by other races. Animal illnesses may not affect their bodies, for instance, though plant illnesses may.

Can sylvari bleed, and if so, what comes out?

  • “Their blood is a sticky sap.” - Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

Yes. Sylvari bleed a sticky sap.

What color is sylvari blood?

  • “Golden sap moves through their veins […]” –Guild Wars 2 Official Website

Sylvari blood is a golden color.

Do sylvari have blood flow?

  • "For months he whispered his love for me. He made my blood rush like a raging river, and I have never before felt such devotion and faith." -Leanuit

Yes. It is even suggested that the blood flow can be quickened when a sylvari is feeling amorous, though whether this is a romantic metaphor or not is unknown.

Do sylvari have hearts?

  • “[A] cocoa bean resembles a broken heart." -sylvari

This is unknown. Sylvari often use the word 'heart' metaphorically and poetically, referring to something inside of them. Sylvari also have a blood flow which may be quickened. Neither of these facts is enough to prove the existence of a sylvari heart without a doubt.

Do sylvari have brains?

  • “To mine own brain be true.”
  • “[…] You sure your own brain isn’t addled?” –sylvari conversation

Sylvari probably at least have structures in their head that function as brains. More than one sylvari has referred to their "brain," including the idea that it can be addled.

Do sylvari have pulses?

  • “Their blood is a sticky sap, and though they can bleed, they do not have blood pressure or a pulse.” - Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

No.

Can sylvari blush?

  • “Oh, goodness! I…I…oh, you’re teasing me, aren’t you? You’re wicked.”
  • “You’re very pretty when you blush!” –conversation with Mender Aine

Yes.

What color do sylvari blush?

Sylvari blood is a golden color, and sylvari can be many different colors, so they probably simply darken in color when they blush.

Where are all the sylvari children?

  • "Children are just fascinating to a sylvari! They're smaller and they are like ... a sylvari does not physically grow. He comes out of the tree, full born. So it's interesting to see a mini-human and it does not know as much and it has a really different way of thinking, it's very strange." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

There are no sylvari children.

Where do sylvari come from?

  • "Look up, Valiant. Do you see those blue fruit? When you awoke, you were lowered from the boughs by the Pale Tree." -Mender Serimon

  • "[T]hey are 'born' fully grown with a strange understanding of simple concepts of the world[…]" -Ree Soesbee, GayGamer Interview

Sylvari are born fully grown from pods that hang from the Pale Tree. They are born with the knowledge and linguistic ability of adults of other races.

Can sylvari have sex?

  • “Physically, sylvari are male or female, and the relevant external biology is accurate on both […]” - Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

Yes. They have the appropriate bits to do so.

Can sylvari reproduce?

  • “[Sylvari] cannot sexually reproduce as the other races do; they have no internal organs capable of creating children.” - Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

No.

Can sylvari crossbreed?

ArenaNet has confirmed that no race in Tyria can crossbreed with another. This includes sylvari.

What are female sylvari hiding on their chests?

Nothing. The introduction to the sylvari Personal Story shows that--much like the males--sylvari females have no nipples. They cover up these parts of their body so as not to offend the other races, since they still--for some odd reason--have breasts.

Why do sylvari look like humans?

  • “Many scholars hypothesize as to why the sylvari look human-like at all instead of having a monstrous form, such as other “vegetable” races possess. Some suggest that the Pale Tree saw mostly humans during her youth. Individuals such as Ronan, who planted the seed, and others around the Pale Tree may have been physical role models for her eventual children. A popular asura theory is that the Pale Tree was planted on the graves of Ronan’s daughter and his ruined village, and their ”discorporate mass” was absorbed into the ground. The Pale Tree took nourishment from that soil, and therefore, the sylvari are predisposed to be shaped in a humanoid manner.” -Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

It is not known why sylvari look like humans, but there is much speculation by scholars and the sylvari alike.

Do sylvari have a natural fear of or weakness to fire?

  • "No,as much as a human would. You stick your hand into the fire, it's going to hurt. They don't burn more easily than anyone else, I mean, they're made of wood and sap, but green wood doesn't burn any more easily than flesh. It's a person. They don't have a fear of fire. They have blacksmiths. They've learned how to work with fire. They just take as many precautions as anyone else." -Ree Soesbee, Wartower Interview

No. Sylvari are no more afraid of or susceptible to fire than any other race.

What is the average lifespan of a sylvari?

  • “No one knows how long the sylvari live. The oldest of their race are the firstborn, all of whom awakened twenty-five years ago. Sylvari show little signs of growing old, and none have yet died of advanced age.” -Ree Soesbee, Dream and Nightmare

The average lifespan of a sylvari is unknown.

Are sylvari immune to the corrupting magic of the Elder Dragons?

  • "While the other races may be corrupted by the Elder Dragons, turned into undead minions or crystalline creatures of the Brand, the sylvari are never turned. Those born of the Pale Tree simply die before the corruption takes hold. Many sylvari believe that this is because they were born to battle the dragons, blessed with a certain protection against their most horrible powers. Some non-sylvari scholars state instead that the sylvari's strange biology foils the corruption of the dragons. A few clever souls state that sylvari just taste bad to dragons. No one knows for certain which is the truth." -Guild Wars 2 Official Website

Yes. The sylvari are completely immune to the corruption of the Elder Dragons. Sylvari are killed by the corrupting magic of the dragons before it can enthrall them. You will not see any branded or undead sylvari in the game.
  1. ^ http://www.wartower.de/artikel/artikel.php?id=651
  2. ^ http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Dream_of_Dreams
  3. ^ http://gaygamer.net/2011/10/interview_guild_war_2s_ree_soe.html
  4. ^ http://www.arena.net/blog/dream-and-nightmare
  5. ^ http://www.guildwars2.com/en/the-game/races/sylvari/
  6. ^ http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Aife
  7. ^ http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Niamh
  8. ^ http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Kahedins
  9. ^ http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Malomedies
  10. ^ http://www.arena.net/blog/the-sylvari-soul
  11. ^ http://www.guildwars2guru.com/topic/17543-arenanet-the-sylvari-soul-%E2%80%93-angel-mccoy-on-writing-the-sylvari/pagest30p835225#entry835225
  12. ^ http://www.guildwars2guru.com/topic/17676-arenanet-dream-and-nightmare/pagest210p842850#entry842850
  13. ^ http://dragonseason.com/Forum/InternationalCommunity/tabid/79/forumid/1/postid/330/scope/posts/Default.aspx