The Kypiq tribe are unquestionably the most diminutive of the tribes, but their small size and adorable demeanor belies the true value their form affords them. With an average height of about 4' (122cm) tall, and an average weight of about 60 lbs (27 kg), the Kypiq are significantly lighter on their feet than the other tribes, enabling them to make their homes in the treetops of the forests scattered throughout Elyria's temperate regions. With their medium to olive-tone skin, and their light brown, chestnut, or auburn hair, they blend in easily among the various broad-leaf and coniferous trees of the forest. Their most striking feature, however, are their large, brown eyes which have evolved to provide improved vision - particularly in the thick, forest canopy - but is also frequently mistaken for child-like proportions found in other tribes. As such, the Kypiq are often referred to by any number of diminutive nicknames which exacerbate their squirrel-like stereotype.
All living creatures in Elyria are rated along three axes of attributes: Physical (Strength, Agility, Stamina), Mental (Will, Reason, Focus), and Social (Persuasion, Intuition, Leadership). The values below represent the Kypiq's predisposition toward certain attributes. Note that the actual starting values of a character's attributes are based on their specific parents, but a character's bloodline also determines how easy or difficult it is to raise one attribute over another.
Before the Neran, Kypiq, Hrothi, or Brudvir, there were what scholars refer to as the "Proto-Neran". It's believed that the aforementioned current-day tribes are all descendants from this pre-historic race of Mann. It is unknown how their distinct evolutions began but, at some point in the distant past, a catalyst lead to the fracturing of the Proto-Neran and forced them to flee from their established homelands.
During this Fracturing, the early Tribe of Mann fled in multiple directions in order to escape some unknown enemy or ailment. Some burrowed deep within the mountains that bordered the temperate steppes, seeking security and safety in the timeless stone. Others headed to higher ground, traveling up to where the air was so thin and the trees so dense that no one, or nothing, could follow them. And yet others, who would eventually become the Kypiq, left the grasslands, looking for a place to call home. Eventually, they came across the Great Forest. The Great Forest was not welcoming to their enclave, and rather than the gentle, protecting touch they know now, they were met with claws, teeth, and death from forest predators like bears, cougars, and canis rabbits.
Among those ancient Kypiq ancestors was an individual, and her mind was truly a wonderful thing. It told her not to look down, but instead look up. They climbed into the forest canopy and made all manner of dwellings and tools to keep them safe. Doing so, they managed to truly see the forest for the trees. Over time, through evolution and more than a few falling-out-of-tree accidents, the Kypiq grew smaller and smaller into what they are today.
In general, they try to avoid any kind of competition that is determined by force. Force is for the tribes with small minds. The Kypiq have their tools on which to rely. They are deeply protective of the trees, for the trees mean far more to them than just a home. They are a way of life and, when the forest suffers, the Kypiq suffer in kind, as the forest provides their sustenance, resources, and shelter. If only out of pragmatism, they are fervently protective of their biome.
The Kypiq are a clever race, and one that has found prosperity as creators and builders. Tenacious and determined, their diminutive size sometimes fails at crossing a Kypiq's mind, as they are just as willing to argue with a Brudvir as any other.
Friendly and generally welcoming, those who disrespect the forest will incite the ire of the Kypiq, though they will maintain a facade of friendliness continually. Naturally curious, they are known to ask many questions, and enjoy tagging along with traveling merchants in order to learn more about foreign lands. They are almost always willing to trade for contraptions or technology if it is something they haven't seen before.
Owing to their history as a Proto-Neran tribe, combined with their frequent communication with their taller neighbors, the Kypiq continue to speak a modern-day dialect of what is believed to be the original Proto-Neran language. In addition, the Kypiq's need to communicate while hidden in the trees spurned the invention of a special cant, sometimes called "Forest Chatter" by outsiders. This unique form of communication is comprised of a variety of sounds that, to the untrained ear, merely sound like bird calls, breaking branches, and cricket song. Never taught to outsiders who don't have the Kypiq's native regard for the forest and the Faedin, speakers are safe to communicate within the presence of their Neran neighbors without being understood. As a related mechanic, several of the Kypiq's emotes, such as 'growl' plays the actual sounds of known in-game animals, allowing them to mimic several of the forest animals on-command.
The Kypiq are Faedin, an animist religion that roots much of its belief in the forces of nature. The Faedin believe that the physical and spiritual planes are inextricably linked, and that all living things - not just Mann - are filled with spirit. This belief is demonstrated throughout many, if not all, facets of a Fae's culture, from their ceremonial practices, to the prevalence of animal and plant symbolism in their artwork.
Like other religions, all Faedin share the same basic tenets but there are individual differences between the various tribes of Mann. For example, while the Brudvir believe that only animals have spirit - and trees, insects, and other living things do not - the Kypiq believe that all living things are filled with spirit and should be protected.
As a result, the Kypiq have become the protectors of the wild and have, as part of their religion, vowed to kill no living thing if it can be helped. As such, while the Kypiq will gather nuts, berries, and other seeds from plants, they're unlikely to eat roots or other floral components which would kill the plant. Similarly, while a Kypiq can eat meat from a fallen animal, they do not hunt. Their unwillingness to kill has allowed them to gain the trust and faith of many a forest creature, leading them to be skilled animal tamers. Legends even tell of some Kypiq who were able to talk to animals.
But their diet is not all good. After generation upon generation of not eating meat, most Kypiq lack the enzymes necessary to break down animal effectively. This results in them gaining no protein from the animal, it doesn't satiate them as effectively, and they tend to get lethargic after consuming animal proteins.
The Kypiq are an energetic race, certainly, and that is reflected in the kinds of games they play. From throwing things like pine cones at unsuspecting passersby to tricking them the forest is haunted, their mischievousness is to be noted. Beyond that, testing their limits and abilities in trials of athleticism, such as parkour contests and races through the forest canopy, are common.
The Kypiq, in their reverence of nature and the spirits contained therein, sing songs. In this way, they honor the trees that they make their homes in, the trees that grant them their safety, and the forests that grant them their livelihood. They use a wide plethora of musical instruments, from wind to strings to percussion, and, at night (and sometimes during the day), the whole forest can be alive with the celebrations of the Kypiq, audible even in areas beyond the forest.
Their expertly-crafted silk tapestries - the silk obtained from the insects that produce it inside the forest - and fine, silk garments are prized for their quality and luxury. They often feature depictions of mighty beasts, beautiful landscapes and vistas, and the elementals which the Kypiq worship.
The wealthy of other nations often pay large sums for fine, silk clothing but, among the Kypiq, it is commonplace among all social and financial classes
The Kypiq live in the greatest forests that the world can remember seeing, rivaled perhaps only by those in the tropics. Their small stature makes inhabiting other biomes potentially dangerous but, in the forest, they are able to find peace among the canopies of the trees.
Living hand-in-hand with nature, they have all they need for both subsistence and economic or technological prosperity.
Using the trees themselves as their foundation, they employ an additive style of architecture, rather than subtractive. What this means is that, to the smallest degree possible, they leave the trees unchanged and take only what is needed from them in order to create their physical infrastructure.
Housing is done on a per-family basis, similar to the Neran style of housing. Communities are rather tightly-knit, and families living closely to one another in proximity are close socially as well, resulting in much co-habitation of certain spaces.
The wealthier, or cleverer, live higher among the canopies then others, with the Steward of the Forest living in the strongest and tallest tree.
They have developed an intricately-constructed zipline system in order to travel from one tree to another without ever setting foot on the ground.
The Kypiq are a bunch of rascals, that's for sure. They are somewhat hoarding in their mentalities, which is bad for those with limited space.
The Social Classes are determined less on the basis of interpersonal hierarchy, and more on their position as valued beings of the Forests they revere.
Because of the shared lineage and language with the Neran, Kypiq land is distributed into the pidgin-Neran terms of Kindomes, Dutrees, Suntrees, Burtrees, and Tallements.
The leader of the Kypiq is known as the Spirit of the Forests. The other Guardians of the Forest, led by the Spirit, are the Thorns and the Roots below them. Because cleverness is considered a vital forest skill, and leadership is viewed as a spiritual duty, all the Guardians tend to also be accomplished inventors and devout Faedin.
Land-and-or-tree-owners become Stewards of the Forests and are expected to keep the forest well-tended in addition to providing for their Tallements, tending toward practical crafts. The Keepers of the Forest oversee Tallements or Burtrees and may be well-versed in trap-making, alchemy, or mercantilism depending on where in the forest they are situated.
The Spirit is considered the cleverest among the Kypiq, and therefore the most qualified to both lead and serve the forest. Cleverness comes in a variety of ways and the Kypiq are just as likely to value a great inventor as they are a sneak-thief, as long as their ingenuity is great and their spirit agreeable. They do not care for truly malicious tricks, so their definition of politicking includes a certain amount of trickery and cheating.
In a power vacuum, they choose the new Spirit of the Forests through a battle of wits.
The Kypiq prize a great mind and are encouraged from a young age to experiment and observe. They take the practical approach to education and would likely faint if presented with a dusty, Hrothi tome from which to learn.
For those with alchemical interests, they are sent to learn among the Kypiq's greatest alchemists at the Kinothian: a school within the North's great forest of giant mushrooms. This establishment has stood for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Closer to home, near the transition point between the forest and the grasslands, lies the Arkyn. It is an institution where both the Neran and Kypiq have gone in order to learn from the greatest Tinkerers and Mechanists. The Arkyn leaves a very distinct impression, built almost like clockwork, with various gears, levers, and cogs. It represents the height of engineering on Elyria.
Not all Kypiq find themselves with a career in the science and technology sector, though most could probably talk with confidence on the finer points of either. Those that don't may pursue crafts that aren't overly time consuming or provide a great deal of excitement in a day, such as weaving, trap making, or weapon crafting. These skills may be passed down among any member in the community (not often a family member) or picked up from passing travelers or nearby Neran settlements.
The Kypiq, while not physically strong, are quite clever and will take advantage of the terrain and their gadgets in order to defend their Forests. Not prone to bouts of Imperialism, their forces use a combination of guerrilla tactics and contraptions when faced with war, favoring a highly mobile style. They are strongest while in the forest, but their small size grants them impressive stealth; as such, when not utilizing their inventions, they are able to move large forces rather stealthily in most areas. Though at somewhat of a disadvantage in open and empty flat ground where even sparse cover is lacking, those who step into the forest are likewise facing tremendous adversity. It is because of this that the Forests have remained under Kypiq control for so long.
A small section of their army consists of specialists dealing with sabotage and incapacitation, called the Mokshin. Their nimble stature and mechanical knowledge make the Mokshin a fearsome opponent, dismantling armies from behind the scenes. In times where war threatens the Kypiqs borders, the Mokshin may be mobilized to assist allied nations, such as the Neran.
Neran - The Neran and the Kypiq get along, but how much of that is a result of the constant trade of materials - such as dairy, produce, inks, and silk - or simply out of a mutual respect for the ingenuity and reliability of one another's architecture is anyone's guess. There's a possibility it could be both! The Neran, while perhaps not up to Kypiq-standards in Plant Rights, are not generally careless with their lands. Neran agriculture practices should certainly be praised for their sustainability and efficiency.
Hrothi - The Hrothi harbor a distrust of the Kypiq, due to their propensity for gathering items of visual interest, as well the Kypiq's ability to navigate their normally impassable tunnels. The Kypiq really have no idea about this, finding endless interest in the underground passageways they are constantly being prevented from entering and illuminated manuscripts they apparently weren't given permission to pick up. They share a love of knowledge and a faith-bound duty to protect, which should bring them together. The Hrothi disagree with the experimental and oftentimes chaotic approach the Kypiq take, often bringing up the old saying, "Even a chisel can fell the mountain."
Janoa - The Kypiq want absolutely nothing to do with the Janoa. They are appalled by the Hunt: or, as they put it, the ritualistic slaughter of spirits. While the Kypiq seek to preserve and protect the forest spirits - flora and fauna alike - Janoan hunters believe that killing and consuming prey will impart its spirit into them and make them stronger. It is rumored that the Janoa, having long ago hunted jungle phoenixes to extinction in an effort to become immortal, have learned that the broad-leaf forest may have a similar bird hidden in its canopy.
Brudvir - The Brudvir are broadly-built carnivores that tower over the diminutive, vegetarian Kypiq. Although adventurous Kypiq may trek into the Taiga for trade or knowledge with the Brudvir, the Brudvir are generally not welcomed in Kypiq forests since they cannot be trusted to not kill. Rather than confront a Brudvir about this, the ingenious Kypiq would simply find other, more subtle, tactics to waylay, harass, or dissuade them from entering the forest. If they are allowed to enter, it is always with escort - seen or unseen.