Wandering Monsters: The Fair Folk

I have always felt that the fey needed more page-space devoted to them. Several years ago, I think right after Player's Handbook 2 came out, I tried to run a campaign that took place in a land that was tied closely to the Feywild.

There was not a lot of solid Feywild flavor in Manual of the Planes, so I ended up having to make stuff up/crib ideas from The Dresden Files, stuff by Robert Holdstock, some HellboyThe Waterborn, and its sequel The Black God (the latter two mostly just for ideas on spirits and animism).

Heroes of the Feywild expanded on it quite a bit, and remains one of my favorite 4th Edition books of all time, so--to me, at least--it would be a shame to not at least see it as a strongly-presented option (especially given that it already has a strong foundation).

As for its inhabitants, I think that the description--inherently magical beings with strong ties to nature--is apt enough, so long as it also includes animals as well as plants; dryads and hags are all well and good, but it is a wyld world out there that includes the pooka, cait sith, selkie, and more. In addition to the whole shapeshifting shtick, I would not also mind seeing vulnerabilities (such as cold iron and various herbs), access to thematic magic (glamour, cold, fire, etc), magic resistances, and  fey rules (such as being bound by bargains, unable to lie, cannot cross over certain materials, etc).

Oh, I almost forgot spirits. Animal spirits and spirits of the land--basically, the stuff that made it into Primal Power--can make for compelling stories (as well as challenges).

On the topic of stories, I disagree that it is hard to come up with adventure plots concerning the fey. If you have never read the The Dresden Files, several books focus on the fey courts, and many that do not include them to some capacity (he does, after all, have a fairy godmother). Granted a lot of them stray from the "traditional" dungeon crawling formula, instead focusing on courtly intrigues, or using them as quest heralds or sources of information, but there are also plenty of instances where they end up having to throw down.

Even discounting the fey, the Feywild itself--or Faerie or whatever--can make for an interesting backdrop.

The descriptions and flavor for the various examples are not anything new; dryads are bonded to trees, hags are evil deal-making old women that spend their time hunched over cauldrons, nymphs can blind or kill you, and so on.

What I want to see is how the flavor extends itself to mechanics. Will dryads just end up with charm person and tree stride 3/day? Will hags just have a lengthy spell list and/or the option to lump on spellcaster levels to get them to do what you want or need them to do? How will a quickling's speed work if they can allegedly "move faster than the eye can follow"?

A lot of this will probably depend on how spells themselves work. Personally I think it is silly for a dryad to have limited charms and treeportation, especially when each ability has its own cap. I mean, how do you explain that sort of magic? A hags magic could be based around how wizards work, and in that sense I could see them having more limited magic. I think an interesting and flexible ritual system, as well as a mechanic for making and breaking bargains, would go a long way to properly evoking their powers.

This would be a good chance to explore some experimental rules (hint hint).

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