The marvel and whimsy of the fair folk, is it not breathtaking? Ah, magnificent! Incredible! I tell you, there is much to tell. However, the Primers have it all wrong. That is something I wish to set straight, for all of you. Please, indulge me a moment as I tell you all there is to know!
The fey, alien and majestic. They follow a sense of wonder that is mostly alien to material plane denizens. However, despite being distant from the creatures of the mortal realm, these spritely spirits embody many emotional extremes and ideals. But, where would such creatures dwell? A Mirror Plane, some say. That is poppycock, mere propaganda made by Lords of the Courts to seem akin to true deities. That isn’t to say that fey gods don’t exist, but many of the leaders of the courts are far from gods themselves. Sure, you can find them on Arborea, Ysgard, Limbo, Pandemonium and even the Abyss… But, what other such wondrous places might they hide? I have just the answer for you!
Author’s Note: Another post for the June RPG Blog Carnival? Why not!? Find out more here! And by all means, this might be one of the longest things I’ve made yet! As in, Wall of Text long! Why? Because I like to challenge myself with new ideas and new things to tackle.
This time, my relatively grognard-y ways revive an old character of mine while trying to figure out a greater place for the fey in the Planescape/AD&D Great Wheel. As I’ve made it clear, I don’t care for the 4th edition take on things and care less for stuff like Feywild being in the Great Wheel. Okay, that’s a lie… I like to modify some things when I do the Nentir Vale, especially with making the planes more alien and hostile. Despite being a curmudgeon for old school lore, I figure it’s time to make do and repurpose things!
In this, I try to sample the Fey Wild books themselves, alongside Planes of Chaos, Legends & Lore and The Tall Tales of the Wee Folk (from BECMI); in order to build my own Planescape-y proof of concept. Plus, this allows me to tie in some new ideas brought in through 5th edition as well! So, for those who’d like to indulge my experiments in world building, here’s a lengthy prose about the life of the fey in the Great Wheel. Enjoy the words of Ramon DeLeon, Priest and Planes Traveler.
Let’s get started with a few basics. Unlike many creatures of the Outer Planes, the Fey operate on a different logic. For most outsiders, the spiritual essence and physical form work in tandem. Now, the fey are pure material and spirit but lack a soul. The fey spirit embodies many things, but these things cannot be brought into an afterlife. However, most cannot truly die unless they truly embrace the void. Kill a faerie and they’re liable to come back and seek revenge. However, should one embrace death, then they truly embrace The True Death, to take one from the Dustmen. In fact, several dustmen try to study the secret behind the fey death. They’re unlikely to crack that egg shell open any time soon. Some Dusties say that the power of “disbelief” is enough to truly kill off a fey. It is part of this reason why the Elves of many Material Planes left the fey, so they could embrace life as a material humanoid.
And while some can become quasi-deities, they aren’t overtly divine in the traditional sense. The Archfey are by all means their own animal, apart from Gods… or “Powers” if you prefer. These archfey observe various factions and forces. The Seelie, or the High Folk, embody all there is and more to sylvan beauty. The Unseelie, or the Low Folk, are their chilling mirror opposite. The Wild Fae are those unaligned with such things, they are simply too free. And with each grouping, an archfey is present to rule. Those who revere the archfey are said to be barred from the gods themselves, as they have turned their backs on “true divinity”. For what it matters, the Athar have found a common ally against the power of deities in the archfey. From the archfey viewpoint, ascension into a fey deity is a betrayal to the sylvan blood. Despite this bad blood, there are many fey taking up the roles of priesthood. Some are secretive about this, while others are loud and celebratory. Shrines to various deities have been known to pop up and disappear through all of the fey dimensions. As one would expect, most of this worship revolves around fey oriented deities, as few outside of that range would except priests from the sylvan lands.
And, despite the fey being seen as the avatars of chaos (next to the Slaad), many work within the realms of order… or at least, their own order. Stereotypes paint them as mischief-makers and backstabbers. There are many cases of both, but it’s not always the fact. In fact, many love creating law within the logic of the fey. Others are inclined to enter into deals and will ensure that it will be fulfilled to the best of their ability. Do expect a twist or modification in the favor of the fair folk though, some form of trickery is often found… but, it’s not always the case. Sometimes certain passions are the reasons for what they do too. None the less, many in general can prove to be loyal allies. In many ways, supporters of the Seelie, and at times the Unseelie, have a devout zeal to them. They’ll follow their leadership to wherever and heed almost any command. Especially with the former, many followers act like a well structured military order, despite Titania not being interested in some of these formations, herself.
Should a mortal find themselves caught up with the fey, sharing arts and culture is often a good way to get out of that situation. Even the most devious are naturally curious about the lore and culture of primer kind. They look at us like the Clueless look at all of those planes beyond, before they realize that harsh true of course. But, the same could be said for a lot of fey too. Sometimes, the creature in question might want to offer a trade. The more valuable or rare the mortal thing in question, the more alluring it is for the fey in question. In fact, even the guards of portals to the sylvan realms can often be bribed by primers and planars hoping to gain access… at least to the Good Folk. The High and Low Folk portals are barred, with the Low being slightly more accessible. A final word of warning though, time always passes in a strange manner in each of these places. Staying just a moment could be the equivalent of staying a century in the Prime Material. Before any would be travelers finish their preparations and make the journey, let us continue with our look at the many realms of the fey, starting with the two Major Courts!
The Seelie Court
For starters, you may ask, “What of the Seelie Courts? They are paragons of good, no?” Well, you would be right in many ways. The Seelie view themselves as beings of beauty and unity, perfected. In fact, many aspire to be within the court and fail by just a margin. Some find them too elitist, while others respect their somewhat closed nature to ensure that their message stays the same. After all, why would they primarily dwell beside the Chaotic Good plane of Arborea? Home to spirits of freedom known as the eladrin, many have also taken a pledge to aid this wandering court.
This isn’t to say that the demiplane where the Seelie dwell in is static. True to their nature, the demiplane that the seelie live in has a habit of traversing the chaotic and good aligned planes. It’s possible to accidentally access their realm from anywhere from the Beastlands to Ysgard. However, they make access intentionally challenging to keep outsiders away. However, paragons of virtue and righteousness may have their chance to prove themselves. This is especially the case for any visitor who already has an affinity for the fae, especially the “beautiful” and “pure” kind. While the Court has traits that match up with the Celestials of the Upper Planes, there are not the same. In fact, should you try to compare the two, expect plenty of scolding. Should the Court be in Arborea at the time of this guffaw, the Eladrin will likely take notice and find the matter most amusing. Anyway, admiration and flattery makes up a lot of the reasons for any visitor to be welcomed to their true realm.
Rulership of the Seelie Court tends to fall to the mighty queen, Titania. However, Oberon claims to have some level of clout too. While not entirely wrong, most of the genuine politics are handled by Titania. From her high, and in some instances holy, throne; she commands her forces throughout the shifting dominion. To her, protection of all the Seelie revere is of utmost importance. For the most part, this overlaps with what primers would call “the forces of good”. However, the Seelie approach their interest with a more whimsical take. As for the divinity status of Oberon and Titania? This has been left a mystery. Some claim that they are the strongest of archfey, while others proclaim that have proven themselves to be deities. Neither will claim one or the other.
While they often look down upon outsiders, any “esteemed guest” that is granted a “diplomat’s access” to their courtly realm is still treated quite well. These rare guests are pampered by hospitality that the fair folk are well known for, especially when treated with utmost respect. However, much of these lavish treatment is also a form of flattery and bribery of sorts. Any emissary that speaks praises to the Seelie is always welcome. This isn’t to say that these services are purely political. Some genuinely helping out the rare traveler that has gained access to their realm.
This isn’t to say that the Seelie are always some paragon of goodness. True to the fey nature, their views are warped, distorted and border the alien. As such, when contending with mortal realms and mortal views, it’s not impossible for the Seelie to fall to some corruption… especially among themselves. Some within the court are motivated by a distinct racism, not against their fellow sylvan-kind, but against almost any other race. Within the walls of the courts’ meeting grounds and sanctuaries, some conspire elaborate plans to wipe out and replace non-fey life. Those who are less extreme, but none the less obsessed with “sylvan purity” have settled with the desire to eliminate any “tainted fey” that aren’t within the Seelie Court. This of course means not just the Unseelie Court, but the oft neutral Wild Fae as well! These conspiracies of cosmic genocide are often developed behind scry-free doors and spoken in hushed, warded whispers. However, the forces for these brutal insurrections are building. Had they not been attached to the Seelie already, you’d assume they were the lowest that the Unseelie had to offer. More often than not, these extremists are preoccupied by tasks that suit the needs of the rest of their court. However, they are more than happy to oblige.
The Inner Circle
Titania is the undisputed ruler, despite claims to share it with Oberon. Beside her is her circle of divine and high sylvan aids. They are as follows:
- Oberon, The Faerie King, loyal husband of Titania
- Tiandra, the Humble Noble, a former fiery exarch of Summer
- Verenestra, Goddess of the Dryads, ever vain and flamboyant
- Damh, God of Satyrs and Korred, impish and fun-loving
- Sqeulaiche, God of Leprechauns, a wily trickster
- Eachthighern, God of Unicorns, as noble as the beasts he protects
Other powers tied to sylvan-kind have spent their time within the court, but aren’t active within the inner circle; whether from lack of invitation or lack of interest. Within the circle, the various powers deliberate on countless ideas and visions on where to take the rest of the court. Usually, Titania offers the most stability and logic within these discussions. The actual meeting place of the circle stands as an oddity all its own. Sometimes it manifests as a lavish temple, other times it’s a giant toadstool and sometimes it has just been a magical bubble of sorts. Usually, this shape is sculpted by the whims of whoever is the primary speaker for that meeting. And surprisingly enough, it isn’t always Titania. No matter the case, it always finds itself hovering above the rest of the court’s domain.
At one point, it was a fixture of the Summer Court, former Queen Tiandra chose to align herself with the Seelie in the end. While this brought great shame upon the Wild Fae, it brought glory to Titania’s order. In fact, when the Summer Court acts out of line in a manner that the Seelie does not approve of, the latter will often bring up their acquisition of Senaliesse to the former. This dominion resembles a glistening and heavenly meadow surrounded by equally divine-looking trees. Bark glows with a distinct radiance, as the wind brings a calming hum between the leaves. The Castle itself is built around the tallest of these radiant trees.
Tiandra herself has taken up rule of just the castle, while serving in Titania’s council. Most of the time, she indulges in the tranquility of her realm; now free of the politicking of the Seasonal Courts. Her attitude is extremely laid back to the point of sloth. Very little gets done around the castle, with the exception that very little needs to get done. While the guard are hardy and capable of self-defense, they often find themselves loafing around in a self-induced meditative state. However, when she is called upon a curia regis assembly, she reverts back to her passionate and mentally sharp former self, even though she gave up her status as Sidhe Exarch of Summer to another. To many of the Seelie Exarchs, she is an anomaly and a free-loader, despite proving herself to be competent when needed.
The Gilded Gate
Many servants have become dissatisfied with the harsh standards of their overseers. However, they refuse to give up the perks and privileges that comes with being in the Seelie Court. To try to keep both worlds, some have devised a secret portal that leads into the Gilded Hall of Arborea. The key to entry is both simple and complicated, as it’s a series of thoughts and emotions. The “key holder” must be a part of the Seelie Court, but must be conflicted between loving the impeccable wonder of the Court and the desire to be among others. Upon completing this, the door opens for that fey, granting them access to a back room in the hall. This two-way portal will only work for Seelie Court fey, others who try it fail. Likewise, Seelie who do not have these conflicts can’t open the portal either. So far, no higher powers have discovered it yet.
As one would expect, these conflicted fey desire to be more social. And, what better place for socialization than the Gilded Halls of the Sensates! Sylvans of the seelie often find themselves mingling with many of the denizens, in part to understand what they find beautiful and pure. Sick of the stifling definitions thrust upon them, they return to the curiosity and wonder of their progenitors. However, many still find themselves at odds with some Eladrin; the Chaotic Good celestials native to Arborea. This isn’t to say that the Seelie haven’t found their way into Arborea through other means. Some have been sent as diplomats to speak with Morwel, Queen of the Eladrin, within her Star Court. While the Eladrin and the Seelie don’t always see eye to eye, they remain the greatest of allies in far greater conflicts.
The Lands of Dream
Not to be confused with the Dreamlands of Dream Quest myth. These Lands of Dream act as a seat of power fro the Seelie kind. While it sometimes overlaps into the Kingdom of the Good Folk, it is undeniably the creation of Titania and Oberon. This multiple mile stretch is the closest to the “Mirror Plane” theory as one can get. But, fret not, there is much merit to such ideas, especially in this “World Axis” universe I’ve heard so much about… Anyway, back to the topic at hand! The Dream Lands tend to duplicate the setting of a respective material, when its rulers decide to become coterminous with another realm. However, they aren’t so much merging with the dimension, as they are creating a giant portal. What the purpose of this is? To the rulers themselves, they see a gated area where they can allow the mortal kind to witness and be in awe at the sheer force of the Seelie. Despite replicating a comfortable environment, the scenery within the Dream is no doubt fey. Many qualities are uncanny and alien, especially the creatures brought in to interact with mortal beings. On the outskirts of this shifting mirror are little pockets where the overlords may observe their findings, as it fancies their own motivations.
The Unseelie Court
So, by contrast, we talk of the Unseelie. Pure evil incarnate? Well, it’s not that simple. But, the Unseelie are usually the things of pure nightmare. Their court is situated deep within the crevices of Pandemonium, specifically the layer of Phlegethon. Such a place is a dangerous place of chaos and often evil. Phlegethon itself has the benefit of its winds being dampened compared to the rest of the plane. However, many wicked creatures outside of the fey have made this region their own too. There is a catch! Light and heat seem to be sucked out and dispelled, which is only appropriate to the name of the Unseelie’s leader. Only the truly foolish would try to step near her throne, as the nefarious Queen Mab or the Queen of the Air and Darkness (as she is better known) is at her most powerful here. Those who don’t submit or cooperate are either targeted for domination or extermination. Even the dominions surrounding her throne are extremely dangerous places of terror.
The Queen of Air and Darkness holds dominion over her wretched court. To many, it is home, no matter how terrible. In her attempts to build up a force to rival her sister through all sorts of gruesome experiments, she has created a legion of truly mortifying fey-based abominations infused with her putrid essence. In some cases, weird hybrids have occurred, only a twinge fey in some cases. But, she cares not for the pretense of “purity”; solely the pretense of raw power instead. Like her Seelie counterparts, her status as either an archfey or a deity is left a vague mystery. To her, she’s both. Or rather, she is whatever she feels like considering herself at the time.
This isn’t to say that Pandemonium is the sole layer of the Unseelie. Thanks to careful treaty and crafty negotiation with Lolth the Demon Queen of Spiders, the dark tendrils of the unseelie have been reaching into the Abyss, allowing for more expansion. To counter the Seelie court’s allegiance with the heavenly Eladrin of Arborea, the Unseelie have made experiments with abyssal powers; creating all means of demonic fey horrors. The Fey’ri were one such creation, though many escaped to a prime material. The Queen’s forces suspect that they hide in the Crystal Sphere of Abeir-Toril.
The Frozen Tear
Exiled from the Winter Court’s seats in the Good Kingdom, the Frozen Tear is a fortress as driven by fury and hatred as its commander. In fact, the Unseelie Court doesn’t fully embrace the floating fortress. It is doomed to hover as a detached “demiplane” of sorts, tethered to Phlegethon by convenience. Vul’Gandrekk, an embittered Winter Sidhe, toils away in endless frustration while his loyal units train for an attempted coup that will never occur. His struggle is driven by a lost desire, becoming an Exarch under the Archfey of the Winter Court. Ultimately, he was caught scheming to depose one of the exarchs, was humiliated by rivals and his subsequent retaliation resulted in banishment. Several fatalities occurred before he was removed from the Winter Court.
While he is eternally angry and desires revenge, he is never motivated to truly retaliate. A mixture of fear, desire to move on and apathy have set in. Just as anger permeates through the grim and chilled walls, a sense of sloth also follows. The fortress is a physical incarnation of wallowing self-pity and desire for vengeance. While plans to launch an attack are seemingly never carried out, teams of warriors and their magical sylvan arsenals are more than eager to take down intruders. And for those who are captured? They’ll wish they met their end at the barracks, as the supreme commander himself has a cruel penchant for torture. All he needs is the right spark, the right motivation, the right plan. Should that happen, someone either in the Good Kingdom or beyond shall suffer dearly. In the meantime, he begrudgingly cooperates with the Unseelie, whom he has no loyalty towards.
A failed secret project of the Unseelie. Inspired by the underworlds and underground reaches of several material primes, the fey have taken it upon themselves to create their own sprawling network. For this to become a reality, the foul giants known as “Fomorians” were captured across various primes and brought in as slave labor to help create these territories. Due to formorians having few allies within giantkind, ensnaring them was quite simple for the Unseelie. However, in a moment of weakness, the fell giants rebelled and took hold of much of these sprawling caverns and seemingly endless tunnels. In fact, most of the tunnels themselves connect directly to the layer of Phlegethon itself. Their hideous features and mania is almost complementary for Pandemonium itself.
While not as far as the Seelie Court, the dimensional energies of these networks have tapped into the Good Kingdom. The Fomorians themselves found the means of making their way into the Wild Fae domain thanks to the very same sorceries they looted from their former masters. Others have turned to faith, in such beings like the dread giant god known as Korantor, to bolster their forces as well as their hatred for the rest of giantkind. As such, plenty of Fomorian raids have occurred within the Kingdom of the Good Folk. Many denizens who aligned with the “Higher” and “Lower” powers of the Fey are relieved, as they can evade the random violence caused by these fey-touched giants. Currently, these Fomorians seek a strong leader to carry them into what they think is the next great age. One such fell giant, Shinaelestra, has quickly risen in the ranks. Her mixture of a rare sense of wit combined with a manipulative tongue allows her to amass followers and devotees from her own kind in mere moments. Another thing sets her apart, her decadent desires to embrace beauty, something her race often lacks. However, her style fits very much into the macabre. She loves twisting her enemies into clothing or even furnishings.
A former project of one of the Exarchs of Spring. Aurusel was fascinated by tending to his own private arboretum, with a wide variety of plants and even wildlife plucked from various primes. Silvermaw, a gifted treant, was tasked with guarding and adding to the plot of land. However, his mistake of adding “wolves” lead to a savage tribe of werewolves infiltrating the garden. The chaotic hunters began to strip the land of much of its population in record time. To correct his mistake, Silvermaw desperately consulted dark fey sorceries to try to rid them. The treant became quickly overwhelmed by these dark arts and created a forest fire that likewise spread out of his control. Consumed by raw fury, he attempted to wield the flames to incinerate the werewolves. In the end, he only chased them off, but the dark fey corruption warped him and the garden. Before Aurusel was ready to return to his project, it was gone, lifted off from the Wild Horizon. The Unseelie co-opted it as their own sick joke against the Spring Exarch. Following this, Aurusel fell into self-imposed exile. Not even the current Archfey, The Horned Lord, knows where he is.
Timbergorge, as it is known as now, is a forest of terrors populated by some of the most savage and vile fey to traverse the multiverse. It sits in a pocket dimension outside of Pandemonium and Carceri. It sits as a sickly woods rife with dangerous plants and horrid experiments, save or the barren and blighted zone surrounding Silvermaw. Some of the more bestial forces of the Abyss as well as Carceri have taken notice of the domain, doing all they can to reel it closer to their plane. However, the Unseelie fight back to keep their garden of evil within their grasp. Once expansion deals allow for more influence in the lower planes, negotiations might be on the table.
While still having most of his facilities, the treant often babbles madly or screaming in anguish as his corruption slowly eats at his very fabric of being; slowly turning him into an obedient puppet. Meanwhile, burnt pieces of bark and limbs fall off before reforming into terrible creatures known as “Blights”. However, more painful than losing pieces of himself, his corruption causes a painful regeneration process as significantly more tainted equivalents replace what he lost. None of them obey Silvermaw, unless he calls upon them for defense against non-fey intruders.
The Goblin Market
As the name might imply, the home of goblins. While composed of ramshackle homes and bazaars as far as the eye can see, there is rulership within this pocket. A dark and ominous castle sits just beyond the massive space where the Goblin King watches. One can obtain almost any substance, good or more. Services and items can tend towards the illicit and/or dangerous here, as the goblins quite simply don’t care. Some mean it out of malice, while others are apathetic or greedy. When not engaged in the market, goblins love to spread freely around the Unseelie, causing all sorts of “lighthearted mayhem”. But, against non-unseelie, their pranks are fueled by distinct hatred and dark humor.
Beyond the proper market is the kingdom of Nachtur. It is here that the sylvan gobins commune in private. A disjointed and hastily built locale, but one also built up on a fortified crevasse atop a hill. A few spindly towers jut from the structure, allowing the mightiest and most fearsome of the goblins to look upon the lands below. They particularly enjoy spying on outsiders who make their way into the markets.
The Abyssal Cysts
The pact made by Queen Mab with the forces of the abyss wasn’t without some level of mutual trickery. Fey-adjacent demonlords had to contend with the Unseelie within their realms. In return, forms of abyssal corruption had made their way into Phlegethon. Of course, the nefarious queen herself doesn’t care, since it doesn’t directly interact with her court. Or rather, that was the case. In time, these fonts of demonic energy bubbled into its own Unseelie pocket, where dark fey would be lured. The end result was the fey creature becoming more demonic, more wild, free from the Unseelie Queen’s grasp. Attempts to protest this had several Abyssal forces reminding of the Fey presence in their plane. To them, this was fair play. The Queen retaliated in full, causing an unknown layer of the abyss to be stolen and warped, as it became another temporary bubble. What that layer was is unknown, as it was promptly destroyed. In time, the demonic cyst realm became useful to The Queen, as animosity between the Unseelie and Demons shifted towards indifference. Mutual enemies still temporarily unite them though, as well as mutual deals that serve to aid both.
The Kingdom of the Good Folk
The Good Kingdom, Land of the Good Neighbors, Kingdom of the Fair Folk, and so on and so forth. Deep within the Ethereal depths is a sylvan neutral ground, where laws of reality belong to them. In truth, just as the elementals are drawn from the energies of the Inner Planes, the spiritual essence of the fey belong to the furthest borders of the Ethereal Plane. Within these vast reaches, the Good Kingdom is such a place. While the Seelie and Unseelie often stew within their respective factions and strongholds, the Wild Fae call this dominion their home. That said, powerful emissaries within both major courts will still meet on these grounds. In some instances, the true rulership of the seelie and unseelie will make their way into this space too.
Despite being billed as the neutral grounds where fey can congregate, this is a lie that sylvan kind tell themselves. The territories are constantly disputed by the Courts of the Seasons. When they aren’t busy politicking for power and influence of the Kingdom, they try to make bids with Seelie or Unseelie, depending on which the Court seat aligns with more at the time. In fact, the actual Kingdom of the Good Folk is a small part of the dimension. Furthermore, it’s not actually a kingdom. It’s more of a congregational hub for the fey as a whole.
The natives of this realm are the Wild Fae. They are those not strongly aligned with the Seelie or Unseelie and, oddly enough, make up the majority. However, those who don’t try to tie themselves with one of the four seasons find themselves exposed and vulnerable. Among the largest populace are the Sylvan/”True” elves or the Sidhe*. In many regards, they’re like a divergent version of their Material Planes counterpart, similar but long since split at some common ancestor. These alien elven beings are master practitioners of eldritch magics. Just as this is the home of the Sidhe, this place is seen as a rebellion against the fey gods. To the archfey, they have betrayed the core ethos of what it means to be fey. Rather than strike directly, The Kingdom of Good Folk is intentionally isolated from the traditional Outer Planes. The enforced neutrality probably likens The Good Kingdom to the Outlands more than any of the other planes anyway. Either way, the natives seem more content with existing deep within the energies of the Ethereal over being tethered to any sort of wheel-based structure. Too much structure tends to impose on the fey, after all.
*For those using 5th Edition, the Sidhe use the stats for the either the High Elf from the Player’s Handbook or the Eladrin, as found in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. The name Sidhe was chosen as an alternative, as Eladrin are Chaotic Good Celestials in the Planescape Campaign Setting. In addition, while in any of the Courts or the Good Kingdom, the Sidhe (as well as other fey races) are immune to charms as well.
Astrazalian, the Moving City
Despite being so different, many Sidhe are inspired to travel around the Mortal Realm for both means of trade and communication. Astrazalian, the Moving City, is one such place. A masterpiece of Sidhe construction and creation, the Sidhe use this traveling hub as a bragging piece when interacting with mortals of the material. A healthy mixture of new towers alongside ancient spires gives the city an eclectic and living quality to visitors. Beyond its borders is an eternally green forest covering all sides of the city’s walls. It seems to have been sculpted and reshaped to fit the somewhat vein and picky tastes of an otherwise benevolent leader. Likewise, the cleanly shaped and sometimes oval-like buildings cater to a specific look. Even the lakes seem to always caste a certain shade of blue at all times, as giant swans pull fanciful white boats across lakes that surround the city.
Despite its origin point being in The Kingdom, the current leadership of Lady Shandria had direct ties to the Summer Court. While this bias isn’t overt, many still resent her for it. However, she has been known to hire hands from the mortal realms for various tasks. Anyone willing to put up with her at times high and mighty attitude find themselves working for her in one way or another. She especially loves mercenaries to undermine rivals of her relatives, but this is often mentioned in hushed tones. Her justification is that the other courts typically indulge in such “skullduggery” too.
In her attempts to cover up her past, many rumors surface that she is related to Queen Tiandra. This is in fact true. While not direct family, she was a well respected part of the Summer Court before Tiandra sundered any connection with them. The end result caused Shandria to leave as well. However, she attempted to regain some favor, despite her house’s name destroyed. Should anyone bring this up to her, Shandria’s demeanor will quickly shift from collective and inquisitive to straight up enraged and aggressive. Part of the reason why this rumor hasn’t become widespread is due to few surviving her wrath. But, between you and I, she has had some success obtaining more credibility among the Court of Summer.
Vale of the Fading Moon
Werebeasts weren’t originally native to these sylvan pocket worlds. Though, some beg to differ! No matter the truth, several have established a colony safe from harm. Long ago, the ancestors of the founders were banished from a pristine garden after a mad treant chased them off. In their defense, they were captured playthings that it tried to bend to its will. Free from their oaky tyrant, they found themselves in a strange proto-matter beyond the Good Kingdom itself. Through the most sorcerous among them, as well as the influence of fey magics itself, a wild retreat was born. Here, prey magically spawn at the start of the day for these carnivorous wildfolk to indulgence themselves in hunting.
That isn’t to say some level of society doesn’t exist, but its kept as rudimentary as possible, save for a shrine to a deity from Abeir-Toril (Malar, the Beastlord), as well as one of the founders; Moonlotus Fadingdusk. Known mostly strongly in this dominion, her spirit ascended to a higher level of power all its own. This minor deity was once a volkodlak (undead werewolf-like creature) that ascended beyond her accursed state while within the very Vale she created. Beyond these shrines, little religion shows up. The fears of these werebeasts are largely overblown, but lack of interaction with outside realms have kept them from becoming too much of a threat to their neighbors. Their raw power is well contested against any neighboring lands they tried to take, resulting in mutual pointless casualties… especially for the werebeasts. In the end, both sides settled on a truce that only extends up until their current established borders. Some trade lines have even been set along neutral borders.
There is a strange secret that isn’t well known in the Vale though, quite a few of the younger generations are fey hybrids. Decades in the Good Kingdom have turned progressively younger generations more fey. This is due to lax rulings resulting in both the blood of the sidhe and fey animals entering the bloodlines, in addition the very magics of the realm itself. In fact, they’re not true therianthropes anymore. The few who do know this have created a secret society to ensure that the residents continue to live “the big lie”. This has still lead to a worrying amount of devotion to darker deities, such as the previously mentioned Malar. It is rumored that the Beastlord and others have their own sinister plans in mind. Some have likewise turned to fell sorceries to bring back their “old ways”. In fact, many of the fey-blooded beastmen have been exiled once caught, leaving the “true blooded” to eventually interbreed into their own demise in due time… at least until they import enough material plane subjects. Should too much of this happen, the Vale might slide into the clutches of the Unseelie or perhaps removal from the Fair Folk kingdom as whole.
Antorek, the Living Wild
A powerful but wounded dragon once used incredible planar power to warp into the Good Kingdom, with no direction in mind. However, all that crossed his mind as he succumbed to his wounds was preservation of an idealized form of nature. While aware of The Beastlands, he wanted something distant from the meddling ways of Gods. The archfeys at the time came upon his dying body and were honored to respect his final wish. His body, soul and spirit were transformed within a barren land; creating a spacious realm of numerous biomes and climate types. In no time, plant and animal life followed. Antorek’s dying words told of a society of scrappers and hunters who ruined much of their own natural world and came for him, in hopes that killing this protector would restore the resources they destroyed.
Moved, the archfey placed a curse upon the realm to prevent this from happening once more. Any such sentient being that dares to trespass will be changed to be akin to the wild itself. And in time, even the mind will change. The Sidhe were warned of the realm’s nature, but many ignored it and dealt with the consequences. The mutative magics both uplifted the plants and beasts as well as made visitors more akin to those changed creatures too. The sentient population consists of often humanoid plants and animals. The denizens themselves formed their own societies in tandem with the ever present and serine beauty of the dimension. In fact, those who choose to stay find themselves giving into their wild side, while still retaining intelligence. The realm freely supports this behavior, adapting and reshaping as a morphic wildlife reserve of sorts. In fact, the realm expands for an ever growing population. The only way to stall said growth is for them to leave the realm, and thus the protections of it too.
However, this is not a realm of paradise. Many of the plant and beast people find themselves at odds with each other. While “Antorek’s Chosen” find themselves reincarnating upon death in this realm, many are uncomfortable with the “natural order” involving being hunted down and eaten. In the case of changed visitors, many break free before becoming brainwashed beasts content to live as smart animals. These “Broken Beasts” face existential crisis and crippling depression over what has become of them. Majority of these jaded beast and plant folk venture into the prime material, hoping to integrate with whatever analogue fits best. But, with these travels, details of the material plane return to Antorek.
Many “wyld folk” weren’t content with listening to tales of nature in peril on these worlds. Many decided to use doors and keys to leap into action upon other planes, other primes and more. Tactics can range from guerilla warfare to kidnapping, the latter ranging from random people to entire towns brought into the realm. Much of the population is powerless against these revolutionaries. This has been made worse by the exiled beasts of the Fading Moon taking arms alongside the Antorek extremists. Thankfully, their lofty goals of taking Sigil are doomed to fail.
The Faded Archive
Maintained by Autumn and Winter Sidhe, this place is a library of lost knowledge. The idea was forged as a project to unite the two courts on common ground. However, it rests deep within the Good Kingdoms’ neutral zones. Here, one can request to find lore of days long gone. Ancient Sidhe greybeards deliberate on history in the darkest depths while librarians both monitor and organize the countless volumes of chronicled lore. The lore itself need not be fey related either. While visitors are uncommon, they exist in some capacity. But, woe to those who disrespect the library! All tomes around the rule breaker will animate and suck the life out of them… in a manner far worse than the Autumn Archfey. All that’s left in seconds is dust, while their information is transferred into its own book, kept in a section on troublemakers.
The staff and patrons alike tend to be a specific and eccentric bunch. One of the head librarians is an ancient sidhe simply known as Old-Stretched-Bones; an autumn sidhe with a long and gangly frame. For as long as anyone could remember, she was unnaturally thin and almost skeletal looking. However, she is capable of appearing at any point of the library to ask if anyone needs help. Her assistant is a bipedal blue iguana-shaped creature named Syralith, who mostly makes sure everyone follows the rules. One spring sidhe is a recurring visitor who has somehow not been punished by the library. His appropriate name, “Never-Stops-Babbling”, tells you all you need to know about him. Despite his vice, he’s passionate about learning and loves to not only read, but try to visualize and experience the history himself… out loud.
The bane of many fey, for many reasons, Gnomes. Ever curious and spritely folk, the gnomes often get into mischief for the wrong reason… usually as a consequence of their inquisitive and more so impulsive nature. The Archfey of Autumn, Bountiful Mind, declared that enough was enough. Her ultimatum was simple, dwell in a singular realm or face the wrath of all four seasons. They gladly took up the former and built it up at a rapid pace. And thus, the glory of Tinkerhold was born! As one would assume the population is majority gnomes. However, several goblins who fled the watchful grasp of Nachtur have taken allegiance with the gnomes. Their eagerness to work and create has lead to them being more than welcome.
The Gnomish City is a wonder to behold. Here, clockwork and mad whimsy rule the day. The design of the city is much like wandering inside of a giant clock that twists and turns, with proportions and layouts that defy typical humanoid logic. Some compare the layout to a surreal painting that intentionally defies conventions of the normal world, while surpassing it with wondrous feats of magical technology. The streets twist in angles that would make Sigil look like a prime; impossible angles, alien geometries, shapes that alter gravity simple by approaching them at different points. Once one gets past that, the terror of the gnomish mania gives way to a sense of wonder… if you can get past the randomness of much of the gnomish craft. There are tons of wondrous sites in Tinkerhold too! Mechanica is a series of self-operational factories churning out all sorts of bizarre trinkets and devices to help fuel a gnomish market empire. However, when the constructs in the factors malfunction, their revolt ends up causing all sorts of havoc throughout the domain. In the middle of the sprawling clockwork mega city is a massive clocktower that is proof in the brilliance of their craft. The spire soars into the sky before ending in a bulbous apparatus shaped clock. Even stranger are the smaller clocks that line the tower. Each one tells of a time in a different plane or reality. Sometimes, the clocks get swapped out.
While some projects are practical, many of the devices are pure vanity and are overly complicated. For example, one vendor is proud of a device that consists of a series of pulleys, switches, pipes and arcane conduits that pump magical energies throughout multiple chambers into a single box lined with circular disks. The contraption stands at three times of the size of its hard working inventor. When energy flows into the box below the disks, the disks heat up, allowing the merchant to cook an egg-based breakfast as he sees fit. But to the locals, projects like these make perfect sense. In fact, many of these projects break boundaries and find loopholes that no sane being would try to consider. For example, one creative group found a kind of constructive iron that is the very antithesis of cold iron. Thus, in fey hands, the subject feels stronger. Thankfully, they have the common sense to keep such a project a secret. One could imagine the repercussions, should it fall into powerful hands. Other Cold Iron substitutes prove to be far less dangerous. In fact, these more widely known about projects are one of the main reasons why Tinkerhold is tolerated as much as it is. In the defense of the gnomes, when they put their minds to it, they can perform some very practical and beneficial feats of ingenuity and engineering.
A word of caution, staying in Tinkerhold for more than a few days instills a sort of delirium in its visitors. They begin to overthink things, formulate ideas at a rapid pace and have a desire to craft whatever mad whims come into their head… regardless of how dangerous. In a sense, the mindset of these gnomes is infectious to all. Thus “Artifice Madness” as it’s called has been found in creatures that long since departed from this plane. Many fey from outside the land are willing to help cure it, if only because they don’t want to deal with the consequences of it. One case of the “Madness” actually made its way outside of the Kingdom and into Sigil. Needless to say, one particular member of the Believers of the Source got too carried away at his forge and blew himself up. His horrified associates try to figure out the source of his derangement… Should they discover, they’ll probably want more information on Tinkerhold as a whole.
The Tree of Gateways
It’s bigger on the inside. This already massive and impressive oak is no Yggdrasil, but it’s certain a testament to the powers of sylvan magic. Should you prove trustworthy to a Watcher at the Gate, a magical doorway inside will appear. While no City of Doors, the wooden halls inside this magical tree reveal a plethora of literal doors that act as portals to realms beyond. While the Watch isn’t allowed in the portals, they hold the keys that permit travel. Very few of the native fey have been granted access, as this series of gateways was envisioned for guests and wayward clueless in need of a way back.
The real catch to these portals is a secret known by very few natives, adjusting time. Normally, time works strange in the many realities of the fey. However, when a creature unlocks and enters a portal from this tree, it will properly adjust time as it works on the plane they emerge in. For example, a primer leaves their prime and enters The Good Kingdom. After staying a few days, they access the tree and find a way home. Rather than some fluctuation causing them to be gone anywhere between minutes to centuries, they return to their prime a couple of days after leaving. To the Watchers who oversee the tree, this makes absolutely no sense. Watchers who tried to study too far into this went mad from revelations of different methods of time from the fey methods. To them, this is the equivalent of learning about eldritch horrors.
The Courts of Seasons
While the realms of the Wild Fae try not to concern themselves with Seelie or Unseelie, court politics still finds a way to manifest itself. This takes the form of the Four Seasons. Like with the two traditional courts, each season is overseen by an Archfey. These grand overseers are directly served by private and trusted groups of individuals dedicated to the ideals of that season. While biases instruct otherwise, no season has any particular inclination towards Evil or Good as the Unseelie and Seelie do. This isn’t to say that they don’t have potential favoritism to any one side. As much as they loath to admit it, Summer is more partial to the Seelie and Winter is more partial to the Unseelie. While neither Seasonal Court will support the High or Low Courts, they hold a slight level of admiration.
Many of the Sidhe are not overly attached to one season, but can adapt themselves should they desire to serve one for a set amount of time. Often, the sidhe denizens will find themselves rotating in stations between the four seasonal courts. The Archfey themselves do not mind these temporary assistants, but they don’t particularly care for their flighty and fickle nature either. As for the Archfey themselves, their power matches up to the deific powers of the fey. However, they pride themselves in being separate from true gods. They defy the notion of creating clergy around them, as well as fail to grant divine boons to priests. However, they aren’t against warlock patronage, which they see as different from the ways of priesthood. In many ways, this is yet another act of defiance against both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts; further separation as independent entities. In addition, while they lack priests, they have direct servants of slightly lesser but still incredible power. These are the Exarchs, their own private council of sorts.
While scandal has especially hurt the Summer Court, each respective season court is still bolstered by plentiful allies. While the courts of the seasons rarely get along, they’re wiser than to engage in direct war like the Seelie and Unseelie do. Instead, they’re more likely to stock up on various magic powers, make threats and launch proxy campaigns. They fear that direct intervention would involve all other courts and initiate the destruction of the Kingdom of the Good Folk as a whole… something their High and Low rivals would anticipate and perhaps even hope for.
A final note about the Archfey, their true names are lost. This is intentionally done, as true names are powerful and dangerous. Gaining the title of archfey also means gaining a new title to replace your previous name. As you will notice, each has a respective descriptor that gives some level of insight into how they operate. Not only is this a means of taking pride in who they are, but a means of being identified by those outside of their reach.
The Wild Horizon
Archfey: The Horned Lord
Dominion of the Horned Lord, Supreme Ruler of Spring. A former follower of both Seelie and Unseelie, he quickly became dissatisfied with the pretenses of both. This solidified his ethos of “do it yourself”. Visitors from the City of Doors came to his aid amidst his wild hunt campaigns, they spoke of the spark of ascension. These “Believers of the Source” have become slight acquaintances in the time since they first visited. To the fey, this is unlikely, but this interested the Horned Lord heavily. Through defiance of the impossible, in time he staked his claim in the multiverse; turning his own dominion into a divine realm, which occasionally connects to Ysgard.
As to what happened the Archfey before him? The Horned Lord will dare not say. His reasons are shrouded in mystery, but don’t seem inherently ill-willed or malicious. Otherwise, he’s rather on matters if not a bit blunt. While he’s not an exceptionally emotional being, like the Duke of Flames, he still likes to express himself through a realm of life and opportunity. In fact, his stance on the preservation of life is a bit naive.
Likewise, his celebrations of life embody the resurgence of life and its many fruits that comes with the spring time. Besides the Wild Hunt, he loves staging various hunt campaigns within his own realm. In this, many spirits will take the physical bodies of animals, where participants will do their best to hunt them down. In many ways, it mirrors the hunts of mortals on the prime material, with a distinct sylvan whimsy. Despite his love of hunting, the Horned Lord is far from an aggressive figure. He’s more prone to seeking the positive in life, rather than resulting to retaliation. However, he’s not without critics. Petitioners and denizens of planes like The Beastlands have voiced that they find the practice disrespectful. But, like with the other archfey, his distance from the many Outer Planes of the Wheel makes him indifferent to their plights.
Whether or not he is actually Cernunnos is yet to be determined, but his similarities cannot be ignored. Should he be an imitator, the true deity will have his wrath. Some speculate that he is really an “Immortal Being” that hailed from another version of the Ethereal Plane. He references planes and people that are unknown to many. Others say that he is an avatar of the original deity, spreading his influence beyond the planes. To some, the Archfey became an actual deity and has hidden this fact. The fact that The Wild Horizon’s festivals and festivities often involve acts of debauchery, reckless indulgence and orgies makes some believe that the Horned Lord was once a satyr. The Archfey himself has done nothing to try to deny any of this, but has also not supported it with any further evidence.
Acres of Flame
Archfey: The Duke of Flame
While the previous Archfey of Summer took a duality approach of storms and heavenly calm; the current one is more direct. Following the fall of the previous ruler and embarrassment of the Summer Court, a more adamant and brash ruler took held. The Duke of Flame is one such ruler. By no means a tyrant, he rules summer with a flaming fist. He’s brash, aggressive and quick to anger. His hot temperament has directly affected the former Acres of Resplendence, as it was once known as. Now, the domain is surrounded by steamy jungles, arid deserts and scorching labyrinths of sand turned to glass. And, that’s before accounting for the dangerous beasts that have adapted to these burning climates.
Where the Duke of Flame came from is unknown. Some say he was a Summer Sidhe whose passionate anger helped his rise through ranks at a rapid pace. Others think he was an agent sent to stage a coup against The Lady of Summer. He might even just be a relative of The Lady, taken over through familial bloodline rites. Bringing up this mystery irks him, as he doesn’t like to talk about it. In light of his tough machismo, he is very sensitive on a lot of topics. For example, calling him “Hot Head” is the easiest way to set him off. And once his rampage of rage begins, it takes a lot to settle him down.
This isn’t to say he hasn’t made something resembling a friendship since he took hold of the throne (some say by force). He has made awkward allies of the Doomguard. Their obsession with entropic collapse of reality tends to line up with his vindictive “hot head” nature. He has invited members to discuss rants with him, often getting him riled up and set on a rampage. Other Archfey and Exarchs are starting to catch onto this, but it hasn’t gone widely noticed, as many things have been proven to set the Duke of Flames off. Fortunately, his tirades don’t last long, as he “burns out” much faster than he does with his normal surly attitude. What has been proven is his cross-planar diplomacy with the Efreeti, cruel fiery djinn. Around his most scorching property, one can find efreet guards standing by. Likewise, Summer Sidhe have been spotted within the City of Brass. Few have any idea what this means, but such a collaboration is looked upon with suspicion.
The Learning Harvest
Archfey: The Bountiful Mind
The Court of Autumn holds its own unique realm. Consistently cool and dry, this realm sports an agriculture oriented realm composed of several circles; each sporting different fixtures of “The Harvest”; forms of vegetable and animal life forms found elsewhere in the Kingdom. In the middle is a massive fortress made of a mid-grey stone. In truth, this fortress is a massive library and study dedicated to the storage and learning of all things; not just fey! The Bountiful Mind sits in the middle of this great hall of knowledge.
While the festivities of Spring are lively and decadent, the celebrations of The Learning Harvest are more calm and subdued. They symbolize the end of constant toil and a time to relax and rest. Activities are meant to be soothing. But, in the case of some, terrifying for the sake of fun. The latter festivals bring in sinister imagery as a reminder that winter is not far behind the workings of autumn. And from there, many must brave dark and truly terrifying times.
To the uninitiated, Bountiful Mind the Archfey of Autumn looks like a rotund Sidhe that’s barely animated. True to her fey origins, she uses this as a trick to catch the foolish off-guard. She’s more nimble and quick than many of her predecessors. Plus, she prefers a blase attitude, in order to remain unbiased in either her own work or interactions with others. That said, even in her monotonous tone, she has a dark and cynical sense of humor. The easiest way to get along with her is to tell her a joke. As long as the joke is some jaded jab at something not related to her realm, she will most likely find it entertaining. However, threaten her harvest or her library and she lash out in ways that frightens even the Duke of Flame. This can range from going on a long tirade against everything the perpetrator has done wrong in her eyes to straight up draining life from the victim outright. Likewise, those who prove their worth through their own abilities can earn her favor. In fact, they might even witness the warmer side of her personality, something only shared with a select few. To her, these “works of life” are like children that must always be protected. However, to those who act with kindness in the realm, she sees no issue with “her children” sharing what “gifts” they have to offer. Or more accurately, partaking in a harvest feast or gaining access to the fort’s resources. But, in either case, outsiders are watched in scrupulous observation.
A little known fact is that the golden-colored crops were from a garden in the Seelie Court. In short, the Archfey of Autumn secretly reached out to disgruntled fey employed to maintain the luscious fields beyond the meeting grounds. While Titania and her Inner Circle were busy with a meeting, the field workers focused on the domain of Autumn, allowing the archfey to take the radiant crops to her own landing. Upon discovering this, Titania demanded the return of the fields. However, the converted Sidhe retaliated saying that she wasn’t deserving of them. While Bountiful Mind is not very exploitative, she uses this as leverage when the Seelie try to impose their will on the Seasonal Courts.
The Somber Frost
Archfey: The Queen of Ravens
Despite one thinking that the Winter Archfey and the Unseelie are intertwined, this is very much a falsehood. While the position has been usurped by followers of the Queen of Air and Darkness; it has been fought back. With or without the presence of dark fey, this realm is filled with coldness and emptiness. This is as intentional as it is symbolic. While Fey don’t easily die, there is that grim reminder that it is possible. In many cases, The Winter Court has a job to remind others that it can indeed occur. And unlike other planars, there is nothing afterwards. Much like the Seelie, Winter Sidhe are very xenophobic. However, their distaste is aimed at non-fey planars. They find their presence in the realm extremely distasteful. However, they don’t mind the presence of mortals too much. In fact, some take glee in reminding them that they will die in due time.
The realm itself is one filled with darkness, juxtaposed by the eternal falling of a glowing snow. Likewise, the snow and ice upon the ground carries a similar glow. Most fixtures in the realm range from ruined stone structures to graveyards dedicated to fallen fey. The latter even has sylvan caretakers to ensure that those who fell are never forgotten. Only a few hours of light permeate through this domain per day cycle. Otherwise, it’s a distinct starless darkness, broken up by the shimmering snow. In many cases, this darkness is made worse by the somewhat common blizzard conditions that whirl throughout Somber Frost. Though, these conditions are often crafted by an Exarch of Winter, The Chilling Wind. This mighty spirit holds no malice towards any life, but rather is inspired by the powerful movements of the air currents and sculpting the snow and dirt on the ground below. To him, this is his art and his passion, no matter who might deal with the consequences. In some ways like the Acres of Flame, the region is predominantly a wasteland. Some areas sport vegetation, but much of it has died off or is in an unhealthy state. It’s for this reason that an offering of life is appreciated within the confines of this realm.
This isn’t to say that everything in gloomy within the Somber Frost, despite what its name will tell you. One of the former Archfey, who relinquished his position, still exists within the realm today. The mighty St. Stephan is a jolly soul that resembles a giant and chubby older man. Adorned in a vibrant red outfit, he works alongside his equally festive sidhe to craft all sorts of rewards for good denizens of reality that believe in him. But, for the bad? He has a network of darker winter fey who believe in a sense of just punishment. The Winter Archfey accepts him, as he is still very much a creature winter. His role is symbolic, the perseverance of celebration, creativity and life in a time of death. In many regards, many denizens are disappointed that he didn’t want to stay an Archfey, including the current ruler.
This leader simply calls herself Queen of Ravens or simply The Raven. Beyond a frosty humanoid clad in numerous garments, she has been known to take the form of a three-headed corvid creature. Some speculate a connection to a lost deity of a Prime completely disconnected from the Great Wheel, but few are willing to accept this as a possibility. Unlike the Bountiful Mind, The Raven is genuinely emotionless and removed from all matters. Even if something proves genuinely upsetting to her, she will never be able to show it. Her cold and distant nature is a perfect reflection of the realm around her. In her views, compassion and empathy should be delegated to the Winter Fey that better embody those qualities. The lack of these qualities and more makes her the perfect eyes for unbiased justice… or so Winter says. And when she is called to judge, her icy stare pierces into the most closed of souls. Her calls have been trusted by even the Summer Courts. However, she will twist the law against anyone who tries to compare her to the Unseelie. And by all means, she stays within her own rules while she tries to silence her misguided critic. After all, who would dare compare the sylvan eyes of judgement to the wickedness of the Lower Court?
The Fey and the Other Planes
Despite demiplanes and ethereal pockets being their prime homes, the fey have occupied many realms around the planes. As per their alignment stereotype, the chaotic planes have become the most habitable for them. For the less overtly malicious, the Olympian Glades of Arborea have provided lush lands to roam and wander. In fact, some have aspired to further greatness thanks to less judgemental Eladrin and other celestial beings that float through the reaches. For those seeking more action, Ysgard provides a place to butt heads without too many hard feelings. The Beastlands are the perfection of nature for countless sylvan-kind, even befriending the Guardinals and Animal Lords that protect life there.
In the realms of non-good, many have found their niches too. Some have adapted to Limbo, liking their flexible mindset to the morphic state of the plane itself. The Howling Madness of Pandemonium embodies many of the Unseelie, as well as other fell fey who dwell in the dark depths. However, many sinister fey don’t find Pandemonium evil enough, thus favoring the Abyss itself! While the demons are more than begrudging to share space with evil fey, certain Deities and Demon Lords have been more accommodating. Surprisingly, even Lolth has lent a hand, if only to bolster her drow forces in the Prime Material.
Beyond there, fey are tolerated on some planes and despised on others. The plane of Elysium, the sponsor of my lecture with everyone, remains neutral to positive on the presence of the fair folk. In the case of Carceri, some Unseelie are permitted in some layers. Some have even found themselves in the hag lairs of the Grey Wastes. Beyond that, especially in more directly lawful planes, their presence is less than tolerated. For example, a “fey element” is hailed as a “degenerative anomaly” within the confines of Mechanus. Only when the element is “forcefully removed”, do things return to normal. And beyond the Prime itself, there is rumored to be an entire “Crystal Sphere” controlled by the fey, out in the deepest reaches of “Wildspace”.
The Fey and The Material
While no true echo world exists, save for theories crafted by distant scholars from a dimension called “The World Axis”, the fey desire to interact with the mortal realm on some level. The tales of a Mirror World are supported by many facts. However, these facts are only true in a parallel multiverse that conforms to that methodology. The Great Wheel, at least to the scripts of many planar sages, does not. The one contrarian sage from a mythical realm called “Nerath” does seem to think else wise. But again, he prefers being contradictory to the others, for reasons no one can quite understand.
Genuine travel is rare, as many are content within their own lives, staying where they are. Some form grand plans to visit some day, but there’s usually an elaborate plot intertwined with multiple court politics. Some have broken free entirely, something akin to a Modron going rogue from the Directives of Primus. In fact, many expatriates of fey planes have found their home within the Prime Material. These are often places outside of the normal view, little pocket realms deep within the deepest woods or right around several corners in an alleyway. It is from these little getaways that they can observe and study the denizens of the Prime in secrecy, until some primer inevitably stumbles upon their hideaway. But, most fair folk are clever enough to weave a convincing story and create another hoax altogether to throw the visitor off. Should that not happen and the fey be taken down, it puts itself in a gamble. Unlike a true outsider, a fey might just die outright from being severed from its home. However, given that they’re either exiles or intentional escapees, the void is sometimes preferable than being sent home. In many regards, the elves of many primes were once this. In a bid to live a more “normal” life, many even gave up much of their sylvan ties. While they still retain fey bloodlines to various degrees, they are very much humanoids of the Material Plane.
The aforementioned City of Astrazalian is one of the few places to continuously interact with the mortal realm. After preparing the jump, the marketplace is often stocked with items that the denizens feel is most appealing to material planar onlookers. Likewise, many like to venture out for the duration of the city’s stay. From there, they gather all they can about the prime they are visiting. This can range from goods to brokered secrets. In the case of either, anything obtained from the fey is either borderline incomprehensible or mesmerizing, for a variety of reasons.
Other incursions on behalf of the fey are less than nice or savory. In the instance of The Wild Hunt, The Horned Lord embarks on magnificent campaigns as he calls for planar allies in the rallies against his foes. Many of these recruits do not return, but those who do recant both the magnificence of divine battle and the horrors of war. Even more terrifying are the hunts not conducted by the Horned Lord, where Sylvan Huntsman materialize to terrorize any primers caught in deep woods in the night.
Other interactions have been less than friendly. One negative stereotype associated with the fey is kidnapping. Their reasons for whisking a subject from the prime material away often varies with some bizarre logic to it. Some simply want their own ‘strange friend’ to call their own, which can range from a one-sided bond to outright slavery. The goblins have been said to be quite guilty of this… even far worse, the Fomorians. I dare not say what they do. Some see potential subjects for ever so nasty experiments. This is quite true with any beasts that learned the truth of The Vale of the Fading Moon. Many have snatched up lycanthropes from various materials, in hopes of instilling normalcy. While they become werebeasts themselves again, it doesn’t pass on to their offspring. Some are just bored and want bedlam. Beware the last one, boredom creates many terrible, terrible things. Lots of the Unseelie are very much the last one, capable of torture or more just for fun.
And with that, I hope you have learned something on the subject of “The Fey”. Now, if you don’t mind, Titania has asked to speak with me personally! Please, save your questions for when I return!
IMAGE CREDIT. Jeff Laubenstein – Gatetown of Ecstasy; Warwick Goble – Faerie Tale Art; Lourry Legarde – Impressionist Field of Poppies; J.M.W. Turner – Death on a Pale Horse; Walter Jenks Morgan – Here I am to Rescue You; TSR Inc – Outer Planes Map
Credit Where Credit is Due: A big thanks to Mr. Welch! His re-envisioning of the Fey using Tall Tales of the Wee Folk as a basis was a major reason for me to do this in the first place. Also, many apologies to my friend, Matt. You were right, even in the edition I liked the least, I can still find something that can inspire me!