Does anybody find roleplaying Faeries difficult? I sure did and a year ago I finally found a handle on roleplaying them that worked for me.
Now that last night session played out. I can post what I written about Faeries. It is in-game knowledge now that the gig is up largely because one of the players is Colin McDaw a Bard of the Trehaen (a Druidic organization).
Although my campaign is run with the Dungeons and Dragon Fifth Edition rules these are written up for Swords and Wizardry with a few added feature. Each creature has something that can be harvested for treasure. I also standardized how special abilities are listed to make it easier to reference during play.
Magic in the Majestic Wilderlands is the force of creation made manifest. Before the creation of the Abyss and the Chromatic Crystals, the inherent level of magic was low. In order to be harassed as a spell, it has to be laboriously gathered in a ritual and infused into a scroll, charm, or magical device. After the creation of the Chromatic Crystal, it was found that a disciplined will alone could be used to cast a spell.
Over the centuries magic did not turn into a science or craft because it was highly infused by an individual emotional and mental state. What worked for one individual, often didn’t work for another. This susceptibility of magic to emotion had another consequence, the creation and evolution of faeries.
Faeries are creatures, and monsters born out of the ambient level of magic that flow throughout the Wilderlands. The emotional life of elves, men, and even plants and animals give birth to these creatures including the faeries that develop sentience. The nature of their birth has left all faeries with a singular drive to recreate the emotions that give them life. This typically manifests with the faeries using their abilities to recreate the circumstances that led to their birth. Using magic, to manipulate the environment and those around them into playing out certain stories and emotions, over and over again. This can sometimes led to dangerous situations when emotions like anger, hate, and fear are part of the faerie’s nature.
The key to dealing with the Faeries is to understand the emotions and stories that give them birth.
The Elves and the Faerie
When the Wilderlands was created there were two sentient races; Elves and Men. The Elves were born as the glory of the Wilderlands, as a shining example of the potential of life. They were given great gifts however the price was that their fate was to the Wilderlands. One reason for this is that their immortality and other gifts are sustained by the innate magic of the Wilderlands. Because of this, the elves feel kinship with the faeries, and in general will help them fulfill their nature. For the faeries that have the negative emotions as their nature the elves will still help them but try to do it in isolated locations far from the other races of the Wilderlands. Many elves realms will have a large population of faeries.
Banshee, AC 0; HD 7; HP 25; ATK 1; HTB +7 DMG 1d8 (claw), MV 120’ (fly); Save 9; Special: Damage Immunity, Magic Resistance, Shriek of Death, Magical Immunity; Harvest: Ectoplasmic Residue (5d); CL/XP 11/1700; Damage Immunity: Need Magic or Silver weapons to be hit. Magic Resistance: Resist Magic on a roll of 20 or higher on a d20, add +9 to the roll. Forcing a banshee to cross running water will cause the creature to lose this ability for 3d6 hours. Shriek of Death: A horrid wailing shriek requires everybody in earshot to make a saving throw or die within 2d6 round unless a remove curse is cast. Magical Immunity: Not effected by any enchantment spells.
Banshees are horrid undead creatures that live in swamps and other desolate places. They look like gaunt humans (male or female) with long, stringy hair and glowing yellow eyes. They often wear hooded cloaks.
Banshees are formed when an elf or a faerie dies with an unfulfilled intense loss or obsession. Their spirit does not to accept the loss of their current life and is unable to move on to be resurrected. Instead they linger as an incorporeal undead lamenting their loss or unfulfilled goals. The banshee is the closest thing that the elves and faeries of the Majestic Wilderlands have to a concept of hell.
Dryad, AC 9; HD 2; HP 7; ATK 1; HTB +2 DMG 1d4 (wooden dagger), MV 120’; Save 12; Special: Charm; Harvest: 1 viz (dryad leaves); CL/XP 3/60; Charm: Can cast a Charm Person at will. The target has a -2 to its saving throw.
Dryads appear as a beautiful female. They are a manifestation of the life giving force of nature. When a tree sprouts in a highly fertile area with a high enough concentration of magic a dryad will manifest. It is tied to the tree’s existence and will die if its host tree dies.
It is highly attracted to humanoid males and will use its Charm ability to beguile them into staying with them for a year and a day. To the effected individual it will appear as if a single wonderful day has passed in the embrace of a beautiful woman.
Leprechaun, AC 8; HD 1; HP 4; ATK 1; HTB +1 DMG 1d6 (shortsword), MV 180’; Save 15; Special: Magical Immunity, Stealthy, Innate Magic; Harvest: 1 viz (hair); CL/XP 5/400; Magic Immunity: Spell casters need to roll 3 or better on 1d20 in order to affect them with a spell. Stealthy: A Leprechaun gets +5 to it Stealth ability roll. Innate Magic: Can cast Invisibility and Dimension Door at will. They can cast Phantasmal Force once per day.
Leprechauns appear as small humans about two to three feet tall (slightly smaller than halflings). Leprechauns are tricksters who delight in placing their targets in situations where confusion and misunderstanding abound. There are three broad types of Leprechauns. The first delights in humor and will orient their trickery to creating funny or absurd situations. The second delights in showing up those who are full of hubris and will orient their trickery to show how foolish these people are. The third is more malevolent and their trickery often have tragic or cruel endings.
Regardless of type, Leprechauns maintain a treasure trove of coins and other valuables gained over the years from their trickery. If captured or tricked themselves the Leprechaun has to turn over his treasure trove or obligate himself to fulfill three tasks for its captor.
Nymph, AC 9; HD 3; HP 10; ATK 1; HTB +3; DMG 1d3 (fist), MV 120’; Save 14; Special: Blinding Beauty; Harvest: 1 viz (tresses); CL/XP 5/240; Blinding Beauty: A character failing his saving throw upon seeing a nymph will forever see its beauty in its eyes forever. This is effectively the same as blindness.
Related to Dryads, Nymphs manifest as faeries of harmony and beauty. When magic concentrate in a small region of wilderness of particular beauty and calm, a Nymph will form. Regions include places like rivers, springs, mountain tops, forest glades, rocky outcroppings, windswept beaches, and geysers.
Nymphs have an innate connection to their region and can be a valuable source of information to friendly allies. They work towards enhancing and/or maintaining the natural beauty of their home. Nymphs feel the emotions of those who appreciate their work.
Harming or killing Nymph will invariably bring about a violent reaction from the animals, planets, and sometimes the weather of the region.
Pixie, AC 5; HD 1; HP 4; ATK 1; HTB +1 DMG 1d4 (dagger), 1d4+1 (pixie bow), MV 60’/150’ (fly); Save 17; Special: Magical Immunity, Pixie Bow, Innate Magic, Magical Confusion; Harvest: 1 viz (pixie dust); CL/XP 5/240; Pixie Bow: Has a range of 60’/120’. A pixie can either a) fire a +1 arrow for 1d4+1 damage, b) cause sleep for 3d6 x10 minutes if the target fails a saving throw, 3) cause total amnesia if the target fails a saving throw. Magical Immunity. Spell casters need to roll a 6 or better on 1d20 in order to affect them with a spell.
Innate Magic: Can cast Polymorph Self, Invisible, and Light at will. Can cast Dispel Magic as a 1st level spell caster once per day. Magical Confusion: A pixie’s dagger and arrows are coated with a magical poison that causes the target to fall under the effects of a confusion spell if they fail their saving throw.
To me the Old School Renaissance is not about playing a particular set of rules in a particular way, the dungeon crawl. It is about going back to the roots of our hobby and seeing what we could do differently. What avenues were not explored because of the commercial and personal interests of the game designers of the time.
What are RPGs?
A game where the players play individual characters interacting with a setting with their actions adjudicated by a human referee.
Rules are an aide to help the referee adjudicate actions and to help the players interact with the setting.
Dice are used to inject uncertainty which make a tabletop RPG campaign more interesting than "Let's Pretend".
The only thing a player needs to do to roleplay a character is to act if he or she was really there in the setting in that situation.