I haven’t done a lot of writing about fey in quite some time, at least not here on Tribality. We’re working on a DM’s Guild release of fey content, so this article is all material that will go to my editor and, if it survives that stage, into the product. I’ve written a lot of content and quest hooks so far around the Archfey, so this time I’m looking at lower-ranked fey.
Also, check out the rules for fey bargains I posted in Harbinger of Doom!
Fey Chivalry | Fey Huntsmen and Leashed Terrors | Faerie Tales: Naiads, Pixies, and Sprites for 5e | A Visit to the Shadowfell – Shadar-Kai & More | In a Goblin Market | Fey of the Elder Starlight | Fey Enchanters and Their Lairs | Treasures of a Fey Market | Archfey Patrons | Archfey Patrons, Part Two | Archfey Patrons, Part Three | The Schemes of the Archfey | The Schemes of the Archfey, Part Two | The Schemes of the Archfey, Part Three | Fey Weapons | Alternate Fey Courts | The Fey Highlord Patron | Fey-Touched Backgrounds, Part One | Fey-Touched Backgrounds, Part Two | Fey-Touched Backgrounds, Part Three | Fey Story Seeds | Four New Fey NPCs
The ranks of the fey, for my purposes, are as follows:
Commoners and Exiles
Any fey of a higher rank could be exiled to this rank.
- Blink dog
- Talking animal
- Hag (Green, Sea)
- Fomorian (This conflicts with the canon of the Monster Manual, but I assume that the MM’s tale is Summer Court propaganda.)
- Hag (Annis, Bheur)
This rank is made up of eladrin, fomorians, hags, and others who have been exalted in the Courts’ esteem.
Lastly: is there something greater than the Archfey? Powers to which all the Feywild pay homage? Perhaps.
Commoner: Javash the Killjoy
Chaotic evil redcap sellsword
It is said that there are old redcaps and there are bold redcaps, but no old, bold redcaps. Javash is proof that it’s possible to be both, but his luck could still run out any day. He prefers to live in caves or dry riverbeds, as he cares more for a safe place to hide and rest during the day than creature comforts. He’s not getting any younger, but in fairness, he isn’t getting appreciably older either.
Encountering the Killjoy in his own home is a chancy proposition, but it’s a better bet than if he finds you while he’s on the hunt. In his own home, as long as he feels either safely dominant or hopelessly outclassed, he’s an affable enough host – though you probably don’t want whoever he’s eating. His three favorite guest-gifts to receive are fresh meat from a rare creature (or someone famous), a story he hasn’t heard before, or a new-made pair of iron boots. Once he has accepted a guest-gift, he follows the rules of hospitality as rigorously as any lord.
His moniker is, of course, a description of his favorite pastime and how he really feels about it.
Personality Trait. I keep a set of fine silverware with me at all times and break them out at the slightest excuse.
Ideal. Rules are things that stop us from following our true natures.
Bond. I would like nothing so much as to dine at the table of an Archfey, just once, to eat like the nobles and show them they’re no better than I am.
Flaw. I’ve made more enemies than I can count, and I blithely assume I can stay one step ahead of them.
Bargaining with Javash. Javash offers:
- Knowledge of the region and the creatures in it, especially bandit groups
- Service as a mercenary, executioner… or household chef
- One of his enemies, perhaps a mortal lord or warlock the PCs already dislike, captured and dragged before him, so that he can gloat before messily killing them.
- Meat from a rare creature, especially a celestial or fiend
- A memory of a battle you almost lost
- A new pair of iron boots
Page: Zimoria Vine-Weaver
Neutral dryad vintner
The wines of the Feywild, which enthrall mortal drinkers and make them forever pine for another draught, don’t brew themselves, you know. Zimoria is a magical vintner, tending to the wild-growing grapes on the limbs of her oaks and hawthorns. She trades in memories as well. The most intense memories get unraveled into wisps of emotion and infused into the wine.
Zimoria would prefer a reclusive life, in which she could contemplate further refinements to her art while celebrating green and growing things. Instead, she must draw people to her grove to speak with them, so that she can bargain for their memories. It is a great honor, after all, to provide wines for the Summer Queen and her favored few.
She uses sprites, pixies, and the animal messenger spell to make contact with adventurers who venture within a day’s travel of her grove. In exchange for accepting her invitation and without any further obligation, Zimoria promises safe passage, no mental interference without express permission, and one art object of 50 gp or less from her collection. This is usually something like a silver hand-mirror or a small bronze sculpture of an oak tree. Her woodland scouts mean that few walk in on her unexpected.
Personality Trait. I am strongly attached to small animals, and keep unusual pets – everything from earthworms to badgers.
Ideal. Though I deny it, I’m insatiably curious about the emotions of mortals that I might never experience.
Bond. My position as one of the Summer Queen’s favored artisans means everything to me.
Flaw. I’m constantly worried that someone is trying to cheat me.
Bargaining with Zimoria. Zimoria offers:
- Introductions to any of the Summer Queen’s vassal knights or lords
- A vast array of other people’s memories that she has accumulated and not yet used, some of which might contain priceless secrets
- The loyal service of Cyril, a fey rat that can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan, for 1,001 nights. Cyril returns to Zimoria during daylight hours.
- A potion of animal friendship
- Memories, especially intense or pivotal ones. The death of a loved one or the creation of a masterwork interest her most of all.
- A mortal she once knew is now dying of old age. Deliver the wine and fruit of the Feywild to them, so that they can remember it as they pass away.
- A significant secret of the Summer or Gloaming Courts, which she can pass along to her Queen to gain further status.
Neutral good eladrin knight
Once a respected and feared knight of the Summer Court, Virgil broke an oath to his lord, the Baroness of the Morning Dew. She had charged him with recovering a jeweled ring, but Virgil’s mortal lover found it first and would not hand it over. Torn between his oath to the principle of romantic love and his oath of fealty to the Baroness, Virgil’s inaction betrayed both causes. In dishonor, he was exiled. He has no idea that the whole matter was orchestrated by a rival knight of the Gloaming Court.
Stripped of much of his power, Virgil continued as a knight-errant, questing to regain his lost honor. He ran afoul of a legendary medusa, and now he stands outside her lair as a warning to other intruders. Even while petrified, he can communicate with nearby creatures using whispers on the wind. No matter how far he has fallen, his determination and patience have never wavered.
One friend accompanied Virgil into his exile, but evaded the medusa’s power: an elven warlock, Sielafar. They seek adventurers who could bargain with or free Virgil.
Personality Trait. Because my redemption could come from anyone, I’m eager to help others.
Ideal. Even an imperfect action is better than inaction and indecision.
Bond. No matter the cost, I will redeem myself in the eyes of both my former lover and the Baroness.
Flaw. Because I believe it is my destiny to redeem my honor, I overlook grave dangers to myself and those around me.
Bargaining with Virgil. Virgil offers:
- Future favors, when he regains his position in the Summer Court
- A spell or ritual, to be cast by Sielafar
- His loyal service for one cycle of the moon
- The location of a magic sword, shield, or suit of armor that he once set aside
- Release from petrification, or an oath to work toward it
- A courier to deliver a message to his former lover (a message which will not necessarily be welcome)
- A deed of great valor done in his name, such as riding the Silverbranch Stag
Lord: Countess Daina Life’s-Blood
Neutral evil fomorian noble
One of the most influential and dreaded nobles of the Gloaming Court below the Archfey, the Countess of Life’s-Blood rules demesnes within the Shadowfell and Feywild alike. She wields a sacrificial blade of knapped obsidian, which appears in the dreams of those doomed to die to it. Daina herself has dreamed of it every day for three thousand years – it is the key to her true and final death. Keeping it close at hand is a sign of her twisted desire to demonstrate strength by courting destruction.
Those who would negotiate with Daina Life’s-Blood must be prepared to praise her many qualities, especially her transcendent beauty – her oozing pustules just as much as her stinking hair. Otherwise, they must present an obvious, overwhelming threat, or expect to be cursed for their impertinence. Nor is it wise to decline an audience with her, or two dozen fomorians may be on your doorstep to provide further encouragement.
Despite these things, many come to the Countess to seek boons, advancement within the Gloaming Court, or permission to act against rivals. She controls vast magical power, both personally and in objects of power.
Personality Trait. I’m instantly angry when told I can’t do something.
Ideal. My feelings, ideas, and plans just… matter more than anyone else’s, excepting the Gloaming Queen’s.
Bond. The moment one of the Archfey falters, my knife and I will be there.
Flaw. I assume everyone is solely out for themselves, just like I am.
Bargaining with Daina. Daina offers:
- Knowledge of sinister spells
- Extraordinary wealth
- A wide variety of magic items, up to very rare items
- Knowledge of physical, social, or emotional vulnerabilities of a wide range of mortals, fey, and monsters
- Any supernatural gift that causes unwholesome physical transformation
- The loyal service of a fomorian warrior, Conn, from now until the spring equinox
- Betrayal of the bargainer’s own principles, such as violating bonds of trust with one’s liege or family
- A mission to bring unsettling dread into the lives of unsuspecting mortals
- Recruitment of a new warlock to enter into a pact with the Gloaming Queen
- The capture of Yuathla, a dryad who failed to praise her while she was despoiling the dryad’s grove. Yuathla will not survive the experience.