Tuesday, 15 April 2014

3DPBMCSHMtm: the hollow hills

Original image by
WintersKnight@DeviantArt
In this installment of 3DPBMCSHMtm, we head off to Altorr to talk faerie. The 'Fair Folk' play their inscrutable games of state.  Yet the Courts of Light and Shade are honoured by mortal king and commoner alike. Having helped cure the Demonplague they've earned it.  Yet these games have high stakes. They make heroes of ordinary people and paupers rich while breaking others on a wheel of fate and magic.

The Goblin Market

Most people deal with Faerie through the goblin market.  At dawn, the market opens under thickets and in caves.  At dusk, faegoblins grow bold and settle by river banks.  Pipe-music accompanies lilting song promising tempting wares.  Exquisite fruit, fine steeds and nonesuch jewels have lured many a customer into the market. Returning to the world, everything else seems drab. Visitors often begin pining until the market comes again. Some are so profoundly affected by this loss they waste away if denied the market's fruits.

Faegoblins are goblinkin with faerie ancestry.  Brilliant artisans, they are only rapacious in business deals. If a deal is spurned once the market appears, they get downright nasty about it.  Catcalls, threats and mob-handed brawls are known. Drawing steel will cause them to withdraw and seek help.

The Court of Light

To find the Court of Light, look eastward at dawn as fanfare announces the new day.  Then make an offering pleasing to the Court.  It rises from earth or water in stately ceremony.  Courtiers on white horses prance as samite palanquins blossom suddenly. Lords and ladies approach amid reverent hushes.  The Court enjoys hunting, sporting games and music.  The Court's justice is compassionate, if not always fair.

Pharisidhe resemble angular and graceful elves. Violet-eyed, smooth-skinned, of immaculate attire, and complection. Agile and beautiful, their Charisma bonus is added to Armour Class and saving throws.  Cold iron poisons them (save or take 1d4 Constitution damage) and they fear it greatly.  Their singing voices may fascinate the unwary.  When the Court is offended, pharisidhe close ranks.

The Court of Shade

To find the Court of Shade, look westward at dusk as cacaphony heralds the coming night.  Then make an offering pleasing to the Court.  It descends from air or fire amid debauched revel.  Grotesque riders on dark steeds menace as oxblood leather palanquins fall like autumn leaves.  Lords and ladies approach amid fanfare or fierce drumming.  The Court enjoys hunting, combat and debauchery.  The Court's justice is fair, if not always compassionate.

Kernasith also resemble elves, though rawboned and sinewy, as though carved from wood.  They grow spiralling, tined horns each century they live, elder kernasith look like they're wearing crowns.  They prefer immaculate garb yet find durable clothes comforting.  Kernasith always keep a blade handy and are superlative duellists among the fae.  They may move through undergrowth at normal speed and leave no trail, yet plants magics can impede.  Cold iron burns them as if red hot.  Each strike does an additional 1d6 fire damage to kernasith.  When the Court is offended, kernasith fight.

Changelings 

The 'tradition' of exchanging children with mortals is a diplomatic exercise for both of the Courts.  Such fostering is great honour to the fae.  There is a matter of timing of course. The Court of Light often chooses to save children facing certain doom or an evil upbringing.  The Court of Shade takes more indiscriminately and arbitraily.  Over time, the 'unearthly' child will manifest faerie traits.  Ransoming back a child is typical. That said, the Court of Shade won't always use a changeling from it's courtiers for this.  They claim this just adds spice to the game.

Real Like The Others

Other fey make appearances.  Diminutive faeries like atomie, grig, nixie, pixie and sprite make it difficult for easy identification.  While not quite as small, little people (brownies, korred and leprechauns) wield surprising power.  Dryads and quicklings represent intelligent plants as do nymphs.  Satyr and faun sport while stranger fey hide.  The more powerful fey are destructive and best left unless developing savage appetites or apparatus.

Transformation

The transmutation of one thing into another is a cornerstone of magic.  It is also magic faerie excel at.  From shapechanger pelts to fairy rings anchoring 'unplaces' to repairing broken things, magic is practical. Teleportation, telekinesis and magic of the mind are popular as is magic shaping nature or body.  Faeries love to enlarge, shrink, slow, speed or stop.

Glamer, illusion and dreamweaving.

Faerie is glamour, it's said.  Illusion and dream weaving are vital tools for deception, chicanery and misdirections called sways by fae tricksters.  Illusions that beguile are used in both Market and Courts to achieve diverse ends for all.  Disguises and invisibility add to deception.  More potent illusions draw on shadow or twist minds.  It is whispered the Court of Shade keeps illusionists for their entertainment and to teach lessons.

Under the influence

Faerie enchantment is a nuanced affair.  Magic is one tool among many.  By combining gift, magic, persuasion and performance the fae ensnare those they would need or desire.  Performance of any kind will be accepted if good by any fae, giving bards an advantage.  Food and drink are typically used by commoners.  Etiquette and gift are more for the Courts.  The beautiful may trade locks of hair or tears. Giving part of yourself to those knowing magic is a risky proposition often with unintended consequences.

2 comments:

  1. You've been on a roll with these!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one was actual work! Start with Christina Rossetti and Queen of the Demonweb Pits, finish with Hellboy, comments on G+ and DeviantArt. Worth the wait I hope. :)

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