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Oerth and Faerie

 
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edmundscott
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:14 am    Post subject: Oerth and Faerie Reply with quote

In my almost-epic level Sterich campaign, the Chief Wizard of the March, Verbane, is secretly plotting removing the entire country from the Prime Material to the realm of the fey.

As I thought about this, I realized I knew almost nothing of how Greyhawk handles the realm of Faerie.

Where is Faerie exactly? Is it a parallel Prime? one of the outer planes? is it on the Plane of Shadow itself?

What references are there to the home of the fey in the various canons?

Does Faerie even exist as a location? Or am I just projecting backward 4e's Feywild into a setting that never had such a thing?
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Faerie has been a lot of different things over the various editions. In the adventure "Legacy of the Lisosalfar" in Dungeon #42 it was considered to be a parallel Material Plane. In published Greyhawk the closest thing is the Fading Lands detailed in From the Ashes, which include the Faerie Court of Rings, a Stonehenge-like capital of the Seelie Court accessible through a portal in the Welkwood.

This is complicated somewhat by the Seelie Court described in Monster Mythology (which Carl Sargent wrote at around the same time as he wrote From the Ashes; the two books share a lot of references), which is maybe identical to the Faerie Court of Rings even though it's said to move through the outer planes of good and chaos. The Unseelie Court, its wicked counterpart, is in Pandemonium (according to Monster Mythology).

The Fading Lands are defined as demiplanes coexistent with the Prime Material Plane and associated with specific geographical areas there. It wouldn't be difficult at all to redefine them as something like 4e and 5e's Feywild, though, a parallel plane where Oerth's geographic features have Feywild equivalents. So the Faerie Court of Rings exists in the Feywild version of the Welkwood, and the Mines of Dumathoin in the Feywild version of the Stark Mounds. I'd probably move the Crypt of Iron Souls and the Blood Obelisk of Hextor to the Plane of Shadow, though (the former paralleling the Glorioles; the latter paralleling the Gull Cliffs).

Another thing to consider is the Kingdom of Caer Sidi in Q1, which is based on (ripped off from) the Faerie in Poul Anderson's novel Three Hearts and Three Lions. This could be part of the same Feywild as the Seelie Court, but it might be the Feywild of another world.

Still another reference to maybe include is UK1 Beyond the Crystal Cave, which details an otherworldly garden paradise populated with leprechauns, dryads, and other fey creatures. Porpherio's garden could exist in the Feywild version of Sybarate Island, especially considering the oddly flowing time effect.

Finally, consider making EX1 and EX2 part of the Feywild (and even the Isle of the Ape).

For what it's worth, Paul Kidd's Greyhawk novels mentioned the plane of Faerie by that name (one of the protagonists, Escalla, is a literal fairy princess).

PC1 Tall Tales of the Wee Folk was a basic D&D (BECMI) accessory with rules for creating PC versions of the various sylvan races. It could be good inspiration for a fey campaign centered around the Welkwood, though canonically it's based in Alfheim on Mystara.

Bastion Press's d20 book Faeries is one of the better takes on a Plane of Faerie, written to be very compatible with extant D&D lore. It also has a Stonehenge-like circle in the center of the faerie realm which could be assumed to be identical with Greyhawk's Court of Rings.

Beyond Countless Doorways from Malhavoc Press included a faerie plane called Faraenyl. It appears to be a standard fey land, with oddly flowing time and realms divided by season, but there's a major twist that means it's not exactly what it seems and its inhabitants play a stiff price for maintaining it.


Last edited by rasgon on Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some notes I have on Faerie equivalents of Oerthly geographical features, some of them inspired by sites in Bastion Press's Faeries.

Crystal Mountains (Crystalmist Mountains) literally made of crystal, amethyst, etc. Rumors of giants sixty feet tall or more, the descendants of the elder spirits who ruled the material plane before the age of ice.

Firecrystal Mountains (Hellfurnaces) crystal mountains with living flames frozen within. The Wild Hunt ranges here with neutral hellhounds.

Sands of Time (Sea of Dust). Fey sages say that before the Rain of Colorless Fire, this part of Faerie was as verdant as any other. The Rain caused the very fabric of reality to crumble, and now Faerie's erratic flowing time takes on physical form here: grains of compressed temporal energy forming a seemingly endless desert where time can unexpectedly blow visitors into the past or future or another plane of existence.

Badlands (Dry Steppes). While the Invoked Devastation transformed the mortal world into barren steppeland, in Faerie the transformation was much more dramatic, warping the land to form canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, and natural arches all radiating from a central point: Tovag Baragu, the naval of Faerie. Many believe this was the true heart of Faerie until the Devastation struck, and the Court of Rings is only a lesser copy.

The Great Scar (Rift Canyon).

The Valley of Fire (Sulhaut Mountains).

The Black King rules the Land of Black Ice. The White Lady rules the Thillonrian north. The Prince of Frost rules the accursed land where once the citadel of Summer lay.

Black Winter is the Faerie equivalent of the Land of Black Ice. It is something alien, outside the cycle of the seasons. Some say the Unseelie Court of the Queen of Air and Darkness is here; others say it is in Pandemonium, or somehow both at once.

The Dark Forest is the Faerie equivalent of the Suss Forest. Once, it is whispered, this was the domain of the Queen of Air and Darkness before she fled to the north, and it is still corrupted by her fell influence.

The Mounds of Twilight are the Faerie equivalent of the Mounds of Dawn.

The Hollow Hills are the Faerie equivalent of the Hollow Highlands, home of the Daoine Sidhe.

Faerie's sun looks the same as the sun on Oerth, but it is locked in perpetual twilight. Sometimes it is seen in the east, toward the Kingdom of Spring, and it is said to be rising. Other times it is seen in the west, toward the Kingdom of Autumn, and it is said to be setting.

Moons identical to Celene and Luna can be seen in Faerie's sky, but their positions are reversed. Luna is slightly smaller than her Handmaiden, and in Faerie it is Celene that cycles through its phases once a month, Luna only four times a year.

The Kingdom of Winter corresponds to the Thillonrian Peninsula.

The Prince of Frost rules from the equivalent of the City of Summer Stars.

In the fey equivalent of the Domain of Greyhawk is Courland, where in place of Castle Greyhawk rises the palace of the Queen of Hearts.

In the fey equivalent of the lands of the Sea Princes is the hidden, well-protected garden of Porpherio.

In the seas to the far south, in place of the Isle of Dread, is the otherworldly Isle of the Ape.

In the center, in the Faerie equivalent of the Welkwood, is the Court of Rings.
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edmundscott
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks as always, Rasgon!

What I'm tempted to do is place the whole thing on the Plane of Shadow. What mortals think of as Faerie or the Feywild are actually slightly more bright and pleasant nodes within the immanence of shadow. This could explain why, in Faerie, it always seems to be dusk or dawn.

So the Fading Lands would just be bright spots on never-ending Shadow . . .

I think this means moving the Faerie Courts from the outer planes to the inner.

Am I wrong to do this?

The Shadow Plane seems more interesting than a demiplane and also more interesting than, say, Arborea.
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edmundscott
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, off-topic, I'd be really interested to hear about your home game sometime, Rasgon. Given your encyclopedic grasp of Oerthly lore, it must be amazing.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

edmundscott wrote:
What I'm tempted to do is place the whole thing on the Plane of Shadow. What mortals think of as Faerie or the Feywild are actually slightly more bright and pleasant nodes within the immanence of shadow. This could explain why, in Faerie, it always seems to be dusk or dawn.


That's what the Birthright setting did. In Birthright, the mortal world has a parallel plane called the Shadow World, a trickster land of shadow and illusion. It's the home of both the Seelie and Unseelie Court, but since the death of the old gods it has become tainted by more and more darkness, and it is a realm of creatures of shadow as well as fey.

That's certainly one way to go if you're looking to consolidate your multiverse, and the illusion theme works for both faeries and shadow things.

4th and 5th editions use the Feywild and Shadowfell as counterweights on either side of the mortal plane. The main advantage of this is that you get twice the number of "echoes" of Prime Material locations, if that's your bag. You can have the Great Scar in Faerie, where the Queen of Air and Darkness breeds jabberwocks; Rift Canyon on Oerth, home of bandits and minions of Kyuss; and Nightcrawler Canyon on the Plane of Shadow, where nightshades spawn in vast hordes.
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DMPrata
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think The Shattered Circle (loosely tied to Greyhawk with ancient Suel migrants) contained some Faerie references.
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edmundscott
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just finished rereading Shattered Circle and I'll probably use this. I forgot how much I loved Cordell's 2e stuff--the encounters and the prose are both quite thick i.e. intense and specific.

I've ordered Faeries, recommended by Rasgon, but has not yet arrived.

So thanks to both of you for all the suggestions.
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edmundscott
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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I'm looking to do in the long term is introduce a very important person of the Shadow Realm (which, IMC, will also be Faerie) who will offer all sorts of advantages to the PCs in exchange for seemingly useless trades (for instance, one's shadow).

I want to base him on The Gentleman with Thistledown Hair from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, a faerie prince or king who definitely isn't good but isn't exactly evil so much as profoundly self-involved, but will keep every agreement with mortals to the letter. I think it would be amusing to have PCs stuck endlessly dancing at his parties, for instance.

Does anyone think anybody like this already exists in Oerthly lore? Would any of the Seelie (or Unseelie) Court work for this guy?

I could always use Shad-duan (who has basically nothing written about him) from the paintings in Maure Castle (& Tome of the Black Heart), but maybe there's someone more fey I could use . . .

Any suggestions?
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Monster Mythology the lords of the Seelie Court are all gods, a design decision you don't see in editions other than 2nd (and even 2nd edition had an alternate, non-divine version of the Seelie Court in Dragon #263). 4th edition introduced the concept of archfey for faerie lords equivalent in power to demon princes and archdevils, but really I suppose it doesn't matter if what you're looking for is an effectively omnipotent otherworldly lord who the PCs can't simply kill to win their way free from his bargains. Whether god or lord or high-level mortal, a deal is a deal and unraveling it requires more than spells or steel.

In Monster Mythology, the various fey trickster gods, including Squelaiche, Nathair Sgiathach, Damh, and even the elven deity Erevan Ilesere would all fit as entities fit for the sort of bargain Mr Norrell made with the Gentleman with Thistledown Hair (although perhaps Nathair Sgiathach is slightly too good). Damh, as lord of dancers and patron of korreds, might be a particularly appropriate choice as someone who keeps his servants dancing for all eternity.

The Great Library of Greyhawk has entries on all these entities: Titania, Oberon, Damh, Nathair Sgiathach, Squelaiche, Erevan Ilesere, etc.

Nemui made a 3rd edition version of the faerie pantheon that you can read on the Mimir. He made some revisions to Carl Sargent's version to make the pantheon more neutral and ethically ambiguous than they had been in Monster Mythology. He explicitly identifies Squelaiche with Shakespeare's Puck, which makes sense, though Carl Sargent didn't go that far.

Bastion Press's Faeries presents the fey lords as powerful but non-divine, but broadly follows Monster Mythology's Seelie and Unseelie Courts, adding other figures like Rumplestiltskin, the Green Man (from UK1), and Baba Yaga.
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