A apology from my end, for being stupidly lazy with posts. Life is hectic for the Lady of the Fae, so let’s hope that my sporadic posts make up for that.
To bring some variety to the Fey we see presented in Dungeons and Dragons, here are some that are taken directly from faerie lore across the world as well as some custom things created for my own amusement and games. These are also a sampling of creatures from a larger project I am currently working on, and only really have had the time to make any sort of real headway with.
Related to friendly household spirits such as Brownies, the Bwca is the much more mean-spirited version of these diminutive, helpful Good Neighbors.
The Bwca, as a house faerie, will do chores while the inhabitants are not around or blissfully unaware of its physical presence. However, if it is not thanked en masse for its hard work, via an offering of alcohol or a saucer of cream, it will soon become destructive and wreck havoc across the property it works to maintain and live in.
Vaguely resembling bipedal tree-like forms, Deepwoods Guardians are aptly named: nomadic shaman-esque fey creatures who are skilled in pacifistic magic and guiding the lost.
Though they are capable of great destruction, violence is never their first reaction. Often, they would rather talk to someone and figure out the reasoning to their actions before choosing a proper course of action. And sometimes, if one is lucky, a wanderer would gain it’s s favor by doing such small things, like planting a flower.
One does not often think about giants as being Fey creatures, but such is the case in two beings: the kind-hearted Firbolgs and the much-less pleasant Jack-In-Irons.
Wandering lonely causeways and passages in the dead of night, the Jack-In-Irons is a malign thing. It does not take kindly to those it crosses, especially humanoids who lack faerie blood.
Their most well-known attack is when they lob one of many heads at wanderers, which they seem to never have any less then five heads total of things which they have recently killed.
A horror if there ever was one, the Nuckalavae is a chaotic beast even amongst the wild faeries.
The Nuckalavae is something which is unimpeded by water and terrain, the ocean proving just as easy for it to navigate as the roaming hillsides it stalks. Sailors know to avoid the territory it claims as its own, and that the only way to keep away from it is by crossing a rather mundane threshold: a simple brook of running water will stop it dead in it’s tracks.
All artwork belongs to their respected artists. All creatures are either created from homebrew or are actual mythological figures: if they resemble anything previously created, this is by sheer chance.
All content by Pitfalls and Pixies belongs to Faith D’Ambrosio (Brynvalk.Wordpress.com)
Ah, the warmer months of spring and summer. When life comes about, new and refreshed after the cold winter’s reign. It just makes you want to dance and flit about, doesn’t it?
Well, that sort of merriment comes to Pitfalls and Pixies for the month of June. Once more, you, adventurous homebrewers, set foot into the mysterious Realm of Wonder in this month’s installment titled The Third Fey March.
The Third Fey March is part of an expanding network (or should we say hivemind for some of the creatures) to provide the tabletop gaming community with more Faerie/Fey themed content, as it seems to be drastically small in comparison to things like demons, dragons and the like. And certainly, lady Titania and lord Oberon are none too pleased by this.
What Qualifies For ‘The Third Fey March’?
As the world of the Good Neighbors is stretched far and wide, and their mythology as varied as the cultures they come from, any sort of topic can be chosen, including but not limited to:
How do the Fae and other sylvan beings interact with your home world/personal setting?
Tricks and traps that faeries use to befuddle and trick mortals
Of course, new monsters inhabitants of the Faerie Realm. Everything from bwcas to the mightiest of Archfey, nothing is held off!
How you incorperate real-world mythos of the Faerie Folk into your games/stories
Sylvan-themed player options; races, backgrounds, feats and items (both normal and cursed: the Faerie Folk do love curses and tricks, after all!)
Fairies in popular culture and media, and how this has influenced them across the media spectrum
Show off your fantastical art with a sylvan motif! Fine art, writing, cosplay? Everything and anything goes!
Re-branding existing content as fey themed
Taking characters from pop culture who have such faerie ties and statting them for actual play in games, as either hostile or friendly NPC’s
But Brynvalk, How Do I Sign My Soul to the Fae Participate?
All you need to do is create content befitting of June’s theme, and post a link to this blog post in your contribution.
After this, you leave a link to said post in the comments of the hoster’s own page. At the end of the month, said hoster will compile all posts into one master post and show off this homage to the residents of the Realm of Wonder, hoping they will take kindly upon our offering to them.
Remember: if using someone’s art, always give credit where credit is due! ‘Tis just common courtesy.
Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again: I look forward to seeing what your creativity brings about!
Hello, pixies and sprites, to the warmer start of the year. The blog has been rather silent here, mostly because I run two campaigns in my free time (so I dont have much time in the slightest bit).
Codex Anathema is running the RPG Blog Carnival this month, and its topic is a bit different then most: this time around, it deals with DM’s/GM’s bending the rules a bit for thematics. And while I generally stick to RAW (Rules As Written), I do like to alter things to be more interesting from both a mechanical and story point of view.
Monsters: Variation is the Spice of Life
So when you have multiple friends who 1) have the Monster Manual and 2) are not so good at keeping meta information from blending in with the knowledge that their character would have, it can be a bit frustrating to plan encounters. I found that there are some relatively easy ways to keep those inquisitive sort on their toes, not aware of threats.
To better explain, I’ll use examples of how I’ve changed up the dynamics of how certain monsters work.
Shadows: Shadows are literally that. Hazy blackened figures (if you’ve seen Dementors in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, you know what a Shadow is). However, to a character who does not focus on Strength as a stat of importance, they can be generally shrugged off.
I have made my Shadows a bit worse. Seeing as how there are so many PC options that rely on Dexterity, I made my Shadows either drain a PC’s Strength or Dexterity. The chance of death, when either stat reaches 0, is still the same but it strikes fear into Rogues more then you could imagine.
Hag Covens: ask any of my players, and they’ll tell you that a monster I use somewhere in all of my games would be Hags. Now, I generally don’t use hag covens, mostly because that means more that I have to keep track of.
However, in a recent game that I am running for some in-person friends, I finally used the optional Hag Coven rules in the Monster Manual, but with a bit added. Instead of the standard spells the Coven would get, I swapped them out to be more thematic with each hag in the group. In this case, it was one Night Hag, Green Hag, and a Sea Hag (who should not be working together at all).
While the combat ended shortly, they were able to use some of their coven spells to throw them for a loop. Not to mention, with the variation of each Hag’s innate abilities, it was a fun combat to run for both me and the players.
In addition, each room in the complex of the group was themed after one of the Hags in the group, and the party was trying to figure out what was the deal with this eerie trio of women who were stealing selkie skins.
The Fey: I personally don’t like how 5e treats creatures with the Fey typing as diminutive tree-hugging hippies, as actual faerie folk are actually terrifying in theory and abilities.
In my game worlds, I don’t go off of their Monster Manual/Guide to Monsters/ Tome of Foes listing, but the actual mythology behind the creature and the culture it comes from (if it has a real world equivalent).
Something I have added to any creature that has the Fey Ancestry trait or has any racial association to faerie is an actual downside to playing it: Cold Iron Vulnerability. In folklore, the Faerie Folk/Good Neighbors do not like iron, which keeps them from crossing thresholds, doing certain actions, etc. I utilize that in my games as the note I have on the side. As many races in my worlds do have some sort of ties to this mysterious, magical creature typing, this is an extra threat to these characters. I also have rules for making a weapon coated and made from the material.
Now this is going to most likely be a small section, as to how I have had a need to do this much, but to better fit the build or story of a PC, I have made minor changes to a race to better fit the theme.
Naiads, a homebrew race which I say are fey water spirits, were changed to minor elementals, as the player didn’t see their Naiad character as fey-associated. So, Keth was changed to an elemental similar to how Genasi could technically be considered that. Instead of knowing Sylvan, Keth had Aquan as a racial language.
Elves/half elves and Firbolgs, as well as Kitsunes, Dryads and Selkies, (the last three are all also homebrewed) were all given Cold Iron Vulnerability. This has led to a kitsune PC taking damage from touching dwarven made cold iron mining tools being harmed, and both a Dryad PC and NPC being terrified of cold iron bullets from fey who were immune to that most unholy of materials. The NPC also has still-visable scars from cold iron plated swords striking his skin. It is something that not even the Archfey can avoid.
In a game I am sporadically playing, the DM has allowed all of a PC’s spells to largely do acid damage as they have become known as the Acid Wizard. This makes jokes in-game hysterical but his spells are going to be useless when we get to an enemy who’s immune to that….
Dragonborn have tails as well as Dark Vision. Stylistically I like the idea with tails a lot better then lacking, and why wouldn’t they have Dark Vision if their ancient, powerful ancestors do? Thematically, it doesn’t make sense (at least in my head it doesn’t).
Druids in my worlds can Wild Shape into Swarms and not just singular creatures. This is because like classic faeries, druidic type characters in folklore and mythology were able to do this sort of thing, including the Celtic goddess Morrigan, goddess of death, war and magic (overall, a complete bad-ass).
If you would like to join in on the fun with this month’s Blog Carnival topic, head on over to Codex Anathema’s post and participate for the month of April!
Hail and well met, pixies and sprites, to 2019: I apologize profusely for my laziness on Pitfalls and Pixies, but hopefully with the New Year I’ll be more active (and now that the holiday season is over, as well).
This month’s RPG Blog Carnival kicks off with kjdavis’ ‘Divine Worldbuilding’. While not something I initially put great thought into, I suppose I would come now speaking about my current campaign and some of the deities which populate the realm known as Faustus Kil.
In this magitech setting which I run, there are several countries and powerhouses in existance: Chervaux, Saum, Zoraiv, Criyith, Petra, Aggithil and the Dreadfang Republic. Not all of them have a binding mythology to them, which makes the countries of Zoraiv and Criyith radically different from the other established locations.
(At least at the time of writing this: the second game I am running here is heading to Saum so this’ll allow me to flesh out this southern neighbor further. I may do a continuation of this topic with Zoraiv but that’s just so many deities that I have no idea how long it would take to cover them all.)
Criyith: The Dragon’s Roost
Literally that cliche’d region on any map that reads Here Be Dragons, the country known as Criyith is exactly that: the homeland of the dragons on the whole, as well as their offspring the Dragonborn and Dracovecta (humanoids which combine dragon blood and lineages not of that species). Criyith is an island in the southwest whose inhabitants are odd: not only do they have scales, tales and teeth, but they have an innate fear of any magic not of a divine nature.
As such, they have developed a close, intimate relationship with the four cornerstones of their regional pantheon. Those beings are the following, listed below and with their roles in their society.
Glamdraug: The Divine Egg-Bearer. She Who Provides. Life Domain.
The first of the major Criyithian pantheon, Glamdraug is the matron of the society and by far the one who is held aloft the most (though her importance is neck-and-neck with the other three: it seems she is just more revered then the others).
Glamdraug is seen as the mother of the draconic race and really, any creature that has the dragon typing. Her primary attributes are:
Life in its current state.
The action of childbirthing, courting, etc. In this aspect, Glamdraug could also be associated with romance and couples, if one stretches this meaning.
The extermination of the undead: a scourge against everything that this goddess stands for.
All of the dragons were created at the same time, by an unknown entity whose name is lost to all of those not their children. They are the only ones who remember this individual’s name, but they are sworn by blood and word to never reveal whom this may be.
Glamdraug was the first created, and scholars speculate the favored child out of the four. With a calm serenity to her, it is no surprise that she is favored among dragon-kind and revered as the Mother to All. Even those reptilian creatures who lack a semblance of sentience react at the mere mention of her name, such as wyverns and drakes.
Khorvas:The Justicar. He Who Decides. Knowledge Domain.
Perhaps the most studious of the four, Khorvas is the one who is most likely to speak to the mortal races beneath his wings. An adept scholar and collector of lost lore, the Justicar uses his acute mentality to win battles of wits and soothe over the arguments of divines and the common folk below.
Due to him being called He Who Decides, Khorvas has the following domains associated with his name:
Decision making, similar to that of Anubis and the Weighing of the Heart in standard Egyptian mythos.
Clairvoyance and divination: two arcane traditions that are actually not taboo to Criyinthians
Divine judgement, and delivering the will of the gods.
A quirk about Khorvas is his precidings over the arts of divination, which is typically seen as something heretical. This is not the case in the Land Of Dragons, due to He Who Decides having a claw directly involved in this. Priestly workings dedicated to Khorvas often use this sort of magic in communicating deeper with him.
In one of two current parties I run in this world, a player’s Dracovecta character says that she would identify most with Khorvas, as a Bard (College of Lore). Rilith is the scholarly sort, a third year at a mage school, and says that her veneration for this god most likely lead her down the path to studying at the Avehi Arcana Magitorium.
Otughu:The Thousand-Winged. He Who Billows. Tempest Domain.
Otughu is the third of the pantheon of Criyith, and some say he is the much more reserved foil to Parnaghast. Storms are chaotic and uncontrollable, but have a pattern: war and the insanity which She Who Feeds presides over does not, coming about out of nowhere.
Aspects of the Herald of Storms rules over include:
Storms (it’s literally in his job description).
Orderly chaos, or chaos that has a greater importance.
The elements of air and water: sources that nourish and provide, which works in tandem with Glamdraug.
Otughu is, by far, one of the more primal-minded deities due to the nature of what he presides over, but this does not mean savage. Otughu teaches those who wish to learn his viewpoints of Faustus Kil that being in tune with one’s instincts does not necessarily mean something negative in connotation. One of his prime teachings is “be the storm’s fury, but also the calm to its eye”.
Because of his controlled ferocity, he is not directly associated with the bloodlust that comes about in combat. Moreso, he is the tactician that strikes hard and at once after methodical thinking and deliberation. He is not about attacking at random, but knowing the precise moment to come in and call attention to him.
Parnaghast:The Ever-Active. She Who Feeds. War Domain.
Parnaghast, strangely enough, is the fourth of the dragons and is actually the most fleshed out (relatively speaking). The Criyinthian deity of war, destruction and the end of all things, she is a necessary evil when in conjuncture with the other three. Not merely the in-world chapter of Wizards of the Coast’ main baddie Tiamat, she has her own role to play in the world at large.
The being who causes much of the antagonism in Criyithian folkore, her associated concepts are as follows:
Generalized chaos, be this good or ill.
Destruction (for both personal pleasure and to ensure the start of a new day).
Conquest over enemies, the patron of the warrior, per say.
That does not mean that she is merely the villain in this mythology. Parnaghast’s fury is oftentimes what is needed to bring calm to a calamity: the end of things to allow for the new to blossom. From the ashes of her rampage comes the start of the beginning.
Chaos also does not directly associate itself with things such as trickery, as often many real-world gods and beings who are associated with Trickster archetype are also involved in chaotic aspects. This is not the case with Parnaghast, who has a distinct lack of this sort of nature to herself. She is the blood-rage of barbarians; the pain in a mother’s cry as she gives birth; the will to survive when one must decide on flight or fight.
As All Hallow’s Eve creeps up on us on Wednesday this year, I figured that many of us are most likely encorperating spooky aspects of the holiday into our upcoming sessions. Whether they be homebrew campaigns or just something to add some extra ‘oomph’ to your Curse of Strahd game, here’s something that may help.
My real-life friends know what a nerd I am for Disney World and the storylines for their attractions (Expedition Everest being one of my favorites but I’m not here to write a Disney travel blog). And while I could talk about any number of things from the parks and movies, here’s something to keep in spirit with the time of the year.
‘The Ghost Host’s Manor’ is a homage to a classic Disney World attraction, and should be fairly obvious to which one it is. Inside of the PDF you’ll find stats on the Ghost Host himself, the mystic Madame Leota and the singing statues which reside in the mansion’s gardens. Just don’t forget to beware of hitchhiking ghosts.
Hello again, friends! I apologize for some time of absence but the job has gotten more and more busy in the past weeks with the holidays coming up. Trade season is one heck of a time.
Regardless, I wanted to give you guys a sneak peak at part of the latest project I’m working on with two new playable races: the Arcaniva and Tulpa.
Both of these races are rather strange and mystical, and are part of my own homebrew campaign world. I’d love for you guys to play one and give me some feedback on how it runs!
A side note: Tulpa are a great race for children to play, in order to get them used to 5th Edition. It lets them select any number of traits to make a character they like without having to be limited to what is already offered by the system. At the same time, it is challenging enough for more experienced players due to their quirk based on thought.
I swear, the thing pulsated in an unholy way that shouldn’t ever exist. I blame rampant mages for its mere existance.
Magical energy cannot truly be destroyed; simply only transfered into a different form once one means has been expent. Those talented in various arcane and divine traditions know this all too well, and should take the utmost care in their spellwork.
For some though, primarily those who gain their powers through Otherworldly pacts and Wild Magic Surges, they do not have the ability to control their biggest strength. In the wake of these rampant powers, Arcanivas are born.
A Matter of Magic. Arcaniva are a race which has only recently been classified as its own breed of sentient creature and not just a simple magical anomaly. They claim that they have been around for just about eternity, but it is only in recent times they have been given an official name.
Arcaniva Names. Arcaniva are strange, in how their names are self chosen and gender neutral. They are often a word or short phrase that is associated with magic and various mystical traditions across the realm. Some even name themselves after enchanted creatures which they find intriguing and natural phenominom associated with magic.
Example Names. Rune, Sigil, Salamander, Pendulum, Kirin, Augury, Silver, Eclipse
Racial Features. As an Arcaniva, you have the following traits that you share with others of your race.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution increases by two. Arcaniva, while being the result of spells, need to be hardy to survive as long as they have with little detection.
Move Speed. You have a move speed of 30 feet, and you hover an inch to two inches off of the ground. Arcaniva don’t have completly corporeal tethers to the ground beneath them, as magic is fluid and consistantly fluxuating.
Languages. You know how to read, write and speak Common and one additional language based on your subtype.
Darkvision. You can see in darkness for up to 60 feet in shades of grey.
Magical Mindset. You are proficient in the Arcana skill. If not adept casters themselves, it helps Arcaniva understand their own strange origins.
Innate Spellcasting. As beings born of magic, you have a limited number of known spells which is dependant on your subtype. This is described below in the next section.
Subtypes. When creating an Arcaniva, you may choose from one of the following as a subtype.
Arcaniva who come into being with the Nature subtype are the biproducts of druidic practices long since ceased.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom increases by one.
Additional Language. You may choose to understand either Elvish or Druidic.
Innate Spellcasting List. At corresponding levels, you may choose one spell listed from each section.
1st Level.druidcraft, mending, produce flame
3rd Level (regain on a short or long rest).absorb elements, longstrider, purify food and drink
5th Level (regain on a long rest).flaming sphere, healing spirit, warding wind
Arcaniva born into this typing are the remains of holy magic, whether they be Clerical rituals or a Paladin’s righteous fury.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence increases by one.
Additional Language. You may choose to understand either Celestial or Sylvan.
Innate Spellcasting List. At corresponding levels, you may choose one spell listed from each section.
3rd Level (regain use on a short or long rest). *bless, detect poison and disease,
5th Level (regain use on a long rest).branding smite, continual flame, spiritual weapon
Arcaniva born with the Occult subtype are products born from dark rituals and tappings into the most taboo practices of magic.
Ability Score Increse. Your Charisma increases by one.
Additional Language. You may choose to understand either Abyssal or Infernal.
Innate Spellcasting List. At corresponding levels, you may choose one spell listed from each section.
1st Level.mage hand, prestigiditation, minor illusion
3rd Level (regain use on a short or long rest).false life, illusory script, silent image
5th Level (regain use on a long rest).misty step, ray of enfeeblement, shatter
No mommy, I swear that Barghil is real! Isn’t that right, Barghil?
Their existance is yet to be completly understood, though they have been known through many iterations and names in different regions. Many times, they are played off as simply imaginary friends to children and young adults. But these are more then just the past times of an overactive imagination. These are tulpas.
Whimsy Made Real. Tulpa are in a sense, akin to constructs in that they are artificially created but their forms are as wild as the minds of those they spring forth from. Their appearances can range from fantastical creatures to noble warriors and terrifying specters. They are not limited to what is possible in the Material Plane and its rules of physiology.
Children at Heart and Essence. Rare creatures, tulpa are innately connected to children and those who have a imaginative way of seeing the world around them. But they understand more then even the most literate bards that words have power. So long as their story and thought of what makes them who they are, they will live on immune to the passage of time. But if they are forgotten, they shall disappear eternally.
Ability Score Increase Your Wisdom increases by two, and one stat of your choice increases by one. Tulpa often have a strange world view of their own, but their features can be anything that can be imagined.
Move Speed Your move speed is 30 feet.
Languages. You know how to read, write and understand Common and a language of the person whose imagination you sprung forth from. For example, if you were imagined by a tiefling, you would know Common and Abyssal.
Ageless. You cannot age and cannot be killed by old age so long as you are remembered in some way. However, you can still die from poison, physical damage or anything else which may take the life of another.
Pure Imagination. Unlike standard races, when creating a tulpa, you may choose three of the features listed below. These also have a list of attributes which can be associated with each of these traits. Ypu choose one trait from each section below
Pure Imagination, Section 1
Aquatic. With fish like traits, you have the ability to breathe in and out of water.
Darkvision. Manifesting in eyes which glisten with unnatural energy, you can see in the dark in shades of grey up to 60 feet out. You cannot see in magical darkness.
Sturdy. Larger or more stocky in physical form, you have advantage on Strength saving throws to resist being grappled or moved by force. You may also make this saving throw to ignore a spell effect that automatically pushes you away.
Elemental Resistance. Your skin glistens and shines with sparks of energy found in the natural world. When creating a tulpa, choose either fire, lightning, cold, acid, poison
Flight/Gliding. Appearing many times as wings or even flaps of skin on the arms, you can naturally fly at a speed equal to your move speed so long as you are not wearing medium or heavy armor. You may also choose this option as a means to break your fall if you are falling from great heights.
Pure Imagination, Section 2
Camogflauge. You have an innate ability to hide yourself naturally. You can change the color of your skin and the equipment you wear to gain advantage on Stealth checks.
Charge. When you move in a straight line for at least 20 feet, any melee weapon you hit does an additional 1d6 damage of the damage of the type that it normally would do.
Natural Weapons. Beast-like in your manners, you have either a natural Bite or Claw attack which deals 1d6 piercing or slashing damage.
Tree Stride. You may enter a tree that is a size Large or bigger, then reappear out of another tree of a similar size no more then 60 feet away. You have one use of this and regain it on a short or long rest.
Mimicry. You can skillfully imitate voices and sounds which you have heard. Those who can hear the imitation can make a Intelligence (Investigation) check equal to 8 + your proficiency modifier.
Pure Imagination, Section 3
Beast and Plant Speech. You can speak fluently with animals and plants as if you shared a language with them.
Fey Thought Patterns. The imagination of the one you were born from was not easilly swayed. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and cannot be put to sleep through magical means.
Magically Inclined. the air around you shimmers in a strange yet enchanting light. Choose a spell list from Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer or Wizard. You may choose two cantrips from that spellcasting list to learn.
Mana Blood. You being born of high magic has you not needed to eat or sleep. You can still eat but it is not mandatory for you to do so. Alcohol can still make you feel the side effects of over drinking, however.
Terrifying Presence. Just being around you is enough to make others quake in fear. You have advantage on Intimidation rolls as well as advantage on fear saving throws.
While the posts were few and far between, I enjoyed each and every one of them! If you didn’t send me your article yet, no worries: just send me the link and I’ll update the list with your contribution.
I highly doubt that any of you have watched the Flumph Cast YouTube channel, which I am a part of, but if BY CHANCE you have listened in, you probably have seen a previous campaign titled ‘Wrath of the Tyrant God’. For this installment, I’ll introduce you to a character that you’ve met in the later parts of the game. Guys, let’s go talk to some trees!
The character I speak of comes in at around the 59 minute marker in the video above.
“This was a very, VERY, bad idea”- Hemlock Evetide, Dryad Summoner
So, some of you may or may not know I play in the games on the Flumph Cast YouTube channel (which you guys should totally check out, along with our Instagram page). A while back, we had recorded our very first full length campaign on the channel, run by our fellow Flumph named Julian.
The campaign which followed, titled ‘Wrath of the Tyrant God’, had the party searching desperately for a way to bring down a mad deity by the name of Uber: a creature who had destroyed the rest of the pantheon of Cruxis. Whatever he could not destroy, he nerfed. The major catagories of creatures he had this happen to were the dragons, the demons and fiends, and the fey.
Of course I wanted to play a fey creature. Enter Hemlock Evetide, a rather skittish dryad who is skilled in the strange arts of Summoning. A pirate by survival and circumstance, Hemlock’s small crew rescues the party once their glass boat (yes, you read that right) shatters in the ocean in an attempt to return to the mainland. Evetide’s crew rescues them from a most certain watery doom, and they tend to the party to the best of their abilities.
Through the adventure, they find out several things about the mysterious plant-like fey creature. Hemlock is a rare kind of spellcaster, a Summoner, who for all his life had to live the life as a pirate out of necessity. The other crew members, aboard a floating tree-vessel called the Mangrove Supremacy, served as a safe haven in the world of Cruxis after the Tyrant God wrought his terror. In his time fighting for survival, he had fallen in love with a fellow dryad, named Foxglove, and they intended to soon be wed.
But tragedy struck before such a time, and they soon witnessed a ship with dark purple masts upon the horizon. This though was not a mere friendly ship: this was a vessel belonging to paladins to Uber himself. With this hostile ship swiftly approaching, they made an attempt to flee. But their vessel could not escape the rapid fire of cannons, and they were shot down with little to no way to defend themselves.
Foxglove, who was the captain of their little ship, as well as the other fey creatures, were taken down in a matter of minutes. Hemlock was lucky, in that he was single sole survivor, sent adrift on spare planks and hoping for the best.
But continuing to the present state of things.
Hemlock, once rescuing the group, joins them in their quest to slay the deity. And through many trial and tribulation, they actually succeed in this with the world of Cruxis being safe once more.
His story doesn’t end there though. He actually revives the love of his life, begins a career as a naturalist as well as opening up a Mage college. He also ascends, after death, to the role as a deity of life along with Foxglove and his favored summon, Minerva: a shadow-touched Wyvern.
Many Eyes of the Magi
Hemlock’s story is not quite done, however.
On the channel, I run a new campaign where Hemlock serves as the headmaster of a school known as the Avehi Arcana Magitorium. This is where the party meets, as third year university students assigned to one another for their big semester long project.
The group consists of:
– Theren, Wood Elf Rogue (Arcane Trickster)
– Kaiyu, Kitsune Warlock (Archfey)
– Keth, Naiad Runic Knight
– Rilith, Dracovecta Bard
– Tilgi, Selkie Paladin (Oath of Redemption)
– Taku, Charcardin Monk (Kensei)
Hemlock is rather approachable, if students can get past the initial fear of how Minerva rarely leaves his side on the university grounds. Some people have even gotten attached to the wyvern, especially Keth and Rilith. The entire time when the group was getting their third year assignment, at least one person was playing with ‘Minervikins’, as Hemlock affectionately calls her. Anyone else doing so would result in their hand being bitten off.
Just like the original character, Evetide’s past is not pleasant. He was forced into the Chervaux Royal Military Corps, and told to perform horrifying experiments in making chimeras for the battlefield, which often utilized dying humanoid soldiers.
The most terrifying project though was overseen by Hemlock, and known as Project Sandstone. This was a covert operation in making siege machines that had all the firepower as well as appearance as dragons. It was brutally effective. Once Hemlock’s four of service was complete, he took all his notes on Project Sandstone with him as well as four intact Brasswings (the machines). The government also gave him a plot of land in the middle of nowhere. This later became the grounds for the Magitorium.
Why I Love This Character
Hemlock does a lot of things. He combines my love of summoners, the fae and magic together in one character. He’s also quite different from others who I’ve played as up to that point in that he is in no capacity brave. Heck, he started out as an absolute coward. But as things began to become more dire, he lost that part of him and became the wise Dryad he is known as today.
I also have a lot of sentimental feelings with him because of his story. He lost everything before the game even started: I usually don’t make such tragic backgrounds but in that campaign, it made sense given what was going on. Equally, his background as an NPC as well needed to match the situation in Faustus Kil: equally dark and tragic but not something you’d expect on the surface level.
He is in no way a fighter first, and would rather take a tactical role should combat break out. He first tries diplomacy to win over a foe before unleashing his summoned death machines to wreck the field. Besides, if he wins over an enemy, that means a possible new summon to add to his arsenal.
I thought it would be rather rude of me to not contribute something to the RPG Blog Carnival which I’m hosting for the month of July. So, here’s a post about my latest character who has (thankfully) survived the campaign he was in, although narrowly at some points. Bonus points to my compatriot Doctor Necrotic over at Daemons and Deathrays for his playing of his lupine character Moon Lotus. We affectionately called her Moon Moon, of course, for assorted reasons. I may also put his final stats come the end of the campaign, for those who want to use him as an NPC.
Caution: this post is gonna be long!
“Does it look like I want to be in charge of a noble house? Thanks but no thanks. I’m not one for politics.”- Arsène Vulpin, heir to the House of Avardin
Legends don’t often start out in a glamorous life. Urchins and thieves and poor village folk is how most adventurers begin their career.
Not for Arsène. Born a kitsune (a race of shapeshifting fox-folk) in the world of Ragnivald, Arsène was dragged through the rungs of life at a young age and in a “profession” that would physically and mentally scar him for years to come. Taken in at a young age by a slave caravan, he was used by clientele for sex and other pleasures of the body.
In Ragnivald, the fey folk are bountiful and consistently appear. As common as humans in other settings, kitsune are the exception. They are few and far between. So much so, that a young MALE Kitsune prostitute would bring any owner no small amount of coin in the time of his service. In Arsène’s case, this was ongoing. He was taken by the caravan at fourteen years of age, but did not begin “working” until two years later, after his new owners saw he was healthy enough to make their treks across Faustus Kil.
There were few things the Kitsune could do when he was not providing customers with the attention they paid for, but he found solace in both tarot card reading as well as dancing. Granted, his preferred style was belly dancing which was initially forced upon him by the slavers. Later he took rather large pride in his dancing, which at least helped him to dull the mental scars he had-
Quicker then he could remember, the stationed caravan was swarmed by a band of green-cloaked men: elven, based on their height and how he saw some with elongated ears. Arrows were shot, swords drawn and clashed with no mercy. By the end of the skirmish, all of the slavers were dead and the elves were going about freeing captives.
Initially, they found Arsène in his fox form: locked tightly up in a cage with two enchanted locks that kept him in this feral body. Once he was taken out of the cage, however, his innate magic surged once more and he was able to take humanoid form. The glint of gold in the sunlight, as the rays of the day reflected off a pair of slave tags around his neck: depicting a naked woman, and a gold price placed on the man for usage.
Arsène learned that these elves were guards and warriors in service to House Avardin, a merchant family dealing with gems and whatnot. This caravan was passing through the family’s territory without permission, and Avardin did not take kindly to this. They did, though, bring the Kitsune to the man of the house, seeing that fox-folk are exceedingly rare.
Lord Cimmeril did the unthinkable: he adopted the young kitsune, affectionately named ‘Kit’ in the house, into his fold. Arsène spoke not a word while in the house, save in the company of an older elven gentleman by the name of Tethyn Silverymoon, House Avardin’s scholar.
He developed a close friendship to Tethyn, finding solace in the walls upon walls of books. More then he had ever seen as a child, it only took two months or so for him to devour every tome that Avardin had in possession. His inevitable reading would had lead him to a long-forgotten passage on Silvi Varilax eventually. In the common tongue, this was simply known as Arcane Archery.
Years had passed, and Kit had begun to develop his own rapport within the house: as a skilled archer whose abilities outmatched any of his company. Yet, he remained largely silent and barely spoke a word, even once he reached twenty five years of age. Again, the most he spoke was to Tethyn, who he bought up to about learning Silvi Varilax. His teacher was doubtful of this, but spent many weeks finding him an appropriate teacher. This came in a the form of a strange faerie being who simply asked to be referred to as Puck. It pressed Kit hard, but saw his abilities begin to take shape. Once Puck had given the Kitsune all the knowledge he needed, they parted ways.
At the age of 29, the still relatively young Arsène strode off into the world, away from House Avardin. This was one of the few times he spoke in front of all of his adopted family, and many had thought he lacked the ability to speak altogether. He had said that he had confided solely in Tethyn, and spoke to no other. When lord Cimmeril asked Tethyn why he did not bring this up to him, he simply responded with “I made a promise. I keep my word,”.
He was gifted both a longbow and an enchanted whip before he set out into the realm beyond, and for a large time he simply wandered where he wanted to. Looking for other kitsunes like himself but having no luck, he mostly took up tracking jobs and odd services to earn gold. This gold, ironically enough, was used at inns and brothels. His view of sex and pleasure is that so long as it’s mutually agreed and not forced, then he is perfectly fine with paying for such services.
It was through this situation that found Arsène checked into an inn known as the Leaky Wizard’s Hat with a whore at his side. Once business was all said and done, he fell asleep and offered the woman to share his bed overnight (there were wolf howls in the distant, and it would better for her to remain safe).
Morning comes, and the woman is nowhere to be seen. In no small amout of worry and confusion, he looks out the window and sees not the town he checked into but a place he had never seen before: the town of Dragons Meadow. The next day was learning he had been teleported to another world completely, which he later learned was called Zestra. This was the fate of two other travelers he had met in the tavern there, by the names of Torren Blacksky (a blind human Sorcerer whose abilities came from the mysterious Void), an Aasimar named Oyev (Paladin, Oath of Conquest) and a strange shapeshifting wolf-woman named Moon Lotus (werewolf-esque Battle Mage).
They had all been called, in some way, shape or form, by a being calling himself Duncan, who ran the Leaky Wizard’s Hat and always reading and writing in a large leather-bound book. Inter-planar shenanigans resulting in collecting shattered fragments of a long-dead (or so we thought) chaos deity, traveling to Sigil, Carceri, and even back to Faustus Kil and the faerie realm there. Over this time, Arsène has had many challenges along the way, not limited to but including:
Oyev himself. He never quite saw eye-to-eye with the Paladin, and despite traveling with the Aasimar for an extended period of time, never truly trusted him even when he claimed that he will always be loyal to the party.
Dealing with an arranged marriage. He did manage to get out of that, because it wasn’t what he wanted.
His distrust of firearms and technology. Ragnivald is a place of low tech, and he favored his longbow more than anything else. Until Oyev gifted him a custom made rifle, which he named Kasuf (Arabic for ‘eclipse’).
But there was one major event which spurred him on to trying to be a better man, and that was his confession of feelings to Torren. For months, he had been battling his heart and debated long and hard on what he should do. But Arsène eventually worked up his courage and professed his love to the Sorcerer.
Torren felt the same way, and the two have been inseparable, even when Torren had lost his memory briefly. It was because of Arsène’s caring and re-educating the Sorcerer that he was able to remember everything that had happened. In all of Arsène’s years, he could not have believed that someone who was so broken of a man and who had literally seen a prior lover go insane would fall for him, a simple Kitsune who was hardly anything special. How wrong was he in thinking that.
Arsène also became a vampire in the later half of the game, which caused no small amount of conflict in the party. Oyev and Moon Lotus immediately wanted to cure him of the vampirism, but Torren stepped in and defended Arsène’s decision on keeping his newfound abilities. And while Arsène has come very close to losing himself to bouts of blood frenzy and hunger, he has managed to stave it off…for the most part. When the change had occured, his midnight black hair had turned a stark white, his tan skin became significantly paler (imagine dusty clay pottery), and his eyes became black and red. When he lost himself during his feedings, streaks of blood would fall from his eyes like tears. I also like to imagine that his ears became slightly pointed and were tipped with tufts of white fur.
I head-cannon that Arsène and Torren had run off to Torren’s original world, known as Daro, to deal with the problems he had left unfinished there prior to him being summoned to the Leaky Wizard’s Hat. After that, I’d like to think Arsène took Torren on a tour of Faustus Kil after all the craziness for some much needed rest and relaxation. And from there, more adventures.
Why I Love This Character
When I mean by love, I don’t mean in an obsessive anime fan girl way.
Arsène is a character who is very much unlike any of the characters I have played as of late/at all. I usually favor complete spellcasters, such as Druids and Warlocks. This guy could technically be a spellcaster but not really: his magic comes from his Arcane Shots.
Another giant factor of how he’s different is that I generally never have a character who specializes in weapons, especially firearms. I’m not a huge fan of weapons (I frankly find them boring in regards to everything else a fantasy setting can provide), so playing someone who prefers rifles and swords is strange for me. I got used to it though, and I’m not sure if I see the allure of Barbarians and those sort of classes still.
His personality has a lot to do with it as well. A lot of my previous characters all had some sort of whimsical side to them as well as a child-like view of the world. Arsène? Not so much. He was perpetually in a grumpy mood, a heavy alcoholic at the beginning of the campaign and would find any reason to indulge in his personal kinks and desires. But despite that all, he did try to be a decent enough man, even though him and Oyev didn’t see eye to eye on many occasions.
His relationship with Torren also felt natural. At first, he did not truly trust anyone in the group, but did feel some sort of connection to Torren: as the both of them were not native to the world of Zestra, I suppose that’s what first started their close friendship which developed into something far deeper. At one point, Arsène had said to the Sorcerer that out of all the party members, Torren was the only one he would lay his life down for in order to protect him. Torren said the feeling was mutual on his end.
Torren was also the only one to support Arsène wishing to remain a vampire when Oyev and Moon Lotus wanted to turn him back with magic (Oyev) or outright kill him and resurrect him without the “curse” (Moon Lotus). It definetly gave some more tension to the group (as if there wasn’t enough already).
Arsène also wasn’t above attacking his party members if he needed to. At one point, Oyev was getting too full of himself after obtaining the position of a leader of a merchant household. Arsène told him “if you start getting your ego inflated and all that power goes to your head, I’d be more then happy to pop that balloon and knock you down a couple of pegs”. Granted, Oyev’s self-importance could also be derived from his origins as being related to the fallen angel Lucifer but I digress.
Welcome back, pixies and sprites, to my corner of Internet insanity!
Why do we play our favorite tabletop games? This is my question to you, the reader.
It could be a combination of many aspects: the thrill of being your own hero, perhaps your character was chosen by the fickle hands of fate to be the harbinger of the end of days even. Maybe you’re nothing more then a peasant man who discovered his love of the natural world, or a minstrel with a bad case of sticky fingers.
But if your responsibility to a gaming group for you falls as the position as the Game/Dungeon Master, you know that one of the key ingredients to keep players coming back to your table is simple and complex at the same time. This is the story itself.
The story is what draws players in. It is what develops characters, ensures all-too-numerous hours of organization on your end, and ultimately why we are all joined in this past time. Yes, some stories drag on for too long or end abruptly, but at the heart of the hobby, the story and the tales which are told will always remain a most vital aspect. Dare I say, even more important then dice *gasp*!
For July, the theme for the RPG Blog Carnival is Tabletop Tales! You’re probably wondering, “what the heck in Tiamat’s name is that theme all about?”. I’m glad you asked (and yes, I did put this post up a few days early so that way I can start getting people’s ideas flowing)!
Tabletop Tales is a theme where contributors can write any number of articles and posts, revolving around the stories told at the table. A list of ideas are provided below, to get your creative gears going:
As a DM, what was a plot point you are especially proud of in your last game?
Criticism of official and unofficial campaign module’s storylines (Curse of Strahd, Rise of Tiamat, etc.)
The exploits of your characters, both good and bad
The role of stories and legends in your game(s)
Lore behind your world(s)
Legendary boss battle recounts that are worthy of a DM giving out Inspiration
Once you’ve written your post (or two, or three if you’re feeling brave!), come back to this page when it’s completed and post a link to the entry. At the end of the month, I’ll make another post that will have all the links to those who contributed to the theme of July.
I know I have several ideas planned out for my own contributions, and I look forward to seeing your entries!