Summerlands Antagonists: The Fey
(This is the first part of my two-part look at the fey in the Summerlands.)
Everyone in the Summerlands worries about the dragons. Some concern themselves with dangers of the sea, while others focus on each other or on ancient enemies like the quaggoth. Few worry about the fey. Everyone knows they exist, of course, but at best they are a nuisance, the stuff of bedtime stories, or the butt of jokes. Except for the sea kin’s animosity with kelpies and selkies, few mortal races concern themselves with faeries, and few faeries bother mortal creatures.
This is not for lack of trying. Fey like the banshrae, the nereid, the tooth faeries and others try to feed on mortals’ emotions or lives, and are stopped only by the eternal vigilance of the tunder.
In the Summerlands, there are no “good fey.” At best, some fey, especially selkies, dryads, and nereids, may be neutral, and such a fey might bestow positive attention on a mortal, but fey are not mortal. They are not born as mortals are and do not die as they do. Their ways of thinking are alien to mortals, and such a fey might seem to fall in love with a mortal, only to disappear without warning to see what the mortal’s reaction might be. A fey who genuinely feels affection for a mortal is the most dangerous: if they identify that feeling, they might imprison the mortal in amber to keep it forever, or slay it to see what the loss feels like.
Fey are born from the land, springing into being when a tree takes root or a baby cuts its first tooth. They are created fully formed, with all the desires and drives they will ever have. The circumstances of a fey’s creation profoundly affect its life. A tooth faerie might look like a sprite, but the former is created from a baby’s cry and will spend its life stealing teeth and torturing infants. The latter are born of the tunderstorms that roll of the Endless Mountains, and bring the anger of the storm to bear on mortals they dislike.
Dryads are common anywhere there are trees. While not every tree has a dryad, it is said that a dryad lives within sight of every tree in every forest. They do not always oppose cutting trees down, particularly if is makes room for more to grow, but they dislike loggers on principle, and will interfere with their operations whenever possible. For this reason, veteran loggers always welcome tunder into their camps, whether or not they do any work.
Hags are less common, as most are powerful enough to attract the attention of adventurers, dragons, or both. Those hags who do survive, however, usually focus on destroying tunder. As soon as the hags turn their attention to other matters, the tunder gather together to strike them down.
Existing in the space between dragons and fey, faerie dragons are not protected by the laws of retribution that protect dragons from harm. They are too much like dragons for the fey to give them protection, however. As a result, they spend their lives in hiding, resenting both of their parent-races and the mortals who occasionally hunt them for sport.
Like faerie dragons, blink dogs are one of the few fey whose existence is well-known among mortals. Parents frighten their children into obedience with stories of enormous, vicious canines who can appear out of thin air, snatch a disobedient child, and be gone before anyone notices. Careless or foolhardy children of all races are referred to as “blink bait.”
Pixies and sprites look alike: both have wings, both are small, and both are invisible. Both delight in torturing mortals who offend them (such as by not leaving out food for nearby fey, whether or not the mortal know there are such fey), although sprites tend to be more violent in their retribution: pixies play cruel tricks, while sprites hound mortals to death.
Like selkies, satyrs are attracted to beautiful mortal men and women and frequently try to collect particularly attractive specimens. What a satyr with its prize depends on the fey, but it is rarely good for the mortal.
While blights, such as needle, twig, and vine, are plant creatures, they are the creations and weapons of the fey. A dryad angry about logging might not defend her grove herself, but rather send an army of blights to drive the loggers out.
Besides these common fey (and fey-associated creatures), there are many other fey in the Summerlands.
Medium fey, chaotic evil
Armor Class 15
Hit Points 135 (18d8 + 54)
Speed 40 feet
STR 18 (+4) DEX 20 (+5) CON 17 (+3) INT 14 (+2) WIS 15 (+2) CHA 20 (+4)
Skills: Acrobatics , Stealth
Senses darkvision, Passive perception 14
Languages: Sylvan, telepathy 120 feet.
Challenge 12 (8,400 xp)
Empathy: The banshrae is attuned to the emotions of creatures around it. It is always aware of creatures’ emotional states.
Mantis stance: As a bonus action, the banshrae can enter its mantis stance. While it is in this stance, all melee attacks against the banshrae have disadvantage, and all ranged attacks automatically miss. The banshrae remains in the stance as long as it uses its move action to move at least 20 feet every round.
Mouthless: The banshrae has no mouth. It can no speak, nor does it need to breathe, eat, or sleep.
Charge: If the banshrae moves at least 20 feet towards its target and then hits with a claw attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 14 (4d6) slashing damage.
Multiattack. The banshrae makes three claw attacks.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: +8 (1d6 + 5) slashing damage, and the target must make a DC 17 Charisma saving throw or be frightened.
Blowgun. Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, range 25/100, one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage, plus 11 (2d10) poison damage, and the target must make a DC 17 Constitution save or be poisoned for 1 minute, and a DC 17 Wisdom save or be charmed for 24 hours. The charmed creature regards the banshrae as a trusted friend to be heeded and protected. Although the target isn’t under the banshrae’s control, it takes the banshrae’s requests or actions in the most favorable way it can. If the banshrae or its allies do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the charm effect on itself on a success.
Dart swarm (Recharges after a long or short rest). The banshrae makes blowgun attacks against up to four creatures within range.
Empathic parasite: If there is a frightened, charmed, or raging creature within 30 feet of the banshrae heals 18 (4d8) hit points.
Banshrae are created in a moment of strong emotion, and spend their lives trying to cause mortals to enter that state, generally a state of heightened fear, anger, or lust. The have insect-like features, but no mouths, communicating entirely by telepathy. They appreciate fine music, particularly music that moves mortals’ emotions.
Tiny fey, neutral
Armor Class 13
STR 7 (-2) DEX 18 (+4) CON 10 (+1) INT 14 (+2) WIS 15 (+2) CHA 14 (+2)
Skills: Stealth +6
Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages: Common, Sylvan
Innate Spellcasting. The brownie’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 12). The brownie can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At will: prestidigitation
3/day each: dancing lights, fog cloud, grease, minor illusion
1/day each: confusion, misty step, mirror image, phantasmal force
Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 slashing damage.
Superior invisibility. The brownie turns invisible until its concentration ends (as if concentrating on a spell). Any equipment the brownie wears is invisible with it.
Brownies, or house sprites, are born the moment a new homeowner steps inside his or her house and falls in love with it. As the spirit of the house, the brownie considers the house its home, and considers the mortals its guests. Well-behaved guests might find their stores last a little longer, and their belongings shine a little brighter. Eventually, however, guests must overstay their welcome, and offend the brownie in some way: cursing, failing to leave offerings of food, speaking harshly, or others, more idiosyncratic slights. When a brownie’s good favor is inevitably lost, its attention turns violent, and it turns all its efforts to making the homeowners miserable, and driving them out. If a mortal refuses to leave, a brownie can turn violent, even murderous, using its tricks to cause fatal accidents.