The Planes: Feywild
Our first stop in The Planes series is the Feywild - a land of beauty and death.
What is the Feywild
The Feywild, also known as the Plane of Faerie, is a verdant home of cruel fey and endless desires. To walk through the land of the Feywild, one risks death from all matter of creatures, and even if you survive the perils of the Feywild, you may end up never being able to leave. The call of the Feywild is difficult to resist to all mortals, and many fey, like elves, eladrin, and satyrs, have such a desire to journey to it that they are willing to risk their lives.
The Feywild came about in 4th edition as a melding of two planes, The Plane of Faerie and Arborea, more specifically the first layer known as Arvondar. The Feywild is the mirrored reflection of the Material Plane and thus sits alongside it at the center of the planes, some claim that it is the dream of the Material Plane.
Arborea exists in the Upper Planes and in the Astral Sea and is made up of three planes - The Forests of Arvondar, also known as Olympus by the entities known as the Greeks who also reside in it, feature massive trees, enchanting sights, and pure emotions. On this plane, there are hunts during the day and huge fests at night. The inhabitants flit from huge smiles and boisterous laughter to fighting at the first insult and back to singing and dancing not a moment later, all who live here take their emotions to the extreme.
The Plane of Faerie is a world home to half-celestials and half-fiends. The celestials make up the Seelie Court, while the fiends make up the Unseelie Court. Both courts are interested in abducting mortals from the Material Plane, though the Seelie Court is interested in amusement while the Unseelie Court is interested in slaves and meals.
By combining these two into the Feywild, we are given a plane that is teeming with life and death. The Feywild exists as a vibrant, but extremely deadly reflection of the Material World, and defies all attempts to properly cull its enthusiasm. Where one might see the ruins of past ages in the Material World, the Feywild reflects that of some great fey lord’s castle with crystalline windows and crystal walls instead of stone.
All attempts to properly map the Feywild end in failure, as it is inconsistent in its appearance. It is said that there are many worlds in the Material Plane, but only one Feywild reflecting them all at once. This causes the occupants of the Feywild to treat distances and time with little thought, and to mimic the Feywild’s seemingly erratic behavior.
An Outsider’s Perspective
Visiting the Feywild can be an exciting journey for any adventurer, though it isn’t without its dangers. Stepping into a planar portal, you may not know where exactly you end up, and while the inhabitants of the Feywild may appear to be helpful, it may end in your death or even enslavement. The inhabitants can be cruel and calculating when it comes to weighing another’s life and are only interested in their enjoyment.
The Feywild is filled with enchanting forests and enchanting people, and many who return from the Feywild to the Material Plane find themselves ill-adjusting to the boring qualities of nature and the plane. This plane instills a longing for adventure and new experiences, the desire to experience the fantastic and truly strange.
The land is filled with powerful fey lords who use mortals to entertain them, either by gifting strange magics or by sending them out on quests. When they make these deals, it can be dangerous for outsiders who may not realize that the plane itself may enforce the deal. If you make a deal for power or favor, you better hold up your deal or find yourself in a far worst position. Vowing to sing of the beauty of a Nymph for a fortnight and failing that, you may find your voice stolen and that you may never speak again.
Journeying through the land, it isn’t all dangerous for an outsider. Rather it is a beautiful experience where you can see Pixies dance in the night sky, an emerald ocean of grass or witness true beauty in the court of some fey lord. The Feywild is a land like no other and leaves an impression on anyone, typically that of yearning to return.
A Native’s Perspective
Living in the Feywild, you can feel the Feywild coursing through your blood. Not only does the wild magic exist in you, but your desire to experience new things and to be unbound and to live to the fullest. The inhabitants are used to the exotic smells of their flowers and find it humorous when outsiders may become entranced by the smell.
This raw nature and almost storybook-like wonder of this plane give the occupants all the time to work on their greatest desires, and many may even take this for granted. The fey have an intrinsic understanding of their world, and this informs how they behave with all creatures. They understand that the Feywild is dangerous, and so must they be - cold and calculating like the huge wild beasts that roam their beloved forests.
Traveling into the Feywild is the easiest of all planes to travel too. Many towns and villages have rumors and traditions about enchanted forests, how young men would brave the woods only to return 20 years later but not looking a day older.
Throughout the Material Plane are Fey Crossings, planar portals that exist in odd locations. Some may be forests home to the fey, while others may be between stone arches in long gone ruins to some past civilization. There are even Fey cities that cross into the Material Plane on set schedules, or sometimes completely random. When a small village notices that their plants are growing far larger than the other surrounding villages, it might be due to that the forest near them is home to a Fey Crossing.
Traversing the Plane
Journeying through the plane is far harder than just entering into the Feywild. Inside are the dangers of a forest, but far more exotic and far deadlier. The trees themselves may try to kill travelers who know not to collect the fallen branches, and beasts grow larger and deadlier in this magical land.
As if the very plane was trying to kill you, locations can be difficult to get too. Their distance from each other is more of a suggestion, and most inhabitants will shrug their shoulders when asked why it takes longer to travel in one direction as opposed to another. It’s just the way that the Feywild is.
Promises and Boundaries
While the fey are focused on the individual self and freedom, they still hold boundaries and promises. Fey that make pacts and bargains become magically bound to their promises and breaking an oath places them under the power of another creature. To swear an oath or promise favors to another is reserved for times of desperation or maybe for a desire of extreme fun.
Furthermore, fey respect traditional laws like how cold iron can stop them from entering, these boundaries act as walls and are as binding as shackles. When a fey makes a promise, they must deliver or face the wrath of those they have wronged. Likewise, visitors are placed under the same expectations when it comes to making pacts, even if the visitor has no idea of the consequences.
Throughout the Feywild are centers of civilization, and at least safety from the dangers of the wild. In these cities are more than just the fey, but otherworldly travelers and visitors from the Material Plane.
The city of Starlight is a strange city of the eladrins. During the spring and summer months, it occupies an island in the Material Plane where mortals flock to its shores. The city is the jewel of the eladrin cities and is a center for trade, diversity, and power. During the months on the Material Plane trade is conducted, festivals and feasts are held and great tournaments fill the days.
But not all is happiness in Astrazalian, for when the fall and winter months take this city it leaves the Material World and returns to the Feywild. Here it is besieged by fomorian lords and hideous cyclops who hope to kill the inhabitants and take over the city as a means of a staging area for their conquest of the Material Plane. During this time, the resources of Astrazalian are lean and many of the inhabitants are well used to fighting on battlefields where they kill giants and doing everything that they can to survive.
The City of Starlight is the last city on the borders of the Feydark and many other cities near it have all fallen to the evil influence. While this is truly a dangerous city to travel to during its time in the Feywild, it is not without its rewards. The ruler, Lady Shandria is a distant niece of Queen Tiandra, and offers vast rewards and powerful items to any that can help her destroy the fomorian menace that assaults their walls.
This large forest city is home to towering trees and glows in the orange, red and yellow leaves of this eternal Autumn city. Time almost seems to move more slowly in the Autumn City and as such, the citizens place no importance on timeliness or working too quickly. It is a great insult to ask for something to be done in a quick manner, as such many humans are seen as impatient for their short lives keep them active.
It is said that once Mithrendin ran so fast that it caused a hole in the Feywild and from that hole came the fomorians, drow, and other dark creatures. This hole was only stopped when seven fey wizards placed seven seals over the hole and then built a massive fortress, known as the golden Citadel Arcanum, over those seals. The wizards then banished time from this city so that their seals may ever stay new and that the dark creatures could never enter. Because of this, timekeeping devices are treated as ill omens and at every grand festival, an hourglass is destroyed so that its sands may fade into the winds.
The personal realm of the Summer Queen is the personification of the Summer. Here the inhabitants experience everything as if it is for the first time and merriment can be had all around. Play and sport are how the inhabitants pass the time, and when outsiders do not play along, they become the targets of tricks and pranks.
Here the Court of Stars holds their meetings and listens to those who would plea from them for relief of their problems. Many petitioners, from all over the planes, bring lavish gifts and offerings all in the hope of grabbing the Summer Queen’s eye.
Senaliesse is a city cradled in the massive forest, between the silver limbs of the massive forest that holds them high above the Feywild. It is said that the Green Lord, Oran, handcrafted this city for the Summer Queen. Weaved into the limbs is the massive city where Summer never ends, coated in heavy ivy and bathed in the light of the stars above.
Beneath the magical forest of the Feywild lies the dark and twisting caverns of the Feydark, a reflection of the Material Plane’s Underdark. This land is in sharp contrast to the beautiful world above it and is home to fomorian lords, cyclops, drow and other horrors who only wish to destroy the surface dwellers.
The fomorians have cities all over the Feydark and are constantly at war with each other. Fomorians will never bow to another, and many are considered quite mad by the surface dwellers of the Feywild, which is good as it stops them from working together. Many of the Fomorian lords suffer from extreme paranoia and will kill those who they suspect to be spies or who they suspect might become a spy in the future.
The three biggest cities of the fomorians are Harrowhame, Mag Tureah, and Vor Thomil. These cities are home to not just their Fomorian lord, but slaves, spies, assassins and the massive armies each lord is accruing to destroy the surface dwellers.
The mightiest and most formidable fomorian stronghold ruled by the fomorian King Thrumbolg, known as the First Lord. This powerful citadel was found in the Feydark and mysteriously was left alone for centuries. Many fomorians tried to take control of this city, but strange creatures walked its halls and drove off all invasions until Thrumbolg was able to clear the citadel.
Inside the citadel are hundreds of portals to the Material Plane, though they are impossible to keep track of. Many fade in and out of existence every few hours, days or even weeks. Adventurers who wander the ruins on the Material Plane may find themselves inside of Mag Tureah, with no recollection of how they ventured here. There are even rumors that some of these portals lead not to the Material Plane, but to the Far Realm and some worry that King Thrumbolg may have made deals with the entities of the Far Realm.
King Thrumbolg is constantly looking for arcanists for if he can understand how the portals behave, he can control the portals and begin an invasion of the Material Plane. To that end, Mag Tureah is home to a large population of slaves who are used as test subjects in understanding these planar portals.
Borderlands and the Wild
Past the civilized lands of the Eladrin lords are the wild expanses. Traveling to these locations is incredibly dangerous and most travelers avoid it if they can.
The Dread Isle
This isle exists somewhere above the Sea Lords domain of coral reefs. This island is home to treacherous waves, jagged rocks, and mysterious creatures. It is constantly flitting from the Feywild to other planes, and any who find themselves on this island may never leave.
This island is constantly trying to kill any visitors as it is home to the psychic Su Monsters that reside in its treetops. The Su Monsters watch over their island, with a special focus on the Yaun-ti who also live here. If you are ever shipwrecked on this island, you may find yourself having to fight to the death with your friends, for survival is everything here.
This land is home to lycanthropes who were able to win it from the eladrin lords after a bloody and hard fought war. Here werebeasts are free to live, though if they ever leave their lands they risk being hunted by the Maiden of the Moon who wields a silver sword and is the doom of all lycanthropes. As the moon is far brighter and stronger here, it creates an almost giddy like excitement when it hangs in the sky, causing all werebeasts to be more bloodthirsty and savage.
Throughout the Vale are ruins of castles and towers from past werebeast rulers that now lie in ruin. On the mountainsides that surround the vale are old mines home to wererats. While most lycanthropes choose to live a solitary life, some gather in clans and there is even a small village near the border of the vale led by a werewolf ruler known as Viktor Mazan. Here traders can come and trade for the rare wood that grows in the vale, though they are quickly sent away once the trade is done, as some werebeasts bristle at the idea of non-lycnathropes in their realm.
The hatred of the elves and eladrin is strong among many of the werebeasts, and some will leave the vale for hunting down fey to kill them. Others have made deals with the fomorians to help the werebeasts kill the archfey.
Nachtur, the Goblin Kingdom
On the borderlands of the wild is the kingdom of the Goblins. Here a hobgoblin wizard known as Great Gark, Lord of All the Goblins, is amassing the power of all goblin-kind. Great Gark is hoping to amass enough power to be a true force in the Feywild, and to that effect sends emissaries to eladrin cities and fomorian kindgoms. Only the fomorians have truly responded, and trade relations between the two continues to grow.
While the eladrin have tried to stop this rise of power in the borderlands, all attempts have proven ineffectual and it has only grown the strength of Great Gark as the defeated eladrin leave behind powerful magical items and weapons that the goblins would not be able to make on their own. Nachtur also has several goblin mercenary units that are hired by fomorians, hags, and even the Winter Court to act as protectors or an army. Goblins, giants, trolls, and ogres make up the bulk of the fighting force, though boggles are kept as pets as they have special powers that Goblins use to great advantage.
Factions & People
Seelie & Unseelie Fey
In the older editions, the Seelie and Unseelie Courts were the gatherings of powerful fey creatures. The Seelie Court was ruled by the faerie Queen Titania and they would travel throughout the various woodlands of the Beastlands, Arborea, and Ysgard. These traveling court made their home in woodland glades where they would hold feasts and conduct their business, often mortals might find them in the merriment. If a creature accepts food or drink from one of the faeries, their life is forfeit as they are now under the power of that fey forever.
The Unseelie Court is the opposite of the Seelie Court's laughter and merriment and is ruled by the Queen of Air and Darkness. This dark goddess used to be the sister of Queen Titania before finding a mystical black diamond that has corrupted her with its power. The Queen of Air and Darkness no longer has a physical manifestation, but rather a cloud of darkness hovers around her throne, issuing orders for death, assassinations, and torture.
The Seelie and Unseelie Court are not a set organization in the newer editions, but rather a term for fey you can trust, the Seelie fey, and fey you can’t trust, the Unseelie fey. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine if a fey you are making a deal with is a Seelie fey, even if they are considered good-aligned.
Court of Stars
Several times in a year, the Court of Stars will be held where the most powerful fey gather to discuss politics and hold great feasts, and this is all watched over by the Summer Queen. The Court of Stars is always held in the treetops of Senaliesse, and here travelers from all over the realms come to ask for aid or advice. Some travelers, who must wait for years and years before being heard, have long forgotten why they are in the Feywild.
The Court of Stars is made up of the most powerful archfey in the Feywild.
Court of Coral
The Court of Coral is ruled over by two Eladrin Sea Lords known as Elias and Siobhan Alastai, brother and sister who only recently became the archfey of their watery realms. Elias Alastai rules over the shallow water of the lakes, rivers and even coral reefs near the coast, while Siobhan Alastai rules over the deep water of the bottomless oceans and dark seas. Their court is made up of aquatic creatures of all types.
These Fey are known for their power over dreams, darkness, stars, twilight, and dusk. They are ruled over by many archfey like the Maiden of the Moon, though they are more a loose league, rather than a proper court. Their power is less focused on the nature of the Feywild, but rather its magical nature.
This court is made up of fey who owe their allegiance to nature, more specifically Treants, Satyrs and other woodland creatures. The most powerful archfey of this court is Oran the Green Lord, a fey so powerful that he can sense every tree branch and stream in his realm. He also holds a strong relationship with Queen Tiandra, and they have been known to be lovers, friends and deadly rivals, sometimes all of these at the same time.
The Summer Fey is made up of the spirits of good favor and growth, and eladrin infused with the spirit of Summer are the barons. The Court is overseen by the mightiest of the archfey, Queen Tiandra. She oversees not only the Summer Fey but also the Court of Stars and is said to be the most beautiful of all the archfey. Though, she is also known as a master strategist in her court as well as on the battlefield. Of all the fey, she has a great fondness for mortals and finds their urgency in all things amusing.
The icy fey are bound by no leader, though there are several who have great power in their realm. The Prince of Frost is by far the most powerful and vicious of the winter archfey. His court, when he bothers to convene, is known as the Winter Court and is filled with his allies of the long night and cold, dark ice.
Resources and Further Reading
Planescape Campaign Setting (2nd Edition)
For more information on Arborea
Planescape - Planes of Chaos (2nd Edition)
For more information on the Seelie/Unseelie Fey
Manual of the Planes (3rd Edition)
For more information on the Plane of Faerie and Arborea
Manual of the Planes (4th Edition)
For more information on the Feywild locations
Player’s Option - Heroes of the Feywild (4th Edition)
For more information on the people and perspectives of the Feywild
Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes (5th Edition)
For more information on the eladrin.
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