Mysterious fane on the banks of the Sea of Ohkotsk

Mysterious fane on the banks of the Sea of Ohkotsk

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Prydain Project - Class - Fair Folk - Single Class Variant

Deciding how to handle the Fair Folk was difficult - on the one hand, we have characters like Doli and others who play direct roles in Lloyd Alexander's tales.  On the other hand, we have the Welsh mythology from which he drew some of his depictions of the Fair Folk themselves.  I wanted to strike a balance between these slightly different depictions - in particular, while I love Alexander's Prydain series, I always found the slightly slapstick version of the Fair Folk as manifested by Doli, Gwystyl and King Eiddileg at odds not only with Welsh myth and folk tales, but with the way the Fair Folk are spoken of by Dallben and others.

What I came up with was the following class, which would replace Elves, Dwarves and Halflings in a Prydain campaign.  

This is actually the 5th iteration, which I'm posting partly because I'm tired of second-guessing myself.  I've tried just re-skinning the existing demi-human classes; I've tried recreating those three classes entirely, starting again from the perspective of Welsh folklore regarding fae creatures (and I confess, that version was very interesting - but perhaps a bit too strange for ordinary use); I've tried going back to the the ordinary demi-human classes and just adding flavour tweaks (which was painful to look at when I was done, it was so boring); I've tried a kit combining my second and third ideas to make the Human classes into Fair Folk.  

In the end, this is the version I'm sticking with until I get a chance to test things in actual play and get some feedback:

Fair Folk (Ellyll or Tylwyth)

Level Title
    Craft, Light, Ventriloquism, Speak with Animals
    Obscure, Sleep, Fairy Fire
    Find Traps, Read Languages, Invisibility, Diminution
    Locate Object, Water Breathing, Phantasmal Force
    Hold Person, Fly, Brew Potion, Animal Shape
    Growth of Animals, Remove Curse, Striking
    Hallucinatory Terrain, Plant Door, Forge Weapons and Armor
    Pass Plant, Speak with Plants, Create Food
Ellyll Lord
    Find the Path, Quest, Craft Item
Hit Dice: 1d6/level
Max 9th level
Save as: Dwarf
Special: 1 talent/level, each talent can be used 1/day

The Fair Folk, also known as the Ellyll, are a mystical people intimately linked with the Land of Prydain and the forces that run through it. Although they are well known to the people of Prydain, they are typically shy and wary of humans and so most people have never seen them – or if they have, they have perhaps not known it as the Fair Folk will sometimes move among ordinary people in disguise. The Fair Folk will only rarely venture out into the human realsm from their network of small enclaves, circles or grottos (known as the Tylwyth Teg) though from time to time one of the Ellyll will choose to associate with humans in one manner or another. Typically, this will be in the form of a mutually beneficial relationship – the Ellyll using his or her powers to help the human in his or her work, the human reciprocating with gifts such as small treasures, finely made clothes or jewelry, or delicacies (for some reason, the Ellyll are unable to bake bread or cakes, and they keep no livestock so they are unable to make cheese – thus gifts of bread, cake, milk/cream or cheese are particularly valued). However, from time to time the Ellyll will enter the world of humans seeking adventure, searching for lost treasures, or to help achieve some heroic goal.

Fair Folk are small and various, ranging from 1 to 4 feet in height. Most appear as short (3 feet or so), wiry humans and could easily pass as children or just unusually small adults, however Ellyll are close to the land and some will manifest signs of this – they may have glittering, jewel-like scales, tufts of feathers instead of hair, or be encrusted with rocky or sandy protrusions (depending on whether their clan is most associated with the Element of Sea, Sky or Stone).

Prime Requisite - Fair Folk require a minimum Charisma of 9.

Armor and weapons - Fair Folk may only use non-metal armor if it is mundane, but may wear metal armor if it is magical. They may not use 2-handed weapons other than shortbows and crossbows.  

Special Abilities:

Detection – Due to the fact that many of their secret homes are hidden within hills and under mountains, the Ellyll are natural miners. Ellyll characters will detect sliding walls, sloping corridors, secret doors and new constructions on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6.

Hiding – Out doors, Fair Folk are in their element and are very difficult to find when they choose to remain hidden. If they choose to hide rather than reveal themselves, they will be noticed only 10% of the time, and are even difficult to find when actively being sought: a roll of 1-2 on 1d6.

Talents – Fair Folk are naturally magical in nature, and the closeness of their ties to the Elements grants them special talents. At first level a Fair Folk character may choose ONE talent from the following: Craft, Light, Ventriloquism, Speak with Animals. Each time a level is gained, the character may choose ONE additional talent from those listed as available at the new level and those below. Talents may be used only once per day. A talent may be selected more than once, and this permits it to be used an additional time each day. Talents with names matching Cleric, Druid or Magic-User spells have the same effect as those spells – refer to the spell description for details. Note that some of the spells referred to may be found in the Companion set, but most have been taken from the Basic and Expert sets.

Talents not corresponding to a spell are described below:

Craft: Using this talent, the character may use suitable materials to perfectly make or repair an ordinary item from the equipment list in 1 hour. At the DM's discretion, other ordinary items not listed may also be made (eg furniture, clothing, etc). Use the equipment list items for guidance on the quantity produced (eg if the number given on the equipment list is 10, then the character may make 10 in 1 hour) Weapons and armor cannot be made, however a character using this talent may make 6 arrows.

Diminution: Using this talent, the character will immediately shrink to 6” in height, and can do only 1hp damage physically attacking a creature larger than 1' regardless of the weapon used. Likewise, the character's strength is reduced proportionately and it will become difficult to move even ordinary objects. The character can slip through small cracks and and has a 90% chance of not being seen when standing still. The diminution effect will last until the next sunrise, or until the character decides to return to ordinary size.

Brew Potion: The character is able to brew a single dose of any potion. Brewing the potion takes 3 days and 3 nights of uninterrupted work, and requires that the necessary ingredients first be gathered.

Animal Shape: The character is able to take the shape of a specific animal (type selected at the time this talent is chosen). The form may be that of a bird, fish, reptile, amphibian or mammal but must be small to medium in size – of a type that could reasonably be described as a “small woodland creature”. (e.g. fox, mouse, cat, grouse, trout, heron, frog, snake, turtle, etc.) Having taken this form, the character gains all the abilities of this type of animal other than venom. The character may remain in animal shape until the next sunrise, or until he or she decides to return to ordinary form. Even while not in animal form, the character gains the ability to speak with the specific type of animal into which he or she can transform.

Forge Weapons and Armor: Using the finest materials and steel, and with access to the proper equipment, the character is able to forge weapons or armor of special quality. These weapons and armor are not magical, however they are of masterwork quality and will provide a bonus of +1 to hit or damage, or +1 AC. Creating one weapon (or 1 dozen arrows) or suit of armor takes 1 month. Materials cost 10x list price for orinary items of the same type.

Craft Item: Taking one year and one day to do so, the character is able to create a miscellaneous magic item with one power, provided the materials are gathered together and prepared appropriately. Should 2 or more Fair Folk with this talent cooperate in the creation of the item, th item may be imbued with 1 additional power per Fair Folk crafter. 

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