The fey fascinates me. Fortunate for folks like you, I am the one who stole your attention. Don’t fret, don’t frown. It is but a mere moment of your mind’s meandering time. Take that time to let this tricky teacher tell you the tricksy truth of the fey. Fey’s honor, Fey’s promise. Fey guides.
I have adored and studied fey merely thanks to their being the geniuses who took the credit for fanciful tales. Fairy Tales are what brought me to DnD.
The pictures and definitions of all the fancy-folk that frolic between Wizard of the Coast’s well-detailed pages have inspired me to write and create in the name of the fey for possibly longer than you’d ever believe.
By nature, the fey are fickle yet frantic. Ferocious yet friendly. The truth behind this paradox is the fey are not as cut and dry as the FeyFolk want you to believe. Imagine just how much you can trick the mind when they only realize the truth of the fey long after you left while pulling the wool from their eyes?
Snake-oil Salesman? Alliterative, Fey. Car Conman? Alliterative! Fey! Glorious guides? Alitterative and prideful! Fey as fortune. Welcome to our Fey Creatures 5e Guide.
Finding Fey Familiarity: Simple Summaries
Those of the Fey and but sometimes or the FeyWylds are complex creatures to explain. Thankfully, I have a problematic mind to explain, so… Chill. The Shadowfel acts as the dark opposite of the material plane, as do its inhabitants.
The Feywylds are not the opposite of the Shadowfel; remember this. It is a reflection of the Material. What shines brighter will sometimes blind and burn.
The lore of the FeyWylds seems to change with each edition, yet it also doesn’t. As a result, the gaps between the lines are open, but they are also tantalizing. There is, however, a rhythm to follow should you seek success in truly joining their wild beat around the fire.
- Never tell a sure lie. Yet never tell an easy truth.
- Cold Iron should be avoided and melted to disempower it at all costs.
- ArchFey are close to gods. That does not mean they ARE gods. There is a way. What way? Ask the bees
- Yes, anywhere in the Material has its opposite in the Fey and Fel. How close it follows the design of that ‘where’ is up to how close the planes are together.
- Tiny Fairies are of the fey, but not all of the fey are little fairies.
- What do the fey want? For you to stop asking human questions.
- All fey are beautiful. Not all fey are beautiful to humans, however.
- Some but not all fey have a creative quirk that often struts its stuff verbally or through the artform. These fey’s are jokes and alliteration. What? I am not a Song Saber Samurai. No idea what that is. I am a diligent DM, that is all.
- Once you realize the fey has you, it is too late. You don’t want to leave.
- Why is a fascinated fey far freakier than a deranged demon or a decisive devil?
– The fey WANTS to be there.
Typical Types of Feyfolk
There are rare occasions where the fey ascended to a level near the gods and, even more, coveted renown among the Wylds. These fey are known as ArchFey. However, they are more than simply godly fey; they have tricks.
The biggest trick to the ArchFey’s survival is that they are only capable of being killed by their nemesis. However, this is not limited to a creature, as this can be an item or a particular set of conditions.
These are unique to each ArchFey. While their specific nemesis is the only way to kill one, ArchFey can be incapacitated or weakened by various means. These means are usually challenging to obtain and are quests within themselves.
Some warlocks have been known to draw power from an ArchFey as their patron rather than an infernal source.
Seelie vs Unseelie
A highly debated subject, DnD makes the specifics very simple. While many D&D races generally fall under the banner, the actual definition relies purely on politics. For example, Seelie Fey follows the leadership of the mythical ArchFey of Shakespearean fame, Tatiana.
Meanwhile, the Unseelie Fey follows a being with no physical form or name, The Queen of Air and Darkness. Thanks to the bulk of the Wylds following the rule of two differently-tempered tyrants. I mean rulers. Don’t tell the Queen that I, Superior Sage-Fey of Sass, Style, and Stress, said that.
The Fantastic & Frightening Feywild
The Fey Wild, much like the ShadowFel, acts as a mirror plane to the Prime Reality most adventurers are familiar with. Imagine a coin. On the opposite side of the face of reality, you see, is the Shadowfel which acts as a dark and barren reflection of the Prime plane.
The FeyWild, however, is the opposite end of that spectrum of opposites. If you were to flip that coin, the Fey Wylds would be when it lands perfectly balanced on its edge. Confused? That is what the faeries want.
The ShadowFel and Fey Wylds are considered much like the Prime’s mirror reflections. A location you are familiar with may be barren and war-torn in the ShadowFel. Still, in the FeyWilds, the natural order has won.
Forests are taller and lush with plant life you have never seen and capable of their own tricks, much like the fey housed in them. A Wonderland being run by Poison Ivy, essentially.
Lore wise, the FeyWild was formed when the Primordials who built the Prime Plane deemed portions of it ‘too bright,’ which they tore away and placed into the Wilds. While the ShadowFel similarly was formed when places that felt ‘too dark’ were pulled and cobbled into the Wild.
This patchwork plane was further twisted over the eons by its loose grasp on the laws of reality. The emotions and ideals of its inhabitants will influence the plane itself.
That could be, in part, due to the FeyWild’s first inhabitants being a mysterious race of fey, said to be one of the five creator races that shaped the Prime.
To put the Fey Wyld’s in its simplest terms, it is as if Cognitive Overload had its own plane of reality and decided to jazz it up a little.
There are rare spots in the Fey Wylds that reflect the material plane in a near-perfect mirror. This spot is where the planes touch, allowing for travels to cross. This point of transition is notable and different in each crossing.
Examples include stepping into the classic ring of mushrooms, wading into a pool of water, or passing into a clearing. The traveler will feel like they took a step and might not initially notice they have switched planes. While a traveler witnessing them will see the traveler vanish instantly once they cross the threshold.
These thresholds may not be open at all times. Some may open infrequently based on certain conditions. Some examples include the Fey Crossing only opening during the full moon, after a specific ritual was made, or only for someone carrying a particular type of item.
A Fey Crossing can be closed if the land is dramatically altered, such as burning the forest where a clearing acts as the crossing.
Inherent Dangers of the FeyWilds
The dangers of the Wyld are optional rules that a DM may include to further make the game feel unique. Memory Loss and Time warp are found in the official 5e Dungeon Masters Guide.
Further optional rules, like the character feature ‘Fey Mark,’ can be found in the official Fey-Focused adventure supplement The Wild Beyond the Witchlight.
Unless the player is a Fey creature or a player with the ‘Fey Ancestry’ trait, a creature that leaves the Wylds must succeed in a DC 10 wisdom throw or forget all time spent in the Wylds. The creature will remember on a successful save, but it will be hazy, like a vivid dream.
As a mirror dimension, time has a chance to flow differently from the Material. After spending a day in the Wylds, you may use any passage of time that suits your campaign or leave it to the fey with the table below.
Using the table below, the player has a mark they gained from their stay in the Wylds.
|1||Eyes Swirl with Iridescent colors.|
|2||A sweet scent like that of honey or nectar.|
|3||Long, wise whiskers like a cat’s|
|5||Skin that sparkles in the moonlight|
|6||Flowers bloom or wilt (player/DM’s choice) in your presence|
|7||Hair made of vines or brambles that grow back to their normal length in 1hr|
|8||You have an animal tail like a dog’s or a gator’s.|
The Fey and Fey Wylds most frequently run off of Wild Magic. Less a school of magic and more that type of dangerous magic, the cool kid that suspiciously was never seen again after bragging about learning lighting.
In DnD, magic is accessed through a reality mechanism known as ‘The Weave.’ The weave is many things, including all the combined knowledge of magic, a god’s being and magic, and the weaved energies of all the planes. Wyld Magic is drawn from areas of the weave that have been distorted or damaged.
There is a level of chaos and unpredictability inherent to the magic. Many Wild Mages feel that acceptance of this chaos is the only way to keep the magic from killing you in spite.
Magic of this nature is not native purely to the Wylds, as many places across the cosmic wheel have damaged or distorted portions of their weave.
However, due to the FeyWylds’ nature as a wonderland mirror of distortion compared to the Material, it is safe to say that if you find your magic being predictable in the Wilds, it is because a powerful Fey has reason to assist you.
This is generally more dangerous than just hoping you don’t blow yourself up using the Wild magic, so it is typically ill-advised. Similarly, Warlocks who use ArchFey patrons will likely have their magic sourced from Wild Magic rather than the familiar Infernal Magic.
How to Fight Fey
Cold Iron is not, as many believe, Iron which is Cold. It is a rare form of Iron left over from the creation of the Parallel Planes. Born of the melted chaos, it is powerful yet hard to work. It also proves one of the fey’s most significant weaknesses.
Cold Iron must never be heated until it is melted, molted, tempered, amalgamated, or made into an Alloy. Upon reaching too high of a temperature, it will turn into Iron and cease to harm the fey as it once did.
However, impurities must be cut out, it may not be smelted, and it is known to ruin multiple sets of iron tools if its craftsman is not prepared.
It costs 50gp per pound.
- Offensively, a cold iron weapon will cause 1d4 extra damage to fey, undead, and fields. It will count as a magic weapon for immunity and resistance. It is often inlaid on a weapon as a wire to allow you to financially recover from this.
- Defensively, armor incorporating Cold Iron gives the wearer or shield-user an advantage against spells and spell-like abilities used against them by the Fey, Undead, and Fiends. If these creatures make contact with the armor, the attacker takes 1d4 damage.
Many locales fortify their locations as a Fey, Undead, or fiend have difficulty passing Cold Iron barriers. They must pass a Constitution check of DC 15 to cross.
Confuse the Confuser
Like a predator used to being at the Apex, the confusing fey rarely prepare themselves to be confused. A battle of maybe wit but also mostly gumption is required. Like vampires, folklore has littered the fey with unique and interesting flaws. However, unlike the vampires, all of them are true but also not. Depends on the fey you meet.
Some fey, for example, excel at the world of magic but will end up absolutely flummoxed, enthralled, and mildly humiliated it suddenly faced with a math problem.
Based on the fey, it can be calculus or something as simple as PEMDAS. Please exercise maximum determination as sassy fey will make a game of anything. In the FeyWylds, 2+2= what are you a guard? Who’s asking?
Then if you go across the lake, it equals that fresh feeling of hope when you open a distinctly dangerous draught’a Dok’s Distillery wines.
I think if you follow this compass that carries forbidden magic, you can find the forbidden land where 2+2=4. However, when the numbers in the Wylds match, it should feel like when your dear sweet LOUD child has suddenly been eerily quiet to the point you remembered this is what silence is.
The point is, give them the problem 2+2= they will wonder what the catch is and deliberate with their procession of weirdos. In FEY elementary school 2+2=4+1=5=2+3
But also, whatever you convince the mortal, it is.
Find their Obsessions
Fey are creatures from an intense world with a worrying addiction habit that the other planes are mildly concerned about. Still, the Wylds won’t come to the secret interventions cause ‘vibes off.’ Often this can be seen by bards who have managed to trap a fey in their clutches.
Maybe a scientist who has captured one by the intricate clockwork designs, making them unable to resist climbing into the cage to play with it, or the most dangerous fiend of all, adorable incarnate.
Some believe the mind-screw, the cognitive overload, the shrink-chaise flip, the Doc Holiday, and the ‘I got a bridge to sell you’ scams and tricks are just a human playing fey.
However, Fey only explains their tricks if they are bragging about it. Honestly, if you play the beat right, it isn’t too tricky as the fey are the forest’s pride and seek to prove it through doing.
The fey NEVER lie. This is precisely why you have to scrutinize their words. They will, and yours too. They analyze the mind, the battlefield, and the chessboard. However, the dangerous part is that they do not play the game to win.
They play it to have fun, steal energy from the mortals that dare fall into their weird convoluted tricks, and they will always hold you to the letter of THEIR law.
This tendency to trick, acquire favors owed to them, play the field of magic like it was play-doh, and so on means as a DM, you must never solidify a fey plan, only a fey end-goal.
As a player, I don’t know. Pray. You ain’ figuring their riddle out ’cause you’ll only learn the answer when they do, and you are sadly forced on this ride with them.
Sometimes the answer is simple as your eternal servitude and devotion for the joy of this beautiful journey the fey took you on. You know what they say about journeys.
I always did wonder who that they-folk they always talk about. The problem is the only they-folk with the answer. Do the fey really seem like the type to give you answer easy answers?
It is sacrilegious to the Wylds to do so.
The fey often uses Geas to force mortals to go on quests or perform tasks for their amusement.
Geas is a 5th-level spell that can be cast on a creature within 60 feet. The creature is forced to carry out some service. Or possibly refrain from some form of action as decided by the caster.
In addition, it must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become charmed. Should the charmed creature fight the command, it will take 5d10 every time it acts outside the constraints. Finally, a suicidal order immediately ends the spell.
A 5th-level spell lasts 30 days; however, it will last a year if used in the 7th or 8th slot. At 9th level, it lasts until dispelled. They can be removed by the caster or through a remove curse, greater restoration, or wish spell.
Like I’d forget the Fey Procession. NO ONE forgets the Fey Procession. Not if you have bore witness to it. When a fey begins to grow renown or groupies, these creatures grow hexed.
The splendor and energy of a fey can lead you to be trapped in their simple desire to go to the market. It is not their fault the Material Market is more fun, and everyone there happens to follow them home into their world of endless ballroom dancing.
As these creatures are usually fey-touched, they often are at the beck and call of their Fey Master. Based on how strong the hold of their Fey patron is, it will leave them scared and run.
A fey procession can be as simple as birds or woodland creatures following them or as intimidating as entire armies of charmed creatures the fey simply thought were neat.
Sometimes Fey processions have been known to have Bards following them. These are not Fey-touched creatures; they merely wish to be.
Not fey-touching is a worse fate to them than fey-touching in these instances, and, of course, the fey move is to make them want it more. We also respect our Bards. They sing us suck pretty, entrancing songs, don’t they?
Playing or DMing the Fey
Please remember two rules for the enjoyment of your DnD campaign.
- First: The rules are guidelines for the DM to craft a world. DM’s Decision.
- Second: Honor the Wylds, honor the fey. We are here to have a good time; our only detriment is the die.
For more inspiration on Fey Lore which lies on the LeyLines of Fey, I have a couple of suggestions. First are the Dresden Files series of books with Summer Knight as the suggested starter.
Second is the book or TV adaptation of Jonathan Strange, and Mr. Norrel as Gentleman is a fantastic Fey antagonist. Finally, the anime adaptation of Ancient Magus Bride is thanks to its world full of Fey-inspired magic and species.
The notion Fey Wylds is nothing but glitter and tricks is unfounded. They hold a complex and fascinating code of honor, even if it may just be to make the game of life spicier. One of their greatest dangers lies if you do not uphold that same hospitality.
For example, the fey can not lie. It can harm their soul, besmirch their reputation to the Wylds, and worse, trap them in a fey favor. So a fey will avoid telling a lie at all costs, but they have become masters of folding double meanings into everything they say in exchange.
Thanks to this inherent nature, members of the fey often come off as polite, soft-spoken, or abrupt in their ways.
A Fey Favor holds the weight of a Fey’s Honor at stake. Whatever the bad end for a fey, a Fey Favor represents the seriousness they weigh the action they wish to honor or put a stake in.
Honor is weighted. A Fey Favor can not be used to paradoxically break the integrity of that particular fey. This, being Fey, is also muddled and confusing.
At DM’s discretion, it means an adventurer who is gifted or a fey adventurer who gifts a favor can not have that favor used to outright betray those they consider Kin.
For example, An Unseelie might snitch or cause harm to the Seelie if requested in the face of a favor. However, the same fey will still refuse to do so on their fellow Unseelie in honor of a Fey Favor.
Players, never give your True Name should you ever learn it. DMs, always remember when a True Name is given to a Fey. They certainly will.
A True Name is not the same as your complete or given name. The name you typically introduce yourself under is the name given to you by mortals, not the fundamental pillars of realities.
The powers of the Prime, or gods, provide these names to the being as a means of controlling them. It might be a title, the scientific name of a play, or a joke, but the point itself is that the true name holds the control of the gods over the name. As such, the fey are fascinated and love dealing with True Names.
The fey can be highly superstitious about handling True Names, purely due to their tendency to also use True Names for their amusement. However, with knowledge of the godly magic inherent to a True Name, one could theoretically make a mortal ascend to godhood without much hassle.
When playing a Fey, superstitions, and concern over unique or weird titles can give flavor to the character. As the Prime acts in a more structured manner by nature, certain aspects confuse them.
Titles of merit sound similar to some true names. As such, a Fey can be seen trying to use it even if it will do absolutely nothing given that was not the name given by the gods. Just by someone that may or may not think themselves one.
Fey Folk FAQs
Question: What are the Differences between Fae, Fey, Faerie, and Fairy?
Answer: Language is fluid like a river, as is psychology. This answer is based on who you asked. Still, in terms of DnD, a Fey is what you call the races inherent or born directly of the FeyWilds plane of existence, while Faeries or Fae is the plural term for them. A Fairy is what I like to call a ‘glitter fae’.
It is your typical tiny humanoid with wings that flutter among the flowers. Another common interpretation is that a Fairy is the Disney/Tinkerbell-styled Fey. A Faerie is another term for a good-natured Fey.
Fey is the dark-natured fey, and Fae was a catch-all for magical creatures that defied the previous definition. It is the fey; it is going to be confusing by nature.
My EASY answer? Fey = Dnd Fae, Fae = Irish Mythology influenced Fae, Fairy = Disney/Tiny Fae, Faerie = Fantasy Novel Fae. Faerie and Fairies are also used by all for the plural of Fey, Fae, or Fairie. Not even Grammarly likes Feyrie. NO ONE likes feyrie. It is confusing on purpose.
Question: What is DM’s Discretion in DnD?
Answer: This tried, and true way of play was passed down to us from the ancient dice rollers of old. It goes by many phrases. DM’s word. DM’s God. Smoke fills the room. Either way, it means that your DM is there not to contest you as an individual but as a player. They are there to keep the internal rules running.
The rules, however, are guidelines at the DM’s discretion. It depends on the person you have dubbed: the person most likely to consume these books and not call it homework.
Question: What is the Best DnD 5e Book to Consult for Fey Shenanigans?
Answer: The Wild Beyond the Witchlight: A FeyWild DnD adventure is the more recently released tome for all your Wyld needs. I was fortunate as a fey that I stumbled across the book in a tabletop bar while I was writing this and hunting for Fey knowledge.
It was the only one left, and that to how much it informed this guide, it was clearly gifted to me by the fey themselves. Always leave cream out.
Books Brilliant and Fortune favors freely feeding Fey friends. It is double + sextuple alternating alliterative with double-down on F-for-Fey and 69 more for ‘hue hue..tuple’. It MUST be true.
Final Fey Fancies
As I hope this guide has made you understand, a Fey encounter will not always be something out of a Fairy Tale. In fact, this is rarely the case for mortals, as you instead find yourself the protagonist of a Grimm tale at best or the morale of the story through a fate worse than death.
However, this is why I adore them as a fantasy race. They are my favorite as they represent something different to every writer, connected by the uniquely complex yet vague way of life they follow.
A DM or Player can put every little bit of horrid or heartfelt meaning into their fey and their lands. You wouldn’t even realize the depth purely from being shocked silly by the beauty of its performance.
The fey represents the wonder you felt exploring as a child. The morals, misfortune, and maladies you may face in the journey enrichen the experience rather than cheapen it. The weight of riches holds no value without a standard pound of stone to weigh it against.
They represent the glee found in having a marvelous morning despite starting in the darkest dawn. Then demanding that it means you have a marvelous day.
Oh, and for the record, Tinkerbell has Peter-Pan and the lost boys trapped in a piece of the FeyWylds. Is tinkerbell a Archfey? I wasn’t here.