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How do you run the Fair Folk?

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  • How do you run the Fair Folk?

    Hey mates!
    I've been away a while, I hope you didn't miss me too much.

    I'm hoping to start a new game soon, and one of my players is keen to involve the Fair Folk in her backstory. That's great, I love them (in principle) but I've never used them before. They're a little daunting to me. But hell, they're pretty great, and they're real big on that intrigue I so adore, so why not? Maybe a game built around Wyld-Shaping technique would be fun.

    So please, tell me about your Fair Folk stories so I can get a handle on these terrifying creatures.

    Also, has anything been published on the Dreaming Sea yet?

  • #2
    I just play them as humans.

    I'd love to say "weird humans", but, uh, let's be honest here -- weird compared to what?

    I had a beautiful noble who kept court and made many secret dealings as he unravelled the secrets to ancient Solar magic... But in play, I don't think I actually RPed him any differently to any of the human nobles.

    I mean, sure, his army was made from the nightmares of children and dragons... and he bled a thick white tree sap... and he moved not by muscle but by invisible strings of Essence that flung him around like a marionette...

    But apart from that... No different to any other noble.


    Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Katamari_Naneke View Post
      Hey mates!
      I've been away a while, I hope you didn't miss me too much.

      I'm hoping to start a new game soon, and one of my players is keen to involve the Fair Folk in her backstory. That's great, I love them (in principle) but I've never used them before. They're a little daunting to me. But hell, they're pretty great, and they're real big on that intrigue I so adore, so why not? Maybe a game built around Wyld-Shaping technique would be fun.

      So please, tell me about your Fair Folk stories so I can get a handle on these terrifying creatures.
      Must admit i don't have much to add on the subject. Fae never figured prominently in my games, i'll have to admit.

      The most i have done with one was, ironically enough, as a player, kind of, but not quite, as my character did not start as fae, but became partly one due to story circunstances. To sum it up, he started as a Blood Ape familiar, was sacrificed in battle for its Twilight mistress, then brought back mixed with essence fragments of 3 antagonists, a doppelganger, a cataphract and a Vaaktri, through the (ab)use of Ephemeral Induction Technique. Needless to say, it took some getting used to, for the poor patchwork demon-elemental-fae-ghost thing.


      But back on track, Fae are alien, foreign, things.
      Where the Yozis and their demonic ilk are exiles from a Creation they made but does not desire their rulership anymore (and changed much in their extended absence), the Raksha are exiles in Creation. Their home are the countless countries and worlds of the Wyld and beyond. Some are perfectly capable of returning to it, some not, while some others are confortable exploring, exploiting, raiding or just partaking in exotic experiences of this strange place called Creation. But one and all are outsiders, even those peculiar few actually formed from singular circunstances in Creation, children "born" away from the land that their makers would call home.

      Where Creation is stability and endless complexity, the beacon and realm of order so to speak, the Fae are the simple and yet elaborate foreign dignataries, inconstant, but countless ephemeral principalities, dynasties & potentates that rise and fall between the blinks of one's eye in the strange lands beyond the borders of civilization as the center of the world, whichever world it is, be it Creation proper, Yu-shan, Malfeas, the Underworld or other, understand it.


      Originally posted by Katamari_Naneke View Post
      Also, has anything been published on the Dreaming Sea yet?
      Bits and pieces peppered across the books, with new locales & powers - like Mount Namas and the 2 Shahan-Yas that act from it in Fangs at the Gate - added here and there, along with extra facts or bits on some already familiar from the corebook, like Prasad, Champoor and others.

      Much of it is left open, very much by intent i would say, for STs - or lore-tinkering players - to expand, explore and homebrew strange cultures, nations and traditions according to fancy and taste, making the most of the interplay of remnants - literal or spiritual - of primordial civilizations & legacies - and the fanciful strangeness brought by the tides of shores watered by rivers, lakes and wells from beyond the borders of the world. If you have 2e books, Scroll of Fallen Races and CoCD2: the Wyld might be interesting references to mine of locales and groups to tinker with.

      If Primordial Races interest you, then i would suggest keeping an eye out for this thread in the future too.
      Last edited by Baaldam; 11-19-2020, 01:57 PM.

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      • #4
        To quote the movie Megamind, what's the difference between a villain and a supervillain? Presentation. Think of Disney villains like Cruela De Vil, Scar, and Gaston. They're capable of learning and changing their strategy, but they're fundamentally disinterested in growing as people. The Fair Folk focus their energy on one hell of a presentation, on expressing their nature and making an indelible impression upon Creation. They live out and represent their philosophies, even when they know it'll have terrible long-term consequences. This even applies to less bombastic villains like the hunter in Bambi and the fox and the cat in Pinocchio. They are the Threat, in countless forms, with many different aesthetics.

        As for understanding them, the Fair Folk are predators by nature, lacking human empathy, conscience, and desire for connection. They can mimic these things for purposes of strategy or amusement, but many don't even bother. They feed upon emotion, and while any emotion can theoretically sate them, a) they all have preferences, b) some emotions are easier to inspire/create, and c) even positive emotions tend to turn bitter when humans realize you're exploiting them. To model a raksha, you can pretty much make their Defining Intimacy their preferred feeding strategy, and give them major Intimacies for interests (e.g. riddles! duels! the thrill of the hunt! courtly intrigue!), and their aesthetics.


        Hey, check out my first original RPG, Post-Mortem, here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/307131/PostMortem

        Or read my Exalted novella The Silence of Our Ancestors here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...looded-Novella

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        • #5
          Most recently, I have presented them as uncanny parodies of societies that they have overrun. This was inspired by Isator Levi on this very forum.

          There was a player character who had been held captive by Fair Folk in Creation and the whole thing was presented as if they were actors playing roles. They all adhered to various archetypes that could be exploited and manipulated. Their palace was mostly empty except for the rooms that were important for the plot, which made it strangely eerie when you walked to the unimportant parts of the building.

          Eventually, the player started feeding them lines, which they were grateful for.

          Basically, I presented them as emulating Creation (in this case, the Shogunate) without fully getting it.

          The five nobles were:

          The Resplendent Fire Dragon Shogun
          The Dragon That Breaks the Earth
          The Daimyo Who Rides the Hurricane
          The Mistress of the Twisting Vine Dojo
          The Daimyo of the Tear-Filled Lake

          Apart from the nobles, there were jet-black samurai hobgoblins riding giant toads and using so-called vine dogs to track down fugitives.

          The hobgoblins had sand in their veins, the toads were water-based, and the vine dogs were living plants. Presumably, they also had minor creatures connected to air and fire.


          Loch Ness monsters. On vacation. On a pillow.


          My wife is on Spotify!

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          • #6
            I like to think of them as an unintended type of spirit. The wyld mixed with the stuff of creation, creating you, fully formed with memories, intimacies, and hunger. You exist, but you are mutable. You can reshape your body and mind on a whim except when the true born of Creation do it to you.

            Even before you factor needing to feed, a being that can just go "nope, I don't love you anymore" and shape away that intimacy suddenly exposed to a love they can't just wish away? That's the raksha.

            Sometimes, being so mutable makes you jaded. You can do anything, so you are bored with everything, coming up with more and more ploys to make yourself feel something new that all look insane or completely non-sequitor to those looking in.

            When you can be anything, what you choose to be becomes so much more important. Especially so when your existence can also be shaped by your kin. You will struggle to be yourself, and feel yourself, and not let anyone change you.

            To be less purple, you can be almost anything from moment to moment and your existence was an accident so you have no purpose (unlike other things in Exalted, finite and created with purpose, even if you aren't doing it or reject it). What do you do?


            Raksha are my fae-vorite.

            Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

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            • #7
              Ok, thanks for the input, everyone. Maybe I'll start with a court that parodies some of the terrestrial antagonists and build out from there.

              I didn't think to ask initially, but are there any canon Fair Folk characters that you've enjoyed using?

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              • #8
                Perhaps the Seven Witches of Vice from Re:Zero could work for inspiration?

                They’re all still people, but people who largely lack empathy for other people... except for the one who cares about people more than anything, but who is still so insane that she hurts as many as she tries to help.

                But I’m just operating off second-hand knowledge, so I don’t know.


                formerly Tornado Wolf, formerly Inugami

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                • #9
                  If you can find the old Ink Monkeys compilation, there is a good essay about the Fair Folk in that.


                  Loch Ness monsters. On vacation. On a pillow.


                  My wife is on Spotify!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jutlander View Post
                    If you can find the old Ink Monkeys compilation, there is a good essay about the Fair Folk in that.
                    Is this it?
                    https://thor.divnull.com/pub/exalted...w-20100513.pdf

                    I don't see anything about the Fair Folk in there.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Katamari_Naneke View Post

                      Is this it?
                      https://thor.divnull.com/pub/exalted...w-20100513.pdf

                      I don't see anything about the Fair Folk in there.
                      That compilation doesn't appear to have any of the essays. Try this one.


                      Hey, check out my first original RPG, Post-Mortem, here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/307131/PostMortem

                      Or read my Exalted novella The Silence of Our Ancestors here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...looded-Novella

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                      • #12
                        Aha, thanks!

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                        • #13
                          I like the Ex3 presentation of Raksha as we know them being a specific type of wyld denizen, and not some archetypal framework for all things Wyld.

                          Those fantastic essays still apply. It is a society of fluid accidents that view the world in their own way. I haven't much thought about Raksha in a "before Creation" paradigm in Ex3.

                          To give some concrete advice for running, your watch words are Affectation and Fancy. Fair Folk do things solely because they want to, so anything that seems amusing, or was amusing, they will keep doing it.

                          I had a Noble that assumed the shape of a little impish goblin to follow around one my PCs. It could have revealed its terrible montrous form and been a malevolent overlord, but it chose to ineffectually flummox and tease the PC because it could, and it liked it.

                          Spontaneaty without falling into the LoL rAnDoM trap is the goal, with a dash of alien.

                          Reveal a new power, and if someone asks why you didn't do that the whole time, the answer is "I hadn't thought of it yet."

                          I've recently gotten into Steven Universe, and Gems very much remind me of Fair Folk, if that is something you are familiar with.


                          Raksha are my fae-vorite.

                          Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

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                          • #14
                            Ok, cool, the Heresy of Balor in Ink Monkeys seems like a great starting point. I have a player who wants ties to the Fae, perhaps if she's hunting the heart grace of a specific calcified raksha for some reason we'll figure out when we get started, there's a lot of potential for run-ins with adversaries who are also seeking heart graces for ...a different raksha.

                            Looking at previous edition stuff about Fair Folk graces, they all seem to be tied to virtues. Do we know anything about how that's going to work in this new, virtue-free edition?

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                            • #15
                              I wouldn’t worry about Graces in Ex3 unless you actually want a “Koschey’s Egg” situation. If I were a dev (and I’m not), I’d have Fair Folk need to create a Grace to maintain really broken powers and advantages, so PCs can find a clever way around those powers. Otherwise, forget ‘em.


                              Hey, check out my first original RPG, Post-Mortem, here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/307131/PostMortem

                              Or read my Exalted novella The Silence of Our Ancestors here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...looded-Novella

                              Comment

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