February 14, 2020

The Emerald and Frolicking Courts | Into the Wilds

In this series, we'll be expanding on the work begun in our supplement of fairies and fairy tales, Fey Folio, by extending the world building, exploring additional mechanics, and fleshing out the Fey's fantastical world. Join us as we embark Into the Wilds.

Notes from the Nails: the Emerald Court aren't villains, you know. They actually identify as eco-terrorists.

The Emerald Court

The Emerald Court is the home of the Feywild's environmentalists. Greens, if you will. In the spirit of classic D&D ethics, we've made this court determinedly, aggressively Neutral, putting the needs of wild nature above any and all moral or ethical concerns. It seems entirely fitting that fey creatures would take this particular issue to its most extreme expression, since living in tune with nature is an intrinsic part of what it means to be fey. No one wants to stop deforestation more than dryads, after all!

     Emerald fey do not place any particular premium on sapient or humanoid life; they see plants, beasts and even fiends as equally important to the balance of nature. The fey of this court will defend any type of creature that is endangered, and seek to cull or suppress anything that gets too numerous for its own good -- even themselves. The only exception they make is for creatures that spread fire, such as red dragons and fire elementals, since uncontrolled flames jeopardize the forests they so cherish.
     Within the realm of Feywild politics, the Emerald Court is a major force. Many fey creatures respect them and the work they do, even if they don't prioritize nature within their own lives. Moreover, the Emerald Court can call on vast numbers of dryads, oreads, undines and other nymphs when needed, so it is deeply unwise to anger the ancient and mighty archfey of this Court.

Raraebol Otrium
It should come as no surprise that the Emerald Court is full of plant creatures and druids, so of course their leader has to be a treant with druidic magic. Raraebol Otrium is the ultimate avatar of his court: perfectly in tune with nature, never intervening (or even speaking) when he doesn't have to, but totally committed to maintaining the fragile balance of creation and destruction that fuels the cycle of life. Raraebol is known to toe a hard line when it comes to druidic philosophy, though he does not go as far as trying to exterminate alternative views. He abhors all industry and artifice, including not just metallurgy but also control of fire, writing, stoneworking and selective breeding.
     As a CR 30 treant druid, Raraebol boasts massive durability and devastating offensive powers -- but unlike our other monstrous archfey, Carnavon, he's more than just a big beatstick. A close look at his stats will reveal that he performs best with an army around him: abilities like earthquake, storm of vengeance and Emerald Awakening give him excellent battlefield control, while Nature's Blessing and the Arrow-Catching Shield allow him to provide decent support utility without sacrificing his action economy. Plus, with conjure woodland beings, awaken, conjure fey, liveoak, Animate Trees and Possession of Root and Branch, he'll never be short of allies.

The Garden of the Emerald Court
While the Emerald Court has a significant presence in most of the Feywild's forests, and certainly considers it their duty to protect the Great Trees, they only have one official Garden. Known as the Great Grove, it looks to outsiders much like any other cluster of trees. What they cannot see are the secret symbols of the Court, the invisible charms and wards that entwine every stem, the barely perceptible song of magical winds stirring ancient leaves. In truth, the Great Grove is a holy place of the highest order, steeped in mystical energy and protected by a hidden army of fey creatures, plants, animals and insects.

The Frolicking Court

When people think about the fey, they think about parties, balls, feasts, and festivities. We knew, then, that one of our courts needed to be focused on the fun aspects of fey culture. The question was how to fit that into the paradigm of political intrigue that we'd been weaving with the other courts... and our answer was to take the idea of 'festivals' back to its religious roots and make the Frolicking Court into the Feywild's lorekeepers and cultural custodians. There must be a reason for all the parties, and we think it makes a lot of sense if that reason is pseudo-religious: the fey have to celebrate something every other day, because that is how they perpetuate their culture and history. The traditional stories, songs, contests, rituals, dances, and costumes all commemorate something that needs to be remembered -- hence an entire court has sprung up to ensure that they are.
     What all of that means is that the Frolicking fey are two contradictory things at once: easygoing party animals, and stuffy historians. They value Charisma because you need it to be a good storyteller, but they also esteem those with great memories and skill at astronomical measurement. Inevitably each individual is better at some things than others, but to really succeed in this court, one needs to possess both creativity and intellect.
     When you look past the name 'frolicking' and see what this court is really about, I think it makes sense that we gave them jurisdiction over the Feywild's ersatz police force, the Caelagarm Oath-Knights. These non-partisan warriors are ever-present at fey festivals, with the explicit duty of ensuring that the members of every court are welcome. The Oath-Knights do not allow political rivalries to disrupt anything so important as a stage play or poem recitation, and will take up arms against Frolicking fey if necessary -- in accordance with tradition, the knights' oaths are sworn to preserve the peace at Frolicking Court gatherings, not to blindly follow any order that a Frolicking fey gives them.

Eydís Aonghuis
Kidnapped by evil fey as a child and subsequently raised in the Feywild, Eydís Aonghuis is no ordinary dwarf. Although she shares her kind's industrious work ethic and respect for tradition, she does not spend her time working a forge, chisel, or still. Instead, her single-minded devotion is to the art of dance. Trained at the legendary Silvergleam Academy and blessed with incredible core strength, she flows about the room with the stature of a woman twice her height.
     Being born outside the Feywild has left Eydís with a lingering sense that she doesn't belong, but the truth is that she knows more about the faerie realm than most sithe. This is because she is an avid scholar, likely to be found in a library when she isn't on a dancefloor. Now, having achieved the status of archfey within the Frolicking Court, Eydís also fulfills a mentoring role, educating young fey elves on matters historical, artistic, and philosophical.
     In combat, Eydís runs rings around her opponents, darting in, out, and around with her twin scimitars becoming a whirlwind of mithral. When she really needs to turn up the heat, Eydís activates her magical ballgown and leaves a trail of fire in her wake, literally burning up the floor.

Prince Hefeydd
Always smiling behind his leafy goatee, Prince Hefeydd is a warm and friendly character. Fond of wine and song, he is beloved by many, including his collection of mortal warlocks. It is partly, but not entirely, for their sake that he spends so much time on the Material Plane: more often he simply needs a break from the constant scheming of his fellow archfey. Hefeydd is a man who relaxes as hard as he parties, content to spend weeks or even months reclined on a bed of moss, improvising a new song of rest on his favourite set of pipes.
     Although he isn't noted for his reliability at other times, Hefeydd never misses the Frolicking Court's Midsummer Gala. One of the most popular events at the Gala is Hefeydd's Concert, where he invites the best musicians from across the planes to accompany him in an hour-long performance of various traditional songs. It is a truly unmissable show.
     Prince Hefeydd relies on his charm even in battle, using his radiant presence to overwhelm the spirits of lesser beings. His bardic magic gives him plenty of options, too, in case he needs to make a swift exit or call up some illusions. Weapons are not his forte, but when pressed, he is a decent shot with the longbow, and has sometimes been seen with one of the Star Bows, of which only seven are known to exist.

The Garden of the Frolicking Court
The Frolicking Court's Garden isn't much to look at in its natural state, consisting mostly of open space dotted with scaffolding and fold-away chairs. This is because the Garden, known to all as 'Festival Park' is designed to be the ultimate party venue. In a few short hours, it can be transformed from a blank canvas into almost anything a would-be party planner could imagine, with modular stages, dazzling marquees, glittering dance floors, and all of the support functions required for any sort of celebration. Naturally, the Frolicking Court makes good use of this facility, hosting a near-constant program of events, as well as hiring it out to other courts when the price is right.

Note that Prince Hefeydd's stats refer to our variant rules for drunkenness, which you can find here. Legendary libation can be found here. The magic item Fey Mistletoe Sprig and the spells chameleon mask, vanishing trick, dire charm and liveoak can be found in Fey Folio (link in intro). Full stats for the Star Bow and Eydís' Gown of Swirling Embers will be released in a future post!


  1. The frolicking court looks really interesting; the duality of celebration and tradition-keeping will be cool to explore in-game.

    Eydis' history lesson is hilarious; And really, all abilities here are really thematic and fun.

  2. TBH, I don't think Raraebol should be CR 30. And I don't think he is.

    CR 30 in 5e is only the Tarrasque and Tiamat. A Fey lord should probably be as strong as a demon-lord or archdevil- anywhere from 19 to 26, maybe even 28- but 30 is really only godlike power.

    And looking at his stats, his ability scores are high but not extremely so. His HP very high, and with regeneration and 2 powerful resistances, but he has a vulnerability.

    But let's compare him to some monsters.
    Raraebol deals 144 damage on a fully offensive round of attacks, but will probably deal 96 and use Emerald Awakening for 72 AOE, and casts a spell, which is a huge boost to his action economy.

    Zariel has 580 HP, regeneration that works when she's at 0, way higher stats, and deals ~128 damage per round. Her spells don't matter much.

    Orcus Has only 405 HP, but 3 good resistances. He deals 158 per round. His spells, other than time stop, don't do too much either, but he can summon 500 hp of undead (3 liches).

    Tiamat is way stronger than the Tarrasque (with 122 of attacks and ~160 AOE), so looking at the Tarrasque would be more fair:
    With 676 HP and 25 AC, its defenses are much higher than those of Raraebol. Deals 228 with attacks per round.

    I think Raraebol is simply not on-par with CR 30, even including the AOE and extra spell (which I omitted since it's hard to decide how to calculate it), and it seems right- Since he's not godlike in power. He should probably be CR 25-28.

    1. On second consideration, Raraebol's resistances, along with the powerful legendary AOE and extra spell every turn, might be enough to be considered CR 30... though I still don't think an archfey should be CR 30.

    2. All I can say is that I did the maths according to the DMG and very thoroughly, including extrapolating the table up to CR40 for offense and defense. Personally, I don't use WotC's monsters as a reference for CR, as their numbers are all over the place. Certainly, the high level spells Raraebol's dropping every turn are a big contributor to his offense.

      As for 'should', that's a matter of taste. I've said before that I wasn't happy about statting up acrhfey *at all*, but my hand was forced. After some discussion with Finger, I put the weakest one (Bluetongue) at 20, the strongest ones (Raraebol and Carnavon) at 30, and the others scattered in between. My thinking with the two CR30s is that they both *started out* as powerful monsters before acquiring their special abilities, so they should have the most raw power.

      A regular, bog standard treant is CR 9, you know? That's pretty meaty. So this one, the greatest archfey of a major court - and thus among the most powerful beings in the multiverse - needs to be something extremely special in my opinion. Plus, we don't get to write CR30 monsters very often!

    3. Alright, I guess making the 2 most powerful archfey CR 30 does make sense.

      As for using WotC monsters for comparison, I think it makes more sense than using the DMG tables (they don't generally match the tables too well, and they are the things that eventually end up fighting players at whatever levels, while the table-stat theories don't).
      But hey, lots of WotC monsters don't match the CR given to them anyway, so pretty much any method is fair game.

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