Don’t Have to be Evil to be Dangerous

The Runewild has made me think about why I like fey in gaming and fiction. One reason I like them is that they have a prefect balance of the familiar and the strange. I often see enemies like orcs as being just humans with pointy teeth and a bad attitude. At the other end of the spectrum, aberrations like aboleth are so strange they are hard to relate to. Fey seem similar: most look humanoid and do human-ish things like hold courts and throw parties, but how many stories exist of people who attend a fey party getting trapped or discovering that forty years have passed?

The fact that they fey seem human, but are very much not, leads to what I think is their core appeal to me: they don’t have to be evil to be dangerous. Fey might not care about the mortal world, or they might even try to help, but because they see things differently, their “help” might bring disaster.

I was part of the playtest group that first explored the Runewild, and there were plenty of times were the feys’ unusual ways complicated life.

One was when we found King Wobbly-Odd. At first glance, Wobbly-Odd seems like the classic “Guy With an Exclamation Mark Over His Head,” who exists primarily to give out quests. Little did we know that by accepting Wobbly-Odd’s quest we agreed to a geas and any day we didn’t hunt for the Golden Bodach, one of use would take 5d10 psychic damage.

Because we had other pressing business and if the 5d10 maxed out it could have killed the target of the geas, we needed to break the curse, and because we were too low level to do it ourselves, we had to seek the aid of the White-Bone Sisters, a pair kindly old ladies who animate the bones of children for company.