Tanis, the Fey Wild
Major Locations in Tanis
The Unbounded Waters
The Sidhe and the Fey
Creatures of Tanis
Major Locations in Tanis
There are hundreds of Courts scattered throughout the Feywild, but two in particular stand out as the largest and most influential of them all. To mortals these are known as the "Summer" and "Winter" courts, or the Seelie (silly) and Unseelie (serious) Courts, respectively. In the domains of the Seelie Court, the perpetual twilight of the plane has the character of dawn, while in Unseelie areas it has the character of dusk. These Courts were deliberately established upon the ruins of the native archfey kingdoms that ruled this plane back when it was still known only as Tanis. They compete with each other for prestige and greater influence over the lesser Courts, and have no qualms about what methods they use to prove their superiority over the other, or what luckless pawns are used in their games. In fact, the primary difference between the two courts (beyond mere aesthetics) has to do with their senses of humor: Seelie Court devotees are given to outlandish, nonsensical jests, while Unseelie followers have no sense of humor to speak of. The Summer Court is ruled by the Fairy Queen that calls herself Titania, while the Winter Court is ruled by the Queen of Air and Darkness, although it is not clear if these are individual fey or titles held by successive rulers.
In ages past, there was a third Court of similar size and majesty, but unlike the others, it had failed to kill the archfey whose domain it had usurped. The price of this failure was the undying enmity of deposed Turael, and the complete extinction of the Court when his new creations suddenly descended upon it, attacking from the mountains that are today known as the Sluagh Crags. To this day, the Feywild has yet to recover from the destruction wreaked upon its very geography, and the broken lands serve as a grim reminder of the ancient power of Tanisian archfey.
The windswept and gorse-covered hills of Ual'Edi Raan are as dangerous as any of the fey courts, for these are the afterlife of the Aldrans. Where all other giants end up in the Outer Plane they deserve, like the overwhelming majority of mortals, it is the unique prerogative of an Aldran soul to remain in the Feywild, no matter its morality in life. As a result, Aldrans of all temperaments and outlooks can be found here, and it is just as difficult to tell them apart in death as it was in life.
The Ingca Enkulu, the 'Land of Great Grasses', is the wildness of the savannah epitomized. Here the souls of bird and beast grow mighty and fearless, challenging any who might seek to harm them. In the glory days of the original ruling archfey, before their toppling by the invading exiles of Faerie, it was known as the Savage Realm-- few had the temperament, or the inclination, to attempt to tame it and bring the land under their control.
However, this name was taken from it by the first mortals to visit, who recognized in it a reflection of their own home. These were the early shamans of the nomadic human tribes that would eventually become the varied Binjalan peoples of Eruna, who pioneered the art of journeying, very nearly safely, across the planes by means of dreams and visions. To them, this part of Tanis was just a more pronounced version of their own untamed wilderness, and it influenced their beliefs of the nature and power of spirits thereafter.
It is also where the first sheekaro emerged, before the majority relocated themselves to the Material Plane. Some of the most ancient and wise of these primal fey yet remain, too proud to leave and too deadly to be evicted. Though finding one is very difficult, those who succeed and humble themselves appropriately may receive profound insight-- and not even swaddled in enigma or riddle.
There is a great desert in the Feywild, where it never rains, with but a single oasis, and malicious dunes that push back at travellers who try to leave. This cruel realm not only prevents any form of magic to conjure food or water from working, but also does not allow those trapped within it to perish through lack of sustenance. Mirages of its solitary oasis dance in the merciless heat, leading the desperate ever deeper into itself.
However, those who stumble onto the oasis of Kaggen's Mercy gain no reprieve, but only a terrible choice. As they near the wonderfully blue water, awareness of their dilemma is granted them by the magic of the oasis. Their suffering shall indeed be ended if they choose to drink, but so too will their life. The living turn to dust, and the dead melt into the pool, and the oasis waits for the next desperate unfortunate to make their own choice.
Some of the oldest archfey claim to remember a time when this nameless desert was not so heartless, but that it started to change after the disappearance of its ruler, the devious mantis-king Kaggen. Whilst their statements contradict each other on a number of points, all are in agreement that the cruelty of the oasis is exactly the kind of curse that Kaggen was known for, and that he is the only one who could lift it-- assuming, of course, that Kaggen still lives.
The Hryma Steppes are covered in a perpetual blizzard, wracked by the lightning storms following the hryma herds as they race across the permafrost. Only the strongest and most prepared can survive here for long, and even the fey who delight most in the Wild Hunt hesitate before journeying here. There are far easier, safer, and no less noble ways to prove your worth, after all, for it is said among fey that to hunt hrymas is to hunt your own death.
Trying to establish any kind of foothold in the Hryma Steppes is doomed to failure, as the extreme weather only worsens when attempts are made to build any kind of structure or make camp. Even the strongest magical fortification eventually collapses in the face of such intensifying relentlessness, as its power is steadily chipped away and dispelled before it can be renewed. Strangely, more simplistic wards to ward away the cold are unaffected by this erosive quality.
The Unbounded Waters
This is the endless ocean of the Feywild, stretched across the plane and, by means of vast submerged caves and tunnels, through it beneath the land itself, truly earning the name of the Unbounded Waters. It even runs deep enough in some places to begin merging into the mists of the Penumbra, the division between the planes blurring ever more dangerously until the unwary traveller risks being ripped apart by the unaligned energies suffusing the borders.
Exactly as their name suggests, the Sluagh Crags are the territory of the sluagh, creations of the archfey Turael, and belong to them alone. Whilst mortal creatures and the souls of the dead may come and go freely if they wish, not that this is any kind of regular occurrence, immortals are advised to stay away for their own safety-- whether they be celestial or fiend, elf or fey, or something else-- as the sluagh are uniquely purposed for the obliteration and consuming of immortal souls.
Despite the reputation of its inhabitants, the Sluagh Crags are only really dangerous for the inhabitants of the Fey Courts, who usurped the Feywild from its original masters. The nearest of these, ruled by King Oberon of the Grail, is a regular target for sluagh skulks descending from on high to ravage and slaughter. Prisoners taken during these raids are typically killed and eaten without ceremony at later dates-- their bones, sucked clean of marrow, are mounted along the foothills of the Crags as a warning against any reprisal.
The Thundering Gorge is so named for the deafening noise created by the innumerable rocs which make it their home. This is their refuge from their progenitor Garuda, an elderfiend of Carcus, who lost the battle for their souls many thousands of years ago. Even rocs which fell to evil are bound tightly and brought here to be saved from an otherwise Hellish fate. They are presented to Ziz, mighty enough to withstand the effects of the Five Rivers for a time, who immerses them in the nearby Lethe to wash away their former life and permit them to be redeemed.
Though it would be a lie to say that a satyr needs to be anywhere in particular in order to revel, there is a site in the regions near to the Tanisian Styx which is especially dear to these pleasure-obsessed fey. The Satyrion has been an unending riot of insalubrious activity since its founding-- and whilst visitors with no sense of shame or self-restraint can indulge in the same pleasures freely, those of a more abstemious nature may find themselves the victims of unwanted attentions.
The outer environs of the Satyrion tend to be occupied by druids and the more benevolent fauns, who seek to protect unwary visitors from harm, but they have their limits and are not always successful. There are few other places in the Feywild which so clearly and so openly showcase the mercurial amorality of its inhabitants, and which so completely embody the danger to body and to mind of unrestricted hedonism.
The Dread Manse is the home of Algeah, perhaps the last archfey hailing from the time when the Feywild was still known only as Tanis, and the name given to its rulers was the Sidhe. No fey dares approach closer than a hundred miles lest they incur her wrath, for she proved herself more terrible than any fiend in defence of her home when the outcasts of Faerie sought to take it from her. The only regular visitors here are the celestial agents of the Efferenite Saraf Cybele, a notable ally of the Lady of Agony.
Foolish individuals are known to approach the greater Fey Courts with the offer of assassinating Algeah in exchange for favor and rewards, but they are invariably slain by the very people they are supplicating-- the risk is simply deemed too great for even the most aggressive of the sidhe-- and their bodies transported via homunculus to the Dread Manse in order to show respect and avert disaster.
Created by Tal-Allustiel to assist in the passing of elven souls to Faerie, Nanshe can spend centuries at a time on the banks of the Faerie River, immersing both the living and the dead to scour them of any evil influence so that they may enter their rightful afterlife. However, in those rare times when none are in need of her, she can retreat to a simple wooden hut away from the Faerie River and recover her strength-- for as part of the Cocytus, the Faerie River is as disturbing to her as any other immortal, but her ability to endure it is by necessity greater than her urge to flee.
The Sidhe and the Fey
Domain: The Dread Manse, by the Acherian Emergence of the Feywild
Position: Kyreion Executrix
Significant Titles : Lady of Agony, Tormenting Mistress, She Who Flays, Terror of the Sidhe
A Brief Overview
A true Archfey from the earliest days of the Feywild, when it was still commonly known as Tanis, Algeah is perhaps the last of those who remained in her native plane, defying the banished spirits of Tal-Allustiel seeking to make it their own. Many of the others perished in the defence of their homes, but Algeah fought with a savagery hitherto unseen outside of the vilest of fiends, and triumphed over all challengers.
She has since been recruited by Cybele to serve as a final resort if the more violent fey courts start to act up, an act which promptly made the majority of them simmer down considerably. Unknownst even to Cybele, this is more due to Algeah's reputation than anything else. Algeah, far from being the nightmarish scourge that she is portrayed as, truly wishes nothing more than to be left to practice to her meditation and weaving.
Indeed, Algeah is unmatched when it comes to the creation of magical fabrics, which are often used to make standards and flags for the celestial armies. On rare occasions she will even incorporate the near-forgotten magics of the elder Feywild into unique clothing. These precious items are gifted to those who she feels will use them only in desperate defence against an unjust aggressor, and thus far she has not been let down.
Algeah knows that eventually this time of calm will end, and that she will need to become the monster that others think her to be deep down. For all that she is repulsed by the very idea, she did give her word to Cybele and will not break it. On that day, the Acheron shall undoubtedly froth and churn and crash and burst its banks until the River of Pain at last washes over the plane entire.
Domain: The Brine Trenches, in the Lonely Sea
Position: Independent, Exiled Sidhe
Significant Titles : Ocean Mother, Queen of the Reefs, Fish Speaker, Lastlight
A Brief Overview
Amphitrite has been fighting, and losing, wars for most of her long life. She was the youngest of the Archfey to arise from Tanis, shortly before the outcast deviations of Tal-Allustiel sought to make it their own and rename it the Feywild. Indeed, precisely because of her youth and inexperience, she was one of the very first to be targeted.
As she was gifted with the rare power to survive in the Five Rivers, Amphitrite was already an object of envy among her peers, who were secretly amused by her predicament-- not realizing that it would soon befall them as well. Though that same power gave Amphitrite a fighting chance for some centuries, it would ultimately prove insufficient to preserve her place in her own plane.
Cleverly, Amphitrite fled to the Material Plane rather than seek refuge among the other immortals. There, she established herself as the patron of the merfolk and other good-hearted sea creatures. Unfortunately for her, the Godsliver Fiend Dagon slithered out of Malor not long thereafter, and his abominable influence upon the merrow of the then-minor Spirallius Dominion made them all but unstoppable. Slowly, her subjects were pushed into the least hospitable of their strongholds, keeping the ravenous merrow at bay only through the most extreme effort.
Amphitrite today seeks to empower mortals from the surface world to aid her people, with a considerable degree of success. She is mostly called upon by The Oceanborn, a super-coven of warlocks operating openly in the Selfhaven Archipelago, and the peculiar halflings of the floating shire of Merrowsfloe, who have stalwartly resisted her encouragement to change the offensive name of her home. Less pleasingly, the Godsliver Fiend Ephialtes considers her a potential ally when it comes to their mutual enemy of Dagon, though neither have yet contacted the other regarding this.
Domain: The bank of the Faerie River
Position: Fairy Judge
Significant Titles : Elfscorner, The Baptiser, Guarantor of Boundaries, She Who Assigns Tasks
A Brief Overview
Whilst the mere existence of the dulim is the greatest of elven shames, the continuing risk of others falling from grace is perhaps the second greatest. Though only a few would ever suffer this fate in any generation, Tal-Allustiel foresaw that over time their numbers would grow to threaten those pure of heart who came to Faerie. Simply barring these fallen elf spirits from entry could obviously be no more than a stopgap measure.
A true solution to this problem was needed, so as to prevent it from becoming a problem in the first place-- and so he made Nanshe, an equivalent to the Sarafai of other gods, and placed her at the Faerie River to judge those who sought passage. Should one who is unworthy presents themselves, Nanshe will seize and plunge them into the Faerie River, for though it bears that name it is still the Cocytus and has power over immortal souls.
The torment these supplicants undergo during their immersion is directly proportionate to the suffering they caused whilst still on the Material Plane. When they emerge, scoured clean of their ill deeds, Nanshe offers them the chance to perform some noble feat. If they accept and complete their assigned task, thereby of their own free will making the effort to redeem themselves, Nanshe will permit them to cross into Faerie. Those who fail may receive another chance, if they still wish it, after waiting for a year and a day.
Some, too twisted and hateful, or perhaps fearful of punishment, never approach. Others refuse the onerous task offered them. Either way, these outcasts lurk in the Feywild, continuing to cause trouble for everyone or joining one of the unseelie Fey Courts. A common task offered by Nanshe is to bring one of these lost souls to her for more forceful judgement. All who come to her, however, are anointed with her Dominion, the Baptismal Cloth, endowing them with the strength needed to complete the approach to the Faerie River and sail upon it across the planes to reach the shores of Faerie. Nanshe will touch her Dominion to the living as well as the dead, for she understands well the fear that the Faerie River can have on immortals-- and though it cannot take her own disquiet away, this is a small price to pay for ensuring even the faint of heart can at last reach their destination.
The Queen of Air and Darkness
Domain: Unseelie Court Winter Palace, west of the Dread Manse
Position: Fairy Queen of the Winter Court
Significant Titles: Lady of Winter, Ice Queen, She Who Frowns
A Brief Overview
The Queen of Air and Darkness is the ruling Fey of the Winter Court. One of the first arrivals on Tanis, fleeing as a banished spirit from the edict of Tal-Allustiel, she led the assault on the Sidhe domains that conquered almost all of the western reaches of the realm. Naturally, she then set herself up as queen and used her vast inherent power to subjugate those who had fled with her as well as most native residents dwelling within her new domain. At the time she was known simply as Mab, but she quickly dubbed herself the Queen of Air and Darkness.
Though she always appears as a beautiful, dark-haired woman resembling an elf, clad in dark gowns of black and purple, scholars haven't been able to determine if the current ruling Winter Queen is the original fey who arrived in the first exodus from Fairie or if she has been supplanted and her identity assumed by some fey that overthrew her. This is entirely unclear because it would be well within the power of any fey powerful enough to usurp her throne to also assume her appearance.
One thing is true, though—every "Queen of Air and Darkness" has displayed the same amorality, cruelty, and complete lack of humor, so perhaps the rumors of successive Winter Queens are false.
Domain: Seelie Court Summer Palace, near Satyrion's east edge
Position: Fairy Queen of the Summer Court
Significant Titles : Lady of Summer, The Laughing Lady, She Who Laughs Last
A Brief Overview
Titania the Summer Queen is the ruling Fey of the Summer Court. A banished spirit fleeing from the God of Twilight, she arrived on Tanis at the same time as the mighty Mab, and some elven scholars believe that Titania and Mab, though certainly rivals, were sisters. She directed the war against the Sidhe in the eastern half of Tanis. Because of her brilliant and exceptionally ruthless leadership, she was victorious, and she claimed the lands she won as her own and used her inherent might to claim dominion over those who had fled with her as well as most native residents dwelling within her new realm.
Though she always appears as a beautiful blond woman resembling an elf, clad in gowns of radiant silver and gold, scholars haven't been able to determine if the current ruling Summer Queen is the original Titania who arrived in the first exodus from Fairie or if she has been supplanted and her identity assumed by some fey that overthrew her. This is entirely unclear because it would be well within the power of any fey powerful enough to usurp her throne to also assume her appearance.
As with the Queen of Air and Darkness, one thing is true-- every "Titania" has displayed the same amorality, ruthlessness, and twisted sense of humor as the original, so perhaps the rumors of successive Summer Queens are false.
Domain: Thundering Gorge, by the Lethean Emergence of the Feywild
Position: Independent, Cleansed Fiendspawn
Significant Titles : Defier of Hopelessness, Skydancer, Redeemer of Rocs
A Brief Overview
Ziz is one of the oldest spawn of the abominable Elderfiend Ulupi. He was hatched from her very first clutch, one of many left in the dust of Carcus to live or die as chance willed, and at best intended to be nothing more than another horror of the Hells. That destiny was changed when he and his siblings were found by Tiamat. She saw them only as rivals, many being far too similar to herself in appearance, and immediately began to devour them.
This infanticide was halted by the arrival of Ladon and Nakhash, primordial dragonlords of Tanis, who were ironically investigating rumors of the death of several dragon-like Godsliver Fiends by one of their own. The pair engaged Tiamat in battle, ultimately giving their lives to distract her whilst their aides stole the five surviving hatchlings away. Much to everyone's relief, as the hatchlings grew they proved to be neither inherently evil, nor otherwise defiled by the power of Carcus.
Ziz eventually took up residence in the Feywild, the spirits of mighty avian creatures gathering around him out of an instinctive respect for his superiority. There was, however, a notable absence of souls that Ziz was initially confused by, until he learned of Garuda and her roc offspring. Since that day, Ziz and his agents have worked tirelessly to retrieve the souls of rocs and usher them into the Feywild away from their monstrous progenitor.
He is by far the most proactive of his siblings and ruefully admits that he is responsible for having earned them the personal enmity of the vast majority of their foes. Naturally, Ziz also admits that he cannot simply stop doing what he does just because it is dangerous. This only endears him to his siblings, who would not have their brother any other way.
Creatures of Tanis
Literally thundering across the Hryma Steppes of the Feywild are the vast herds of the hrymas. A hryma looks very much like a massive six-legged horse carved out of translucent ice, arcs of lightning flashing within its body to burst out of its hooves and sprout from its neck like a mane. Hrymas seek out storms to race in, invigorated by the tempest as it lashes at them, and can breathe deadly plumes of frost like some dragons. Ancient elven records suggest that giants rode hrymas, or creatures startlingly similar to them, into battle in ages past.
Precisely because they are so difficult to acquire, hryma trophies are among the most prized in the Fey Courts, though capturing and breaking one to serve as a mount is the ultimate ambition of many a ruling archfey. The "safest" time to hunt hrymas is during the midwinter rutting season, when stallions break away from their herd to spar with each other and show their attractiveness to the mares. Individual stallions may be pursued freely during this time without interference, even if other hrymas are close enough to help, since the hunters are viewed as just another way for a stallion to prove his worth as a mate.
Huge fey, unaligned
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 192 (16d12+80)
Speed 50 ft.
STR 23 (+6) DEX 8 (-1) CON 20 (+5) INT 5 (-3) WIS 14 (+2) CHR 6 (-2)
Saves Str +10, Con +9
Damage Immunities cold, lightning
Senses passive Perception 16
Languages Sylvan, Wild Speech
Challenge 9 (7,200 XP)
Innate Spellcasting. The hryma's innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no components:
At will: ray of frost At will: thorn whip
Up to 3/day total: call lightning, fire shield (chill version), lightning bolt
1/day: chain lightning
Storm-eater. Whenever a hryma is subjected to lightning damage, it takes no damage and instead regains a number of hit points equal to the lightning damage dealt. The hryma may immediately move up to 20 feet in any direction and perform a slam attack as a reaction.
Multiattack. The hryma evokes its Storm Aura and uses its Frost Breath if it can. It then makes one slam or two hoof attacks.
Storm Aura (recharge 6). The hryma momentarily becomes the heart of a raging storm, its inner lightning striking out at everything nearby. Every creature within a 20 foot radius must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 14 (4d6) lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful save. Other hrymas may choose to forgo this saving throw entirely. A hryma's hoof attacks cease dealing lightning damage until Storm Aura has recharged.
Frost Breath (recharge 6). The hyrma exhales an icy blast in a 30 foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 22 (5d8) cold damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful save. On a failed save, the target's speed is reduced by 10 feet until the start of the hryma's next turn.
Hoof. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d8+6) bludgeoning damage bludgeoning and 5 (1d10) lightning damage.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 24 (4d8+6) bludgeoning and 11 (2d10) cold damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 18 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
The sluagh are some of the most brutal and hostile of fey, created for the sole purpose of wreaking havoc upon the intruder Fey Courts that drove out the original rulers of Tanis. They come in many varieties, each one more dangerous than the last. Unfortunately, sluagh struggle to differentiate between actual fey and other creatures that merely look similar, even after repeated encounters, with elves regularly suffering from this lack of ability. A sluagh has no concept of honor or mercy, and very little actual malice-- enemies are there to be killed by the most expedient means possible, not to be toyed with or allowed a fair fight. Allies, outside of fellow sluagh, are something wholly foreign to them.
Individually they are not especially imposing, being emaciated and mottled, without a hair on their body. A naive onlooker could almost pity the creature until the sluagh opens its eyes and fixes them with a dazzling putrescent glow, withering their very soul. A sluagh also has the disturbing ability to rip out the soul of its enemies as a trophy. This way they ensure their hated foes can never return to life.
Medium fey, chaotic neutral
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 38 (7d8+7)
Speed 30 ft.
STR 10 (+0) DEX 14 (+1) CON 13 (+1) INT 10 (+0) WIS 9 (-1) CHR 16 (+3)
Skills Deception +5, Persuasion +5
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Hunter of Fey. A sluagh has advantage on attack rolls against fey and elves, including half-elves. It has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened by fey and elves, including half-elves.
Species Blindness. A sluagh can almost never tell the difference between most humanoids and fey, or undead creatures originally of these types. It must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw to distinguish between creatures of these types, even individuals it has met before (though it does gain advantage on this saving throw). Sluagh recognize other sluagh, however.
Withering Gaze. When a creature that can see the sluagh's eyes starts its turn within 30 ft. of the it, the sluagh can force it to make a DC 13 Charisma saving throw if the sluagh isn't incapacitated and can see the creature. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the creature is instantly stunned. Otherwise, a creature that fails the save is restrained. The creature must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn, ending the effect on a success.
Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw at the start of its turn. If the creature does so, it can't see the sluagh until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the sluagh in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.
If the sluagh sees itself reflected on a polished surface within 30 ft. of it and in an area of bright light, the sluagh is affected by its own gaze. Sluagh are not affected by the gaze of other sluagh.
Extract Soul. The sluagh targets one creature that has died within the last minute, and begins to capture its lingering soul. The sluagh must remain within 5 feet of the corpse for three consecutive turns, without being incapacitated and performing no other actions, in order to complete the process and claim the soul. The sluagh may still complete this action if it started before the creature has been dead for one minute, but cannot resume it if interrupted past this time. A sluagh that succeeds is immediately restored to full hit points and gains advantage on all saving throws for the next minute. The dead creature cannot be restored to life while the sluagh lives.
Multiattack. The sluagh attacks twice with its Arm'Nasctha Glaive.
Arm'Nasctha Glaive. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d10) slashing damage.
Corrosive Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d6) piercing damage and 5 (1d10) acid damage.