Wizards of the Coast has just released The Wilds Beyond the Witchlight, a prewritten campaign for Dungeons and Dragons, to no small amount of applause among the community. The module takes place first in an enchanted carnival, and then in the Feywild itself – the bizarre and beautiful plane of the fae, a place of unadulterated wild magic, controlled by the glamour and the guile of the fairy courts.
If you’re looking to bring just a bit of the whimsical and horrifying into your current campaign, or want a little something extra to add to your run of Witchlight, here are a few plot hooks (featuring some real world fae folklore) to include:
Black Donald (A Devil Amongst the Fae)
Wandering (either in the material plane or the Feywild), the party come across an old man in a black suit. Closer inspection reveals that his feet are, in fact, cloven hooves!
This old man, if he trusts them enough to tell, or if they investigate on their own, is Black Donald – a devil who escaped the hells in favor of the guile and glamor of the Feywild. He likes it there, although he’s never quite managed to perfect his glamour, and his feet always give him away.
He’d be eternally grateful for something that could perfect his glamour (such as a Hat of Disguise, or a Wand of Disguise Self), if the party should like to befriend him. He might make a powerful ally. But he’s also an escapee from the hells, and there’s a good chance that they’re after him, too. There might even be a reward…
Crodh Mara (Returning the Bull to the Herd)
A small farming village that the party passes through requests their help -there’s been a spate of faerie mischief as of late, and they can’t seem to figure out how to stop it. Milk curdling overnight, clothes unravelling in the closet, crops rotting even as they grow. Worse for adventurers: bowstrings snap, roads lead in circles, and weapons rust even before they’re drawn.
Some investigation, or even discussion with the faeries, reveals that the farmers’ livestock has been bolstered by interbreeding with a Crodh Mara bull. This bull isn’t a normal cow, but part of a fae herd that doesn’t even belong on land! Incensed by this theft, the faeries have been causing problems to try and prompt its return.
Except, the farming community relies upon the bull to keep them afloat and may well starve without it. The faerie mischief will cost them just as much in the long run, and they might be convinced of such, but does the bull even want to leave?
Joint-Eaters (Starving Amongst Plenty)
While traveling through the Feywild, if the party stops by a stream to rest, they might find that their rests aren’t quite recovering the same amount as they usually do anymore.
This, if they do some investigating, can be discovered to be the work of Joint-Eaters, tiny water faeries that attach themselves onto or within a living being. They then consume the ‘essence’ of the food that their hosts eat, preventing them from gaining any of its benefits, and slowly starving them.
There is a way to remove the Joint Eaters (eating a great deal of salt, then opening your mouth above a stream for the now thirsty fae to jump out), and probably some magical solutions as well. But if the party aren’t familiar with the fae, will they know it? If not, where will they ask, and what will they trade for the answer?
The Slaugh (Stolen Souls)
After a party member falls near death, the group might notice that they are being followed by a flock of large grey birds. These are no birds at all, in fact, but the slaugh – a group of lesser, but no less dangerous, fae.
The first of these birds were a college of wild sorcerers, whose cruelty earned them the disdain of the arcane gods (whomever they happen to be in your setting) and were transformed into wandering spirits upon their deaths. Now, they seek to add to their number, innocent or guilty, and will steal the souls of the dying, keeping them from both resurrection and afterlife.
Should a party member die in the presence of these creatures, they’ll be unable to be resurrected. Of course, the fae are always happy to make a trade or bargain, and will accept a sacrifice in their place. But be careful, what they won’t add is that anyone who makes such a sacrifice will also be made one of their number.
Tarrans (The Will of the Wisps)
The party come across a young woman caught amongst a field full of will-o-wisps. She’s clearly in danger, but acts erratically, reaching out and trying to touch each one.
If the party speak to her, she’ll explain that according to local tradition, the lights are not malicious fae, but Tarrans, but the spirits of stillborn babies. Her own child, she is convinced, is among them somewhere, and she intends to find it. She has money (she paid a traveling mage to keep her baby’s body in suspended animation) and will gladly pay the party to track down the spirit of her child from the hoard.
There are a lot of will-o-wisps, though, which makes the task tricky. Perhaps if they can speak to the local fae court, they can get the souls sorted properly?
Each of these prompts is inspired by a real-life fairy legend, which you can read more about in Scottish mythology. If you use any of these prompts, we’d love to hear about how they went down, and how you made them their own!