The following insanity is brought to you by BDC
We are one month away from Fifth Edition’s first content about the Feywild (In detail, at least) in Wizard’s newest offering; The Wild in the Witchlight!. And man, are we giddy! We already had a fleshing out of the Domains of Dread back in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft; giving us a taste of worlds touched by the Shadowfel and the enigmatic ‘Dark Powers’. We had no idea that, when Wotc announced the Feywild adventure book, we would be getting a treatment that would open all sorts of possibilities for DMs and players alike.
We already were introduced to two new races in Unearthed Arcana that are going to be making their debut in 5E aka the Fairy race and the Harengon!
We know also that the two backgrounds given us in UA will also make it in some form. The Feylost are creatures who wandered into the Feywild and have found themselves lost there and have lived here for a while. The Witchlight Hand are those who have been working with the carnival. Both sound great. Just can’t wait to see what these backgrounds add to the game.
And for all of you old-school nostalgia freaks, Chris Perkins and the other creative powers on this book have something special in mind! As a part of the adventure (I suppose), we will be reintroduced to grand heroes and vile villains straight from an 80s D&D Animated show and DM aid. Characters mentioned are Strongheart, Warduke and Kelek. Sadly, there are no announcements on figures from the original Animated series featuring Kelek’s former master, Venger. I think that these would have been a better offering considering Wotc was going for a more childlike, whimsical approach. Especially since the map of the carnival sports the classic roller coaster the heroes were teleported to the world of D&D with.
DOMAINS OF DELIGHT
But the thing that has my heart all aflutter is the announcement that Ravenloft wasn’t the only part of D&D getting the ‘domain’ treatment! That’s right, Wotc and Chris Perkins proudly admitted that the Feywild had their own equivalent to the ‘domains of dread’. They are called the DOMAINS OF DELIGHT. Much like their dark predecessor, they are a kingdom all their own and they are ruled by a lord or in this case, an Archfey.
However, only one has been announced to appear in this new book: Prismeer. And it may be the only one. It’s only there as a part of the adventure. But, despite if they give us a great set like they did for Ravenloft, the cat’s out of the bag. The mere fact that Wotc sees this reflection of the domains idea in the Feywild is enough for me and the army of millions of DMs across the globe just waiting to build their own domain, Archfey and court. Hopefully, Perkins and his crew won’t be remiss and forget to include some guide to doing just that.
Until then, I’ll just let my imagination run wild (come on, you knew it was going to happen anyway).
The whimsey and tricky landscape of the Feywild lends itself to many of the fantasy tropes that have existed for generations. Where did you think the idea of the Feywild came from in the first place? It was from the massive library of books written of places and creatures which have held captive the minds of children and adults most of their lives.
IF left to our own devices, it is to these classic stories that we, as DMs, will go for our inspiration. And, if I am correct, we will see a myriad of adventure, creature and campaign books drawing upon the imaginations of the ages. The following are just a few ideas.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND and THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
If you ask me, if you really want a primer of sorts on how things work in the Feywild, the books of Lewis Carrol and the blockbuster films they have spawned are wonderful lessons in the rule and ethics of the Fey. We tend to, in our modern thought, view things in black and white, right and wrong. The Fey see things a bit different.
For example, you cannot simply call the Unseelie court evil. In the Fey mind, they are simply opposing points. I feel, if you watch both Wonderland movies, you will see that the White queen never allowed herself to see or speak of her sister as evil. She may have done ‘evil things’ but that is our assessment. To these fey it was just a misunderstanding.
And the full cast of characters are nothing less than fey creatures through and through. No need to build a domain. This amazing world is simply the struggle for a return to what was before: sisters living in love an harmony. Is this not what the Feywild needs? An end to the dark machinations of the Queen of Air and Darkness and a chance to bring Titania’s sister back to her side? But how to do this?
THE WIZARD OF OZ
If you want whimsey, you should look no further than what’s over the rainbow and at the end of the yellow brick road. The books of Frank Baum offer plenty of fodder to flesh out a proper Feywild Domain of Delight. It has the proper balance of challenges, danger and childhood fantasy. True, the Wicked Witch of the west and her hoard of flying monkeys gave me nightmares as a child. But that’s part of the wonder. The violence that it took to defeat her evil was minimal and fun to watch.
Although the characters of Oz have been reimagined many times, you and/or your DM can find the imaginative, original fuel for this campaign engine. Although it wasn’t a blockbuster, if you ever get to watch Emerald City, an adult reimagining of the classic, it may give you a few ideas. Also the Scifi channel Tinman. But, just read the books. Baum was one of the most imaginative people of any time.
The Scarecrow, not the Wizard, is the Archfey of this domain. Using his wits, he attempts to keep the balance between the witches of light and dark that intend to upset said balance.
But my favorite children’s fantasy I think that would make a great domain in the Feywild is the home of the Lost Boys, Tinkerbell and, of course, Peter Pan! I mean Neverland, of course.
It’s a place away from the hard facts of bad parenting where time never runs right. It’s a place where children never grow up and fight pirates like in their battles of fantasy in the back yard with sticks as swords. It is a domain where a fairy can help you think happy thoughts and that and pixie dust can make you fly. It virtually has everything.
I see the domain being lorded over an Archfey power without form who saves children from abuse or neglect and gives them a place to find happiness. He does this through an emissary leader who goes into the Prime Material Plane looking for those who are ‘lost’. There have been many ‘PANS’ who have taken up the mantle and championed the forgotten and maligned. Aided by their intercessor, a fairy, they fly many skies and save many children.
Neverland is more than a part of the Feywild. It is a reaction to the whims and compulsions of this faceless entity. It turns on its focused destiny. And it will do anything to protect its charges. The Archfey IS HAPPY THOUGHTS itself and he is the patron of the PAN and protector of NEVERLAND.
What fantasy books or movies would you pull inspiration from to build YOUR domain? LEt us know in the comments.