Explaining faeries


Some of my players are quite new to Ars Magica, and they want to play characters with Strong Faerie Blood. While I'm allowing this, I'm having a hard time explaining to them how faeries differ from the standards elves and dwarves from D&D, which they're used to.

I mean, I know the differences, and they are many, but how do you go about explaining it, in a nutshell, to players who are stuck in the D&D mind set? Any suggestions? :slight_smile:



The Ars Magica 2nd Ed Faeries book has some get tips on how faeries differ from D&D races, which I've always enjoyed. It mostly talks about what they aren't but it's still handy...

Dwarfs are not little Scandinavians with long beards and sledgehammers, who like to drink, get rich and kill bad guys. Dwarfs are earth faeries. Think of them as as spirits of everything in the ground and under the ground.
High faeries are not elves. Elves are ancient Greeks with point ears who like to dance and drink wine coolers. High Faeries are the living memories of gods and heroes.
Low faeries are not halflings. Halflings are glorified and patronized simple county folk. The like to plant their gardens and serve their betters. Low faeries aren't cute, they can be dangerous and many don't look human at all.

Hehe, nice. :slight_smile:

But how do I explain to D&D-players how faeries interact with society? I tried to tell them that faeries are kinda like living dreams of mankind or concepts brought to life by their beliefs. But I'm not sure if they get it. Any suggestions would be great :slight_smile:


Faeries in D&D are like humans, but with something extra. They are humans, with like immortality and magic and stuff.

Faeries in Ars are like humans, but something less. Faeries are not ever, really, the central characters of stories. They are malleable, and kind of addicted to people. They are often shallow and false, just pretending to be whatever they claim to be.

In D&D, the faeries are cooler than we are. In Ars, the faeries are reflections of our hopes and dreams, but because they are reflections of us, at certain points in our lives, they do not, themselves, have full and complete lives.

We live: they watch.

We act: they merely respond.

If you want to play a faerie because in D&D it gives you more options, be warned: a faerie in Ars is almost always the sidekick.

They bask in the light our our glorious deeds. They can assist us, or be vanquished by us, on our path to glory, but they cannot tread the path to glory themselves.

Nice, I'll throw this description at my group. I think that might work. :slight_smile: Thanks.


And if thats not enough for understanding, if you´re the GM, its really you´re decision what they are, if need be, then let them be whatever suits the players.
The difference, as seen by Timothy´s post, is more in concept than in what you see of them, at least until more thorough interaction where their limited nature shows, and the players might never get to the point where that gets obvious.

One of our GMs likes to run stories with "independent" faeries, and it works just fine, even if she has to modify a little from RAW sometimes.

Thing is, I understand the concept of faeries in the book, and I really like it. I'm just having trouble explaining it in a way a D&D player can fully understand. :slight_smile:
The players always seem to go back to D&D whenever something smells just a little bit of fantasy :stuck_out_tongue:


In my first ArsM saga even, the storyguide explained faeries thusly...

Some faeries are like cat-lovers. Some faeries are like cat-haters. Humans are cats.

Personally, I'd probably avoid metagame discussions of what faeries are and focus instead on what the character's faerie blood will mean in terms of game mechanics and story potential.

Yes, I don't want to explain it too closely to the players. It's actually only a counter to my players idea that faeries are like D&D dwarves and elves. :stuck_out_tongue:


I played a character with faerie blood and tried to model the actions according to fitting views of the faerie parent.

Basically you have a much more fixed idea how things work, and that idea is reminiscent, yet somehow alien of mundane ideas. Incomprehensible is a great flaw for this, and making a fixed set of rules and values before playing is too.

You also need to keep in mind that the original D&D was part science fiction. That's why Dragon Magazine used to run those "ecology of" articles featuring different monsters. Everything in old D&D had a quasi-scientific explanation. So demi-humans (of which only elves were considered related to faeries) were developed more like alien races, alternatives to human.

Thinking back, one needs to appreciate the old classic AD&D. Gary and Dave now sit in the hallowed halls of the Seven Heavens (or Valhalla or Olympus, they are allowed to plane-hop). But there would be no Ars Magica or any other RPG without them. I am looking at 4th edition, and it seems to me that they took a giant leap backwards. I would rather play basic box set D&D than 4th edition.