Help me with Faerie challenges? (Subumbra Arboris spoiler!)

Subumbra Arboris saga players: Go away! Spoiler alert.

Anyway, in our saga one of the fae from the court of summer and sunlight is to be married to the king of the mountains. She requested the magi accompany her on her journey, and obviously there will be 3 tests for them in order to show their worth.

Any good ideas for this? We're thinking it's 3 very different tests: One of strength/power, one of knowledge/craftiness, and the last being something else like creativity.

It could be that the chellenges are against members of the mountain king's people. Or it could be something happening on the way - because stories of the deeds can then be told at the wedding. Actually, it could even be both - with the journey hav ing lesser challenges to set the stage (dress rehersals if you will) and give the characters a reputation ahead of time. And then the wedding has the actual contests as part of the celebrations, similar to the things encountered on the road but greater. That seems faerie-ish to me.

But the 3 challenges themselves?

I used a Shinty game as a test and entertainment between two groups of faeries viewing for the right to settle in a glen with a strong aura. It can easily be adapted to your story.

The escort of the fae can be challenged to a shinty game (a kind of grass hockey, with some rugby aspect and healthy does of shennanigans and maybe a hint of Bloodbowl - it is the fae version). They will need to show their physical aptitude, how shrewd they are (it is not forbidden to cheat as long as the referee does not see it or maybe is bribed not to see it), but also how entertaining they can be.

Once the challenge is issued, give the PCs a few days to prepare themselves and their team (until all guests arrived), unless they have been warned ahead of time - maybe an ally of them let them know a season or two before. And by chance the PCs show up with a whole set of camans in their luggage. And might even have a few shows prepared for the in-between game entertainement. My advice is reward "McGiver" creativity (doing splashy things with a nail clipper, chewing gum two matchsticks and 2 meters of rubber band) than big hollywood production with Verditius apparatus. Of course, it all depends of your mages powerlevel and how many of them will be coming. It can very well be played with some skilled companions, magus apprentices, even grogs, and only a couple of magi. Powerful magus might just conjure big stuff and magic will steal the show.

First, there is the team selection:
PCs are not enough to make one full team, so they need to select and convince other fae to join their team: identifying what type of fae (a small inoccuous muddy fae could be a shape changing troll), convincing them (for the glory, the fun, for a favor, for a reward), even tricking them - lots of RP options,

Second the game itself:
The game was run in 3 periods: daytime, dawn and at night. Since one group was dark faeries there abilities were growing throughout the 3 periods.
I did not play each game period in detail, but instead planned one or two events per period which depending on they were handled by the player who determined the outcome of the period (like an invasion of faerie spiders on the field trying to capture the ball as it was in fact a spider egg).
Actions were ranked for their effectiveness but also for the style. As most of the audience was faeries, it was not enough to win, but to show panache, class and style. This encourage heroic actions versus pure efficiency.
You will need to come up with your own way to tally both score. And at the end one team could loose the game on pure scoring, but still win the audience heart and gain favour where as the winning team might only get a big wooden cup (elaborate carving, but ot little value otherwise).

You need to plan that a bit like a wrestling match: it needs to be cinematic, public can interact, character not participating as well. You will also need to plan a few key actions and strategy from the opposite team (how they cheat, what powers they might have at their disposal). It can be challenging as Ars does not lent itself easily to quick actions when spellcasting is involved (lots of dice rollings, if somebody is doing so spontaneous spell casting, it can lead to argument on the spell conception), so be ready to handwave or supsend so rules (saying that the faerie aura and the story line is affecting actions in a certain ways) and push people to act fast. It is not a chess game, it is fast-paced !

Third, during breaks, each team at to entertain the crowd and the court.
It can be short story-telling (with various display of magic), dance, acrobatics, or even delicious meal. The point is that the team needs to be able to perform despite injuries, people taken out or fatigue. Of course, some PCs or NPCs team members do not need to participate to every period of the game as long as they participate to at least one. So it give them time to prepare the next show or fix broken bones :slight_smile:.
This gives opportunity to gain favour (possibly some subtle help for the next period) or increase their popularity.

Obviously, there is the grand finale after the third game session, with both team being adequatly banged up, maimed and out of virtus/fatigue level to spont the smallest effect.

For creativity the obvious solution to me would be to set them up with an impossible challenge but with a faerie ally who is not able to do enough to overcome the challenge, but has amassed a lot of vitality and is willing to open themselves up to artistic development...