Question about RoP: Faeries

I see that RoP: Faeries is available as a pdf. I don't want to start a fight, but I have a question. I personally don't like the way 5th ed has reimagined the Faerie realm. (It's just a matter of taste. I don't want to start another debate on the issue.) However, I love running stories about the Fair Folk, albeit in the old vision of them as the Irish sidhe, the Welsh people of the Otherworld, etc.

I'm wondering if there is content in RoP: Faeries which I would want and use while disregarding the whole "stories" model? I'm particularly curious about things like the "Faerie Doctor" and "Charms" and "Faerie Wizardry" which I see in the table of contents.

I guess what I'm really asking is: could someone tell me more about Chapters 5 and 6 of RoP: Faeries? I've read a lot here on the forums about people loving/hating the general conception of 5th ed faeries, but I haven't managed to catch much of anything about those two chapters.

The thing with the way ROP:Faeries works is that you don't need to bring the nature of Faeries into your stories. They are what they are and they do what they do. If you want your opposing courts of day and night, light and dark, summer and winter, you go right ahead. What's in the book does not prevent that at all.

And if you want to go to faerie, you'll have a ton of material to help build stories around that event, but that's all optional. At the end of the day, if your version of faerie is served by cranking the aura up to ten, then stop there. If you want something more structured then pick and choose from the book.

Even the stat blocks, built around pretenses and the Qualities model, don't force you to use them in any particular ways.

I do think there's some really useful stuff in there that doesn't rely on faeries thriving off vitality. The faerie hedge traditions are pretty nice and the modifications to auras and vis are always going to be useful to add flavour.

I'm a big fan of the thinking behind the 5th edition take on faeries and I think it's a very clever differentiator from the Magic Realm. That said, I don't think there's anything in the book that prevents you from picking and choosing the useful bits. If nothing else, the way the collection of faerie stats is broken down certainly gives food for thought.


Yes. There are plenty of faerie NPCs/characters in there that you can use.

You can cheerfully disregard all the cosmological detail about what faeries really are, and why they are doing what they are doing, and what the faerie realm is. A lot of it makes no difference in play anyway, and a lot of it is stuff that neither the faeries nor the player characters are aware of. Most individual faeries do just act like faeries from older editions.

For my money, the trickiest bit to actually implement in play are long-term events that involve PC faeries. If you are intending to have PC faeries, that is an area you might want to think hard about what you are going to do. It's not a problem if you are only going to have NPC faeries.

That's true, I don't understand why so many people focused on this part of the book.

Although if you want to play it the Irish/Welsh way you'll have to design many things as the "faerie court" part (some story seeds and faeries in the bestiary) is quite small, but tasty enough.

THis is the reason we dropped the difference between the fae and magical realms. They are just supernatural beings. Some people call a nimpha a magical creature, while the peasant in the next hut calls it a faerie. No real difference. The distinction is just a scholarship one, whit the poor Merinitae trying to appear as if they are important and know something special. Tsk :unamused:


I have done the same thing in my sagas. In general, I've adopted the rules for Magic Humans for RoP: Magic for my "faeries" and been quite content (the "Forgotten Goddess" in my Question of Inheritance thread would probably be called a faerie in an earlier saga). Still, I look at the RoP: Faeries cover, remember my old 2nd ed Faeries book and start wondering if I'm missing anything good.

Well, it is a really big deal... It's a fundamental change in a concept that has a lot of resonance for some people. The idea of the Fair Folk holds a lot of power in the imaginations of some people, myself included, and re-defining them in this way (or other ways) will always be unpopular for those of us who have our own deeply held ideas about what they should be.

I think of the split between Magic and Faerie as the difference between the rational and the storybook versions of the supernatural, sort of like what we were talking about earlier on the other thread. For Hermetics, Magic is usually regulated by celestial events and geometric figures. Faerie magic follows storybook rules, like the durations for the Faerie Magic virtue in the corebook. Hermetics have trouble understanding storybook magic, which explains why Faerie auras cause them to botch. Magic creatures have roles in the ecology; Faerie creatures have roles in story.

Since you're interested in the storybook side of magic I think you would find RoP:F interesting. I say this despite sharing your rejection of the "vitality leeches" concept presented therein. The book has good discussions of using Faeries as a story role and has a nice bestiary that goes beyond (rejects completely actually) the Celticisms of the earlier editions, which is a plus for anyone who is playing outside of "Merrie Olde England". On the downside, there's the "vitality" bit and an overly mechanical system for creating your own Faeries, but these are easily ignored.

I'm one of the folks that dislikes the new "amorphous story cartoon" approach of the faeries. At the same time, I think there is room for both imaginings in a setting. I do like the different and very fitting powers and abilities, virtues and flaws, in RoP:Faerie. You could use the RoP: Magic rules without missing too much but your entities would all start to run together. The Faerie rules definitely make it more "fey" in feel. The issue with playing a faerie and having to use the cognizance rules, the advancement and so on is pretty irritating. I have a hard time wrapping my head around incorporating one of the new fae into a story as anything but a cartoon character. That being said, I've been tinkering with Faerie (in fact, just tonight) and came up with some very neat ideas/mechanics for them.

I do think that the Qualities/Inferiorities of Magic could have been ported over and am considering doing just that.

In sum, the mechanics are worth it if you have the cash. The bestiary section is incredible and the faerie virtues/flaws/powers section is very useful. I will likely end up with some strange hybrid of Magic/Faerie to build my Courts. I'm not a fan of the new vision but I do like the mechanics, the wards and taboos. So, for your interesting storytale faeries, I plan on using most of RoP: Faerie. But when I get to the more powerful Courts and Noble fae (fully cognizant), I'll like sweep in some things from Magic. As noted above however, I can't see many ways that playing a Faerie character in a typical Saga would be much fun under the new rules. Too many restrictions and caveats. Of course, that could just be my mental block on the material... after all, I read it again over the past two days and found more to like about it. Here's hoping it continues to grow on me.

(One thing I noticed tonight though... there are far more powerful faeries listed in this book than there are Magical creatures in the other. Average Might in the Bestiary is around 30ish!)

The cognizance concept and everything else associated with vitality feels wrong. It feels meta, postmodern, and not in the least medieval. A better approach is to stress that the Storyguide is telling stories about Faeries and that these stories should follow the patterns of classic "Fairy Tales". Having the faerie tell the story itself is too much. That said, RoP:F provides good support for either approach.

AM5 could certainly stand to put more effort into reusing rules instead of bloating the system so much.

I also find it key to blur the border between Magic and Faerie and to expand the borders of Magic beyond what's presented in canon. If Faerie is all about meta storytelling vitality suckers and Magic is all about eternal changeless beings, then there's no room for most of the legend and fantasy that inspire me. There are certainly Faeries in the RoP:F that I would move into Magic if I were to use them. I also put most of the Pagan gods in Magic. Classical Myth differs greatly from a Fairy Tale.

RoP:M creatures are underpowered for a saga using RAW. The concept of a 1-100 scale of Might from magic newts up to Mother Gaia herself is elegant but doesn't match the reality that Hermetic Magi can easily affect entities in the middle of that range.

Well, I picked it up. I'm still digging through it, trying to find the bits I want to use. Thanks all for the insights.

Just as an aside, the Faeries concept is actually quite terrifying once you think of faeries as discarnate entities that are shaped by human imaginings, but that stand independent of them. I'd recommend Hilary Evan's books Visions, Apparitions, Alien Visitors. Wellingborough, Northampton, England: Aquarian Press, 1984. and Gods, Spirits, Cosmic Guardians. Wellingborough, Northampton: Aquarian Press, 1987 for a first rate parapsychological exploration of the theme, and especially this book ... 590&sr=1-1 Daimonic Reality by Patrrick Harpur. The latter in particular is quite frightening as non-fiction exploration of how the subconscious can create or provide form to utterly bizarre manifestations, and VERY close to ROP: Faeries. It's just Harpur and Evans postulate something like this could be happening in our world, not Mythic Europe.

I struggled with Faeries in the 5th ed version, being very attached to John Snead's vision of them in earlier editions, until I suddenly realized they were like the High Strangeness (in the technical sense) UFO and poltergeist cases I am called upon to investigate from time to time. Think of faeries like this, as a terrifying irruption of something quite alien cloaked in local legends and stories, and playing out manipulative psychological games aimed at getting people to do things. They attempt to force humans in to transformations and roles far outside their comfort zones for no purpose discernible to the victim, as part of the faeries larger story/game, but with bizarre and to us pointless motives --- and they "feed" off it.

Then suddenly the whole book becomes beautifully clear -- it is a deeply sinister take on the whole faerie theme, much much darker. Of course faeries can appear lovely -- but the new take on the game reality underlying them is really as frightening amoral and eerie as anything I have read in the line, or any game book.

Or to put it another way, take UFO stories, especially the weird and abduction ones, Sasquatch sightings, frog falls, weird coincidences, alien contactee accounts, lake monsters, and any other odd Fortean occurrence, and imagine how it could be framed as part of a story set in the Middle Ages, and imagine something is playing the role for its own purpose that has no compassion, no human point of contact, and no real meaning that we can understand. It just wants ot get you involved, play you, make you do things you would not normally do, and force you in to its agenda. Then I think you see faeries as the authors envisaged them. I'm not saying it would make for fun rpg all the time - but the faerie can be vanquished, and lose interest in you, or so you can hope. House Merinita become either naive, or terrifying as well...

cj x

I agree with this and felt partially the same when I first thoroughly digested RoP:F. There's something very appealing about the creepiness of the whole concept. But it would make for a very different game from the Ars Magica that we're familiar with, so I disagree with making it part of core canon. It would make for a great horror game but it matches neither a medieval worldview as understood by scholars nor the popular view of the middle ages. Since these are the main foundations for the setting, RoP:F jars pretty hard.

(sorry mostly offtopic)

I always liked the concepts of false and true emperiums (spelling?) where their exists a one and True realm, from which all else is reflected and derived. Kind of like a realm of forms for different realities as well as objects. The "holy" powers are a diverse set of reflection of that Truth, as are fay, magic, infernal, etc. The base realm (our world) is also a reflection, but a very domestic and messy reflection; more akin to multiple fractured shadows. For some reason this is also why I can accept the concept of regios easily into the setting; they are areas touched greatly by the different flavoured Truth.

Indeed the realms of power in the rules are shadows of the Truth, much like watching the wall in plato's cave []. Some versions of this cave theory have the Divine as the truth, but IMS the divine extends beyond the strict Christian faith to also include other religions that can express faith points, so implying that each faith (and each different heaven and hell) is a reflection of the truth.

Fay to me are a very similar shadow to Magic (allowing that you think the metaphor can stretch to say that different shadows can look/behave similar); as each of the religions are similar to each other. Infernal is also a reflection; although I'd maintain some sort of diametric opposition to heaven too. The degree of how alien/strange a fay might be, is just a reflection of how different its shadow is from your own.