Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spellbreaker Notes

Given that I'm planning to reformat my hard drive in the next few days, and given that I don't have an external hard drive to transfer most of my stuff too, I figure now is as good a time as any to share some of the notes I've written up for a setting that I've been writing up called 'Spellbreaker': an alternate history set during the wild west, but a wild west where both magic and mythical creatures exist.

The notes I'm posting here are on one of those groups of mythical creatures: the Fae. Faeries show up in a lot of RPGs, of course, and they show up in a lot of fantasy fiction. While I'm not as knowledgeable as I'd like to be on the subject, I tried my best to put my own personal spin on them:

The Fae Courts

Tales told about the Fae, or the 'Fair Folk' as they are sometimes called, are often rife with dualities. Angelic or nightmarish beings of terrible beauty, inhuman gods of day and night, bringers of good luck or terrible misfortune, forces of right or (more often) wrong, and so on. In the Old World, many believe that all life behaves in this manner, as a series of oppositional forces that, by working against one another, inadvertantly work together to make all of life. And so, the creatures of the Fae Realm also embody this duality.

Not all creatures of the Fae belong to the Courts, however. There are many 'commoners' of the Fae Realm who simply perform their duties without having any impact upon the unceasing war between the Night and the Day. These fae are considered too low to be of any consequence and so are left to their own devices. Only the Fae Nobles belong to either of the Courts, though even these high 'born' beings are not bound eternally to a single Court, their allegiances lasting only as long as their notoriously capricious natures find it amusing to do so. One of the Fae might belong to the Day Court for a thousand years and a day, only to pledge themselves to the Night the next on a whim.

As one might guess, the two Courts are always in opposition of one another. Of course, there is always a balance of power in place: during the day, the Day Court's power is at its strongest. And when the sun goes down and darkness reigns, so too does the Night Court's power grow. When the sun is down, the Day Court must abide by the Laws of Night, and so too must the Night Court abide by the Laws of Day when the sun is in the sky.

The two Courts constantly oppose one another, working to thwart one another's schemes, struggling against each other in a constant back and forth battle for resources, advantages, allies and territory. This is an endless war, and the Fae are aware of that fact, but it does nothing to slow the constant tug of war between the Night and Day. Though from time to time a particularly powerful Fae comes along who seeks to change this, trying to destroy or at least permanently weaken the other Court, but even this, the Fae say, is just another part of the balance.

The Day Court
(Court of the Sun, Court of Light, the Seelie Court)

All of the Fae are truly inscrutable creatures who are driven by thoughts and goals that mere mortals are not truly capable of understanding. Despite this fact, such short lived beings still desire to categorize such beings. Those who have a limited knowledge of the Fae merely assume that of the two Courts, the Day Court is 'good' and the Night Court is 'evil'. What they fail to realize, however, is that the Sun, burning bright in the desert sky, does not discriminate against those that it kills with its heat.

Beings of 'righteousness', the Sun Courtiers act with quick and unceasing wrath, wreaking unforgettable harm upon their enemies: the servants of the Night Court. Unfortunately for these servants, most of them are rarely ever aware of their apparent allegiances to the Court of the Moon. Those who embody aspects of the Night Court, who share some behaviour, no matter how minor, with the Day's foes are treated as servants of that foe.

The Night Court
(Court of the Moon, Court of Darkness, the Unseelie Court)

Though the two courts battle one another, it is a surprising fact that the Night Court is far less concerned with the Day Court than the Day Court is with the Night Court. The dark and monstrous Fae of the Night Court care only for doing whatever they desire, with utter abandon. The Courtiers of Night have no boundaries, and act in whatever manner pleases them. They roam the land, preying upon the innocent, stealing babes from their cribs, stalking lone travelers, haunting their dreams until they can no longer sleep, for fear of the nightmares they will have. Those of the Court of Darkness are constantly in pursuit of fulfilling their urges; the more grotesque and horrifying those urges, the better.

The Fae of the Day Court are beautiful creatures, sometimes terrifyingly so, but always resplendent and always courteous. The Fae of the Night Court are monsters, and they relish in that fact. Though it would be foolish to consider the Day Court 'good' it would not be too far a stretch to look upon those creatures of the Night Court as 'evil'. At night, they own the surface, and during the day, they dwell beneath the earth. But even when they retreat from the sun, they still influence the world above, leaving behind their allies and their servants: criminals and monsters of the human variety who pursue the Night Court's interests.