Fae

Phys rep requirements: Glamour (face paint or mask). Must be clearly non-human. Must not resemble any other species. Also avoid common stereotypes like elementals and undead. Beastial appearances are acceptable. Glamour may change slightly, but change must be subtle and cannot be used as a disguise.
Role in the Empire: Entertainers and artists.
Maximum age: Unknown
Adult age: 20
How common they are: Uncommon

History in the Eternal Empire:

The Fae had their place in this Empire of plenty; they were the entertainers, the artists, the court magicians performing tricks for the amusement of the Elven archmages. Some were beautiful and used more as ornaments, some were skilled at singing or dancing or painting, but none were permitted to learn practical skills. Their arts were held in great esteem and they seem drawn to seek admiration, so this situation seemed to work for them…until the High Elves mysteriously disappeared. Any Fae present at this time either did not survive the experience or became strangely unwilling to talk about it.

After the Fall:

Many Fae did not survive the Fall; an entire species who was not allowed to learn how to fend for themselves were never going to fare well when their masters disappeared suddenly one day. Those who didn’t starve to death found ways to adapt; they begged, stole or desperately sought new patrons, though there were few who would take them in during the anarchy after the Fall, when everyone was fighting to survive themselves. Wandering the wider world is a huge change from their lives in the palaces and homes of the High Elves, but the Fae are nothing if not good at adapting to the circumstances. The Fae will always be entertainers at heart, though some are now wandering bards and others have become rogues, learning the skills to acquire what they need and to defend themselves, taking opportunities as they see them and getting kicked out of towns and pubs across the lands. In more recent times, some warlords, particularly the Human ones, have begun keeping Fae bards to recount tales of their victories and entertain the court.

Psychology & outlook:

The Fae seem light-hearted and playful, born storytellers – but cross one and you’ll soon feel their wrath. Maybe not directly, as they are clever enough not to pick a fight they cannot win, but they are masters of trickery and subtle revenge. They are selfish, cruel and are without either empathy or mercy – for who has ever shown them kindness? They are the outcasts of society and were the playthings of the High Elves before that. They are morally ambivalent and some of them are not above stealing for a living, though others have worked their way into trading legally; their ability to strike deals and bargains have led to some of the other species wondering if honest thievery is perhaps better.

They were traditionally well-versed in etiquette and courtly manners; most of them have worked hard to keep these traditions alive, mostly in an attempt to appear classy and educated and so they can look down their noses at the other species who never bothered learning such things, but perhaps also from a fear that ignoring them might make something really bad happen. They appear polite right up until the point they perceive even the slightest insult; then they become even more icily polite, which is when you know you’re in trouble.

They are drawn to seek company, to entertain, to learn new stories and share news and gossip; they feed on stories, knowledge, superstitions. They don’t seem to have any folklore of their own, at least not that they share; perhaps they are too busy weaving tales and spreading stories to remember history. They are a species that believes themselves immortal, that any Fae who falls will be reborn in the Spring; history does not seem to hold much interest for them. They enjoy playing with words, with dual meanings and hidden depths; they dislike giving straight answers. They are true to their word, but they word any agreements they make extremely carefully; they are bound by the letter and not the spirit of such contracts. The Fae do not lie; it is unclear if it is because Fae cannot lie or that any Fae who has to resort to an outright lie would not be considered a proper Fae, as clearly they’re not using their words correctly. It is also a good idea to check if any gift from them is freely given before accepting it.

A Fae’s appearance is very much linked to their nature, and their skills or alignment will often show in their glamour. They believe it is important to always look elegant; their clothing is generally bright and a mix of various styles from whatever they’ve found, been presented with or have the wealth to buy (this includes what armour they are wearing). This has the added benefit of attracting patronage and admiration. However, if they are travelling alone or plan to steal something, they dress to blend in; they are surprisingly good at disguises and stealth. They are wanderers, nomads, finding a home where they can. They have lost both their original heritage as well as their old settled place in society, though as they are a species that loves to explore and discover new experiences, this does not seem to bother them as much as would be expected from any other species. They tend to be found resting for the night in camps, living in buildings abandoned by others or in the houses of a patron that they’ve found. They eat whatever they can find, but if given a choice they will suddenly become the pickiest of eaters; they love delicacies and can be bribed with good food. They commonly use knives or short swords as they can be hidden, but will use other weapons too, depending on what they can acquire and what they’ve managed to get training in; their natural grace means that the rare ones who do become fighters can weave dances of death with their blades.

The Fae rarely define anything as impossible, as with enough imagination and willpower there are few things that can’t be done; however, they have decided that teaching art to an Orc is just one of those things. They’ve even made it into a proverb: “like teaching art to an Orc”.

Stereotypes (and what isn’t):

There are those who strongly believe that the Fae are useless; many Dwarves and Humans looked down their noses at them, but this perception is slowly changing as they watch the Fae fight to survive and see their worth. Some believe that all the Fae do is sit around, talk and tell stories; they don’t appreciate how hard it is to get by in a world where most things are taken by force – using persuasion and subtle works just isn’t noticed (not that the Fae want them to notice everything they do).

There are stories and rumours that beautiful Fae have been enticing Humans out to deserted places and making them disappear; this may or may not be true, but the missing Humans are usually found afterwards. Their purses may not be.

Another stereotype is that Fae have strange beliefs they are bound by, that to break one is bad luck and viewed as taboo; this is true, though the beliefs that they are bound by can be quite individualistic. It is thought that these taboos helped the Fae to survive during the early years, for example, stopping them from eating pretty but poisonous flowers. This may or may not be true. Most Fae do tend to have true names, which they share with very few people, as they believe that names have power. As beings that believe themselves eternal, most of them either ignore or scoff at the idea of gods and ancestors; however, Fae being Fae, there are also those who follow their own unique beliefs and who fear, for example, a wrathful god who would smite them should they ever trample on a yellow 5-leafed flower.

It is worth noting that Fae judge by appearances and many of them tend to have a short subconscious mental checklist they run through whenever meeting someone: 1 Are they telling an interesting story? 2 Do they look like someone who patronises the arts? Is it likely they will hire me? 3 Do they appear to have any item on them that looks both valuable and easy enough to sell on the black market? 4 Are they threatening me with violence? If the answers to all the above are no, then the person they are talking to gets immediately disregarded from the Fae’s personal world; this can be recognised by those who have studied the Fae as a slight distance appearing in the Fae’s eyes as boredom sets in, with the Fae suddenly ignoring the person’s existence and seeming only by magic and grace to avoid walking through them.

Attitude to other species:

Wood Elves

“They’re Elves, so we do not trust them. They left the Empire and split from their kin, but even we, who were present at their courts and who over-heard much, are not quite sure why. They don’t seem very interested in hiring us and it’s difficult to find them. But if they gave us money or food, we would definitely be interested in entertaining them. Elves always were a good audience…”

Humans

“There are a lot of them. They were menials, servants, labourers, traders, well-trained in their role. Then after the Fall, they showed their teeth, with their so-called Empress claiming territory; the Dwarves put a stop to that. Now they have started to become our new patrons… how times have changed.”

Orcs

“They live such a short time. We don’t know much about them as they lived on the edges of society and were never accepted into the Empire. They’re really good at fighting though and have claimed a lot of territory. We’ll have to learn how to live with them. They’re a bit scary though and if we do make friends with them, they will die on us soon, so we’ll have to keep making friends with them. That seems like a lot of effort.”

Goblins

“Don’t trust them. They spied on other species for the Elves. They are treacherous and thieving, though they usually know we don’t have much to steal from. Also, if stuff is ever noticed missing from a place you’ve just cleared out, blame it on the Goblins and you’ll probably be fine.”

Dwarves

“You need a considerable amount of patience when communicating an idea to a Dwarf; it takes much effort and various re-phrasings to get anything through their thick skulls. They even believe we use our own language, which some of them refer to as “allegory and metaphor”, though they say the syllables slowly and carefully as if they are unfamiliar with these words. They make very pretty jewellery, weapons and armour though, the very best craftsmanship. They do love their traditions and seem to have little sense of humour; they are a very serious and solemn species.”