Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blighted Fey

If you’re not already using blighted fey, your campaign’s bad and you should feel bad.

Let me go back.  You’ve probably noticed I love fey.  And I love corrupted fey and similar monsters even more, from the various cold fey from Reign of Winter to the unseelie fey in The Dragon Compendium to the Talontar blightlord and blightspawned from 3.5’s Unapproachable East. 

Jim Groves’s blighted fey from the Inner Sea Bestiary may be the best yet.  Infected by the parasitic fungus tendrils of a demon lord, these evil fey gain an array of nasty powers, from boosted ability scores and spell resistance to fast healing and tainted flesh.  They also partake of a hive mind if they are within 100 feet of their fellows, and they can hurl thorn needles that burrow into flesh and force the target to share the blighted fey’s damage through a parasitic bond.  Dryads get an even more extreme makeover.  United by their shared infection, dryads can move freely about the forest, treating any blighted tree as their own.

This turns some of the weakest or most limited monsters in the Bestiaries into a veritable army.  Suddenly a zombie plague looks like a lark compared to a horde of tree-striding dryads.  The next time something is rotten in your Denmark, let it be the very trees and tree spirits themselves…

Blighted fey satyrs lurk in the shadows of the Griffonwood.  Originally the infection was a duly handed down sentence for the rape of a nymph, but the creatures escaped their foul prison in the fey realms and now spread their malady in this world.  The key to stopping them may lie with the Griffonwood’s grigs, who (at only 1 Hit Die) seem strangely resistant to the fungal curse.

Dryad queen Mestina begs adventurers for aid.  Her court is falling to some horrible fungal plague, and the traitors move with a purpose and coordination that implies a shared consciousness.  The queen is under no illusions: the blighted fey could have infected her by now.  She is being kept whole and unblemished for a reason

The swan maidens of Castle Aves recently found a meteorite resembling a giant egg covered in strange plant growth.  Now young moonflowers and other strange plants circle the castle, and the swan maidens have traded their feathered cloaks for vines.  They seem intent on harvesting the meteorite’s many secrets, which may or may not involve a naga cult, a xenopterid, or another world entirely.

Inner Sea Bestiary 6–7

On Thursday Knox Overstreet (Josh Charles) popped by my office and said hello.  (His dad is my boss, so this happens sometimes.)  Saturday found me at Otakon sitting in a ballroom as Rufio (Dante Basco) told stories. So it was already a very Robin Williams-y week. But this wasn't how I wanted it to end.

I was in—what, sixth grade? eighth?—when I saw Dead Poets Society. For a long time it was taken for granted that I would be an English teacher.  For a short time I was an English teacher. One day I might be one again.  Mr. Keating will still be my guiding star.  “O Captain! My Captain!”

(Speaking of Josh, his tweet today just crushed me.  And now the news of Bacall.  Sigh.  Another day I’ll write about the biweekly film noir parties I used to hold.)

In other name-dropping news, remember my friend Bay who ditched the bachelor party we were attending last week to hit the strip club two more times?  Well this week he pissed off Pussy Riot.  Whoops.

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