Friday, May 22, 2015


Call me a purist, but a lot of fictional fey* don't work for me, particularly if they stray too far from the templates established by Northern Europe and the Slavic countries.†  If you’re going to make a fey up, it at least needs to be something thorny or moth-wingy or goat-footy.  This would explain, for instance, why I was down with shimmerling swarms, splinterwaifs, and thorns from 3.5 (from Monster Manual III, if you’re curious), but never warmed up to the orca-like ocean strider (MM II).

That’s one of the reasons why I love James Sutter’s mockingfey—because it breaks down some of my parochial and pedantic crankiness.  The mockingfey is clearly not from some fantasy Ireland—it’s got a parrot body! lives in the tropics!—yet it works because it still has that fey feel as a pointy-eared prankster.  (The wickeder larabay from Isles of the Shackles also pulls this off.  Maybe I just have a thing for pointy ears.‡)  The ability to turn into a miniature, gibberish-spouting, pantomime double of whatever creature it is currently mocking?  Totally fey and totally awesome—and straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon (in a good way).

PCs are used to pirates and cultists and plant monsters and whatnot when they go ashore, but fey aren’t usually high on the “Watch Out For” list…until now.  Then again, there are whole parks in the greater London area taken over by the descendants of escaped parakeets…so why not sic mockingfey on PCs in your urban campaigns, too?

A mockingfey lass approaches an adventurer, take her form, and begin urging her to come help in what looks like some epic struggle.  Eventually, her pantomime improves enough to reveal that her friend or pet or some loved one is caught in a bear trap.  If the party agrees to help, they discover the “friend” is really an owlbear—a wounded and highly enraged owlbear.

Adventurers come across an island in the Plane of Shadow, one of the kind known as a “gleam,” where a badly sealed rift to the Material Plane lightens the umbral atmosphere.  A jape of mockingfey dwell there, having been drawn in ages ago when their curiosity about the rift got the better of them.  The mockingfey are mostly content to mock the party, but if any of the adventurers agree to escort the fey back to the Material Plane or the Fey Forest, the jealous mockingfey patriarch will do his best to make their lives miserable until they leave his domain.

Caught in a wave of religious extremism, the empire has outlawed the depiction of human figures in art—pictures of the royal family in particular.  This extends to any kind of stage acting or pantomime as well.  So when adventurers are invited to meet the tsarina and their mockingfey familiar decides to take on her majesty’s form, it goes poorly for them…

Inner Sea Bestiary 31

*By “fictional” I mean straight-up made-up fey, rather than fey from actual folklore.

†That said, I’m still intrigued by the decision to make certain creatures not fey—kami and manitous especially.  Kami I get—they have their own origin story and deserve their own subtype, plus that would also make oni fey, which feels wrong.  But the nature-defending manitous are still a bit of a surprise as native outsiders rather than fey—a point I’ll have to explore more when I catch up on the belated “Manitou” entry.


1 comment:

  1. Bestiary 5 and Occult Bestiary confirmed. As a big fan of this blog I was getting worried what I would have to look forward to every week night. Now I don't have to worry!