Fey Feature 09/05/2003

Fey Feuds

Feuds and their outcomes constitute serious matters among the fey. To be on the losing side of a feud is to watch all of your allies, one by one, desert your family. To be uninvited to celebrations and court events. To lose your status with the queen, to hear the room grow quiet as you walk in, to know that other fey talk about you in hushed tones. To the proud fey houses, this is a fate worse than death.

Children in ExileIn the Unseelie Court, feuds can indeed be a matter of life or death. When the insult is felt deeply, a fey family may retaliate with an untraceable poison, sudden attacks by marauders from another dimension, unexplained magical mishaps and other demises that can never quite be traced. In instances where a feud could endanger the life of a newborn, a fey mother may take her child to another realm for safety, leaving the child with a mortal family. In other severe cases, younger family members may be sent off to adventure for several centuries in other realms or dimensions in hopes that distance will enable the young folk to escape use as pawns, or that the feud may resolve during the youths' absence. At best, the exile returns powerful with skills, wealth, magic, and allies to add to their family's forces.

Feuds stem from a variety of causes, some seemingly inconsequential and others much more serious in nature. Forgetting to invite a fey to a christening, toying with the affections of a favorite cousin, or giving a thoughtless gift can often start a feud. The small feuds caused by these slights can last several hundred years, but they tend to be more of an amusement, containing no true hostility. Serious feuds are caused by deliberate attempts to discredit kelirs, such as stealing important magic items, sabotaging a visit by the Royal Court or injuring a member of the family. A member of one clan killing a member of another clan frequently starts a vendetta.

Feuds can last hundreds and even thousands of years. If the feud is mainly motivated by individuals, a matriarch may try to arrange peace by gifting the opposing matriarch with a special artifact or a choice piece of land. But if the whole house is involved, one of the houses may have to be destroyed before it ends. At other times, drastic circumstances may bring ends to feuds, such as a member of one house saving the life of a member of another house. In rare instances, a queen's edict will end a feud (or at least the outward manifestations of one, with heavy punishments for anyone found continuing it).

While the queen enjoys the intrigue of feuds, on rare occasions she may step in to end them if the families are both valued members of her court, or if her consort belongs to one of the houses. Arranging to become the queen's consort is a powerful but potentially risky move. While she can be exceedingly generous to her lovers, she will react violently if she believes she is being manipulated.

An Intriguing Situation (Part 2)

"You were kind to ask me to go riding with you." Sor'k slowed his winged charger to a walk. "But would you mind telling me what this is really aboou-- Owww!"

Sor'k hit the ground with a thump, then looked up to see M'hele glowering over her horse at him.

"Brina," she fumed. "If the matriarch even gets a hint of this affair, you will have to go to another realm for at least 500 years. How could you be so stupid?"

"It's not what you think." Sor'k stayed on the ground, figuring it was probably best to be out of arm's reach. "Brina approached me to try and end the feud. And, well, one thing led to another."

"You're wrong -- it's not what you think. It's much worse. Brina is setting you up as the thief who stole the queen's necklace."

"Stole the queen's necklace? What are you talking about?" Sor'k looked at his cousin. "You're serious, aren't you?"

"Think." M'hele looked scornfully at Sor'k. "Look with your eyes and brains, not with your heart and . . . ahem. Everyone knows how jealous Brina is of her sister, the heir. Brina wanted to find a way to become heir instead. And you provided her with the perfect opportunity."

"You're right. How could I not see this myself?" groaned Sor'k. He looked at M'hele and saw how calm and confident she seemed. "I bet you have a way to turn this around."

M'hele smiled sweetly. "Certainly. What is family for? Of course, you'll be in my debt. And I will expect to be repaid. Now, you're going to be the bait. . . ."


The Seelie and Unseelie courts form the nexus of fey society. To succeed in such a competitive political and social environment, a character needs persuasive skills and the ability to find out information. No one succeeds alone. A cadre of devoted followers provide essential contacts and support. A character with these assets who wishes to further his or her court career often pursues the path of the courtier prestige class.

Members of almost any class can meet the requirements. However, few pure clerics, sorcerers, or wizards will choose to sacrifice their magic studies to gain status at court. Sometimes a bard pursues advancement as a courtier. Rogues with a focus on social skills most easily transition to the prestige class.

NPC courtiers are more common than player character ones. They populate the fey courts, vying with each other for prestige, prominence, and the queens' favor.

Hit Die: d6


To qualify to become a courtier, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Skills: Diplomacy, 8 ranks; Gather Information, 4 ranks.

Feats: Leadership, plus any one of the following: Seelie Court Member, Unseelie Court Member, Seelie Court Noble, Unseelie Court Noble.

Class Skills

The courtier's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (any) (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spot (Wis).

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Level Base
Special Spells Per Day/
Spells Known
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Bonus Feat +1 level of existing class
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Enhanced Leadership -
3rd +2 +1 +1 +3 Court connections -
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Bonus Feat +1 level of existing class

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the courtier prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The courtier gains no new weapon, armor or shield proficiencies.

Spells per Day/Spells Known: At 1st and 4th level, the courtier gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which she belonged before adding the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved undead turning, metamagic or item creation feats, or the like). If the character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a courtier, the player much decide to which class to add each courtier level for determining spells per day, spells known, and overall caster level.

Bonus Feat: At 1st level and at 4th level, a courtier may select Investigator, Leadership, Negotiator, Persuasive, Skill Focus (any class skill) as a bonus feat. The courtier needs to meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat.

Enhanced Leadership (Ex): The courtier receives a +2 bonus to her Leadership score.

Court Connections (Ex): At 3rd level, the courtier gains a +4 bonus on Gather Information and Knowledge (nobility and royalty) checks pertaining to fey.

About the Authors

Gwendolyn F. M. Kestrelis an editor for Wizards of the Coast's Roleplaying Games R&D department. Recent credits include editingFaiths and Pantheons,Oriental Adventures, andMagic of Faerûn, and designing part of theBook of Challenges. She's a frequent contributor to the Wizards of the Coast website. Also, check out the website she created for her fiancé, Andy Collins, at www.andycollins.net.

Faith M. Price accidentally fell into the adventure game industry nine years ago. Since then she has worked for two game manufacturers, and has written for numerous magazines. She currently lives in Washington with two RPG designers and two cats, all of whom require regular feeding and attention.

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