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The Lost's Guide to Surviving the Feywild

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This document has been contributed by: Sha'Ren the Lost

Purpose

The purpose of this book was to help guide people in their actions, interactions, and travel when in the Feywild. It was originally intended for people who entered the realm on accident, but could also be applicable to people who are purposefully travelling there.

Document Structure

Publication Status

The book was self-published by Sha'Ren, as no publishers saw the need for this book, nor was it marketable. Instead, the book was hand-bound and written, though it has since been converted into a cleaner format to make it more readable.

Historical Details

Background

This article was created by Sha'Ren the Lost while he was still a vessel of Yxjun within his original deal. After joining up with an adventuring party, he found them to know little to nothing about the Feywild, which became a problem when the group had to travel there. After they were able to finally make their way out of the Feywild, Sha'Ren began working on a new book, meant to guide those who get lost within the realm of the fey.

History

There are 20 copies of this book in existence, 8 of which are held within the Library. The first edition of the book, complete with annotations, has been generously donated but is not on the regular shelves - visitors can check out the annotated version by request. Instead, Saibra has added a few footnotes of her own.

Public Reaction

This book has been relatively ignored by most. While there are a few copies held in the Library of Dulūn, there are only a handful scattered elsewhere, across the material plane. The book is unpopular in the Feywild for obvious reasons, as they fey there don't like outsiders easily being able to learn their customs.
This book was originally written while I was still a vessel of Yxjun. I am now an archfey, and can provide some better advice: If you want to leave the Feywild, find Me. I will make you a fair deal - you will have to kill a few monsters, keep the world safe. A much better deal than any of the rest of them, and you're helping a good cause in the process-
Will you lay off on the monster hunting? There are so many more productive things you could be doing if you would just focus on the job-
You can't tell me what to do.
— A conversation between Sha'Ren, Yxjun, and a librarian caught in the crossfire, regarding the former's book.
Type
Guide, Survival
Medium
Paper
Authoring Date
1987 A.G.W.
Location

Content

Preface

This book in no way encourages that you enter the feywild. If you by any chance do enter the Feywild, this book exists to help you navigate and make your way out. If you are reading this book with the intention of entering the Feywild, I highly recommend that you reconsider your choices. This book is incredibly important, if not vital, to any person who wants to survive, let alone leave, the Feywild. In this book, I will detail instructions for dealing with geography, social interactions with both Seelie and Unseelie, and of course, interactions with the archfey.

Chapter 1: Geography of the Feywild

The Feywild is split into two fragments: the Seelie Realm and the Unseelie Realm. Knowing which of these realms that you are in is highly important for any sort of survival, and I can't stress this enough. How you will want to act and react will change a lot depending on which of the realms of the Feywild you are in, so this is crucial.
There is a lot of literature covering the politics of these two realms, and frankly I don't have time to get too in depth here, but the gist of it is this: the Seelie are more "lawful", constrained by their own code of ethics outside of the actual laws of the Feywild. These laws are known as the Rules of Hospitality, and all Seelie must abide by them or risk being cast out of the Feywild and being seen as a social disgrace - the worst thing for a Seelie to be. The Unseelie, on the other hand, do not need to follow these rules, however. Some of them follow their own set of rules, and some of them are entirely unbound by laws whatsoever.
You will be able to tell which of the realms you are in from a few different features. In the Seelie Realm, everything is green and colourful. There is a constant smell of fresh flowers, and the wind sounds like children laughing in the distance. The Unseelie Realm, however, is in darker shades of colour, often purples and oranges, and has an ever-present humming noise that you will be able to hear if you focus.

Chapter 2: The Seelie Realm

If you are able to determine that you are in the Seelie Realm, it is important to keep in mind that the Seelie are just as much tricksters as the Unseelie are. Just because they have a reputation for being nicer and more welcoming does not mean that they actually are - it just means that they are better at pretending that they are.
The important thing to remember about the Seelie is that they are restricted by their own self-imposed rules. They cannot do anything to you unless you mess up and break one of their rules first, or unless you agree to a deal with one of them.

Chapter 3: The Unseelie Realm

If you are able to determine that you are in the Unseelie Realm, things become a bit trickier for most. The most important thing to remember while in the Unseelie Realm is that the majority of the Unseelie are self-serving. In most cases, they have to be. But you can use this to your advantage. It is very easy to manipulate an Unseelie knowing this information - if you want something from them, convince them that giving it to you would be in their best interests. Otherwise, convince them that bothering with you at all is a waste of their time.
This second approach does not always have to look pretty, of course. I've seen a man pretend to be batshit insane to get an Unseelie to avoid him. While it certianly did not help his pride, the Unseelie became disinterested after a few minutes and left him alone. Whatever you can do to get them to discredit you as useful is a step closer to surviving the Feywild.

Chapter 4: Names

While the previous two chapters have covered what to do in case you are in either of the two realms of the Feywild, there are some traditions that stretch across the border between realms. Namely (haha), the practice of collecting names.
While there are plenty of documents that will go more in-depth about the culture surrounding names in the Feywild, the bottom line is this: DO NOT, EVER, under ANY circumstances, give a Fey your name. Seelie or Unseelie, it does not matter. Even if they are trying to convince you that it is a good deal. Even if they offer you an exit from the Feywild. Even if they offer you all of the riches in the world.
But it is not just deals that they may try to make. Some fey will attempt to just steal your name. The wording to look out for here is "May I have your name" or "Could you give me your name". These phrases seem unharmful and even friendly to natives of the Material Plane, but I assure you they are anything but. Responding to either of these questions with your name is bad. Responding with your full, legal name is worse.
When a fey takes your name, they can use it to have power over you. Your name is erased from the minds of all who knew it, always at the tip of the tongue but never fully in thought. What the fey can do with your name is more concerning, however. The feywild's magic is unpredictable at best and hostile at worst to outsiders. By giving a fey your name, you tie your soul to the Feywild. Not only does this affect any abilities you may have to perform magic, this affects your afterlife as well. You will not be able to pass on to any of the other planes, and if you are lucky, you'll remain trapped in the Shadowfell until someone conjures you as a Skulk or the like and some monster hunter comes around to kill you, and here's hoping they do so properly otherwise your soul's getting trapped in that dead body for all of eternity. Worst case, your soul finds its way back into the Feywild and you are cursed to wander forever as a Wisp, guiding others to exits that you never found.

Chapter 5: Wisps

You may think that once you enter, there is no hope at returning from the Feywild. While most fey would like you to believe this to be true, it is anything but. If you want to insist on making a deal, there are a small amount of Archfey that are worth your while. However, there is one other way for you to find an exit without a guide: and these are Wisps. Wisps are floating blue orbs that glow faintly, and are representations of the souls of people who died while the Feywild had possession of their name. The Wisps represent the personalities and desires of the soul they contain; some are going to be helpful, and guide you to an exit, while others may try to lead you deeper into the Feywild, or, gods forbid, the realm of an Archfey. It is important that if you are following a Wisp, you use discretion. There are a few signs that will be able to tell you whether a Wisp is trying to aid you or if it is trying to harm you.
If the terrain around you becomes more localised, with one plant, geographic feature, smell of the air, or some other feature of the environment becomes more prominent than the rest of the environment, this is a good sign that you are being led into the lair of an Archfey. This does not mean you should immediately discount the Wisp's intentions, however. Some Archfey are actually helpful regarding finding a way out of the Feywild, and if there are no safe exits in the area you are in, leading you to the domain of a better Archfey may lead to better results than if you had tried to make your way through a more dangerous area.
It is at this point, then, that you should determine which archfey you are entering the domain of.

Chapter 6: Dangers of the Feywild

One of the most dangerous aspects of the Feywild is its undeterred influence over every living thing within it. For the residents of the Feywild, the fey that live within it, this is not at all a problem - they were born in the Feywild, their very nature shaped by it. However, to those not native to the regions, it can have dangerous consequences. Spending too much time in the Feywild could cause the onset of feylost sickness, bringing one's physical form closer to that of a fey. In more extreme cases, fey insanity is an unnerring condition in which one's mind is slowly affected and taken over by the Feywild itself.
You can avoid these conditions by getting out as quickly as you can, and by staying near Wisps - their presence can slow the progression of these symptoms.

Chapter 7: Archfey Domains

The first thing to do when determining which Archfey's domain you just stumbled into is determining which half of the Feywild you are in. If you are unsure, refer to chapters 2 and 3. Armed with the knowledge of which greater fey realm you are in, you are now able to narrow down the archfey whose domain you are approaching. But first of all...

What is an Archfey Domain?

To answer this question, I will first want to explain what an Archfey is. Again I will not go into too much detail in here, but what you will need to know is that what distinguishes an Archfey from a regular fey is the control that they have over the Feywild itself. Archfey have the power to morph the lands within their domain, change the geography, and even rearrange locations. Most Archfey will use this ability to create what are known as domains.
Domains are separated from the rest of the Feywild as a sort of pseudo-pocket-dimension It's hard to explain without getting too technical, but essentially the purpose of this is to provide a more in-tuned connection between the Archfey and their domain. This allows for the Archfey of any given domain to be fully aware of what is happening within their domain. This connection begins to fade at longer or planar distances, and its power is reduced the larger the domain itself is. The domain of an Archfey will typically be the environment that that particular Archfey favours.
Now that you know what a domain is, you should be able to identify which domain you are entering with a few key details.

Seelie Domains

There are many Archfey in the Seelie Court, and some of them are fairly similar, but there are always distinctions between each one, noticeable if you look close enough.
Nellara
In Nellara's domain, everything is vibrant greens, pinks, yellows, and even the browns are bright. Her domain is made of tunnels of vine, with wine-woden curtains separating different areas. At the centre of her domain is a small tea table with a set of tea that is always warm and freshly brewed.
Ilveraal
Ilveraal's domain is one of the smallest of the Seelie when compared proportionally to the actual height of the Archfey himself. His domain is made of stone, with some flowers and grasses peeking through the cracks, courtesy of his wife, Nellara. There is nothing particularly noteworthy about his domain, but there are no other domains that are similar to this one, so it will be highly distinct.
Pyke
Pyke's domain is filled with and almost overstimulating amount of colours. Bright, saturated reds, oranges, greens, pinks, and purples in the form of mushrooms, flowers, and leaves. If you are entering a domain and you start to think that you're hallucinating, you are probably entering Pyke's domain.
Thentanallish
Thentanallish's domain is entirely made of wood. The trees in his domain are arguably alive, and you will hear the creaking of wood and occasional whispering. The most notable part of his domain is the centre - a giant tree, thousands of years old, that is actually Thentanallish himself.
Valastrei
If you are in Valastrei's domain, you will also find yourself surrounded by trees. However, these trees are not alive, and will not whisper or creak. What they will do, however, is close and open around you to create an ever-shifting maze of pathways within her realm. It is incredibly difficult to navigate her realm, especially if you don't want to interact with the Archfey of the domain herself, so if you suspect that you are entering or being led into her domain, take the safe option and backtrack while there is still a track to go back.
Pylpiexia
Pylpiexia's realm is distinct in that her domain does not actually seem to be a domain. It is a single brick house overgrown with ivy, sitting on top of a hill. If you enter the house, the door will close and lock behind you until Pylpiexia decides that you can leave, whether she is there or not. If you find yourself in this situation and she is not there, I recommend you take a seat and wait, and hope that you brought enough rations to sustain you. Otherwise, do not enter this house.
The Five Forests
Next are the domains of the Archfey of the Five Forests. These are farily simple and distinguishable, as the domains of these Archfey closely resemble their realms, representing each of the four seasons, or a dead forest in the case of the Forgotten Forest. The only one that may pose a difficulty is the domain of Hyrsen, Archfey of the Spring Forest. However, you can usually tell by the constant presence of a cool breeze that this is his domain and not Valastrei's.

The Unseelie Domains

The Unseelie domains are a bit more distinguishable.
Yxjun
Yxjun's domain is the most recognisable: it is a thorny maze cramped with briars and small tunnels. The ever-present humming you will hear in the Unseelie Realm is at its loudest here, and so is pretty hard to miss.
Mother Daedara
Mother Daedara's domain is another easy one. She lives in the middle of a swamp, in a circular house carved out of an old wide tree stump. She usually has cauldrons and racks out for her herbs, potions, and meals, which I heavily recommend against stealing from.
Aethylia
Aethylia's realm is recognisable second by the large pool of water at its center, but first by the constant singing that you will hear upon priximity. A general rule surrounding the entirety of the bodies of water in the Unseelie Realm is that you should always try to cover your ears as soon as you begin to hear it. It may be innocent, sure, but any second of hesitation is a second you lose to the song. Cover your ears.
Balvan
Balvan's domain is a bit more structured than the rest of the Unseelie domains. It is a collection of large tents in a circular arrangement, where Balvan offers housing for his Knights of the Dusk. The tents are immaculately kept, the grass no higher than a few centimetres, and the smell of baked-bread is ever-present.
Grandar
Grandar's domain is just his lair. It's a cave in the Mountains of the Unseelie Realm, and he keeps his hoard within it. The hoard itself is composed of a number of different currencies, trinkets, and other small items of little value.
Hethranil
Hethranil's domain mirrors that of Pyke's, with a similar (but darker) colour palette and an overabundance of fungus. The primary difference between the two is the constant darkness in the air around Hethranil's domain.

Chapter 8: Deals with an Archfey

If you have failed to make it out of the Feywild via a Wisp or blind luck, then your last chance of getting out of the Feywild is likely through a deal with an Archfey. Before I go on: I DO NOT recommend making any type of deal with any sort of fey. This approach should be used as a LAST DITCH EFFORT ONLY.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you absolutely have to make a deal with an Archfey, there are some that are much fairer than others, and some that you do not want to make a deal with ever, under any circumstances. I will be sorting all of the archfey into three categories.

1: Friendly-adjacent

There are a few Archfey that are the most fair about their deals, and these are the ones that you should aim for making a deal with (again only if you absolutely need to). The Archfey on this list include Thentanallish, Balvan, Ilveraal, and Grandar - in that order. These four will not actively try to screw you over, unless you do something to anger them. Thentanallish will often require some sort of memory as payment. You will not have to lose this memory, only share it. Balvan will require a test of strength and honour, likely against one of his knights. If you win, you are usually provided entry to the material plane, and if you lose honourably you still are, though you'll have a few wounds to patch up once you get back. Ilverall will require you give him something of sentimental value - if you have nothing on you, a treasured memory will suffice, but this is one that you will not get back. Lastly, Grandar will ask for trinkets, anything he can collect, to add to his hoard. If it is shiny enough, he wil accept it and open a portal to the Material.

2: If you must

The next category of Archfey are ones that won't screw you over too much, and are not horrible to make deals with. The majority of the Archfey are in this category, and I will not waste time going over each one, as the gist is the same. For deals with any of these Archfey, be prepared to lose something dear to you with little forewarning. However, so long as you do not offer your name, you should be fine.

3: Absolutely Not

The following Archfey are ones that you do not, EVER want to make a deal with. The deal will sound fine, and then you will realise the loophole that makes it horrible.
Yxjun will trick you into doing much more than the original contract actually implied. Usually, this manifests in minor (or major, if he thinks you'll succeed) errands for him, which often result in drawing the ire of at least one other Archfey.
Mother Daedara will try to turn you into a hag if you are elligible. Do not let her. Do not let her talk to you. If you are not elligible, she will not be helpful, and will send you on at least 7 different small but annoying errands for her before even considering giving you what you want. It's not worth it.
Pyke is an asshole. That's it. He's an insufferable spoiled brat.

Chapter 9: Leaving the Feywild

You made it, probably. This guide should have allowed you to, at least. Some important things are of note here, however. The Feywild is not properly connected to the plane of Tempor - this means that it has a somewhat funky relationship with time. Because of this, if you are in the Feywild for any amount of time, the amount of time that will have passed on the material plane is not goint to match the amount of time that you spent in the Feywild. This effect is known as Temporal Displacement (sometimes called timelag), and can cause confusion and distress if you are unaware of this occurance. There is a possibility, however small, that when you first step foot out of the Feywild, centuries will have passed on the Material Plane and your loved ones will all be dead. But the more important part here is that you got out of the Feywild, which means my book served its purpose.
Notes from Saibra
While most of this is accurate - Sha'Ren knows the Feywilds intricately - there seems to be some unearned hatred towards Pyke. Now, I do not claim that Pyke is a good person, but I believe this distaste towards Pyke specifically may have originated from a prank that Pyke had pulled on Sha'Ren around 93 A.G.W., during Sha'Ren's first deal with Yxjun. It is important to note that this distaste towards Pyke is not mutual - Pyke does not particularly care about Sha'Ren.


Comments

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Dec 3, 2023 02:00 by Morgan Biscup

I can see why you enjoyed writing this one!   I love Saibra's note, too. It adds extra depth which is very fun.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Jan 2, 2024 01:35 by Rachelle

Beautifully formatted and fun to read.

Jan 8, 2024 16:33 by Judith (she/her)

I find it very funny that someone would write a book, for if someone accidentally went to a certain space. I mean, if you're not planning on getting there, why would you have read this book then? Maybe it will be standard practice to read this if you want to become an adventurer?   I also love the idea that some archfey can morph their domain to their liking. Reminds me a bit of Tom Bombadil, lovely way to have many extremely distinct areas in the same realm. I'd love to see some drawings of the different domains on a map or something.

Jan 8, 2024 21:16 by spleen

oooh, it may be fun to make maps of some of their domains. thank you!

Jan 8, 2024 19:08 by Barb

As a player in a campaign largely set in the Feywild, I love this idea. I also like the idea that this book would be available to those who want to be informed adventurers. The tone of your writing makes this an enjoyable read for sure!

Jan 8, 2024 21:17 by spleen

thank you!

Jan 26, 2024 05:07

A nicely detailed document on the ins and outs of a land and its inhabitants

May you forever find your way on the journey you set out on and make yourself greater.
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