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the clumsy bard
2012-10-23, 04:34 PM
As the title says.

In an upcoming campaign I am starting the background to the campaign is 1 possibly 2 thousand years ago there was a great war between the humans and the fey.

I am actually looking for help. I probably should have said that first and foremost.

I plan on leaving hints to the past and also some of the items the characters will find will be linked to the history of the campaign.

If people don't mind I would like to pick the brain of the community to see what they think would be plausible reasons for the fey and the humans to have a large scale war between each other.

In my campaign I plan to have humans be a minor race that are treated with no respect and a little like how a monstrous race would be treated like in normal fantasy style campaigns.

So having very rarely used fey I was hoping to hear some cool ideas.

If people want more information on my campaign ask away and I will try to respond quickly.

*edit* I am using the Pathfinder system, but have left this here because I am looking for story help not mechanics

Otomodachi
2012-10-23, 05:35 PM
Well the most obvious (to me) way, which was used to some extend in the background material for Changeling: The Dreaming, would be to say that the war began right when the humanoid races/humans developed the ability to forge iron (wraught iron = cold iron, basically, just relatively unalloyed iron), since it defeats fey DR.

Mordokai
2012-10-23, 10:26 PM
A dryad/nymph/nereid/other super sexy fey monster was kidnapped by humans and it just so happens she was a king's daughter/lover/mother/person of importance. He wants her back. It's cliche for a reason, but it works.

For more humorous vibe, have her be a royal washwoman, or some similar lowly station, but still very much indespensable. For a little darker twist, she was raped and/or killed.

Erik Vale
2012-10-23, 10:31 PM
A minor Fey lord got bored, and on a whim attacked the humans. Humans are vendictive and violent (Go on, tell me there not) and fight back, causing an escalating war until one side falls. Could be after a while the fay lord is cast out, making your worlds unseellie.
Makes a good reason for everyone to fear dark forests.

awa
2012-10-23, 10:45 PM
For the fey as the antagonist use more old school fey, in the past the fey were not limited to the woods and wilds they moved with impunity through human lands spreading havoc and death as their mercurial whims dictate. Satyr using their pipes to lure young maidens into the woods. Dryads kidnapping hansom young men. Pixies harassed and tormented any one they could find. Each feys specific methods might be different but the common theme is they view humans as playthings for their own amusement. A great hero who learns the art of forging cold iron rose uniting the scattered human tribes and villages into a great host, the fey angered that anyone would dare interfere with their play band together to try and destroy the human host. The fey magic vrs human unity and discipline.

Mark Hall
2012-10-23, 11:02 PM
The first thing to think about: Are the PCs primarily humans, or primarily fey?

The usual reason for human on human wars is living space... successful humans breed, and groups of successful humans frequently breed themselves into needing more space. If the fey were unwilling (unable?) to give that, then humans would start pushing. Border skirmishes advance until you've got a full-blown war.

Humans almost definitely have an advantage in numbers, but consider what your fey are vulnerable to... not just "less invulnerable to" (i.e. "They have DR 5/cold iron" means that they're less invulnerable to cold iron, but that's not much of a selling point), but vulnerable to. Dryads can't live without their trees. Some fey are vulnerable to salt, or their natural powers don't work against people with their clothes turned inside out, or whatever. Humans are going to have a major technological disadvantage because every nymph is a 7th level druid... that's a sizable magical technology gap.

Consider that the echoes of this war will still be felt, even 2000 years later. Humans may not know why, but the fey certainly WILL remember.

(Neat twist: Elves are half-breed fey, mixed with humans, not really trusted by the fey or the humans... and then you have half-elves, who are trusted by neither elves nor humans)

TheOOB
2012-10-24, 01:00 AM
I've always used fae more as a plot device than an actual force in the world. My fae usually acomplish tasks automatically, unless it's dramatically appropriate for them to fail in which case they will do so willingly.

That said, remember that fae are ancient, graceful, and powerful, but also few in number and indirect. You'll never see an army of griggs marching twords you're castle, but you may see a rival lord marching twords you in battle to please their new nymph bride while your best generals all went suddenly and inexplicably insane.

Sith_Happens
2012-10-24, 04:50 AM
A dryad/nymph/nereid/other super sexy fey monster was kidnapped by humans and it just so happens she was a king's daughter/lover/mother/person of importance. He wants her back. It's cliche for a reason, but it works.

Are you kidding? These are fey we're talking, that not cliché enough. More like this:

Low-born human runs off with fey king's beautiful daughter. They give birth to the first half-fey, thereby fulfilling an ancient prophecy known to both the fey and the humans. The fey strike first, and soon enough both sides are fighting to claim the child for themselves so that they can be the ones to [rule the world/gain Real Ultimate Power/discover the cure for brain freeze/whatever]. The war ends when the child and its parents are inadvertently killed, setting off some kind of cataclysm that throws the human and fey empires into ruin as well as somehow screwing over the world at large. The fey fall into obscurity while the humans take the blame for the whole thing, which is the (long since forgotten) reason for the hatred towards them.

Akodo Makama
2012-10-24, 05:27 AM
Read David Brin's Otherness, specifically, the short story Those Eyes (http://www.davidbrin.com/thoseeyes.html).

In this story, it explains that Fey were originally the undisputed masters of the planet, a place of magic and fantasy. But, humans (created by a Fey for amusument's sake) evolved a sense of skepticism and science. The very gaze of a skeptical human was fatal to the Fey, and obliterative to their artifacts. Not every human is skeptical, and the ones that are, aren't all the time. So, the Fey strive to keep the sense of magic and wonder alive as much as possible, eventually becoming Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Aliens, the MIB, and the other modern fantasy creatures

Turn that story about a bit, and declare that the Fey won.

How? The Old Fey need protection from the Humans (one that's not as vulnerable as they are). So, they kidnap some human babies, infuse them with magic, and you've got elves (and probably goblins, gnomes, faeries and other 'classical' Fey creatures): the New Fey.

They Old Fey have a massive advantage in 'magical places' like forests, caves, underwater, etc. So, humans fear those places instinctively. The Old Fey still remember Human's secret weapon, even if Humans never quite figured it out, and fear it's discovery. The New Fey simply know that humans are bad for some reason, and their Elders/Masters/Gods prefer them dead or enslaved. But, a natural artifact of Human's secret weapon is writing and laboratories, things that can last a good long while to be discovered.

However, Humans still have that weapon, and it's possibly more powerful than ever. The war isn't over, it's just resting.

And possibly some of the New Fey resent being used as fodder in the war and turn from the Old Fey. Do they join the Humans or become a third side? Have the discovered the weapon, and wish to use it against their former masters? Are they still trying to discover just how the physically and magically primitive Humans managed to even make a fight of it?

The PC's being (new) Fey, Human, or a mix all work for a lot of adventure hooks should one of the old laboratories be unearthed.

Analytica
2012-10-24, 06:10 AM
This sounds very much like what Exalted does with Raksha/the Fair Folk. In brief:

- Fey are part of unformed reality, where really nothing but imagination determines what can or cannot be.
- Humans are part of the created world, where there are natural laws. For some clap your hands if you believe, perhaps human tendencies to ascribe underlying logic to things _cause_ there to be natural laws.
- Humanized areas are no longer pure imagination, but reality. Fey see this as an act of war/oppression and strike.
- Exalted's world is basically a small bubble, always almost breached, of sane reality in the midst of the vast chaotic mess of Fey pseudo-existence.

I would go with humans being iron-forgers, builders of roads and fences, writers of books, and makers of laws. Even if these things are done just for their own purposes, they change the state of the world from the primal Fey state. So the Fey see humans as aggressors for basically not being hunter-gatherers without a written culture, because they are actually vulnerable to the things these humans do. The humans, on the other hand, see the Fey as monsters trying to take away what little the infant human civilisation has.

The war would be wrought on the land. Drawing up farm boundaries, making roads, mines, cities etc. partition the land, breaks up the ley lines, and depowers Fey strongholds. Humans fight by expansion and defense, Fey fight by magic, infiltration, trickery and redcap wolfriders raiding in the night. The human heroes are ironforgers who make the horseshoes over every doorframe to keep the Fey assassins from coming at night and smothering all the babies in their cribs. Maybe mythical heroes who went out to fell sacred trees, drive iron spikes into the hearts of dragons, or burn old groves to the ground. All the human Fey myths about dangerous things you can meet in the forest are basically war stories from this time.

If you want the humans to be non-dominant today, maybe there are only a few "points of light" pockets of human civilisation, surrounded by miles and miles of Faerie forest and wilderness where everything is mutable. The edges between them have scarified and solidified, so the Fey stopped the war since most of their free unreality was no longer threatened. Humans still scare their children with legends about the Fey, but these days never see them.

Mordokai
2012-10-24, 06:39 AM
Are you kidding? These are fey we're talking, that not cliché enough. More like this:

Low-born human runs off with fey king's beautiful daughter. They give birth to the first half-fey, thereby fulfilling an ancient prophecy known to both the fey and the humans. The fey strike first, and soon enough both sides are fighting to claim the child for themselves so that they can be the ones to [rule the world/gain Real Ultimate Power/discover the cure for brain freeze/whatever]. The war ends when the child and its parents are inadvertently killed, setting off some kind of cataclysm that throws the human and fey empires into ruin as well as somehow screwing over the world at large. The fey fall into obscurity while the humans take the blame for the whole thing, which is the (long since forgotten) reason for the hatred towards them.

In my defense, it was half past five in the morning when I wrote the first post, so the brain was still working a little slow(er). I remembered later that throwing a half-fey progeny and some random prophecy mumbo-jumbo in there would fit seamlesly in there.

Hell, you could say the child in question becomes the Queen of Unselie court. Her biggest secret being that she's not actually full fey.

Zombimode
2012-10-24, 08:24 AM
In an upcoming campaign I am starting the background to the campaign is 1 possibly 2 thousand years ago there was a great war between the humans and the fey.

One point to consider is if this war was actually a two-sided conflict. One could say that "war" is a human(oid) concept. Thus, Fey don't go to war. Of course, this does not stop a human/fey war from happening, since you can declare war on almost everything. But it would change the nature of the conflict.
Under this premise, the short term winners are almost inevitable the humans.
But there are long-term consequences: the war has changed the nature of the fey. They are no longer playful and helpful, but sinister and vengeful. The humans now have to live with this constant threat lingering on their homes and fields.

If you feel preachy, you could even shoehorn in some parallels to pollution and destruction of Nature by Men on Earth, Ferngully style :smalltongue:

Xuc Xac
2012-10-24, 09:54 AM
Well the most obvious (to me) way, which was used to some extend in the background material for Changeling: The Dreaming, would be to say that the war began right when the humanoid races/humans developed the ability to forge iron (wraught iron = cold iron, basically, just relatively unalloyed iron), since it defeats fey DR.

All iron is "cold iron". It's just a poetic turn of phrase. Saying "fairies can only be harmed by 'cold iron', which is a special and rare metal" is like saying "mafiosos can only be killed by a bullet made of 'hot lead', which is a rare and special form of lead".

Of course, gangsters also carried guns loaded with "hot lead" bullets for killing their enemies, the copper men, a race of lawfully-aligned golem-like creatures. Unfortunately for the gangsters, killing a copper man required administering the "hot lead" orally, as evidenced by their ancient battle-cry "eat hot lead, copper!"

TuggyNE
2012-10-24, 05:18 PM
All iron is "cold iron". It's just a poetic turn of phrase. Saying "fairies can only be harmed by 'cold iron', which is a special and rare metal" is like saying "mafiosos can only be killed by a bullet made of 'hot lead', which is a rare and special form of lead".

Of course, gangsters also carried guns loaded with "hot lead" bullets for killing their enemies, the copper men, a race of lawfully-aligned golem-like creatures. Unfortunately for the gangsters, killing a copper man required administering the "hot lead" orally, as evidenced by their ancient battle-cry "eat hot lead, copper!"

I love this. So, so much.

Ranting Fool
2012-10-24, 05:47 PM
Of course, gangsters also carried guns loaded with "hot lead" bullets for killing their enemies, the copper men, a race of lawfully-aligned golem-like creatures. Unfortunately for the gangsters, killing a copper man required administering the "hot lead" orally, as evidenced by their ancient battle-cry "eat hot lead, copper!"

That got a giggle from me :smallbiggrin:

KnightOfV
2012-10-25, 10:06 PM
Oddly, the last campaign I ran had a similar subplot. For the purpose of my world, Elves and Gnomes had the Humanoid/Fey subtype. What I did, shamelessly stealing and combining various fey myths and stories:

Long ago, Humans and Fey coexisted peacefully. Fey did not know or understand things like war, ownership, or murder but did not know about art, music or civilization either. Humans had a never ending desire to learn, grow and create -something that fascinated the Fey, who had always just 'been' and accepted their innocent, near eternal lives. The Fey learned much from Humanity over the years, but it was not to last. Humans became jealous of the fey's immortality and magic, and as they grew as a species, coveted Fey lands, Fey women, and Fey spells.

Humans created iron weapons and eventually killed an elf over a dispute over lands that the human claimed to 'own.' The fey had not known murder or covetousness until then, and forever on would associate iron with war and death. Fey are creatures of magic and symbols, and the most fey-like creatures to this day dislike the touch of iron. The Fey as one united and went to war with Humans, and killed them with arrows, and spears, and magic. As they fought the humans, they became like humans themselves, taking territory, and learning hatred and sorrow. Eventually, the king of the Fey (called the Erlkonnig) and the Queen of Fey (called Titania) decided that the war was too brutal on everyone, and tried to negotiate a truce with Humanity.

The Queen of Fey met with the most powerful Human emperor of the time, and together they swore a binding Oath three times that neither Human nor Fey would ever raise a weapon to the other again. It seemed there would be peace. In the days following the celebration however, a single human with an evil heart lusted after the Titania, and used iron chains to catch her, do unspeakable things to her, then kill her. Enraged that Humanity had so quickly broken their promise, and stricken with grief over the death of his Queen, the Erlkonnig swore eternal vengeance against ALL humans. Sick of war, the Erlkonnig began a new strategy, where he would fight back carefully, but in ways to inflict as much misery as possible. The fey do terrible acts such as stealing children from their cradles, abducting newlyweds, and seducing men and leading them to their deaths.

The Erlkonnig takes the humans he captures and twists them into monsters to raise an army that he will one day lead to destroy every ounce of human civilization and finally sate his eternal vengeance. That day shall be known as The Great Hunt.

the clumsy bard
2012-10-26, 09:45 AM
Wow.

Got a lot more responses then I had thought!

Thank you everyone!

In any case I like the idea of the fey becoming afraid of the fact that the humans learned to craft cold iron.

In the campaign history as it stands, firearms are just starting to emerge (early firearms). I have a couple of players who really wanted to play gunslingers, so I am working it into the campaign history.

My thoughts could be that instead of emerging the firearms are in fact re-emerging. Perhaps the fey feared the humans crafting cold iron, but as long as they could not catch the fey the fear wasn't that great. Perhaps the idea of bullets / pellets made of cold iron being able to be launched with firearms caused fear in the fey and led to small conflicts.

The PCs are actually playing non human races at the moment. Also nobody is playing elves. I have ruled that elves are fey / humanoid for the campaign. They can play an elf, just at this point nobody has chosen to play one.

The other main conflict I was thinking of putting into action is the fact that most arcane magic will originate from the fey themselves.

I was planning on accomplishing this by having the wizards using the arcane bond class feature from pathfinder and they would periodically have to use components such as fey creatures hearts or siphoned off magic / souls from said fey creatures.

Nothing causes a war like killing fey creatures for power!

The other idea I had running around was the fact that during the conflict between the 2 sides there would different approaches from the fey side.

Seelie - trying to resolve it by avoiding the humans and using trickery

Unseelie - taking the fight to the humans. Doing things such as transforming human soldiers etc into trees, murdering them in nighttime raids etc...

Another aspect I am having trouble thinking of is a way for why the humans would shatter the continent. I was hoping to have them shatter the main continent into smaller continents / islands while leaving a larger chunk with forest that is where the fey are mainly located. The idea would be to have a barrier keeping the fey in an ominous forest. Perhaps later through out the history of the campaign people will stay away from said barrier and forget its existence (cliche but still fun)

What do people think or does anyone have any suggestions?

Notreallyhere77
2012-10-26, 11:00 PM
One thing you must remember about humans and fey is that they're just plain different. Don't make the fey too close to human. To paraphrase one of my favorite books:

"Humans and the fae are like water and alchohol. They are both clear liquid, and wet, after a fashion, but one will burn; the other won't. That is because they are two fundamentally different things. Men forget this at their peril."

And with humans, conflict with different things that are different, especially things that are dangerous, conflict is inevitable and threats will be dealt with by the fastest or most permanent means possible. If that means shattering a continent to keep the shadows in the woods at bay, then so be it, if they have the ability. Humans traditionally put their own immediate needs first.

Megasaber4000
2012-10-27, 04:07 AM
Lets consider that the fey are magic and have not paid much attention to that pesky human race. now lets say humans don't do well with magic so they do steam punk stuff or something.
the humans need to hide these things until they want some good land so they attack the fey with their troop and their advanced machines.

Analytica
2012-10-27, 08:17 PM
Another aspect I am having trouble thinking of is a way for why the humans would shatter the continent. I was hoping to have them shatter the main continent into smaller continents / islands while leaving a larger chunk with forest that is where the fey are mainly located. The idea would be to have a barrier keeping the fey in an ominous forest. Perhaps later through out the history of the campaign people will stay away from said barrier and forget its existence (cliche but still fun)

It can be ley line hacking. The Fey had this great network of power flow lines in the earth, with menhirs and stone circles marking where they intersected, all of it feeding the roots of the world tree or something. By changing the lay of the land through shattering the continent, Fey magic became massively weaker.

Psyren
2012-10-31, 12:41 PM
@OP: I believe WotC has some Fey fluff articles on their site you can pilfer for ideas. Unfortunately I can't link any of them from here, but Google should turn something up.


All iron is "cold iron". It's just a poetic turn of phrase. Saying "fairies can only be harmed by 'cold iron', which is a special and rare metal" is like saying "mafiosos can only be killed by a bullet made of 'hot lead', which is a rare and special form of lead".

Of course, gangsters also carried guns loaded with "hot lead" bullets for killing their enemies, the copper men, a race of lawfully-aligned golem-like creatures. Unfortunately for the gangsters, killing a copper man required administering the "hot lead" orally, as evidenced by their ancient battle-cry "eat hot lead, copper!"

Thread won, thanks for coming everybody