Also known as the dark host, the harrying and the lords of night.
To live as Unseele is to live in the shadows of their might, to pay homage in flesh and souls and service to might and cunning of the Lords of the Slaugh.
They are not one people but an alliance of many powerful races and unique individuals. They are cunning and semidivine aberrations of flesh and though; a terror on the land. Alone they lurk in the dark places of the world, hunting and preying on the foolish and curious. Together they rise and descend on those who oppose them or offend their ideals, hunting and destroying them.
• Divine trolls
• Ogres mages
• Fallen Alfar
This is a cavalcade of terror, a group of semidivine huntsmen lead a charge of beings across hill and dale, they descend on those who offend the fae and bare them away to destroy them.
They chase down and torment their victims before killing and often devouring them. Those who fall are usually resurrected to begin the cycle anew each day. At each rising they are less human, the changes becomes slowly etched into their being; their sin writ large for all to see. In the end they are either killed outright, released as hideous mockeries of their former selves or forced to join the hunt, running ever after at the huntsmans heals. So to is the fate of any and all who oppose the hunt.
These are the semi-divine; in a very real way they are living physical gods. They are composed of flesh and fae in its purest form; as such once adult they cease to age, are nearly impossible to kill and extremely difficult to injure. As gods it is not surprising that the alfar have "portfolios". These are a reflection of their basic power and it’s that power that shapes some of their personality, not the folio itself. They can hear the prayers of their followers. They can perform and grant miracles; for a price
They look more or less human; more or less. They stand between 6’ and 7’6” and are willow thin. They have sharp angular features, long supple fingers, inhuman eyes and a dizzying array of hues. Their eyes and skin glow with a radiant unearthly light which is dim when they are calm but burns brightly when their power is upon them.
The alfar live in sihdee, twisting multidimensional courts outside of even what passes for the normal rules of time and space in the wilds. These hollow halls play host to strange hidden worlds, impossible feasts and insane revelries. They are beings of the wilds, never setting foot in the realms. It is said that tilled earth burns underneath their feet.
How would best I describe the Alfar mind in one word? Insane; as in literally not sane. Part of it’s the godlike power, part of it is longevity and then there is the near indestructability. All of this combines to make them far removed from and very alien to the mortal mind.
They are temperamental, moody, prideful, vindictive and vain. They are at best honourable after a fashion; they will try to fulfil any promises they can’t twist their way out of (almost at any cost) though they begrudge making straight promises. They almost never give a straight answer and are insulted by direct questions.
They have a hard time conceptualizing other people as real people, that they have feelings and lives of their own beyond their relationship with the Alfar. Even those who manage to wrap their heads around the idea find it difficult to extend it beyond the people they personally know. Most Alfar tend to view mortals (at least subconsciously) as toys; things to play with. At best they try to look after their toys and play responsibly; but if they get tired of you they will toss you aside and if you brake; well whist they might weep beautifully at first they will soon forget about you and look for someone else to amuse them. At worst the game is no fun if you don't scream.
Alfar race was once human; even if they have become far from it. Underneath the power, the immortality and the madness beats the same primitive instincts of cavemen as everyone else. They hunger and lust after the human form; in spite all their protestations that they are the most beautiful creatures on earth and humans are rough and crude by comparison. It is that very roughness that causes them to abduct, seduce or just plain take mortals; one after the other. They have a particular fondness for handsome and strong young men. Whilst for a time their attentions often make a man think that he must be the luckiest man alive in the end he can count himself lucky if he escapes with his humanity (let alone sanity or manhood) intact.
Alfar don’t farm, tend crops or keep animals. But what about those horses and hounds they keep, and I swear I saw one tending a grove of apple tree the other day, what up with that? Well their “companions” aren’t animals; or rather they weren’t always animals, the trees aren’t really trees. They were people once; mortals who fell afoul of the fae; to make matters worse they are aware, they know what they were and what they have become. Some of the Alfar even think that they are doing them a favour; that what they have done to them is a great honour or a payment to some debt that the mortal owes them. Be very very weary if an Alfar ever offers to do you a favour; nothing is as it seams and nothing is for free with them.
Words of truth
This is the most powerful ability of the alfar, the most feared and why they rule the seele. Alfar only speak the truth (of a fashion); when they speak with power and name they can make their words the unvarnished truth.
The three limitations are that the outcome must be possible, the subjects true name (or if absent that given name) is known or brand name held, and finally that they can hear, see or can be seen in earshot of the speaker.
So an Alfar saying "Greta, thou art Pig" would literally turn the poor Greta into either a pig or a pigwoman depending on the intent of the speaker. This is one of their favorite games and one so popular that it has spawned a bushel of manbeast races
Trolls are powerful and dangerous predators of man. The most powerful of them are the masters of the dark host; often solitary but never beyond the aid of their kin and worshipers. They are not sword fodder for adventures and are never to be taken lightly
Adult trolls start about 9’ tall with 12-15’ being more normal. Trolls live forever and can grow (depending on diet) to enormous sizes; 90’ is not untypical for a Bjertrolden though the largest recorded was three times that size.
They have tough unyielding flesh, large saucer like eyes, big noses and disproportionately long arms and fingers. They usually have wild manes of dark unkempt hair. Few ever wear more than a belt or bandoleer for pouches, knives and such.
Over time they can regenerate all but the most serious of injuries. Mundane fire or burning irons must be used to sear the wound to make it stick. By cutting off the charred flesh and reopening the wound trolls can heal even these injuries.
Trolls have excellent night vision and senses of powerful hearing and smell. Bright light all but blinds them and they become drowsy and dopey of a daytime; come night however they are alert, active and dangerously cunning.
Trolls are ancient; as a race they are as old as any, one of the first to emerge after the cataclysm at the end of the dreaming. The essence of what is troll is a primal, eternal potency that refuses to be constrained by the human conceit of language. Goblins give it words, they give voice to the seething tableau of possibility they are dimly aware of and call them the tales because that is the only way they can conceive of such things. Trolls have no need of such trivialities, their fabric was baked in the very fires of the remaking; they live as one with the beat of all that is, was or ever will be.
Trolls do not think in words. This can give them a stumbling speech pattern as they struggle to get to grips with language; however to mistake this for stupidity would be a fatal error. Behind those eyes is a cunning and efficient mind; uncluttered by human preconceptions.
Trolls are carnivores. They prefer fresh meat; the fresher the better. For a troll nothing beats the taste of flesh that is still warm, still bleeding, still moving, still screaming. To this end trolls have been known to keep some of their prey alive; either by keeping them captives or by picking off groups of free range beings in ones or twos and letting the rest keep for another time. Some troll witches cook meat for preservation and later use but it has to be done live over a magical fire.
Trollkind have dietary adaptability; the phrase you are what you eat was never applied more strongly to anything else than it is to trolls. The variances among the Troll depend on their food source; those who feed on magical creatures themselves have increased intellect and magical acumen, those who feed on fish and sea life benefit from amphibious qualities such as gill, decreased mass, and general agility, while those who consume more mundane warm-blooded mammals are larger and more strongly built with claws/needle spines/razor sharp teeth, and so on.
The life cycle of a Troll
Trow are the infantile stage of troll. They are born in litters of about one hundred and range from fine to small. They live in mounds that are often mistaken for barrows. Of all their brothers and sisters only a handful will reach the next stage of development.
It takes nearly a century for trow to mature with the final stages happening in a few short years. During this Trow grow into full sized trolls, often eating their smaller and weaker brethren for magical sustenance.
From full sized trolls there are two developmental paths. A troll can continue to grow in size by eating the flesh of trolls, giants, ogres, normal humanoids and gobliniods. In so doing the troll becomes a Bjertrolden, it grows to the size of giants but it wits and magic never develop; this is the path that male trolls usually take.
By preying on magical beings or beings with a propensity for magic (fae, casters and humanoids or gobliniods with large amounts of wisdom, intelligence or charisma) a trolls mind and magic will develop instead of their bodies, becoming dangerous and cunning troll witches. This is the normal path of female trolls but it is not limited to females and not all females follow it.
Rarely a troll will be able to attain great size and power. It is said that this requires that either it eat the flesh of a truly diving being or that it eats the soul energy of tens of thousands of mortals. The real trick of it is to master their own truenames
It becomes a regenerating man mountain and magical powerhouse with a dangerously cunning mind to boot. For trolls this is ascendency, this is divinity and these beings are capable of miracles both dark and terrible.
Trow stand between 2’ and 4’6”. They are violent, cunning and perpetually hungry carnivores. They have short wide heads and thin mouths full of razor edged teeth. They hate and fear mundane fire and love the dark. Whilst they have no casters themselves they are exceptionally resistant to magic in all its forms. It is said that they have a great love for eating babies and children.
Trow who do not partake of only human and not trow flesh get stuck at just about human size, they are called Hrulden and whist fertile with humans they are a dead end on troll development. The children of the hrulden are the goblins.
These are what become of trow who eat rotting carrion. They are afflicted with a disease of the spirit that makes them rabid living dead monstrosities. Trolls loath them and like all undead reject eating their flesh. They are the progenitors of first ghouls and through them vampires.
Trow who eat all their vegetables grow up to be big and strong treekin; ents and dryads. They have leaves and tough woody skin. As Trow know that the proper diet is raw steaming sentient flesh Treekin only occur in the most isolated and deepest forests.
These are pixies and fairies; you can't discuss pixies without mentioning fairies and you can't analyses fairies without referencing pixies so they both go in together. They are essentially the same species and biologically at least humanoids.
They both look mostly human, (some with a slight dash of elf) but they are approximately 3" high. Under mage sight it is revealed that each generates a standing reduce person enchantment; this is what allows them to exist with a human shape on a non-human scale. It is commonly believed that they are descended from a near human stock who souls where branded with this spell in perpetuity. This spell is what is thought to be similar in nature to the mystics supporting gigantism. Only they have any ability to replicate it but they don't possess any real understanding of how exactly it works.
One of the defining features of the little folk is their intense hatred of each other. It ranges from sporadic brutal inter-tribal raiding to systematic organized total war. This conflict at times resembles nothing less than 1:18 scale Ragnarok and can run the gamut of ritualized honour duels and slave raiding to orchestrated carnage. They can and will manipulate the bigger races as unwitting pawns in this.
Fairies are intensely magical for their size. Most are capable of glamor and minor catnips but there witches and warlocks are some of the most accomplished illusionists and fae enchanters outside of the Alfar courts.
Fairies are bonded to a network of glades and meadows, these are places of power for them and they fight to defend them. This makes them surprisingly resilient as they can regenerate even mortal injuries. It’s said that one of the two only ways to permanently kill a fairy open to normals is to cut it off from or destroy its place of power. Pixies prefer the old steal pin though the heart but only after they have had their fun.
The unique thing about the fairies reproductive system is also the most horrifying aspect about them. They never carry their own children; they transfer their unborn to human women and use them as surrogate mothers to bare and raze their offspring for them. When the fairy child reaches puberty they come to claim their own. Fully igniting their magic and shrinking them down into their real fairy size. In cases where the fairy child has a “twin” or simply a child from their human lives they cannot or will not let go of (or will not let go of them) they shrink both down. The human becomes a pixie and s mistreated and abused as a slave by the wider circle of fairies. This is generally the fate off all humans who seriously fall foul of the fairies.
Legend has it that all fairies fly with insect wings. What most fairies actually do is ride flying flower stems. These tales stem from some fairies (and some pixies even) using strap on magical constructs made of insect wings. There have been reports of fairies with bio-grafted wing however few serious scholars give this any credence.
Pixies are intensely physical beings for their size. Most can lift twice their body weight (a full pound), from a standing start jump three or even four times their height and make a running jump of twice that. Their terminal velocity only causes them serious injury if they fall badly. This when combined with feather fall allows them to achieve feats of death defining acrobatics and martial prowess they need to take down their aerial opponents.
They are good with animals. The farm insects and rats and have been known to tame and ride larger animals like foxes and weasels or various birds.
Their material culture is based on theft. This is because of the many things that don't scale well fire is one of the most important. They can’t work metal or bake clay without magic. Wood is no substitute at that size, the grain simply isn't strong enough and flint and glass are all but unbreakable with any degree of control. Instead most need to steel the things we make; that button you "lost" is now a shield, the needle a foil and so on and so forth.
The big problem rural pixies face is inbreeding; those sad misshapen drunken brownies you might have heard of; the results of generations of inbreeding. This is caused by the fact that the nearest family of unrelated pixies could be leagues away and leagues when you three inches high and its hostile county might as well be a thousand miles. To beat this pixies use size manipulation to take advantage of the human gene pool. Those with access to the required magics can temporarily make themselves big; big enough to get in to trouble as it were. The other trick which is both harder to achieve and yet strangely more accessible is to make humans permanently small; suitably small enough to act as spouses. Because they have enough enemies as it is without adding more at home they either shrink down and adopt unwanted children (particularly those too young to remember) or seduce "willing" brides and grooms who may or may not know what exactly they are getting themselves into. Pixies love to steal fairy children, they often cruelly mistreat them; a pathetic and petty revenge on a child who has done them no wrong. This is another major source of conflict between the races. Pixie mages are usually born of these people and as such are often mistrusted by
the pixie community.