Heroes of the New Day
While the Lords of the Feywild called the Archfey are not exactly gods, they’re sometimes thought of as fey reflections of the sort of power that gods wield in the prime material plane. Others say they are the embodiment of dreams had by the gods, or perhaps representations of strong emotions different gods have. Some say that they were originally the primordials’ equivalents of Archangels, but broke ties with their masters during the Dawn War. Or perhaps they were a result of the energies that were flying rampant during the Dawn War. Most have a sense of eternal permanence about them, as if they always have existed… but whether that is truth or Fey trickery is unknown.
Whatever they are, they’re hugely powerful beings who, while not exactly likely to win in a head-to-head fight with a god, would still go for quite a few rounds. Some archfey are rumored to have always been powerful, while others are said to have risen to their positions. Knowledge about these folks is technically covered by the Arcana skill, not the Religion skill, FYI. If you’d like to know more than names and general titles, make an Arcana check in game, or listen to some bardic stories for hints.
Most fey creatures you run into in the feywild will be aligned to a court, or a particular archfey. While scuffles happen often, there’s also a decent chance of getting on the bad side of a particular fey lord if you happen to, say, slaughter some clearly-marked followers of said archfey. Just a bit of warning, if you care. In general, though, beneath the Archfey are Sidhe (pronounced “shee”) Lords (usually powerful Eladrin), as well as Nature Lords (usually a celestial version of a particular type of animal… think of the Boar God in Princess Mononoke).
In recent centuries (since not long after the Great Cataclysm, actually), the Fomorian armies of the Feydark have begun a massive (and well-orchestrated) war against the surface of the Feywild. This is what caused the fall of many Eladrin cities, and the Archfey, whatever their dispositions, now spend considerable amounts of energy fighting off the armies of invading Fomor. The greatest Fomorian general (that anyone knows about), Thrumbolg, has even managed to force his way into the Court of Stars, claiming as much right to the Feywild as any Archfey.
There are several groupings you should be aware of, when talking about the fey lords. The Fey generally break themselves into different “courts”. A few archfey are also members of multiple courts, such as Tiandra the Summer Queen, who leads both the Summer Court and the Court of Stars. Others are only occasionally associated with a particular court, while othertimes ignoring that court’s dictates.
Over the eons, some Archfey have been said to have mated with certain Eladrin families, which has lead to the Eladrin’s claims of power in the Feywild. The Great Cataclysm did something to many of those families, though, and many more have perished in fights iwth the Fomorians, so few of these Archfey-blooded families remain these days.
There are also some general larger categories called “Seelye” and “Unseelye”, which vaguely correspond to “good” and “bad”… but in the feywild, it’s not exactly that simple. The Seelye fey generally abide by their vows (sometimes fanatically), and usually won’t do horrid things to mortals just to be jerks… or if they do, they’ll stop before they kill you… usually. The Unseelye fey are less governed by rules, more chaotic, and are often closer in their ties to shadow magics. It’s not widely known (outside of particularly elite feywild sage circles) which fey lords identify as seelye or unseelye, though, so I won’t include that info here.
These are not all the Archfey… just the ones best known to sages in the Prime Material plane:
Baba Yaga, female, mother of all witches, Court of Stars? Independent?
The Carrion King, ?, King of dark fungi, insane, dwells in the Feydark, Independent
Elias Alastai, male, Lord of Rivers, brother to Siobhan, Court of Coral
Alastai is said to be attended by serpentine dragons, each of which represent some river in the world.
The Erlking, male, master of the hunt, enemy of Malar, Court of Green Fey? Independent?,
See also the Bard’s Tale story about “The Erlking and Malar”
The Green Man, male, a forest lord of sorts, very old, Court of Green Fey
Mab, female, Queen of Cold and Darkness, Court of Winter, Gloaming Court
Mab is rumored to have an interesting relationship with the Raven Queen… souls of fey creatures who die may belong to Mab first, then get taken by ravens, or perhaps Mab sorts through any other claims on the souls of fey creatures before the Raven Queen takes them, or maybe the Raven Queen has delegated treatment of souls in the Feywild to Mab… it’s all very unclear. But needless to say, folks try very hard not to die in the Feywild if they’re not on decent terms with Mab.
Maiden of the Moon, female, bane of lycanthropes, Court of Stars, Gloaming Court
She is said to have her own lunar demi-realm deep within the Feywild, and some elves believe that the light from that realm is solidified into silver veins in the Prime Material plane on nights of the full moon.
Malar, Lord of the Savage Hunt, enemy of The Erlking, Court of the Green Fey? Independent?
See also the Bard’s Tale story about “The Erlking and Malar”
Oneiros, male, Dreamlord, Gloaming Court
Effectively Dream from Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN books.
Oran, male, The Green Lord, Court of Green Fey
One of the more powerful Archfey, Oran leads the Green Court. He is seen as a sometimes-brother, sometimes lover of Tiandra, though neither ever submits to the other, regardless of their relationship.
Selephra, female, the Bramble Queen, mistress of spite, Independent
Shishi Gami, unsexed, The Great Forest Spirit, (see also Princess Mononoke) Court of Green Fey? Independent? Shishi Gami is said to be informed/attended by tiny forest spirits in the Feywild that are tied to every tree in the Prime Material plane.
Siobhan Alastai, female, Princess of Seas, sister to Elias, Court of Coral
Thrumbolg, male, fomorian, First Lord of Mag Tureah, Feydark, Court of Stars
Some say Thrumbolg gaine dhis power by consuming another Archfey, but if he did, he also consumed all memory of that being, so none remember who he might have consumed. He also seeks to take over the entirety of the Feywild, so very few of the other Archfey ever have peacable conversations with him.
Tiandra, female, Queen of Summer, Court of Summer, Court of Stars
Mab’s summer opposite. Just as powerful, and probably just as cruel, but in a totally different way. Generally seen as “good” to Mab’s “bad”, though both terms are kind of obsolete in the realm of the Fey.
zodiacs – there is said to be an archfey for each of the zodiacal signs in our game world, though few have ever seen them, Court of Stars