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Thread: The Seelie

  1. #1
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Hey Folks,

    Here's a basic writeup of the Seelie/Unseelie fae that I created and thought I might share with the community. While I'm pasting the description, a Word version can be downloaded for easier viewing on the link below.

    The Seelie and Unseelie Fae
    Racial Template

    While the hosts of Faerie exhibit a great multitude of forms, most are spirits given form by the Seeming, perhaps shaped by the masters of the Seeming, the Seelie. The Unseelie are Seelie who have given in to their dark natures, but their mastery of the Seeming is not diminished. All true Seelie share an inherent connection to the Seeming, the fabric from which the Shadow World is made.

    The Seelie have an intuitive ability to sense and manipulate the Seeming, an ability that grows with time and practice. At 1st and every other level thereafter, the Seelie gains access to all enchantment and illusion wizard spells of the given level, and may cast any 3 spells of that level as a spell-like ability. The exception are cantrips, which even the youngest of Seelie perform with ease. All save DC’s are Charisma-based (DC 10 + spell level + Charisma modifier), though all spell-like abilities are divine in nature.

    HD....... Spell Level Access
    1-2...... 0-level Glamours (at will)
    3-4...... 1st (3/day)
    5-6...... 2nd (3/day)
    7-8...... 3rd (3/day)
    9-10.... 4th (3/day)
    11-12.. 5th(3/day)
    13-14.. 6th (3/day)
    15-16.. 7th (3/day)
    17-18.. 8th (3/day)
    19-20.. 9th (3/day)


    Racial Modifiers: Str –2, Dex +2, Con –2, Wis +2, Cha +2
    Lowlight Vision (ex)
    +2 racial modifier to Disguise, Listen, and Spot. These skills are always considered class skills for the Seelie.
    Pass Without Trace (su)
    Woodland Stride (su)
    Nondetection at 10th level (continuous supernatural ability)
    Regeneration 5/cold iron and Timelessness in the Shadow World. All (Un)Seelie lose these abilities in the physical world. In addition, Seelie faeries also lose these abilities in blighted areas of the Shadow World, while Unseelie lose them in consecrated areas.
    Alignment: usually chaotic good (Seelie) or chaotic evil (Unseelie)
    Advancement: by character class
    Favored Class: any divine spellcasting class*
    CR +2
    Level Adjustment +3

    *Seelie classes: while Seelie characters may be of nearly any PC class (including Noble), they favor divine spellcasting classes. In addition to the standard divine caster classes (cleric, druid, and ranger), Seelie also have a divine version of the bard class. This is identical to the PHB version except the magic is of divine rather than arcane nature. Seelie use the Seeming and the natural forces of the Shadow World as a source of divine power. As such, Seelie are unique in being clerics and druids without deities.

    Seelie clerics may choose any 2 of the following domains: Air, Chaos, Charm, Good, Healing, Luck, Moon, Travel, and Trickery. They must be of good alignment, and always channel positive energy.

    Unseelie clerics may choose their domains from the following list: Chaos, Death, Earth, Evil, Suffering, Terror, Travel, Trickery, and Winter. They must be of evil alignment and always channel negative energy.

    Seelie and Unseelie druids are not priests of Erik, they are servants of nature itself. Much as humans, they represent the beneficent and destructive aspects of nature respectively. They are always neutral good (Seelie) or neutral evil (Unseelie) in alignment.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    I know that illusion and enchantment are the two typical schools of a trickster, but given that Seelies are drawing their power from the shadow world I would think Illusion and conjuration would be better choices. These are the two schools which draw their substance from the shadow/fairie world.
    Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a night. Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    I don't like the cleric aspect. This is because it is contrary to the all BR clerics are associated with gods campaign concept. It also gives them the ability to turn undead - not real likely in the shadow world (IMO).

    I do like the druid aspect though as that reflects where they came from.

    How about a different type? Or making them fey.
    Duane Eggert

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    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    I don't like the cleric aspect. This is because it is contrary to the all BR clerics are associated with gods campaign concept. It also gives them the ability to turn undead - not real likely in the shadow world (IMO).
    Well, the divine aspect is really tricky with the Seelie, because they are described in the 2e material as being the divine "half" of the elven race (that split from the Sie). So how do we really justify barring them from being clerics but also barring them from using arcane magic? The only other good solution, IMO, is to do what I did with the bards, and say they are capable of having divinely-powered versions of the arcane classes. Undoubtedly this will make them look much more like "shadow elves" - carbon copies whose class/magical differences are mainly semantic in game effect.

    On the other hand, this really goes hard against the grain of the core rules magic to open up the arcane classes as divine ones, even if it is unique to the Seelie. But believe me, it's something I've wrestled hard with.

    Limiting them soley to being druids and rangers as divine casters, otoh, seems overly restrictive for an entire race that should be every bit as capable of diversity as the Sidhelien.

    How about a different type? Or making them fey.
    A different type of druid? A different racial type? What do you mean here?

    I assume they are fey creatures, hence their regeneration 5/cold iron. However, because of their direct descent from the Sie, I decided to model them as a noble race of fey creatures, which makes their template more outsider than fey in appearance. The comparative template I used was closer to half-celestial than fey, and like the Sidhelien they advance as character classes, not by racial hit dice. The other fey races are definitely more "stuck" in their racial molds and limited (so it seems to me) in character development, which seems fine for spirit-type creatures. Faeries in the shadow world are to me Fey with the (spirit) subtype.

    I know that illusion and enchantment are the two typical schools of a trickster, but given that Seelies are drawing their power from the shadow world I would think Illusion and conjuration would be better choices. These are the two schools which draw their substance from the shadow/fairie world.
    These are racial abilities which I based not on the trickster theme so much as the folklore of faerie magics. They are notorious for their enchantments and mind-altering abilities -which are equally appropriate as illusions and enchantments. Tricksters are definitely common amongst the Fae, but so too are enchanting maidens, chivalrous warriors, frolicking revelers, and malicious marauders.

    I don't think conjuration is necesarily appropriate for natives of the Shadow World - here I think illusion can (and should) accomodate the conjurations - shadow magic in particular can duplicate conjuration and evocation, only it is illusory in base nature. The Seeming is the very essence of illusion IMO - it can be shaped however the mind can concieve it, but is limited in its power if not believed in. Enchantement is more like a fey specialty, a derivative power of the Seeming rather than a direct manipulation of it, but something I believe should be just as natural to the Seelie as shaping the Seeming itself.

    That's where I was coming from on all of that anyways; I'm not too interested in re-arranging the classic traits of the Fair Folk because I want to be able to portray them much as they appear in folk tales and legends. In fact, I'd far rather shape the Shadow World to match the folklore than the other way arround (making the Seelie match a pre-concieved notion of the Shadow World).

    I think conjuration is definitely closely related to shadow magic, but more appropriate for non-natives - it seems to me the magic of calling on creatures or forces from the Shadow World into the physical world. I don't really envision the fae as great summoners so much as charmers, persuaders, tricksters, and sensualists. Enticing, bewitching, empassioned...these are quintessential faerie traits, and this should be especially true of the social elite (whom one would expect ot be the most charismatic and capable, generally speaking).

    Osprey

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    I meant creature type like fey which you seemed to latch onto.

    Perhaps instead of making them a template they are just made a race in and of themselves. Removes that template stuff, which doesn't really work IMO for races. I see templates as something that can be applied onto something else, maybe that's just me though.

    The whole divine magic issue really does cause problems. Maybe they have access to all standard cleric spells. Domains are something associated with gods and that is the real problem here I think.

    Perhaps a new class Seelie/unseelie-divine caster. Similar to a cleric but with some differences. No turn undead, no domains but perhaps something added - more of the druid spells perhaps, I'm not certain of how to proceed. But the standard cleric just doesn't seem to fit them at all, IMO.

    Also I see no reason to include a divine bard class for them. There is really no mention of that in Shadow Spawn only that they can't cast (arcane) magic but they can cast (divine) magic. A divine bard just makes things too weird game mechanics-wise.
    Duane Eggert

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    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    The problem I'm running into concept-wise is that the ascribed powers of the arcane Sidhelien are really ideal for the Seelie of folklore. The arcane vs. divine distinction of D&D is, in real life, derived largely from the same folklore that has the Sidhe/Seelie/fae prolific with very non-arcane magics. In foklore there is no clear distinction between Seelie and Sidhe and other fair folk. This is more of a Birthright-specific introduction, and one added in a late supplement rather than the core rules. I suppose it sounded like a good idea at the time, but int he world of 3.x mechanics I agree - arcane magic is far more fitting for them, at least the spell lists are.

    So it leaves me at a crossroads of frustration; the divine vs. arcane distinction is a neat idea, but it just doesn't fit very well at all. This is conspiculously exemplified by the fact that 2e Shadow Spawn has no decent examples of truly divine spellcasters, just fey creatures with some neat tricks and a rather obtuse system for dealing with the Seeming. Neat concepts, poor execution to be bluntly honest (sorry, whoever wrote Shadow Spawn; I reckon it was scribbled out in a hurry without much playtesting).

    I don't know...druids are ok, I agree, but I really hate prohibiting them from being casters of the main illusion/enchantment spells - the huge majority of which are arcane. It's like the Sidhelien stole all the classic traits of the faerie, leaving their shadow halves with what? :blink:

    *sigh*

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Another possibility is the spontaneous divine caster from UA (pg 64).

    It could be modified to be a sorcerer (using wisdom as the prime ability - since I haven't yet seen a divine caster that uses anything other than Wisdom as the ability).

    Give them the druid list (which matches the text in Blood Spawn (sorcery that worked with nature (priestly magic)). This reads very much like druid magic to me. Keeping it to the druid list also makes the tie that both elves and seelie come from the land itself (or the elements - also part of the land, IMO). But instead of other druid abilities use the definition of the sorcerer class with a different spell list (i.e., druid one). That would give them a familiar (not really a bad concept and also serves as a point of similarity between elves (sorcerers) and seelie (sorcerer-druids).

    I would not give them arcane spells since that is a point of the split. The one exception could be the seeming related spells.

    What they (seelie) got out of the split was the fey type (including DR and other issues). Also since they cast divine magic they never suffer any arcane spell failure chance. Basically if combine the seelie and elves we should come pretty close to capturing the Sie as they were.

    As a further option we could add a variant like was done for elves for nature magic only make it seeming magic and they are divine spells.
    Duane Eggert

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    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    It could be modified to be a sorcerer (using wisdom as the prime ability - since I haven't yet seen a divine caster that uses anything other than Wisdom as the ability).
    Complete Divine actually has multiple examples of Charisma-based divine spellcasters. These are always spontaneous (sorcerer-type) casters, as opposed to those who prepare/pray for spells. Charisma also has many precedents in divine spell-like abilities for various monsters, esp. outsiders. It seems to be possible to apply it universally to arcane and divine spellcasters, its defining role being an intuitive or "natural" grasp of magical power, rather than a studied or supplicant approach to spellcasting.

    Give them the druid list (which matches the text in Blood Spawn (sorcery that worked with nature (priestly magic)). This reads very much like druid magic to me. Keeping it to the druid list also makes the tie that both elves and seelie come from the land itself (or the elements - also part of the land, IMO). But instead of other druid abilities use the definition of the sorcerer class with a different spell list (i.e., druid one). That would give them a familiar (not really a bad concept and also serves as a point of similarity between elves (sorcerers) and seelie (sorcerer-druids).
    Actually, I think the Druid class is pretty balanced as is, and Seelie shapeshifters seem perfectly approporiate to me. Druids are the one divine class that does fit them well as is. The druid spell list however is quite weak compared to the other lists. This is no accident, it's why druids have an impressive list of class abilities in addition to 9-level spellcasting; their spells of a given spell level are often less potent than clerics or sorecerers.

    Also, I don't have a great deal of interest in creating a brand new core class for single NPC race. The headaches and certain opposition just aredn't worth it here.

    Again I say: the Shadow Spawn distinction of Sidhelien=arcane and Seelie=divine is just a bad distinction in a game system with such distinct differences. If Seelie are limited to divine magics, it seems ridiculous to bar them from the primary divine class, the cleric, unless we provide equal compensation of some other sort.

    The idea of allowing divine Seelie casters access to certain arcane spells (such as enchantment and illusion spells) might be a very good idea - possibly even offsetting a Seelie cleric's ability to turn/rebuke undead.

    I'm still uncertain about banning them from the cleric class, however - while the mortal races of Aebrynis must worship gods to gain divine powers, must it necesarilly be the same for an immortal race of spirit creatures? Certainly the PHB provides examples of non-deific clerics, who do get access to 2 appropriate domains of their choice. Such clerics typically serve a spiritual ideal or cosmic force rather than a personified deity, something which might be sufficiently appropriate for divine-only Seelie casters.

    Finally, concerning undead: are you certain the Seelie would really be incapable of channeling positive ort negative energy to turn or rebuke undead? The Seelie and Unseelie courts are traditionally associated with the natural forces of Life and Death respectively (the Seelie ruling in the summer half of the year, the Unseelie ruling in the winter half), and positive/negative energy seems a pretty direct representation of those primal forces. Why, therefore, wouldn't it make sense that Seelie mystics [clerics], scions of life,healing, and growth, have powers to turn back abominations of the natural order, the undead? This being even more pressing when the uhdead are also the growing blight stomping over their dwindling domains on a regular basis? And the opposite might also be true of the Unseelie: as twisted dark sides of the Seelie, corruptions of the natural order, they might very well become adept at controlling and creating the undead, spirits of death and corruptions of the natural order. Folklore is rife with associatiations of the undead and the malignant spirits/faeries of the Otherworld. Personally, I think the idea of Unseelie necromancers makes for good villains and a creepy "extreme dark side" element.

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    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    So does anyone else have any ideas/preferences/opinions regarding the Seelie? I'm curious how others may have handled this aspect of the game in the past, especially in a 3.x system.

    Osprey

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