Or, the Fey Races
In sharp contrast to the short-lived humans, the fey (or the monsters, as humans sometimes call them) may live forever and learn many secrets of the world. Their origin is a mystery, perhaps even to them. Their motivations, too, are often alien to human minds. Their individual power is great and terrible, but not a one of their races is numerous. Among those who will mingle seed with humanity, their Spawn far outnumbers them. Most see themselves as superior to the Spirits that inhabit the world, with the exception, of course, being the greatest of their own kind who have persisted as Spirits after death.
Fiends are lanky, long-limbed terrors with upturned predatory eyes who stalk the dusk in search of those in need. It is said that they may appear as any size they wish, from the size of insects to houses, and that to the those of impure thought they may make themselves appear as beautiful as any.
They will offer nearly anything one could desire, for a price. They will deal with any need — be they human peasant, Hag queen, or a great spirit of the land. Most of a fiend’s power comes from what is owed him or her, and they leverage such pacts with incredible ease. With just one exception, every contract they make is written in their own blood upon a vellum of stillborn animals and kept upon their person until every term is met. Fiendspawn are the exception — to give the fiend a child of their own is the non-negotiable price of laying with one. It is their desperate hope that someday a new fiend, not twisted or infirm, will be born.
The most famous fiend is Rumpelstiltskin, and every child has gone to sleep — or, more likely, been kept awake — after hearing tales about him.
In their true forms, hags appear as wizened, decrepit old women with huge, hooked noses and horrid moles and warts upon their blotchy, bruised skin. Blackened, twisted fangs hang from their mouth and their breath is said to be as foul as bogwater. Only their hair retains any beauty of youth, and hags are renowned for the lengths to which they will go to care for their hair. Their decrepit appearance is deceptive as they possess superhuman strength and agility, capable of easily crushing a skull in their grasp.
To reproduce, a hag must lay with a male of another race to create Hagspawn, the females of which may ultimately transform in to true hags. Since only the most insane and suicidal of men would willingly lay with a hag, they are capable of glamouring themselves in false beauty. Their awful breath is the only sign which they can not obscure. It is a folk legend that kissing began as a means to distinguish hag from lady.
Although individually powerful, most hags will form a coven of three. Together, they work in covetous pursuit of power and beauty within a domain of their choosing. Children are the most common source — their young spirits represent untapped power while their bodies represent blossoming beauty. It is believed, for instance, that the White Coven long ago created Winter with spirits of the north in order to devour the lives of vulnerable children. Lesser covens may be content with influence over a single village. To whatever end, any outside their coven are regarded as pawns — including their hagspawn offspring — and whenever possible, hags delight in taking from other hags.
The most feared hag is the dreaded Night Queen, said to walk freely among the dreams of children and innocents. Night terrors are signs of her coming. It is also said that she holds a twisted court of fey, and that she is forever jealously plotting against Titania of the Seelie Court.
Just five feet tall at their best, trolls nonetheless manage to average three hundred pounds. Their features look like crude caricatures of true faces, and their bodies are covered in scattered patches of wiry brown hair over thick green hides. These squat forest creatures can be adequately described by a single word: hungry.
Trolls spend their lives in perpetual hunger, constantly on the search for new sources of food, in small groups of no more than four so as not to overwhelm supplies. When food is especially scarce, they are known to raid human granaries. Their hides render them virtually unstoppable — what does manage to injure is healed away in mere moments — and enchantments bounce off like so many pebbles.
When their bellies are sated, trolls are overcome with a hunger of their loins, perhaps to encourage them to make baby trolls while food is widely available. This may explain the phenomenon of trollspawn, since such conceptions occur after a successful raid and subsequent gorging. Trolls then naturally avoid their offspring, so as not to compete with them for food, which perhaps explains the belief that trolls will leave unmolested those places that harbor trollspawn.
Occasionally, others may try to feed — and thus retain — an army of trolls. It is said that the Night Queen keeps a quartet fed to protect her from would-be usurpers. It is also said that Rumpelstiltskin gave the Eldest Troll, said to be a ten foot behemoth and father of half his kind, a gourd which would never empty of wine and a bush always bearing ripe berries in exchange for some future favor.
Gnomes & Goblins
Gnomes are the little men who live in the small places of the world, from the hollows of trees to the underneath of beds. They are imminently gregarious, and they have hearts as generous as they are small. Bonds of home, family and hospitality are of utmost importance to them. It is said that a gnome who witnesses such virtue can not help but give a fine gift fashioned by their own hand.
Gnomes who witness a trespass against the sanctity of home and hospitality are keen to make it right. Three chances are given. First, the gnome arranges things back to how they should be. If the trespasser allows things to return, that chance is gone. Second, the gnome makes things worse. If the trespasser allows things to decline, that chance is gone. Third and finally, the gnome destroys some part of life that the trespasser does care for. If the criminal does not then finally atone, the gnome undergoes a change. It becomes a goblin.
The goblin’s only purpose in life is to keep home, family and any and all hospitality from one who does not deserve it. The goblin will sabotage everything it can get its little hands in to, and rare is the fellow who keep from total ruin.
Dwarves, Gnomes, Goblins, Sprites and More