A mischievous fey encounter with a character, magic item, and creatures with stat blocks for use in D&D 5e.
Deep in the forest is a tree that towers over the rest, marking the location of an ancient glade. This glade is a popular resting point for travelers but is also the home of a capricious fey that enjoys playing a particularly dangerous game with those that visit its clearing. While the game is usually not lethal, those who are not experienced in dealing with the twisted words of feyfolk are sure to continue their journey with several new bruises.
The Fairy Glade
The dotted remnants of a path break into a clearing, arriving at the roots of the colossal tree. More ruined pieces of whatever the path once was are visible but all else is long overgrown, consumed by the forest. It is stunningly verdant in the warm sunlight. Rich greens and browns shine around the shade of the great tree, and a pool of water shimmers amidst its roots. You hear the songs of birds and the scampering of other critters coming from their hiding places within the surrounding forest, completing the cozy, inviting atmosphere with their natural melody.
The glade still bears the ruins of a very old site of unknown worship, from a time when the massive tree was seen as a location, or possibly a source, of power. These traditions have faded along with the people that upheld them, leaving the area to be claimed by the forest. While no longer as significant as it once was, the glade does still function as a checkpoint for those using the tree as a landmark to travel through the forest. And it was these travelers, in a place as beautiful and magically rich as the glade, that caught the interest of a fey visitor.
Rest in the shade. Trace amounts of magic are still suffused into the plants and earth of the glade. A creature that spends its Hit Dice to recover hit points while within the glade recovers an additional number of hit points equal to its Constitution modifier for every Hit Dice spent. Additionally, any creature that is reduced to 0 hit points while within the glade is immediately stabilized.
The glade described is based on our very own ‘Fairy Glade’ battle map (which comes with its own night variant for during the encounter!) but would also be a perfect fit for the ‘Sacred Spring’ and similar locations. You can even join them together into a larger, more intricate environment!
Between the chirps and whistles of nearby birds, one, in particular, catches your attention. Long, melodic notes draw you to the pool of water nestled in the tree’s roots, where you spot the top of a person’s head peering over the rocks. What you can see of them is very small, with short, side-swept hair and wide, emerald eyes. They look back at you, matching your gaze and seeming to wait to see what you do.
With a closer view, you are able to better identify the creature in the water. It is mostly human, though far smaller and with sharper, exaggerated features, pointed ears, and large eyes. It wears leather clothing that looks to be bound with vines and leaves. And extending from its back are four dragonfly-like wings, relaxed and floating on the glistening surface of the water.
Gren is a dusk sprite that once made their way to the glade, curious about the potency of its nature magic, and decided to stay after noticing how many interesting visitors passed through the clearing. They were enraptured by observing the kinds of people that would arrive. Of course, as a fey, Gren was not content with simply watching them, and began to exact their own brand of mischief upon the visitors.
As a way of entertaining themself, Gren has taken to ‘testing’ those who come to the glade. They beg for assistance in banishing what they describe as a “shadow of themself,” claiming that they were long ago cursed by a powerful mortal that sought to steal the magic of the tree. Gren valiantly drove off the dark mage but paid the price for it. They must now contain a malevolent facsimile of themself, else it be allowed to roam free and tarnish the land that they care for so dearly. Every detail of this touching tale is a lie. Fortunately for Gren at least, it does succeed in luring many of the travelers into their game.
If someone agrees to aid Gren, they give a thankful warning of their shadow’s danger before allowing themself to be taken over by the curse. Read the following when this happens:
Gren closes their eyes, their expression wincing and contorting in discomfort. Their head then drops limp. The color drains from their face and body, a darkness spreading outwards as the glade’s daylight is overtaken by a sudden, eery twilight. Gren’s eyes flitter open again and they give you a smile.
The objective that Gren gives is for their cursed form to be defeated in combat; a straightforward and tantalizing task for any adventurer. For Gren, their game is simply tricking their visitor and seeing what they can make them do. This means that they and their minions act chaotically and with an emphasis on mischief and fun during their encounters. They are indifferent about who wins or loses and call an end to combat, revealing their trickery, once either side is knocked unconscious.
Regardless of the encounter’s outcome, Gren allows the visitors to leave and grants them a handful of fey-touched luckstones as a reward, assuring them that the stones are not another of their tricks, whether or not the travelers asked.
Wondrous item, common
A smooth, white pebble that is marked with a rune. The surface of the rune sparkles with colors that change depending on the angle one looks at it from.
When you or a creature within 30 feet of you that you can see makes an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can use your reaction to expend the stone and roll a d6. On an odd number, the result is subtracted from the result of the target’s roll. On an even number, the result is added to the target’s. The stone then dissolves entirely.
Fey of the Glade
As the light fades, so too do the sounds of animals in the forest. They are replaced by flashes of movement in the corners of your vision, always darting out of sight before you can turn to face them. But each time, they grow closer.
In addition to fighting under the guise of a cursed version of themself, Gren also calls upon aspects of the glade to assist them in combat. These come from the ambient nature magic that surrounds the tree, animating fallen souls and attracting lesser fey. Gren maintains an element of control of these other creatures, having them embody their own spritely demeanor and both distract and attack targets alongside them.
Two pairs of insectoid wings blur behind a tiny, humanoid form. Its skin is a pale, shadowy lilac, pierced by shining blue eyes that watch you as it darts through the air.
A variant of the more common sprite, the dusk sprite is far more capable in a direct confrontation. Its spellcasting gives the dusk sprite a better ability to confuse opponents, which is often used to weaken targets against whatever other fey are accompanying the sprite. It also wields a more expertly crafted shortbow that strikes almost as keenly as that of a larger creature, though its poison is less potent.
Green light sparks in the air, collecting in a condensed orb. It bobs around weightlessly, small bolts of the same ghostly energy arcing to anything that passes nearby and leaving behind a sizzling liquid where it strikes.
The forest wisp is a close cousin to the will-o’-wisp, born from the souls of those that died in areas of powerful nature magic. It embodies this magic, utilizing acid and poison rather than lightning, but is overall weaker than the will-o’-wisp and trades its most potent ability, Consume Life, for a pulse of poisonous light.
A tangling of bark and vines forms into a small, humanoid body, raising a crudely carved mask to its face. It jolts suddenly, frantically looking around as it rouses to life.
Though the woodsprite inhabits the same forests and shares many abilities with the dryad, its behavior could not be more different. The smaller fey are chaotic and mischievous, always moving in groups and using their Charming Gaze to hold their targets enraptured, spawning many stories of travelers losing time in the forest. That is not to say that woodsprites are not dangerous, as their speed and resistance to magic make them difficult to pin down in combat. Combined with Charming Gaze, a group of woodsprites can quickly overpower even capable fighters.
In addition to these creatures, Gren may also summon awakened shrubs and trees, other fey, or even charmed forest animals. Choose whatever creatures would be balanced and most interesting for your party to face. You could use creatures from some of our previous articles, such as ‘Mushroom, Moss and Monsters’ or the recent ‘Garden of Graves’.
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