Fae Player's Guide


Humanity fears the Fae, as well it should. Even the name Fae betrays their fear, coming from Fata, the Roman goddess of fate, and the MIddle English word Fey, meaning fated to die. Humanity sees in the fae an unpleasant and inevitable end yet they named them true, for the Fae themselves are destined to fade and die.

The Fae created the world; oh, none of the true Firstborn who sculpted the Mists into physical form still exist, but every Fae knows they made Creation. They created everything that lives and ruled their world for thousands of years. Groups of like minded Fae banded together and created realms to their liking, verdant jungles lush with life, arid deserts hot and stifling, temperate forests full of mystery, and lands of bitter cold frozen in ice. These groups became the Courts we know of today, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Then one of their creations, humanity, harnessed fire. 

The blaze they started spread throughout the entire world, burning and destroying the lands of all the Fae. The realms of Spring, with their abundant water and penchant for growth and rebirth, were the first to recover, and they saw an opportunity in the destruction. Instead of simply healing their lands, they gathered and enacted a great work of Unleashing, letting their magics run wild across the world and transforming everywhere into the realms of Spring. Rains fell in the desert of Summer, the cool forests of Autumn grew warm and the forests grew out of control while the realms of Winter saw abundant growth of both flora and fauna never before seen. Spring was pleased, for now the word was right, but the rest. The rest of the Fae raged and sought to first undo, then mimic, the great work of Spring.

Summer was the next to enact their own great work and change the world to suit them. Then Autumn, and finally Winter copied the acts and so the order of seasons was set, as was the War of Seasons. Each Court of Fae knew their way, their lands, was best and could not abide any other and each had now tasted what it was like to dominate Creation, and each had tasted the bitter fruit of seeing that domination ripped from them. The Courts went to war, a war where no quarter was expected nor given and total victory the only acceptable end. Those early Fae knew that if they waged war on this scale the world wouldn’t survive so they crafted the Great Oath, a Gold Oath with all of humanity. Humans would steward the world until the war was over and then hand it back to the victorious Court. So it was agreed and while the Fae began fighting themselves in earnest humanity inherited the earth.

The war went on and on without end and consumed the entirety of Fae culture. By human counting thousands of years have passed since that oath was made but they have forgotten. The world is theirs, and has been for so long that it has changed to suit them. Little superstitions of humanity started to inflict true discomfort, pain and finally damage to the Fae. Echoes were born, acts or trappings of humanity that are anathema to the Fae, but they paid no heed to the deeper meaning of these weaknesses. Instead they only bent their minds to how to use them in the War of Seasons. None of them saw the destruction that was to come.

In the 700’s the War of Seasons culminated in the Battle of Stone. 95% of the world’s Fae traveled to the Middle East and there most of them died. The Courts engaged in the most brutal battle of the entire war. No quarter was given, and none asked as all four Courts clashed with one other in a blood battle royale. When the dust and blood had settled the leaders of every Court’s corpses lay broken on the field. It is estimated only 10% of the combatants left the field alive. Many of the survivors lost their appetite for war. With the majority of the Fae in the world dead the Courts retreated to lick their wounds and find other ways to win the War of Seasons.

This is where we find ourselves , a scant few hundred years after the Battle of Stone and the Courts are still reeling from it. The Oath Truce is barely a thought in those who will, in 300 years, force it upon the Courts yet the War of Seasons has cooled. The Courts seek to raise their numbers, but refuse to relax their customs and so each Fae can Saine, or bring a new Fae into their Court, once every decade. Some see this as the prime opportunity to crush all opposition and finally win, mainly those who weren’t at the Battle of Stone. The new leadership of the Courts know that outright war again will see the destruction of all and so they wage war in ways other than death, seeking to show their superiority to all others in the vain hope that they’ll cede to their superiority. 

If this were all that the Fae had to contend with they could recover. However, especially the Autumn Court, are finally starting to see the true danger that humanity and the Great Oath holds. Echoes, it seems, were only the first step and as humanity’s mastery of the world had grown stronger it has become less and less hospital to Fae. Now a new God rules among them, a God whose rituals hold power over the Fae unlike anything before seen. If the War of Seasons isn’t resolved soon the world that the victors inherent is likely to be so firmly in humanity’s grasp that it cannot be given back.

The Game for Fae revolves around their Court, their primary Subfaction. Each Fae identifies with their Court integrally and their membership in it is the most important thing in most of their lives. Their Saining imprints upon their magic and Mein, changing both to incorporate the magic and tendencies of their new Court. Every Fae knows, in their bones, that their Court is the best and deserves to rule all others. This is an unquestionable fact. However the Battle of Stone changed the War forever and this competition between Courts is now fought as a shadow war of influence, espionage, alliances and betrayal. The interplay between courts is akin to all the cold war spy movies and can be just as campy or deadly, depending on the Fae involved.

Fae Origins

The Fae’s subfaction choices have a profound impact on the Character, perhaps more so than any other Faction. A Fae’s origin determines their Birthright, a special ability of all Fae that shares that Origin, their Weakness, starting dots in Mists, Weaving, and Dominions in addition to their default social standing. Their Court choice immediately provides allies and a plethora of enemies along with theming and common personality and behavioral traits. There are three origins of the Fae and each provide a different level of human interaction and familiarity as well as social and technical play.

Firstborn were the first creatures to spawn from the Mists of Creation. Fae legend holds that these first Fae walked wholly formed from the Mists and it is from them that all creation flows. The truth of this is hard to judge, for any Fae who could claim to have known one of these true Firstborn are long dead. Now a Firstborn is the child of two other Firstborn, they consider themselves to be the natural and true forms of Fae and are given higher social standing just for what they are. A Firstborn’s skill with the chaos of the Mists is unparalleled but their closeness to the Mists is a double edged sword, for they are farthest from the physical world and echoes affect them more strongly than others..

Inanime were the second form of Fae to manifest and they spawned from places where the Mists intermingled with the physical world and granted the elements and materials sentience and form. Born of the very earth the Inanime are the most inhuman of the Fae and are often mistaken for elementals or spirits. They hold a slightly lesser position in general Fae society, which is to say they are just below the Firstborn but miles above the Changelings. Their Birthright is tied to their Element, which is chosen at Character Creation (Air, Earth, Fire, or Ice). 

Changelings are the third and final origin of the Fae. Changelings are created in one of two ways, typically a Firstborn child is given to human parents to raise and the human child is taken by the Fae. Both of these children will become Changelings. The second way is much, much rarer. When an adult is chosen for inclusion in a Court the Saining Fae also enacts potent unleashings that either turn the human into a Changeling or kills them. No matter the manner of their creation most other Fae look at Changelings as lesser, half corrupted by the weakness of humanity and unworthy of being more than tools for their betters. This sentiment has shifted slightly since the battle of Stone, depending on the Court, but not enough to be called equals. Winter still sees most Changelings as little more than food, while Summer and Spring tolerate them on their own merits, with individual Changelings having to go above and beyond to prove themselves. The Autumn Court is the exception, knowing the threat and power of humanity, and Changelings make up the majority of the Court and hold roughly equal standing to the others. 

The Courts

Court is the most important aspect of a Fae’s identity and their Saining is the most impactful event of their lives. A Fae’s Court determines their Favored Dominion, which costs them less XP to learn, and immediately puts them smack in the middle of a conflict that has been raging since the dawn of time. It is hard to overstate how important their Court is to a Fae and how patriotic and fanatical each and every one of them are about their Court’s superiority. The least patriotic Fae makes the most rabid modern day political adherent appear sane and reasonable by comparison. 

Spring Court, the Court of change and paradox, the Spring Fae endeavor to change anything and everything to their advantage before humanity forgets them, or banishes them from the world forever. Spring, in ancient times, was the first Court to impose its rule over the others and none forget that they were the catalyst that started the War of Seasons. The court is a clash of interest, intent, and ideas. They are one of the most active Courts but their penchant to embrace change, and cause it, leads to a lack of cohesion that hinders their efforts. In the War of Seasons they are keen fighters and eager to achieve victory once and for all. In the mortal realm they seek to regain their mantle of relevance to the humans and to be feared and respected once more. Favored Dominion: Dawn

Summer Court consists mainly of Firstborn and Inanime and is a bastion of traditional and self righteous Fae. The members of Summer Court are alien in their views of humanity, and despite realizing that these mortals have changed significantly in the last few centuries, are unwilling to change besides them. They value tradition, honor, hierarchy, and respect for authority above all else. For these Fae, ignorance of the law is no excuse and they hold other Fae, as well as humanity, to the same laws, oaths, and standards that they hold themselves and meet out vicious punishment to those they find wanting. In the War of Seasons they are as uncompromising and merciless as the deserts they created, crushing all opposition under a stifling and relentless pressure of tradition and intensity. In the mortal realms they seek to once again gain prominence over humanity and make the usurpers know their place. Favored Dominion: Day

Autumn Court contains the most Changelings and in this Court they find the closest thing to equal standing with the Firstborn and Inanime as exists at this time. Autumn seeks to hide their true selves from humans, instead manipulating and using them behind facades of mysterious benefactors. The Autumn Fae realize that humanity is supplanting their incantations, rituals, and promises from the Fae with their new God and many work to understand this new stance and restore themselves to the half hidden overlords of old. Others seek to find ways to use humanity and the old oaths as weapons in the War of season. Regardless, Autumn seeks to understand humanity and how it is changing so they can best use that knowledge to attain victory. Favored Dominion: Dusk

Winter Court is a court of monsters and inspired many human legends of the creatures that live in the night's shadow. The Winter-kin live to inspire fear in humanity and, in general, are independent creatures. Winter has largely grown weary with, and disdain, the War of Seasons except when the other Courts seek to subjugate them. They lack any sort of loyalty to anyone or anything other than themselves and are the least organized Court. The Winter Fae seem incapable of empathizing with humanity, having neither a basis of understanding nor a starting point to understand the perspectives of their lives. Due to this Changelings are rare in the Court and often seen as little better than the humans that spawned them, which is to say food or another toy to terrorize. Favored Dominion: Night

Solstice Fae are those who, through either never being given the opportunity to join or have been cast out of, have no Court. Courtless and scattered the unSained are neutral in the War of Seasons. While most are ignored, disregarded or despised by their Sained brethren the Solstice have freedom unavailable to those belonging to a Court, but they pay a heavy price. Forced to make their own way they must rely only on their abilities, wits and strengths to survive and thrive. They often act as mercenaries, diplomats, messengers, and agents of extraordinary skill and usefulness due to their unbiased stance in the conflict. Others ignore Fae society and carve out their own existence on the fringes of Fae or human society, making what Oaths they can to sustain themselves while gaining what comforts of life they can. Favored Dominion: None  

The Differences in Darkwood Nights

The largest difference between our setting and that presented in Dark Ages: Fae is the Oath Truce, which hasn’t yet been sworn. This means that the Courts are still, technically, in a state of open war. However the realities of the Battle of Stone has the Court leaders loath to lose more Fae and so while the Courts continue to try and show they’re better than all the others, conflicts around the war rarely escalate to open fighting or murder. There are simply too few Fae left to risk losing them.

The second difference is the impact of Christianity. In the 900’s the full impacts were just being revealed to the Fae. The first instances of Changelings losing their magic to baptism or outright killing First Born and Inanime are just starting to occur and are not common knowledge. Not all Fae are impacted by Holy Ground or the trappings of Christianity and Islam however many are developing them as Echoes.

Finally the Patrons, the Faction of Fae spanning multiple courts that advocates for a sharing of power as the seasons change, has barely started to form but has gained almost no traction among the Courts and most Fae consider the concept antithetical in the extreme. Share rulership? Abandon the War of Seasons? Such ideas are, to beings whose Court is the core of their identity, too foreign and outrageous to consider yet the movement keeps slowly growing among the Courts.

Additional Resources

For more information you will want to read Dark Ages: Fae. These can most often be found physically in second hand book stores or purchased online PDFs/Print on Demand through Drive Through RPG. 

Why Play a Fae

The Fae exist in the twilight of their time yet don’t know it. They are a bundle of paradoxes. A mix of wonder, naivety, danger, and mystery that balances their chaos against their control, all at once. In this paradox lies both wonder and pain and provides an interesting backdrop with which to build your character. This juxtaposition filters through to most of a Fae’s being and gives them ample character concepts backed up by a wide range of flexible powers to play any archetype of character you desire. 

Fae are the least human of all the Factions available at Darkwood Nights and this presents some very challenging and unique roleplay opportunities. How does a Firstborn, a being of Mists and Magic who has never been human, think? How does an Inanime, a being of elements and creation, feel emotions? These characters offer the chance to explore truly alien mindsets and ways of thinking and being that differ so much from our daily lives that it is hard to not see the appeal. Their alien nature also lends to their costuming, and the Fae open a wide range of make up, cosmetic and garb choices that would make little sense for a more grounding Faction.

The War of Seasons immediately immerses the Player in story with allies and enemies both. This story can shift to politics, social maneuvering, trickery, diplomacy or outright violence as the Fae desire and so each Fae has a wide range of freedom in the type of character they create and how they engage with the War.

Finally the Fae’s Oath ability makes them incredibly useful to anyone. They can use their Oaths to cement an agreement, manipulate others, or secure actions they need. With specialization these Oaths can grant others powers and abilities otherwise unavailable to them. The Fae themselves have no pre-existing prejudices for, or against, the other Factions of the World of Darkness beyond seeing all of them as lesser than themselves, of course, and so are free to engage with anyone, often dragging those they befriend into their wars and conflicts.

Fae Attributes

Fae have additional Attributes that set them apart from the other Factions. They are Mists and Weaving, Mien Traits, Kenning, Gramayre and Dominions.

Mists Pool is one of the Fae’s two energy pools and holds all the potential and chaos of creation. As a Pool the Fae starts Game with Mists Points equal to their Mists Pool. A Fae’s starting Mists Pool is determined by their Origin. Its primary use is to Unleash a Dominion power or to use Bestow Kenning, granting another character the powers granted by their Kenning Attribute. 

Weaving Pool is the other energy pool of the Fae and is the result of their reason and intellect constraining and controlling the chaos of creation and forcing it into ordered form. Weaving is structured but versatile and, while Mists is a Fae’s raw power, Weaving is their finesse and control. Like Mists a Fae’s starting Weaving is determined by their Origin.  Weaving has four main functions:

Mien Traits represent the innate and natural powers of the Fae. These are Attributes rated 1-4 and every Fae begins play with 1 Dot in a Mien Trait. Like other Attributes each Mien Trait’s Dots must be purchased in order and cannot be skipped. A Fae may purchase a new Mien Trait by spending the required XP and adding the first Dot to their sheet, they do not need to be taught and, by extension, cannot be learned. A power granted by a Mien Trait that has its cost listed as Energy X may be used by spending either Mists or Weaving Points.

The Mien Traits can be found at the bottom of this page and the number of Traits a Fae possess determines the number of extra Echoes they have (besides their Court Echo).

1 Mien Trait: 1 Echo

3 Mien Traits: 2 Echoes

7 Mien Traits: 3 Echoes

10 Mien Traits: 4 Echoes

Kenning is the Fae’s magical sight and is an Attribute rated 1-4. All Fae start with Kenning 1.

Dot Powers

  1 Sense Human  |  Read Magic

  2 Sense Oath

  3 Sense Faction

  4 See Invisible

Gramayre is where a Fae separate’s their skills from other Fae. Gramayre has two effects, the first is a set of universal powers that any Fae with Gramayre unlocks like every other Attribute. These are:

Dot Powers

  1 Cost: 1 Weaving Point - Repel

  2 Cost: 1 Weaving Point - Resist Status

  3 Sense Aura

  4 Sense Condition

The Second effect is determined by which of 3 Specialities the Fae chooses at Character Creation. All Fae start with Gramayre 1 and must choose between the Oaths, Treasures, or Mysteries Specializations. See page 97 for the Gramayre Charts.

Important: Gramayre selection cannot be changed at a later date and the Fae can only ever possess 1 Specialization. At each Dot Rating of Gramayre a Fae gains additional abilities based upon this choice.


Dominions are the Magics of the Courts. While Mien Traits represent the powers Fae develop on their own, Dominions use the raw chaos of the Mists tempered through the lens of the Courts to manifest their will. While this means each Court has a favored Dominion that is easier to learn, all Fae, regardless of Court, can learn any Dominion. Each Dot Rating of a Dominion has at least 4 powers associated with it and these powers can be used in two ways, Unleashing or as a Cantrip.

An Example of Chaos of Choice: Finny the Fae has Night 3, Dawn 2 and Dusk 1. They have 8 Weaving. They may choose 8 total powers from across all of those Dominions as their cantrips for this game. Next game they may choose a different set of 8 powers as their cantrips.

Abilities of a Fae

The Abilities of the Fae, even more than their magics, are what sets them apart from other Factions. The versatility inherent in their Oaths alone makes them incredibly valuable to everyone, but especially Humans who gain extra benefits from having Oaths with the Fae. Their Oath Circles open up even more opportunities to regain Weaving Points while their Miens ability allows them to appear human, and change their human appearance at will. Safety of the Mists protects them death and they are immune to the Corruption Character State due to Corruption.

Oaths are one of the most versatile powers of the Fae, allowing them to make agreements with anyone and use the power of the Mists and Weaving to enforce them. There are three types of Oath; 1. Iron Oaths, which are the least potent and bring responsibilities and risks to both parties, 2. Stone Oaths, where the Fae’s side of the bargain is provided by the Mists and so all of the risk is on the Oathbound and finally, 3. Gold Oaths, ancient and potent oaths whose crafting is all but forgotten. All Fae can craft Iron Oaths, Gramarye Specialization: Oaths are required to craft Stone Oaths, while Gold Oaths can only be unlocked by spending Kismet.

A Fae can only make 1 Oath with each individual, however a single character can be Oathbound with multiple Fae. All Oaths must be recorded and the Fae player will have Oath Cards they can print to record their Oaths. These have the following fields:

If either party breaks the Oath they must inform the other Player as soon as possible and suffer the Oaths consequences. It is impossible to get out of the consequences of any type of Oath, if the consequences are that you give all your coin to the other Player then you cannot hide half your coin and give what is on you. If the consequences are that your Character dies then they move to the Dead State as soon as the Oath is violated. You must suffer the full consequences of breaking the Oath to the letter.

Example Iron Oath: “I, Wishwil, shall grant you the sight to see what is Invisible each day we are together, for a year and a day, and in exchange you, Reyn, shall pay me 1 Pfennig each day I grant you this power. If I fail to grant you the site may I not be able to see the invisible for a year and a day and if you fail to pay me may you forfeit all your coin to me.” The Fae can use their Grant Power Kenning to give the human their Kenning 4 See Invisible power and the human can pay them coin. Neither of these actions require outside supernatural assistance

Example Stone Oath: I, Wishwil, shall shower you with riches from the Mists. In exchange you shall entertain me with a story each day. Woe be to you, William Rostwell, if you fail in this duty for you shall lose your voice for a year and a day.

Example 1: Margaret violates a Gold Oath and informs the Fae. The consequence is that any who break the oath must give the Fae all of their coin but the Fae knows that Margaret has no coin. Instead the Fae chooses Harold to suffer the consequences instead, the richest man in town and also part of the Gold Oath. The Fae informs Harold that Margeret has broken their oath and Harold must give him all of his coin.

Example 2: As above but the Fae decides to have the Oath effect everyone. Everyone in town must give the Fae all of their coins after being informed Margaret has broken the Gold Oath and the Gold Oath ends.

Oath Circle is unlocked through the Oaths Gramarye Specialization and allows a Fae to make a group Oath between themselves and up to 5 additional Fae. Only Fae can be part of an Oath Circle. To create an Oath Circle the Steward, the Fae with Oath Specialization high enough to make one, gathers all of the Fae together who will be part of the circle and each, in turn, swears to protect and serve all the members of the circle. Then the Steward pays 1 Weaving Point for each Fae in the Oath Circle and it is complete. Once part of an Oath Circle a Fae cannot leave it until the Steward disbands it and a Fae can only be part of 1 Oath Circle. To Disband an Oath Circle the Steward spends 3 Willpower Points plus an additional Weaving Point per member of the Oath Circle. So to disband an Oath Circle with 4 Fae would cost 3 Willpower points and 4 Weaving Points

Being part of an Oath circle confers two effects. The first is that you can call upon another member of the circle by stating, “By our oath,” to perform a service for you. Upon completing that service the serving Fae regains 1 Weaving Point. Each member of the Oath Circle may call upon each other member in this fashion once per day. The second is that the members of the Oath Circle can collaborate on creating Treasures. To do this the Fae with the highest level of Gramarye with the Treasures Specialization is the Crafter, and so the limits of the Treasure’s creation are based on their Dots in Gramarye. Any Fae of the Oath Circle may pay the Willpower Pool costs for creating the item and any Power on any of the participating Fae’s Character Sheets can be added, not just those on the Crafter’s sheet.

Miens are the Fae’s ability to hide their Fae natures and walk among humanity unseen, appearing as one of them. We understand that, in canon, Firstborn have no human Miens and so must use other magic to appear human, however that magic is simple in Canon and represented already in this Ability. This Ability grants two powers, Fae Mien, and Human Mien.

Safety of the Mists is the Ability that helps protect Fae, who otherwise are quite frail when compared to beings such as Vampires or Werewolves. When a Fae is at 0 Hit Points they are Incapacitated as normal, however they do not enter the Dying state and so do not continue to take Aggravated Damage every minute. Instead they remain Incapacitated until they take their Health Pool in Aggravated damage and die, or 10 minutes. After 10 minutes in this State the Fae slips through the MIsts and returns to the realms of the Fae to recover. They cannot be played for the rest of that Game, but may come back at future ones. The Fae is traumatized by this event, and gains a new Echo each time they must rely on the Mists to save them. If the Stasis Power is used on a Fae at 0 HP pause the timer for entering the Safety of the MIsts.

Corruption is a Fae ability that simply grants them: Immunity Corruption. Fae can never gain the Corrupted Character State.

Weaknesses of a Fae

Iron, for reasons lost to time, iron is anathema to the Fae. Fae take Aggravated Damage from any attack with the Iron Damage Type.

Imbalance represents the dual nature of Fae and how they must balance the Chaos of the Mists with the Weaving of creation. A Fae may never have a Mists Pool that is more than 2 Dots higher than their Weaving or vice versa.

Echoes are a Fae’s main weakness and represents the changes to the world wrought by humans and the distancing from the Mists and Fae they have caused. They directly effect, and can harm, the Fae’s very being. Echoes are very personal to each Fae and none are affected by the same things. We have a list of pre-approved echoes (see Appendix below) however if you wish to use one not present there you simply request it during character creation and it can be used with unanimous Rules Team approval. 

Echoes are obtained at Character Creation, gaining Mien Traits (see above), using Safety of the Mists, or at the Players discretion. In Canon any actions humans do while the Fae is vulnerable (read 0 Willpower Points) may become an Echo if it is directed at them in an aggressive way. This is entirely up to the Player, and no mechanic at Darkwood Nights forces a Player to add Echoes in this way.

Each Fae has an additional Echo based upon their Court chosen at Character Creation. 

Echoes can only be triggered by non-Fae. If a Player knows, OOG, that the Character enacting one of their Echoes is a Fae it holds no power over them. A Fae should not try to disguise themselves to trigger other’s Echoes and doing so will be cheating. Echoes impact a Fae differently depending upon how they are encountered. There are 4 levels, Visible, Presence, Directed, and Called Out.

Echoes can be Resisted by spending a Weaving Point. When this is done for Visible or Presence Echoes the Fae can ignore them for 10 minutes. When used on Directed or Called Out Echoes the initial damage is Resisted, but further Weaving Points must be spent to Resist further damage each minute.