11
\$\begingroup\$

I'm planning on making an Archfey warlock for an upcoming Eberron game. To flesh out my character's backstory, I want to know more about what kind of "fey" entities such a warlock might form a pact with.

For context, the character's backstory is that they are a Valenar elf who's ancestor that he has to emulate was an "Eldritch Knight" or similar, some kind of battlemage anyway, except that my character isn't very strong or smart (STR and INT are his dump stats), so he instead formed a pact with an archfey being to make up the difference, becoming a Pact of the Blade warlock so that he could better emulate his ancestor.

The reason I've picked the Archfey archetype is because the Valenar seems to be rather connected with fey, at least considering the various "Valenar xxx" animals listed in Eberron: Rising from the Last War.

I can of course work with my DM to just "invent" an archfey if need be, but I wanted first to see if there are any existing named archfey within any Eberron lore (from any edition of D&D if 5e doesn't have anything), and bonus points if that archfey is associated with the Valenar elves at all.

\$\endgroup\$
8
\$\begingroup\$

The Prince of Frost

One option is the Prince of Frost, detailed in Dragon Magazine 374 and discussed here on Eberron author Keith Baker's blog. As I understand it the Dragon article was written to fit in any D&D setting, but it was written by Keith Baker with the specific themes of Eberron and Thelanis in mind.

This Fey could be a suitable, if somewhat villainous, patron for a Valenar elf. The Prince's story is that of a scorned lover - he awaits the reincarnation of the mortal he loved and the warrior his beloved spurned him for, and spends the rest of his time tormenting mortal heroes out of spite.

That fits with one angle on the Valenar - their culture is focused on emulating the ancestors through conflict, so finding mortal heroes and making life difficult for them isn't exactly out of your area of interest. It might make for some tension with the rest of the PCs, and you may have to prioritise your goals against the Prince's; depending on what exactly you and the other players want out of the game that could be a positive or a negative!

Other options

There are some alternatives that don't answer the question you asked (and which I wouldn't post without having led with a published Fey that might be suitable), but which might be useful to you.

Adapt a real-world fairy story

Keith Baker also writes here about ways to adapt real-world fairy tales as Fey in Eberron, using the example of the Sleeping Prince (based on the Sleeping Beauty story).

For a more Valenar angle on that, you could take the recurring figure of the Woodcutter or the Hunter, as seen in Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and the like - an outsider figure set apart from more civilised folk, who does the dirty work of killing that others might scorn, but who can be swayed (as in the Snow White story) by appeals to whatever kind of virtue they value, would work very well as the patron for a PC. Such a fey could easily find common ground with the Valenar.

The Hexblade patron

Some of your reasons for considering an Archfey Pact might also support the Hexblade from Xanathar's Guide to Everything - drawing power from a legendary cursed weapon, rather than a lord of the Fey, would also fit well with Valenar themes.

As a culture that focuses on the stories and deeds of heroic warrior ancestors, it makes sense that legendary weapons might come up in some of those tales. The earliest ancestors were a slave insurgency against the Giants in Xen'drik, so the flavour focus on Shadow does also fit - stealthy violence is very much a part of Valenar culture.

There's also a good hook in the Valenar section in Rising from the Last War:

The ancestors of the elves fought goblins for control of this region many thousands of years ago. Relics of this struggle are still scattered across Valenar and the Blade Desert: ruins, haunted fortresses, and battlefields that have slipped out of alignment with time.

That opens up further options; whatever cursed blade you've pacted to could be an old Tairnadal Elf relic, perhaps one lost in one of these magical anomalies, but could as easily have roots in the goblin cultures the elves fought - the Dhakaani Empire were some of Eberron's most gifted creators of magical weapons, and claiming power from a trophy claimed from a foe is, again, very much in line with the Valenar focus on warrior-heroism and their roots in a rebellion.

The other reason I mention the Hexblade is the mechanics - medium armour proficiency, shield use, and the option to use Charisma for attack and damage rolls fits nicely with the idea of your character as someone who's emulating a warrior ancestor, but using their pact magic (and high Charisma score) to make up for lacking the aptitudes their ancestor's followers would usually rely on.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I didn't like the suggestion of the Prince of Frost at first, but after reading the Dragon magazine and, especially, that first link by Keith Baker, a lot of things are making more sense to me. That first link alone is worth the +1 I just gave you. One question though; although I'm still pretty happy sticking with Archfey, I'm curious as to why Hexblade would suit Valenar themes? Could you expand on that a little (even if just as a comment)? \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jun 25 '20 at 12:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS Sure thing, I'll edit something in - didn't want to go in too deep on something that wasn't directly answering the question in case you were sold on Archfey's mechanics as well. \$\endgroup\$ – LizWeir Jun 25 '20 at 13:34
1
\$\begingroup\$

The Tairnadal, which is the group of elves who founded Valenar, worship their ancestors by emulating their ancestors. But this is not simple reverence—the Tairnadal believe that they are each the reincarnations of their ancestors, and by emulating their past lives, they can recover their memories—their own memories, to their minds.

(A warlock, of course, is perhaps uniquely likely to flaunt tradition, but in such a case, their heritage perhaps doesn’t matter at all.)

Thus, a Tairnadal’s first choice of patron is likely to be whatever patron their ancestor had. The Keepers of the Past have rather meticulous records of this kind of thing, for exactly this reason. In short, at least for your typical Valaes Tairn (those Tairnadal who focus on Valenar, which not all do), the question to ask is less what patron a modern elf in modern Valenar would choose, and more about which patron an elf in Valenar of 10,000 years ago would choose.

The difficulty then becomes that fey don’t have a large role in Eberron. They are relegated to the moon of Thelanis, which does not get much description beyond its mere existence and status as the fey moon. Thelanis manifest zones would be places to encounter them in Eberron, but only one of those is explicitly documented, the Twilight Demesne, and that is in far western Eldeen, almost as far from Aerenal and Valenar as it is possible to get. The Greensinger druidic circle is known to travel to Thelanis as part of their initiation, but that’s all we get. No explicitly-defined archfey are known.

So you are going to have invent your own or import one from elsewhere. The Prince of Frost, as mentioned in LizWeir’s fine answer, is by Keith Baker, so that’s something. Many other possibilities exist.

As for how you or your ancestor met this fey, the most likely route is probably by sea—the Twilight Demesne is fairly near the west coast of Khorvaire, and we know the elves of Aerenal were and are accomplished sailors. That life might be more appropriate than the typical mounted marauder, if you went this route.

Manifest zones to Thelanis are likely find in many great forests—and your ancestor had just recently come from the jungles of Xen’drik. That is another possibility.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.