Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Bigger They Are…

… The more likely my players are to squish ’em.

We’re gonna be fighting a few giants in the coming days. Ogres, ettins, trolls, hill giants, stone giants, frost giants, cloud giants, ogre magi, athach, hill giant wereboars, giant rats, giant ants, giant scorpions, bigger giant scorpions, you know. The usual.

What are the 5e rules about Big Things?

First, official rules. A medium character can move through the space of a huge character as though it were difficult terrain, and vice versa (PHB 191); you can’t end there. Squeezing (PHB 192) is difficult terrain, gives disadvantage on attacks and dexterity saves, advantage on attacks against yourself. You can’t grab someone more than one size larger than you.

The phrasing on opportunity attacks is “leave a threatened reach”, so squeezing provokes, as does this size maladjustment bully/sneak movement thing.

Second, nearly-official rules from the DMG (page 271 ish) which we are using anyway and house-ruled modifications.

Climbing onto a bigger creature. You may take this action any time you could initialize a grapple. Make an Athletics or Acrobatics check contested by the giant’s Acrobatics. If you win, you enter its space and cling; while in this state, you have advantage on attacks against the big ‘un (and move with it); the big guy is now difficult terrain for you. Breaking from the DMG: Each time you are hit while climbing, you must repeat your athletics or acrobatics check (your choice) against a DC of half the damage or 10, whichever is higher, or else fall from a height equal to the space of the creature; if the creature grabs you you are automatically dislodged. Also breaking from the DMG: While you are climbing, you double weapon dice on melee weapon damage to your target, as long as you have been climbing for a number of rounds equal to your difference in sizes.

Creatures can Trample. As an action on its turn, a creature may roll, stomp around, slap the ground; each creature smaller than the trampling creature in its space must make a dexterity save or take bludgeoning damage by trampler’s size; a successful save results in half damage.

  • tiny or smaller: N/A
  • small or medium: DC 10, 1 damage + str mod
  • large: DC 12, 1d6 damage + str mod
  • huge: DC 15, 2d6 damage + str mod
  • gargantuan: DC 18, 3d6 damage + str mod

Creatures take this action as a reaction to falling prone. Some creatures deal differing amounts of damage or differing save DCs. If the creature can’t use the ground as a backscratching post, they may not be capable of trampling.

Creatures can Overrun and Tumble. As a bonus action, a creature can make an athletics (this is an overrun) or acrobatics (this is a tumble) check, opposed by a single creature’s athletics or acrobatics (their choice). If the attacker succeeds, they can move through the target’s space once during their move. Note that if they want to do this as a full action, they can shove instead of overrun, knocking the victim prone and allowing movement through their space. Some creatures (horses) get to trample when they overrun for free.



More Alchemicals

5e has the following (SRD-ish) alchemicals, joining the poisons table to a few entries in the equipment chapter:

Item Type Price per Dose
Assassin’s blood Injury 150 gp
Burnt othur fumes Inhaled 500 gp
Crawler mucus Contact 200 gp
Drow poison Injury 200 gp
Essence of ether Inhaled 300 gp
Malice Inhaled 250 gp
Midnight tears Ingested 1,500 gp
Oil of taggit Contact 400 gp
Pale tincture Ingested 250 gp
Purple worm poison Injury 2,000 gp
Serpent venom Injury 200 gp
Torpor Ingested 600 gp
Truth serum Ingested 150 gp
Wyvern poison Injury 1,200 gp
Acid Splash 25 gp
Alchemist’s Fire Splash 50 gp
Antitoxin Ingested 50 gp
Holy water Splash 25 gp
Oil Splash 1 sp
Basic Poison Injury 100 gp
Potion of Healing Ingested 50 gp

Okay. There’s kind of a gap here, right? I’m not the only one who sees it?

We need more alchemical items. Cheap ones in the 25gp range and maybe a few costly ones in the 250 gp range. I kind of like “worth five times its weight in gold”.

The most obvious one is the potion of greater healing (the 4d4 + 4 one), which should be the next-tier-up uncommon pricing — let’s call it exactly 250 to set our expectations. At that same point, we could imagine a few rarer alchemical-ish potions:

  • Smokebomb (10gp): Thrown up to 20 feet, it heavily obscures a 10 foot cube for 1 round and then fades. A smokebomb has no effect if there is a strong wind.
  • Flashbang (10gp): Thrown up to 20 feet, all creatures within 10 feet must make DC 10 constitution saves against being blinded and DC 10 constitution saves against being deafened.
  • Belladonna (10gp): If consumed, DC 10 save or be poisoned for 1 hour; the victim may spend an action vomiting to repeat the save up to 3 times (after which it lasts the full duration). Shapechangers take 2d6 poison damage on their first failed save. Lycanthropes who have not yet seen a full moon who are reduced to 0hp while poisoned in this way are cured, even when restored back above 0 hp.
  • Smokestick (25gp): A sort of negative-torch, a smokestick burns for 10 minutes and heavily obscures a 10 foot cube while burning; it can be thrown up to 60 feet. A strong wind dispels the smoke in 1 round.
  • Rust Monster Saliva (25gp): Thrown per acid, with a hit imposing a -1 penalty to nonmagical ferric attacks, damage and AC (per rust monster touch; non-metallic arms and armor are immune, metallic objects destroyed at -5/armor AC 10/shield bonus +0 as appropriate). Ferric creatures or large objects take 2d6 acid damage on a hit (and a nice DM will impose the attack penalty also, but technically: no, since it’s not a nonmagical object).
  • Potion of Regeneration (50gp): For the next minute, the consumer gains 2 temporary hit points at the start of each of their turns.
  • Potion of Greater Healing (250 gp): Heal 4d4 + 4 hp.
  • Greater Potion of Regeneration (250 gp): For the next minute, the consumer gains 5 temporary hit points at the start of each of their turns.
  • Soonaroot Tincture (200 gp): Similar to a few of the 2nd level reparative spells, straight-up removes all of the following conditions from the drinker with a remaining duration of 1 minute or less: blinded, deafened, paralyzed, poisoned, charmed, frightened.
  • Bezoar (300 gp): Similar to protection from poison; the consumer has advantage on saves against poison and the poisoned condition, resistance to poison damage, and may make an additional save immediately (with advantage!) against each poison to which they are currently subject.

More to come.


Taking a city door to door

I erroneously titled my previous article with this one’s title.

Last episode: Seareach as she was. This episode: So You Have A Big Ruined Pile Of A City And Want To Invade And Explore It With Eight To Twelve Guys What Do You Do? And How Does The DM Run It?

First: This is actually a dungeon. It’s a somewhat friendly dungeon with relatively easy passage between rooms, but it’s still a dungeon. We’ll break out some combination of the overland and room to room exploration rules, we probably won’t be using torches, but… dungeon. It’s even a “dungeon” built OVER at least three separate actual, literal dungeons. Doesn’t matter; dungeon.

We’ll need zones of control to help us communicate the map; we’ll need random encounter tables, we’ll need faces, and we’ll need rumors.

Secondly: As this is a “dungeon”, the “rooms” are wards, neighborhoods and building complexes, the “doors” are streets and intersections (and alleyways, and literal gates, and rooftops, walls, and the occasional pass-through a complex), and the “hallways” are avenues.

Call the zones, neighborhoods and complexes “zones” for ease of terminology, call the connections between zones “borders”, and we won’t call the halls anything — they’re just wards that multiply intersect.

Dungeon rooms have qualitative statistics. Oh, you don’t necessarily think that they do, but they do. Size and shape, those translate directly. Number of entrances and exits, too. Notable features. Lighting levels. Construction within the room and on the walls. Height of ceiling. Whether it’s got an encounter keyed or not, a treasure, a trap.

We have the same thing here! How quickly you can move through the area, and by what means (horses and carriages, foot traffic, parkour, canals and vaporettos)? How bad is enemy attention in the region, and how attracted to you is it?

Thirdly: From now on, I’m going to stop structuring the article this way, because it’s not working for me.

Zones have types. Using my encyclopedic knowledge of what every city has (as modified from this SimCity walkthrough), I choose:

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Government
  • Waste
  • Martial
  • Education
  • Park

Zones have descriptions of their layout and borders.

Zones are analogous to rooms; rooms have some combination of encounters, treasure, traps and clues. Zones have some combination of Encounters (that is: keyed encounters in the city that are obvious without needing to be sought out when a zone is entered), Assets (… treasure, but treasure for a faction. Armories, hospitals, union halls, guard towers, symbolic monuments; track these locations in number of XP donated to the cause and changes in a Zone’s statistics, because I don’t want to build a war minigame just yet), and Faction entries (more passive encounters and reactive traps, representing the presence of the faction in the area).

Interestingly, because this is an ongoing reactive adventure, we also need to discuss how Factions track influence and so forth through our “dungeon”. Most dungeons don’t have a strong amount of party-reactivity written into them; they have an if-else structure to them but tend to be very un-gamified when it comes to actually running the inhabitants. Our city adventure is literally about that interaction, though, so… each faction has some amount of Influence points (IP) in a zone, representing control in an area. The party also has a sort of influence point score — a Party Infamy in a given zone.

Tying it all together:

West Fishmarket (Poor Commercial Zone)
Cramped and twisted streets, surprising pop-up markets, crowds, and the everpresent smell of fish.
Movement: Twisted streets Navigation DC 15, Crowds difficult terrain, parkour DC 10, +5 cover from the crowd.
Borders: North Fishmarket via many crowded streets, Open Wharves via Fishmarket Alley (Black Masks), Sutown via Barker Avenue (Tussel’s Guards)
Encounter: 1 Blackrock patrol + 1 troll + 1 ettin shaking down Linesman’s Catch, a fishing consortium of 10 human commoners.
Faction: Blackrock armory (10ip, 2 ettins, 10 ogres, 10 vor berserkers, 10 vor orcs, 10 vor commoners)
Faction: Ka’ric safehouse (12ip, 2 vor spy, 1 vor agent, 5 goblins, 1 goblin boss, 3 vor commoners)
Faction: Blackrock watchtower (2x 2ip, 2 vor orcs, 2 orogs, 4 vor soldiers)
Faction: Blackrock patrol routes (3 orc, 1 orog)
Assets: Black Market (10% chance of 1 rare item, 1d8 uncommon items, 3d6 common items; all items at PHB price; 1 influence anywhere for 1.2Kgp 1d6 times per week)
Current Infamy: 0

And, for instance,
Barker Avenue (Comfortable Way between West Fishmarket, Sutown, and Gaol End)
Long avenue with drover’s carts connecting the hall of justice to the tangle of West Fishmarket.
Movement: Cobbled and busy. Movement is unrestricted but there are many vor in transit; spotting characters with >10 infamy in any adjacent region will result in 1d4 Blackrock patrols and 1ip.
Encounter: A flowergirl (commoner) being trampled by a frightened riding horse; the horse’s merchant (commoner) owner horrified; a vor orc worg rider (and worg) ferrying a message to the Sutown Mercantile Exchange (1ip).
Faction: Blackrock messenger routes (5x 1d6ip, 1 orc worg rider)
Faction: Blackrock patrol (3 orc, 1 orog)


Let’s talk influence and infamy. The factions use influence as though it were inspiration, making the DCs to evade or trick them +5 difficulty. At any time the DM may expend influence from a zone to impose this difficulty boost, representing learned secrets, extra manpower, screening techniques, control of goods, and other soft-power moves. They may also discard points to produce an inopportune patrol, etc.

The party can seize ip from the foe. The faction that lost the infamy loses it; the party gains 1d10x10% of that value in infamy in that zone (round up) and that same value in their own influence (round down) which they can donate. The faction will shift resources around during the night to the zone or withdraw entirely as a result of its current influence values. It’s pretty much “treasure” — kill the guys with the influence, take down the symbols of their rule, and install your own power base instead. One point of influence is about

Below 5 total infamy, each zone with infamy automatically ticks down 1 point per short rest.

Below 25 total infamy, each zone with infamy automatically ticks down 1 point per long rest.

If you are ever above 25 total infamy, you do not automatically tick down at all until you are below 5 total infamy.

The DM may discard infamy, too, oh yes. That is the other half of the equation, representing preparation and tactics. This can grant advantage on attacks, checks and saves, and disadvantage on the party’s attacks (representing help actions from massed goons).

Otherwise, you have to take action to reduce infamy — skill checks, bribery, finding evidence. The good stuff. I’m not going to provide rules for this, not really: it’s basically treasure.

In addition to knocking over enemy strongholds as a source for infamy, the party can also be spotted, as you can see above — if you have infamy, it will tend to snowball. Each time a faction interacts with you, roll 1d20+ current infamy level. If it’s >10, you gain an infamy (even a friendly faction! Because there’s a lot of action going on in some zone between you and a friendly, you’re more likely to encounter that faction, and they’re more likely to have demands on you…).

Okay. Draft 1 complete.


Seareach: The city guide

My players have stolen a pirate ship, and are making a play for a brits-versus-danes reconquista of the contested city, Seareach.

Seareach was a sea-elven colony on the southern edge of the Iutenlaw which fell in the summer of 1015 to King Nosnra. It had grown to a major prominence in Berlaine due to the presence of the Spiral Tower of Wizardry (elf: Rictirion; a scholar’s conclave notable for the mysterious figure Nüstag Nir) and the Storehouse (elf: Nómession Earaloë; a library and archive of things taken from Yaralay), the healers at the Feygarden (elf:Athaegardh, a grove of healing in the center of the city), and the Lomeander (elf:Lómëando, opera house and center of the weaver’s guild).

The political upheaval after the Vorish War 15 years ago led to the disbanding of the Melian Arvanaith, the human- and elven- ranger corps than had patrolled the Iutenlaw north of Seareach (based in the Nómemelladan). It also, perhaps more significantly, led to the shrinking of the guard at Point Titius, Badrion’s Wall and Giantwatch. It paradoxically led to an increase in the investment of the mercantile guilds; the new shipyard at Loess was about to launch its first fleet of ships, and the storehouses of Lombello, Upright and Croysters doubled in size in the relative peace and safety of the elves.

The city controls access to the inlet of the Dagger Sea, the rich pearl beds within, and the trade goods of the elves.



Seareach (in the year 1014)

Population: 22,000 people. By the census of the year 1000 its population was 10K humans,  8K elves, 3K gnomes, 1K vor and half-vor.

Government: Oligarchy. Nominally, the minority elves rule the city itself, and the human settlement that surrounds it has a feudal overseer and a governing board of merchants. Practically, decisions are made in Council, with four representatives for the Arvanaith, four representatives for Berlaine, and advisor for the gnomes.

  • Arvanaith
    • Prince (Mélamar Aril) Aramil Larethian
    • Loremaster (Istyar — effectively bursar) Miël Larethian
    • Master-singer (Lindyar  — effectively steward) Sirion Celon
    • Herurímyar (ranger-general) Soveliss Dureath
  • Berlaine
    • Lord Sidor Badrion
    • Trademistress Selah Lombello
    • Shipmaster Benji Loess
    • Trademistress Tracifer Croysters
  • Gnomes
    • Archmonitor Philamina Hoppingfrog

Defense: Multiple; about 350 elves, 400 humans, 1000 vorish mercenaries, and an additional 400 human militia.

Sidenote: I break the defense down into which statistics to use. These are creatures chosen from the srd ; I recommend also using the Foe Expansion dmsguild product since the SRD has a weird spread of CRs. I’ve linked the SRD “line” of troop types, but the actual fielded troops should target lower CRs for most units than the SRD includes.


The city is defended by several military installations. The Spiral Tower is the elven fortress at the old center of the city, while Point Titius was the human-created keep for their defensive and administrative center. The fortified northern gates of Badrion’s Wall represent another. The recent influx of mercenaries necessitated barracks and structures; the newly constructed Vorbish Quarter is a final military structure, hastily assembled.

Fun fact: The sindarin word for “home” is “bardh”.


What is a ghoul, and why are elves immune to them?

Ghouls have a pedigree. The word itself is from ghûl and, like the good book says, they’re graveyard dwellers, flesh eaters, and their name comes from “to seize”.

I don’t think that “to seize” is why the ghouls of Chainmail got their paralytic touch, but it’s an interesting link. Folklorically, we should be looking at shapeshifters and nearly-vampires, but pop culture went the other way: undead sharp-toothed cannibals. A lot of zombie movies might better be described as ghoul movies; the zombies leap rage-filled from the grave to eat the protagonist, and there’s nary a pufferfish to be seen.

I used to think that the elven immunity to paralysis began there in Chainmail, but it is not so: Gygax just did it for fun. Negative energy can, apparently, paralyze; positive energy can, apparently, overcome it. I find that super unsatisfying, actually!

I remember during the 2e days, in a Dragon article, they bandied around the idea that maybe the ghoul’s touch was a charm-based paralytic effect, that for some reason it sent the touched to a dreamland. That strikes me as particularly off-base for what pop culture has otherwise done with the eaters of the dead. It’s even worse than “Gygax did it”.

I think that I shall rule instead that:

Ghouls’ (and Ghasts’) claws are grabby (matching their greedy, eating theme); on a hit they grab for free, and while grabbed you are restrained (normal rules to escape, DC 10).

They no longer paralyze by touch.

This is differently powerful than their current paralytic touch, but also has a lot more in-world justification. It also combines hideously well with the ghast, whose poisoned aura makes escaping from a grab harder. It might have the side effect of knocking the ghoul slightly below their CR 1 designation; if it does, I might give them an extra point or two of bite damage, but I imagine it’s fine.

This is also kind of a nerf to the elf, since the elf normally gets a nice resistance against this common low level foe. Now they don’t. I think that’s okay; it’s not like the elf gets a nice resistance against the gelatinous cube or the carrion crawler or something. If the elf absolutely needs an anti-undead specific boost, I might make them immune to magical aging (including that of the ghost), since that’s similarly corner case but has the advantage of fitting in with their longevity.


Let’s talk new content. We have grabby ghouls. We have stinky grabby ghouls.

We need big fat monstrous eaters (the “ogre” of ghouls); we need the actual shapeshifter ghûl, some berserker ghouls, and of course the ghoul lord.

Eater Ghoul
Large undead, chaotic evil
Armor Class 10
Hit Points 52 (7d10+14)
Speed 30 ft.

15 (+2) 10 (+0) 15 (+2) 7 (-2) 7 (-2) 6 (-2)

Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages Common
Challenge 3 (700 XP)


  • Multiattack The Eater Ghoul makes two melee attacks.
  • Feed Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d8 + 2) piercing damage. If this hits a target with fewer than half its maximum hit points, the eater ghoul gains 10 temporary hit points.
  • Claws Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) slashing damage. If the Eater Ghoul isn’t already grappling a target, the hit creature is grappled (escape DC 10) and restrained while grappled.



Medium undead (shapechanger), chaotic evil
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 27 (5d8+5)
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft (shapeshifted only)

13 (+1) 15 (+2) 10 (+1) 10 (+0) 10 (+0) 10 (+0)

Damage Immunities poison, mundane weapon damage
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Common
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Special Traits

  • Shapechanger The ghûl can use its action to polymorph into a small jackal or back into its true form, which is a winged humanoid ghoul. Its statistics, other than its size, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.


  • Bite Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) piercing damage and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
  • Venom Spit Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 15/60., one creature. Hit: Target is blinded for one round and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
  • Claws Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) slashing damage. If the Eater Ghoul isn’t already grappling a target, the hit creature is grappled (escape DC 10) and restrained while grappled.




Too lazy to write the berserkers and the lord. Ennui!

The Planes; The Three Lands of Faerie

In my campaign, there were once three elven queens, mighty in lore and sorcery.

Each of them went supercritical and blew a piece of the campaign world off the map. We’ll get back to this.


There’s this thing in D&D where the planes are exceedingly clinical. It cuts off adventure: these are the demons, and they call themselves the Tanar’ri (which means I need to call my elves the Erdoëri, doesn’t it?) and the 1st layer of the Abyss-their-home is suchlike, and the 66th is suchlike…

And that’s the Abyss! the infinite, the unmappable! Every single other plane is even more clinical, because the entire plane is described in a few words. It’s the fantasy problem of the Nounworld writ large; to make the land have a specific character, we need to describe it, and so we describe it, and so we have summarized entire worlds in the space of a paragraph.

I don’t want that for my campaign. It’s a little hard to avoid (after all, everything has to have some sort of summary, right?), but I don’t think it’s inevitable. So I took steps: the world where your character was born is, as is traditional, the Prime Material Plane (the Prime for short). No more need be said about it.

Then, there is the Nether, the ocean which touches all shores. This is the plane of mists and shadows; the echo of what’s real. It combines the properties of the D&D-classic Ethereal and Shadow planes; a sort of funhouse mirror of the real world haunted by spirits. It’s a very “physical” other world, if that makes sense: it’s a place you can go, and while the rules are different (most real-world objects are like mist in the Nether, so you can sort of swim through them), your body works the way you expect and physics are still physics. An observer in the Nether perceives objects in the Prime mistily, and can will themselves into the Deep Nether to step around such objects. The more “worked” by human hands an object is, the deeper into the Nether one will have to pass to circumvent it; a living being may be bypassed with little effort, but the written word cannot be bypassed without risking being lost in the Deep Nether. There are currents and undertows.

The prime also has a “Twin”. There’s a somewhat-primelike world which shares our region of Shallow Nether called Gehenna. It’s a twisted hellscape, of course; it’s also known as the Dungeon Dimension, the Wormworld, and Hell; it’s a prison and a torture chamber. More on Gehenna later, but note: it’s the ultimate funhouse dungeon, a twisted and ancient ruin filled with magic, danger and treasure.

Of course, I have the worlds of angels and devils, ifrit and djinn. I mean, that goes without saying, surely. But let’s get back to the topic of elves. Three elven sister-queens, Fymory, Illyria and Yaralay. Each as an avatar of destruction. Each as the mother of a world. I’m sure there was a reason for that digression into the Nether and Gehenna, and the nature of the planes.


Fymory is the largest coherent realm, a single magical kingdom two hundred miles on a side with a shared culture and language. Of course, it’s ruled by the mortal-hating Fomor and haunted by the goblins and other creatures who serve them. It was taken entire into twilight, with every living creature, several hundred years ago. Its edges are high and misty mountains, and it has no sun, but its high moon rotates through a period of gloaming each “day”.

The courtiers of Fymory are “unseelie” elves. They’re kidnappers of children, they’re enchanters of sailors, they’re tempters of the faithful. They also have with them all the fruits of the old Elven empire: so long as they’re exposed to the Fomor Moon each night, their goods remain magically potent. Their shoes are invariably boots of elvenkind, their cloaks of elvenkind, their armor mithril, their weapons the same. If they’re removed from that place, they fade: often still retaining some magic, but occasionally turning to ditchwater and leaves.

Lycanthropy originated in Fymory as a weapon against man. Humans taken into Fymory are often transformed into beasts, so you encounter a lot of bestial hobgoblins and bugbears in that place (since they’re beastie people, or at least close enough for me).

Illyria is the next eldest, slightly larger than Fymory, and extremely disjoint. When Illyria went critical, her bloodline was caught up in the swell of wild magic. Whole islands of the Pessuary island chain disappeared; deep forest glens and hidden vales; mountain peaks and dark grottoes. The denizens of Illyria are place-spirits, and the boundary between one of their realms and the Prime is often a loose one. Each of the Illyrians can navigate their genealogical tree somewhat, visiting with their kin or sending travelers to visit with others within their myth.

Each of the realms of Illyria is different, and feels like (wait for it) a fairy tale. The logic is warped by the Illyrian inside: they’re a sort of petty god within their domain, but generally a very limited one. The Event that gave them their power also limited their conscious control of it, so visitors have to navigate the rules it defined.

The actual island of Illyria herself can be reached from certain sailing patterns in the Pessuaries, under the correct stars. She is a retreating hostess, and those who have returned from her realm report a land of timeless ease and vegetal wealth.

Yaralay is the truly eldest realm of fairy. Physically, it was once at the northern pole; its destruction marked the creation of those now termed the Sea Elves. It is rumored to be an aquatic realm, dark and strange. Rumored: because all gates which reach it from the north lie within what is now Iutenland, and the giants have no love for the elves.


The important piece of tech here is that these are sort-of-kind-of countries. While they have laws-of-physics style overarching rules, that’s not the point. The point is that Yaralay is an elf-land, but a specific elf-land: a cold and blasted aquatic realm, unknown save for its shores. Fymory is well known, and we’re at war with them. Illyrian realms are places of natural beauty or fairytale logic, and their inhabitants are a little tragic (because they were plucked from their lives in a breath, due to the influence of their queen-and-mother).

So: no map. A classification maybe, but each species can buck the genus.