10 Signs Fey May Be About

Creatures of nature and the wilderness, the fey are subtle creatures.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


Few creatures have more stories told about them than the fey and explorers plunging deep into the wilderness are almost certain to pierce their domain.

Use the table below, to generate subtle signs for the party to encounter that might indicate fey are about.

  1. The wind whistles through the trees, creating an eerie almost pipe-like sound. Strangely, the tree’s boughs do not move in the wind.
  2. The branches of this towering oak are intertwined and twisted–almost as if they’ve been braided. The branches spread far out from the tree and create an area of restful shade (or perhaps meaning gloom).
  3. Faint snatches of otherworldly pipe music come to the party’s ears on the breeze. It is impossible to accurately determine the direction from whence the music comes, but it is surprisingly pleasing to the ear.
  4. A multi-coloured light bobs through the trees some distance away. From the movement of the light it looks like whatever is carrying the light is moving (gracefully) through the tree canopy.
  5. Two goblets and a wine bottle seemingly made of the most delicate and fragile glass sit upon a mossy boulder. If touched by mortal hand, they disintegrate as if composed of nothing more than smoke caught on the breeze.
  6. Faint, hoofed tracks lead through the undergrowth. Careful examination, reveals the creature was two-legged and walked very lightly. The tracks disappear at the base of a large tree.
  7. A faint scent hangs in the air. Reminiscent of lilacs in bloom it brings visions of bucolic summer days into the minds of those smelling it.
  8. Incongruously, a stand of wild roses grows dense and thick in a clearing in the forest. Huge blooms cause the plant’s stems to droop toward the ground and their heady scent fills the air. Unskilled PCs may think the roses natural, but those skilled in nature lore can determine the whole clearing has been carefully cultivated.
  9. Carven wooden wind chimes hang from the boughs of this huge beech tree. Ornately carved, they’ve been carefully carved to make different sounds when they clack together.
  10. Glimmering dust of many hues covers the grass growing in this wide, sun-dappled clearing deep in the forest. Small tracks of humanoid creatures criss cross through the dust in a riot of movement. Either a mighty battle or a party took place here!

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This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017. For more, check out our Free Resources page.

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4 thoughts on “10 Signs Fey May Be About

  1. Some others I’ve used in my own game: circles in many media from pebbles or mushrooms to standing stones, a single ring of gold on top of a mossy boulder, crop circles, drawn on the floor of an alley with stale beer, and once from moonlight filtered through cultivated pine boughs on certain nights.

    I’ve also had the PCs hear a cougar’s roar only to realize it’s issuing from a surprised chipmunk. For corrupt fey I’ve had milk curdle, beer suddenly sour, plants noticeably wither, and having hair on PCs or an animal companion spontaneously tangle.

    Also combine these with the “village customs” post for really unique settings. I did a dwarf and human town with a prosperous quarry, scenic highlands and the “pious” trait. Each spring when boulders in the highlands inexplicably rearrange themselves it’s a sign that their patron deity is close. The dwarves brew a special beer all year in anticipation. With solemn ceremony the beer is delivered to a rustic henge older than the settlement and overlooking the quarry. After the place is once again deserted the deity drinks the beer, is pleased and fashions a new stone element at the henge to express his blessings for the year. Really its just a korred that’s been living in the hills above for centuries. Mr Broadhurst as always, top drawer! Thanks!

    • Thanks very much for adding these to the article. It’s jolly decent of you; they’d definitely work in Kingmaker or some other outdoor adventure. (And–of course–thanks very much for the kind words!)