Blind Study: the Merry Wanderer


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


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I am running an Arthurian fairytale game where the characters slowly realize the gritty, hard world they live in is full of magic, wonder and terror.
They have just discovered that the doors between the mortal world and Faerie have been opened by a learned (if unhinged) alchemist, seeking the usual font of pure mana, well of limitless power, etc. What's more, it would seem that the alchemist's success is largely due to help from Puck, an ancient faerie and advisor to the Queen of the Fae herself. Puck confessed that he hatched this scheme in hopes that a "True Hero" would march into Faerie and slay the Queen, so one of her other reincarnations (one that embodies the Queen's less kindly aspects, such as Autumn or Winter), would take the throne and send Puck out into the mortal world to sow mischief--spoil milk, steal infants from their cribs, start wars--as is his wont.
Puck has made it clear that the characters are NOT the heroes he seeks. That they're just a happy, entertaining coincidence for him.

So now, the characters are trying to find a way to foil Puck's s plan.
I would like to have a few contingencies at hand, depending on what they try to do and how they go about it.

What I'm asking is: if you were one of thar characters, what would you do?


Forge an alliance with the queen.

If it's at all possible, it seems to be the thing to do.


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1) Mindwipe/kill the alchemist who created the rifts, eliminate his research, and find a way to close them. If another hero can't come through, Puck's plan doesn't work.
2) Ally with the Faerie Queen, revealing Puck's plan to her, and let her take care of her traitorous advisor. Puck's her subject, so she holds the power over him, or he would have acted directly against her.
3) Install another powerful fae as the ruler of Faerie if the Faerie Queen seems unwilling to get Puck under control.
4) Possibly install a party member as the ruler of Faerie if neither 2) nor 3) succeeds and there was a way to do it that the fae wouldn't revolt against.
5) Fortify the Faerie Queen's seat of power against hero attack. It's better to unload a gun than shoot at a bulletproof vest, but sometimes that's the option you've got.
6) Reveal Puck's plan through diplomacy to the world and sic any adventurers fool enough to enter the rifts against Puck instead. But this would probably mean a huge change in the balance of power in Faerie, which historically is a Very Bad Thing.


Great ideas, thank you. A follow-up.

1. How would you go about closing the roads to faerie? There is a door "beneath every stone. Betwixt every tree and behind every mirror. Behind the rain."

2. Oona/Titania/Gloriana/Queen Mab is an alien being of neigh-unfathomable power, and quite mad. How would you go about revealing Puck's mischief?

The other opions are clever, but most likely outside the realm of possibility.


EldonGuyre wrote:
Forge an alliance with the queen.

Is that what the young folks call it these days?


blahpers wrote:
EldonGuyre wrote:
Forge an alliance with the queen.
Is that what the young folks call it these days?

I'm not young folks (58 this month), and maybe that's why I have no clue what you're eluding to.


EldonGuyre wrote:
blahpers wrote:
EldonGuyre wrote:
Forge an alliance with the queen.
Is that what the young folks call it these days?
I'm not young folks (58 this month), and maybe that's why I have no clue what you're eluding to.

forging an alliance with a queen = having relations with the queen = bedding the queen. It's an innuendo, as simple as that.


EldonGuyre, I had no idea what blahpers was talking about either.

As for closing the roads to Faerie, if you take your cue from Mists of Avalon, it seems that disbelief is the most effective approach. If people don't know where to look, or even to look at all, they won't stumble onto the roads in the first place.


J. A. wrote:
As for closing the roads to Faerie, if you take your cue from Mists of Avalon, it seems that disbelief is the most effective approach. If people don't know where to look, or even to look at all, they won't stumble onto the roads in the first place.

A little more info:

In this setting, most "sorcerers" are just charlatans out to sell baubles and fortunes. Most people believe that the dragons have all died out, and some doubt there ever were any at all.

The alchemist who accidentally opened the Queen's roads was the father of one of the PC's. When they found him imprisoned deep beneath the earth in a cage of fish bones and moonlight, he revealed the secret to his power; a tincture of distilled madness. You need to skew your perspective to walk the Unseen Way.
It used to be that only the occasional child or madman would wander beyond the fields we know, but now the bridges have been mended and anyone could tumble into Faerie, careful as they may be. Even more worrisome, anyone--or any thing--could wander out.


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Really interesting, and I love the eerie, mystical tone.

But the setting seems so well-thought out, with its own unique take on fairy tales, that I'm not sure what to suggest from outside that singular perspective.

How could someone un-mend the bridges? Is this something that you know as DM, or are you looking for answers yourself?

It may be that now the bridges have been restored, there is no way to effectively close them, and all that can be done is to set a guard from both directions--a guard on the faery side of each bridge, and a guard on the mortal side, each tasked with fending off accidental incursions from their respective homes, as well as defending those homes from those who might have slipped past the other guard.

Not a perfect solution, but if the bridges have been reconnected and cannot be severed, then it sounds like a permanent change to both worlds, which can only be mitigated rather than resolved.


J. A. wrote:

Really interesting, and I love the eerie, mystical tone.

But the setting seems so well-thought out, with its own unique take on fairy tales, that I'm not sure what to suggest from outside that singular perspective.

How could someone un-mend the bridges? Is this something that you know as DM, or are you looking for answers yourself?

It may be that now the bridges have been restored, there is no way to effectively close them, and all that can be done is to set a guard from both directions--a guard on the faery side of each bridge, and a guard on the mortal side, each tasked with fending off accidental incursions from their respective homes, as well as defending those homes from those who might have slipped past the other guard.

Not a perfect solution, but if the bridges have been reconnected and cannot be severed, then it sounds like a permanent change to both worlds, which can only be mitigated rather than resolved.

Thank you. I know offering suggestions within an unknown setting is like playing darts in the dark, but I figured even a few outside insights could potentially offer a lot.

I just wanted to see the directions people think in on a problem like this. I want to give the players enough agency to feel vital and responsibile, but have enough prepared to give them something polished. So far, most people seem to consider either talking with the Queen or finding a way to destroy the ways into Faerie. The first would be hard, given she is an utterly alien being of unimaginable power, but they may find some way to help her see Puck's schemes and chastise him for it (locked away in the moon for three thousand years?). Destroying the roads...I'd consider Oona to be at the "heart" of Faerie, so maybe all the roads eventually lead to her. Maybe breaking them is as simple as closing a door or shattering a mirror. Of course, that would mean one of the players has to stay behind, trapped forever...


Yeah, without knowing all the rules of the setting, it's virtually impossible to comment intelligently on something as major as limitless crossings between worlds.

Do you have a specific solution in mind that you're hoping your players will arrive at? Or are you hoping they'll come up with something that you can adapt on the fly?


J. A. wrote:

Yeah, without knowing all the rules of the setting, it's virtually impossible to comment intelligently on something as major as limitless crossings between worlds.

Do you have a specific solution in mind that you're hoping your players will arrive at? Or are you hoping they'll come up with something that you can adapt on the fly?

A common line of thought for the players/characters in the games I run like this goes "well, in all the stories, this is usually the point where X happens." It helps establish a theme but also gives all of us a common well to draw from.

Having a specific solution to a conflict in a game that hasn't been explicitly defined beforehand is, in my experience, doomed to failure. Either tell them what they need to do or leave it open.
What seems most likely after a few studies like this is that they'll try talking to the Queen and, barring that, destroying the pathways. I think from there I can keep things open but have some cool stuff prepared.


So the question is, how can they destroy the pathways? Is every rainshower a pathway, if Faerie lies just behind the rain?


J. A. wrote:
So the question is, how can they destroy the pathways? Is every rainshower a pathway, if Faerie lies just behind the rain?

That's where "faerie tale" logic comes in.

The way to Faerie is through an ancient henge on the dawn of the solstice. It's at the ends of a long, abandoned road. A gate in your day-dreams.

When they get to that point, I'll see what they come up with. Even if it's as simple as breaking a white stone bridge with humble brawn. They'll meet some sort of opposition along the way, regardless of what they chose to do, and there will be a chance that they simply fail. But the fact that "close the door" has consistently been #2 on the Player's Top Choice list is telling, and highly useful to me.


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J. A. wrote:
EldonGuyre, I had no idea what blahpers was talking about either.

Huh. It's a heck of a lot more common of a trope than the non-euphemistic version of the proposed action.

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