Monday, January 13, 2014

Fading Lands

In my current "Sea Princes Campaign" story arc the PCs are searching the Suss Forest for the elusive ruins of the Lost City of the Suloise. Among the strange dangers and mysteries they've encountered in their aimless wanderings has been a Fading Land, namely the faerie Court of Rings. Fading Lands were introduced to Greyhawk during 2nd Edition by Carl Sargent and this is one of the few times I've ever intentionally utilized one, though indirectly as a means of separating the party for a time. To better understand them, I went back and researched Fading Lands; they are defined in From the Ashes:

"There are several places in the Flanaess where Fading Lands overlap with the Prime Material Plane. Fading Lands are demiplanes, places where magical realities hold sway, created by powers, demipowers, or wizards of extraordinary power and skill. Almost all such places have several things in common."

"First the method of entering a Fading Land is unpredictable. Spells such as plane shift are rarely successful; instead, the curious must find a portal allowing access. This can be a very specific thing - an archway or magical circle - or it can be very diffuse, such as a particular forest path and pattern or rhythm of travel thereon...."

"Second, the Fading Lands grow more difficult to access as time passes. Those who created them are no longer as active on the Prime Material as they once were, or else the magical energies that make passage to these strange places possible are slowly waning."

"Third, Fading Lands have their own internal logic of magical function and/or physical causality, which is not that of everyday life - even with the logic of everyday magic added...."

Of course most long time players will note these criteria pretty much sum up every demiplane in Greyhawk lore. From the Isle of the Ape, to the Land Beyond the Magic Mirror, they all have connections to the Flanaess and have their own physics and rules. So are they all indeed Fading Lands or is there something else that sets them apart?

The faerie Court of Rings described in From the Ashes is said to be accessed from the Welkwood, but I've extended this to the Suss Forest as well to set up a struggle between dark and light played out on Oerth and this Fading Land at the same time. So far the PCs have seen signs of the hidden fey war in a watchful unicorn, dark treants, invisible guiding pixies and the skeletons of fallen monsters and heroes. A couple have even wandered into the Fading Land by accident only to appear back in the twisted Suss days later. Whether this subplot becomes a greater goal than finding the Lost City is still left to be seen, but my aim is to make the trip to this sylvan setting unforgettable.


grodog said...

Sounds like a good fit, Mike. Out of curiosity, are you treating Faerie itself as a fading land too, or just the Court of Rings specifically?


mortellan said...

Not knowing enough about either, I've left it vague as of this discussion. ;p