Magic permeates fantasy settings, but even in these realms, there is a type of creature that typically embodies these magical forces in a more fundamental way than anything else. I am speaking of the ubiquitous fey, creatures who are often depicted as being born of magic .
Now many of the major fey races have been collected together into the Pathfinder Campaign Setting supplement Fey Revisited (Paizo, Amazon). The fey creatures in Pathfinder are natives to the First World, which was the gods’ first draft of reality, and as such they have only a tenuous grasp on mortality … and, often, on morality, for that matter.
The timing on this supplement is extremely good for me personally, since I’m running a campaign that is set in the Pathfinder world of Golarion, in Nirmathas. The forest in Nirmathas, the Southern Fangwood, currently has a situation going on where there’s a fungal disease that infects only fey. So having a sourcebook that outlines various different types of fey is extremely useful.
The fey races detailed in this volume are:
These are pretty classic fey races. I believe that all of them are individually covered in entries in the normal line of Pathfinder Bestiary books, but this book goes beyond that, giving them each a 5-page spread that outlines that breed’s specific traits:
- Aspect of Nature – What the creature exists to do in the natural order of the world
- Ecology – Where creatures can be found and how they tie in to other aspects of the natural world
- Society – How they interact, either with each other, with other fey, or with non-fey
- Campaign Role – How best to utilize this type of fey, either as an ally, a terrifying encounter, or a long-term antagonist
- Treasure – Type of treasure the creature is likely to have.
- … on Golarion – Specifically how the different fey races relate to the Pathfinder campaign world of Golarion. In addition, each section ends with information about a unique region where that race exists as a particularly powerful or prevalent form.
- Token Sidebar – A sidebar that offers a minor magical token that the fey might give to someone who earns its favor.
- … in Mythology – A sidebar that explains some of the real-world mythology surrounding the creatures
- Variant Statistics – A sample creature of that race which is slightly different from the one presented in the Bestiary manuals
So the book is a great sourcebook for finding out about the fey, and anyone wanting to incorporate the fey into their campaign should probably get this book. There are a couple of drawbacks, though, which are worth mentioning.
First, this book doesn’t contain all of the fey races. Pixies and Mites, for example, are not included. There isn’t even a comprehensive list citing where all of the fey could be found in other supplements. For a comprehensive book on the fey, this is a little disappointing.
Also, there’s very little information on the fey homeland of the “First World” and how it relates to Golarion, and whether there’s any way to access it. This information is only hinted at in the two-page introduction to the book. For example, the book discusses “The Eldest,” the powerful leaders of the First World, and how these replace the typical “Seelie” and “Unseelie” courts, but there’s no detail beyond that. As such, I would classify this more as a detailed Bestiary supplement rather than an expansion of the campaign setting. The Eldest are briefly discussed in the Religion chapter of The Inner Sea World Guide (Paizo, Amazon), and I was hoping that Fey Revisited would provide a little more on them, but there’s not much.
Along the same lines, I was disappointed that Fey Revisited didn’t go into any more detail on the fey Blight that is infecting the Southern Fangwood. The Blight is mentioned in the Nirmathas entry of The Inner Sea World Guide and the Inner Sea Bestiary (Paizo, Amazon) has a template to create a Blighted Fey, but if I hadn’t happened to buy the Inner Sea Bestiary, I wouldn’t have had the background about the fey for my campaign. (I bought Inner Sea Bestiary because it has stats for an Android race. The Blighted Fey template was a lucky break.)
All of that having been said, there’s only so much you can expect from a 64-page campaign supplement, and viewed in that light, Fey Revisited definitely delivers in spades. Those who are interested in consorting with the creatures of the First World, there’s no way you’ll want to do it without this resource.
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Disclaimer: Review copy of the book was provided by the publisher.
Andrew Zimmerman Jones is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He has been a finalist in the Writers of the Future contest and received Honorable Mention in the 2011 Writer’s Digest Science Fiction/Fantasy Competition. In addition to being a contributing editor to Black Gate magazine, Andrew is the About.com Physics Guide and author of String Theory For Dummies. You can follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, and even Google+.