The Feywild is a realm of stories, folk tales, and legends. More than any other plane, the realm of the fey has a way of rearranging the lives of mortals, creating heroes from the lowest peasants and casting down the most privileged of nobles.
To reflect the mercurial quality of the plane, you can use the material in Chapter 5 of Heroes of the Feywild as an optional way of building your character, letting the whims of fate be your guide as you mold your adventurer into a unique hero. Your character will journey to locations within the Feywild, choose activities, and make ability checks to test his or her aptitude at those activities.
This system allows you to build your character's history as you go along, telling a story about his or her background that includes both hardship and triumph.
Upbringing: First, you choose your character's upbringing to represent how he or she was raised.
Race: Based on your selected upbringing, you choose your character's race.
Aptitude Tests: Throughout the process, aptitude tests measure your success at the tasks you attempt. An aptitude test is an ability check, and you can assign your ability scores as you make those checks. Before you begin the process, generate six ability scores—by using a standard array, customizing scores, or rolling scores (as described in the Rules Compendium)—but don't assign the scores until you take an aptitude test.
For example, if you grew up in Astrazalian, the City of Starlight, and attended one of its grand colleges, your first aptitude test is an Intelligence check to measure your success in your studies. You can assign a high score to Intelligence before making that check, or you can decide that you were not a great student and assign a lower score to Intelligence.
You can attempt any single aptitude test only once, unless an event specifies otherwise. Some events might give you a bonus or a penalty to your aptitude tests.
Class: You might have a class in mind as you build your story, or you might let the story play out and eventually suggest a class choice. Once you have a class in mind, the number of class skills that class grants determines when your background story ends and your adventuring career begins.
Skills: When you use this method to build your character, you ignore the normal limitations on class skills and having training in them at 1st level. Every upbringing and location in this chapter has two or more associated skills. You can choose to have training in one of these skills even if it is not one of your prospective class skills. Any time a location in this chapter would give you training in a skill in which you already have training (such as a trained skill predetermined by your future class), you can instead gain training in any other skill suggested by your experiences.
You can never have more trained skills than your eventual class allows. If you receive a certain number of trained skills and then select a class that allows fewer trained skills than you currently have, eliminate one or more of the skills you selected so that you have the right number of trained skills. You cannot choose to not have training in a skill if it's one that your class gives you as an assigned trained skill.
If you end up with fewer trained skills than your class allows, you can fill out your trained skills with other skills on your class's list or with other skills derived from your history—select additional skills from the associated skills of the locations of your story.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Elven. If a location has an associated language, you can choose that language instead of choosing an associated skill.
Replaces Background: If you build your story using the material in this chapter, do not choose a background for your character. This material replaces that choice.
Let's go through a sample origin story to help show something of the process. It all starts with those familiar words: Once upon a time...
Choose one of the options to represent how you were raised during your early life. Some entries list appropriate races for that upbringing, but you are not limited to those races. If you wish to play a character who isn't native to the Feywild, you can choose one of the "foster parents" options, which allows for any race.
In this case, we'll choose Peasants.
You were raised in one of the small hamlets that dot the wilderness of the Feywild. You could be of any race, fey or non-fey, thanks to the fey crossings that bring unwitting travelers to the realm. You had an ordinary childhood, tending to crops and animals or hunting for food. You learned to deal with—or, rather, appease—the wilder fey creatures to keep them from disturbing your family. Then, during one of your forays into the wilderness, something happened that changed your life forever.
Associated Skill: Heal or Nature.
Go to Shinaelestra (page 149), Fey Crossing Hamlet (page 151), or Feydark Opening Hamlet (page 152).
For our peasant-raised character, we'll go to the Fey Crossing Hamlet. After all, it sounds pleasant enough.
Fey Crossing Hamlet
The typical Feywild hamlet houses a small number of families in an even mix of Faerie natives and immigrants from the mortal world. Due to the nature of fey crossings, these hamlets tend to be built within great woodlands, with crooked buildings surrounded by giant tree roots. Most inhabitants of the hamlets are farmers, herders of pigs and sheep, or trappers wise in the ways of the fey. Merchants are welcome in these hamlets, too, since they bring news and goods from the faerie realm.
What did you do in a fey crossing hamlet? Pick one of the two possibilities below.
Guarded the Crossing: You watched over the nearby fey crossing, keeping an eye out for troublesome travelers.
Associated Skill: Intimidate or Perception.
Aptitude Test: What happened as you guarded the crossing? Make a Constitution check. If the result is 14 or higher, a traveler asked you to work as a guide, and you led that person to an eladrin city. Go to Civilized Lands (page 147).
If the result is 8 to 13, you eventually left your work and took up a wandering life. Go to Feywild Trails (below).
If the result is 7 or lower, you were surprised by a raiding party and taken captive. Go to the Captured event (page 157).
Ran a Trading Post: You traded with residents of the Feywild and the natural world, learning much in the process.
Associated Skill: Bluff or Streetwise.
Aptitude Test: How did your trading go? Make a Charisma check. If the result is 14 or higher, you overheard a rumor about a magic treasure that led you to adventure. Go to Cendriane (page 151), the Maze of Fathaghn (page 153), or the Murkendraw (page 154).
If the result is 8 to 13, you joined a merchant caravan. Go to Feywild Trails (below).
If the result is 7 or lower, you were accused of theft or another minor crime. Go to the Ruined event (page 158).
So, let's go with Guarded the Crossing. And, let's say we rolled low, so we move on to the Captured event.
What happened when you got captured? Did you put up a fight? Were you betrayed by someone you trusted?
Go to Harrowhame (page 155), Mag Tureah (page 156), Nachtur (page 156), or Vor Thomil (page 157).
Fomorians are good villains; let's go to Mag Tureah and see how our character develops from there.
The largest of the fomorian realms, Mag Tureah is ruled by King Thrumbolg, the First Lord. Although the military stronghold raids and pillages competently, the biggest challenge for Thrumbolg is mapping and testing the many planar portals found throughout the tunnels of his underground kingdom. To this end, he employs slaves in his portal tests and is always looking for more subjects with arcane knowledge.
What happened to you in Mag Tureah? Pick one of the two possibilities below.
Traded for Arcanist Slave: Since you lacked the appropriate arcane expertise, you were herded alongside other slaves to be traded to another realm.
Associated Skill: Athletics or Endurance.
Aptitude Test: What happened during the slave trade? Make a Dexterity check. If the result is 14 or higher, you managed to escape and made your way to a tiny hamlet on the surface. Go to Feydark Opening Hamlet (page 152).
If the result is 13 or lower, you failed to escape and were sent along with the other slaves to another Feydark realm. Go to Harrowhame (page 155), Nachtur (below), or Vor Thomil (page 157).
Used as a Test Subject: You were forced to brave the tunnels of Mag Tureah in an attempt to analyze the portals scattered about the realm.
Associated Skill: Arcana or Religion.
Aptitude Test: What happened to you in the tunnels? Make an Intelligence check. If the result is 14 or higher, you discovered a portal that teleported you to safety. Go to Civilized Lands (page 147).
If the result is 13 or lower, you stumbled through a portal that teleported you to a more hostile location. Go the Transported event (page 158).
And so on. When you finish this process, you should have a rich background for your character. You also have a race, at least one or two ability scores, and several trained skills. From here, you can choose a class and adjust your number of trained skills to match the number your class allows. (Remember that you don't have to conform to your class skills list.) When you choose a class, keep in mind your character's background.
For example, if you studied at the temple of Corellon in Mithrendain and failed the associated aptitude test, you probably shouldn't choose a divine class. On the other hand, if you excelled as a mercenary in the armies of Nachtur, fighter would be a fine class choice.
Your character has come a long way, and now your last step is to link your character's history to the starting point of your first adventure. If your character was acclaimed or made a powerful ally, you might have been given a quest that led you to the natural world and great adventure. If your character ended up exiled or ruined or made a powerful enemy, you probably fled to the mortal world in hopes of leaving your past behind.
When the adventure begins, none of the events in this chapter has a lasting effect on your character. Instead, the events offer the DM interesting hooks to include in the game. For example, a powerful enemy you made might show up as a nemesis of your party, or the acclaim you received could earn you some useful contacts.
At this point, you can choose any features, powers, or feats that you still need to select, purchase equipment, and finalize the details of your character. Now you know where you came from and how you acquired your skills and talents, and you can provide your DM with the interesting high notes of your character's history.
Your story began with "Once upon a time."
The happily ever after is up to you.