From the Journals of Krenn Elias, Court Anthropologist
After a successful trip through the Barrens, I have at last reached the Eastern Forests of the Shimmering Lands. As requested by the queen, I will study the habits of the many elemental fey that roam these lands. The forestfolk, reclusive sonic elementals, are rumored to live in this forest. I have every hope of tracking them to record their habits.
|Where the forestfolk hide
I am deep within the Eastern Forests now, but so far I have seen only a few dryads, will o'wisps and sprites. Occasionally I hear the sound of gibberish floating down from the tops of the trees, but when I use my spyglass, all I see are birds and squirrels.
No forestfolk today.
No forestfolk today.
Nothing today but birds, vixen and squirrels. One of the squirrels decided to take an interest in my hiding place. I got a nice sketch of him for my book before enjoying a tasty squirrel stew.
I decided to move further into the forest and had a stroke of luck. While looking for a new hiding place, I ran across an ingenious trap hanging from a branch. It appears to be a normal vine, but if you look closely, you can see the pull mechanism in the tree above. I think this will be the perfect place to watch for the forestfolk.
I was awakened this morning by the sound of yipping. As I looked out of the bushes, I saw a fox caught in the vine trap. After several minutes, a small figure dressed in furs, with a necklace of teeth around her (?) neck, appeared on the branch above. After looking at her for a few moments, I realized why these fey were so difficult to spot. Her ruddy skin, rather than being a single shade, was a splatter of browns, reds, and the occasional spot of green. She blended so closely with her environment that it was difficult to distinguish her from the larger leaves.
Another forestfolk, this one holding a small spear made of rock and wood, joined her. They spoke to each other in a language of clicks and grunts. After listening to them, I think that "kil'k" might mean "fox" or "prey." I must hear more of their speech before I can be sure.
Following the faint throbbing of drums last night, I was able to catch a glimpse of the forestfolk village: seven huts built into and around the trees, connected by hanging bridges. It appeared the forestfolk were having a celebration, as there were small bonfires with fey dancing around them. I believe this will be a perfect place from which to watch them for the next few days.
I can barely lift my fingers to write today. My body aches all over. My silent observations of the forestfolk were going well until a young one jumped into my tree. The moment he saw me he let out the most horrific yell. The sound filled my mind, and I lost control of my limbs. Unable to maintain my perch, I fell nearly sixty feet to the ground. A simple healing spell took care of most of the damage, but I think it best if I find another village to study. Perhaps in the Northern Forests.
Hit Dice: 4d6+4 (18 hp)
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), climb 20 ft., fly 10 ft. (average)
Armor Class: 16 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +2 leather), touch 14, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/-4
Attack: Dagger +6 melee (1d3-2/19-20) or dart +6 ranged (1d3-2)
Full Attack: Dagger +6 melee (1d3-2/19-20) and bite +1 melee (1d4-2) or dart +6 ranged (1d3-2)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Hunting cry
Special Qualities: Gliding, low-light vision, resistance to sonic 5
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +3
Abilities: Str 7, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 9, Wis 8, Cha 8
Skills: Climb +6, Escape Artist +8, Hide +14*, Listen +5, Move Silently +10, Spot +5, Survival +6, Use Rope +4 (+6 bindings)
Feats: Alertness, Improved Initiative, Weapon Finesse [bonus feat]
Environment: Temperate forests
Organization: Solitary, pair, or clan (5-20)
Challenge Rating: 3
Alignment: Usually neutral
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +1
The short creature is barely discernable against the browns and greens of its forest surroundings, so closely does its splotchy skin color match its natural habitat.
Forestfolk are small, elusive sonic elementals found in only in the deep, dense forests or on fey planes. An adult forestfolk stands about 3 feet tall and weights between 30 and 35 pounds. Mostly humanoid in appearance, their skin is thick and leathery, lending added protection from the elements. Their skin color ranges from ruddy to dark green, most having a mottled appearance that gives them a natural camouflage.
Forestfolk are born with a thin, wet membrane attached to their underarms and torso. As they grow from infancy to childhood, this membrane dries and lengthens, eventually allowing them to glide through the air for short periods of time.
Reserved and distrustful of outsiders, forestfolk are almost exclusively tree-dwellers. They see the world down below as full of dangerous predators and descend only in groups to hunt for foxes and other smaller animals. Their natural climb abilities and high dexterity allow them to run and glide among the highest treetops, making them difficult to observe or capture. Although of limited intelligence, forestfolk are clever with tools and traps. They dress in furs and pelts equivalent to leather armor. Forestfolk speak their own language, comprising clicks and grunts.
Forestfolk usually hunt squirrels, foxes and other small game. They tend to be shy and reclusive, even a bit xenophobic. They avoid strangers, but will fight fiercely if cornered, using their hunting cry to optimal effect.
Glide: Forestfolk are not true flyers. A forestfolk always must dive at least 10 feet when using a move action to fly; if the forestfolk makes a double move, she must dive 20 feet (10 feet per move). The forestfolk flying speed doubles when it dives, just like any other flying creature with average maneuverability.
Hunting Cry (Su): A forestfolk can emit a high piercing shriek that can damage and paralyze its prey. 30-foot cone, once every 2d4 rounds, damage 2d4 sonic plus paralysis for 1d4+1 rounds, Fortitude save DC 13 halves damage and negates paralysis. This is a sonic mind-affecting effect. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by the same forestfolk's hunting cry for 24 hours. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Skills: A forestfolk receives a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened. *A forestfolk gains a +8 bonus on Hide checks in forests or overgrown areas.
|Where the forestfolk dwell
Forestfolk are generally found in clans of 5 to 25 fey. Two leaders, a hunting chief and a ceremonial chief, rule these clans. The hunting chief ensures that the clan has adequate provisions of food, especially during harsh winters when larger prey may be hibernating. She also ensures the protection of the clan from other fey or animal predators. This leader is generally the quickest and cleverest hunter of the clan. She can be challenged at any time, but the challenger must also win the support of the other hunters and the ceremonial chief before being declared the new leader.
The ceremonial leader is responsible for all aspects of the clan's homelife. He settles grievances between clan members, organizes ceremonies, and ensures that huts and bridges in the village remain safe for use. Although the ceremonial chief may be challenged for rule, most choose several apprentices, with the most promising one trained to take over the duties of the leader. Although forestfolk speak a common tongue, they have no alphabet or written language. There is no schooling system for young forestfolk, who instead rely on family members to teach them survival skills.
Although some members of the clan may be more skilled at carving spears or building huts, the clan is divided into only two groups: those who hunt, and those who care for the young. Once the young can use their membranes to glide, they are expected to join the hunters until they are old enough to start their own families.
Like many of the fey, forestfolk celebrate a number of ceremonies related to nature and the moon. Turning seasons are often marked with feasts, while Blood Moons are celebrated with special night hunts.
When clans grow to 25 members, the largest extended family (usually containing five or six members) will break off to form a new clan. Because of the low birth rate among fey, new clans form only rarely, which accounts for the lack of overcrowding in forested areas.
Forestfolk clans are highly territorial. They often mark their lands with wards of bones carved with a symbol representing their village. This area is then recognized by other clans as their hunting grounds, and members of other clans who trespass can expect to be chased out or even killed.
About the Authors
Gwendolyn F. M. Kestrel is a managing editor for Wizards of the Coast's Roleplaying Games R&D department. Recent work includes editing and additional development for the revised Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual. Editing credits include Fiend Folio, Faiths and Pantheons, Oriental Adventures, and Magic of Faerūn. Design credits include the Book of Challenges and Dragon Magazine articles. She's a frequent contributor to the Wizards of the Coast website. Also, check out the website she created for her husband, Andy Collins at www.andycollins.net.
Faith M. Price accidentally fell into the adventure game industry ten years ago. Since then she has worked for three game manufacturers and has written for numerous magazines. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.