Miala found the man lying in his bed, drained of all color and extremely listless. "Are you the painter Lasland?" she asked. "I have something for you from your sister."
"I was, but I will paint no more, and it is that accursed faerie's fault," the man replied. When asked what happened, he continued his lamentable tale. "I was painting when this woman came up to me. Beautiful as the dawn she was, and very interested in my work. One thing led to another, and I felt inspired to paint my masterpiece." While he spoke, the druid tried to heal his sickness but failed.
"There it is, over by the window," Lasland said, pointing. Miala looked at the work, and indeed it was beyond anything she had ever seen in beauty, design, and subtlety of brushwork. "How, then, did you end up in this state?"
"After the masterpiece, I started doing caricatures for the locals. Harmless fun, but they were still better than my usual work. That night, she left me, but before she went she drained all the life out of me. Just look at me now. Never again will I paint, or walk, or taste food. My life is wasted . . . and now it's over."
And indeed it was, for at that moment he died. "But was it wasted?" Miala wondered. The painting was certainly a singular vision of beauty and would last well beyond its creator. Miala shrugged, considered for a few moments more, placed the small carved statue she had brought on the table, and then set off in search of the creature.
Known as exotic and mysterious beauties, these fey creatures bring inspiration and despair. If a mortal misuses their gifts, they become dark destroyers.
Leanan sidhe are the muses of the faerie world, bringing gifts of creativity and inspiration to mortal humanoids. These beautiful creatures appear as either male or female, but they have a charisma that attracts beyond the power of beauty alone. They seem alive and vibrant, more so even than most other faerie creatures. Only faerie folk can see their natural forms, which are quite beautiful. However, leanan sidhe can appear to mortals in various guises -- they tailor their appearance to best suit their chosen protgé.
Leanan sidhe exist to interact with mortals and inspire them to great creative works. The faerie chooses a mortal humanoid gifted in one of the arts: poetry, painting, singing, or other form. The creature stays with this mortal a few days, inspiring him or her to create great works. The period is one of intense passion and emotion for the mortal and the leanan sidhe, as they often share an intimate relationship while the faerie is present. When the creature departs, the mortal falls into despair for a day, hardly wanting to do anything and thinking all life is hollow and empty. This passes eventually, leaving the mortal sadder but able again to create.
The leanan sidhe becomes a dangerous fiend if its gifts are misused. The leanan sidhe call mortals to exalted levels of creativity: the epic poem, the masterwork painting. Simply using a leanan sidhe's gift to entertain at the local tavern, or not using it at all, causes the faerie to punish the mortal. The sidhe seduces the mortal, and then drains energy levels from him or her. In extreme cases, the faerie leaves the poor victim to die a languishing death, an example to others. This power is used only to punish mortals, never under other circumstances such as combat.
Leanan sidhe speak Sylvan and Common.
Leanan sidhe do not engage in combat except to defend themselves, and they are poor combatants.
Kiss of Death (Su): The kiss of a leanan sidhe resembles a magical disease with an incubation period of one day. After this period, should the subject have used the recently acquired creative gifts foolishly or not at all, the victim must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 15). On a failure, the subject begins to languish, losing 1d4 Constitution points. The victim repeats the save daily; a success prevents the Constitution-points for that day only. The sidhe's continued presence (within 30 feet) following the incubation period delays the onset of the effects; in such a case the victim need not make the first save until the sidhe's departure. The kiss of death special ability can be stopped only through a wish or miracle. Subjects who used their creative powers wisely need not attempt the save at all.
Inspire Despair (Su): The presence of the leanan sidhe is so compelling that no other experience can equal it. Thus, when the chosen mortal is out of the sidhe's presence after having benefited at least once from the insight bonus of the inspire creativity special ability below, he or she feels depressed and unable to create. The mortal must attempt a Will save (DC 15) or suffer the effects of despair. This translates to a –2 circumstance penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks, plus the loss of any Dexterity bonus to AC. Further, the mortal suffers a –10 insight penalty to all Perform and Craft checks. The period of despair lasts for 24 hours from the time the sidhe departs, and during this time the mortal laments the loss of inspiration and companion. Thus, if the sidhe departs and then returns, the poor subject swings from the heights of exhilaration to the depths of despair. This ability is usable at a range of 30 feet once per day (the sidhe uses it just prior to departing).
Alter Form (Su): Leanan sidhe can appear as Small or Medium-size male or female humanoids of any race. They can change forms at will up to three times per day as a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The sidhe's attack rolls, natural armor bonus, and saves do not change whatever its new form. The creature does not gain any special abilities, attack forms, defenses, ability scores, or mannerisms of its chosen form. If slain, the sidhe automatically returns to its normal form. If the sidhe uses this ability to create a disguise, it enjoys a +10 bonus on its Disguise check. Each use of this ability lasts eight hours.
Inspire Creativity (Su): To the chosen mortal, the leanan sidhe grants a depth of creative inspiration that is unparalleled. This gift grants a +10 insight bonus to any Perform or Craft skill checks made in the creative effort. Once a subject uses this insight bonus, he becomes subject to the inspire despair special ability (above). The gift remains for 24 hours. The sidhe can grant this gift once per day, and it remains effective only when the creature within 30 feet.
Low-Light Vision: The leanan sidhe can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar low-light conditions.
About the Author
Robert Wiese's love of gaming started in the Boy Scouts, where you'd think there would be enough to keep one busy without roleplaying games. Through college he played in some great home campaigns and discovered the RPGA Network at a small game day in 1991. He worked for RPGA for six and a half years, filling almost every job that exists on the staff at one time or another. Now honorably retired from service as the RPGA Operations Manager, he lives in Nevada and writes gaming goodies (such as the D&D Fight Club) from time to time. He also gardens a lot, and devotes as much time as possible to his beloved fiancée.
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