D&D 5E What exactly is Feywild in your campaigns?

Yaarel

He Mage
So, we have the announcement of two new 5e books, Witchfire and Strixhaven. I am super-excited about these two.

The first one is an adventure in the Plane of Feywild. The second one is from the Magic The Gathering multiverse, likely a setting. As a Potter-esque plane of wizard colleges, Strixhaven is pretty much how I have already been running the Feywild since 4e.

What exactly is Feywild?

4e and 5e have written a number of conflictive descriptions about the Feywild. The concept of the Feywild seems to still be evolving. I emphasize the themes that resonate with me. I make the Feywild my own.

• Feywild and Shadowfell are "echoes" of the Material World.
• Fey and Shadow are polar opposites of the Material. In some sense they are opposites of each other. But exactly how seems unclear.
• The Material Plane is matter.
• Inferably, the Fey and Shadow are both immaterial "spirits".
• Shadow spirits are something like ghosts. Fey spirits are ... this is one of the questions.
• We have a clearer concept of the Shadowfell, more familiar with the concept of ghosts, and maybe with Hel or Hades or Sheol.
• Shadowfell is something like memories about the dead.
• The realm of the dead is a gloomy place of rest. The dead mainly rest, but can be restless.
• The opposite of the dead in Shadowfell, is not the living people of the Material. But rather, the opposite of dead is Fey.

• For me, Shadowfell is about the past, and oppositely, the Feywild is about the future.
• The Shadows are the memories of yesteryear, slowly being forgotten within the oblivion.
• Oppositely, the Fey are oracles about future years to come, the possible timelines that clarify as their time approaches.
• The concept of timelines corresponds to the concept of "Fate".
• The term Fey is a variant of Fay, from Faie, meaning ‘Fate’.
• A Faie is literally a spirit of Fate. Fairie or Fairy is the realm of the tapestry of Fate.
• Because the Fey can foretell the future in prophesies, there is also the sense the Fey can change reality by means of words.
• Thus, the Fey are personifications of magic words.
• The word "Fairie" literally means "magic", and is synonymous with the later term "magic" (from Magi).
• A Fairie creature means a "magical creature".
• I view the Fey as made out of magic itself.
• I view the immaterial Fey spirits as living constructs made out of arcane energy.

• I view both the Feywild and the Shadowfell as different "frequencies" sotospeak of Ether, and the Ethereal Plane as arcane energy.
• The Feywild is the aspect of the Ether that the Plane of Positivity energizes.
• The Shadowfell is the aspect of the Ether that the Plane of Negativity unravels.

• In ancient times, some Fey Eladrin chose to materialize into the Material Plane, magically taking on bodies of flesh and blood, whence Elf.

• Some times D&D describes the Feywild as "arcane", unnatural wizardy − other times as "primal", natural druidry.
• For me, the Feywild is unnatural, and is more about arcane magic.
• The main reason for the unnaturalism of the Feywild is its disconnect from the features of Material nature.
• The Shadowfell closely overlaps the Material, to the extent one can navigate the Material accurately despite the gloomier version of it.
• By contrast, the Feywild overlap warps extremely: time, distance, and even places, often lack a Material counterpart.
• Consequently, there is little or no link between a specific natural feature like a rock or a tree in the Material and a Fey spirit in the Feywild.
• For example, there is little feeling that a tree in this world is actually a specific Dryad in the spirit world.
• Thus, the Feywild works less well for a reallife animistic worldview, where each rock is a mind, and each tree is a mind.

• I personally use Psionic to represent any animistic traditions, in the sense rocks and trees exhibit mental influences forming communities.
• Animism is always about the Material world, and is never about somewhere else.
• The aspect of Psionics that focuses on the minds of the features of nature, rather than the minds of humanoids, is what Primal is.

• I am happy to focus on the Feywild as an unnatural realm of magic and a place of magically potential realities.
• The Eberron setting has an excellent version of the Feywild, corresponding to Thelanis.
• Thelanis focuses on the theme of fairytales, where like in a Twilight Zone, the stories that humans tell take on life of all their own.
• Thus the Feywild is literally made out of words and stories. Fey creatures are characters, who repeat a story.
• However, the Eladrin and a few other spirits have some autonomous reality to them, as tellers of tales.

• Eberron Thelanis lacks a sense of future timelines, in the sense of Fate, but it portrays well magic words becoming reality, in the sense of Fairie.

• In terms of adventure encounters, I emphasize magic.
• All Fey creatures are spellcasters, or similar. Fey are especially arcane, but out of curiosity about magic itself, might be divine or psionic.
• There are no Fey who have levels in a martial class, unless they learned them while in the Material Plane.
• I tend to run the Feywild as moreorless the Potterverse Wizard World. Everyone is different kinds of mages.
• The Fey culture revolves around the academic life of the magical schools.
• There are Fairy Courts, including the seasons, where magical power is social power.
• Different courts evolve different governmental structures, some are monarchy, some are democracy, but all are magical meritocracies.
• Plus I add courts for Norse Alfar in the sky, Scottish Sith in the glens, and English Shakespearean Fairy (who are mainly children with some teens).
• When Strixhaven arrives − cant wait! − I will probably add these colleges as courts within the Feywild.



I have other musings about the 5e Feywild. But this is probably plenty for now.

How do you make sense of the Feywild Plane in your campaigns?

What kind of themes do you run for Fey adventures? Do some of you play up the comical aspects of some fairytales, the alien aspects of severe ettiquette of some encounters with the Fair Folk, the things-are-never-quite-what-they-seem of some folktru encounters, or your own thing?
 
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Yaarel

He Mage
According to the UA article:

"Hobgoblins trace their origins to the Feywild, where they first appeared with their goblin and bugbear kin."

This seems like an update of the official lineages?

Goblin, Hobgoblin, and Bugbear are now creatures with Fey ancestry, similar to Elf.

This is awesome. The Fey aspect connects the Goblin to the reallife British fairytales about them. Essentially, the Goblin is a disgruntled sprite. They are dangerous, but not quite right in the head, and sometimes appear in humorous stories. The fairytail Goblin wields magic, like turning invisible and making potions, occasionally to trap or punish humans.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Just as Ghost are about memories and echoes of past loss for me Faerie is about the Dreams and the desire for future Being.
True Fey are formless beings of Passion and Longing in the process of gaining shape and substance. They are creatures of Phantasm, who respond to the expectations and desires of both the Observer and the Observed. Fey want to be real but are not part of reality. Thats why Faerie isnt about Magic, Magic has rules, Faerie is about Dreams
 
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Shiroiken

Legend
The Feywild is the realm of faerie. It's a magical place that's full of life, with wild growth everywhere. Fey creatures originated there, so versions of them can be found in both here and on the material plane (mortal realm).

The Shadowfell is the realm of shadows. It's a dreary place that's devoid of life, with only rot instead. Creatures here are a nothing more than poor reflections of life, most longing to drain the lifeforce of others.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The Feywild to me is a reflection of the real material plane. One where life, emotion, and natural energy are enhanced and amplified. Fey are spirits of the natural beings and formations given thought and animation. The Feywild often depicts places at their height but warped and invigorated. Copies of long gone kingdoms, long forgotten stories, long fallen trees, and long dead beings are found there in new exaggerated forms.
 

NiClerigo

Adventurer
To me, the Feywild is a land of stories and storytelling. Hence, it is a land of wonder, of dreams and nightmares. It is also a land of passion more so than of rationality
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I tend to treat the Feywild and Shadowfell as opposites of each other, although it really does escape the notion of good/bad entirely. I lean into this pretty hard and even have the two physically connected and tend to run a lot of faction stuff back and forth between the two. I suppose you could call the two together the way I use them The Fey as I do tend to take a slightly Summer/Winter Court approach to the whole thing. It's a little more nuanced than that of course, but that's a reasonable broad descriptor.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
On the VERY off chance it ever comes up in my games, I see the Feywild as synonymous with Faerie, just with a new name for marketing and trademark purposes. Though one of my favorite characters I ever played was a fey pact warlock inspired by Friar Tuck, who was in love with (or at least enchanted by) the Queen of Air and Darkness.

Similarly, my games have no "shadowfell" as such - there is a Plane of Shadow, and maybe different people call it different things, but I see no need for the WotC era trademark-inspired reinventions.

It all works together fine.
 
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hopeless

Adventurer
I'm working on the idea that whilst humanity spread throughout the stars via their technology that they subsequently lost after arriving.
The elves call the Feywild their home and use portals to the various worlds to establish holiday vacation parks for them to relax and enjoy.
The dwarves use the elemental plane of earth to travel around, with the dragons apparently hitchhiking to the new destination places probably much the same way they do in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy except they usually don't get complaints!
The elves wouldn't mind the other races, but the dwarves have this habit of ecologically ruining these worlds trying to mine them of their resources and humanity doesn't seem to understand their new home is being ruined only they are happy to be living there and pick arguments with anyone trying to point out that they were there first!
 

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