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D&D 5E Who are the current Archfey?

The Wild Beyond the Witchlight might be changing a few things already written about Feywild, since Domains of Delight might be a sort of new concept (though I think there certainly were Fey realms mentioned somewhere).

But who currently are the Archfey?

PHB gives the names: Prince of Frost, Queen of Air and Darkness, Titania, Oberon and Hyrsam as examples. Prince of Frost I think was first mentioned in 4e, while Queen of Air and Darkness, Titania and Oberon were at least since in 2e's Monster Mythology, and Titania and Oberon are best as known coming from William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

It's been suggested that the Beast Lords (despite originally being placed in the Beastlands) are also Archfey. Powerful Hags including Baba Yaga from Slavonic Mythology might qualify as Archfey.

All things considered, I doubt any of these names are the type of Archfey to be confined to a Domain of Delight, though it might be such domains are less a prison, or there's effectively two different tiers of Archfey, and those big names are like the Dark Powers of Feywild.
 

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If we're limiting it to 5E era mentions that narrows things quite a bit from 4E. I'll try to list what I know of:
  • Curse of Strahd mentions an evil archfey called Ceithlenn of the Crooked Teeth. A hag coven in Barovia venerates her.
  • The hag entry in Volo's Guide to Monsters describes "grandmother hags" who are said to rival the archfey in power (I assume this means they aren't archfey themselves?).
  • The background for the darklings in Volo's Guide to Monsters describes how the Summer Queen cursed an archfey and his entire court for betraying her. The true name of the offended archfey was stricken from history, but he is now known as Dubh Catha (or "Dark Crow" in Common).
  • The adventure "The Scrivener's Tale" in Candlekeep Mysteries features a new archfey named Nintra Siotta, Princess of Shadow Glass (I just now learned of her existence, honestly). She apparently was exiled for arguing with the Queen of Air and Darkness. Interestingly, if the Forgotten Realms wiki entry for her is accurate, both the Queen of Air and Darkness and the Princess of Shadow Glass are said to be part of the Gloaming Court, a concept from 4E that I had assumed was replaced by the Unseelie Court in 5E (now I'm curious if the Summer, Coral, and Green Courts are still in existence in 5E).
  • For what it's worth, DDO: Fables of the Feywild (released in November 2020) prominently features both the Prince of Frost and Hyrsam the Satyr Prince, with one adventure taking place in Hyrsam's castle.
 





Gloaming Court, a concept from 4E that I had assumed was replaced by the Unseelie Court in 5E (now I'm curious if the Summer, Coral, and Green Courts are still in existence in 5E).
Gloaming Court is simply another (less Irish) name for the Unseelie court. The Summer Court certainly still exists (the Seelie in Irish) , and if D&D Beyond is to be trusted so does the Green. Feywild 101: Read About Key NPCs in the Plane of Faeries

If D&D Beyond is to be trusted, just because something was from 4e doesn't mean it never happened.
 



A starting point.
 



Quickleaf

Legend
Lurue is a curious figure – mentioned in the 5e DMG page 11 – who has existed as a unicorn goddess since 2e. She seems ripe to be an archfey to me, but is explicity called out as a goddess. Maybe because unicorns are celestial in 5e and not fey?
Lesser deities are embodied somewhere in the planes. Some lesser deities live in the Material Plane, as does the unicorn-goddess Lurue of the Forgotten Realms and the titanic shark-god Sekolah revered by the sahuagin. Others live on the Outer Planes, as Lolth does in the Abyss. Such deities can be encountered by mortals.
The description makes it sound like Lurue might be comparable to how Auril appears in Rime of the Frostmaiden.
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I've never found fae particularly compelling - their sense of whimsy and mystery is difficult to portray well in a game I have found, so I've avoided it...

BUT if I were to do it, I would 100% homebrew it. That way, it's something I would be very familiar with, and able to do well. That, of course, would include the arch-fey.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Yeah, it's like you were saying @Hexmage-EN , there are some massive lore changes in 5e, they're just a bit more hidden and less "in your face" than in 4e. My hunch is that these Lesser Deity changes are setting up specific future story arcs.

I don't own it, but apparently in Candlekeep Mysteries an adventure called "Lore of Lurue" involved traveling to a demiplane, encountering fey creatures and Malar cultists, in order to learn how the unicorn goddess Lurue was involved in founding the city of Silverymoon.
 

PHB gives the names: Prince of Frost, Queen of Air and Darkness, Titania, Oberon and Hyrsam as examples. Prince of Frost I think was first mentioned in 4e, while Queen of Air and Darkness, Titania and Oberon were at least since in 2e's Monster Mythology, and Titania and Oberon are best as known coming from William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
There are write-ups of several of these in Cawood Publishing's Monsters of Feyland, for those who want stats. It's a solid book for the Feywild or any fey-inflected woodland.
It's been suggested that the Beast Lords (despite originally being placed in the Beastlands) are also Archfey. Powerful Hags including Baba Yaga from Slavonic Mythology might qualify as Archfey.

All things considered, I doubt any of these names are the type of Archfey to be confined to a Domain of Delight, though it might be such domains are less a prison, or there's effectively two different tiers of Archfey, and those big names are like the Dark Powers of Feywild.
My guess is that archfey aren't trapped in their domains, so much as they create demiplanes that reflect their interests and passions. Powerful mages in Mage: The Ascension did something similar. I don't think WotC wants to have two planes full of prisons and making Domains of Delight something else would be the easiest way to differentiate them, since some of the Feywild will certainly be almost as dark as some parts of Ravenloft.
 

I've never found fae particularly compelling - their sense of whimsy and mystery is difficult to portray well in a game I have found, so I've avoided it...
There's a dial you can turn with them. While Midsummer Night's Dream is certainly whimsical, I'd say Macbeth is also a template for fey adventures, which isn't whimsical at all.
 


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