Fairytale #

The genre of fairy tales is a wide one, crossing into almost every culture and encompassing everything from early oral stories passed down from generation to generation to the more modern literary fairy tale. What makes something a fairy tale? While there’s a great deal of discussion around that question, most have a number of things in common: a series of
far-fetched events; fantastical beings such as talking animals, elves, goblins, mermaids, witches, and dragons; and objects that have magical elements.

One of the powers of a fairy tale—or a game set in a fairy tale-inspired setting—is its ability to create a sense of wonder and to evoke players’ imaginations while still allowing them to keep one foot in the known. The very settings themselves are both enchanted and somehow familiar, whether the characters are entering a magical woods, falling down a rabbit hole, or embarking on a voyage to Neverland. Those beasts and beings who stalk such places are equally wondrous, and offer fantastic starting points for any number of adventures.

To heighten the sense of wonder in a fairy tale adventure or campaign, a GM might consider presenting the game in a modern setting. In a modern setting, characters have regular jobs that don’t normally involve hunting goblins or helping talking fish solve puzzles. This means that when the moths take shape and become the cloak of a princess of summer come to beg a favor or steal a child, or the house grows legs and runs away one morning, the player characters will be rightfully amazed (and perhaps somewhat terrified).

Nature Of Faerie #

Faerie (also called by many other names) is a dimension of magic separate from but closely parallel to the mundane world. It doesn’t matter whether Faerie is just a collective term for thousands of separate curled-up dimensions hidden in corners, in closets, or at the center of forests, or it’s one continuous realm that overlaps the real world where it’s thinnest. It’s a place those with open hearts can find by following a way between tall trees (or looming library shelves) to a realm where everything is different. Where elves walk, nymphs dance, unicorns gallop, and both natural growths and built structures become vast and enchanting.

Humans don’t tend to do well in such a world if they stay too long, as the sensory input is hard on the nervous system. But fey creatures depend on it, like plants to the light. A fey creature too long cut off from its land of origin (or its stream, hill, or burrow) slowly becomes mortal and then dies.

When a fey creature is cut by silvered or cold iron weapons, they temporarily lose the sustaining benefit of their connection to Faerie. This severed connection usually disrupts a fey creature’s ability to heal. A silvered weapon is one that contains silver as part of an alloying process, has silver inlay, or has been coated in a dusting of silver powder (which usually lasts only through a single fight). In truth, many items in the modern era are cold-forged, while many others are not. We suggest that any hand-forged item containing iron could be considered a cold-forged weapon for harming fey creatures. Thus, most bullets and other modern items wouldn’t be treated as cold iron by this definition, but some would fit the bill.

Special Rules #

Fairy tale games have unique opportunities for magic that aren’t found elsewhere— death, curses, blessings, and wishes are all prevalent in fairy tales and make interesting elements in games. Here are some suggested ways to handle them.

Death #

You’ve probably noticed that in fairy tales, characters die all the time. Or almost die. Or sleep forever instead of die. Or die and come back to life. You get the idea.

Potentially, this will also be true in a fairy tale game. Thankfully, death doesn’t have to be the end of a character’s life. There are any number of ways to stop or reverse death, including artifacts, cyphers, and abilities. Additionally, a few NPCs, such as witches or Death themself, may have the power to bring someone back from the dead.

Typically, though, if a character dies and chooses to stay dead (or is unable to find a way to return to life), they are dead—they no longer have bodies, abilities, Pools, and so on. They can communicate to the living only through magic. Someone may stay dead for up to about a year (in game time) and still return to life. After that time elapses, death is permanent.

Curses #

In fairy tale games, curses are likely to be common. Most witches can cast curses of one form or another, as can many fey beings, queens, and sea creatures. Even objects and places can cause a character to become cursed. Characters might have multiple curses on them at the same time.

All curses have a level, from 1 to 10. The level affects how hard it is to resist the curse, as well as how severe the effects are and how difficult it is to remove the curse.

Curses work slightly differently than regular damage. Curses can have an impact on the game and the game mechanics (a character is turned into a fish or becomes invisible, all of their interactions are hindered, they take ongoing damage, and so on), or they can have more of a roleplaying impact (a character looks much older, they forget the word “apple,” their skin turns golden). See the Curse table for a list of example curses.

Preventing Curses #

When a character attempts to resist being cursed, they must make an Intellect defense roll against the level of the curse being cast. Being trained in Intellect defense eases this task, as does having a skill in curses or resisting curses.

Often, part of a curse’s effects is hindering curse resistance; thus, a character who already has one curse on them will find defending against a second curse is more difficult (their task is hindered).

Removing Curses #

Similar to poison and disease, curses aren’t automatically removed when a character makes a regular recovery roll. Instead, they stick around, continuing to affect the PC long after the curse is cast. In order to rid themselves of a curse, the character must take actions to remove it. The actions required depend on the nature and level of the curse.

The easiest way to remove a curse is to find, buy, steal, borrow, or otherwise acquire an object that removes curses (such as the blood pearl blossom cypher). Alternatively, the character might be able to pay someone who is skilled in curse removal to do the deed.

Curse Intrusions and Curse Mode #

In addition to dealing with the original effect of the curse, a cursed character is more likely to have bad things happen to them. There are two ways for the GM to work this into the game: curse intrusions and Curse Mode. Ideally, you’ll want to use both of these, as they each add something unique to the experience of being cursed.

Curse intrusions work like regular GM intrusions, and the cursed character gets XP. However, they only get 1 XP instead of the usual 2, and they must decide whether to keep it or give it to another player. Introduce additional curse intrusions from the Curse Intrusions table when it feels appropriate. This might be anytime the character has a big success, when they’re in a particularly risky position, or when they start to feel like they’ve forgotten about the curse.

Curse Mode. When using this rule, the GM increases the range of numbers that trigger a GM intrusion. As soon as a character is cursed, every time they roll a 1 or a 2 (instead of just a 1), they trigger a GM intrusion. As time passes, GM intrusions happen on a roll of 1 to 3, then a roll of 1 to 4, and so on. This potentially means that a die roll in Curse Mode can indicate success i a task and still trigger a GM intrusion. Curse Mode is similar to the Horror Mode optional rule in the Cypher System Rulebook, with one exception: the escalation works at a much slower pace. This is because Curse Mode is not designed to heighten immediate tension, but rather to create a long-term sense of being saddled with an unwanted and unpredictable negative effect.

Typically, the intrusion range is increased by 1 when:

  • The character is cursed.
  • The character starts a new day (or makes their ten-hour recovery roll).
  • The character actively takes an action to remove the curse (curses like wreaking havoc, which is part of the reason they’re so hard to get rid of).
  • The character attempts to resist an additional curse being cast upon them.

Once all curses are removed, Curse Mode is no longer in effect.

While not all regular GM intrusions are necessarily bad for the character, curse intrusions always make the cursed PC’s situation worse.

Curse Intrusions #

d6 Curse
1 An insect stings or bites the character at just the wrong moment.
2 Something in the area makes the character sneeze loudly and repeatedly.
3 The character shimmers in and out of view.
4 A deep sense of despair comes over the character.
5 The character feels an overwhelming urge to start dancing.
6 The character’s clothes are suddenly much too large.

Curse Table #

Roll 1d20 on the Curse table to determine the effect of the curse, or choose one that feels appropriate to the situation and the characters.

Typically, curses that have simple roleplaying effects (such as the character’s inability to speak their own name) are lower-level curses, while those that affect gameplay (such as decreasing recovery roll points) are higher level. Curses that have multiple effects are likely the highest level of all. However, sometimes an incredibly simple curse is still very high level because the caster wants to make it very hard to get rid of.

D20 Effect
1 Turned into an animal (bear, toad, hedgehog, swan, dog, etc.)
2 Becomes invisible
3 Turned into a living object
4 Turned into a great beast
5 Turned into someone much older
6 Forced to dance all night
7 When speaking, bugs and toads fall from mouth
8 Enchanted sleep
9 Forced to wear iron shoes (hinders all Speed actions)
10 Turned into a flower
11 Voice taken away
12 Unable to remember their true love
13 Nose grows every time they tell a lie
14 Positive social interactions are hindered
15 Number of points regained by a recovery roll is decreased by 1
16 Grows weak (Effort on Might tasks cost +1 Might)
17 Brain is in a fog (Effort on Intellect tasks costs +1 Intellect)
18 Moves slowly (effort on Speed tasks costs +1 Speed)
19 Can no longer say, write, or spell their own name
20 No one else remembers or recognizes the character

Curse Removal Table #

Some curses have a specific way that they must be removed. Others can be removed in a variety of ways. You can use the table as a reference for ways to remove or undo a curse, or you can roll 1d10 to give a curse a specific method of removal.

There are also many artifacts, cyphers, and other objects in the world that will remove (or prevent) curses.

d10 Removal Process
1 Complete an important task for the one who cursed you.
2 Complete an important task for (or make a large payment to) someone who promises to remove your curse.
3 Make things right (return the stolen item, apologize, or undo whatever was done to cause the curse to happen in the first place).
4 Write the name of the curse on a scrap of paper, bind it in a cloth with an egg, bury it at a crossroads, and never look back.
5 Pass the curse to someone else (this typically requires learning how the curse was done and then passing it to another person in the same way, but there are also more creative ways to make this happen).
6 Collect five birds, five beetles, five cats, five fish, and five young winds.
7 Die and return to life, which usually (but not always) takes advantage of a loophole that says death will end a curse.
8 Take three golden leaves from a golden tree to make tea with; drink the tea and read the leaves; then complete the task they suggest.
9 Kill the one who cast the curse (or otherwise find a way for them to die).
10 Find a poem of which there is only one written copy, read it backward each morning for seven mornings in a row, and then burn the item upon which the poem is written.

Blessings #

When someone is blessed, it typically means that they are more likely to receive a beneficial GM intrusion when they roll a 1 (or when the GM deems it appropriate to give them an intrusion). The Blessing Intrusions table provides examples of positive GM intrusions that a blessed character might receive.

Blessing Intrusions #

d6 Blessing
1 Someone randomly gives the character a small gift.
2 When the character speaks, gold coins fall from their mouth.
3 A necessary item, map, or clue falls into the character’s lap.
4 The weather is suddenly in the character’s favor.
5 Someone nearby just happens to have the thing the character needs.
6 A cypher or artifact works even better than expected.

Wishes #

Wishes can be granted via objects, creatures such as genies, or as part of a bargain. When the character asks for a wish, the GM assigns it a level. The larger and more difficult the wish, the higher the level. Generally, a wish such as gaining an asset or inexpensive item is level 1, and a wish for an expensive item or for a foe to vanish is level 7.

In order for a wish to be granted, the character must succeed on an Intellect-related task (usually persuasion or possibly intimidation) equal to the wish’s level. On a failed roll, the wish is either not granted at all or is partially granted, depending on the wish and the creature or object that is granting it.

Even if a wish is granted, the character may not get exactly what they want, especially if the wish is poorly worded, has multiple interpretations, or asks for something that is utterly impossible (such as destroying the entire world).

GM Intrusions #

GM intrusions present fantastic opportunities to imbue fairy tale games with a bit more weirdness, wonder, and whimsy, all while making the game more interesting and surprising for characters.

There’s a list of example GM intrusions in the Cypher System Rulebook, and any of those would work in a fairy tale game. The GM intrusions included in this section are more specifically designed with fairy tale magic in mind—they’re what could happen when magic goes wrong (or extraordinarily right).

Remember that GM intrusions don’t always mean that something has gone wrong or is bad for the players (unless they are curse intrusions). A GM intrusion could be the arrival of a good omen, the sudden reversal of a curse, or something that seems bad at first (like falling down a rabbit hole) but leads to something wonderful in the end (a whole new world to explore!).

The Fairy Tale Intrusions tables are ways to quickly generate intrusions appropriate to a fairy tale aesthetic. Roll on the appropriate table to determine the intrusion that occurs, or choose one that feels right for the situation.

Interaction Intrusions #

d10 GM Intrusion
1 A mischievous brownie attempts to steal an object from the characters in the middle of an important conversation or fight.
2 The NPC that the characters are talking to suddenly looks at their watch or the sky, says, “I’m late, I’m late,” and disappears.
3 A character speaks and all of their words come out backward.
4 The creature that the PCs are fighting or interacting with splits into two versions of itself.
5 The character that the PCs have been interacting with loses their glamour, and the PCs discover it’s not the person they thought it was.
6 Death arrives, convinced that one of the characters is someone else.
7 An opponent uses magic to gain hidden knowledge about a PC and uses it to their advantage in a fight or debate.
8 The North Wind has taken a liking to one of the characters and does something to help them succeed in their actions.
9 One of the PCs inadvertently (or purposefully) offends someone, and they are instantly turned into a frog.
10 An opponent holds up a mirror or other reflective surface at just the right moment, reflecting a spell or ability back on the character.

World Intrusions #

d10 GM Intrusion
1 One or more characters accidentally damage or offend a plant of some type, causing it to retaliate.
2 A wren starts singing at a nearby crossroads, warning that something’s coming.
3 One of the characters trips and falls into a rabbit hole.
4 Someone steals the moon just as the PCs are about to do an important task that requires moonlight.
5 The tree that the characters are sitting under wakes up. Perhaps it is hungry, or maybe it just wants company.
6 The path that the characters have been following turns into a rushing river beneath their feet.
7 Someone casting a curse nearby accidentally catches one of the characters in the magic, causing them to be affected (roll on the Curse table to determine the effect).
8 A mountain rises up suddenly between the place where the characters stand and the place they need to get to.
9 Somewhere far off, a magical effect backfires, causing a stampede of wild animals to run right toward the characters.
10 One of the characters smells gingerbread. The scent is so tempting, they have a hard time turning away from it.

Item Intrusions #

d10 GM Intrusion
1 A magical ability, cypher, or artifact does exactly what it’s supposed to, but also creates a weird side effect that affects a nearby friend (or foe).
2 A piece of equipment whispers lies into the character’s ear, making a convincing argument that their friends are not loyal.
3 A magical weapon breaks in the middle of combat and starts to cry.
4 A character’s belt turns into a snake and starts tightening around their middle.
5 A random object begins to wiggle and crack, as though it’s about to hatch.
6 The character’s weapon or armor begins to yell loudly for help while the PC is trying to sneak or hide.
7 A previously opened box, bottle, jar, or other container has locked itself back up, with an important item inside.
8 A cypher, artifact, or bit of magic is far more powerful than the characters realized, and affects a much larger area (or has a bigger effect) than they expected it to.
9 The glint of a recently acquired object or weapon is so shiny, it attracts the attention of a giant bird, beast, or dragon.
10 An item in the character’s hand or bag starts to replicate itself over and over.

Playing In A Fairy Tale Game #

Player Intrusions #

A player intrusion occurs when a player chooses to alter something in the story, making things easier for a player character. It’s kind of a reverse GM intrusion: instead of the GM giving the player XP and introducing an unexpected complication for a character, the player spends 1 XP

and presents a solution to a problem or complication.

Once Upon a Time: Someone you played with as a child reappears and helps you in whatever you are doing. They may be alive or dead, but your heart is warmed upon seeing them, for it’s been a long time.

As You Wish: You do something that reminds another person or creature in the area of someone they once cared for deeply. They are eager to assist you in whatever you’ve got going on, at least for a few minutes.

Once Upon a Dream: Not long ago, you dreamt of a scenario similar to the one that you find yourself in now. You can’t remember all of the details, but you remember enough to know some of what’s about to take place, and it gives you an additional action to prepare something useful.

Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo: A little sprinkle of magic from your fairy godmother is all you need to achieve a goal, retry a task, or be better at something you’re attempting to do.

Wish Upon a Star: Long ago, you helped part of a dying star return to its rightful place in the sky. It keeps an eye on you and, in a moment when it feels like all hope is lost, it sends a little magic or light to aid you.

Dreams Do Come True: Something you wished for long ago comes true just at this moment. It might be for a broken weapon to be fixed, an ally to appear, or a bit of knowledge or understanding to arrive in your mind.

What’s Come to Pass: Not long ago, someone forewarned you of the exact scenario that you find yourself in now. You know just what to do to put yourself at an advantage in the situation.

Think Happy Thoughts: You think of something or someone that brings you great joy, and it imbues your next few actions with magic, allowing you to fly or do some other thing that you are normally unable to do.

I Can Show You the World: Something or someone in the area shows itself to you, highlighting a route you were looking for, an object you had lost, or an answer to a problem.

Happily Ever After: Through the power of your love for another, you use magic to protect someone you care for. They are able to sidestep an attack that would normally do them grave damage.

If a player has no XP to spend, they can’t use a player intrusion.

Minor And Major Special Effect Options #

Any time a PC attempts an action and rolls a natural 19 or 20, they have the option

of triggering a minor special effect or major special effect, respectively. In fairy tales, almost anything goes, which can be overwhelming to a player trying to decide what their character’s special effect might be. Here are a few special effect options for players to use or be inspired by.

Minor Effect Suggestions #

  • A weapon comes alive at the perfect moment and does a bit more damage to a foe.
  • A fluctuation in magic hinders all of the foe’s tasks for one minute.
  • A curse, spell, or ability has additional force behind it, and lasts a round longer than expected.
  • The foe’s magical armor begins to dissipate, decreasing the amount of protection it offers on the next attack.
  • A shapeshifting or disguise spell or ability dazzles the target, easing all tasks related to it.
  • A magical attack hits the target and something they were holding, causing damage to both.

Major Effect Suggestions #

  • A weapon comes alive at the perfect moment and does a lot more damage to a foe.
  • A fluctuation in magic prevents a foe from taking their next action.
  • A curse that was cast upon you by the foe you’re attacking is removed.
  • A foe surrenders, agreeing to lay down their weapons.
  • A foe accidentally steps on a living plant or dangerous creature while trying to dodge your blow, and it attacks them or holds them fast.
  • A shapeshifting or disguise spell or ability works so well that the foe’s familiar or companion runs off, afraid to continue the fight.

Creating Your Character #

Form Vs. Function #

In a fairy tale game, the PCs might consist of a talking fox, an ogre, a fairy, and a human the size of your thumb. And that’s perfectly fine. Build your character sentence in a way that plays to your character’s strengths and weaknesses, and the rest can be handled through story and narrative. Playing a talking bear, a gingerbread

man, or a changeling will likely affect your character’s appearance, their outlook on life, and their backstory, but it doesn’t necessarily affect their abilities, skills, and Pools beyond what you choose during character creation.

Because the form that you choose doesn’t typically offer you something in addition to your Cypher System stats—being small, for example, does not inherently mean you’re stealthy—you’ll want to choose your stats to emphasize the bit of your character that you want to play.

Skills #

As described in the Cypher System Rulebook, there is no definitive list of skills. Characters can choose to become skilled in anything they like (with the GM’s permission). In addition to the suggested skills in the rulebook, useful skills for fairy tale games might include:

  • Talking animals*
  • Talking nature*
  • Trickery
  • Using magic
  • Weather
  • Baking
  • Cobbling
  • Curses
  • Dancing
  • Death
  • Magic
  • Playing an instrument
  • Puzzles
  • Riddles
  • Sailing
  • Sensing magic
  • Singing

Remember that only skills gained through character type abilities or in other rare instances allow you to become skilled with attack or defense tasks. Thus, all magic skills are noncombat skills only.

* These skills could be used in a number of different ways, depending on the setting. If the setting has talking animals that the players can’t understand, the talking animals skill could help a PC communicate with them in other ways. If there are talking animals that the characters can understand, the skill could provide an asset in social interactions.

Type #

Your character’s type is the core of who they are and how they interact with their environment, their companions, and other living creatures they encounter.

Suggested Types for a Fairy Tale Game #

Type Name and Flavor Suggestions

Warrior #

  • Huntsman, Skills and knowledge, stealth
  • Knight
  • Woodcutter
  • Guard
  • Archer, Stealth

Adept #

  • King/queen
  • Wizard/witch, Magic, skills and knowledge
  • Chosen one
  • Apprentice
  • Magical being (genie, spirit, faerie, and so on)

Explorer #

  • Adventurer
  • Dreamer Seeker
  • Sailor/seafarer, Combat
  • Wanderer
  • Outlaw, Combat Stealth
  • Thief, Stealth
  • Wolf, Combat Stealth

Speaker #

  • Aristocrat
  • Princess/prince
  • Entertainer
  • Helper, Magic
  • Trickster, Skills and Knowledge

Descriptor #

Your descriptor is what defines your character—it changes the way you tackle every action that you take. Your descriptor places your character in their current situation or adventure, and helps provide a sense of their motivations.

Suggested Descriptors for a Fairy Tale Game #

The following descriptors are appropriate for fairy tale settings. Other descriptors from the Cypher System Rulebook may be appropriate but would require consulting with your GM to determine how such a character might get involved in the campaign.

  • Appealing
  • Beneficent
  • Brash
  • Calm
  • Chaotic
  • Charming
  • Clever
  • Craven
  • Creative
  • Dishonorable
  • Doomed
  • Empathic
  • Exiled
  • Foolish
  • Guarded
  • Honorable
  • Impulsive
  • Inquisitive
  • Intelligent
  • Intuitive
  • Jovial
  • Kind
  • Mad
  • Mysterious
  • Naive
  • Perceptive
  • Resilient
  • Risk-Taking
  • Skeptical
  • Strong
  • Strong-Willed
  • Tongue-Tied
  • Vicious
  • Virtuous
  • Weird

Heartwood Descriptors #

  • Bewitched
  • Changeling
  • Fragmented
  • Frumious
  • Haunted
  • Lost

Focus #

Your focus makes your character unique.

It gives you benefits when you create your character and each time you ascend to the next tier. When you choose a focus, it gives you a first-tier ability, a special connection to one or more of your fellow PCs, and possibly some starting equipment.

Suggested Foci for a Fairy Tale Game #

  • Abides in Stone
  • Absorbs Energy
  • Awakens Dreams
  • Bears a Halo of Fire
  • Blazes With Radiance
  • Brandishes an Exotic Shield
  • Channels Divine Blessings
  • Commands Mental Powers
  • Conducts Weird Science
  • Consorts With the Dead
  • Controls Beasts
  • Controls Gravity
  • Crafts Illusions
  • Crafts Unique Objects
  • Dances With Dark Matter
  • Defends the Gate
  • Defends the Weak
  • Descends From Nobility
  • Doesn’t Do Much
  • Emerged From the Obelisk
  • Employs Magnetism
  • Entertains
  • Exists in Two Places at Once
  • Exists Partially Out of Phase
  • Explores Dark Places
  • Fights Dirty
  • Fights With Panache
  • Focuses Mind Over Matter
  • Grows to Towering Heights
  • Helps Their Friends
  • Howls at the Moon
  • Hunts
  • Infiltrates
  • Is Wanted by the Law
  • Keeps a Magic Ally
  • Leads
  • Learns Quickly
  • Lives in the Wilderness
  • Looks for Trouble
  • Masters Defense
  • Masters Spells
  • Masters the Swarm
  • Masters Weaponry
  • Metes Out Justice
  • Moves Like a Cat
  • Moves Like the Wind
  • Murders
  • Needs No Weapon
  • Never Says Die
  • Performs Feats of Strength
  • Rages
  • Rides the Lightning
  • Runs Away
  • Scavenges
  • Sees Beyond
  • Separates Mind From Heights
  • Shepherds the Community
  • Shepherds Spirits
  • Shreds the Walls of the World
  • Slays Monsters
  • Solves Mysteries
  • Speaks for the Land
  • Stands Like a Bastion
  • Throws With Deadly Accuracy
  • Travels Through Time
  • Was Foretold
  • Wields Two Weapons at Once
  • Works for a Living
  • Works Miracles
  • Would Rather Be Reading

Heartwood Foci #

  • Befriends the Black Dog
  • Curses the World
  • Feigns No Fear
  • Lived Among the Fey

Adjusted Foci #

Battles Robots, Builds Robots, Talks to Machines

Best for settings that include elements of science fiction. Alternatively, “robots” can be a stand-in for puppets, steampunk entities, golems, or other creations such as Pinocchio, Edward Scissorhands, the Gingerbread Man, and the Tin Man. Mister Geppetto would likely be someone who Builds Robots, while Muska (from Miyazaki’s film Laputa: Castle in the Sky) might be someone who Battles Robots.

Drives Like a Maniac

Best for modern settings or those where traditional fairy tale vehicles such as horse-drawn carriages, magic carpets, witch’s brooms, and chicken-legged huts are common.

Fuses Flesh and Steel, Fuses Mind and Machine

Best for steampunk or weird science mashups. Edward Scissorhands and the Tin Man are probably characters who Fuse Flesh and Steel. Alternatively, renaming the foci to Fuses Flesh and Magic or Wants to Become a Real Boy can provide characters with the same benefits from a more magical-sounding source.

Is Licensed to Carry

With small tweaks to the language and abilities, this could work for someone who wants to wield a wand, bow, or other ranged weapon.

Sailed Beneath the Jolly Roger

With small tweaks to the language and abilities, this could work for someone who used to be a sailor or pirate.

Fairy Tale Character Arcs #

Character arcs are fantastic opportunities for players to deepen their roleplaying options, add to the narrative, and set goals that can intertwine with and strengthen a campaign or adventure. While character arcs aren’t a requirement, they work particularly well in fairy tale games, where individual goals and tasks are often at the forefront of what drives adventures.

Players can pick from any of the sample character arcs in the Cypher System Rulebook, make up their own (with the assistance and approval of the GM), or choose one of the new character arcs created specifically for the Heartwood setting.

Equipment #

Most weapons that are powered by magic, such as wands, operate exactly like a regular weapon; they just do their damage using magic.

Equipment and weapons with unique magic abilities are typically considered to be cyphers or artifacts.

Currency #

In most fairy tales, money isn’t precise. Someone might be poor or rich. They might find a bag of gold or a chest full of jewels. They might be the richest man in the town or have nothing but a tired old cow to their name. But typically what they don’t have is “one gold piece” or “thirty farthings” to their name. This means that whatever your fairy tale setting, you can think in general terms of money instead of keeping meticulous track of every penny, farthing, gold coin, or dollar.

To keep things easy, no matter what currency your characters use, think of money as being in simple amounts that scale up, such as a copper coin, a silver coin, and a gold coin. These could easily equate to the inexpensive, moderate, and expensive items on the equipment list. Items that are very expensive might be worth a bag of silver, while exorbitant items might be worth a bag of gold.

Additionally, if the PCs are completing a character arc, accomplishing a task, or doing some other type of action to receive a piece of equipment, you can use the price category to decide how complicated or difficult that task is. A moderately priced item likely requires completing a moderately difficult task, while an exorbitant item may require something that taxes the PCs and really puts their skills and dedication to the test.

Signature Items #

In fairy tales, clothing, weapons, and other items that a character carries for a long time tend to be very personal and very important. They’re often unique and handcrafted, they may have names or stories that go with them, and because characters tend to keep them for a long time, they may have undergone repairs or have markings that tell something about the character’s background.

Apparel And Armor #

In most cases, characters start out by wearing any type of clothing they choose. Typically (unless the GM decides otherwise or unless it is designated as armor), this clothing is purely for decorative and roleplaying purposes and offers no additional benefits.

However, clothing with additional benefits can be purchased, stolen, found, or earned by completing favors and accomplishing tasks.

Optional Rule: I Have That! #

In fairy tales, characters often have exactly the right mundane piece of equipment that they need to bypass a story-related obstacle hidden away in a pocket or a bag. Rather than having the PCs stock up on mundane items like marbles, rope, and breadcrumbs in town, use the I Have That! rule. This means players don’t have to keep exact track of their characters’ mundane equipment; instead, they spend an amount to get an unspecified “Pocket Item” in that category. Then, when they’re out in the world and realize they could solve a problem with an item, they can just say, “I have that!” and pull it from their pocket. All Pocket Items are one-use only; after using them, the PC marks off one of their Pocket Items for the appropriate price category.

Most Pocket Items are inexpensive, but moderate and expensive Pocket Items exist, and are likely more useful than their less expensive counterparts.

The GM has veto power over items that they don’t think you could have found or carried.

Using the I Have That! rule doesn’t preclude PCs from also purchasing these items directly. For example, if a character who sews wants to buy a thimble and an inexpensive Pocket Item, they can. However, they cannot later turn the thimble into a Pocket Item; it remains a thimble.

Example Pocket Items #

Inexpensive #

  • Apple
  • Ashes (handful)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Butter
  • Candy
  • Chalk
  • Cricket in a cage
  • Cup
  • Egg
  • Fabric
  • Flyswatter
  • Glass jar
  • Glue
  • Honey
  • Leather
  • Magnets
  • Marbles
  • Nails
  • Needle and thread
  • Paper
  • Plait of hair
  • Pot of fat
  • Pot of grease
  • Ribbon
  • Rice (handful)
  • Straw
  • Tacks
  • Wax
  • Wool

Moderate #

  • Bird in a cage
  • Sewing shears
  • Thimble

Clothing #

Inexpensive #

  • Gloves or mittens
  • Hat or hood

Moderately Priced #

  • Cloak or coat
  • Specialized outfit (craftsman, baker, guard, and so on)
  • Wizard or enchanter’s outfit

Very Expensive #

  • Elegant cloak or coat
  • Royal ensemble
  • Suit or ballgown
  • Exorbitant
  • Elegant, bespoke clothing suitable for moving in elite circles (provides an asset in interaction tasks)

Weapons And Protective Gear #

Inexpensive #

  • Ammunition (12 arrows, 12 crossbow bolts, and so on)

Moderately Priced #

  • Light weapons (knives, handaxe, hairpin, darts, wand, slingshot, and so on)
  • Light armor (hides and furs, thieves’ armor, leather jerkin, padded coat, and so on)

Expensive #

  • Medium weapon (club, sword, battleaxe, mace, crossbow, spear, staff, and so on)
  • Medium armor (breastplate, brigade, chainmail, and so on)

Very Expensive #

  • Heavy weapon (huge sword, great hammer, massive axe, halberd, heavy crossbow, and so on)
  • Heavy armor (full plate armor)

Exorbitant #

  • Jeweled, ornate, royal, or bespoke weapon
  • Jeweled, ornate, royal, or bespoke armor
Remember, armor (with a lowercase a) is something that the character wears, while Armor (with a capital A) is the total amount of Armor that you have, including any magical effects. You can wear only one type of armor at any given time, but you could have many things that give you Armor.

Basic Equipment #

Inexpensive #

  • Candle
  • Chalk (3)
  • Day’s rations
  • Meal, decent
  • Sack
  • Sewing kit
  • Sharpening stone
  • String or yarn
  • Thimble
  • Tinder and flint
  • Torch (3)
  • Vial

Moderately Priced #

  • Backpack
  • Bedroll
  • Book
  • Box, small
  • Deck of cards
  • Game
  • Lantern
  • Meal, fine dining
  • Metal file
  • Mining pick
  • Mirror, hand
  • Quill, ink and paper (2 pieces)
  • Rope (50 feet)
  • Tent
  • Waterskin or flask

Expensive #

  • Bag of heavy tools
  • Bag of light tools
  • Box, medium

Very Expensive #

  • Charon’s obol. Imbued coin. Placed in the mouth of a dead person prior to burial as payment to Charon, the ferryman, for conveying the soul to its proper resting place.
  • Disguise kit/potion. Asset for disguise tasks.
  • Healing kit/potion. Asset for healing tasks.
  • Protective charm. Church bell, four-leaf clover, rabbit’s foot, and so on. Asset on defense rolls against fairies and other fey-like creatures.
  • Handheld scrying mirror. Asset for initiative tasks when held in hand or worn.

Travel #

Moderately Priced #

  • Common transportation, rental (horse-drawn carriage, boat, mount, and so on)
  • Lodging, shared room or shed, meager

Expensive #

  • Magic transportation, rental (chicken-legged hut, levitating mortar, magic carpet, talking mount, flying ship, and so on). In most cases, renting magic transportation includes a guide, driver, or other person who can power and operate the vehicle. For example, a levitating mortar can only be driven by a witch of a certain age.
  • Common transportation, purchase (horse-drawn carriage, boat, mount, and so on)
  • Lodging, solo room, decent

Very Expensive #

  • Lodging, whole building or large room

Exorbitant #

  • Magic transportation, rental (chicken-legged hut, levitating mortar, magic carpet, talking mount, flying ship, and so on). In most cases, it’s also necessary to hire a guide, driver, or other person who can control and power the vehicle. Alternatively, characters must take a class, learn a spell, or meet other magic requirements in order to operate the vehicle.

Cyphers And Artifacts #

Because magic—and thus magic items— are so prevalent in most fairy tales, cyphers in particular should be easy for characters to replenish. If you’re using subtle cyphers, you can choose how they arrive—on magic storms, perhaps, or in pockets of magic that exist throughout the world. Or maybe the magic is such that it just works, ensuring that cyphers show up whenever the characters need them.

Manifest cyphers should be readily available too—likely they can be found for cheap at a local market, stashed in hollow tree trunks or bird nests, or scattered about the forest floor. Manifest cyphers may also be integrated into people’s clothing or furnishings as unique adornments.

Artifacts are typically more valuable and less common. Therefore, player characters are less likely to encounter them at random and more likely to find them in the hands of NPCs, locked or hidden in chests, or for sale by high-end and specialized vendors. Acquiring an artifact should almost always require a sacrifice, trial, or difficult task.

Cypher Limits #

All characters have a maximum number of cyphers they can have at any one time, determined by their type. If a character ever attempts to carry more cyphers than their limit, the magic within the cyphers quickly begins to attract fey beings. Fey beings may react by stealing one or more cyphers, cursing the character, or even stealing the character away to a fey realm.

Obviously, having a fey being steal a character away to their realm is a story-changer. If you’re using this as an option, figure out ahead of time what type of fey is attracted, what their realm is like, and how to play out the character’s disappearance and possible retrieval.

Fey Being Table #

d6 Effect
1 Faerie
2 Changeling
3 Goblin
4 Nymph
5 Pixie
6 Ogre

Fey Cypher Attraction #

d6 Effect
1 Steals one cypher
2 Steals two cyphers
3 Curses the character
4 Curses one cypher, causing it to reduce all stat Pool maximums by 5 until the cypher is used, removed, or destroyed
5 Causes two or more cyphers to react with each other, destroying them and inflicting damage equal to the level of the more powerful cypher
6 Steals the character away to their fey realm

Cyphers #

Cyphers are one-use abilities that characters gain over the course of play. They have powers that can heal, do damage, ease or hinder tasks, or produce interesting and unusual effects. In a fairy tale setting, they often appear as a simple object, such as a poisoned apple or a matchbook. They can also be something intangible, such as three wishes or a magic word. The shifting state of magic in fairy tales makes it easy to use both manifest and subtle cyphers in the same setting and campaign if you desire.

In settings full of magic, cyphers should be both readily available and regularly used. If the PCs are hoarding or saving their cyphers, feel free to give them a reason to use them. And have a list of replacement cyphers ready so the players never have to go without.

Typically, something like a handful of magic beans or apple seeds is considered a single cypher even though there are multiple items.

Cypher Forms #

While characters can find or purchase many of these items in the world, only magic versions of the items are cyphers. Characters should easily be able to tell when an item is magic (and thus a cypher) and when it’s an ordinary item.

d20 Form
1 Apple or ball of yarn
2 Pebble or mushroom
3 Scroll or four-leaf clover
4 Lock of hair or hand mirror
5 Matchstick or comb
6 Feather or acorn
7 Egg or apple seeds
8 Tea or fish scales
9 Fingernail clippings or chalk
10 Magic beans or key
11 Rose or bell
12 Small cake or talisman
13 Wolf’s tooth or hand mirror
14 Vial of liquid or secret
15 Magic coin or broken arrow
16 Wish or fairy dust
17 Magic word or spindle
18 Curse or hankerchief
19 Spell or hand fan
20 Fallen star or playing card

Fairy Tale Cypher Table #

d100 Cypher
01 Adderstone
02 Agate Eye
03 Animate wood
04 Anywhere door
05 Apple of discord
06 Azure dust
07 Baba Yaga’s spiced cookie
08 Bellman’s map of the ocean
09 Beloved’s kiss
10 Bird’s next coronet
11 Blackbird pie
12 Blood pearl blossom
13 Bone key
14 Bones of the beloved
15 Bowl of porridge
16 Cat sidhe medallion
17 Cheshire smile
18 Coalheart’s beard balm
19 Croc’s clock
20 Crown jewel
21 Dame Trot’s cat
22 Darning needle
23 Dead water
24 Deathless
25 Death’s candle
26 Death’s messengers
27 Diadem of death
28 Dragon’s blood
29 Dragon’s teeth
30 Dressmaking nut
31 Drink me
32 Dust of the dreamer
33 Eat me
34 Emperor’s new clothes
35 Fairy cup
36 False grandmother
37 Father’s Betrayal
38 Flaming arrow
39 Flowers for grandmother
40 Forget-me-knot
41 Genie’s handkerchief
42 Gilded shell
43 Gingerbread man
44 Godfather’s picture book
45 Golden Beetle
46 Golden vanity
47 Green spectacles
48 Hart’s heart
49 Heart of a star
50 Heart’s tart
51 Hot cross buns
52 Iron bands of three
53 Itsy bitsy spider
54 Jack’s candlestick
55 Jiminy cricket
56 The Key of Knowing
57 Knave of Hearts
58 Lion’s courage
59 Living water
60 Magic beans
61 Memory’s match
62 Mermaid tear
63 Neverlost
64 Nonsensical poem
65 Omniscient bean
66 Pictureless book
67 Poison for your daughter
68 Poisoned apple
69 Poppet (damage)
70 Poppet (love)
71 Poppet (prosperity)
72 Poppet (silence)
73 Powder of life
74 Princess’s pea
75 Rabbit hole
76 Rapunzel leaf
77 Rose of red
78 Shadow soap
79 Shard of the moon
80 Shining life
81 Silver slippers
82 Singing bone
83 Snake leaves
84 Snickersnee
85 Song of the dead
86 Socerer’s skeleton key
87 Spirit ring
88 Teleport hat
89 Three needles
90 Tin Man’s tears
91 To Peter with love
92 Valorous whetstone
93 Vase of tears
94 White snake
95 Wish granting pearl
96 Witch bottle
97 Witch’s ladder
98 Wooden spoon
99 Yonder yarn
00 Roll on the cypher tables in the Cypher System Rulebook

A Selection Of Fairy Tale Cyphers #

Adderstone #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Stone with a hole in the middle

Effect: For the next day, provides the character with one of the following benefits. Roll a d20 or choose from the table.

Adderstones are sometimes also called hagstones, seer stones, and holey stones.

Beware false adderstones, which are made by enterprising swindlers who drill or carve a hole out of a regular stone and attempt to pass it off as something more.

If a character has no hair in which to tie an adderstone, perhaps they can “borrow” some from a friend, a domesticated animal, or a foe.

d20 Effect
1-3 When looking through the hole, the user gains an asset to seeing things that are normally invisible to the eye, including doorways, beings, spirits, magical effects, and so on.
4-6 When worn on the finger as a ring, wards off spirits of the dead (grants +1 Armor against attacks from ghosts, haunts, and other spirits of the dead).
7-9 When attached to physical armor, adds 1 to the Armor it provides (adds 2 to the Armor if the cypher is level 6 or higher).
10-12 When held in the mouth, protects against poisons (up to the level of the cypher).
13-15 When placed on the finger of another with good intent, it adds 1 to the recovery rolls of both the user and the wearer.
16-18 When worn on a string around the neck, provides training in two noncombat skills of the user’s choice that they are not already trained in.
19-20 When tied in the hair, eases all defense tasks against curses by two steps.

Agate Eye #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Striped stone that looks like a dragon’s eye

Effect: When ground up and added to food or drink, or applied to the skin, renders the user immune to poisons of the cypher level or lower for one hour per cypher level (and ends any such ongoing effects, if any, already in the user’s system).

Animated Wood #

Level: 1d6

Form: Chunk of pine, alder, or other wood

imbued with magical properties Effect: Writing a word, such as “child,” “horse,” or “sword,” on the wood causes it to become a living version of that word. The living version is no bigger than 10 feet by 10 feet by 20 feet (3 m by 3 m by 6 m) and its level is equal to the cypher level. It can make attacks or perform actions as commanded to the best of its abilities and lasts for one hour per cypher level. Commanding it is not an action.

Once activated, animated wood is not an unthinking, docile being. It may, in fact, resist the user’s commands and attempt to take its own actions. Any actions it takes cannot be harmful to the user or the user’s allies. The user may attempt to stop an unwanted action via persuasion, intimidation, and so on (any such tasks against the animated wood are eased by two steps).

Anywhere Door #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Chalk, pen, pencil, lipstick, or marker

Effect: Creates a door to anywhere. The door remains for one day, and then disappears. While the door exists, anyone or anything that can discern the door can use it. Erasing the drawn line erases the door.

Apple of Discord #

Level: 1d6 + 1

Form: Beautiful golden apple that catches the eye of all who see it

Effect: When tossed up to a long distance away, it affects all foes in short range of the apple, causing them to attempt to take it for themselves. Foes spend their next two actions doing nothing but fighting among themselves for possession of the apple.

Azure Dust #

Level: 1d6 + 1

Form: Handful of dust from the Fairy with the Turquoise Hair

Effect: Sprinkling the dust on someone’s hair, skin, outfit, or other object permanently dyes it bright blue.

Level: 1d6

Form: Rye cookie flavored with spices and honey

Effect: Eating the cookie increases the user’s Intellect Edge by 1 for one hour.

Bellman’s Map of the Ocean #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Blank sheet of paper rolled and tied with a hair tie

Effect: When unrolled, convinces everyone

within short range that the character holding the map knows far more than they do. For the next ten minutes, affected beings look upon the map- holder as their leader or guide, will not attack them, and generally will do as they ask (all social interactions with those affected are eased by two steps).

Beloved’s Kiss #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Ruby red ring

Effect: When pressed to the lips of a character, beloved’s kiss prevents the occurrence of one specific condition of the cypher level or lower. Additionally, it ends any such ongoing effect, if

any, in the user’s system. Roll a d6 to determine the result.

d6 Condition
1-2 Renders the character immune to poisons for one hour per cypher level (and ends any ongoing effects)
3-4 Renders the character immune to curses for one hour per cypher level (and ends any ongoing effects)
5-6 Renders the character immune to mental effects for one hour per cypher level (and ends any ongoing effects)

Bird’s Nest Coronet #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Beautifully woven bird’s nest

Effect: When worn like a crown, the bird’s nest creates an illusion over the wearer, making them appear like royalty. Others are more likely to follow their suggestions, defer to their wishes, and treat them well. All social interactions are eased by two steps for one day. Seeing through the disguise is an Intellect task equal to the cypher’s level.

Blackbird Pie #

Level: 1d6

Form: Four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie

Effect: When the pie is cut open, the blackbirds begin to sing a haunting dirge of pain and sorrow. All foes within long range who hear the song are hindered on all tasks for ten minutes.

Blood Pearl Blossom #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Rare blood-red flower with a beautiful pearl in its center

Effect: When ingested, removes one curse (of the cypher level or lower) from the user. The curse-removal process can take from one round to one day, depending on the level, severity, and type of curse.

Bone Key #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Human finger bone carved into a skeleton key

Effect: Unlocks one lock of the cypher level or lower, or provides an asset to open a lock of higher level.

Bones of the Beloved #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Handful of ground bones

Effect: When eaten, the bones begin a process of lowering the eater’s apparent age. Over the next three days, the user begins to look younger and younger, until they reach the appearance of someone no younger than their mid-twenties. Their hair shines, their teeth glow, their wrinkles disappear, their back unstoops. The effect lasts for three days (five days if the cypher is level 6 or higher). This does not change the actual health or age of the character.

Bowl of Porridge #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Just-right bowl of porridge

Effect: Restores a number of points equal to the cypher level to the user’s Might Pool. Also protects the user from the effects of cold for ten minutes.

Cat Sidhe Medallion #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Medallion in the shape of the white symbol on a cat sidhe’s chest

Effect: When activated, the medallion protects the wearer from the next curse (of the cypher level or lower) that is cast upon them. The curse goes into the medallion, which shatters into thousands of tiny pieces.

Cheshire Smile #

Level: 1d6

Form: Mischievous grin

Effect: When hung in the air, the grin slowly transforms into a grey Cheshire Cat that seems to be made mostly of smoke and shadow. It has huge blue eyes and an enormous grin. The cat acts as a creature (level equal to the cypher’s level) with a mind of its own, although it likely helps the person who activated the cypher. It sticks around for ten minutes, and then fades away slowly, until even the original smile has disappeared.

Coalheart’s Beard Balm #

Level: 1d6

Form: Jar of balm

Effect: When rubbed on the face, the balm grows into a long, golden beard in about ten minutes. When the user tugs on their beard, it points them in the direction of valuable treasure, the location of which was previously unknown to the user. If someone else cuts the beard before the treasure is found, it loses its power. After the treasure is found, the beard remains. But once it is shaved or cut, it does not grow back.

Many dwarfs have beards with magical powers. It’s possible to find other beard balm cyphers out in the world.

Croc’s Clock #

Level: 1d6

Form: Tiny ticking clock, no bigger than a thumbnail

Effect: When attached to (or swallowed by) a living creature or an object, the clock ticks loudly, alerting everyone within long range to its presence for one day.

Crown Jewel #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Shining jewel from a royal crown

Effect: When attached to an item such as a weapon, shield, armor, cypher, or artifact, creates an exact duplicate of the item. The duplicate works just like the original and lasts for ten minutes or until it naturally depletes (whichever comes first).

Dame Trot’s Cat #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Statue of a cat

Effect: When activated by feeding it a bit of milk or fish, the statue protects the user, yowling and hissing the next time it senses danger. The cat’s level is equal to the cypher level.

Darning Needle #

Level: 1d6

Form: Needle with a large eye

Effect: When activated, grows into a larger version of itself that acts as a medium weapon. It inflicts 4 points of damage and causes anything it successfully hits to shrink to half its size. The needle lasts for a number of hours equal to the cypher’s level.

Dead Water #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Vial, pot, or jar of black liquid

Effect: Brings a character back to life. However, they come back with a permanent 3-point reduction in their maximum Might Pool.

Deathless #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Needle inside an egg

Effect: When a character places their soul inside the needle and places the needle inside the egg, they are protected from their next death. When the character dies, they return to life on the next round, with all of their Pools full.

Using the deathless does not protect the character from taking damage or moving down the damage track. Placing the soul and returning to life are actions. Once the cypher holds the user’s soul, it no longer counts against their cypher limit.

If someone gets a hold of another person’s soul, they have a great deal of power over that person (such as easing all actions against them by three steps). Those who use a deathless should ensure that it’s well hidden and well protected.

Death’s Candle #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Small, half-burnt black candle

Effect: Once the candle is lit, it burns for a number of rounds equal to the cypher’s level. During that time, the user who lit it is protected from death or being moved down the damage track. While the candle burns, if the character would normally die, they do not and instead reject all damage. For example, if a character has 5 points left in their last Pool, and a foe inflicts 5 points

of damage on them, putting all their Pools at 0, the user takes no damage. However, if a foe inflicts 4 points of damage, which is not enough to kill the user, the user takes the 4 points of damage.

Death’s Messengers #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Bottle, vial, or box filled with three wisps of dark smoke

Effect: The three smoke wisps wrap around a creature within close range, causing them to feel dizzy, experience ringing in their ears, and have blurred vision. For the next three rounds, the cypher inflicts damage equal to the cypher’s level (each round).

Diadem of Death #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Crown made of feathers, bits of bone, burnt hair, and old teeth

Effect: When worn on someone’s head, looped over a limb, or otherwise placed upon their person, the crown inflicts damage equal to its level.

Dragon’s Blood #

Level: 1d6

Form: Powdered dragon’s blood

Effect: When mixed with liquid and painted on a living being, grants one of the following effects for a day.

d6 Effect
1-2 +2 to Armor
3-4 Asset to all tasks involving magic
5-6 Asset to all tasks involving romance, sex, and fertility

Dragon’s Teeth #

Level: 1d6

Form: Handful of dragon’s teeth

Effect: When planted, the dragon’s teeth grow into three fully armed warriors. The warriors can understand the verbal commands of the person who planted them. Once they are grown, commanding them is not an action. They can make attacks and perform actions to the best of their abilities. The warriors can never go farther than long range from the character who planted them

Planting the teeth is an action. It takes two rounds for the teeth to grow into warriors. The warriors last for one hour per cypher level.

Warriors: level 3; Armor 1; swords inflict 3 points of damage

Dressmaking Nut #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Walnut or other shelled nut, with hinges and a clasp

Effect: The nut opens to reveal a stunning and spectacular ballgown, evening dress, or tuxedo. The outfit is the perfect size, shape, style, and color for the person who wishes to wear it. While worn, the outfit eases all tasks involving charm, persuasion, and etiquette for one hour. After

that, the outfit may still be worn, but no longer offers any benefits.

Beings of all genders can wear any form of outfit from the dressmaking nut and receive the benefits.

Drink Me #

Level: 1d6

Form: Liquid inside a glass bottle with a paper label that says “DRINK ME”

Effect: Causes the imbiber to shrink down to half their size. The effect lasts for one hour or until the user can find another way to change their size (such as with an eat me).

Dust of the Dreamer #

Level: 1d6

Form: Pouch of very fine, rainbow-hued dust

Effect: When sprinkled in the eyes, grants the recipient all the benefits of a ten-hour recovery roll as a single action. This does not use up any of their recovery rolls.

Eat Me #

Level: 1d6

Form: Very small cake with the words “EAT ME” written on it in currants

Effect: Causes the eater to grow to twice their size. The effect lasts for one hour or until the user can find another way to change their size (such as with a drink me).

Emperor’s New Clothes #

Level: 1d6

Form: Magical thread sewn onto armor

Effect: For the next day, the armor the thread is attached to is invisible, making the wearer appear to be unarmored.

Fairy Cup #

Level: 1d6 + 1

Form: Decorated vessel made of precious materials

Effect: When the cup is buried in the ground, it grants the person who buried it protection. They gain +2 Armor against all physical and mental attacks for one day.

It’s believed that burying a fairy cup returns it to its rightful owners below ground, and it is they who offer protection by way of thanks.

False Grandmother #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Pair of wire-rimmed glasses

Effect: While wearing the glasses, the user designates one living creature that

they can see. For the next ten minutes per cypher level, the user is disguised as someone the designated creature knows well. The user has no say in who that person is, but while the disguise is active, all interactions with the designated creature are eased by two steps. The user can remove the glasses to look like themselves again before the end of the duration.

Father’s Betrayal #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Small stone shaped like a heart

ffect: For the next ten minutes, a creature that the user can see is banished from an area 30 feet by 30 feet (9 m by 9 m) around the user. If the creature is within that area when the cypher is activated, they are knocked outside the area and are dazed for one round, hindering their next action.

Flaming Arrow #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Arrow with a silver-white shaft, golden head, and fletching of peacock feathers

Effect: The arrow explodes into flame when it strikes something, inflicting its level in damage to all within immediate range.

Flowers for Grandmother #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Fresh-picked bouquet of flowers tied with a red ribbon

Effect: Giving the flowers to someone else provides both the recipient and the giver an asset in defense against damage of a specified kind for one hour. Roll a d6 to determine the effect.

d6 Effect
1 Curses
2 Fire/heat
3 Ice/cold
4 Poison
5 Intellect
6 Slashing and piercing

Forget-Me-Knot #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Length of magical rope

Effect: Knotting the rope together to form a loop allows the user to capture a memory from their past. They don’t lose the memory when capturing it with the forget-me-knot. When the user unties the loop, everyone in close range spends one round doing nothing but experiencing the memory as if it were their own. If the memory is particularly sad, loving, scary, and so on, all affected beings likely spend an additional round dealing with the emotional impacts of that memory. Capturing the memory is an action, as is untying the loop.

Genie’s Handkerchief #

Level: 1d6

Form: Extremely large handkerchief with one corner coated in mercury

Effect: Rubbing the cloth over a wound heals the wound (restores all points to the character’s Pools), but also uses up one recovery roll for the day.

Genie’s handkerchiefs come in many colors and materials. Some people find that after

their magic is used up, they make fine blankets, curtains, or cloaks. Of course, extended exposure to mercury has its drawbacks.

Gilded Shell #

Level: 1d6

Form: Golden snail shell

Effect: When blown into softly, the shell expands into a simple structure with a front door and walls that let in a soft light. From inside the structure, it’s about 10 feet by 10 feet by 20 feet (3

m by 3 m by 6 m). From the outside, the shell continues to look exactly the way it did before, in both size and shape, making it difficult for others to notice. Once expanded, the structure is permanent and immobile.

Gingerbread Man #

Level: 1d6

Form: Gingerbread cookie in the shape of a human, lavishly decorated

Effect: After eating the cookie, the user has training in Speed defense for the next day.

Godfather’s Picture Book #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Large book full of tales

Effect: When someone flips through the pages quickly, time is altered. If the user flips through the book forward, time jumps forward. Flip backward and time jumps backward. Moving time forward gives the user an additional action on their turn. Moving it backward allows them to retry their previous action. After the book is used this way once, it becomes a regular book and does not count against the character’s cypher limit.

Golden Beetle #

Level: 1d6

Form: Golden scarab beetle

Effect: When dropped into liquid and cooked, it creates enough food to fill the stomachs of all friends and allies within long range.

Golden Vanity #

Level: 1d6

Form: Golden vanity set in a small, sturdy box that includes a brush, comb, and mirror

Effect: Each item may be used once and has a different effect:

Golden brush: Creates bristly terrain in an immediate area, which counts as difficult terrain.

Golden comb: Creates jagged, toothy rocks in an immediate area, making it extremely painful to cross. Characters within the area take 1 point of damage each round from the rocks.

Golden mirror: Turns into a tall glass mountain 30 feet tall by 300 feet wide (9 m by 90 m). All climbing tasks are hindered, and a fall from any height does 3 points of ambient damage (ignores Armor).

The landscape effects are permanent. The golden vanity counts as a single cypher against the character’s cypher limit. When all three items have been used, it remains a functional vanity set but no longer holds any magic.

Green Spectacles #

Level: 1d6

Form: Pair of glasses with bright green lenses

Effect: Once activated, protects the wearer from being blinded or having their vision affected in other ways for one day. The wearer can see through illusions of the cypher level or lower and can see in the dark as if it were daylight.

Hart’s Heart #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Still-beating heart from a forest stag, kept in an ornate lined box

Effect: When the user offers the heart to another living being, all attempts by the user to bribe, deceive, coerce, or convince the recipient are eased by two steps.

Heart of a Star #

Level: 1d6

Form: Still-warm piece of a fallen star

Effect: For the next ten minutes, when the user helps another character while holding the star, that character’s task is eased by an additional step. (If the user has an inability in the relevant skill, the other character’s task is still eased.)

Heart’s Tart #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Red tart in the shape of a heart

Effect: When eaten, eases all tasks involving stealing, picking pockets, sneaking, running, surprise, and initiative for ten minutes.

Hot Cross Buns #

Level: 1d6

Form: Small spiced cake

Effect: When eaten, restores a number of points equal to the cypher’s level to the user’s Might Pool.

Iron Bands of Three #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Three flexible iron bands

Effect: Wrapping the iron bands around the user’s heart keeps it from breaking with trouble and anxiety. While wearing the bands, the user automatically succeeds on their next three Intellect defense rolls against anything that would make them feel sad, fearful, intimidated, and so on. Each time the cypher activates to protect the user, one of the bands breaks. When all three bands are broken, the cypher is used up.

Itsy Bitsy Spider #

Level: 1d6

Form: Tiny spider inside a jar, box, or thimble

Effect: When released, the spider sets up a web in a nearby corner. For the next ten minutes, the web catches thoughts, secrets, and information about the general area (up to about a square mile), including any creatures, people, weather, or goings on. At the end of that time, the user can read the web, gaining answers to a number of questions equal to the cypher’s level. The questions must pertain to the area and must be simple enough that the spider can answer them in three words or less.

Jack’s Candlestick #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Burning candlestick

Effect: Jumping over the candlestick restores a number of points equal to the cypher’s level to the user’s Speed Pool.

Jiminy Cricket #

Level: 1d6

Form: Small wooden or metal cricket

Effect: Allows the user to retry a task that they failed within the past minute, using the same difficulty and modifiers.

The Key of Knowing #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Golden key that is permanently stained with blood

Effect: When used to open a lock (of the cypher level or lower), grants the user the opportunity to ask three yes-or-no questions about a person, place, or thing. The key answers to the best of its ability and knowledge, and it does not attempt to lie or trick the user with its answer.

After the key is used in this way, the blood disappears from its surface and the key refuses to open anything (or speak) ever again.

Knave of Hearts #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Playing card depicting an elegant knight

Effect: Turns the user into the knight depicted on the card. They take on the appearance, voice, and mannerisms of the knight. They also gain +1 Armor, +1 damage, and an asset in sneaking, hiding, and stealth. The effect lasts for ten minutes per cypher level.

Lion’s Courage #

Level: 1d6 + 1

Form: Small medallion with the word “COURAGE” inscribed upon it.

Effect: When activated, grants the user additional courage in the face of fear. For ten minutes per cypher level, any time the user is attacked and they attempt to make an attack on their next action, that attack is eased and they inflict +1 point of damage.

Living Water #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Vial, pot, or jar of liquid

Effect: Removes any ongoing damage, lasting damage, or permanent damage the character has. However, the character has a permanent 3-point reduction in their maximum Might Pool.

When dead water and living water cyphers are used together, a dead character can be brought back to life without any permanent reductions of their Might Pool.

Magic Beans #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Handful of magic beans

Effect: When planted and watered, the beans grow into a giant beanstalk. It’s almost impossible to know where the beanstalk leads until you climb it. Climbing the beanstalk is a level 5 task.

Memory’s Match #

Level: 1d6

Form: Matchbox with one match inside

Effect: Lighting the match causes everyone nearby to see a vision that comforts them. Those who watch the vision in the flame for one round feel rejuvenated and comforted. Anyone who makes a recovery roll in the next ten minutes gains +3 to the roll. After that, anyone who watched the vision but didn’t make a recovery roll takes 3 points of Intellect damage (ignores Armor).

Mermaid Tear #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Tear-shaped drop of sea glass

Effect: When swallowed, fills the user with an overwhelming sense of sadness. The user takes 1 point of Intellect damage, but gains an asset on any tasks involving water for the next ten minutes. The task must involve water in a significant way (for example, swinging a sword while it’s raining likely doesn’t count, but crying as part of an attempt to persuade someone, casting a magic spell involving water, or using a pool to scry would all be appropriate).

Neverlost #

Level: 1d6

Form: Bag of bread crumbs, pebbles, or candy

Effect: When dropped along a path or trail,

the items become invisible to everyone except the user and any allies the user designates. The items last for one day per cypher level and can be seen by the user and their allies, even in complete darkness.

Nonsensical Poem #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Nonsense poem written in mirror writing

Effect: Reading the poem aloud lets the user reverse one thing about their present situation for up to ten minutes. Up becomes down. Gravity works the other way. A river flows backward. The sun shines at night. (The player should work with the GM to come up with an appropriate and acceptable change.)

Omniscient Bean #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Magical bean made into a cake

Effect: When eaten, the bean allows the

user to tap into magic. They can ask the GM one question related to their current task, location, or action and get a general answer. The GM assigns a level to the question, so the more obscure the answer, the more difficult the task. Generally, knowledge that a PC could find by looking somewhere other than their current location is level 1, and obscure knowledge of the past is level 7. The cypher cannot provide an answer to a question above its level (which means it can’t provide knowledge about the future, since that is level 10).

Pictureless Book #

Level: 1d6

Form: Book without pictures

Effect: Reading the book aloud for one round causes all who hear it within short range (except the user) to fall into a deep sleep for one round. While they sleep, they have intense dreams and cannot take any other actions. The dreams affect them in one of the following ways.

Pictureless book affects NPCs’ health instead of their Pools, either restoring them to full health or doing 5 points of damage.

d6 Effect
1-2 Sweet dreams. All dreaming characters have all of their Pools restored to full.
3-4 Nightmares. All dreaming characters take 5 points of Intellect damage.
5-6 Dream world. All dreaming characters enter a dream world, where they have an experience that causes them to temporarily learn a noncombat skill of their choice for the rest of the day.

Poison for Your Daughter #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Clear liquid that can be spread on any object, such as an apple, hair comb, or weapon

Effect: The poison creates a specific reaction for one hour in a creature who uses the object. Roll d100 to determine the reaction.

d100 Reaction
01-20 Sleep. The creature falls into a deep, dreamless sleep. While sleeping, the creature cannot take any actions, but is protected by a glass coffin that grants +2 Armor. The creature wakes if they are touched by someone they love or if they take damage.
21-40 Disappear. The creature becomes invisible to everyone and everything for a number of rounds equal to the cypher level. During that time, they cannot be heard, felt, or sensed.
41-60 Alter. The creature becomes physically altered until they are unrecognizable, even by their loved ones. The alteration also affects their clothing, possessions, and any distinguishing characteristics or mannerisms.
61-75 Lost. The creature becomes deeply and frighteningly lost, even if they are in familiar surroundings (such as their own bedroom). They do not recognize any landmarks, cannot find their way, and feel a deep sense of panic.
76-85 Breathless. The creature feels like they are unable to breathe, gulping air and short of breath. Although they are not dying, they feel as though they are. All tasks are hindered.
86-95 Compulsion. The creature becomes obsessed with a single task, unable to do anything else until they achieve it. The task might be simple (picking the most beautiful rose from a garden) or complex (knitting seven sweaters from nettles). All actions that don’t contribute to completing the task are hindered.
96-00 Dutiful. The creature becomes much easier to interact with. All tasks to influence the poisoned creature are eased by two steps.

Poisoned Apple #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Apple that is half white and half red

Effect: Eating from the white half heals the user, restoring a number of points equal to the cypher’s level to their Might Pool. Eating from the red half poisons the user, inflicting damage equal to the cypher’s level. Each half of the apple has the power to affect only one creature.

Both halves of the apple can be used by the same or different people as long as it’s done within a few rounds of each other. However, in order for the cypher to take effect, the user must willingly take a bite. It’s impossible, for instance, to force-feed someone part of the apple and have the cypher activate.

Poppet (Damage) #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Small figure made of cloth, stuffed with hair and bone

Effect: Writing the name of an object or living being on the figure connects the figure with that object or being. Destroying the poppet inflicts damage on the connected object or being equal to the cypher’s level, no matter how far away it is. Writing the name and destroying the poppet are separate actions.

Poppet (Love) #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Small figure made of wax, adorned with flowers and herbs

Effect: Giving the poppet to another living being in a short ceremony (usually simply saying the being’s name and making an offer of deep positive emotion) protects them from all harmful effects the next time they are attacked. If the positive emotion is returned (such as between friends or lovers), the giver is also protected. For example, the next time someone swings a sword, speaks a curse, or tries to poison the creature, the attempt automatically fails, and if the creature were to slip near a deep pit, they would not fall into it. Giving the poppet to another is an action.

Poppet (Prosperity) #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Small figure made of cloth, stuffed with herbs and bits of wood

Effect: Writing the name of an object or living being on the figure connects the figure with that object or being. Dirtying, tearing, and damaging the poppet causes the connected being or object to appear destitute and poor to all who see them. This effect lasts for a day. Writing the name and damaging the poppet are separate actions.

Poppet (Silence) #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Small figure carved from wood or stone, with an open mouth

Effect: Stuffing the open mouth with something that belongs to a living being (such as hair, teeth, or fabric) connects the figure to that being. For the following day, the being is unable to talk about, point to, see, or otherwise engage with the person who activated the poppet.

Powder of Life #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Bit of powder carried in a pepper box

Effect: When sprinkled on an inanimate

object, the powder brings it to life. The object doesn’t change in any way—a small cat made of glass remains a small cat made of glass—except that now it is alive. The living object acts as a level 2 creature with a mind of its own. While it has an affinity or obligation for the one who brought it to life, it doesn’t obey commands.

Objects animated by the powder of life should have stats that represent

their form and nature. For example, a tin soldier brought to life likely has 1 Armor and perhaps a light weapon, while a stuffed rabbit might be level 3 for the purpose of Speed defense, hiding, and sneaking.

Princess’s Pea #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Dried pea that was previously slept on

Effect: For one hour per cypher level, allows the user to recognize disguises, optical illusions, sound mimicry, false claims, and other such tricks (for all senses) for what they are.

Rabbit Hole #

Level: 1d6

Form: Pocket watch with an empty face

Effect: Laying the pocket watch facedown on the ground creates a rabbit hole that goes directly to a place that the user states. The user must have previously been to the stated place, and must enter the rabbit hole before anyone else, ideally by jumping in feet first. The hole grows to the appropriate size to accommodate the user and anyone traveling with them. Travel inside the hole is not instantaneous, but it is very fast, taking no more than a minute and feeling very much like riding a long, winding slide.

The hole stays open for ten minutes, and it is possible to travel back to the starting place (but nowhere else) by again jumping in feet-first.

Rapunzel Leaf #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Small green leaf from a rapunzel plant

Effect: After being buried beneath a rock, the rapunzel leaf begins to grow into a stone tower that stands 100 feet (30 m) tall. The tower, which takes ten minutes to fully form, has a large number of windows but only one exterior door, which can be unlocked only by the user.

The tower’s level is equal to the cypher level, and the structure is permanent and immobile.

Rose of Red #

Level: 1d6 + 1

Form: Big, beautiful crimson rose in full bloom

Effect: Pricking a finger on the rose’s thorns causes the user to bleed a single drop of blood. When flung into the air, the blood becomes a large red bird that flies toward a chosen target up to a long distance away. When it arrives, it bursts in an immediate radius, inflicting Intellect damage equal to the cypher level. The burst spawns 1d6 additional birds; in the next round, each one flies to a random spot within short range and explodes in an immediate radius, inflicting damage equal to the cypher level.

Shadow Soap #

Level: 4

Form: Small piece of soap

Effect: When rubbed on your visible shadow, causes it to separate from yourself.

The shadow acts as a level 4 creature under the user’s control for one hour (or until there is no light). The shadow is two-dimensional and insubstantial, and when sneaking, hiding, and avoiding detection, it acts as a level 7 creature. When the effect ends, the shadow (usually) returns to the user.

Shadows are known to develop a mind of their own. Sometimes after tasting a bit of freedom, they refuse to return.

Shard of the Moon #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Tiny sliver of the moon

Effect: Glows softly for ten minutes, drawing all moon-loving creatures (such as moths, moon hares, and werewolves) within long range. For as long as the effect lasts, any attracted creatures will not attack the user or their allies. The user can converse with the creatures and ask them questions, which the creatures will answer to the best of their ability, but always within their nature (so a trickster will still answer as a trickster would, for example).

Shining Knife #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Shining knife

Effect: When stuck into an object, such as a tree or the side of a house, the knife connects the wielder and someone they choose. If one of them wants to know how the other is faring, all they have to do is return to the spot where the knife is stuck. If both are faring well, the knife shines bright gold. If harm has come to one, the knife is dull and rusted.

Silver Slippers #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Silver shoes, ruby slippers, or red boots

Effect: When the wearer speaks aloud the name of the place they wish to go,

the silver slippers take them there in three steps. Note that in most cases the slippers only transport the wearer (although companion animals and the like may sometimes travel with them).

Once the silver slippers are used to transport their wearer, they disappear. However,

it is rumored that they magically return to the world in some form for someone else who needs them.

Singing Bone #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Human bone carved into the mouthpiece for a musical instrument Effect: When blown into, the bone sings a

song that details the weaknesses and faults of one target (up to the level of the cypher) that the user chooses. For ten minutes, all tasks involving the target are eased for everyone in long range who heard the bone’s song.

For most magical objects involving sound, it’s not necessary to physically hear the item in order to gain the benefits. “Hearing” may involve sensing vibrations, magical mental telepathy, a sign language interpreter, and so on.

Snake Leaves #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Three green leaves

Effect: When placed upon a person, the leaves restore all Pools to full, move

a character one step up the damage track, or bring a dead character back to life. However, the character also gains a permanent 3-point reduction in their maximum Intellect Pool.

Snickersnee #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Small jewel, talisman, or bead

Effect: When attached to a weapon, causes it to grow two to five times its normal size. The weapon inflicts an additional +2 points of damage, but otherwise can be used as if it were a weapon of its original size.

Song of the Dead #

Level: 1d6

Form: Small stuffed bird with yellow and blue plumage

Effect: When the user spends ten minutes breathing into the mouth of the bird, it comes to life. It flies off, but now carries a piece of the user’s life inside it. When the user dies, the bird flies back to their body and is able to communicate to those around it, but only for one day. After that, the bird returns to its lifeless form.

Sorcerer’s Skeleton Key #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Wooden stick, iron wand, or piece of straw

Effect: When tapped three times against any locked door or other object (of the cypher level or lower), the key automatically unlocks it.

Spirit Ring #

Level: 1d6

Form: Ring, necklace, hairpin, or bracelet

Effect: Summons a group of helpful fey who provide assistance for ten minutes. During this time, they do as the wearer commands as long as they’re within long range. They can hinder any or all opponents’ tasks, provide information, assist in small tasks, and so on. The fey will not do anything that goes against their basic nature and safety (such as self-harm, attacking their friends, or obvious suicide missions).

Fey are fickle beings. While spirit rings and the like allow someone to hold power over them, it’s very much dependent on the fey’s blessing. Angering the fey may cause them to leave at any moment (even in the middle of something important), and they may take the time to curse or prank the characters before they disappear.

Teleport Hat #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Silly hat that is always too large on the wearer no matter what size their head is

Effect: Allows the wearer to wish for a creature that they know to appear at their side. The creature must agree to be teleported (or convinced via some type of interaction, such as persuasion or intimidation). The teleported creature stays for as long as both parties agree, but not more than a day. At that time, the creature is returned to their place of origination.

Three Needles #

Level: 1d6

Form: Three enchanted needles

Effect: For the next ten minutes per cypher level, the user can climb any solid surfaces (even vertical ones) as if doing so was a routine task.

Tin Man’s Tears #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Tiny vial filled with tears

Effect: When poured out, spreads out to cover an area about 2 feet by 2 feet (60 cm square), transforming any metal it touches into brittle rust, down to a depth of about 6 inches (15 cm). When used on a metal creature (such as a tin soldier), the rust inflicts damage equal to the cypher’s level and hinders all movement actions for ten minutes.

To Peter With Love #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Wrapped box with a bomb inside and a gift tag on the outside

Effect: Write a person’s name on the tag, and the box will deliver itself to that person at a time and place you specify. When opened, the box does damage to the recipient equal to the cypher level. Traveling to the recipient takes at least a round and sometimes longer, depending on the distance and difficulty.

Valorous Whetstone #

Level: 1d6

Form: Sharpening stone

Effect: After sharpening at least one of their weapons with the whetstone, the user instantly feels more brave. For the next ten minutes, all of their intimidation actions are eased, and their sharpened weapon inflicts +2 points of damage.

Vase of Tears #

Level: 1d6

Form: Vase, vial, or jar filled with tears

Effect: Breaking the vase creates a protective spell around the character, preventing them from taking any Might damage the next time they are physically attacked.

White Snake #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Piece of a magical snake

Effect: Upon swallowing the piece of the snake, the user gains the ability to understand and speak with all living things for ten minutes.

Wish-Granting Pearl #

Level: 1d6 + 1

Form: Flaming pearl

Effect: The user can make a single wish and have all or part of it come true. The GM assigns a level to the wish, so the larger and more difficult the wish, the more difficult it is to have the wish granted. Generally, a wish such as gaining an asset or inexpensive item is level 1, and a wish for an expensive item or for a foe to vanish is level 7. The cypher cannot grant a wish above its level.

Witch Bottle #

Level: 1d6 + 1

Form: Ornate stoppered bottle filled with wine, seawater, or pins and needles

Effect: Captures a witch (of a level up to the cypher’s level). Upon entering the bottle, the witch takes damage equal to the cypher’s level and is trapped until someone whispers their name into the bottle’s mouth and releases them.

Witch’s Ladder #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Garland of knotted string, feathers, teeth, and bells

Effect: Safely stores one curse for use at a later time. The stored curse may be released and cast only by the person who stored it, or by someone who has received their permission to do so.

Wooden Spoon #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Plain wooden spoon

Effect: When stirred through the air, restores the user’s energy and vitality. The user gains two additional actions on their next turn. For example, they can move a long distance, use a one-action recovery roll, and activate a cypher as their turn, or attack a foe three times.

Yonder Yarn #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Skein or spool of yarn

Effect: Unravels to lead the user to their desired destination. The yarn unspools at the speed that the user would normally walk or ride. The yonder yarn will not enter territory it deems too dangerous, and it cannot go through solid obstacles. If the yarn is cut, it no longer works.

It is difficult, but not impossible, to protect oneself from being found by yonder yarn. Witches, in particular, know ways to hide themselves (and others) from the yarn’s power.

Artifacts #

Most artifacts in a Cypher System fairy tale setting are magical objects that have been either crafted via magic or later altered by or imbued with magic. There are a number of people and beings in fairy tale settings who are capable of creating artifacts by one or both of these methods. Additionally, some artifacts are products of magic or the setting itself. Thus, new artifacts are constantly entering the world, just waiting to be found and used by the characters.

Artifact Quirks #

Magic runs through most items in a fairy tale world, but especially through artifacts. Magic is unknowable and mystifying, and thus something can—and often does—go wrong. While that may sometimes manifest as GM intrusions, it also shows up in artifacts as quirks. Every artifact has a quirk that sets it apart from mundane or lightly magical objects.

Quirks typically do not make an artifact more powerful, but they can make it more interesting, difficult, useful, or just unique. Some quirks manifest during an item’s creation, while others might appear (or disappear) after a particular experience, usually one involving magic. Quirks may come and go without notice, but typically an artifact can have only one quirk at a time and is rarely without a quirk for long.

Quirks Table #

d20 Quirk
1 Randomly changes the color of weapons, clothing, and other objects it touches.
2 Causes some animals to shy away from it, and others to draw near to it.
3 Musical instruments and birdsongs go flat in its presence.
4 Gives the wielder an increased sense of smell.
5 Draws bees and occasionally drips honey.
6 Sometimes catches on fire when used; the blaze doesn’t do damage but it gives off heat and light.
7 Produces a rash, tattoo, or other mark on the wielder’s skin.
8 Causes the wielder to walk an inch or so above the ground.
9 Whistles music appropriate to what’s going on around it, including a nasal drone when it’s bored.
10 Sometimes moves of its own accord, but never when anyone’s looking at it.
11 Talks constantly about its former owner, who it either loves or hates, depending on the day.
12 Gives everyone nearby weird and unnatural dreams.
13 Causes the wielder’s hair to grow faster than normal.
14 Creates a cloud over itself constantly. Sometimes the cloud rains.
15 Draws fey creatures to it, whether it’s being used or not.
16 Whines incessantly if it hasn’t been used (or at least given some attention, such as being cleaned) in at least a day.
17 Emits various colored swirls and sparkles that form shapes in the air.
18 Changes appearance in some small way to match the wielder’s mood.
19 Sometimes points the way to something interesting or useful.
20 Occasionally changes into a completely different artifact overnight (including form and function); this effect lasts until the artifact is used in its new form, after which point it reverts back (or depletes).

Artifact Table #

When giving artifacts to characters, either choose from this table or roll d100 for random results.

d100 Artifact
01-03 A tisket a tasket
04-06 Bounding boots
07-09 Boundless bag
10-12 Boy Blue’s horn
13-15 Carving knife of sharpness
16-17 Devils and tailors
18-20 Fiddle of the fossegrim
21-23 Fortunate’s purse
24-25 Galoshes of fortune
26-27 Genie’s lamp
28-30 Golden bridle
31-33 Hatchet of the Woodsman
34-36 Hook’s hook
37-39 Horn of destruction
40-42 Iron stove
43-45 Knapsack of sevens
46-50 Mirror mirror
51-53 Pandora’s box
54-56 Pixie dust
57-59 Red cap
60-62 Red riding hood
63-65 Self-swinging sword
66-68 Seven-league boots
69-71 Shapeshifter wand
72-74 She-bear
75-77 Shirt of nettles
78-79 Soldier’s cloak of invisibility
80-82 Soulful fiddle
83-84 Steadfast tin soldier
85-87 Stone canoe
88-90 Story knife
91-93 Table-be-set
94-96 Tinderbox
97-98 Tweedledee’s umbrella
99-00 Vicious tankard

A Selection Of Fairy Tale Artifacts #

A Tisket a Tasket #

Level: 1d6

Form: Woven yellow basket with wooden handles

Effect: This basket can contain up to one cypher per artifact level, as long as each is no larger than a typical cat. Cyphers in the basket do not count against a character’s limit.

Depletion: 1 in 1d20 (check each time a cypher is added to the basket)

Bounding Boots #

Level: 1d6 + 1

Form: Beautifully made leather and gold boots that adjust to fit the wearer perfectly

Effect: The boots are an asset for jumping and running (easing one of these skills by two steps if the artifact is level 6 or higher).


Boundless Bag #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Small bag with two handles and a clasp

Effect: Any nonliving item held in the bag becomes a slightly more valuable item. For example, an inexpensive item becomes a moderately priced item, while a moderate item becomes an expensive item. The bag has no effect on items that are very expensive or exorbitant. The change takes a full day to take effect, during which time the item cannot leave the bag and the bag should not be opened. If the bag is opened, the process is canceled and must be started over.

Depletion: 1 in 1d6. When the effect depletes, it can still be used as a normal bag.

Putting all or part of

a living thing into a boundless bag is always risky, as more than one person has had their hand or head turned to gold (which might sound lovely, but typically isn’t). Also, doing so often causes the boundless bag to revert to a normal bag.

Items that create wealth in any fashion are particularly sought after. So much so that some items are believed to be cursed, due to the number of people who have met their untimely fate while in possession of a wealth-making artifact.

Boy Blue’s Horn #

Level: 1d6

Form: Gleaming horn that never needs to be tuned or polished

Effect: When playing a lullaby, the horn puts every hearing living being in short range (including the user) to sleep for two rounds. When the horn plays something upbeat, the user and all allies within short range add +1 to their recovery rolls for ten minutes.

Depletion: 1 in 1d20. After depletion, it continues to function as a regular horn.

Carving Knife of Sharpness #

Level: 1d6 + 1

Form: Knife (light weapon)

Effect: This weapon functions as a normal knife of its kind. When the wielder gets a special major effect when attacking, they can choose to lop off one of the target’s limbs.

Depletion: 1 in 1d10 (roll on each major effect)

The GM determines the effect of a lost limb; however, many magical beings can withstand lost limbs with far more aplomb than a mortal creature will display in a similar situation.

Devils and Tailors #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Blood-stained draughtboard with figures of white gold, bronze, and pearl

Effect: Playing someone in a game of checkers or draughts eases all of the user’s positive social interactions with their opponent. While playing, the user can make a move and interact with their opponent as a single action. The game lasts a number of rounds equal to the artifact level.

Depletion: 1 in 1d20 (check each game played). After depletion, the board continues to function as a regular draughtboard.

You can determine the outcome of a game by having both players roll 2d6. The player with the highest number of pieces left on the board (highest roll) is the winner.

Fiddle of the Fossegrim #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Water-worn fiddle

Effect: Playing the fiddle causes everyone within long distance to become enticed by the music and draw closer to the player. After one round, all creatures in short range begin to dance uncontrollably for a number of rounds equal to the artifact level. The only action they can take while dancing is to attempt to break free from the effect (an Intellect action equal to the artifact level).

Depletion: 1 in 1d20

Fortunate’s Purse #

Level: 1d6

Form: Elegant knapsack that shifts colors to hide in plain sight

Effect: Any object put inside the sack cannot be detected by physical senses or magic. The sack can hold a single item, of any size and shape, at a time. Cyphers in Fortunate’s purse do not count against the user’s cypher limit.

Depletion: 1 in 1d20 (check each time an item is added to the knapsack)

Magic bags come in many forms, such as coin purses, sacks, packs, and pockets. Some can be used to hide someone safely out of sight, provide an endless supply of gold or riches, or grant wishes. They are most often given as rewards for doing great kindnesses or completing a difficult task.

Galoshes of Fortune #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Pair of rubber boots

Effect: Transports the wearer to a time and place in the past or present that they desire for up to ten minutes. The wearer cannot be seen, heard, or sensed by others, and they cannot take any actions other than to watch events unfold. Traveling to and from the time and place causes the wearer to disappear from the present for two rounds.

Depletion: 1 in 1d6

Genie’s Lamp #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Bronze oil lamp

Effect: Rubbing the lamp produces a genie who grants the user a wish. The GM assigns a level to the wish, so the larger and more difficult the wish, the more difficult it is to have the wish granted. Generally, a wish such as gaining an asset or inexpensive item is level 1, and a wish for an expensive item or for a foe to vanish is level 7. The genie cannot grant a wish above its level. The genie can grant only one wish per day.

Depletion: 1 in 1d6

Genies, also called djinn or jinn, come in many forms, and not all of them are contained or controlled by something so simple as a lamp.

Golden Bridle #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Bridle made of flowing gold

Effect: To activate the bridle, the user must succeed on an Intellect interaction with a beast whose level does not exceed the artifact level. The bridle bonds to the creature, which immediately becomes calm. The creature awaits the user’s commands and carries out orders

to the best of its ability. The creature remains calmed for a number of hours equal to the artifact’s level minus the creature’s level. (If the result is 0 or less, the creature is enslaved for only one minute.)

Depletion: 1 in 1d10

Hatchet of the Woodsman #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Well-worn hatchet of unremarkable appearance

Effect: When used on a creature, the hatchet turns the target into wood and inflicts damage equal to its level. If the creature is living wood, the hatchet turns them into nonliving wood. If the target is slain by the hatchet, the creature becomes animated wood. Effects last for ten minutes or until the target succeeds on an Intellect roll.

Depletion: 1 in 1d20 (check on each successful attack)

Hook’s Hook #

Level: 1d6 + 1

Form: Simple iron hook designed to be worn as a prosthetic

Effect: When placed on an amputated limb, the hook grafts on permanently. It works

as a simple hook and as a light weapon. When activated, Hook’s hook affects the

minds of all thinking foes within long range. Those affected are instilled with terror, making them drop whatever they’re holding and flee for a number of rounds equal to the artifact level.

Depletion: 1 in 1d6 (for the fear ability). After depletion, it still functions as a hook and a weapon.

There are rumored to be any number of Hook’s hooks, all of which are made from different materials and serve different purposes, such as the scissors hook, oar hook, magnet hook, teacup hook, grappling-hook hook, and fishing rod hook. Enterprising characters might seek out multiple hooks, along with a way to exchange them easily.

Horn of Destruction #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Large brass horn

Effect: Blowing into the horn destroys all objects in an immediate area that is up to a long distance away, turning it all into rubble and debris. Living beings inside the area take 2 points of ambient damage (ignores Armor).

Depletion: 1 in 1d6

It is customary for the one who holds the horn of destruction to call themselves the King of Rubble and Debris and to wear a crown fashioned from talus and scree.

Iron Stove #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Iron stove that walks and talks

Effect: Once per day, the stove can bake a

living gingerbread cookie. The baker chooses the form, but it must be a simple, one-dimensional shape (such as a human, a dog, or a tree). The cookie is a level 3 creature that can move, talk, and complete simple tasks that the baker asks of it. After a day, the cookie crumbles away.

Additionally, the iron stove can be used as a regular stove to heat water, cook meals, and so on.

Depletion: 1 in 1d100. After depletion, it remains a regular working stove, but no longer walks and talks.

A gingerbread being is not immune to dangers. Large amounts of liquids are likely to make it melt away, while birds and other scavengers have been known to try to take an eye or leg.

Knapsack of Sevens #

Level: 1d6

Form: Simple knapsack

Effect: Tapping the knapsack seven times causes seven swans to fly out. For as long as the user does not speak or make any sounds, the swans fly around the user, providing them with +1 Armor against mental and physical attacks for the next ten minutes.

As soon as the user utters a sound, the swans return to the knapsack.

Depletion: 1 in 1d20

Mirror Mirror #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Ornate mirror that grows or shrinks in size according to its user’s needs.

Effect: When the user looks into the mirror and interacts with it, it grants their request, as it is able. Roll a d6 to determine the mirror’s ability:

Most mirror mirrors have a personality all their own. Some sing their

answers, some show images, and still others sigh with boredom at being asked the same thing over and over.

Mirrors never lie. Except when they do.

Depletion: 1 in 1d20

d6 Ability
1 Answers a question about the present (such as “Who is the fairest of them all?”) with a simple one- or two-word answer.
2 Allows the viewer to check in on someone they know (and who knows them) from anywhere. The image lasts just a moment, and those being viewed are not aware that it has happened.
3 If the viewer stands before the mirror and shouts their own name three times, they are granted a glimpse of their future. This glimpse lasts just a moment, and is not guaranteed to come true.
4 If the viewer stands before the mirror at midnight while holding a light source, they are able to contact the ghost or spirit of a person or creature they know the name of. Whether or not the being agrees to talk with them is another matter.
5 Distorts the appearance of everything it reflects, particularly by magnifying the horrible and ugly aspects of things and people while ignoring their good and beautiful aspects. Looking into the mirror inflicts 2 points of Intellect damage. Angling the mirror to reflect an object inflicts 2 points of damage to it.
6 Coats the user’s skin with its reflective surface, offering protection. The first time the user would take damage, the mirror shatters instead, reflecting the damage back to the user’s attacker.

Pandora’s Box #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Elegant gold box with a hinged lid and a locked clasp

Effect: When the box is opened, light leaks out. The light coalesces into a golden form that represents a deep sense of peace and hope to the person who opened the box. For a number of rounds equal to the artifact level, the golden form eases all actions taken by the opener. Alternatively, the opener can share the effect of the golden form as their action, easing all actions taken by allies within short range (but not giving themselves the benefits).

Depletion: 1 in 1d6

Pixie Dust #

Level: 1d6

Form: Glass bottle filled with glittering light

Effect: Shake the glittering light on a living

being and it can fly for ten minutes per artifact level. If the being can already fly, shaking the light on them grounds them, taking away their ability to be airborne for the same amount of time.

Depletion: 1 in 1d10

Red Cap #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Woolen cap soaked in human blood

Effect: The wearer gains an extra recovery

roll each day that is not an action and does not count toward their daily limit. Once the wearer uses this recovery roll, they can’t do so again until after they make a ten-hour recovery roll and soak the hat in fresh human blood.

Depletion: 1 in 1d20 (check each day of use)

Red Riding Hood #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Bright red cloak that adjusts to fit its wearer

Effect: Draws the eye while also giving the wearer the impression of being easy prey. All tasks involving sneaking and hiding are hindered, and foes will typically attack the wearer over any others in the area. The cloak provides +3 Armor and an asset to all Might-based tasks, including combat tasks.

Depletion: 1 in 1d10 (check each day of use)

Self-Swinging Sword #

Level: 1d6 + 1

Form: Steel sword with an ornate hilt

Effect: When activated by a special word,

the sword attacks whoever the user indicates, fighting as a creature whose level is equal to the artifact level. Commanding the sword is not an action, but it can only do things that a sword would be able to do (attack, block, slice, and so on). If the sword is reduced to 0 health, the self-swinging ability ends and must be reactivated. The sword returns to the user when the duration ends.

Depletion: 1 in 1d6 (for the self-swinging ability). After depletion, it functions as a regular sword.

Seven-League Boots #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Lace-up knee-high boots of black leather

Effect: Allows the wearer to travel up to 21 miles (34 km) with a single step. Alternatively, two people may each wear one boot and travel up to 10.5 miles (19 km) with a single step. Seven-league boots exhaust the user, costing them 2 Might points per step.

Depletion: 1 in 1d20 (check each step). Once the movement ability depletes, the boots continue to function as regular boots.

Shapeshifter Wand #

Level: 1d6

Form: Wand made of wood, glass, metal, or stone

Effect: Allows the user to turn one living being (including themself) into one of the following: flower, lake, duck, swan, cottage, rosebush, or fish. While in

their new form, the shapeshifted being retains all of their health and other attributes, but cannot perform any actions beyond what the non-magical item or creature could normally perform. So a flower can blow in the wind, bloom, attract insects, be cut, and smell nice. Any attempts to detect the shapeshifted being by physical senses or magic are hindered by two steps. While shapeshifted, the being cannot die; however, they can be injured, cursed, or moved down the damage track. The effect lasts for ten minutes or until the user chooses to end it early.

Depletion: 1 in 1d10

She-Bear #

Level: 1d6

Form: Bit of wood carved in the shape of a bear

Effect: When placed in the mouth, changes the wielder into the form of a female bear. While in this form, the user gains +4 to their Might Pool, +4 to their Speed Pool, and +1 to Armor. They also can communicate with other bears while in this form. The effect lasts for ten minutes.

Depletion: 1 in 1d6

Shirt of Nettles #

Level: 1d6 + 4

Form: Woven shirt of stinging nettles

Effect: The shirt acts as light armor, but grants an additional +2 Armor (+3 if the artifact is level 9 or higher) in addition to the 1 Armor that light armor typically provides. Additionally, the wearer can’t be shapeshifted against their will.

Depletion: — (At any time, the GM can rule that the shirt has resisted enough shapeshifting magic to deplete that ability, after which the shirt still functions as armor.)

Soldier’s Cloak of Invisibility #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Slate-grey cloak sewn of shadows and silence

Effect: Provides an asset to hiding, sneaking, and remaining undetected (even by magic) for as long as the wearer does not interact with another creature. Entering into combat or interacting with another creature in any way breaks the effect.

Depletion: 1 in 1d100

Soulful Fiddle #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Fiddle made of bone and guts

Effect: This instrument acts like a normal

fiddle of its kind. If the wielder is trained in its use and plays an appropriate tune, those within short range who hear it suffer one of the following effects: fall asleep, become amenable to suggestion, follow the fiddle player in a light trance, or take a similar action.

The desired effect must be the same for all creatures who hear it. The effect lasts for ten minutes, but actions by others (such as attacking the listeners or physically restraining them) can end the effect early for a creature.

Depletion: 1 in 1d20

Steadfast Tin Soldier #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Small tin soldier with one leg

Effect: Gives a user who is missing a

limb the ability to transform the tin soldier into a prosthetic limb with the appearance of their choosing. The limb permanently increases the user’s maximum Speed Pool or Might Pool (user’s choice) by 5 points (or 7 points if the artifact is level 6 or higher).


It is rumored that there are a number of artifacts that create prosthetic body parts or restore missing limbs, including Paper Ballerina, Handless Maiden, and Bianca’s Snake.

Stone Canoe #

Level: 1d6 + 3

Form: Shiny grey pebble, small enough to fit into a pocket

Effect: When activated, forms into a canoe that can carry a number of beings (and their equipment) equal to the artifact level. The canoe lasts for one day and then transforms back into a pebble.

Depletion: 1 in 1d6 (check each use)

Story Knife #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Small penknife inscribed with tiny words in hundreds of languages

Effect: Slices through words that are in the form of oral stories, songs, speeches, conversations, and so on. This has one of two effects, depending on the wielder’s desire (the wielder must decide before they activate the artifact each time):

  • Makes the story, song, and so on sharper, stronger, and more interesting, increasing the chance that it will have an impact on listeners (eases any attempted interaction task)

  • Makes the story, song, and so on boring, unwieldy, and disjointed, decreasing the chance that it will have the intended impact on listeners (hinders any attempted interaction task)

Using the story knife is an action. It has no power to cut physical objects or living beings (unless those beings are made of stories).

Depletion: 1 in 1d20

Table-Be-Set #

Level: 1d6

Form: Common-looking wooden table

Effect: Putting the table out and saying

“Table be set” automatically fills the table with as much food and drink as will fit upon its surface. The table does not become empty as long as there is anyone in long range who still wishes to eat. Once a character uses the table’s ability, they can’t do so again until after they make a ten-hour recovery roll.

Depletion: 1 in 1d100

In addition to artifact quirks, common sense suggests that the

effects of some artifacts will draw additional interesting opportunities or dangers. Using table-be-set in the middle of a forest, for example, is likely to draw bears and other hungry beasts, while using it in the middle of town might garner the characters new friends, or catch the attention of thieves.

Tinderbox #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Small ornate tinderbox made of metal

Effect: Summons three dogs to do the user’s bidding. The dogs can complete any tasks dogs would normally be able to accomplish, including carrying, fetching, attacking, defending, and so on. They act as a single level 3 creature.

Depletion: 1 in 1d6

Tweedledee’s Umbrella #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Large umbrella with a sharp point on the end

Effect: Touch a creature (up to the artifact’s level) of any size and the umbrella will fold up around it, capturing it inside. Holding the umbrella with the captive inside is an action. A caught character is held for ten minutes or until they make a successful Might roll to break free.

Depletion: 1 in 1d10

Vicious Tankard #

Level: 1d6 + 2

Form: Hefty ale tankard carved of stone

Effect: In addition to serving as a convenient means to drink a variety of liquids, if the tankard is topped off with good ale or spirits, it can be used as a medium weapon that inflicts +2 damage (for a total of 6 points of damage). Anyone who picks up the tankard is practiced

in using it in this fashion. Surprisingly, using the tankard as a melee weapon does not cause more than a modicum of good ale or spirits to slosh out.

Depletion: 1 in 1d20 (check each fight)

Beasts And Beings #

The following creatures and characters are provided to help populate your fairy tale game.

Generally, the listings in this book work much the same way as they do for all Cypher System creature listings—the standard template includes the level, description, motive, environment, and so on.

The most important element of each creature is its level. You use the level to determine the target number a PC must reach to attack, defend against, or otherwise interact with a creature or NPC. In each entry, the difficulty number for the creature is listed in parentheses after its level.

A creature’s target number is usually also its health, which is the amount of damage it can sustain before it is dead or incapacitated. For easy reference, most entries list a creature’s health, and they always do so if it’s different from the normal amount for a creature of its level.

For more detailed information on how to use level, health, combat, and other elements, see the Understanding the Listings section in the Cypher System Rulebook.

Due to the dual and complex nature of many creatures in fairy tales, along with the large number of archetypes, there are several additional elements that you’ll want to take particular note of when using the creature listings.

A creature’s health is always equal to its target number unless otherwise stated.

Suggested Additional Creatures for Use in Fairy Tale Settings #

The Cypher System Rulebook provides a short list of creatures and NPCs that work well in fairy tale games. The following creatures from that book can also be used, although some may need small tweaks to their appearance or motives to make them more fairy-tale in nature.

  • Abomination
  • Chimera
  • Demigod
  • Demon
  • Devil
  • Djinni
  • Dragon
  • Elemental
  • Ghost
  • Ghoul
  • Giant
  • Goblin
  • Golem
  • Nuppeppo
  • Ogre
  • Orc
  • Prince(ss) of summer * Statue, animate
  • Witch
  • Wizard, mighty

Beasts and Beings by Archetype #

Animals, common
Animals, magical
Black Dog
Cat sidhe
Centipede, whispering
Cheshire Cat
Crow, monstrous
Devil’s dandy dogs
Hans the Hedgehog
Leveret (giant hare)
Puss in Boots
Robber birds
Sand fleas
Toby the turtle
Wolf, Big Bad
Geppetto’s children
Golem (Cypher System Rulebook)
Horse head automatons
Tin Woodman
Virgilius’s copper dogs
Earth Beings
Giant (Cypher System Rulebook)
Goblin (Cypher System Rulebook)
Golem (Cypher System Rulebook)
Fey Beings
Áine, Fairy Queen of Light and Love
Cat sidhe
Enchanted moura
Fairy godmother
Gráinne, the Wayward Daughter
Headless horse
Prince(ss) of summer (Cypher System Rulebook)
Tunnel bog
Of the Grave
Demigod (Cypher System Rulebook)
Demon (Cypher System Rulebook)
Devil (Cypher System Rulebook)
Djinni (Cypher System Rulebook)
Fallen Angel (Cypher System Rulebook)
Ghost (Cypher System Rulebook)
Ghoul (Cypher System Rulebook)
Skeleton (Cypher System Rulebook)
Human NPCs
Named Characters
Humpty Dumpty
Maid Maleen
Snow White
Toby the turtle
Áine, Fairy Queen of Light and Love
Cardinal King
Gráinne, the Wayward Daughter
Listening King
The Listening King’s Seven Starry-Headed Children
One-Eyed Jacque
Prince(ss) of summer (Cypher System Rulebook)
Red Knight
White stag royal
Spiring Beings
Black dog
Charon the Ferryman
Demigod (Cypher System Rulebook)
Demon (Cypher System Rulebook)
Devil (Cypher System Rulebook)
Djinni (Cypher System Rulebook)
Fallen Angel (Cypher System Rulebook)
Ghost (Cypher System Rulebook)
Ghoul (Cypher System Rulebook)
Skeleton (Cypher System Rulebook)
Cheshire Cat
Puss in Boots
Raven of the Seven Ravens Army
Wolf, Big Bad
Water Beings
Cult of the Serpent
Ghost of the arbella
Mermaid, misery
The Sea, Herself
Witches, Wizards, and Sorcerers
Witch (archetype)
Apple-pip Witch
Baba Uaga
Blind Witch
Dame Gothel
Kitchen Witch
Sea Witch
Virgilius the Sorcerer
Wicked Witch of the West
Witch of the Drowning Slough
World and Weather Beings
The Sea, Herself
West Wind
Wind children, the

Magical Animals #

Bear: level 5; health 20; Armor 1; two magical abilities

Cat: level 2; two magical abilities

Fish: level 2; one magical ability

Fox/Rabbit/Monkey: level 3, cunning and trickery as level 5; two magical abilities

Horse/Donkey: level 4; two magical abilities

Mouse/Rat: level 2; one magical ability

Raven/Owl: level 3, intelligence and cunning as level 4; one magical ability

Snake/Serpent: level 3; bite inflicts 4 points of Intellect damage (ignores Armor); one magical ability

Songbird: level 1; offer sage advice to those they choose; one magical ability

Stag/Hart: level 4; Armor 1; horns inflict 3 points of damage; two magical abilities

Suggested Magical Abilities for Animals #

  • Bless (use magic to give a character or object something beneficial, such as giving a weapon +1 damage for one round, or giving another character +1 Armor for one round)
  • Boon (provide the character with a small beneficial object, such as a goose that lays a golden egg, a fish that finds a lost ring, and so on)
  • Conjure (create a small useful item, such as a flask of water, a loaf of bread, or a candle)
  • Curse (curse another creature to inflict damage, stun, daze, or otherwise affect them negatively for one or more rounds)
  • Glamour (make themselves or someone else look different for a short period of time, or cast an illusion over a small area or for a short duration)
  • Healing (heal themselves, another character, or a natural element of the world for 1–3 Pool points or health)
  • Information (give directions to a town, the name of the man who lives in the nearby cottage, or the rumors about the area)
  • Invisibility (turn themselves, another character, an object, or a place invisible for a short period of time)
  • Sage Advice (see the future, offer suggestions on a difficult task, or guide a character’s actions)
  • Shapeshifting (become a different type of animal or object, or cause someone else to become an animal or object for a short period of time)
  • Wish Granting (grant a small wish, such as the ability to float for a short time in order to cross a river)

Talking Objects #

If you have a talking object in your game, it has a level (just like creatures and regular objects), and every interaction with it is based on that level. Its level can be based on

its physical and mental complexity as well as its purpose. So something like a singing teapot might be level 2 with 2 Armor, and it can hurl its lid at a foe to inflict 2 points of damage. A complicated talking lock who guards a precious treasure might be level 5 or 6 and can cast a spell (inflicting 3 points of damage) on anyone who tries to pick it.

Some abilities in the game work only on objects, or only on creatures, or only on living things. A talking object might or might not be living, depending on its nature.

Of Bite And Claw (Creatures) #

The creatures in this section all appear to be animal in their nature, from black dogs and big bad wolves to horses and snarks.

Bagheera: This cunning, bold, and brilliant black panther can be someone’s worst enemy or their most loyal friend, protector, and mentor.

Level 7; stalking, hunting, sneaking,

and chasing prey as level 8; persuasion and positive social interactions as level 8; inflicts 6 points of damage with teeth and claws; can pounce on a victim from a long distance away to inflict 7 points of damage and knock the victim prone.

Beast (with a capital B): Sometimes a human cursed, sometimes an animal blessed, often just a creature from the beginning, Beasts are bestial humanoids with large claws and jaws. Most Beasts have a single thing that they love deeply and will do anything to protect: a garden, a human, their home, a book from their childhood.

Level 6, intimidation and protection as level 7; Armor 2; inflicts 4 points of damage with an item related to their beloved (gardening shears, for example).

Cheshire Cat: Interacting with this riddling, punning, disappearing striped cat is enough to make anyone feel discombobulated. Can make a great ally if you’re seeking answers, have lost your way, or need advice.

Level 6, punning and wordplay as level 7, Speed defense as level 8 due to intangibility; will disappear rather than fight.

Puss in Boots: Smart and smart-alecky, Puss in Boots always has a plan in motion, and at least two others that are about to begin.

Level 5; planning, scheming, persuasion, and deception as

level 7; Armor 2; inflicts 4 points of damage with elaborate swordplay.

Black Dog
6 (18)

Black dogs go by many names: hellhounds, bearers of death, black hounds of destiny, and devil dogs, just to name a few. Typically they are spectral or demonic entities that show up at night. They are often sinister, malevolent, or purposefully harmful (such as the Barghest and Black Shuck). Occasionally, black dogs are helpful and benevolent, guarding people from danger, helping them find the correct path, or signifying the death of someone nearby.

Black dogs are usually large, shaggy, and as black as night, with long ears and tails. However, despite their name, they can be any color. The real distinction is that they are definitely not regular, living dogs. Some have eyes like fire, some howl with a ghostly, ethereal song, and still others have telltale witches’ marks upon their chest or back.

Black dogs can see ghosts, witches, and other magical entities not typically visible to other creatures. They are sometimes a portent of death, but not always. Many carry with them an inherent sense of sadness and despair, which they can pass on to those around them.

Black dogs sometimes serve as familiars for witches and sorcerers.

Motive: Bring harm and pain; help and guard

Environment: Crossroads, places of execution, and ancient paths Health: 20

Damage Inflicted: 8 points

Armor: 2

Movement: Long; very long when running

Modifications: Sneaking, hiding, and attacking from surprise or advantage as level 7 Combat: Malevolent black dogs will attack from a position of surprise or advantage,

inflicting 8 points of damage with their spectral teeth and claws. Some black dogs cause such a deep feeling of despair and sadness, just by being nearby, that they inflict 2 points of Intellect damage each round on everyone who can see them or otherwise sense their presence.

Interaction: Running, at least from the malevolent ones, is typically the best course

of action. Dealing with helpful black dogs is often an interesting and unexpected

experience, as they don’t talk and don’t explain who they choose to help or why.

Use: The characters are fighting an extremely tough foe when a black dog steps in to

help them out (or to help their foe). The characters are lost in the woods, and a large,

menacing black dog steps out of the forest and leads them back to safety.

Loot: Black dogs rarely have anything valuable on them. However, killing a black dog causes

it to haunt whoever dealt it the fatal blow. That person feels such deep anxiety and despair that all their actions are hindered for at least one day, and often longer.

GM intrusions: The black dog howls, creating such a mournful sound that everyone in very long distance who can hear it takes 4 points of Intellect damage. A character who sees the black dog is deeply affected by sadness and moves one step down the damage track.

Cat Sidhe
4 (12)

Cat sidhes, sometimes called phantom cats, are dog-sized felines that were once witches and now have shifted permanently into cat form. They’re all black except for a single white symbol on their chest, which is their name.

When cat sidhes form (because a witch has turned themselves into a cat for the ninth time), they gain nine tails. Each time a cat sidhe would be killed, they can choose to lose one of their tails instead. Once a cat sidhe has no more tails remaining, their death is final.

While cat sidhes inflict damage with their soul-stealing attacks, the roleplaying element of a character losing part of their soul is possibly more important than the game effect. Consider removing something from the character that will affect them in interesting and unusual ways.

Motive: Steal souls, gain power

Environment: Highlands, mountains, and forests

Health: 15

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Movement: Long

Modifications: Speed defense as level 6 due to quickness and agility

Combat: Cat sidhes can attack with their claws for 6 points of damage, but they much

prefer to engage from a long distance, using their unique ability to cast curses that steal part or all of a victim’s soul. They may attack a foe using the following types of soul-stealing curses. Characters who succeed on an Intellect defense roll resist the effect, but take 1 point of Intellect damage due to the effort. If someone can read the symbol on the cat’s chest and pronounce it, they gain +1 Armor against the cat’s attacks.

Falter. Removes a favored part of the creature’s personality, such as their sense of humor, courage, or kindness. The creature doesn’t forget that they had that part of their personality; they just can’t remember how to access it again. All social interactions are hindered.

Fester. Replaces a piece of the character’s soul with an idea, false memory, or thought that, once placed, grows into something insidious and dangerous inside them. The character takes no damage at the time, but each time they make a recovery roll, they take 2 points of Intellect damage.

Forget. Removes something from the creature’s memory, such as all nouns (including their own name), a loved one’s face, their current purpose, an ability, or a skill. This inflicts 3 points of Intellect damage and causes the character to forget the specific thing.

Interaction: Having once been witches, cat sidhes are smart, cunning, and dangerous. Most have no interest in conversations or bargains, unless they are injured in some way. They

can, however, sometimes be distracted from their purpose of stealing souls by riddles, music, and children’s games.

Use: A cat sidhe stalks a forest where the characters are passing through on their way elsewhere. Someone sends the characters to capture a “lost” cat, which turns out to be a cat sidhe.

Loot: When a cat sidhe dies, it disappears, leaving behind only the once-white symbol on its chest in the form of a medallion.

GM intrusion: The cat sidhe yowls, causing a second cat sidhe to appear from hiding

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These muscular humanoids sport long curved horns and furry, hooved legs. They are self-centered, greedy, and sybaritic creatures, dedicated to food, drink, and other pleasures. They rob and steal from others as it pleases them, often relying on tricks and lies, or on alluring music they play on pipes.

Motive: Play tricks, gather treasure, fulfill desires

Environment: In woodlands where other faerie or mythological creatures are found

Health: 18

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Tasks related to persuasion and deception as level 7; resists mental attacks as level 7

Combat: Satyrs usually carry spears that they can use in melee and against foes within short range.

Satyrs can also create magical effects by playing their pipes as an action, which can either bolster allies or harm enemies.

Dance of the Leaping Stag: Foes within short range who fail an Intellect defense task lose their next turn dancing and leaping. Attacks made against affected targets are eased by one step.

Feral Overture: An ally within short range is infused with magic. One attack it makes on its next turn is eased by one step, and if it hits, it inflicts +3 damage.

Tune of the Clouded Mind: A foe within short range who fails an Intellect defense task spends its next turn attacking one of its allies.

Interaction: A satyr is always willing to start negotiations, but is prone to lying and exaggeration. Offering excessive libation, food, and other treasures is the only way to ensure a satyr remains honest, if only for a short period.

Use: Strange piping music in the forest lures away young men and women from a nearby community. The elders say a charismatic cult leader has set up in the woods, and clouds the minds of all who come near.

Loot: A satyr is likely to carry

GM intrusion: If the character fails an Intellect defense task, they think of the satyr as a good friend for up to one minute or until they can escape the mental effect.

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The snark is unimaginable. It is a Boojum, you see. An agony in eight fits. Part snail and shark and bark and snake and snarl. It has feathers that bite, claws that catch, and jaws that snatch. It softly and suddenly vanishes away, never to be met with again. It smells of the will-o-wisp, sleeps late in the day, and breathes fire when it finds something funny (which is nearly never).

Motive: Unfathomable

Environment: Upon islands filled with chasms and crags, near bathing machines, and around those whose coats are too tight in the waist Health: 21

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 2

Movement: Short when moving perpendicular; long when moving sideways

Modifications: Invisibility, shapeshifting, confusion, and mimsy as level 8

Combat: Inflicts 5 points of damage with biting feathers, catching claws, and snatching jaws. Also blows out a stream of fire that can light a match or inflict 3 points of damage to everyone in close range.

Interaction: Not recommended.

Use: The characters are given the impossible task of hunting a snark. Whether or not they actually find one, they have grand adventures along the way.

Loot: The frabjous joy of catching the impossible, improbable, unimaginable snark.

GM intrusion: Everything about the snark is a GM intrusion.

Wolf, Big Bad
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The Big Bad Wolf (just call him the Wolf, for he is truly the only one worthy of that title) is a beast of near immortality, kept alive by the legends that swirl around him, the constant stream of terrorizing tales. Once the stalker of the woods, now he stalks the streets and towns, no longer staying to the shadows, no longer merely hunting girls and grandmothers. As his reputation has grown, so has his appetite. He hungers. He swallows worlds. He will not be contained.

Motive: Hunger

Environment: Woods, cities, behind you

Health: 30

Damage Inflicted: 8 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Long

Modifications: Hunting, seeking, and sneaking as level 9

Combat: The Wolf ’s bite does 8 points of damage. Additionally, he has a variety of abilities that he may use.

What Big Ears You Have: Can track and hear his prey up to a mile away. Tracking ignores all cloaking abilities, including magical ones.

What Big Eyes You Have: Mesmerizes his victims for two rounds, convincing them that he is a friend and that they should do what he suggests.

What Big Teeth You Have: Swallows his victim whole, holding them in his belly. It’s a level 8 Speed or Might defense task to avoid being eaten whole. Captured characters can attempt to cut themselves free, which requires three successful attacks.

Huff and Puff: Exhale creates a wind so strong it can knock over foes, trees, and even houses. Inflicts 6 points of damage to everything within long distance, and knocks most things prone. Once the Wolf uses this ability, he can’t use it again for three rounds.

Interaction: Despite his constant hunger and his gnawing need to swallow the world, the Wolf makes an interesting ally (provided that he’s well fed at the time) for he is smart and cunning, and has myriad tricks for moving through the world.

Use: The Big Bad Wolf is a great character to introduce into a modern fairy tale game. Imagine his new iteration as an urban legend, spreading through the internet.

GM intrusions: The Wolf makes a great leap, knocking down foes. The Wolf already has someone swallowed in his belly, and that person calls for help from out of the Wolf’s mouth.

Crafted (Creatures) #

Crafted creatures are those made by human, fey, or other hands. In fairy tales these might include characters like Pinocchio,

the Iron Giant, Edward Scissorhands, the Gingerbread Man, and the Tin Man.

Gingerbread Creatures

Gingerbread creatures can take any shape and form, but are most often humans, dogs, or dragons. Typically crafted and brought to life by witches and enchanters, gingerbread creatures tend to remain loyal to their creators, even if they are treated poorly.

Level 2, Speed defense as level 4 due to quickness; when touched or eaten, some gingerbread creatures release a sweet, slow poison that inflicts 1 point of damage each round for 1d6 rounds.

Geppetto’s Children

Made of wood and wishes, Geppetto’s children are everywhere in the world. They go through a number of life stages, starting as wooden puppets and eventually becoming real humans. No matter what stage they’re in, they’re nonstop sources of destruction and chaos.

Level 4; Armor 1; have a passion for creating, collecting, and using cyphers, particularly detonation cyphers

Virgilius’s Copper Dogs

Once the loyal companions of Virgilius the Sorcerer, this pack of dogs now runs feral. Despite being created through the power of magic, they despise anything that stinks of magic and attempt to bring it down.

Level 5; Armor 2

Tin Woodman
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Once an ordinary woodman of flesh and blood named Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodman’s story is a sad one. His beloved axe was enchanted by a wicked witch in order to keep him from his other true love (it’s a long story, but suffice it to say that witches who are wicked do wicked things). His beloved axe turned on Nick Chopper, taking off one limb after another. A tinsmith kindly replaced Nick’s missing body parts (except his heart) with tin prosthetics, but eventually nothing was left of the original human and he became the Tin Woodman.

Note that the Tin Woodman will never tell you this story himself, for he has no heart and seeks only revenge: revenge upon the witch who cursed him, upon the tinsmith who did not replace his heart, upon the rain that rusts him. Someday, he will find all the original parts of himself, no matter who they belong to currently, so that he can return to his original form.

Motive: Revenge, find his original body parts

Environment: Anywhere

Health: 21

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Armor: 4

Movement: Short; immediate if rusted Modifications: Speed defense as level 5 due to rust

Combat: Inflicts 7 points of damage with his enchanted axe.

Interaction: The Tin Woodman is singularly focused, and cares only about clues that lead to revenge or his original body parts. He does not eat, drink, or sleep, and often comes across as frantic and frenzied.

Use: The PCs are hunting the same foe that the Tin Woodman is, and either they join together, or the Tin Woodman tries to prevent them from reaching the foe before he does.

Loot: Enchanted axe

Enchanted axe (artifact): level 7; inflicts 7 points of damage; can be activated to move a long distance away from the wielder and attack a foe as an action. Depletion: 1 in 1d20 (check each activation)

GM intrusion: A character’s weapon gets caught in the Tin Woodman’s metal body, pulling the weapon out of their hands.

Death 10 (infinite)

Death goes by many names, takes many forms, and has only one purpose: to make all equal in the end. Death is often an unwanted visitor—taking the life of someone who is not ready to go—but just as often, they come to those who are ready. To them, Death is a most welcome, the most welcome, guest of all.

While some see Death as evil, they are not inherently so, no more than the cougar hunting the hare for dinner. In fact, they are the great equalizer, raising paupers to kings and kings to common people.

Death is ancient, but not old. Wise, but not all-knowing. Brilliant, but not perfect. Death is also, very often, bored. They have seen everything, heard everything, and done everything that it is possible for an immortal being to do, and some days they feel sure they will never experience anything new or interesting again. But still, they try, taking on new guises, hiding themselves away, even traveling to distant stars and moons before their duties and obligations once again pull them to return.

If Death appears at the foot of a person’s bed, that person can recover if the proper steps are taken. If Death is at the head of the bed, almost nothing can be done to save the victim, beyond an impossible bargain.

Motive: To do their duty and make everyone equal

Environment: Everywhere and anywhere


Damage Inflicted: Death

Armor: Immune to all harm

Movement: Variable depending on their form, but Death can move instantaneously almost

anywhere that they desire

Modifications: Seeing through trickery, deception, or bargaining as level 8

Combat: Death kills. They kill any number of ways, depending on their mood, what’s at

hand, and how they believe the person should leave their life. Thankfully, death only comes for someone when their time is up.

Still, it’s not considered wise to provoke or challenge Death to physical combat, for there is only one outcome: a single attack from Death kills the victim (except in the rare case where the victim has protection against death, such as with one of Death’s candles).

Interaction: Death cannot be hurt and cannot be killed, but they can be bargained with, bet against, and sometimes tricked. More rarely, they have even been known to lose a bargain or be captured for a short period of time.

Use: Bargaining with Death is a potential way to achieve an impossible task or gain a very rare item, but of course it always comes with a price (usually an earlier death for the bargainer or someone else). Death is always looking for something interesting going on, and may appear just to spend time with the characters if they’re engaged in an intriguing activity.

GM intrusion: Death mistakes a character for someone else.

Of Earth And Stone (Creatures) #

Creatures of the earth are those that seem to belong to the land in some unique and significant way. Perhaps they are made of the land and its offerings—tree beings, rock trolls, and so on—or perhaps they seem attached to the land in important ways, such as the way in which the minotaur is part of its maze or the way that dwarves have a unique connection to mountains.

Because the archetype of earth beings covers a broad range of creatures, there is no general entry for an earth being.

Dwarf: level 4; Armor 2; mining pick inflicts 4 points of damage; beards provide magical abilities such as finding treasure, enabling flight, shapeshifting, and turning invisible. Cutting a dwarf’s beard off or learning their name provides an asset on all interactions with that dwarf.

Feral tree: level 3; Armor 3; no movement; lashing branches attack up to three characters as a single action; on a failed Might defense task, the characters are held in place until they can escape.

Troll: level 6; claws inflict 7 points of damage and grab victim until they can escape; grabbed creature takes 10 points of damage per round; troll regains 3 points of health per round.

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This vaguely humanoid creature is an animated accumulation of woodland debris—bark, lost teeth, matted weeds, and dirt. It wears a crown of oak leaves and a cloak of mist.

Its eyes are knotholes, and its hands are sharpened twigs. An erlking is a greedy spirit of hunger deemed Unseelie by the faerie nobility of that wild and wicked realm. Erlkings love to hunt and eat children, who are particularly susceptible to the promises and glamours that the creatures spin.

An erlking is a former noble stripped of title, lands, and even form,

and exiled into the night for crimes unimaginable in their cruelty. An erlking’s victims are found in the cold sunlight, pale and bloodless, with their vital organs nibbled out.

Motive: Hungers for flesh and to reclaim stripped titles

Environment: Almost anywhere wooded at night Health: 27

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 4

Movement: Short; immediate when burrowing

Modifications: Stealth tasks as level 7

Combat: An erlking prefers to attack from hiding, and whisper a child or other creature

within short distance from their bed out into the night if the victim fails an Intellect defense task. An affected creature remains under the erlking’s spell for up to an hour or until attacked or otherwise harmed.

When it attacks physically, an erlking can attack three times on its turn with root tendrils. A target hit by a tendril must also succeed on a Speed defense roll or become grabbed until they escape. The erlking automatically inflicts 6 points of damage on each grabbed creature each round until they succeed on a Might-based task to escape.

Silvered and cold iron weapons ignore an erlking’s Armor. If an erlking’s remains are not burned or otherwise destroyed, it will sprout and grow a new body from its corpse within a day.

Interaction: An erlking may negotiate if creatures have something it wants, or if targets are armed with silvered or cold iron weapons.

Use: An erlking is active only by night; by day, it hides beneath a mound of weedy earth indistinguishable from the surrounding terrain.

GM intrusion: A character surprised by an erlking in the darkness must succeed on an Intellect defense task or lose their next action as they faint, run screaming, or stand paralyzed in terror.

Minotaur, the
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The most famous minotaur is the Minotaur, the singular beast from which all lesser minotaur myths descend. The product of a god-cursed union between human and bull,

the Minotaur is monstrous, and only the flesh of people can nourish it. It is usually lost

in a labyrinth created to contain it. But it occasionally gets free to hunt the wider world before the labyrinth pulls it back. Some demigods claim to have slain the Minotaur, but the Minotaur always returns.

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment: Usually in mythological labyrinths, but sometimes metaphorical ones Health: 33

Damage Inflicted: 10 points

Armor: 3

Movement: Short

Modifications: Breaking through barriers as level 9

Combat: The Minotaur attacks by goring foes on its horns, inflicting 10 points of damage

on a successful attack. If the Minotaur charges a short distance, it can attack as part of

the same action and inflict an additional 5 points of damage.

The Minotaur is trapped by the labyrinth, but also part of it. Whenever a character attacks

the Minotaur, they must succeed on an Intellect defense task or be claimed by the labyrinth themselves until they can escape with a successful difficulty 7 Intellect task. Those claimed by the labyrinth seem to disappear and find themselves wandering a dark maze. Once a character successfully escapes, they are no longer subject to being claimed by the labyrinth for several days.

If killed, the Minotaur’s body is claimed by the labyrinth. Thirty-three days later, the Minotaur is resuscitated.

Interaction: The Minotaur can speak, but usually chooses not to. It is belligerent and cruel, and always hungry.

Use: The Minotaur has escaped the labyrinth and now wanders the narrow streets of a metropolis, treating the winding alleys and twisting roads as its new maze.

GM intrusion: The Minotaur smashes into the wall, causing a section of the tunnel or hallway to collapse on the character(s), inflicting 10 points of damage and trapping them until they can escape the rubble

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Enchanters include magic-users of all genders. They may choose to call themselves wizards, sorcerers, mages, or diviners, depending on their strengths, abilities, and desired reputations.

Enchanters usually take great pride in their appearance, including their outfits, accouterments, and equipment. They often incorporate living or dead elements of dangerous creatures, such as spiders, snakes, crocodiles, and dragons, into the objects that matter to them. Additionally, they may imbue objects with powerful magic.

Enchanters can use long-lasting or even permanent versions of their magical abilities, but doing so usually requires minutes or hours of time.

Most enchanters have one or more apprentices or helpers, typically animals that have been made human temporarily or humans who are in the service of the enchanter until some debt of theirs or their family’s has been paid.

Sorcerer’s Apprentice: level 3

Motive: Control magic, power

Environment: Everywhere, particularly in places where magic is present and powerful Health: 20

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 2

Movement: Short

Modifications: Using and controlling magic as level 7

Combat: Magical weapons and artifacts (such as a whip made of living snakes, a staff with a

biting wolf’s head on top, or a sword that acts of its own accord) do 5 points of damage. Additionally, an enchanter may employ a number of magical abilities, including the


Animate: Takes any material (such as wood or stone) and turns it into an animate level

4 creature. The creature has a mind and will of its own, and acts just as that type of

creature would act if it were born instead of created.

Blood to Stone: Turns living creatures into stone, or immobilizes them in their current form. Breaking free is a level 6 Might task.

Enchant: Imbues a normal object with a magical power. The object works under the

enchanter’s command, and does as the enchanter asks of it. For example, an enchanter might imbue a foe’s weapon and force it to attack the foe, or they might imbue a door and have it close tight against incoming dangers.

Endless Passage: Creates an endless series of thick spiderwebs, invisible barriers, rings of flame, or other hurdles across an entrance, exit, tunnel, or passage. Every time one of the hurdles is broken, another forms. Characters’ movement is halved while going through the endless passage, and they take 2 points of Intellect damage each round.

Invisible: Turns anything (including themselves, others, and entire areas up to 30 feet by 30 feet [9 m by 9 m]) invisible for ten minutes. It’s a level 6 Intellect task to be able to see something that has been made invisible.

Persuasion: Convinces all victims in long range that what they believe is not real or that what is false is real. Sometimes this ability just affects others’ minds, creating a mental dissonance. Other times, the enchanter creates an illusion or other visible, auditory, and tactile element that persuades a character to believe everything they are

experiencing. The effect lasts for ten minutes. Additionally, an enchanter may have one or more of the same abilities as a witch or a faerie.

Interaction: For the characters, an enchanter may be a terrifying foe or a powerful ally. Enchanters are fickle, perhaps due to their close relationship with magic, and may change their loyalties on a whim or an imagined slight.

Use: The characters need to have an object imbued, a person returned to life, or a curse undone, and they turn to the enchanter for help. The characters accidentally insulted

the enchanter in some way, and now the enchanter is hunting them down to get revenge.

Loot: Enchanters often protect their precious items with spells and magical locks (level 8). Behind those wards are 1d6 cyphers, an artifact, and an elegant or interesting outfit.

Enchanters Of The World #

Morgan Le Fay
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Morgan le Fay (also known as Morgen, Margain, Morgant, and various other names) is a powerful sorceress from the legends of King Arthur. She has an unpredictable duality to her nature, with the potential for great good and great evil.

Combat: Attacks with a variety of weapons, including a sword and staff. She also can use

any of the following abilities: charm, enchant, glamour, heal, invisible, persuasion,

protect, revive, seduce, and shrivel.

Interaction: Morgan le Fay is fickle and enigmatic, and rarely reveals her purposes. If she

agrees to help the characters in some way, it’s absolutely because she has a higher goal

in mind.

Use: The characters are stopped by a beautiful woman in the woods, who asks them to

help her accomplish a great task. A powerful foe has brought Morgan le Fay into his confidence, and she is helping him against the PCs.

Oz, The Great and Terrible
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It is perhaps the greatest feat the Wizard of Oz ever pulled off to make everyone believe that he was not a sorcerer at all, but merely a ventriloquist and balloonist from some faraway land. He is, in fact, far more powerful than that, but prefers that no one were ever to know. For if they did, they would expect things of him, and that makes him anxious.

Combat: Oz does not fight, but instead sends his army of green-whiskered soldiers forth.

He may also use an artifact or spell to protect himself, hide himself, or flee. He can use

the following abilities: enchant, invisible, persuasion.

Green-whiskered soldiers: level 4; Armor 2; unloaded rifles deal 4 points of damage

Interaction: Curmudgeonly and a bit of a humbug, but rarely with evil intent, Oz is likely to

help those who ask, although he often fumbles things just to make a point.

Use: The characters set off to meet the powerful ruler of a strange land. Or they encounter

someone they believe is just a humble, simple man, but who instead turns out to be

incredibly powerful.

Loot: Oz has at least one artifact, as well as 1d6 cyphers.

Virgilius the Sorcerer
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The most renowned of all the poet-sorcerers, Virgilius studies and uses the power of the written word to enhance his magical abilities. He keeps a black book, which is the source of his spells, and creates copper creatures to protect and defend him. He has a love of challenges, such as magician’s battles, and seeks them out.

Combat: Can use the following abilities: animate, blood to stone, enchant, endless passage. Interaction: Virgilius is quick thinking, wily, and full of interesting schemes. Those who

entertain him for longer than a moment might find him a very useful ally. However, he is also driven toward revenge, particularly on those who attempt to publicly humiliate or shame him.

Use: The characters enter into a battle of wits or wills, only to discover they’re competing with Virgilius.

Loot: Carries a black book

Black book (artifact): level 6; allows the user to cast animate, blood to stone, enchant, or endless passage. Casting a spell from the black book costs 2 Intellect points and is an action.

Depletion: 1 in 1d6

Fey (Creatures) #

In fairy tales, the word fey covers a huge category of creatures, from faeries, brownies, and imps to gremlins, boggarts, and goblins. There are so many types of fey beings in

the world that it’s nearly impossible to categorize them as just one thing, or to list them all. They do have a few characteristics in common, however. They are typically sentient, humanoid in form, connected to nature in some way, and magical.

Angiks: Reanimated spirits of babies who died, typically due to hard winters, and who now haunt the living. At night, they turn into giant owls and prey on solitary travelers.

Level 3; talons inflict 4 points of damage

Changelings: Fairy children left in place of stolen human babies (and occasionally adults as well), typically raised among humans.

Level 2; shapeshifting and knowledge of the fey world as level 4

Nymphs: Supernatural beings (often female) associated with protecting a particular location or landform, such as a river, tree, or mountain.

Level 3, stealth and positive social interactions as level 6

Pixies: Benign and mischievous creatures that live near stone circles, tombs, and other burial grounds.

Level 2, stealth and finding lost items as level 6

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In general, faeries (sometimes called fairies or fair folk) are humanoid in appearance, small in stature, and magical. They are associated with music, mirth, tricks, and taunts. Seeing one is an omen—hopefully, an omen of a silly song or the first appearance of an annoying new road companion (the very faerie sighted) flitting around, asking the questions of a curious four-year-old hyped up on sugar water and ice cream. Some faeries are tricksters, delighting in playing pranks and stealing clothing, equipment, or prized objects. And a few are malicious, luring travelers to their various dooms, making deadly deals, and forcing others into captivity.

Not all faeries have wings, but those that do find many ways to use them to their advantage.

Motive: Unpredictable

Environment: Encountered alone or in a flutter of three to twelve, usually in forests Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Immediate; long when flying

Modifications: Tasks related to performance and deception as level 5; Speed defense as

level 5 due to size and quickness

Combat: A faerie attacks by hurling sparkling magic dust at a target within short range. In

addition, if a faerie is touched or struck by a melee weapon, more magic dust puffs away from the faerie and clouds the attacker, who must succeed on a Speed defense task or suffer the same amount of damage they just dealt to the faerie. Sometimes faeries wield tiny weapons, such as bows, spears, or swords; treat these as light weapons.

A faerie can see in the dark, but it can also emit bright light (often colored) and appear as a glowing humanoid or an illuminated sphere.

Faeries regain 1 point of health per round while their health is above 0 unless they’ve been damaged with a silvered or cold iron weapon.

In addition to inflicting damage with their fairy dust and their weapons of choice, faeries have a number of curses and abilities at their disposal. These include the following:

Animal Friend: Most faeries can communicate with animals, and a few can even summon animals within long range for help and protection. Some faeries can also grant others the ability to communicate with animals, but only for a day.

Charm: Some faeries can attempt to use a song or light display to charm others within short range. The target must succeed on an Intellect defense task or fall into a suggestible state for one hour. During this period, the target can be led by the faerie until attacked, damaged, or shaken from their glamour.

Clairvoyance: The faerie grants someone the ability to see the future, the past, faeries, or one of the hidden faerie worlds. This gift lasts for one day, or until the character makes a ten-hour recovery roll.

Heal: The faerie heals themselves, a plant, a creature, or another character for 1d6 + 2 points of damage.

Illusion: Powerful faeries can cast elaborate and convincing illusions that make them and their worlds appear more appealing and beautiful. Illusions can cover up to a mile in area. Seeing through the illusion is a task equal to the faerie’s level and lasts for ten minutes. After that, the viewer reverts to seeing the illusion and quickly forgets that they saw anything else.

Invisibility: Makes the faerie invisible to most eyes. Seeing, hearing, or sensing a faerie when it’s invisible is a task equal to the faerie’s level. A failed attempt to see a faerie causes the viewer to see something that harms their mind, inflicting 1 point of Intellect damage.

Vortex: A defensive tactic where one or more threatened faeries use their wings to create a strong gust of wind, tornado, or vortex. The wind pushes their foes back a long distance and inflicts 2 points of damage.

Faeries have a wide variety of weaknesses, including silver, iron, technology, sugar and salt (they must count each grain), and cream (intoxicates them). But not all faeries have the same weaknesses, and some may not have any.

Interaction: Faeries are mercurial creatures, but except for the malicious ones, they can be negotiated with, especially if offered sweets, wine, cream, or other gifts. That said, faerie attention spans are limited, so even one that means well could end up leaving the PCs in the lurch at just the wrong moment.

Use: The characters come upon an injured faerie, who promises to grant them their deepest wish if they agree to help it. They must decide if they believe the faerie speaks true, or if it’s a trap.

Loot: The tiny pouches that faeries carry are stuffed with forest bric-a-brac, but some of those pouches are ten times larger on the inside and could contain expensive items or cyphers.

GM intrusion: A character accidentally does something to offend a helpful faerie, causing it to turn on them.

Fairy Godmother
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Fairy godmothers are nearly always beneficent beings, typically acting as mentors, parents, or protectors, much like human godparents. The difference, of course, is that fairy godmothers have a great deal more magic at their disposal.

Overall, fairy godmothers are kind, gentle, and loving to almost everyone, not just their godchildren. Of course, not all fairy godmothers are good at their roles—some may act out of their own interests and inadvertently (or purposefully) do harm to those they are supposed to protect. This is particularly true if they feel like they have not been given the respect they deserve, or have been offended in some way.

And if you should harm someone they have pledged to protect? Beware, beware, for there is no wrath like that of a fairy godmother’s.

Motive: Protect their protégés, be respected

Environment: Cities, towns, and anywhere someone is in need of assistance

Health: 24

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 2 (magical)

Movement: Short; long when flying

Combat: Fairy godmothers attack by shooting a stream of sharp-edged glitter up to a long

distance from their magic wands (glitter gets into every nook and cranny, and thus ignores Armor). Fairy godmothers can bestow blessings upon their friends and allies, and curse their enemies.

Fairy godmothers can cast any of the skills and abilities that faeries can cast, as well as a few that are specific to them, including the following:

A Little Luck: The fairy godmother blesses a character with luck, granting them the opportunity to reroll once in the next day without spending XP.

A Little Misfortune: Despite the name, this is usually a beneficial spell. It is designed to give a nearby character something to overcome so that they might grow stronger in temperament or stature. When this spell is cast, the character receives a GM intrusion on their next action (no matter what their roll is) and receives 1 XP to give away (but not one to keep).

Alteration: Can turn any creature within short range into a different creature (such as a mouse into a horse) and any object into a similarly shaped object (such as a

Prophecy: Creates a prediction for the future of a single person. The prediction has a high chance of coming true, but is not certain. (Prophecies work like GM intrusions that will take place in the future; the player can reject the prophecy by spending an XP.) Not all prophecies are negative.

Interaction: Interacting with fairy godmothers is usually a little frantic, frenzied, and full of “Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!” If they like you, they’re likely to prove a loyal, steadfast, and useful ally. If not, well, hopefully you like being turned into a horse, or worse.

Use: Fairy godmothers make great lighthearted additions to encounters, particularly ones where the characters are preparing for a ball, a fight, or a big adventure.

GM Intrusion: The fairy godmother’s magic goes awry and a character is accidentally turned into a horse.

Áine, Fairy Queen of Light an Love
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Áine is the fairy queen of summer and the sun, and is known by many names: the Fairy Queen of Light and Love, Bright One, Sun Goddess, and Sweetheart of the Fairies. She is a kind, true, and benevolent ruler, and is loved by nearly everyone. Known for making just and fair bargains with humans, she is often sought after for blessings and boons.

Motive: To be just and true, to protect her realm

Environment: She shares a fairy realm with her sister, Gráinne, where she rules in the summer months.

Health: 99

Damage Inflicted: 12 points

Armor: 5

Movement: Short; very long when shapeshifted

Combat: Áine rarely engages in combat herself, as she prefers to leave that role to her son

Geroid and his army. However, if she’s attacked or feels the need to defend her realm or someone in it, she will not hesitate to step in. She attacks using the power of the sun, focusing light into a narrow beam that inflicts 12 points of damage on the target.

In addition, Áine has the power of chlorokineses—she can manipulate plants and flowers within very long range, causing them to grow to enormous proportions. She can use them as weapons that grab and hold multiple victims (level 7 Might task to break free) or that do damage via strangulation or thorns (7 points of damage). Any bees in the area act to help the queen.

Queen’s bees: level 3; sting victims for 3 points of damage and paralyze

them for one round

She can also shapeshift into a red mare as she chooses. As a mare, she inflicts 6 points of damage with her hooves or bite, can become immaterial as an action (makes it impossible to successfully attack her, but she cannot attack in this form), and can move to a spot within long range instantaneously (does not require an action).

Interaction: Just, true, and kind, Áine makes a powerful ally, provided that she does not feel that she or her realm are threatened. Those who wish harm on others or who she sees as malevolent in action or thought are more likely to

find themselves on the wrong end of the Bright One’s anger.

Use: Characters who wish for something important in their lives to change may ask Áine to grant them a boon. She sometimes helps those in need without them asking for it (but, of course, only for a price). If the characters attend a fairy ball or feast, they may encounter Áine as an honored guest.

Loot: Áine wears a crown of glass, but it is not visible unless she chooses it to be (she rarely does) or she dies. She carries little else, for she is a person of deeds, not items.

GM intrusion: One of Áine’s ardent followers believes a character is threatening their beloved queen.

Gráinne, the Wayward Daughter
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Gráinne is the Fairy Queen of Hope and Despair, sometimes also called the Wayward Daughter, the Winter Queen, and Dark One. Gráinne is to the dark what Áine is to the light. This doesn’t mean that Gráinne is evil, just that she represents what is good and bad in the world that is hidden in shadows, buried beneath the ground, and revealed at night. She has her own moral code, one that can work in the favor of those who are cunning and willing to look at the darkness of their own hearts.

Motive: To honor the darkness, to protect her realm

Environment: She shares a fairy realm with her sister, where she rules in winter. In the summer, she sleeps in the Sorrows, a belowground realm out of time and space.

Health: 99

Damage Inflicted: 12 points

Armor: 5

Movement: Short; long when flying

Combat: Gráinne is a talented combatant, and seems to revel in having a foe who is a

challenge to her. She carries a dark green crystal staff that emits a dark coil of reddish energy, which inflicts 12 points of damage. Alternatively, she can send out a cloud of black smoke that deals 9 points of damage to all creatures in a short area. She also wears the Tiara of Pailis, a griffin-shaped tiara that allows her to fly. Gráinne has a variety of magical abilities at her disposal, including the following:

Animal Communication: Gráinne has a special affinity with badgers and can ask them for help. When she calls them (as an action), a cete of eight large badgers appears. They act as two level 4 creatures; attacked beings must also succeed on an Intellect defense roll or be shapeshifted into a badger for one round.

Oneirokinesis: Gráinne can infiltrate people’s dreams to converse with them. As such, she might implant an idea in their heads (such as “I’m going to die tonight” or “I should go back home”). When the character wakes, they must succeed on a level 6 Intellect defense roll to shake the idea. Otherwise, they feel a strong need to act on it, and are hindered in any tasks that go against the idea (this lasts until they make their next recovery roll).

Shadowmelding: Gráinne merges with shadows, making her nearly

intangible. In this form, she cannot be injured by physical attacks, and her attacks inflict 8 points of Intellect damage on anyone whose body is darkened by her shadow.

Interaction: For those who don’t mind a little darkness and moral ambiguity, Gráinne makes a powerful ally.

Use: The characters stumble into a fairy realm, only to be met by its just-woken guardian. Grieving characters may find the solutions and solace they seek in Gráinne’s magic and power.

Loot: Tiara of Pailis

Tiara of Pailis (artifact): level 7; allows the wearer to fly a long distance each round (as an action). The wearer can control their speed, direction, and height. Depletion: 1 in 1d20

GM Intrusion: A character’s companion animal or mount is affected by Gráinne’s animal affinity and falls under her power.

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Ah, the Evil Queen. Ruler of the land, watcher in the mirror. Full of magic, utterly merciless, and sharp of tongue. Evil and wicked queens abound in fairy tales, from those who have no names and are remembered only for their evil deeds, to those whose names will never be forgotten: Queen Grimhilde, Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, and the White Witch. These queens seek power for power’s sake, not caring what destruction lies in their wake.

Of course, not all queens are evil—just the ones you hear about most often. But they are all powerful in their own way, even if they are forced to hide it by their circumstances. While they too crave power, they seek it in order to protect their lands, their people, and their loved ones.

Motive: Power

Environment: Anywhere, but typically in cities and towns, where there are people to admire

and fear them

Health: 18

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Short

Combat: Queens almost always carry an artifact of great power, such as a staff, crown,

mirror, or sword, that grants them unique abilities and skills.

Queens often have familiars, such as ravens, who fight for or beside them. Most familiars can do 4 points of damage with an attack.

Some queens may also be witches or fey creatures, and thus have the ability to use one or two spells and curses that witches and fey also use.

Queen Grimhilde
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Perhaps best known for her attempts to kill Snow White through magic and poison, Grimhilde has other passions and talents as well. She seeks ways to make all beings obey her commands, starting with the huntsman who so stupidly and willfully deceived her so long ago.

Environment: One of her many castles, the woods

Armor: 2

Health: 18

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Short

Combat: Her vulture familiars swirl about all foes in short range, knocking them prone

and inflicting 4 points of damage. She can use the following witch abilities: glamour,

imprison, and seduce.

Vulture familiars: level 4

Interaction: Grimhilde is cunning and devious, always hatching plans against those who

harm her, who threaten to overshadow her, or who have caught her eye in some way.

Use: The characters enter an area that is under Grimhilde’s power and must face her wrath.

Loot: She has a mirror mirror artifact, as well as 1d6 cyphers (often poison).

The Red Queen
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The Red Queen has never once yelled “Off with her head!” In fact, she has never yelled. It’s horrible manners, and besides, when you know how to wield power, you don’t need all that noise and chaos. You need only whisper and be still, and everyone will politely fall quiet and listen.

Environment: Polite dinner parties and social gatherings

Armor: 1

Combat: Prefers verbal sparring over the physical sort, and inflicts 3 points of damage with a single cutting remark or sharp-tongued retort.

Interaction: The Red Queen is quite proper and chatty, the perfect host and the perfect guest. The only time she ever grows irate is when the subject of her sister, the Queen of Hearts, comes up.

Use: While attending a party to steal something, the characters are caught by the Red Queen

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen rules over the “snow bees”—snowflakes that look like bees. She keeps an ornate palace surrounded by gardens in the lands of permafrost, but she can be seen elsewhere in the world where snowflakes cluster. Most say she is cold, and they would be right. She has been part of the snow for so long that it’s possible she no longer remembers warmth or kindness or love.

Environment: Anywhere there is snow, ice, or winter

Armor: 2 (from personal ice walls)

Combat: Creates a snowstorm that blinds all foes in long range for three rounds; ice shards rain down upon all foes in long range, inflicting 2 points of damage; reindeer familiar inflicts 5 points of damage with her horns.

Interaction: The Snow Queen is not evil—she just has forgotten what it means to be human, with human needs and human hearts (not that she was ever truly human, but that’s a story for another time). She is willing to bargain if she understands what she gets out of it.

Use: The Snow Queen guards the entrance to a place the characters need to enter.

Of Water And Waves (Creatures) #

Creatures of water and waves are those that inhabit or are deeply tied to the rivers, ocean, marshes, and other watery areas of the world.

Drowning Fairies: There are many types of creatures known as “drowning fairies,” including Peg Powler, the Water Leaper, Fossegrim, and Jenny Greenteeth. These creatures typically dwell below or next to water and tempt, pull, or trick passersby into the water.

Level 6, persuasion and creating illusions as level 7; can grab a creature in short range and pull them into and under the water and attempt to drown them (level 6 Might or Speed defense task to break free)

Fuath: Fuathan are intangible spirits that dwell deep in the seas and oceans. They consider themselves protectors of these realms, particularly against fishermen and others who would damage the environment or creatures there. Fuathan have the power to make themselves visible, most often taking the form of humanoid creatures with green skin and the flowing mane and tail of a golden horse.

Level 5, defense as level 7 due to intangibility; if they know a person’s name, they can gain control over the person, forcing them to do their bidding for a short time

Naiad: These water nymphs inhabit rivers, springs, waterfalls, and other bodies of fresh water. Typically appearing as beautiful young women with long limbs and flowing hair, naiads are considered protectors, for they guard their land fiercely. However, they are easily provoked and their wrath is fierce.

Level 4; can cause water to boil, inflicting 3 points of heat damage on foes; can unleash flash floods that sweep all foes back a very long distance and inflict 2 points of ambient damage (ignores Armor)

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Not actually a water spirit, but one who has made her peace with the sea in an eternal bargain, Cailleach once lived on land. Now she is a recluse deep in the ocean in the realm known as the Expanse of Halirane. She appears ancient, and in fact is much older than that. She shaves her head bald, wears dozens of shell earrings in each ear, and has a glass eye that allows her to see three views of the future. As part of her bargain with the sea, she can never return to dry land again, or she will lose all of her powers forever.

Motive: To be left alone

Environment: A home hidden inside a coral reef at the bottom of the ocean. Her home is a large dead whale that the sea magically preserves as part of their bargain.

Health: 30

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Movement: Short; very long when shapeshifted

Modifications: Seeing through deceptions and lies as level 6, healing as level 8

Combat: Cailleach has many abilities at her disposal, some of which come from the sea and

others that come from her own magic. They include the following:

Healing Pot: If she has the proper ingredients and takes a day to do so, Cailleach can brew a healing salve in her special pot. Depending on what she adds to the mixture, this salve can do one of three things: restore 10 Might points, move someone up one step on the damage track, or remove a curse (up to level 6).

Reptilian Form: Cailleach takes the form of a reptile of any size. While in this form, she has +3 Armor and does 6 points of damage with her bite, claw, or tail lash. In addition, she regains 3 points of health per round.

Restore to Life: Putting her wizened pointer finger into someone’s mouth can bring them back to life, but only if they’ve been dead for less than a day and only if she holds her finger there for exactly as long as they’ve been dead. After that, her finger falls off. It takes three days for her to regrow a new one.

See the Future: Cailleach can use her glass eye to scry the future of an individual. She does so by first removing the eye, and then having the person hold it in their mouth until she asks for it back (sometimes this is for just a second, and sometimes it’s for hours—it’s hard to know if the variable length of time is part of the ritual or just her dark sense of humor). She typically sees three possible futures, and all of them have an equal chance of coming to pass.

Wanton Destruction: As part of her agreement with the sea, Cailleach was given the power to control small parts of it at a time. She can create a whirlpool that catches up all creatures and objects within short range of its center and inflicts 5 points of ambient damage (ignores Armor).

Interaction: Cailleach is a recluse and introvert whose deepest longing is to be left alone

to increase her knowledge of magic. She also likes puzzles and games, and out of everything on land, she misses birds most of all (for interacting with, not eating). Those who bring her any of those items are likely to draw Cailleach out of her shell and have a positive interaction.

Use: Cailleach can be a beneficial ally, particularly as a healer. She might also be convinced to help fight against an encroaching danger, especially if it’s threatening her solitude and privacy.

Loot: She typically carries a number of sea cyphers, and her home is filled with books, scrolls, and journals of all sorts.

GM intrusion: The sea offers additional assistance to Cailleach’s spells, increasing her damage or movement.

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A sinister aquatic creature that takes the shape of a grey horse or white pony, the kelpie lures unsuspecting passersby and attempts to drown them in a nearby body of water.

Some kelpies look just like horses. Others look as if they’re created from elements of the swamp—maybe its tail is algae, its mane cattails, its eyes glowing pebbles or miniature moons. Maybe eels and snails and other creatures are its teeth or tongue. One thing about kelpies is always true: their manes are always dripping and their hooves are always inverted.

If someone knows a kelpie’s name and says it aloud, the kelpie loses all its power over that person and retreats to the depths of the water.

Motive: Unknown

Environment: Near or in rivers, streams, lakes, and other bodies of running or still water.

Modern settings might find them near public or private swimming pools, koi ponds,

and reservoirs.

Health: 21

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Very long when running

Combat: When a passerby approaches, the kelpie might appear tame, a little lost, injured,

or otherwise friendly and in need. Or, if the passerby appears weary or sad, the kelpie will offer a ride upon their back. The kelpie’s sticky skin traps the rider (level 7 Might task to break free). Once the rider is seated, the kelpie may attempt to drown them in the lake, run so fast that the rider takes 5 points of Intellect damage from fright, or roll over on them, inflicting 4 points of damage (ignores Armor).

Interaction: Not all kelpies are malevolent. Some were once “tamed” by someone who learned their names and loved them. These kelpies actively seek out human contact, attempting to find someone to replace the one they loved.

Use: In the gloom, a large black horse appears, wearing beautiful tack and acting as if lost. It offers one of the weary characters a ride upon its back.

GM intrusion: While dealing with something else, the characters come upon a kelpie in the process of drowning someone.

The West Wind
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The West Wind has no master, no shackles, no chains. She goes where she will, and woe to those who try to capture or hold her. When she’s not blowing through the sky, she takes the shape of a human woman dressed in a sparkling blue tuxedo, her short silver hair pushed back from her face.

Not all winds are living creatures. Sometimes the wind is just the wind. But you won’t know which is which until you try to talk with it.

Motive: To stave off boredom by playing tricks, traveling, stirring up trouble, and helping others

Environment: Anywhere she wants to be

Health: 40

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Movement: Very long

Modifications: Speed defense as level 10; sees through and resists trickery, lies, deceit, and intimidation as level 10

Combat: Inflicts 6 points of damage to every creature and object she chooses within a very long distance, and knocks them prone.

Interaction: Some say the West Wind is cold, but she’s really just an introvert and prefers to spend most of her time traveling alone. However, she’s actually very warm hearted and is likely to help those in need. She does not respond well to trickery, traps, or attempts to force her hand (unless they’re terribly clever or smart, and then she admits grudging respect for the perpetrators).

Use: The characters need the West Wind’s help to travel somewhere, knock something down, or retrieve something from a hidden place. Someone needs an elegant date to a royal ball or a fairy festival.

Loot: Sometimes the West Wind picks up interesting things on her travels. She may gift allies these items, including cyphers, artifacts, and even creatures.

GM intrusion: The West Wind lifts a character high in the air and threatens to let them fall.

Wind Children
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The children of the wind cannot be measured in known numbers, for they are here and there and everywhere. They are not born, so much as borne, by weather patterns, wishes, and wants. Dust devils, gales, and zephyrs are all wind children.

Motive: See everything, know everything

Environment: Everywhere there is weather, real or magic-made

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Long

Combat: Inflicts 4 points of damage with an exhale. Alternatively, can knock a character prone for one round.

Interaction: Interacting with wind children is a bit like interacting with a group of mischievous, precocious, and spoiled kids. However, they know many things, having been all over the world, and will often share what they know in exchange for new secrets or knowledge.

Use: One of the PCs seeks information about a person, place, or thing. The characters need a surreptitious spy to gather information for them.

Loot: Information, secrets, and possibly a cypher or two picked up during their travels.

GM intrusion: The wind children grab something precious from one of the characters and start to play a game of “keep away” with it.

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Witches are complex beings of myriad personalities, desires, and abilities. Sometimes they’re the stuff of nightmares, with tales of their exploits keeping children safe in their beds during the darkest hours. Other times they’re wise helpers—at least for a little

while, or possibly for a price. Often, they’re a little of everything, taking on no end of roles throughout their lifetime. They may isolate themselves deep in the dark woods, falsify their way into a royal family, or reside in the middle of town, hiding their identity.

But one thing they are, always, is dangerous, for they carry within their hearts and heads knowledge, power, and magic—and a willingness to use all of them when necessary. Motive: Domination of others, power, knowledge, eternal life or beauty, hunger, revenge Environment: Almost anywhere, although most often alone in unique dwellings in the

forest, in civilization as healers, or having infiltrated royal families

Health: 21

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Movement: Short; long if flying

Combat: In addition to inflicting damage with their weapon of choice (often a staff or long,

curved blade), witches can curse their enemies.

They also have a number of spells and abilities at their disposal. These include the


Familiar: When attacked, a witch relies on the aid of their familiar to improve their Speed

defense. The familiar could be a large black cat, an owl, a big snake, or some other creature. Killing a witch’s familiar is so shocking to a witch that their attacks and Speed defense are hindered for a few days. It’s also a way to ensure that the witch never forgives their foe or grants mercy.

Glamour: Glamour is an illusion that the witch creates. It may let them look like someone else, appear to be a tree or a bird, or even make them invisible. Seeing through the glamour is a level 8 Intellect task. A failed attempt inflicts 2 points of Intellect damage. Once a character sees through the glamour, they cannot unsee it.

Heal: The witch touches another creature and heals them for 6 points of damage. Some witches must pull health from another living being in long range in order to use this ability. Pulling health from a living being inflicts 2 points of damage on that being.

Imprison: The witch creates a prison within long range and captures a foe inside it as a single action. The prison might be physical (a tower, a cage, a trap, a binding around the body) or mental (they can’t move, their muscles are no longer under their control, they are afraid to move). Resisting being caught is a level 5 defense task (Might, Speed, or Intellect, depending on the type of imprisonment). If a character is caught, breaking free is a level 5 task (of the appropriate stat).

Protect: Places a confinement spell to keep someone from going in or out of a location, building, or room. Those who attempt to pass through the spell but fail take 3 points of Intellect damage and are knocked back. Once the spell activates, it disappears.

Revive: This rare and costly ability allows a witch to bring someone back to life, as long as they haven’t been dead for more than a year. In order to accomplish this, the witch needs all or part of the body of the dead, a beloved object of the dead’s, and the willingness of someone else to take on a curse that results from the magical working (roll on the Curse table to determine the resulting curse). Revive takes ten minutes to cast, and the character returns to life with 1 point in all of their Pools.

Seduce: Creatures within short range who fail an Intellect defense roll become enamored of the witch. Resisting the witch’s persuasion attempts is hindered by two steps until the victim succeeds on an Intellect defense roll; each time they fail to resist the persuasion attempt, the witch’s next persuasion attempt is eased by an additional step.

Additional abilities: Witches might also have access to the witch abilities in the Cypher System Rulebook. These are charm, hexbolt, shrivel, and vitality. Some witches might have other magical abilities similar to those of enchanters.

GM intrusions: The witch’s familiar joins the fray, tripping up characters and hindering their actions.

Something startles the witch and they cast a curse or spell as an automatic response. The witch pulls out an artifact or cypher and prepares to use it.

Witches Of The World #

Baba Yaga
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Baba Yaga (sometimes called Frau Trude) lives many lives and has many personalities. She is both one witch and many. She uses her magic to create a new version of herself each time her

life takes a new branch, following all of them at once, becoming every version of herself that she might have been.

Some versions of Baba Yaga are helpful. Others harmful. Some Baba Yagas live

in the woods in a wooden hut that walks around on giant chicken legs, some

fly through the sky in a giant mortar and pestle, and some guard any wild spaces that they have deemed important. Some capture and cook young children in a special stove. Some do all of the above.

Combat: Baba Yaga can use the following abilities: heal, hexbolt, imprison, protect, revive, shrivel, and vitality.

Interaction: It is almost impossible to know which Baba Yaga you have met until you look deep in her eyes (a level 7 Intellect task). There, you might see a tiny flame, and in that flame, learn a bit about her life.

Use: Baba Yaga has her long, bony fingers in nearly everything that happens. She might be behind the counter at the herb and potion shop, guarding the entrance to a cave full of treasure, or offering her services in breaking (or casting) curses.

Loot: 1d6 cyphers, an artifact, and various other odds and ends

The Blind Witch
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The Blind Witch is skinny and always hungry. She lives deep in the forest in a house made of confectionery, which allows her to catch, fatten, and eventually eat any children unlucky enough to get caught in her trap.

Modifications: Cooking as level 6, deception and trickery as level 7, seeing through

deception and trickery as level 4

Combat: She can use the following abilities: charm, protect, and vitality. She is immune to visual effects, including hallucinations.

Interaction: The Blind Witch can appear sweet and charming, and might play up her blindness and apparent frailty for sympathy.

Use: Characters wandering the woods might come upon a candy house, and woe to them

should they take a bite. A rescue mission could lead here.

Loot: She usually has at least one magical animal in a cage, along with various children and

even adults. Two or three cyphers can be found in her kitchen, along with her magic oven, which bakes children into gingerbread.

Dame Gothel
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Sometimes taking the form of a young woman and sometimes an old one, Dame Gothel cares for one thing above all: her beautiful walled garden, the flowers and vegetables that grow inside it being the envy of all others. Unlike many other witches, she does not harm children and in fact has been known to protect them, at least as long as they are innocent of wrongdoing.

Modifications: Gardening and potions as level 6

Combat: She can use the following abilities: heal, imprison, protect, and shrivel.

Interaction: Dame Gothel is an introvert who mostly desires to be left alone, and woe be

to those who invade her space in any way, for she has a deep sense of right and wrong and a penchant for revenge upon those who cross her. However, she has been known to help those seeking aid, and is particularly skilled in using what she grows in her garden to aid her magic.

Use: The characters need a concoction to heal someone, remove a curse, or help them get pregnant. The characters accidentally trespass on Dame Gothel’s space.

Loot: Various plants, potions, and cyphers

The Sea Witch
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Living in the darkest depths of the sea, the Sea Witch is dangerous, wily, persuasive, and scheming. She is best known for brewing up life options—for a price. If you want what she’s got (and she’s got everything), you bring her what she wants. It might be your voice, your hair, or your firstborn. Or all three. Surely you won’t miss them . . .

Modifications: Persuasion, intimidation, coercion, and swimming as level 8

Combat: She can use the following abilities: charm, familiar (water snakes), glamour, imprison, protect, seduce, and shrivel.

Interaction: The Sea Witch will always make a bargain, take a bet, gamble all she’s got on

the downtrodden and woe-be-gotten. Not because her heart is big, but because she makes sure that the house—that’s her—always wins.

Use: The characters need a potion, a spell, a curse, or any other bit of magic, large or

small, and the Sea Witch will find a way to put it in their hands and let them walk away

thinking they’ve come out ahead. At least until she comes to collect.

Loot: A chest full of gifts and winnings from lovers, fawners, and those who should have known better, including 1d6 cyphers and two artifacts.

The Wicked Witch of the West
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With her three pigtails and diminutive stature, it would be easy to write off the Wicked Witch of the West as a nobody—and many have—but her power lies in the creatures that work for her and in her vast and growing collection of magical footwear.

She can see up to 2 miles (3 km) away with her single eye, and wears galoshes that give her +2 Armor against water and liquid of all kinds.

Modifications: Tasks involving water and the dark as level 3

Combat: She carries an umbrella that acts as a heavy weapon, and she can use the following abilities: familiar (pack of wolves, swarm of bees, flock of crows, and an army

of flying monkeys), hexbolt, imprison, protect, and shrivel.

Interaction: She is volatile in nature and quick to anger. However, she can also be a bit cowardly, and will likely back down in a confrontation (only to send her hordes of magical animals out afterward to do her dirty work).

Use: The characters need to find galoshes of fortune and decide to steal a pair from the

Wicked Witch of the West. Perhaps they need to make it through the land she presides over and must find a way to get her approval.

Loot: Whatever shoes she’s wearing (which are very likely an artifact).


The NPCs in the following section are general examples of nonmagical, mortal human characters that are commonly found in fairy tales.

From General to Specific: While the NPCs listed here are general types, such as crafter and robber, it’s easy to turn them into specific characters from common and well-known fairy tales. For example, with a little tweaking, you can turn a generic tailor into the tailor from The Brave Little Tailor. Just give the crafter NPC a banner that says “SEVEN WITH ONE BLOW” and embrace a jaunty, overconfident nature, and you have the titular character.

Health, Not Pools: Remember that NPCs don’t have stat Pools. Instead, they have a characteristic called health. When an NPC takes damage of any kind, the amount

is subtracted from their health. Unless described otherwise, an NPC’s health

is always equal to their target number. Some NPCs might have special reactions to or defenses against attacks that would normally deal Speed damage or Intellect damage, but unless the NPC’s description specifically explains this, assume that all damage is subtracted from the NPC’s health.

Naming Your NPCs: You might have noticed that in fairy tales, many characters —especially those of the lower or working classes—don’t have a name beyond their title, position, or profession (or sometimes their marriage status). “The Woodcutter,” “the Tailor,” “the Baker’s wife,” and so on. While you could follow suit and just call your NPC “the Woodcutter,” most player characters are going to ask that person their name. It’s likely to break immersion if you throw in a modern name, or if the NPC tries to explain that they don’t have one, they’re just called “the Woodcutter.” And if you call them all Jack, then no one (including you) will remember which one is which. Consider coming up with a list of names ahead of time so that you’re always ready to give players something to call a new walk-on character.

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Aristocrats are not quite high royalty—they are not kings or queens, nor even princes and princesses—but they are those with money and power enough to wield in dangerous or glorious ways. Knights and barons are typically aristocrats, as are characters like Bluebeard and Mr. Fox. Some aristocrats, such as knights, may only want to do good and protect the things that matter to them. Others, of course, prefer to use the darker side of their privileged position.

Motive: Money, power, marriage, take who or what they want, protect what they care about

Environment: Typically in cities and towns, occasionally off by themselves in large castles and manors

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 2

Movement: Short

Modifications: Social engineering, persuasion, intimidation, and lying as level 6

Combat: Many aristocrats have had training in combat maneuvers, as is appropriate to their station. Others may wield knives, scalpels, or butcher’s tools with precision.

Interaction: Interaction with an aristocrat often starts out positive—after all, it is delightful to be in the glow of someone so charming and powerful. For some, the interaction remains positive. A knight is just a knight. For others, a sense of unease begins to settle in after a time, as if there’s something not quite right behind the facade.

Use: An aristocrat is about to marry and someone is worried about the safety of their future spouse. A knight is outmatched by a dragon or other strong opponent and seeks someone to come to their aid.

Loot: Most aristocrats have currency equal to a very expensive item, in addition to fine clothes or medium armor, weapons, and miscellaneous items.

GM intrusions: The aristocrat’s house has a sentient door or lock that suddenly begins to yell about intruders.

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Children play the roles of urchins, siblings, daughters, sons, waifs, servants, royal family members, child brides, and more.

Motive: Seeking safety, comfort, money, or food; play; bringing joy

Environment: With their families, or lost in the world trying to find their way. Sometimes in

the employ or care of someone who has found them, stolen them, or otherwise become

their guardians, caretakers, or keepers.

Health: 3

Damage Inflicted: 1 point

Movement: Short

Modifications: Run, hide, sneak, and escape as level 2; knowledge of the nearby area, people, and activities as level 3

Combat: Most children fight only in response to being provoked, threatened, or attacked. They typically use makeshift weapons, such as their fists, a stick, or a toy.

Interaction: Children are often smarter, more creative, and more wily than they’re given credit for. They may have a lot of knowledge about nearby people, places, and activities that can help the PCs, particularly if there’s an exchange of food, money, or other goodies involved.

Use: Someone or something is stealing children from the village, and the mayor is offering to pay a large sum to anyone who tracks down the creature and rescues the children. One of the PCs catches a waif stealing from their pack in the night; the child says they’ve been lost in the woods for days.

Loot: Children typically have very little on their person, although they may have a special memento of their family or a close friend.

GM intrusions: The child shouts, laughs, or talks too loudly, accidentally drawing the attention of a nearby guard toward a character.

Someone mistakenly thinks a character has stolen the child, and attacks them.

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Crafters include bakers, cobblers, candlemakers, butchers, millers, tailors, woodworkers, and cooks. While most crafters aren’t particularly agile fighters, they are usually clever and strong, and have a number of familiar tools at their disposal for weapons.

Motive: Defense

Environment: In their workshops or peddling their trade while traveling

Health: 8

Damage Inflicted: 3 points

Movement: Short

Modifications: Appropriate craft as level 3

Combat: Crafters are unlikely to initiate combat, as most just want to be left alone to do

their work (or to convince you to buy their wares). If they’re forced to fight, they will typically use any item they have at hand (such as a rolling pin, butcher’s knife, crafting tool, or length of wood).

Interaction: Most crafters are happy to talk about their craft or the objects that they’ve made and have for sale. They take pride in their work, and flattery and attention can go a long way.

Use: To the PCs, crafters can be allies, obstacles, or both. Being friends with a crafter often has obvious long-term benefits, while stealing from them has short-term advantages (and possible long-term disadvantages).

Loot: A crafter has currency equivalent to an inexpensive item, as well as crafting tools and materials and anything they’ve crafted that they’re carrying or wearing.

GM intrusion: The crafter uses their crafting tool in a way that the character didn’t anticipate, putting the character in a disadvantaged position.

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A huntsman may be in the employ of a powerful magic user, protecting a section of the woods they consider their own, or just trying to provide for their family by chopping wood and hunting game.

Motive: Follow orders, support their loved ones, protect the innocent

Environment: Woods, forests, and other wild lands

Health: 8

Damage Inflicted: 2 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Tracking and pathfinding as level 4

Combat: Huntsmen and woodcutters both understand the power of the perfectly aimed

shot or swing. They take their time, steady their hand and breath, and hit with precision

and force.

When they take no action on a turn, their next attack inflicts twice the normal damage. Interaction: Many huntsmen and woodcutters are motivated by a deep need to be loyal,

but they’re also soft of heart and have a strong moral center. If they’re tasked with

something they deem unpalatable, they may forgo their promises and go rogue.

Use: They are hunting the characters on the orders of a higher authority. They save the PCs

from a dangerous foe, then ask for assistance for their own tasks.

Loot: In addition to their clothing and mundane weapon, they likely have an expensive

token of promise or affection from someone they have helped or who they owe fealty to.

GM intrusion: A perfectly timed cut sends a tree down in the direction of the character.

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Robbers, thieves, highwaymen, robin hoods—whatever name you call them, they want what you have, and they’re willing to get it any way they can. Some robbers are honorable, stealing only from the rich or the evil. Others will take anything that isn’t nailed down or magically protected.

Robbers often travel in pairs or small groups of dedicated friends and fellow robbers. Motive: What’s yours is mine

Environment: Anywhere there’s something to be stolen

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 2 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Stealth, including sneaking, stealing, hiding, and deception, as level 5; attacking from hiding as level 5

Combat: Robbers typically prefer light and medium weapons, particularly bows and small blades. Interaction: Most robbers have a moral code of some sort—it just may not be the code

that others abide by. Still, they are willing to listen to reason (and particularly the sound of sliding coins). Robbers are often willing to be hired for jobs that are too difficult for others.

Use: Robbers happen upon the place where the characters have made camp, and ask to join them. A group of robbers arrives to steal a thing that the characters are just about to steal themselves.

Loot: Depending on whether they’ve just robbed someone or not, robbers may have anywhere from nothing (other than their weapons and clothing) up to the currency equivalent of a very expensive item.

GM intrusion: The robber’s arrow manages to hit two foes in a single attack, or the robber shoots two arrows at multiple foes.

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Scholars might be librarians, sages, wise women, crones, experts, or soothsayers. Typically, scholars seek knowledge above all else, and many also are willing to share it with others (sometimes for a price, sometimes just for the joy of sharing knowledge). A scholar’s expertise might be general or specific—they may study the world at large or home in on a specific type of magic or fey being, for example.

Motive: Find answers, seek knowledge

Environment: Schools, libraries, the royal study, laboratories, and anywhere there are sources of information

Health: 6

Damage Inflicted: 3 points

Movement: Short

Modifications: Intuition, persuasion, detecting falsehoods, and most knowledge tasks as level 4

Combat: Scholars prefer to avoid a fight. If they must fight, a scholar tries to deduce a foe’s

weaknesses (if any) and exploit them in combat. Some scholars might have learned spells or abilities from those they’ve studied. Others might be examining a useful cypher or artifact, and will use it on their attackers.

Interaction: Most scholars are helpful and full of information (whether or not it’s useful or true information varies from scholar to scholar). What they don’t know, they may be willing to learn or study, if given the proper tools and incentive. However, some scholars are secretive, hoarding their knowledge for their own personal uses.

Use: Scholars can be incredible allies, offering clues, hints, and information that can help the characters. However, they may be reclusive and hard to find, hidden away in ancient libraries or secret laboratories.

Loot: Most scholars have currency equivalent to a very expensive item and one or two cyphers.

GM Intrusion: Something the scholar is studying comes alive, creating havoc and disarray throughout the area.