As far as can be determined, the earliest Euro-Fae were the primal, elemental varieties (EG: storm-fairies, otter-fairies, hunger-fairies, et cetera), sometimes called the Partholonian Fae. Since the simple and crude records of these fairies were recorded by humanity, it is unknown if they would take human form to ease cross-species relations, or if they had been taking human form naturally, or if they were just recorded as occasionally being humanoid as a stylistic feature. From them came the Fomorian Fae and the Nemedian Fae. Fomorians were a taller, ogre-like race that incorporated human-like traits with the more Partholonian features (imagine satyrs, minotaurs, Jimmy Squarefeet; now imagine their bigger, scarier uncles), while the Nemedians were the precursors to the "funny looking humans" sorts of fairies (EG: Sidhe, pixies, leprechauns, et cetera). The Fomorians focused on trying to wrangle the primal forces into more controlled of features, either creating or laying the foundations for many structures and ley-lines that later became fairy mounds. The Nemedians focused on the more abstract nature of magic, refining the vague primal forces into more detailed and focused cantrips and schools of magic.
For those preternaturalists who espouse the fatagenesis hypothesis, it was in these early forms that a night-fae first cursed a human to rise as a vampire, an animal-fae first cursed a human to shift their shape by the light of the full moon, and that the initial charms that led to some folks being born with the knacks for animating zombies or casting magic were laid.
Eventually, the Firbolg (a form of Nemedian, with big eyes, pointy teeth & ears, a knack for size-change, and an affinity for flight. One of the first types of fairy to adopt the occasional habit of clothing, and to subscribe to the operating theory of, "This object is mine, not yours") laid down the earliest fae social structures, around 2300 BCE (around the time of the Akkadian empire in Asia Minor, the Minoans in Crete, the 'Old Kingdom' in Egypt, et cetera), creating the initial fairy organizations, against the wild anarchy of the Partholonians and the Fomorians. During the Firblog reign, it most certainly became fashionable for Partholonian fae to take human form.
The first notable history of Faery in human recording concerns the 'First Weirding' in 1800 BCE (late Minoans in Crete, early Mycenean in Greece, Hammurabi's reign in Babylonia, Hyksos invasion of Egypt). This is when the courts of the Sidhe Fae officially began their separation, and the Sidhe (also known as the Tuatha de Danaan) wrested control from the Firbolg, when the Seelie King (known alternately as Taranis, Oberon, or Fin Bheara) set himself up in power. The Weirding in fact was the Sidhe and other Fae beginning to dampen their own abilities to assure their wars would not destroy earth. This Weirding generally made the fae slightly more mundane, while cursing the Firbolg to smallness (the Firbolg, from this point on, were often known as the 'Demi-fey') and a number of the Fomorians being reduced to a smaller and more chaotic form (this new offshoot generally being referred to as 'Goblins'). No longer could fae children be easily born of pure magic but instead were mostly actually born and bred like normal things of the plant and animal kingdom. Fairy animals began to appear around this time (EG: Cu Sidhe dogs, Cait Sidhe cats, Cro Sidhe cows, Eun Sidhe cuckolds, Each Sidhe horses, et cetera), perhaps from animal-fae attempting to breed with mundane animals, producing magical but non-sentient offspring.
In 10 CE the Goblin-Fae War was waged across sections of Europe, most likely due to a few thousand years of Fomorian vs. Nemedian tension, though this war has been mainly lost from human history. It was not centuries years later, circa 900 CE, when the present Unseelie Queen (known variably as Andais, Titania, Oona, Mab, or Aoife) captured or established the crown of the Unseelie Court, following a wave of Morte D'Amour vampires in the preceding couple of centuries.
During the Crusades (1100-1300 CE) a large section of the preternatural population of Europe and Asia (including Fae) was killed. When the Inquisition and the Witch hunts of the 1200-1400s occurred, the fae who were unable to masquerade as human suffered even more when captured. Finally in 1300 destruction raged across the known world. Fae bards remember this as 'Great Human-Fae War' and only ended after the 'Second Weirding'; Human history records this as The Black Plague, though individual familes have stories of the Fae removing their protection. As far as Fae bards can relate, it is in the latter part of the 1400s that the Seelie Sidhe became infertile, at least between pure blooded sidhe. The Unseelie bardic tales during this time are still lost to the wind. The Christian ban on usury also prompted strife and stress on the Euro Fae populations, since they (and non-Christian human minorities) were exempt from the ban.
When the Americas became formally occupied by the Europeans in 1500 (Spanish settlements)-1600 (English settlements), and the United States declared independence from European courts in 1776, the sprawling continent rich with untamed land and hearty legends seemed the perfect refuge for the 'Good Neighbors'. Tales are told of those displaced in the 'Flight of Wild Geese' from Ireland, bringing with them the eldritch heather wine to pay their sea-fare and Scottish fae chased out by the Jacobite wars following the famlies they had protected over the centuries. These Fae were invited in by the early settlers of the land, setting up "pockets of faerie" in various mound locations that were once central locations for the aboriginal American fae. It seemed the settlers would rather that "monsters"/good neighbors" they knew than spirits/mystical creatures who seemed so strange to the European world view.
As various Fae Courts headed out into the wilderness, to the western lands (Mississippi River valley and beyond) settling their Fairy Mounds, they drove out aboriginal Fae. The famed "Fae Treaty" signed by President Thomas Jefferson in 1801 (as part of his protest against the recently passed Alien and Sedition Acts) is noted for 5 conditions that remain a cornerstone of American-Fae relations.
- The allowance of the free entry of European Fae into "native" Faery lands (with the provision that they could opt to naturalize as citizens, or remain foreign natural tourists)
- The agreement that these lands would be sovereign states (comparable to US territories, like Puerto Rico) as long as the "Infamous Three Conditions" were met. These conditions are as follows:
- "Faery will never war with Faery in the United States"
- "No Fae Shall Set Upon Themselves, or Encourage the Worship of Themselves by Humans as Gods"
- "Fae shall not practice Magical Deception or Chicanery beyond Mortal Ken as a Continued Way of Life" AKA: The Third Weirding of the Fae powers
Of all the demands of Jefferson's administration this last one was the most painful to the fae. The 'Third Weirding' took place in the early 1800's as many Fae were trooping over from Europe to America, with the final condition being self-imposed on a magical level, instead of just a legal one. This resulted in the loss of the Fae power of invisibility and many of their long held shape-shifting powers1 were limited or lost totally. In 1824 the Bureau of Human and Fey Affairs was established in America to deal with the waxing tide of EuroFae and the waning native American fae and the adherence of the Fae to the treaty.
The 1809 anti-vampire edict of Pope Pius VII caused concern for all Faery still in Catholic dominated lands. The fear of the Holy See taking an anti-fae stance as well often pointed to as the cause of the Seelie Court's "Humanization" and the "Demonizing" of the Unseelie Court. This, in addition to the move of unseelie fae out of Europe, prompted the Euro-Seelie Court to decree an embargo on Unseelie Emigration out of Europe2 in the late 19th Century (although no countries dare try to deport those who've sneaked out, and the Celestial Bureaucracy in East Asia has no such ban). A large number of the Fae remained in Europe, but the turmoil of the first World War and the promise of more unrest with the upcoming second World War sent all but the most dug-in over with the wave of immigrants from Ireland and Italy and all into America. (The Seelie sidhe fit with the Nazi physical ideal while the Common Fae with those oppressed leading to the German assumption that the Seelie would support them when they attempted to imprison the "lesser fae". This spelled disaster eventually for the Third Reich as Faery reacted like any family. Internal squabbling aside, there is no permission for outsiders to abuse their kin.)
Overall, those Fae left behind from any wave of emigration were those who were either far too entrenched in their own personal business (and not all that concerned of the actions of mortals), or those Seelie who had married into the Royal Bloodlines of Europe to help further the intermarriages between the rulers of England, France, and other countries. Many fey sneaked over during the Wars and prompted stories of gremlins, with some of the earliest being those that helped Charles Lindburgh in his 1927 TransAtlantic flight. Little is known of the whereabouts of the possibly displaced fae native to the Americas though there are stories within Faery of the great battles to claim the sithins when the European Fae arrived.. Some theorize they are awaiting seven fae generations before reacting to the EuroFae immigration.
Fairy Character Creation
Much like the other Preters, Fairy CharGen first involves making a fairly normal person who will then be souped up. Please note that the Fae tend to be creatures of the extreme, versus the highly agile, strong, willpowered, sensory, et cetera.. vampires and were-things. One tends to have a fae that is very very VERY strong, or very very VERY agile, or very very VERY smart, et cetera, so do not be surprised if the souping up knocks a stat nearly off the scale. Also, there are various schools of magic that all Fae can learn, but all Fae characters are allowed the bonus boon of special 'knacks' (not unlike Xanth talents), which are singular magical abilities that really can't be broken down into a stat system. For each magical knack that a Fae character has, they should also take a flaw (be it magical or mundane) that is as bad as the knack is good. NOTE: Quantified Abilities don't need to be bought for knacks. Imagine a parrot: Flying is a given and something that any parrot can naturally do (that would be a knack). Since they can fly, they don't have hands (that would be a flaw). For a parrot to talk, they need to learn that by choice (that would be an Ability). One will want to work (probably with staff) on this, since the Knacks are what divide most fairy characters from a human with magical/psychic tricks. Some might be able to climb a plume of steam like it was a rope, others might be able to hasten plant-growth around them, some might have an aura of cold, or of heat, or of light, or of fermentation. Many death-fae tend to promote ghosts to manifest around them, while many animal-fae tend to be able to turn into critters, while many elemental-fae tend to have an affinity for passing effortlessly through their medium and/or wrangling their medium (EG: a fire fairy making flames burn a different color).
A good way to start is to either dig up a type of Fairy from legend (try here and/or here or you can consult your local library) and base it around that, or to take a somewhat normal mundane sentient being (a person, or an animal of person-level intelligence, sentient plant, etc..), give them a non-mundane aspect (odd skin color or covering, appendages, hands where they'd have feet, feet where they'd have paws, et cetera..), and then add a Knack and a Flaw (or a few of both) with details of what it can do and what it can't do, and a raison d'vie.
What often works well is to take a type of fairy from RL myth/legend, and try to whip up a something that doesn't have the exact traits mentioned in myth, but instead has things that could lead to that (mis)understanding. Case in point, traditionally folks think of leprechauns as having pots of gold hidden away due to them being traditional fairy "Keepers of Treasure". If one were making a leprechaun character, just having some gold or having a Knack to make gold really isn't all that great of an RP stimulus, quite frankly. Although if one took the "Keeper of Treasure" idea and focused more on the "Keeper" side, that could have far more interesting long term results. It might be that leprechauns are the safe-deposit boxes of the fae-world, compulsively forced to protect something given to them until the original owner asks for it back, even if it was someone offering them a cookie (so now they're magically beholden to hold onto and protect that cookie forevermore, until they can give it back to the person or until someone steals it from them).
Obviously, just because Player Bob made his leprechaun character fit the above example, that doesn't mean Player Carol nor Player Ted have to do the same things with their characters. Carol might have it so her leprechaun has some flaw that prevents her from keeping normal money on her person, so her character is forced to keep their savings buried away (and in olden days, that'd take precious metals as the currency, since paper money doesn't hold up well to being buried). Ted might have it so his leprechaun can locate gold from a distance, so it just seems like he had hidden the gold away (when he's really more like a fairy metal detector, helping folks steal Carol's hidden funds). All of these three characters could quite easily exist at the same time, all be called "leprechauns", all lead to what's commonly thought about leprechauns, and yet have completely different Knacks and Flaws.
Please also note that there are universal flaws innate to all Fae:
- One being that iron has a high resistance to fairy magic and fairies have a high vulnerability to iron. High to the tune of being hit with a cast iron frying pan upside the head can pretty much stop any fae dead in their tracks, negate all active magics, and prevent them from doing anything magical for a while (and heal that nasty bump on their head). Steel tends to be around 60-70 percent iron. Due to this, it makes them a little oogy-feeling to be around steel things (cars, faucets, office buildings), but a good deal of that is just nervousness and not actual physical discomfort. Actual iron -will- feel weird (like having to hold onto the body of a drill or tattoo gun), but steel mainly makes most Fae nervous since it means their magics will be dampened down to some degree (about 60-70 percent less, as a matter of fact).
- Every fae also has a 'true name', which if known to another being, allows that being control over the fairy's magics. The True Name Knower can (if within ear shot of the fae) command the fae to use their magics, although it affords no degree of mundane control.
- Pure salt can also dispel Fae magic, although it really doesn't cause problems in the casting; it more reverts things back to the pre-magic form and stops any currently working magics.
On the other hand, silver really takes a shine to Fae magic and Fae magic takes a shine to silver. If a Fae can magically work with a given amount of gold/lead /tin/etc.. with a given level of power, their amount of control is far FAR less if it is with iron, but far FAR higher if it is with silver. Oftentimes, if a mistaken individual uses silver weapons against a fairy, it's either a case of the first hit killing the fae or the fae gains such a boost in power that the attacker wishes they hadn't gotten up that morning. For each ounce of silver in ontact with the fae or in/on a target can add to the +roll/per on a 1-to-1 basis (although the final result can't be better than if there were no silver involved). '+roll 1d<ounces>' to see how much of an addition it gives.
To increase 'playability' the three big rules about Fae (or Fey, or Fay) characters (even staff-made NPCs) are..
- No Full-Blood Sidhe. (and 3/4 is highly unlikely)
- No One With Serious Clout in the Seelie or Unseelie Court.
- No One Who is the IC Historical Basis of a Deity/Demon/Demi-God/Etc.. of Legend/Myth/Religion/Etc..
Yes, the Gentry books focus around individuals who are generally in at least two of those three, if not all three. Alas, although such characters might work on an all-fae Merry Gentry MU*, they make a character's IC life not terribly challenging when living in Chicago among humans if they can turn folks inside-out with a touch, call down the entire Faerie Nation to war against someone, or are the embodiment of Inanna/Ishtar/Isis, etc. That, and they'd have no good reason to be slumming it in Chicago.
Within Faerie lands, a fae is subject to all the laws of the kingdom he or she belongs to. Outside of the borders of Faerie, a fae is subject to human laws. The Federal Bureau of Human and Fey Affairs (directed by the Board of Human-Fey Relations) exists to deal with cross-border issues, including claims of asylum and arranging for social workers for fae in need of help. Generally they are treated as if they were tourists visiting America from a foreign land, unless they have applied for American citizen status. If things get wiggly, the BHFA has ambassadors that can be sent out as case-workers, often working with the RPIT (who technically don't have jurisdiction over Human-Fae Relations, but are usually first on the scene).
Please note that the <Whatever> Magic Abilities are the non-innate tricks a fae might know and are not to be confused with the "Knacks". Imagine a parrot: Flying is a given and something that any parrot can naturally do (that would be a knack). For a parrot to talk, they need to learn that by choice (that would be an Ability). What fae lack in Power relative to vampires and shifters, they make up for in versatility and Knacks.
Fae do not have Healing. Instead, any souped up healing rate is covered by an appropriate Knack, and/or a high Fitness, and/or by learning Flesh Magic.