Content of the article: "Tips For Creating an Untrustworthy Fey Ally NPC"
Hi Fellow DMs!
I have an NPC that my players will be meeting in a few days that I'd love some of your finer tips on bringing to life for my players. I'd be super interested in hearing tips that you've used or that you've found successful in making this NPC a success.
A Quick Rundown:
NPC is a Fey character with a silver tongue, charming demeanor, and most importantly, inscrutable goals that happen to align with the party this time. They certainly aren't a BBEG or anything, they're not even really a villain. Instead, they should be an ally that they can't trust. He should be a little too charismatic. His name is a combination of two names of trickery gods in real world mythologies. Ideally, they should always fear a little bit that they're being manipulated by him, without feeling like he's a threat to society or a danger that should be dealt with.
I'd love your tips to make this character come to life and hit the right notes as someone who is an ally (I don't actually have a betrayal planned), who is helpful, who is powerful, yet they should be wise not to trust. But first and foremost, he's a fey creature of whimsy. He should do what he wants and have motivations and intentions that aren't clear to us humans. Pranks would be right up his alley, if he wasn't trying to get help from the party on handling something of importance to himself.
What I've Prepared Already
He will ask the party for their help as black dragons have taken up a lair in the woods and since then the waters have been poisoned and undead are rising (he doesn't know that dragons are responsible). He will follow the party as they go to investigate the cause and take care of the problem. I added a lot of … suspicious elements to his statblock:
- Inscrutible: Velen Eris is immune to any effect that would sense his emotions or read his thoughts, as well as any divination spell that he refuses. Wisdom (Insight) checks made to ascertain his intentions or sincerity have disadvantage.
- Invoke Greater Duplicity:
- Beguiling Voice: Wisdom Saving Throw DC 16 or the target is charmed. While charmed, the target feels a powerful need to aid Velen Eris going so far as to attack his allies if they are a threat to Velen. The target is not aware that they've been charmed by Velen Eris.
Beguiling Voice in particular is a bit of nasty fun, given that the players may come to question whether or not he's affected them with it (since they are indeed helping him).
Ideas I'm Playing With
- He may offer them anything they wish in exchange for their help, but not follow through on his promises. My worry is that that makes an enemy of the party, or makes him untrustworthy in the wrong sense… as that's more unreliable than it is untrustworthy.
- He may present himself as the leader to the Fey village they're going to visit at the beginning. Ask for their help, tag along and help eliminate the threat, then vanish when its done and the citizens of the fey village don't actually know him.
- He could be some manner of Archfey, helping out his weaker kin (the village is pixies and sprites), but he may be doing so to learn something about the party. Like, his intentions are somewhat good, he is helping those who are weaker, but that's not the primary reason for his aid.
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