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Draft [FINAL] Sprites

This thread contains a draft and requires feedback.
Here is the original discussion and Here is draft 2!

This version cleans up some wording and introduces the concept of Blossom. Enchanted Glades were also added under Geography, and Notable Skills now includes Kelrondar and Fae'rel. I'm especially shaky on whether I got Kelrondar right and whether this is an ok use of the plane (it reminded me a bit of Adjurators being able to see the Spirit Plane) so please correct me if this is totally out of line!

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Abstract​

Sprites are hominoid fae-folk who stand around four feet tall and have insectlike wings. Their appearance may vary greatly among inspirations of flora and fauna, and their bodies may change in response to arcane contamination or life-altering events. As a culture, most Sprites spend much of their time making friends with (or playing tricks on) other people.

History and Origin​

The Sprites will tell you that the first of their kind were conjured from the dreams and nightmares of the Seelie queen of Fae'rel long ago. Their four-foot stature-- giant to most other Fae --served them well as they guarded treasures and palaces, confronted trespassers, carried heavy things, and let smaller Fae ride on their backs. As the biggest of the Fae, the Sprites were responsible for venturing into the Material Plane to take other peoples' newborn babies, especially those who were ill or otherwise unwanted, to be added as guests to the queen's endless parties.

The Pixies were the first to suggest a break from the Seelie queen's yoke. In a plan for escape, they asked the Sprites to smuggle them through the labyrinths and through to the Material Plane. In return, the Pixies would turn their proverbial key in the lock between worlds, and they would have a few eras' head start before the Court could find them again. In the end the Sprites and the Pixies exploited the loopholes in their contracts with the Seelie Court and proudly declared themselves Free Folk.

Blossom​

Sprites are not born: they do not have parents or biological lineage. Instead, like seeds of a flower, Sprites blossom among the wild plantlife of Fae'rel or Enchanted Glades.

After a Sprite dies, their spirit crosses into the Dreamscape, where many spend eons hopping from dream to dream, watching dreams and nightmares like stage plays, never intervening. Most of these spirits-- after witnessing the joy and heartache of the living for so long --eventually miss the Material Plane and wish to return. The spirit carefully chooses a dream that they feel best reflects their personality, and they weave themself into the fabric of the dream.

When the dreamer wakes up, the spirit manifests in the nearest Enchanted Glade (or in Fae'rel, if the dreamer resides there) where a tiny baby Sprite-- called a Blossom --grows within the petals of a flower, the leaves of a cabbage, or within the shelter of moss, to name a few. Sprites therefore have no gender, but they often choose or change their perceived gender several times through their long lives. Sprites cannot remember their previous lives nor their existence in the Dreamscape.

Ageing​

Child: 0-17 Eras
Adolescent: 18-100 Eras
Early Adult: 100-450 Eras
Middle Age: 450-700 Eras
Elderly: 700-900 Eras

Physical Appearance​

Blossom/Unaltered Appearance​

Adult Sprites are almost uniformly four feet tall, give or take a few inches. All Sprites stand upright on two legs, and they have two arms, two hands, one head, and insect wings. Sprites never have tails. All other attributes may differ greatly between individual Sprites.

A Sprite blossoms with an appearance that reflects the dream their spirit had chosen in the Dreamscape. If the dream was of mushrooms, they may be born with a mushroom cap on their head. A dream of birds may give the newborn Sprite a rainbow of colored feathers. A dream of trees may give birth to a Sprite with bark for skin and leaves for hair. A dream of fish may produce patterns and fins. A dream of rabbits may result in fluffy fur and long ears. A dream of elves will result in a miniature elf with wings. There are only three rules:
  1. A Sprite's form is always bipedal (plantigrade or digitigrade), with a personlike body structure and without a tail,
  2. A Sprite's form may only imitate flora or fauna or any combination thereof, and
  3. A Sprite's outward appearance is only cosmetic and never provides attributes nor advantages of their inspiration.
The Sprite's appearance may shift according to the environment and the seasons, such as blooming flowers in Spring or white fur in Winter. Although their bodies may grow feathers, fur, roots, or scales, a Sprite's wings are always derived from winged insects: butterflies, moths, dragonflies, beetles, bees, and similar. A Sprite's wings are never made of feathers nor leather.

Alterations​

A Sprite's appearance is highly sensitive to magic: their reactive transformations have been compared to similar or related effects in Spellbreaking and Changeling Syndrome. Whether it be the Sprite's own use of magic or prolonged exposure to casting spells, over time a Sprite's appearance will develop permanent qualities similar to the effects of magical contamination. For example, a Druid Sprite may slowly grow flowers on their skin. A Sprite who accompanies a Necromancer may begin to appear decayed, though they are truly healthy. An Elementalist Sprite may appear crackled like soil or may slightly glow like fire. A Sprite caught in the middle of an arcane battle may afterward develop a number of small alterations depending upon the types of magic to which they were exposed. Like their birth forms, alterations are only cosmetic and rarely affect a Sprite's health or abilities.

Alterations may also occur as a result of an excessive number of simultaneous linked dreams.

Dreamlinking​

Sprites are unable to dream or enter the Dreamscape on their own: their sleep is normally dark and dreamless. However, if someone else dreams about the Sprite, the Sprite can then piggyback on that person's dream in order to enter the Dreamscape. The Sprites call this practice Dreamlinking.

Dreams are incredibly important to Sprite culture: Sprites harbor a deep envy of other people for being able to dream without assistance. A Sprite who has had several dreams in a darkening is considered a celebrity among their village; stories of other Sprites' dreams are a favorite way to pass the time, and the most epic tales are passed down through generations. Other Sprites consider the Dreamscape a religious and sacred place, or they feel that the Dreamscape is their true home.

Many Sprites will do just about anything in order to gain a proverbial ticket to the Dreamscape: because their fellow Sprites are unable to dream, they have to force other people to dream about them. Sometimes the Sprite will accomplish this by acting extremely friendly and helpful toward a chosen person, from cleaning the house to delivering messages and packages. A majority of Sprites, however, find that it's easier and far more entertaining to play cruel tricks on people, thus forcing them to have vivid nightmares about the Sprites. The stronger the dream (or nightmare), the longer the Sprite can maintain a link to the Dreamscape.

Culture and Society​

Sprites adore animals in all their forms. Sprites will attempt to tame anything and keep it as a pet: most Sprite villages are home to a menagerie of pet squirrels and skunks, lizards and spiders, and birds of all sizes. Most beloved among the Sprites are their pet wolves, panthers, boars, and other beasts that are big enough to serve as a steed. The Sprites' pet cemeteries-- circles of painted rocks dotting a wide stretch of forest floor, where their numerous expired pets are buried --are usually a traveler's first indication that a village is nearby.

Most Sprite settlements grow in close proximity to Enchanted Glades, in areas where the trees are big and the winters are mild: their wooden treetop villages are built with simple yet sturdy architecture, which features domes and arches and green hanging gardens that also may function as roofs or rooms made of woven living plants. A crisscross of complex bridges offers mobility to those who cannot use their wings. At night, the Sprites hang lanterns made of bioluminescent flowers or insects, or conjured magical light.

Every brightening is a holiday, and every darkening is a feast. If there is no established holiday for a certain brightening, someone will suggest a reason to celebrate and the village will come together with music and midair-dancing. If someone has died, the village will celebrate their well-lived life. If there is no food in the winter, the village will celebrate the companionship and comfort of one another. The Sprites never seem to tire of laughter.

Each village is loosely governed by the eldest Sprites, whose wings have shriveled and who oversee serious matters such as deciding which holiday to celebrate.

Out of defiance of the Seelie Court, Sprites have a generally low opinion of boundaries or laws or rulers, so they recognize none. Many Sprites have made it their personal mission to show other people how silly it is to follow rules and courtesies without a guaranteed benefit, but so far the point has fallen on deaf ears.

Stereotypes​

Most people outside the Fae-Folk consider Sprites to be mischievous, cruel, untrustworthy, manipulative, conniving tricksters. If something is going wrong, many will be quick to accuse the nearest Sprite of theft or sabotage. If a Sprite offers a kindness, even as simple as holding a door, many people will suspect the Sprite wants something in return. If a Sprite is in town, many will keep vigilant watch over their newborn children in case they might be stolen, or will run the Sprite out entirely (and, according to stereotype, risk horrible retaliation); if a child goes missing, the Sprite is always the first suspect.

However, the Sprites' love of celebration-- and their skills at throwing parties --are commonly believed to contribute to the best events in the world.

Language​

In an effort to separate themselves from their history in Fae'rel, most Sprites have rejected and ceased speaking the Fae'len language. Instead, as a part of their play philosophy, most Sprite villages have each developed their own unique language that is only used within the village. Out of necessity, many Sprites learn Common as a second language at a young age, but they very much like talking among themselves in a language that eavesdroppers-- even Sprites from other areas --cannot understand.

Geography​

Fae'rel​

Sprites originated-- and many still live --in the Seelie Court of Fae'rel, where they are bound by contract in service of the Seelie queen.

Enchanted Glades​

Sprite villages located on the Material Plane are usually nearby Enchanted Glades, where new Blossoms are most likely to be found.

Notable Skills and Traits​

Flight: Most Sprites can fly. The quickness and altitude of their flight depends upon the type and quality of their wings. Moth and butterfly wings are far slower than dragonfly wings, for example, but are far prettier in the eyes of most Sprites.

Dreamlinking: A passive ability, Sprites will dream while asleep only if a non-Sprite person is dreaming about them in that moment. A Sprite cannot see anyone else's dream and has no control over what they dream, the same as any other person. A dreamlink does not necessarily guarantee a good dream. The more people that are concurrently dreaming about the Sprite at the same time, the more vivid the Sprite's own dream and the more likely common elements of the other dreams could manifest as alterations in the Sprite's appearance. Because of this, the way other people perceive the Sprite has a chance of manifesting as a physical trait.

Perception of Kelrondar: Individual Sprites have varying ability to perceive the demi-plane of Kelrondar, which is superimposed upon the Material Plane. This may include visions, smells, or sounds that exist only in Kelrondar, including perception of other Fae-Folk that do not live in the Material Plane.

Passage to Fae'rel: Unlike non-native peoples, Sprites may travel freely into Fae'rel and will not be inhibited by the traps and tricks meant to keep outsiders out.
 
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