Thursday, February 9, 2017

What's In The Eastwylde Pt 1 - Fairies

Fairy Folk
Pixies, Leprechauns and Brownies are the three common types.  Boggarts and Redcaps are the less-talked about, much less funny cousins to these three varieties of Fey.

Pixies (AL: CN)
Pixies are the most numerous---the Eastwylde has a population in the hundreds, at least.  They have what comes closest to a real society, with leaders, shepherds, weavers and other specialized roles.   Essentially, Pixie society is stratified into the commoners and the Gentry.  The main difference is that Pixie commoners live in large tumulous mounds like ant hives (almost all of which are obscured by forest), while Gentry live in houses painstakingly modeled after the latest human architectural fashions, built into the trunk of a living tree with its rooftops among the branches.  Likewise, commoners dress in simple wool and linen garb, while Gentry use magic or any other means to dress in miniature approximation of the latest human fashions.

No pixies have appeared in the game so far, but you can bet every time the party's ventured into the forest they've been watched carefully.

Pixie commoners are organized into clans, with each clan living in one mound.  It may seem odd for winged creatures to spend so much time underground but they don't seem to mind.  They festoon their burrows with tiny oilskin lanterns and hang enough holly and pine to sweeten the subterranean air.   Pixies may be only 18" high--the size of a doll, perhaps---but they need to eat, and they keep chickens just like everybody else.  Perfectly normal chickens, who have to be led out from underground each day and then watched carefully as they amble about their pens.  This is the job of the youngest and lowest ranking Pixies, but they take the job seriously----if you see what appears to be a lost chicken wandering in the woods, leave it alone.   Additionally, the pixies have bred a species of dwarf sheep from which they get their fleece and wool.  Humans frequently mistake these sheep for lost lambs wandering in the woods and become sheep-stealers without realizing it.

One of the most important things about Pixies is that they cast their spells primarily through archery, which is both a means of communication and an obsessive past-time to them.  Pixies imbue their will into the arrows they launch.  These tiny arrows---more like long needles, really---cast whatever spell they want on the struck target.  Obviously, it's no good to cast, say, confusion, on a dead man so Pixies are really good at shooting people in usually nonfatal body parts.  In fact, skilled pixies can plug a hapless commoner two dozen times before he is even in danger of bleeding out.  One of their most important spells is Charm Monster, which allows them to befriend any beast or man they strike with their darts.   Thus pixies hunt, not necessarily for food, but often for new friends and pets.   Their burrows are typically guarded by charmed badgers, who probably have magic fang and a few other basic enchantments ready to go.

Pixies are vaguely brythonic in origin and if you crack open any ancient history book about Britain you should find a bunch of ready-to-use names.   Caradog, Cunobelin, Admindios, Gwydyros, sure (One of the few problems is a lack of female names in the sources but, like, just stick -etica at the end and you're probably safe.  Like Caradetica, Gwydyretica).   Gaulish and modern Welsh and Breton names should be close enough for government work.

Common pixies decorate themselves and make fastening toggles with fangs and bits of horn and bone and wear cloaks and hats of fleece in Winter, of woven leaves in Spring and Summer.  They paint spirals and celtic knots in blue woad on everything, including their faces in wartime.  Since metal is abhorrent to them they officially rebuke it and only use bone and flint for arrowheads, but the truth is every pixie has a pouch of a few nails or other iron bits which they might make into particularly dangerous arrows for a particularly hated rival.   Pixie clans go to war with each other all the time, but real fights only happen between two individuals who really hate each other.

Pixies not only enslave animals to be their guards and cattle, they enslave men to be their, uh, slaves.  Actually, common pixies do this way more than Gentry, because more than anything they abhor the drudgery of labor, while Gentry families pride themselves on not being so lazy.  It is rare for them to enslave anyone long-term: when slaves are taken it is because they were a target of convenience (usually lost in the woods), or one of the youngest/lowest-ranking Pixies has some particularly odious task such as a long journey and wants to fob it off.  In such cases they may just find any old human, shoot him in the ass with a charm arrow, and say something like, "dear friend, would you do me the great kindness of taking this important letter to such-and-such down the road?"  The poor human might find himself bewitched by the addressee of the missive as soon as he finally arrives, sent back with a simple message such as "we do not appreciate solicitors!"  This kind of incidental/accidental happening is how Pixie slavery works and slaves usually are forgotten/reprieved/escape after a few chores.

Of course, younger Pixies usually can't cast charm spells that last long.  What often happens is the spell wears off when the human is halfway through his errand, and he is often left in a state of confusion as to why he was doing what he was just doing.   Human peasants, of course, conflate this with perfectly ordinary forgetfulness--like when you come into a room to get something and immediately forget what it was, if you're some salt of the earth type you'll often go "confounded pixies!" 

Sometimes humans get enslaved longer term.  Usually it's attractive and unmarried young women, just one more reason for farmers to lock up their daughters at night.  If a human is "taken on as help" by Pixies for a longer term, they are often shrank down to be of better use.  A fully-grown human in a Pixie burrow usually isn't much good except as a doorjamb.  Gentry almost always shrink their humans down to Pixie size (this requires a higher-level version of Reduce Person), but some cheaper ones might leave them at Halfling-size, which is still awkwardly big for a burrow or treehouse.  
Slaves of the gentry are always house-servants, working in the kitchens inside the brick foot of the house (being built into treetrunks, these houses are always quite vertically, usually 12 feet tall with 3-4 stories).  Obviously working in a kitchen in a tree is a precarious job which is why the little ovens and stoves are carefully built into brickwork.  This makes the kitchens of a Pixie Gentleman hellish hot.  Human nurses frequently tell tales of naughty children taken by the Pixies and put into the kitchen, forced to bake "the squire's" bread in heat and smoke like hell until they pass out and fall into the oven which, of course, was what the vile Pixie wanted all along ("now along with the bread comes the roast!" is the punchline to these stories).   In real life any Pixie Gentleman who did this would be a sociopathic monster among his own kind---but who knows what the Gentry do in their big ornate houses? 

However, the truth of enslaved ("adopted") human children is nothing like these nursery tales.  It does happen that sometimes a Pixie---common or genteel--gets the idea to kidnap a human child and raise them as a full-time servant.  The kid is usually treated with much condescension, since humans can't fly and are ridiculously clumsy; men are just sort of inherently comical to Pixies.  Most Pixies can't really stomach cruelty to a child any more than you or I can, and such servants are treated reasonably and often released when they get old enough to start really missing other humans.  There are quite a few ordinary people in the border country who spent one or two years as a servant of the Pixies, with experiences ranging from the harrowing to the pleasant. 
The only picture specifically of a pixie I've ever liked

Almost always, Pixie Gentry cultivate a beehive on one of the branches of their tree.  They obtain massive amounts of honey and put it on everything: baking it into cakes, brewing mead, spreading it on toast, etc.  This honey is the absolute property of the Gentry, and often used as a means to cajole the commoners into doing something for a Gentleman (which task they may well then kick down to a hapless human).  Genteel Pixies get along fabulously with bees, because they frequently wear clothes with beestripes (they cover a lot of their shit in stylized stripes just like commoners do with spirals) which means they practically look like bees themselves.  They often walk around with a bevy of bees crawling all over them, the fuzzy little dears being the size of a tiny toy dog in comparison perhaps.   The noise of this is incredible and a little frightening to shrunk-down servants.
Of course, Pixie Gents utilize archery just as much as their common kin, and are usually better at it (notwithstanding they always have much fancier, more powerful composite bows).  They also carry special swords, never of metal but typically a length of thornbush or nettle, carefully stiffened and sharpened, with its prickles bristling off the "blade."   When two Pixie Gents are going to duel, as a mark of station and bravery, they prefer to swing these "stings" at one another while spinning around in a flashy midair melee.  They sting like hell without inflicting serious injury, which makes them excellent dueling weapons and prods for recalcitrant slaves. 

You might assume the Gentry are the leaders of Pixie society, but really the Gentry and Commons are like two wholly different societies.  Gentry families are usually just 4-6 individuals plus servants and get their social lives from parties thrown at so-and-so's house, or special balls held in such-and-such glade.  Commoner clans have their own internal leadership structure, always led by a patriarchal elder, who deals with the Gentry on behalf of his people more in the way of negotiation than deference. 

In theory, if the Pixies were to ever go to war, all the clans would get together under the leadership of their hereditary squires, who would assemble before the King of the Forest in their leaf armor, perhaps riding specially bred war-pigeons.  Nobody could even imagine this happening in modern times, especially in the Eastwylde where there hasn't been a King of the Forest in 500 years. 

Brownies (AL: CG)

None of the other Fairy Folk like the Brownies.  They're such brown nosers.  Always cozying up to Men.  Living in barn lofts, cellars and cabinets.  Mending shoes, pans, doorhandles, and always respectfully retreating with the dawn, not looking for so much as a thank-you---just a bowl of milk and crushed chestnuts for me, thank-you ma'm--don't they know that Fairies are supposed to be feared and respected by mortalkind?  Where do they get off toadying like that, letting the whole side down??
Smug little bastard

Right, so nobody likes Brownies.  Brownies don't live in the forest, because the tougher and meaner Fairies would make game of them, but they don't all necessarily squat in human houses either.  Most live on the border of the forest, usually in a little one-room burrow beneath an old stump or mossy stone.   Brownies are vaguely related to Gnomes, who are inclined to the earth element, so they're very comfortable in a subterranean hollow that would be claustrophobic to anyone else.  If the burrow is home to multiple generations it might be expanded to something like a little cabin, with a rabbit chamber and a reading nook.  Brownies are, as a rule, the most unassuming, mild-mannered cornpone little motherfuckers on earth.  Other Fairies find them absolutely gratingly pleasant, like they have no pride at all.

Brownies like doing things for people, and they're also very good at it.  They're not creatively inclined, but they can fix just about anything, of whatever material.  In fact, a brownie just has to hold an object in his hands and study it for a while, and they'll sort of absorb the essence of it and have an epiphany as to how, if at all possible, they might fix a thing.  For example, a Brownie who had never tinkered in his life might hold an iron pan for a minute and then take up a hammer and beat the dents out of it as though he'd been apprenticed to the task all his life.  Likewise with stitchery, cobbling, gardening, whatever.  They can't make new things (or they only can with great difficulty) but they can repair almost anything.

You would think they would just come out in the open and be welcomed by human society.  But Brownies are smart enough to understand that, inevitably, humans would try to take advantage of their good intentions.  It's better to just keep the relationship simple and indirect.  That way the Brownies have a use and the humans get their stuff fixed---everybody's happy, nobody's hurt.   Brownies are only a little shorter than Halflings and could be mistaken for them quite easily though, so who knows how many adventurous young brownies walk out in the open in Halfling or mixed towns?

Brownie society, such as it is, is laid back and pleasant.  They either live solitary lives or with
immediate family.  Being fey, obviously, there's no rush for them to get married.  When not helping others they love comfortable pastttimes like storybooks, pipe tobacco, trimming a dwarf tree, or making paintings.   I said Brownies couldn't create anything, but they can make totally fatuous Thomas Kincaide style landscapes as a racial ability.  They think that shit is adorable which further baffles and enrages other Fairies.   They can't write though, so all their books are "borrowed" from Men (being virtually ageless they don't see the problem with borrowing a book from some family for a few decades or centuries---they really do keep close track of the bloodline).  Brownie weddings are wonderful week-long affairs that draw in families from the whole region, usually held in a clearing or heath on the forest border.   Although they remain hidden or disguised in human communities, out in wasteland Brownies walk around quite openly.  You might see a few on their way to a wedding party with kegs of beer and loaves under their arms.

The other thing about Brownies is they all carry swords and, at the end of the day they're ready to throw down.  Like, Pixies stick to bows and Leprechauns to clubs, because while they're more ready to use violence, using metal is a level of hardcore they don't like to go to.  If a Brownie needs to settle some shit though he's going to be pretty dead serious about it.   They have no ego but they do have a strong sense of decency, and aren't the toughest Fairies but will always do the right thing.   Another genre of Fairy Tales is the one about the brave little brownie who stepped in to save a maiden from an Ogre.  Usually the Brownie ends up a smear on the Ogre's fist, which is a lesson to teach kids that you can't succeed just through good intentions or something.

I have no idea what Brownies would call themselves.  Probably gentle nature names like Willow, Ashwhite, uh.... Heath?  Whatever.  Let's be honest these dudes are a little boring, and they'll probably just adopt halfling/human names.

Leprechauns (AL: CN)
Leprechauns could almost be Brownies---they're the same size.  But while Brownies are proportionate and can be attractive like halflings, Leprechauns are misshappen, with enormous heads, stooped shoulders and twisted legs (that in no way impinges their strength or speed).  Really, each Leprechaun's proportions and features are quite unique, which is to say that each Leprechaun is ugly in his own unique way.   If there are lady leprechauns no one's ever seen one.  Maybe Leprechauns are just an adolescent phase Brownie Boys go through.

The best way to describe Leprechauns is that they are punk-asses.  They are jackasses, and they are punks.  They're greedy, territorial and clannish, but also they love doing stupid reckless shit to impress their friends.  Pin the tail on the Hill Giant, steal a water-wheel and try to keep it spinning downstream, tie your friend to a treebranch while he's sleeping and smear his face with honey, etc.  Fortunately for Leprechauns they are shockingly tough, or at least resilient to blunt force trauma.

Not every Leprechaun guards a pot of gold.  That's a story they spread around to troll humans.  Actually Leprechauns themselves aren't sure if any of them has a pot of gold, but they're always sort of suspicious that one of them might, if they could just find the bastard and shake it out of him.  
Leprechauns always dress well, or at least flashy.  They copy human fashions although they are often centuries out of date or appropriated from weird and obscure cultures, or often a bizarre mix and match in garish colors.  They actually do not like green or colors that blend in with the natural environment, they want to stand out.  Hideous as they are, they go to great lengths to cultivate unique styles of facial hair (and occasionally their copious body hair). They form associations, or gangs, based on neighborhoods which are hidden to humans but are clearly marked all over the forests, usually with a Fairy Circle (of mushrooms, stones etc.) demarcating a Leprechaun's yard.
That sick cloak/jacket on the right is I imagine the height of Leprechaun fashion

I haven't even talked about Fairy Circles yet so I guess I will here---Fairy Circles are reputedly gateways to other worlds and sometimes they are, but more frequently they're just the Fairy version of boundary stones, like a fence around your yard.  Like a Pixie gentleman will have a ring of mushrooms around the giant gnarled oak he lives in, or a ring of mushrooms will crown the top of a Pixie tumulus, or there will be a semicircle of mushrooms spread around the stump a Brownie lives in.   Fairy Circles basically just mean "I live here (get lost)."  Leprechaun gangs usually consist of 4-6 individuals whose Fairy Circles happen to be fairly close.  Like boys from the same neighborhood they fight constantly but always close ranks against outsiders (anybody from outside their tiny district of the woods).

Individually leprechauns are just surly little men, but in gangs they can be terrors.  They love to get blitzed on berry wine and white lightning and "roam around the woods looking for fights."  (A fight usually consists of finding the nearest Brownie and shoving/ridiculing him until he cries).   The common story is that Men (or other mortals) who blunder into a Leprechaun "neighborhood" will be expected to present a "gift" to "the lords" because that's only manners.  Indeed Leprechauns shake people down for their valuables constantly; they'll take money but soon forget about it and leave it somewhere.  But fine clothes or magic items are what they really prize.  They are always looking to extravagate their wardrobe and they can read magic easily.   As mentioned, intimidation is a favorite tactic if they're in a gang, but individually or together Leprechauns love to trick and confound Men and take great pride in doing this.  They are capable of powerful illusionary magic and will go to elaborate lengths to confuse a Man so bad he doesn't know what's up from his right.  Convincing a guy he's drowning and then going "quick, throw me your [coin pouch/nice hat/magic sword] and I'll throw you a rope!" is a favorite (the punchline is tossing a coiled rope into the guy's face once you let the illusion fade).  Just imagine a million mean jokes of that nature.
Imagine these guys 3' tall with big heads, that's a roaming Leprechaun Gang

Leprechauns as a rule carry sticks, but sometimes one makes a "punch" from carved knucklebones complete with nasty enchantments like woozify or slurrinate (confuse and slow;  Leprechauns have their own better names for spells).  One thing everybody knows is that Leprechauns are jerks but they will never actually kill anybody (this is actually more of a risk with Pixies who might kill you accidentally; Leprechauns have a much better idea of what they're doing when they handle mortals).  If you're too wise to their routines they may just beat the shit out of you and leave your bruised hide back at the edge of the forest, though.

Leprechauns aren't all bad.  They will stick up for their mates.  They won't inflict more cruelty on a humiliated victim.  They may be spontaneously kind, to children, forest hermits, the lost or wretched.
Ladies, all this could be yours
  They like pretty girls and will usually rob one of no more than a kiss.

Leprechaun names are long and complicated and prone to change with their mood.  They are usually comprised of medieval Irish conventions (so Brendan Og Cailean rather than Brendan O'Colin) plus word salad.  Really just invent something that sounds goofy.  Here are the Leprechaun names I've used so far: Tyrnaut Fitz Tyrnaut; Clontarf Mac Cock-Whistle; Peevish Thurible; Boykin Creakly; and Kelly Kelly Kelly.

Yes, when I play Leprechauns at a table I put on the worst 30's Hollywood-style brogue that I can.  It's not offensive, Leprechauns are supposed to be horrible!

Redcaps (AL: NE)
If Leprechauns are the rudeboys of the Fairy World, Redcaps are the lone nuts.  Seriously, murder is their whole thing.  There is no Redcap culture.  Even other Fairies don't know how many there are, if they reproduce or if there's just a certain number of insane immortal killers wandering the world.  Nobody knows why Redcaps kill.  They target Beast, Man and Fairy alike, leave no explanations and usually no survivors.

The story goes that they are a Vengeance from the Lost World (A Hate From Old Times, if you will).   Fairies know, vaguely, that they used to inhabit some other world before they came to this one, and that world was destroyed, and the Gnomes had something to do with it which is why they're not counted among the various Folks anymore.  Some fairies say the Redcaps are a holdover from that world, a weapon that was unleashed and stalks its prey still, following a mandate that no longer has a source or a purpose.  But maybe that's just a story.  Redcaps don't talk, but they do laugh---a noise nobody who survives an attack will ever forget.

Redcaps would be about the size of gnomes if they stood straight, but they're bent like old men, which they resemble.  They have twisted little legs and long apelike arms knotty with muscle.  Their trepezial muscles are jacked and they have thick, trunklike necks that jut their wan, sunken faces forward.  They have long white beards, always silky smooth, and long white hair, also straight, flowing back from under the long red wool stocking caps they wear.  Other than the bright cap they usually wear dull brown rags, clothes long worn from centuries(?) of skulking and wandering, sometimes concealing cloaks.  Redcaps' eyes are huge, like an owl's, with little dead black pupils in a sea of white.  Under a beaklike nose their mouths break open to display long, yellow angler-teeth which seem to project forward a little whenever their lips pull back.  They carry long scythes (man-sized) which they seem to be able to pull from nowhere at all, and wield with speed and ferocity.
You'll never improve on the MMII picture

Some say the reason Redcaps don't talk is their face isn't their real face---the real face is on the top of their skull, under their cap.  But survivors of Redcap attacks say that's just a stupid fable, because they've seen Redcaps doff their caps to dip in the blood of their victims, and beneath was just a bald crown.  Redcaps pause to dip their caps in the blood of a fresh kill, always, which is why their caps are always bright red, and how some manage to escape them.

Redcaps hide in all kinds of places you'd never expect, but places any child would suspect too.  Under stairs, beds, in cabinets, in wells, under piles of hay, under a sick calf, in mother's chaplet.  They wander with seemingly no preference between wilderness, countryside and towns.  They are not only shaped like apes but just as strong and can leap high enough to catch the eaves of most roofs.  Sometimes they won't use their scythes but bite with those oversized teeth which are iron-strong, and lap up gushing blood from their dying victim.

Redcaps don't exactly work together, but it's surprising how often two or three might independently choose the same place for a murder.  If two Redcaps encounter each other by chance, they silently doff their caps, and continue on with their grim work.  Once everyone in the immediate vicinity is dead, they retreat back into the shadows.  Of course there are plenty of murderers among Men so Redcaps are rarely suspected, but among Fairies, a discovered murder almost always means Redcaps.

It is possible for a Wizard to lure out a Redcap with tobbaco and bloody beef (and, a recent discovery, chocolate), then if they are powerful enough to overawe the creature, take it as a familiar.  Redcaps make excellent (and perhaps more importantly, intimidating) bodyguards in some wizards' opinion.  It's said that with some work a wizard can make his Redcap familiar talk, although what they might have to say is known only to those wizards.

Boggarts (AL: CE)
Boggarts look like Leprechauns aged about 40 years---in other words they look like twisted, misshappen little old men rather than boistrous brutes or ugly coxcombes.  They dress well but usually in dour and concealing cloaks or mantles with broad caps.  They wander roads quite openly and fearlessly in broad daylight, and but also up mountain or forest paths as if on some world-spanning errand only they know.  Wherever a Boggart encounters someone, it's likely to lead to trouble, as Boggarts are both wicked and quite sensitive, which is a terrible combination.

Boggarts are sensitive about everything---their age and ugliness, their height, their clothes, the weather--it's extraordinarily easy to offend one.  That's when the Boggart whips off his hat and cloak, face reddening and growls "now ye've done it!"  Stripped to shirtsleeves the Boggart grows and grows--not a smooth, ghostly resizing like the Enlarge Person spell but a Jeckyll-esque ripping and popping of muscles, stretching and tearing shirt and britches, until they are a grotesque muscled form the size of a Bugbear.

Usually in this scenario, the Boggart will take his sweet time displaying his jacked form, flexing and posturing, and belting out things like, "how d'ye like me now!?"  "bet ye feel a dem fool fer accostin' a gentlemen about his way!"  "Ye jest had t'push me, didn't ye?  Y'jest keep pushin' and pushin' jest like all t'udders!  Well not this time!"  and other aggrieved nonsense.  Every Boggart thinks he is the most put-upon person in the world and that their lashing out is well deserved by whoever gets it.  You could say their endless wandering is one long, fuming walk, ostensibly to calm themselves down but really rehearsing an eternity of grievances.

The thing is that Boggarts won't stop short of murdering their victims.  Beating them senseless and throwing them off a cliff or ripping out their hearts are all good ends to an encounter.  Boggarts will make a faint show of respecting the Fairy Courts if they have to, but any crime they can get away with will be indulged in.  Occassionally a Boggart comes to visit some luckless family.  If they know what he is they can prolong their lives a little by inviting him in and showing overweaning deference, putting him at the head of their table, etc. but eventually he will find some excuse to punch them all to death, and then he'll go through their wardrobe and take what he likes.

Some Boggarts are further gone even than that.  They dispense with the language and the perfunctory justification.  They just kill, and usually they stay in their monstrous form all the time.  The term "bugbear" originally described these creatures, who would haunt neighborhoods, slipping into wealthy homes and eating the children in their beds.  It was much more satisfying to let the parents live and discover their son or daughter as a pile of regurgitated bones the next morning.   Modern Boggarts act like these were some bad apples who went too far, and that as civilized members of Fairykind they repudiate such violence, which to be fair was only directed at Men anyway, but nobody buys that.
A boggarts' monstrous form closely resembles a bugbear and was the original meaning of the name.

Amazingly, some Fairy Courts actually tolerate Boggarts, although certainly nobody likes them.  This is because where they are accepted, Boggarts virtually always direct their violence outwards from the community, namely at Men.  Boggarts loath Men to their core, because Men just look like a big stupid version of Fairies with big stupid faces and put on airs like they own everything like, what are they thinking, they just put some sticks together and now they own all this pasture?  According to who?  Where do they get the nerve?  And they make all this milk and jerky and silk hats and other fine things but just pass it around among themselves even though they're all Johnny-Come-Latelys?  Seriously the only question is why somebody hasn't blown their houses all over and cracked open their heads yet.  Occasionally you get a Boggart who hangs around the Court so long he even puts on airs like he's some kind of courtier, and tries to talk like Richard Attenborough, but this cracks the second something annoys them, and then they have to go back to the Land of Men to blow off steam.
The worst though is when Boggarts come 'round to Leprechaun neighborhoods.  Because Boggarts have a way of taking over Leprechaun gangs---it involves repeated beatings and cowing displays, and a lot of goading the Leprechauns to do worse and worse "pranks."  Like sure, open that guy's barn doors and let the cows out, but if you know what would be really funny is if that snot-nosed little brat boy of his was sitting in front of the doors when it happened.  Because what's he going to do, spank the cow??
Apparently in proper D&D Boggarts are... giant frogs?  That's weird.

All too often the Leprechauns start buying into the Boggart's way of seeing things (Boggarts are all old, right, so they must know something), and then a campaign of terror can really start.  With 4-8 Leprechauns backing him a Boggart might make a bid for becoming the Fairy Lord of a Forest, smashing all the poor Pixies' houses and evicting Brownies from their burrows unless they start talking tribute.  It gets really bad if there's a human community nearby---the only reason Boggarts will leave a human community standing if they manage to seize power is that it's funny to keep stringing them along with hope that no, next year I won't kill anyone if your tribute's just a little bigger, really!

Fairies and Religion
Cold iron will kill the shit out of any Fey right quickly, but even ordinary old iron makes Fairies uncomfortable to say the least.  Nasty rashes, quaking and sweats, they react to the stuff as if it were radioactive.  But Fairies have another weakness, namely icons of the Saints.

It doesn't matter if the Fairy is good of heart or black as coal.  They can scarcely look at let alone go near representations of the Saints and the Godhead.  They can handle effigies of the Old Gods a little better, but still aren't fans.

A Fairy who looks directly at an icon or image of a Saint is shaken for 10 rounds.  A Fairy luckless enough to touch one, or a book of holy scripture, is burned for 1d4 damage and sickened for 10 rounds, and must make a DC 15 Will save or flee to a safe distance from the religious object. 
This is mostly a problem for Brownies who want to be helpful, "good tenants" to their unwitting human hosts, but have problems looking up at the icon on the wall.  Mostly they just train themselves to keep their eyes down and not look at it, although a Brownie with spellcasting class levels might, I don't know, combine Invisibility and Remote Hand (I forget the actual spell name) and disapparate the icon for as long as they need to work.

As long as a Fairy is unaware that they are close to a religious image, they're fine.  However this doesn't apply to iron, which they can sense with a twinge in their guts.

Likewise, Fairies cannot approach consecrated ground.  The lost saints' tombs and shrines of the Eastwylde are still, after 500 years, anathema to them, treated as warily as the remaining sinks of Wild Magic.  They would certainly never think of going near a Temple or Shrine that was being actively used.

So what's the deal with them and the Saints?  It seems like whatever empowers the destiny of man has a real hate-on for the Fairy Folk.  Like they don't belong in his plan.  Wherever Man settles, he builds shrines, entombing the bodies of holy men inside and consecrating the stones in their name, raising up high towers to please the eye of god.  This is ground forever lost to the Fairies.  Whatever is given in His name they can never take back.  There is no countermeasure to this.  Even if they go on the warpath and slay Men left and right, Fairies can't "win" territory back from God.  They can only lose.   This makes even the kindliest fairies not fans of Man as a whole, though individual people they can like well enough (especially the irreligious).   Good Fairies understand that "your God is a shithead" is kind of a rude thing to say and just try to avoid the subject of religion with Men as best they can.   In fact, those enslaved/raised by Pixies at a young age rarely ever feel quite comfortable in a house of the saints ever again.  They usually settle on some gently compromising position like, "the beauty of nature is the greatest Temple of all and it surrounds us already.  Why worship in some house when we're so much closer to Him out here?"

So, that's Fairies.  Good, bad, mostly just annoying.  Common wisdom is that you're better off never meeting them at all, but stay polite if you do.  Don't eat their food, give them what they ask for, stay out of the woods, and pray to the Saints; keep an icon on your wall and a pair of shears under your pillow and you should be alright.   Although Fairy-folk don't seem to have an infinite lifespan (Pixies live only a little longer than humans, Brownies certainly age and die, the other three breeds are more mysterious in their ways), they scarcely seem to notice the passing of years nor understand how time can matter so much to humans.  Their lives are hazy as the submerged world from which they came; they would rather feast and play and fight and fuck than keep to a calendar.  Cosmogenic questions of good and evil they seem to miss entirely---stuck in a past that is now only a dream which settles over the wild and deep places sometimes, ever retreating, soon to be gone forever.