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Watercolor illustration of a small, rainbow-colored, four-legged creature with an elongated body climbing over a dandelion that is bent down with its weight. It has dragonfly wings and a long thin tail that ends in a leaf-like fan. Illustration by Victoria_Watercolor from Pixabay


Overview: Motley Fae embody the exuberant diversity of nature. Each individual is unique and many have extraordinary appearances.

Physical Description: Diversity and variation are the rule for Motley Fae. They are all sizes from tiny to huge. Some are humanoid and some aren’t. They frequently display a disparate mixture of animal parts, with many plant traits and a few additional natural elements mixed in, but this also varies. There is no body plan or trait common to them. Nothing but variation marks a Motley Fae, not even heredity. The traits each individual’s parents have don’t have any relationship to their traits, not even for Motley Fae-descended people living outside the Other Realm.

Some Motley Fae have contrasting traits paired together, such as a lion with a fern mane, a person with butterfly wings and goat eyes, a deer with beetle jaws, a snake-person with feathers and a scorpion tail, a salamander with gemstones embedded in its skin, and a fungus-person with an elephant face. Others have different traits combined into one, such as flint hooves, tree branches that grow as horns, skin the texture of a seashell, tusks made from ice, wings with leaves instead of feathers, bands of moss and lichen that grow like striped fur, crystal teeth, and crests made from colorful mushrooms. Striking appearances are common, as is asymmetry.

Senses: These vary based on each fae’s physical form.

Diet: Their diets vary widely. There is usually a connection between each individual’s diet and their main physical characteristics.

Common Mental Characteristics: Once again, diversity and variation are the rule.

Magical Affinities:

  • Shapeshifting Magic
  • All other types of magic are equally likely

Common Species Traits:

  • Magical Nature
  • Built-in Tool
  • Any other species trait is equally likely

Common Vulnerabilities:

  • Character Flaw
  • Danger Amplification
  • Any other vulnerability is equally likely

Origins: The Three Rulers of the Other Realm shaped its different peoples out of the realm’s natural elements and forces. Motley Fae were shaped from the Other Realm’s exuberant biodiversity, making diversity and variation their inherent nature.

Prominent Cultures: Because of their inherent physical diversity, places where many Motley Fae or Motley Fae-descended live tend to have cultures that center accessibility and value diversity.

Inspiration: I wanted to capture the exuberant diversity and strangeness present in some portrayals of fae. Combining that with the exuberance of biodiversity felt like a perfect fit.


Motley Fae are part of the Crossroads Setting for the tabletop role-playing game, Magic Goes Awry. Click here to go to the list of vibrant and unique magical people from the Land of Crossroads.


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