The Huldufolk and Otherworld Creatures

Elves. Tolkien's overpowered, "we came all this way just to let Isildur walk off with the McGuffin, and did nothing about it" saps who refuse to share boats for the most childish of reasons. My displeasure of them is known. I also waggle a finger at Lord Dunsany's version. Albeit, less so.

But never mind that. Ignore it completely. These things don't suffer from the human condition, so why should they mock us with their human traits? Most settings describe them as "fey like." Why? Throw your hat over the wall. Go all in. Make these things the monsters the old stories make them out to be.

With that in mind, and a fifth of tequila in hand, I offer:

The Huldufolk

Some times written as "the Hulder", or "the Huldra" by illiterate peasants ("Huldra" already meaning "The Hulder"),  these creatures are, to put it simply, "not from here." Nearly one millennium ago, a night of strange absurdity poetically remembered as the Great Sigh, saw the entrance of the Hulder into the world as pockets of Reality were torn asunder, and hastily patched. Strangely, however, little damaged was invoked. Oh, sure, towns were halved as chunks of another world forced their way in, but actual damage was minimum. Instead of the smith being next door, just feet away, his shop was now half a mile or more, through a strange and sweet smelling forest of hardwood mushrooms.

Mortals have learned little about what brought chunks of the other reality, "Otherworld" to humans and "Huldreheimen" to the Hulder, into their own. For the most part, the Elders, who's strong magics held chunks of their world together, refuse to speak of the cause of the incident. What they will speak of is beholding Seas of Mathematics, Mountains of Inverse, Forests of Time and other impossibilities as their reality shifted, the skies burning with arcane sigils.


While Huldra look similar to humans, they are most assuredly not. Standing an average of five and a half feet, slightly pointed ears, two arms, two legs, skin ranging from alabaster to olive to ebony. Standard affair.  Were things begin to diverge, and what people usually first notice upon meeting an Hulder is their eyes: Gold, silver or red irises, a corresponding glow, and nictitating membranes. The membranes, when closed, reduces normal vision, but allows for the seeing of ghosts. It also has produced the strange rumor that the Hulder do not sleep. They do, just with the over lids open.

Also usually noticed is their tails, typically fox or cow in nature. Not usually noticed (unless you're one of them perverts and get in the skins with one) is their hollow back. Where a human would have a spine, they have a cavity, reminiscent of a hallow log. Not the best to look at. Kind of gross, actually. Don't try and put things in it.

The differences don't end at simply the physical level. Being of alien origin, their minds are built around a different architecture that the mortals and, in short, work differently. While their conclusions are sound, their logic is absurd. Two plus three equals five not because there are five units total, but because two concede favor in the presence of three to whisper rumors of six, yet we must remove one for our favored daughter who is yet to be. Somehow this works for them. What this means, however, is that enchantments have a hard time effecting the Hulder. Further, their Personality is awkward to mortals, and tends to act as a bane.

Their actual architecture (building wise) borders on and crosses the line of impossible, most notably for their lack of euclidean space. They're not fans of Minkowski space either, as time and space become distorted. Some structures can be built plainly on a hill, but only seen or entered after walking widdershins three times around said hill. Adventures can feast for a single night in their halls and (allegedly) awaken the next morning to find a century has passed in the normal world.

Life cycle 

Huldra are born the same way as any other creature: they're found as babies on the dew covered leaves, wrapped in gossamer blankets. Taken in by who ever finds them, the child is cared for without second thought, as Huldufolk communities aren't in the habit of want.

They soon come to adulthood in a mere one hundred and fifty years. Their days are spent in the pursuit of learning and pleasure. Hunting is often taken as a pass time, with younglings learning to stalk and track through the hardwood mushroom forests, and now, into the surrounding "normal" country side. Charcoal burning has become a popular manner of interest, as of late.

Where death was unknown in their previous realm, in this one they are stripped of their immortality, and are reduced to simply agelessness. In this reality, violence and disease have been introduced into their experience and wordstock. However, there's no place for them to go. Mortals move on, assumedly, to their various afterlives, while Huldra have none to speak of. Instead, their spirits linger as ghosts, while their bodies decay into mushrooms and trees. On the rarest of occassions, these ghosts can be glimpsed in the morning light. Mingling as gossamer in the fog of dawn.  

These ghosts linger for an indeterminate amount of time but, inevitably, grow tired. Drawn by what few memories they have left, they return to the woods, and find rest on the soft dewy leaves. From there, their fates are unknown.

Playing One of the Huldrufolk

While I'm against using Huldra as PCs at the moment, here are some notable stats in case you decide otherwise. You maverick. 
  • Personality (c) 13+ - once per day - command Gnome (no save)
    • Gnomes were/are servants 
  • Dex 15+ - once per day dimension door
  • Save vs Death when confronted with sadness
    • Mortally wounded by sadness
  • Ringing of iron bells stuns them
  • Dex must be higher than Con, Personality (w)
    • Huldra are lithe and agile, but frail and their minds are built different
  • Personality bonus is treated as negative when interacting with non-Faerie creatures in a social setting. Their mannerisms and social cues are entirely different than what mortals are use to. 
  • Glowing eyes make stealth impossible, but the second eyelids allow for ghost sight. 
  • Resistant to enchantments, as your alien mind works on a different architecture. 

The Erdgeist

Also called "gnomes" by the unwashed masses who seem to insist on commenting about every damn thing I type, the Erdgeist are short creatures, roughly knee height. Their entire existence is one of servitude to the Huldra. Not slavery, mind you, but service. It is this service that gives them purpose in their lives. Think English butler with a loose grasp of reality or morals. As such, they are unable to resist a command issued by a Hulder, even through magic.

In their role of servants, the gnomes have the strange ability to speak any language, as long as they are in proximity to a native speaker. This includes both the language of the Hulder and the speech of animals. In times of solitude, they speak their own native tongue, which is largely composed of clicks and whistles. Further in their role, the Erdgeist are quick and quality learners, able to take up masterwork craft with but the basic of instruction.

The Erdgeist aren't so much born, as they crawl out of a hole and report for work. When their bodies have grown weak and frail, they turn in their uniforms and crawl back into a hole. Assuming they don't goblinize first, that is. Within the confineds of the new reality, a gnome must be cosntantly entertained, be it through riddles, craft or service; otherwise, they begin an agonizing and irreversible transmutation into a goblin. Sort of like the Isz from the Maxx.

More info on them here.


Goblins, a name give by common folk, as it was in this reality in which they first appeared, are the corrupted form of a Erdgeist which has succumbed to boredom. Prone to random violence and acts of destruction, goblins lust for chaos. The craftlores they once held as gnomes become corrupt within their fractured minds and all quality is lost. In the rare moment a light of skill shine through, it's still shown through a dust covered stain glass. Where a gnome would craft a blade of polished silver with etched details, a goblin hammers out rusted iron, chipped and dented, even before use. Over all just shitty and not worth blundering.

But, there is some reasoning to this quick production, other than laziness and loss of talent, as their numbers constantly swell. Goblins have the ability to heal from almost any wound, but, sometimes, instead of the wound growing shut, it begins to grow a new goblin. Severed arms grow new bodies. Hatchet wounds in necks grow new heads, sharing the same frame with the old. The numbers swell in haste, and the new goblins must be armed! Armed so that the glory of violence can spread!

There are also the Brood Mothers, but they are best left mentioned for another time.

The Fae

"Fae" or wyldfae -  A broad term that can be applied to the creatures that inhabit the Faelands of Faerie (basically "the woods" or wild areas of Huldreheimen). In this instance, however, it specifically refers to what can be equated to the wildlife of that other world. Brownies, nixie, pixies, nymphs; the list goes on and on. While some do appear humanoid and are capable of speech, they are little more than animals to the Hulder and Erdgeist. Since the Great Sighing, the creatures have spread out into the new reality, causing the utmost confusion and trouble amongst the mortals.

There is rumor that the Fae all yield to a "Faerie King," but such notion is absurd. It would make as much sense as there being a King of Dogs. (Dogs, after all, use an imperial system).

The Erlking

The fabled Faerie King, ruler of the wilds of Otherworld, the Erlking stands an impressive nine feet tall. Though rarely seen out of his antler helm, his face is rumored to bear a wild nobility with hair as tangled as underbrush. A cloak of enchanted fur hangs from his shoulders, and a crown of golden flowers hangs from his belt. His voice is that of a rock avalanche. His hall is the thickest part of the woods, where neither Huldra nor adventurers have dared to go.

Of children, he has many, though all daughters they be. It is they who lead the nightly dance deep in the Faelands; a ceremony to ensure that the night continues until dawn. Lacking a male heir, the Erlking rides the roads closest to his kingdom, seeking to steal away sons from unsuspecting travelers.

It is rumored the Erlking was once a human named King Herla who, in fulfilling an oath to a Hulder King, became trapped within the Otherworld. This is troublesome, as the Earlking has been in power long before the Great Sighing. 

Nevertheless, human or faerie, he leads the ritual of the Wild Hunt based on a complicated lunar schedule. 

The Wild Hunt

The Erlking leads the ritual hunt from atop a mount of pure myth and terror, accompanied by his faithful Blood Hound (note: not bloodhound), and swarms the country side looking for game worthy of the Erlking's attention. Sometimes adventurers fall in the path of the Wild Hunt. In times like this they're offered a simple choice: "Hunt or be hunted." Should they choose to join, they are expected to uphold the honor and integrity of the hunt. Should they refuse...well, at least they were worthy of the King's attention.

Of what this ritual symbolizes, many have guessed, few have learned. Some think it to be celebrating the passing of the year, but time is not the same in Otherworld. Some years the Hunt occurs twice, some years not at all.

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