From spring to summer, we enter the perplexing realm of the Feywild that ultimately embodies the transition between Summer and Winter. Autumn is a season of changes, which ultimately means that aspects of both courts will be expressed within the denizens here. The ruler of Autumn varies, changing like the court itself, from humble fey who respect and embody the harvest season and capricious fey who seek to bring terror and mischief in their wake. Autumn symbolizes the fade of Summer’s light and vitality, waning and from their throes become the season of Winter. So keep in mind the ideas of the fall harvest but also don’t forget that as the season begins to enter into Winter, especially when daylight hours start to shrink while the night strengthens. Autumn commonly is associated with the concept of Halloween, a remembrance of the dead and the departed. Certain types of spirits can be categorized as a type of fae or faerie, as the forces of life and death are important aspects of nature. In Western culture, apples and nuts were used as divination tools once upon a time. Later, as more Christian influences changed and manipulated the concept of All Hallow’s Eve, it caused into a schism due to the loss of purgatory in Britain during the Reformation (there are loads of books on Halloween’s history and adaptation from its Gaelic/Celtic roots). If you’re looking for a funny and light-hearted autumn, then I would recommend viewing it as a holiday or season of thanks before Winter’s icy grasp. While a happy and joyful Autumn does not seem to fit within the Unseelie aesthetic, remember that harvest is a reminder of thanks. A selfish person will be rewarded with a small harvest that may not allow them to survive the harsh winter ahead. You may even consider it bribery or extortion at that point. That sweet smile and offering of apple ale could actually be an extortion racket waiting to be unleashed. Fear is the real charm of Autumn, for an unknown terror lurks behind that warm and welcoming demeanor. If you inspiration for possible Autumn like fey, Sleepy Hollow is always an excellent choice. Many spirits can be conceptualized as fey even, Japanese spirits (or yokai) are the Eastern equivalent of fae in the Western sense.

You can read my other Feywild articles here:
Spring Court | Summer Court | Winter Court | Courtless, Other Courts, & the FeydarkRealms of the Feywild | Roleplaying Fey & Archfey | Halloween in the Feywild | Madness & Taint | Bringing Dread to your D&D game

This guide borrows some lore from the 5th Edition ruleset on the Feywild, in addition to the multitude of sources of lore regarding faeries and the fey. This guide assumes a four season-four court apparatus while still maintaining the dichotomy between the Seelie and Unseelie Fey. The information here, hopefully, will help inspire you for ideas when dealing with the mysterious fey in the Pastures of Autumn.

The Pastures of Autumn

The Pastures of Autumn, Image by Daniel Wachter

The Pastures of Autumn is set in a field or ever expansive pasture filled with red-orange leaves on trees and on the ground. There are bounties of fruits and vegetables and a soft nip in the air, the sky is stuck in a constant twilight, a reminder of the darker nights of approaching winter. Harvest time is a serious matter in the Pastures of Autumn, many fey are often emissaries to gods or patrons of harvesting, agriculture, and bountiful crops. Typically, many mortals make offerings to these sort of fey spirits for a fruitful and abundant harvest before Winter’s chill sets in. The trees with their prismatic allure are the backdrop though many of them bear fruits like apples or nuts. Certain squashes and pumpkins can be seen scattered throughout the endless fields. There are no spring songbirds here, only birds that migrate between worlds such as crows, ducks, and geese. Many animals prefer to stock up and often feed in preparation for their hibernation, so often times you’ll find small rodents or larger mammals that seem fatter than the norm. Just like summer, many animals and fey will tend to live underground or inside trees, but astonishing enough, many fey prefer forming communities in the Pastures of Autumn.

If you want to the full Autumn experience, I will encourage watching spooky Halloween-esque movies, the realm is an embodiment of fear after all. But there don’t forget while many of Autumn’s denizens are creatures who feed on the psychic energy of fear, they often will wear the guise of an innocent and kind demeanor. Celebrations are frequent in Autumn, a season of plenty (aside from Spring), the best and most productive harvests happen during this season, and therefore, such festivities should not be taken lightly. I always liked to perceive that Autumn is in a constant jubilation, where the vile and sinister drink with the cheerful and kind. But once the season begins to close, the darker forces of Autumn reign and stalk the pastures and woodlands.

There are no Autumn Kings or Queens of renown, I would even dare suggest the narrative and story angle of the Autumn Court as the Court of the Empty Throne. There is not defined ruler of Autumn, but various faerie lords and ladies have rallied the nobility, the gentry, the peasantry, and even the rabble. Keep in mind Autumn has many facets to it, being the ultimate theme is the “twilight of life,” so keep that in mind. You can even consider ideas for decay and disease as well, or fey that specializes in such aspects.

Physical motifs of Autumn fey will often resemble autumn leaves with blood-orange or soft reddish-purples, but then were is another color palette of grays, black, and pale oranges. There are even blues and dark greens that will often be expressed in many of the fair folk here. You can borrow many Gaelic and Celtic traditions of mischevious spirits, the Japanese yokai are also great sources of inspiration as many deals with creating terror and fright. Autumn fey of hospitality are often warm and inviting, soft in their features even when wrinkled and worn. Just watch out for those sweet old ladies inside their gingerbread houses, or they’ll eat you!

All things considered, I few the Autumn court to be elementally aligned with earth, with Summer being Fire and Winter being Air, leaving Spring often with water. Which to a certain extent and aesthetic makes sense. Fruits and vegetables born from the earth and soil are a great symbolism and tie-in for Elemental Earth, so keep that part in mind as well when you’re crafting some of the elementals that may roam this region of the Feywild. Now, just because it’s elementally aligned to earth, that doesn’t mean other elementals can’t travel freely here. Nature doesn’t exclude, but it does have highlights and moments of expression, which in this case, is the metaphor for the seasons.

Just like all fey in the Feywild, Autumn faeries can be any alignment though often will align closer to the Unseelie Court more times than not.

Faerie Nobles & Deities of Autumn

High in the trees of Autumn, Image by Wizards of the Coast

Most literature on the fey or faeries, especially regarding autumn, are not exclusive to this particular season which very peculiar when compared to the other seasons. But you can draw some ideas on fey lords and ladies based on harvest deities from across any mythology that suits your needs.

  • The Green Man/Viridios. A Celtic entity of agriculture, vegetation, and rebirth. Definitely a more neutral sounding entity but a great warden of Autumn, one that has rallied the court in times of war perhaps. Definitely a defender of the harvest and the crops, a great champion when facing against creatures of decay.
  • The Pumpkin King. A mischevious fey lord, often the Lord of Terror or Master of Scares. He lurks behind the pumpkin patches and brings the weary spirits of the dead to haunt possible victims. A true fey that draws its power from causing fear.
  • The Blight Lord. A forgotten and twisted blight, once a vibrant treant that became corrupted by foul magic. A vengeful tree filled with malice and with only the desire of spreading decay and disease.
  • The Ashen Lady. A scorched lady symbolizing the autumn pyres and heaths of homes. Covered in a dark red cloak, the woman seldom speaks but often is remarked to have a soft, raspy voice until angered. Some believe her to be a discarded former Summer archfey, punished for a previous treachery.
  • The Wild Hunt. A horde of spectral huntsmen that roam the various parts of the Feywild in search of worthy prey. While these powerful spirits/fey do not often associate with the Autumn court, their origin stems primarily from Autumn and Winter’s influence.

When thinking about Autumn, recall the dual nature that exists and is often presented to mortals. Autumn is a great season of change, from the vibrant and flourishing Summer to the cold and harsh Winter. Caught between these two powerful opposing views, Autumn and Spring often get a mix of concepts between those two courts. Currently, the D&D 5th Edition lore has it set to two courts. In this instance, Autumn would possess the hospitality of communities and families while also being the home to creatures of terror and fright. Such entities, you can design to gain psychic energy to fuel their powers. In short, some of these fey require a guise to lure their potential prey. Perhaps that is why some mortal traditions involve wearing the masks of scary creatures, to help repel them away. More nature bound creatures, like dryads and nymphs, will exhibit more autumn coloring and features. Many other entities like redcaps and brownies are often small in stature, allowing them to hide from larger entities. Hunting is a significant aspect of autumn so it would suit to reason that there would be instances of hunting and big game. Feasts and festivals are also common in Autumn, the harvest yield is often the focal point of such events.

Note: Remember that in the 5th Edition lore, the Seelie and Unseelie fey belong within the good/evil axis of alignments but very often you’ll find a fair mix of attitudes and morality across the Feywild. The fair folk has their own motivations and agendas, so while they may seem pleasant, many can have ulterior motives. Remember that accepting gifts, food, and/or drink from a fey will often result in the individual being spiritually bound to the fey. While tempting, one should avoid ingesting anything or accepting anything. Even when the gesture seems to be in good faith, there’s always a price.

Don’t miss our other Feywild articles here:
Spring Court | Summer Court | Winter Court | Courtless, Other Courts, & the FeydarkRealms of the Feywild | Roleplaying Fey & Archfey | Halloween in the Feywild | Madness & Taint | Bringing Dread to your D&D game

Your similar topics, ideas, and discussions in our “Journey into the Feywild” supplement. Now available on the DMs Guild

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