Dungeon 185 - Court of the Bramble Queen

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IMAGE(http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Globals/Images/Icons/DnDi_Large.png)Dungeon 185 -
Court of the Bramble Queen

By Ari Marmell

Read about the particularly hateful Bramble Queen and her court!

IMAGE(http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/185_bramble_queen.jpg)

I think this is a pretty good article with some solid fluff, a nice template and a decent solo. The solo really needs some condition resistance mechanism though for the tier that it is in, otherwise she'll often not do a lot. Still, it's pretty good and definitely up there with the best stuff in Dungeon over the past few months.
I've linked to this thread as the discussion thread.  Thanks for creating it, Aegeri.
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this is a welcome addition to the resources of the feywild.

reading this enjoyable article reminded me that we have not yet seen a fleshed out gloaming fey lord.

regarding hag lords, i have long thought of fleshing out baba yaga, but selphra might be an acceptable substitute.

on a related fey lord note, given my view of trolls as fey creatures, i think that vaprak would make an appropriate fey lord, if upped from elite to solo.

and a treant lord seems ripe for fleshing out.

anyway, back to the article.  i notice a certain similarity of theme of "love spoiled" between the prince of frost and the bramble queen.
Not a bad article (Ari remains an excellent writer), but I think it did take a bit of a hit from the similarities with the Prince of Frost. We have a son / daughter of a fey court who was of good nature, fell in love, had their heart broken, became cold and cruel / spiteful and raging, and now rules the Fortress of Frozen Tears / the Grieving Palace.

There are absolutely differences, sure, but I was hoping for something a bit farther afield. Especially since I think in any comparison of the two articles, this one comes in second - 7 pages instead of 12, a more one-sided villain than the Prince, and less content in general. The Prince of Frost article has more enemy stat blocks, character options, and background, not to mention actual story hooks, as well as giving some direction for campaigns that may wish to redeem the prince instead of simply fight him.

In the end, what is in the article is certainly good, but it really could have used a bit more to feel complete. I don't know if that is due to magazine page limits or for other reasons, but this just doesn't quite get my imagination going the way most other Court of Stars articles (and their equivalents) have in the past. 
. . . as well as giving some direction for campaigns that may wish to redeem the prince instead of simply fight him . . . 



. . . the satyr Enkaros blamed himself for what happened to the princess Selephra, and his descendents swore themselves to undoing his mistake. Despite the normally capricious tendencies of their race, this family of satyrs still works to curtail the worst evils of the Bramble Queen. They constantly seek some means, not of destroying her, but of returning her to the joyful creature she once was.

i felt that this information, albeit open-ended and brief, provided exactly what you are looking for.  it is easy for me to imagine the mortal adventurers working with the unusual satyrs:  combat encounters with the bramble queen's minions; court intrigue in the green court; and maybe a tertiary villain who wants selephra to remain as is (winter court--the prince of frost does not wish to lose a kindred, lovelorn spirit; gloaming court--the witch of fates does not wish to lose a useful scapegoat; or fomorian--thrumbolg wishes for lord oran to continue to suffer over the fate of his daughter).  what's not to love?  and, upon succeeding in "saving" selephra, the mortal adventurers would enjoy the eternal (literally) gratitude of both selephra and her father, lord oran.
Oh yeah, it wasn't that you didn't have some general elements that a DM could develop on their own - it was mainly that it was left pretty much entirely to the DM. We know that these satyrs want to see Selephra restored - but we aren't given insight into how that could come about.

The Prince of Frost article had most of a page dedicated to the "Mysteries of the Prince" which gives several different elements quests could be built around, as well as another sidebar later about the mysteries of the two fey sisters that serve him (as opposed to Rheusendrous, who doesn't even get stats). Combined with the section on "Using the Prince of Frost", and the details on pacts with him, and there simply seem to be a lot more direction given to a DM who wants to explore different ways to use him as something other than a generic villain.

Like I said, I think the roots for that (no pun intended) are present in this article, but it could have used a few more pages to flesh things out. And, again, I wouldn't be surprised if the limitations are due more to the magazine's focus these days on shorter articles - this clocks in at a bit over 4,000 words, as compared to 10,000. At the same time, for me personally, two articles like this would be less valuable to me than a single longer article. But that's more a concern with Dragon/Dungeon in general, admittedly.

Just to keep my comments from being entirely negative, here are the things I most liked about this article:

1) The imagery of the Bramble Queen herself - a beautiful woman whose body is riddled by has writhing plants and vines is the sort of nightmarish concept that dark fey are all about.

2) The Wood Brides (and Wood Grooms) - the idea that any who live in her land, even those captured as slaves, slowly become her magically transformed servants... I can see some excellent plot hooks there. I would have liked some info on whether the Wood Bridge enchantment can be broken. I also definitely like the twisted parallel it makes to the imprisoned Torrheval, and how she now charms her slaves similarly to how Torrheval may have been charmed by the sorceress.

3) The fact that "the Grieving Palace" is simply her ancient, filthy cottage.
 Hm, a preview of a Ravenloft 4E villain, pehaps?

If that's the case, I have had my doubts about Wizards and that setting assuaged.Laughing

Seriously, give her a domain and she's a minor darklord already.
Oh yeah . . .


i agree with you on all points.
Ari posted on ENWorld noting he didn't have quite the amount of word count he would have liked, so it's not really his fault it couldn't be as in depth as an article that got 12 pages. He did an astoundingly good job with the space he had.
I thought this article was phenomenal! Great storytelling, nice crunch, and brief instruction on how to stat or build story on what isn't provided. Good art too!

I want to build a Warlock who has forged a pact with Selephra or the Prince of Frost. Hopefully a forthcoming Feywild supplement will give us some crunch for those types of options.

Danny

THANK YOU WOTC! I'd really like to see more of these types of articles in the future. Court of the Stars, Demonomicron, Codex of Betrayal, etc. Ideas for placing enemies in the world, and how they interact with it. Good read, and pretty awesome art too!
Good article and something that we should be seeing AT LEAST once a month, whether it is an archfey, demon lord, archdevil or primordial.

Of course, that would require that we returned to the days when Dungeon (and Dragon) actually had CONTENT.
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
Props to Ari Marmell and Tyler Jacobson. I really enjoyed this article, and am generally a fan of the Fey and the Feywild. The Queen of Brambles will make a welcome addition to the cosmology of my game.
Good article and something that we should be seeing AT LEAST once a month, whether it is an archfey, demon lord, archdevil or primordial.

Of course, that would require that we returned to the days when Dungeon (and Dragon) actually had CONTENT.



So what you're saying is that Dungeon and Dragon don't have content (except when they do)?
I thought this article was phenomenal! Great storytelling, nice crunch, and brief instruction on how to stat or build story on what isn't provided. Good art too! I want to build a Warlock who has forged a pact with Selephra or the Prince of Frost. Hopefully a forthcoming Feywild supplement will give us some crunch for those types of options.



There's already a Warlock pact option for the Winter Court.
There's also a Hexblade pact weapon for the Winter Court.

For the Bramble Queen, or for the Green Court in general, I agree though.  I'd eat up that material.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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Good article and something that we should be seeing AT LEAST once a month, whether it is an archfey, demon lord, archdevil or primordial.

Of course, that would require that we returned to the days when Dungeon (and Dragon) actually had CONTENT.



So what you're saying is that Dungeon and Dragon don't have content (except when they do)?



I'm assuming that you're not completely stupid and you clearly understood my post. However, on the off-chance that my assumption is incorrect I am referring to the fact that the content of both Dungeon and Dragon is significantly less than it was even a year ago and certainly a fraction of the content from when Paizo was publishing the magazines.
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
Good article. I definitely want to see more like this. Keep 'em coming and open up the word count.
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