Fairy Soul


As of 1905 A.D., the few scholars who acknowledge the truth of fairies know a great and terrible secret: almost every fairy is asleep, locked in prisons crafted from the human soul. Every man, woman, and child alive has a sleeping fairy soul inside them, kept quiescent by bending human magic power inward.

Only humans contain the primordial inner power of magic, but only fairies are capable of shaping and wielding such power. Then how did this imprisonment happen? Perhaps the two races fought, due to jealousy, fear, or some specific casus belli. Perhaps it’s an amicable arrangement, and everyone alive has simply forgotten the reasons for it. Perhaps it’s something else entirely, something only the sleeping immortal souls could reveal.

But there is a new war. Chimeric monsters, dark dabblers in the occult, and enigmatic creatures stalk the streets of London. Other wonders — and unspeakable dangers — have been reported throughout the Empire. Those who would fight back against them have a power, but not always their own. Is it right to use this captive soul for your own ends? And if you could find a way to free the fairy race, would that be better for the world… or worse?

Why do we play?

  • Make the players’ characters’ lives not boring.
  • Play to find out what happens.
  • Understand the power people have over others.

What do we seek to do when we speak?

  • Sprinkle evocative details everywhere.
  • Make the world seem real.
  • Build a bigger world through play.
  • Create interesting dilemmas, not interesting plots.
  • Address yourself to the characters, not the players.
  • Look at your NPCs and ideas through crosshairs.
  • Name everyone, make everyone human (or inhuman).
  • Ask provocative questions and build on the answers.
  • Respond with challenging circumstances and occasional rewards.
  • Be a fan of the players’ characters.
  • Think offscreen, too.
  • Sometimes, reflect a question back upon the players.
  • Remind the characters of the cost of power and the weight of authority.
  • Create something beautiful from dreams and gossamer.

What does the MC do?

  • Say what the situation demands
  • Say what your principles and agenda demand
  • Say what history claims or at least suggests

Core Rules


Moves are game mechanics triggered by fiction and that result in new fiction. Moves have a trigger — "when this happens" — and an outcome — "then do this". Many moves call for a dice roll, and have other mechanical effects.

Moves are mandatory. If a move is triggered by something happening in the fiction, you cannot say that thing without triggering that move.

Moves are fiction-first. You cannot say "I'm going to use my Special Powers Move". Instead, tell the group what your character does, and any moves that it incurs are then triggered.

Players and the MC should listen for move triggers and bring them to the attention of the group.


When you are called on to use dice (e.g. "roll +Heart"), roll 2d6 and add the value of the indicated attribute.

A result of 2 to 6 is a "miss". A result of 7 to 12 is a "hit". Many rules are more specific about what happens when you roll 7 through 9 (" 7-9"), or roll 10 or above ("10+").

When you miss, the MC makes a hard move against you. See "MC Moves" later on for suggestions.

Taking +1

Many rules will say "take +1 forward" or "take +1 ongoing". In both cases, this means adding +1 to whatever you roll. For example, if you roll 2d6 and get a 6, but you can take +1 forward, you effectively got a 7 and got a hit instead of a miss.

Taking +1 forward means that you can apply that +1 to the next roll that satisfies the stated conditions. For example, "take +1 forward to assist a friend" means you can only get the +1 on a roll that does that thing. If you make other rolls in the meantime, the bonus doesn't apply but it doesn't go away either. It just sits there, waiting to be used.

Taking +1 ongoing means you can apply that +1 to every roll until some condition is satisfied, at which point the bonus goes away. For example, "take +1 ongoing to defeat the monster" means every roll you make is augmented until the monster is defeated.


Some rules will give you "hold". This is some number of points that you receive as part of the rule, and spend in ways that the rule provides for. If you make another move that wasn't triggered by spending hold, the hold goes away.

Character Creation

  • Pick a name.
  • Pick a social class. Answer any questions the social class's descriptive text asks of you.
  • Pick a manifestation. Answer any questions the manifestation text asks of you.
  • Assign attributes.
  • Pick any moves that you are told to pick.
  • Establish intimacy with other characters.
  • Mark Awakening at 0.


Characters have two pairs of attributes: Mind/Heart and Reserve/Action. The rules for paired attributes are that no attribute can be raised above 2 or lowered below -1, and the sum of an attribute pair must be exactly 1.

Think of paired stats on a continuum — while one goes from -1 to +0 to +1 to +2, the other goes from +2 to +1 to +0 to -1.


Your willingness to share your inner thoughts and true feelings with another person is measured by your Intimacy to them. Low Intimacy represents an emotional barrier, while high Intimacy represents characters who trust each other and feel safe sharing their secrets. Low intimacy also doesn't require conflict or negative emotions. A character who respects and admires a friendly superior from a distance can have low Intimacy, because he doesn't feel comfortable opening up to the object of his admiration.

Pick one member of the group that you are especially comfortable with or close to, and record +1 Intimacy with that person. Pick another member that you are in conflict with or distant from, and record -1 Intimacy with them. You have +0 Intimacy with every other player character.

Intimacy cannot go below -1 or above +2. Intimacy does not have to be the same between two characters. One character can feel they can trust another without that feeling being reciprocated.

"Intimacy" does not imply anything sexual or romantic. If the entire group is comfortable exploring this topic, you should do so in another fashion.


Characters can experience one or more of the following conditions, which are gained or removed in play.

Distracted. You have something occupying your thoughts — a logical problem, a difficult dilemma, or the Gordian knot of a complex unexpressed emotion. Take -1 ongoing when you roll +Mind until this condition is cleared. You can clear this condition by having someone else resolve the problem for you, or by being forced to abandon it entirely.

Distrusted. You have done something base, scandalous, or notorious that causes people to talk in hushed whispers about you. Take -1 ongoing when you roll +Heart until this condition is cleared. You can clear this condition by acting in an especially meritorious fashion or redeeming your earlier misstep in some notable way.

Dismayed. Your composure and strength of will have been shaken by something startling, shocking, or unsettling. Take -1 ongoing when you roll +Reserve until this condition is cleared. You can clear this condition by someone else showing strength in the face of danger, or by being surrounded by the familiar and routine.

Discouraged. You've lost faith in yourself or your allies, and feel that nothing can be done to get out of present circumstances. Take -1 ongoing when you roll +Action until this condition is cleared. You can clear this condition by seeing someone else succeed at something thought hopeless, or by having your hopes and ambitions directly threatened.

Injured. You are physically hurt somehow. Take -1 ongoing to physical actions. Some actions may not be physically possible, or may worsen your condition. You can clear this condition with appropriate medical care and bed rest, or through magical healing.

Unbalanced. You are having trouble accessing or controlling your magic for some reason. Take -1 ongoing to magical actions. Some manifestation moves may not be possible, or worsen your condition. You can clear this condition by resolving the conflict with your fairy soul or retraining yourself to work with its magic.

Basic Moves

You can use any of these moves as appropriate, regardless of your playbook choices.

When you are confronted by difficulty…
…and you resolve it through consideration and observation, roll +Mind.
…dealing with matters of the heart, needing understanding or influence, roll +Heart.
…and you stand firm and unshaken, roll +Reserve.
…and you take steps to change the situation, roll +Action.
On 10+, you achieve a solution or important insight. On  7-9, you do so at a cost or with a condition.

When you roll dice and get a miss, gain 1 Awakening.

When you reach 5 Awakening, reset your Awakening to 0 and make an advancement move.

Magical Moves

You can use any of these moves if you have chosen a manifestation.

When you close your eyes and meditate at the shores of the Arcadian Ocean, you can communicate mentally with anyone else doing the same thing, and who is willing to speak with you. You can exchange words, pictures, or memories.

Intimacy Moves

When someone's actions challenge your notion of who they are, gain or lose 1 Intimacy with them, depending on whether the revelation is favorable or unfavorable in your eyes (your decision).

When you see someone else express a shocking, beautiful, or secret part of themselves, and your Intimacy with them is either +2 or -1, reset Intimacy with them to 0 and gain 1 Awakening.

When you assist someone in a way that calls for trust or cooperation, roll +Intimacy. On any hit, your aid is successful and useful in some way, but you are now involved in the situation and may share in any costs or consequences paid by your ally. On 10+, your ally takes +1 forward on their task. On a miss, you get in the way or otherwise hamper their efforts.

Advancement Moves

You can only make advancement moves when explicitly told to do so. You can find additional advancement moves on some social classes and manifestations.

Gain one new move from your manifestation. Your control over your magic, or your relationship with your fairy soul, has improved.

Gain one new move from your social class. You're more settled into your ways and more comfortable with who you are.

Change one of your attribute pairs. You can assign a new value to one set of paired attributes, such as moving a +2/-1 pair to +1/+0, exchanging which attribute is higher, and so forth.

Social classes

The Gentleman

You are a member of the upper crust of British society. You are seen as wealthy, influential, or at the very least refined. People look to you with respect, but there are expectations. You are of higher social station than the Citizen or the Worker.

Answer these questions:

  1. What is your reputation in high society? Punctual, Conservative, Eccentric, etc.
  2. How did your fairy soul awaken?

Select one of the following moves:

When you act with quiet determination to solve someone else's problem, take +1 ongoing for as long as anyone around you has the Dismayed condition.

When a difficulty can be overcome with money or resources, you can choose to expend some of your reserves of wealth to do so. The MC may declare some problems too expensive to solve this way, or state that you have run out of funds for the time being.

When you speak well of someone to your highborn peers, that person may clear the Distrusted or Discouraged condition.

When you maintain a reputation as a rotter or cad, you can ignore the effects of the Distrusted condition provided nobody's Intimacy with you is higher than +0.

You can make the following advancement move:

When you are ousted from high society, change your social class from Gentleman to Citizen or Worker.

The Citizen

You are one of the growing middle class, with some money of your own but no strong economic or political position. You partake of the best — and worst — traits of both the upper and lower classes. You are of lower social station than the Gentleman, and higher than the Worker.

Answer these questions:

  1. How did you achieve your current status? Inheritance, Hard Work, Luck, Crime, etc.
  2. How did your fairy soul awaken?

Select one of the following moves:

When you face a hopeless situation with cheer and good humor, you may roll +Heart instead of +Action.

When you survive through shrewdness and calculation, you may roll +Mind instead of +Reserve.

When you exhibit amusing eccentricities, take the Distracted condition to clear the Dismayed or Discouraged conditions from everyone else around you.

When you ask an innocent but illuminating question about a problem stumping someone else, they may either clear the Distracted condition or take +1 forward to solve that problem.

You can make the following advancement moves:

When you achieve wealth or influence enough to be recognized by high society, change your social class to Gentleman.

When you lose everything you worked so hard for, change your social class from Citizen to Worker.

The Worker

You are one of the lower classes, the "common folk" or a servant. You're accustomed to manual labor, poverty, and hardship. Higher-class folk mostly overlook you, sometimes to their detriment. You are of lower social station than the Gentleman and the Citizen.

Answer these questions:

  1. How do you earn your daily bread? Laborer, Servant, Beggar, Criminal, etc.
  2. How did your fairy soul awaken?

Select one of the following moves:

When you tell a hard truth to people above your station, you suffer no social consequences or dice penalties as long as what you said comes from the heart, and is said in a respectful and subservient manner.

When you insinuate yourself into a high-class person's circle of servants or staff, roll +Heart. On a hit, ask one question about their activities and receive a true answer, as long as you are willing to give up some information of your own. On 10+, ask up to three questions, giving up one thing per question.

When you play the part of the lower-class villain, your actions will not draw official scrutiny or close examination as long as you have the Distrusted condition.

When you stand in solidarity with your working-class fellows, you can rebuff investigation or influence by someone of a higher social class, so long as the law isn't involved.

You can make the following advancement move:

When you achieve some measure of respectability and income, change your social class from Worker to Citizen.

The Foreigner

You are not Anglo-Saxon. You might be a citizen of the Empire, or an outsider, or even an American. Standing outside of the traditional British social structure excludes you from many opportunities, but also shields you from many expectations and retributions.

Answer these questions:

  1. Where are you from? Your country, your religious beliefs, and so on.
  2. How did your fairy soul awaken?

Select one of the following moves:

When you present yourself as an inscrutable outsider to British citizens, you can resist questioning or casual examination if you gain the Distrusted condition for the duration of your social contact.

When your education or intellect would be underestimated due to your background, you may make one declaration of fact about the current situation that would be inconvenient, embarrassing, or humiliating for the individual in question.

When you act as the personal assistant or paid servant of a British citizen, you may roll +Reserve instead of +Intimacy to assist your or his or her associates.

You can make the following advancement move:

If you somehow gain acceptance from British society, change your social class from Foreigner to Citizen.

If you ever occupied this social class, you may return to it as a special advancement move.


The Hero

The fairy that slept in your soul is gone — taken out, or destroyed. The natural wellspring of magical power that all humans share gushes forth to fill the void, making you stronger, faster, and smarter than your mundane peers. But the fairy's absence means the death of your own dreams. Denied the glimpse of Arcadia and the touch of the sublime that the common man takes for granted, you do great deeds and champion worthy causes, hoping for just a moment to feel truly happy again.

Take the following move:

When you struggle to defend another's dreams, your physical and mental powers grow beyond your normal limits and you may attempt things impossible to mundane people.

In addition, select one of the following moves:

When you commit your amazing intellect to a problem, you are guaranteed to think up a solution eventually, but you must forego food, sleep, comfort, and company in pursuit of your goal.

When things are desperate and everyone looks to you, your allies can gain 1 Intimacy with you if they follow your orders and assist you, whether or not the assistance is successful.

When you forsake human frailty to become an icon of strength, take +1 ongoing to deal with a crisis for as long as you show a callous disregard for the feelings of your comrades.

When you take decisive action against impossible odds, name one goal and one sacrifice. If the MC accepts and you make the sacrifice, you will achieve the goal.

You can make the following advancement moves:

Seal an unfettered fairy inside your soul, and choose a new manifestation. Gain the Unbalanced condition until you have time to adjust to the new reality.

Approach apotheosis. Choose one condition; you no longer suffer dice penalties from it, though the MC may rule the condition hampers you in other ways.

The Galvanist

The fairy that sleeps in your soul dreams of power — of earth and wind, of rain and flame, of darkness and lightning. You draw these dreams into energetic eruptions of power in the real world. While you can work wonders with the elements of natural philosophy and the new sciences of electricity and chemistry, sometimes your fairy's dreams turn to nightmares.

Take the following move:

When you feel something deeply or intently, these feelings bubble forth into an elemental eruption which you can shape to a limited extent. This effect will act on your strong feelings and driving goals, but can also betray those feelings to anyone who sees it.

In addition, select one of the following moves:

When you direct your elemental powers with precision, roll +Mind. On 10+, the eruption of power is the right one for the job at hand. On  7-9, the MC suggests a twist or unintended side effects. If you accept, the eruption occurs as agreed. On a miss, a wholly inappropriate or surprising effect occurs.

When you evoke nature's beauty, grace, and elegance, roll +Heart. On 10+, you create an elemental eruption that awes, stuns, or impresses onlookers. On  7-9, the eruption is mixed with some secret impulse or urge you feel. On a miss, the dark and terrible truths of nature answer your call instead.

When you draw out a shield of elemental power, roll +Reserve. On a hit, you or someone or something else is surrounded and protected by a stationary elemental effect such as fire, rain, etc. On 10+, you can move or shape the shield as you wish.

When you quicken your body or spirit with your elemental might, roll +Action. On a hit, you become an avatar of your element and may act according to this new nature. On  7-9, the power threatens to overwhelm your instincts and humanity, and you must obey some of its demands.

You may make the following advancement moves:

Change your relationship with your fairy soul, and choose a new manifestation. Gain the Unbalanced condition until you have time to adjust to the new reality.

Gain a permanent elemental effect that you can call up at will.

The Mesmerist

Your fairy whispers to the hearts and minds of others. Through illusion, animal magnetism, and the mastery of invisible forces, you can heal, create cunning phantasms or bewitchments, or even enter dreams. The inhuman whispers of a fairy, though, do not always produce the effects you desire.

Take the following move:

When you walk through the land of dreams, ask the MC for the answer to one question. The MC will answer in riddles and half-truths, but there must always be a spark of truth or a meaningful statement amidst the dross.

In addition, select one of the following moves:

When you beguile or bewitch another, roll +Mind. On 10+, you can state one true thing and make it seem false, or say one falsehood and make it true, until the subject is convinced of the contrary through experience or persuasion. On  7-9, you may do the same if you give up one of your own beliefs for the same amount of time.

When you peer into the heart of another, roll +Heart. On a hit, you may ask one question and have it answered in a manner the target believes true. On  7-9, what you learn displaces some part of your own mind and beliefs temporarily. On a miss, the target answers but may lie to you.

When you strengthen or repair the heart of another, roll +Reserve. On a hit, you can exchange one condition for another, or clear a condition if the subject voluntarily shares a hidden part of their heart with you. On 10+, you can clear the condition instead. On a miss, the subject gains a new condition instead as a reaction to your meddling.

When you compel another through mesmeric influence, roll +Action. On a hit, you can command them to perform some action that's neutral or positive for them. On 10+, you can command an action that would inconvenience or harm them.

You may make the following advancement moves:

Change your relationship with your fairy soul, and choose a new manifestation. Gain the Unbalanced condition until you have time to adjust to the new reality.

Gain a contagious beguilement. When you beguile or bewitch another successfully, your target has a chance (determined by the MC) of spreading the glamour to others by speaking to them.

The Zoanthrope

Your fairy is drawn partially into the physical world, merging with and changing your physical body. You can become animals, monsters, or weird hybrid creatures. You are a powerful combatant and cunning hunter, provided your new instincts do not overwhelm your human reason.

Take the following move:

When you adopt the form of a natural animal or plant, gain your new form's abilities, nature, instincts, and moves in addition to your own. You are restricted by your new form's physical potentials and may fall prey to your new urges.

In addition, select one of the following moves:

When you submerge your intellect into animal instinct, roll +Mind. On a hit, you can ignore civilized rules and moral limits and gain a predator's superior awareness. On 10+, take +1 forward to act on these instincts, as long as you retain your feral mental state. On a miss, the animal mind takes over and leads you into grim and bloody business.

When you attune to the magic of nature, roll +Heart and ask one question about the physical environment. On a hit, you get as good an answer as the local flora or fauna could give. On 10+, you may ask three questions.

When you must calm or control any creature with an animal's mind, roll +Reserve. On a hit, the creature becomes docile and cooperative. On 10+, the creature falls under your command.

When you take the form of a half-human hybrid, roll +Action. On 10+, you may overwhelm a mortal foe (or small group of them) in any two activities: defeating your foe in open combat, terrifying your foe, pursuing your foe, evading your foe, or stalking your foe unseen. On  7-9, you may do so for a single activity, or for two if you indulge in your bestial instincts and animal drives at least part of the time.

You may make the following advancement moves:

Change your relationship with your fairy soul, and choose a new manifestation. Gain the Unbalanced condition until you have time to adjust to the new reality.

Gain a small animal companion, that will follow you loyally and with whom you can mentally and verbally communicate.

The Evoker

Your fairy can be brought into the world as a partially independent entity. Your fairy is at least somewhat awake, and acts more as a partner than a tool for doing magic. But at the same time, it can be willful or independent.

Take the following move:

When you conjure up your fairy soul and imbue it with magic, it appears in the physical world as a tangible entity until dismissed or dissolved. Your fairy cannot be killed; if its body is destroyed, it returns to your soul to sleep. It is intelligent, but inhuman and naive in the ways of your world.

In addition, select one of the following moves:

When you ask something non-trivial or difficult of your fairy, roll +Mind. On a hit, the creature comprehends your will and can execute a complex task on your behalf. On 10+, the fairy can communicate clearly with you, letting you make adjustments to the task as it progresses. On a miss, the fairy misunderstands your wishes in a comical or disastrous fashion.

When you shape your fairy into another form, roll +Heart. On a hit, your fairy glamours itself to look, sound, smell, and feel like whatever or whoever you envision. On 10+, people who interact with the glamour are bewitched into remembering conversations or interactions suitable to the thing or person the fairy has mimicked.

When you imbue your fairy with resilience, roll +Reserve. On a hit, your fairy will stand in defense of you and that which you hold dear. Hold 1. On 10+, hold 3. Spend 1 hold to negate harm to yourself or your allies, allowing the fairy to deal with the attack instead.

When you empower your fairy with strength, roll +Action. On a hit, your fairy grows to heroic proportions and becomes a fearful, powerful combatant. Hold 1. On 10+, hold 3. Spend 1 hold to direct your fairy to destroy one man-size object or defeat a typical opponent, or damage a larger object or more capable foe.

You may make the following advancement moves:

Change your relationship with your fairy soul, and choose a new manifestation. Gain the Unbalanced condition until you have time to adjust to the new reality.

Imbue your fairy with some of your intellect. Thereafter, you can communicate telepathically with your fairy, see through its eyes, and share memories and thoughts with it.

Running the Game

MC moves

When you are called on to say do something in game, often in response to a character's actions, pick one of the following moves, or devise your own.

  • Put someone in a high-stakes situation.
  • Give them a difficult decision to make.
  • Announce off-screen badness.
  • Announce future badness.
  • Tell them the possible consequences and ask.
  • Make a move from one of your Nightmares.
  • Deal harm. This can be a description of actual injuries or wounds, a condition, or something else.
  • Trade harm for harm.
  • Make the power of magic feel mysterious and willful.
  • Reward hard choices concerning honor and freedom.
  • Provide a glimpse of true beauty and wonder.

Hard moves

A hard move isn't substantially different from other MC moves. What's different is the impact on the status quo.

For example, Sir Reginald, Eddie, and Amir are investigating cabalist activity in London. During the investigation, the MC determines that Amir should hear word of a cult from his home land. This is the "announce off-screen badness" move. It doesn't substantially derail Amir's activities, but does set up some plot for him to pursue later.

Later, Eddie's player rolls a 5 while trying to sneak into a gentleman's club. The MC makes another move, by telling Eddie he hears the screams of his beloved sister in the distance. This is another variant of announcing badness, but now the stakes are higher and more immediate: something is very wrong with Eddie's family. But it also means that something has irrevocably changed. The cult has access to Eddie's family.


War, poverty, and want are part of the world. But sometimes, dreams turn dark and power is turned to evil purposes.

The MC can define nightmares, which are existential threats to the world in both the physical and spiritual realm. Nightmares come with dark portents, signaling that the nightmare is growing closer, stronger, or both.

Nightmares may also have their own moves.

Organizations and Opposition

To create opposition (an individual or a group):

  1. Decide on a name or a concept.
  2. Decide on a set of conditions the opponent can take. These are descriptive labels and should inform the MC's narration.
  3. Assign a set of moves to the opponent.

The Arcadia Club

A social club instituted to protect and unite those with an awakened fairy soul. The club has taken the  unheard-of step in permitting women and foreigners to be members. Membership is contingent on your access to power, not on your body or nationality.

Visitors to the club must demonstrate some of their power to masked guards in private, then are given masks and robes and admitted into the club's common rooms. Anonymity in the common rooms is the rule. Members may communicate with pre-printed cards (as even an accent or manner of speaking may betray one's identity) and can arrange time in private rooms. Members may — but are not required to — unmask once in private.

The club can serve as a patron for player characters, or a rival to a player-created organization.

The Cabal

These are human beings who use their occult knowledge for selfish or greedy ends. They wish to employ fairy souls in the conquest and expansion of the Empire itself.

Conditions: pick any two of Haughty, Driven, Obsessed, or Diabolical

  • Wield dangerous occult knowledge
  • Play for high stakes in the Great Game of diplomacy
  • Manipulate affairs from behind the curtain

Unfettered Fairies

There are unfettered fairies in the world — those who escaped their human hosts somehow, or were drawn out of them.

Conditions: pick any two of Vengeful, Playful, Afraid

  • Whimsically ruin someone's boring life
  • Defy capture in infuriating ways
  • Use magic to befuddle and baffle
  • Siphon magical power from helpless humans


These are half-awake fairies who have possessed their human jails and now dominate them. They follow the templates laid out by the archetypes of the universal unconscious: vampires, werewolves, and bogeymen.

Conditions: pick any two of Violent, Aggressive, Seductive, Cunning, Enigmatic, Hideous, Weird

  • Prey on mortals' bodies, minds, or souls
  • Wear the mantle of a creature of legend
  • Spin bloodstained fairy tales from the threads of human lives
  • Struggle for control against my human host


These are the rarest beings of all — humans with fully awakened fairy souls, acting in concert to create a wholly mad, alien hybrid.

Conditions: pick any three of Strange, Weird, Unnerving, Unnatural, Monstrous, Beguiling

  • Replace ordered society with bedlam
  • Corrupt the powerful
  • Seduce the oppressed
  • Revel in an orgy of madness and freedom

Further Reading