One of the more interesting fairy tales involving the land of fairy Powell, Prince of Dyfed is one of many early fantasy stories from the land of Arthur (Wales). There are a number of stories regarding the exploits of Powell; however the one which introduces him is perhaps of the most interest for those who play fantasy role playing games. In this story Powell is out hunting when he meets and befriends a fairy king. The fairy king is having trouble with an enemy he can't defeat, so he and Powell switch places so that Powell may continue the war with the other fairy princes and defeat their leader.
It is interesting how human many of the fairies seem in this fairy tale, very different from much of what we currently think of fairies as being. Fairies it would seem from this and a number of other stories gained their abilities primarily through knowledge, their ability to know almost anything. For like Powell the fairy king too enjoys hunting and holds court, similarly enough that they could pass for each other.
The idea behind what made a hero in the eyes of the Welsh is also interesting to take note of. For it was said of Powell that;
"He could ride a horse, draw a bow, and speak the truth. He was always honored by men, and he kept his faith and his promises to women. The children loved him, for he loved them. In the castle hall, he could tell the best stories. No man, bard, or warrior, foot
holder or commoner, could excel him in gaining and keeping the attention of his hearers."
One must of course realize that this story was indeed edited by those who wrote it down and so some of this description may have been based on the thinking of the 1800s. However this description of a hero is useful for anyone trying to create an RPG or fantasy character which will have to deal with fairies, for fairies believe very firmly in honesty, and admire greatly the skills of story telling and music. Indeed Powell would not have done so well in fairy land if he had not had these traits.
Another quality Powell had was politeness, for in his discussion with the king of the fairies it was how polite he was that allowed him to become friends with the king of the fairy. This theme is repeated over and over throughout the stories of fairies that no matter how rude they are one must be very polite to them. For in politeness a person will be rewarded by fairies and in rudeness they will cursed.
In fantasy stories it would be easy to use the idea of politeness and fairy curses and blessings as an element to add interest to the story. For with this element the characters gain unique powers, or interestingly horrible curses. For temporary lapses of rudeness a person could become horribly cursed, and may need to go on a quest to find the fairy who laid the curse on them, or to prove themselves worthy of getting it removed.
The story of Powell is of interest also because it shows a mortal entering the world of fairy to help a fairy king. One could easily see how a story that followed the exploits of someone who switched places with a fairy could be very interesting. Or of someone who entered fairy land and had to return home to grow bored. For in Powell's later exploits he is constantly entering realms of the fairy because he misses the excitement of living within this realm.
Ty Hulse is helping to develop dragonsmeet.net as center for role playing games, where you can learn about the impact of fantasy role playing games He is also the creator of Zeluna.net for fairy tale stories