May 12, 2009

Portraits of a Villain - Morgan Le Fay

" A veil has been lifted from our eyes, and now I see the horrifying truth and know now what we are meant to protect. I could heal the sick and mend the broken, but now all my icy hands will deliver is death to those who seek to lift this veil from the eyes of others." - Morgan Le Fey after sending her child Mabon to the Kingdom of Annwyn.
Original artwork, "Sir Mordred", by Hugo Solis, exclusively for The Core Mechanic. Looking for quality illustrations for your latest project? Visit Hugo's Gallery and get in touch.


Morgan was born the daughter of Lady Igraine and Gorlois, The Duke of Cornwall. After her father was murdered by Uther Pendragon, her mother had her sent to a convent on The Isles of Scilly to be educated and kept away from the lecherous eyes of Uther. Once there, Morgan discovered she had natural affinity for the earth, the sky, and the sea. She also met the fey druid Gallendenel there, who trained her in the "natural arts". Her master revealed to her The Veil, and through this she discovered that she was made from fey as well, not from flesh. This was a surprising and rather puzzling revelation to them both, especially as Gallendenel had never met a feyborn who was not aware of their true nature, and he encouraged her to seek out the truth at any cost. Through her training, Morgan grew closer to Gallendenel and eventually the pair had a child together in secret. Fearing that she would be banished from the convent, the elder druid took their son, Mabon, to the Kingdom of Annwn, a place safe behind The Veil. Soon after Gallendenel left, however, Morgan was forced from the convent and sent to be the bride of King Urien of Rheged as part of political arrangement arranged by her step-father, Uther Pendragon. Unable to escape, she left the Isles of Scilly swearing to return to find the path to Annwn so that she might rejoin her son Mabon.

Time passed, and although a marriage between Morgan and Urien was one of convenience, the couple managed to produce twins - a son Owain and a daughter Morvydd - mainly because of Morgan's desire to cultivate her feyborne bloodline. Soon after her children's birth, she presented them to her mother Ingrain and demanded an explanation for their feyborn nature (now revealed). Igraine confessed: Morgan's murdered father, Gorlois, was was also feyborne and was known to some as The Hidden King of Annwn.


Morgan Le Fay wants nothing more than to preserve The Veil and the protection it affords the feyborne of Annwyn. She is an enchantress with a long arm, having lovers in several important courts throughout Britain - including Accolon, a prince from Gododin, who sits at the round table in Arthur's court. Through her spies, she plots to destroy anyone who discovers The Viel. She is convinced that knowledge of it is not meant for the flesh as it only corrupts those who know of it. She knows that the king (Arthur) is aware of The Veil and has commissioned a search for powerful relics aimed at opening it. Because of this, she has decided her half-brother must die in the name of the "greater good" and has hatched several plots aimed at unseating him and destroying his band of questing knights.

Morgan is also heavily involved in promoting and training an ever expanding network of druids and other feyborn sympathizers. Not quite an Elder Druid herself, she is also trying to find the path back to Anwnn so that she can be reunited with her fey child Mabon and  Gallendenel.

Adventure Hooks

Morgan Le Fay, and her network of spies and apprentice druids, could be adapted into any existing fantasy campaign that might suite a "villain with a cause"; the cause in this case being the absolute control of access and knowledge of The Viel, or any other powerful arcane insight (e.g. planar travel, specific rituals, or other types of magic). The possibilities are endless, but here are three hooks that might fit a typical "bog fantasy" campaign setting in 4th Edition D&D.
  1. The Burning Book (Heroic Tier) - The PCs discover a Burning Book while on a previous adventure whose flames are quenched by the touch of anyone with fey blood. The book is written in a language non of the party members understand, so they bring it to a feyborne scholar who might serve to unravel the mysteries within. Upon reading the book, however, the scholar explains that the book is either the ramblings of a madman or a relic of great value - as it describes The Veil and how ordinary people might reveal its mysteries. He asks to study the book for a longer time, but instead steals it and flees the village.  A chase follows, but the scholar - a  warlock, likely evades capture. Searching the hill sides in the surrounding country, the party discovers a network of Time passes, rumours of a burning book
  2. Durendel, The King Maker (Paragon Tier) -  The PCs set out to find a holy relic: the sword known as Durendel, a weapon that cuts through the veil for any brave soul that weilds it. This mythical weapon is believed to have been once belonged to Hector of Troy, and was later used in the suicide of Ajax the Great. The weapon fell into the hands of the infamous Roman general Agricola but was lost "to goblins from the fey" during the conquest of Caledonia. After nearly four centuries, rumours of the sword's whereabouts resurface and the king (Arthur) commissions the PCs to retrieve the weapon. After a long journey, and several battles with Morgan's druids along the way, the PCs finally discover the weapon is buried in a series of Celtic burial caves. Upon arrival they are met by Morgan herself, who attempts to stop them from obtaining the sword.
  3. The Curtain of Shadows (Epic Tier) - After years of searching, Morgan's son Owain discovers the Celtic Godsrune - a powerful and ancient artifact that can open a portal to Annwyn. With the stone in hand, Morgan immediately gets to work preparing the long and difficult ritual needed to open the road to Annwyn. She ultimately fails, however, and in doing so rips a tear in the fabric of The Veil. From this gap an army of feyborne creatures come crawling out from The Otherworld and eventually overtake Morgan and her entourage at her fortress on Mount Snowdon. The king recieves news of this event and sends an army led by the PCs to surround the castle and contain the threat. Eventually, one of the PCs receives a plee for help from Morgan by way of a messenger bird - who begs for her life and explains that the only way to close the rift is to cast the Godsrune back into it. The PCs must then venture into the overrun castle, find the Godsrune, close the rift and possibly spare Morgan's life in the process.

4E Statblock

    • Level 12 Elite Controller
    • Morgan Le Fey
    • Medium Fey Humanoid (Druid)
    • XP 1400
    • Initiative +12
    • Senses Perception +16, Insight +11
    • HP 214; Bloodied 107
    • AC 26; Fortitude 26, Reflex 24, Will 28
    • Saving throws+5 vs. Charm, +2 vs. All
    • Speed 7
    • Action points1
    • Chill Wind (standard; at-will) •Cold, Implement, Primal
    • Area burst 1 within 10; +11 vs. Fortitude; 1d6 +3 cold damage the target slides 1 square.
    • Call of the Fey (standard; at-will) •Charm, Implement, Primal, Psychic
    • Area burst 1 within 10 squares; +14 vs. Will; The target can't gain combat advantage until the end of Morgan Le Fey's next turn. In addition, on its next turnthe target takes 10 psychic damage when it makes any attack that doesn't include your ally nearest to it as a target.
    • Tundra Wind (standard; encounter) •Cold, Implement, Primal
    • Close Blast 3; +14 vs. Fortitude; 2d6 + 8 cold damage and the target is pushed 3 squares and knocked prone.
    • Ensorcelled Mind (standard; encounter) •Charm
    • Ranged 5; +18 vs. Will. Until the end of Morgan Le Fay's next turn, the target can't attackher. In addition, when any creature within the target'sreach hits or misses Morgan Le Fay, the target makes a melee basic attack against that creature as a free action, with a +2 bonus to the attack roll.
    • Sunbeam (standard; daily) •Implement, Primal, Radiant
    • Area 1 within 10 squares; +14 vs. Will; The target is blinded (save ends). Aftereffect: 1d10 +5 radiant damage. Miss: 1d10 +5 radiant damage.
    • Winter Storm (standard; daily) •Primal, Zone
    • Area burst 2 within 10 squares; The burst creates a zone of difficult terrain that lasts until the end of Morgan Le Fay's next turn. While within the zone, any enemy gains vulnerable 5 cold. She can end the zone as a minor action. Sustain Minor: The zone persists, and she canincrease its size by 1 to a maximum of burst 5.
    • Morgan's Fey Escape (immediate interrupt; daily) •Teleportation
    • When an enemy enters a square adjacent to Morgan Le Fay, she can teleport 5 squares. She also gains combat advantage against the enemy until the end of her next turn.
    • Align. Unaligned
    • Lang. Common, Primordial
    • Skills Arcana +15, Heal +16, Nature +16
    • Str 11 (+6)
    • Dex 14 (+8)
    • Wis 20 (+11)
    • Con 16 (+9)
    • Int 14 (+8)
    • Cha 18 (+10)
    • Equipment Magic Hide Armor +3, Cape of Mountebank +2, Autumn Harvest Totem +3
    • Created with's DM Tools

Looking for more Villains? Check out these new villains, all with exclusive, original artwork, at the following blogs:
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  1. I really enjoy this concept. I do a lot of stat blocks over at my blog, and with your blessing, I'd think this is something I'd like to emulate over there. Currently, I do a lot of monsters and baddies, but the background, plot hooks and etc. prove a nice touch.

  2. Phew! glad someone is actually reading this. YES of course! please do. In fact, we are working towards a "bigger" project here - if you are interested in doing something more substantial, drop me a line via the contact page above. Not familiar with your blog.. but I'm headed over there right now...


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