After my last post, I was a little chagrined when I suddenly remembered that Baba Yaga does exist in Dungeons & Dragons 4e. Specifically, she is mentioned as one of the Archfey in the Manual of the Planes.
Baba Yaga’s appearance, attitude, and hut are not very different from how they were described back in Dragon Magazine #83 (or as they are described in Slavic mythology).
I still think my last post was valid, and that their has been a definite move away from traditional mythology towards a D&D specific mythology. I am glad to see that Baba Yaga managed to buck this trend.
Perhaps I shoudn’t be too surprised to see her in the Feywild, as I have often thought that it was one of the best additions to Dungeons & Dragons 4e.
The fey were never handled well in previous editions of the game. They were presented as mostly friendly creatures who at worst were harmless tricksters. They seemed informed by the (sadly) modern view of faeries as half-naked tiny women flitting around on butterfly wings.
This always bugged me because the fey in mythology were always regarded as dangerous. They were called “The Fair Folk” not because of their beauty, but because you did not wish to incur their wrath. The slightest could result in you being horribly cursed or worse taken under the hill never to be seen again.
I am glad that this is the type of fey we find in Dungeons & Dragons 4e. The section on the Feywild in the Manual of the Planes reinforces this by presenting a us with a dark mirror of the natural world. It is a realm of both terrible beauty and abject horror. More importantly, it is a dangerous place for mortals to roam as even the slightest mistake can bring down the wrath of its capricious inhabitants.
In fact, if I have a complaint about the Feywild in D&D, it is that I want to see more of it! I would love to see a book similar to the Draconomicon or Open Grave which detailed the Archfey. Of course, the realist in me realizes it probably wouldn’t sell well enough to justify the cost of producing it.
Oh well, I suppose that is what Dragon and Dungeon are for.