The Dresden Files RPG
"The building was on fire and it wasn't my fault."
- – Harry Dresden
"He's Gandalf on crack and an IV of Red Bull."
- – A description of Harry while on a case
The Dresden files RPG is a roleplaying game from Evil Hat productions. The game is set in the urban fantasy world of the popular Dresden Files books written by Jim Butcher - the World of Darkness, if folks decided "Fuck brooding! Gimme my bourbon, I wanna sock the bastards!" The game was released on June 23rd, 2010.
The game mechanics uses the FATE System, a riff off of the FUDGE generic rpg system, already make popular by Spirit of the Century. The Dresden Files RPG is the first official "version 3.0" instance of the FATE System.
DFRPG is maybe the most popular FATE adaption. Its main drawbacks are the generally overpowered magic-users (vanilla mortals FTW!) and the fact that every mention on /tg/ causes a very special avatarfag and his army of hateboys to appear.
- 1 City Creation
- 2 The Actual Dresden Files
- 2.1 Books
- 2.2 Comics
- 2.3 Short Stories
- 2.4 Factions, Races, and Supernatural Nations
- 2.4.1 The White Council
- 2.4.2 The Black Council?
- 2.4.3 The Fellowship of St. Giles
- 2.4.4 Vampire Courts
- 2.4.5 Fae Courts
- 2.4.6 The Fomor
- 2.4.7 Svartalves
- 2.4.8 Regular humans/ Vanilla Mortals
- 2.4.9 Venatori Umbrorum
- 2.4.10 The Archive
- 2.4.11 The Church
- 2.4.12 Angels
- 2.4.13 Monoc Securities
- 2.4.14 Order of the Blackened Denarius
- 2.4.15 Demons
- 2.4.16 Dragons
- 2.4.17 Nagas
- 2.4.18 The Prosthenos Society
- 2.4.19 Scions
- 2.4.20 Naagloshii/Skinwalker
- 2.4.21 Kenku
- 2.4.22 Ghouls
- 2.4.23 Nature Spirits/Genius Loci
- 2.4.24 Forest People
- 2.4.25 Ghosts
- 2.4.26 Kemmlerites
- 2.4.27 Spirits of Intellect/Knowledge
- 2.4.28 Outsiders
- 2.4.29 Werewolves
- 2.5 Types of Magic Users
- 2.6 Types of Magic
- 2.7 Planes of Existence (WIP)
- 3 Gallery
- 4 External Links
Probably the best-kept secret of the game, the city creation rules are a great toolkit allowing for players to collaboratively build the kind of city they want to adventure in, and are broken into three main phases.
The overall part of city building is where the kind of game, and the NPC's that are going to be a part of the game world are decided upon by the players and Game master. This is done by firstly choosing three themes or threats in any combination, that will have an effect on the overall tone and dangers that the players will face.
Lessons Taught, Lessons Forgot (THEME); Decay Masqued by Art (THEME); A Festival of Violence (THREAT).
As Cambridge (UK) is a university town with a long history to both theater and various festivals, these three things can be used almost immediately to create the three themes/threats that the players will be dealing with. Old Books and historical legacies lost in one of the many storerooms owned by the university (whose campus covers a majority of the city) means that there will be a strong and well established theme of information hunting and rarely some of those things actually being right, and very dangerous.
The theaters in Cambridge have been around a long time, with one of the most famous and established theaters (the Cambridge Arts Theater, 1936) having exactly 666 seats (the incorrect number of the beast) and is host to the universities triennial Cambridge Greek Play, which is preformed in ancient Greek, more than enough to build something off. However a lot of theater groups face struggles in the city despite its close connections to the arts. Mostly due to their hidden WCV master's who keep the theaters failing and desperate so as to maximize the Despair they can feed upon.
Lastly for this example would be the many, many SUMMER festival that are hosted in, or nearby, the city. Cambridge folk, Cambridge Art, and Cambridge Beer Festivals being the most famous examples, although another long-running festival to take note of would be "The Midsummer Fair" itself chartered by King John himself. These festivals could potentially generate a lot of arcane power which is normally fed into the Summer court, allowing them their influence on this part of the mortal plane, but they are also open easy attack, whether bureaucratic or violent as something else attempts to subsume this power from Summer.
So in this city the PC's can clearly expect to deal with ancient, and forgotten knowledge coming back into the world of the living, festivals that are an easy source of metaphysical power to anyone powerful or moronic enough to stand up to Summer, and something, something to do with the failing, and decrepit theaters that seem to face struggle after struggle.
All of this is broken down into the Mortal/Supernatural Status Quo; a paragraph each to describe the Supernatural Status Qou (The Summer Court keeps an eye on the Festivals as they gain hard fought influence from them, ancient knowledge sleeps uneasily beneath the university, and the WC have a steady food supply from the failing theaters.), and the Mortal Status Quo, (INSERT HERE). Which is used alongside the Movers and Shakers Box, a Mendelow Matrix set to the axis's of "Who is in the Dark/Who is in the Know" (describing who knows what about the supernatural in the city) and "Who wants to Maintain the Status Quo/Who want to Rock the Boat" (Who is happy with the way things are against who wants things to change, usually in their own favor).
As a good guideline, unless it's in a particularly law-abiding city, the cops should be slap bang in the middle, with maybe a little bit more towards awareness of the supernatural. The cops don't want things to always remain the same; they want things to get better, people to stop disappearing, bodies to stop showing up on the streets, corruption to stop being untouchable; but neither do they want things to cange so far that there is chaos on the streets, looting, rioting, cats and dogs living together, MASS HYSTERIA!
I've skipped over Theme/Threat Aspects, and the faces that go along with each Theme/Threat for now as they will eventually get their own sections.
This part of City Building is putting those Themes and Threats into solid locations where the PC's may interact with the NPC's. While the official sheet may only have nine slots open, these are your repeating main locales for the entire city, don't feel forced into having exactly nine locations for your city and only ever using using those nine locations.
Each location has several parts consisting of a Name (no duh), a basic description (no duh), whether it is part of a theme or a threat, the core idea behind the location, the Location Aspect, and the face behind the Location and their basic concept, so to continue on the Cambridge example an example Location could be...
Name: Hinton Cherry Hall Festival Grounds Description: Regularly used summer festival grounds THEME/THREAT: Threat Idea: The Summer Court's main stomping grounds in the city Aspect: Magically Charged Festival Grounds Face: Jane Clements (Lady Fairwinds) (Summer Sylph Festival Co-ordinator)
This needs to be done several times, enough to properly represent each force in the city, and each of the three themes/threats. However not every locale needs to have a NPC face. It is completely possible for a PC to be the face of a Location provided they have a significant investment in that particular location, an example would be a True Believer PC being the face of a local place of worship where NPC's come for spiritual advice which tips the PC's into something new happening. Other options for the face could also be an actual mythical figure (slightly rare in the Dresden Files, most mythical figures have some form of existence), a murder victim, or an organisation that the PC's may have to contend with (authorities, criminal gangs, cults, etc). So long as the PC's are capable of interacting with them anything (within reason) could make a decent face, although a murder victim may make for a rather impermanent one.
Once you have all the locations you need, and you and your players have agreed upon what exactly they are, what they represent, and what Faces they have, you and your group then need to detail each Face to go with each location, this includes the Face's Name, what Location they represent, their High Concept, Motivations and any relationships they might have with other important NPC's in the city.
Don't worry about putting every single detail on the city Face sheets, each face should have its own separate character sheet eventually.
So to continue the Cambridge example...
We'll break from Hinton Cherry Hall because not only are the motivations of the Sidhe strange and inhuman, but she's a female Sidhe so who knows what the fuck is going on behind those eyes, let's instead go to (the made up) Mill Street Market (Cambridge has a lot of the general markets in real life we're just solidifying one of these to actual buildings).
Mill Street is one of Cambridge's most famous markets, and one of the most famous in the UK itself. Not for being a regular local produce, farmers market full of organic produce and environmental sensibilities which are all the rage today, but because it's one of the largest multi-national markets, you want to find something from some dinky little province in China, a legitimate African Shaman Mask, or even something stranger? You're going to be hard pressed, but you'll find it somewhere on Mill Street.
This makes Mill Street Market a solid location, rife with potential, and problems, but players can't just interact with each store owner when looking for every single little thing, you're going to end up with a bunch of remarkably similar NPC's with the distinction "yeah, but he sells Russian stuff, rather than Jamaican stuff", which will only increase your book-keeping exponentially, and for not a lot of payoff.
This is where the Face comes in, you need to make a single NPC who the players can interact with, while still representing the entire streets interests. This face can be the head of a market committee, a particularly patriarchal/maternal store owner who keeps an eye on the entire street, or even an actual city council official who interferes with the PC's attempt to buy the stuff that's slightly illegal to own in public, but not to have in stock for selling (lock-picks, cultural items that should be in museums, poisonous plants, small stuff a bureaucrat could make your life hell over).
For this Example we'll roll with a shop owner who has been well established thanks in part to his supernatural contacts, his minor talent that allows him to drive really good bargains, and the fact that he regularly represents the street against the city council, because of its connections to multiple parts of the Nevernever, including the Bizarre Bazaar, a Fae market where anything is for sale.
Name: Vihaan Kendle Locale: Mill Street Market High Concept: Market Wizard Motivation: Mill Street's Secrets must be kept. Relationships: Jane Clements (A deal with Summer keeps this place safe from the Seelie and protected from the Unseelie), Chris Faulkner (Fellow Secret Keeper), Prof Nigel Sterling (Nosy old man with no idea what he's trying to dig up), other Store Owners (The people I'm trying to protect) [UNKNOWN] Karl Helbrect (I am an obstacle in his way).
The Actual Dresden Files
They're pretty awesome, seriously, go read them. Private Eye/Wizard Harry Dresden takes on the forces of evil with his magic, his wits, and a near endless supply of old pop culture references. I'll try to summarize them without spoiling them, if it seems that i'm putting in the most exciting bits, I'm not, they're just that great.
- Storm Front: Not the author's best work but not terrible. Involves curses, a drug ring, and naked battles with a demon (it's less kinky than it sounds.)
- Fool Moon: Widely regarded as the worst book in the series but still pretty passable. Has werewolves out the wazoo (totally not furries, trust me. And Dresden does get the line, "... or I'll kill you before you're halfway to furry" whilst holding a wolfaboo at gunpoint.)
- Grave Peril: This is where shit gets good; Vampires (WoD variety with a side of Succubus/Incubus, not Twilight shit, you'll learn to hate them for completely different reasons though) and a scary-ass powerful ghost.
- Summer Knight: Faeries (the old folklore "Steal Children and Mutilate Livestock/People" kind, not the Disney kind). Its got badass Dark Eldar-type Faeries, slightly less badass Craftworld-type Faeries, and everything in between. Also, the sobering after-effects of losing a loved one and emotional crap like that. Also, don't call them faeries to their faces (its like a racial slur.)
- Death Masks: To sum it up, atheist warriors of heaven, conquistador vampires, Fallen Angels, and a villain so evil that he makes Honsou look like Sanguinius. Seriously, he's so evil, that a Fallen Angel literally older than the concept of time thinks that he's one of the most evil things ever. Also it got a Samurai Paladin.
- Blood Rites: A pretty good read despite the ridiculous premise. Two different flavors of vampire and porn stars. Manages to be pretty awesome.
- Dead Beat: One of the best if not the best book in the series. Dresden fights necromancers and rides a zombie T-rex,if that does not sound awesome you are very clearly disturbed. Also, theres's a Warhammer Fantasy easter egg that rhymes with Shmeinrich Shmemmler.
- Proven Guilty: Tracking down monsters that feed on fear at a horror movie convention. Its a bit slow at the start, but ends really well. Good book for Molly fans.
- White Night: Most of the details are spoilery, but basically, something's hunting magic users and framing Harry. A number of long-running sub-plots culminate.
- Small Favor: The villain from Death Masks comes back and tries to start the apocalypse again AND Harry has to deal with Faeries again. Includes dolphins, a hostage situation, and a quest for a fresh donut, don't worry, it'll make sense.
- Turn Coat: This one's bad guy might second closest thing to pure evil since that guy from Death Masks, it may be even more evil than him. Also, there's a magic cop who was framed for a murder he didn't commit and now he's on the run from his former allies while he tries to clear his name. Will he find out who's responsible? Will he get revenge? Will I stop trying to make this sound like an 80's television show? MAYBE.
- Changes: A whole bunch of spoilers, like paradigm shift, next level spoilers. It's a bit more of a thriller than a mystery but this is where shit gets real in the series. Do NOT start with this book, or any one that comes after it. They're amazing but they'll ruin the whole series for you and they usually require some prior knowledge of the series to fully appreciate.
- Ghost Story: Pure unadulterated spoiler, sorry. But it recaptures some of the noir atmosphere from the earlier books and sets you up for the next story arc.
- Cold Days: An assassination/training montage, followed by ballroom dancing, followed by investigation, followed by H.P. Lovecraft references, followed by more investigation. And insane Faeries throughout the entire books. Also, Santa's there, which is awesome, except when you learn that Santa is inspired by Odin, who also happened to be the inspiration for Khorne (which might actually make it even more awesome).
- Skin Game: Tied with Dead Beat for the best book. Imagine Ocean's Eleven, but replace breaking into a casino with breaking into the Underworld (yes, the one where Hades lives), and replace a buttload of money with the Holy Grail. A welcome chance to let the new status quo finally sink in for a bit, after three books of dramatically shattering it forever, as well as a sweet-ass thriller.
- "Welcome to the Jungle" - Takes place before Storm Front. A mad gorilla has killed a security guard, only problem is how did it get out of its enclosure, kill him as the guard emptied a full clip into it, partially clean up after its viscous assault, get back into enclosure, and lock up after itself.
- Graphic novel remakes of Storm Front and Fool Moon, with a certain amount of artistic turnover.
- "Ghoul, Goblin" - Takes place after Fool Moon, before Grave Peril. Harry is called out to small town of "Boone Mill" after the singularly unlucky Talbot family starts to have its members dying off in unnatural ways.
- "War Cry" - Take place after Dead Beat, before Proven Guilty. Lots of spoilery details, but with a house full of scholars hiding a secret, and a besieging army of vampires Harry is in for the fight of his life.
- "Downtown" - Takes place after White Night, and before Small Favor. Something is hunting down shopowners that pay protection to Marcone. Something magical is killing shopowners in Harry's city. Time for wacky buddy-cop movie style shenanigans. Only with more visceral horror, death, homeless people, and absurdly spacious sewers.
- "Wild Card" - Takes place after "Downtown", and before Small Favor. When a mysterious fairy begins ripping a trail of carnage across Chicago, Dresden gets involved trying to track it down, but this Fairy isn't just the "normal" fairy serial killer...
- "Dog Men" - Harry travels down south with Listens to the Wind to investigate attacks by royalty-free werewolves. Features flirting with Ghouls, Harry's best Doomguy grin, and the first canon confirmation of a government bureau that deals with the supernatural.
In no particular order (for now)
- Vignette: extremely short, not much to say other than Harry and Bob having a relatively meaningless conversation (Free online, Side Jobs)
- Restoration of Faith: Harry before he became an independent P.I., working alongside a P.I. mentor on a missing child case (Free Online, Side Jobs)
- Something Borrowed: a wedding, where "borrowed" means kidnapped and impersonated (Side Jobs)
- Heorot: brewing festival and Beowulf, plus bikers, sewers, and an explanation of virginity throughout the ages (Side Jobs)
- It's My Birthday Too: LARP, vampires, and LARP vampires (Side Jobs)
- Day Off: wherein Harry experiences more stress than he does on the job (Side Jobs)
- Backup: metrosexuality in a hair salon and shadow wars (Thomas's perspective) (Side Jobs)
- The Warrior: no funny/unfunny description for this one, its just a good story about Harry and Michael doing the right thing (Side Jobs)
- Curses: Chicago Cubs and the Billy Goat Curse
- Bombshells: sexy former hobo vigilantes and fish people who are into snuff. (Dangerous Women)
- Last Call: beer and has-been "demigoddesses" (washed up hedonism spirit from ancient greece, nowhere near modern demigod levels) trying to tamper with it (Side Jobs)
- Love Hurts: wherein Harry once again learns that love does indeed hurt (Side Jobs)
- Aftermath: SPOILERS that's what (Side Jobs)
- B is for Bigfoot: turns out, being half-Sasquatch gets you bullied in elementary school, especially the bullies are spoiled rotten half-dwarf little shits. (Working for Bigfoot)
- I was a Teenage Bigfoot: half-bigfoot at S.M.A.G.T., Saint Mark's Academy for the Gifted and Talented, yes, it is a stupid acronym. (Working for Bigfoot)
- Bigfoot on Campus: our little bigfoot has grown up and gotten himself a football scholarship plus a smokin' hot GF, no dark secrets here, no siree, completely normal unrealistically attractive girlfriend and her insanely wealthy father who definitely doesn't want her to fuck him to death, whether she's on board with that part or not (Working for Bigfoot)
- Even Hand: a day in the life of the most successful mobster in the american midwest (Dark and Stormy Knights.)
- AAAA Wizardy: Harry gives lectures to young Wardens (RPG Book-Our World)
- Jury Duty: a murder trial where the murder weapon was a bowling pin (Unbound)
- Cold Case: This story is not funny, its not supposed to be, its just straight up harrowing. Its a descent into compulsive madness and the loss of innocence and identity forever.
- Day One: it appears that the Almighty is familiar with standard MMORPG quest-giving mechanics
- A Fistful of Warlocks: Captain of the White Council's Wardens chasing necromancers in the Old West. (Straight Outta Tombstone anthology/Brief Cases)
- Zoo Day: The events of a relaxing visit to the local zoo, retold from three different perspectives, each one encountering their own problems. (new story exclusive to Brief Cases)
Factions, Races, and Supernatural Nations
If all this seems excessively expansive and convoluted as shit, keep in mind that on this page there's lore from 15 books, 7 comics, and a couple dozen short stories, not to mention a healthy dose of meta and speculation.
|This article contains spoilers! You have been warned.|
- A Note on Terminology in the books, fanbase, and this page
- WoJ: Word of Jim, anything the author says in interviews or Q&As. A reference to both general literary Word of God and the Word of Kemmler(see below under: Kemmlerites)
- Vanilla Mortal: a regular human being w/o significant magic powers
- Whampire: derogatory but deserved slang for White Court Vampire
- Rampire: derogatory but deserved slang for Red Court Vampire
- Blampire: derogatory but deserved slang for Black Court Vampire
- OG Merlin: the Original Merlin, like the one who worked w/ King Arthur
- WC: White Council, pun intended
The White Council
A collection of the most powerful mortal magic users on the planet (wizards) that's existed since the Dark Ages (maybe even before). Entry could be seen as the equivalent of getting a Master's degree or earning your blackbelt in magic. Is extremely powerful but is ridiculed by the other factions for being obsessed with tradition and inflexible (which it is, to an extent). What most of these other factions don't seem to appreciate is that without the Council acting as an Inquisition for magic users by upholding the Laws of Magic, the rest of them would be forced to contend with insane black magic users breaking reality left and right, shattering the Masquerade and burning them alive from the inside out for shits and giggles. Also, the Council would have even more phenomenal political and destructive power if it weren't constrained by the very Laws it upholds and if it weren't run by conservative geezers obsessed with the status quo. If a human breaks the Laws of Magic, the Council's grey cloaked Wardens drag them to a random black site and execute them, no exceptions, no second chances (mostly). Since mortal magic users exude a murphyonic field around themselves, complex mechanical and electrical devices short out around them (shit breaks when they're nearby). This isn't that much of a handicap, since they only short out stuff built after WWII (roughly, it isn't a hard cutoff) and even then only if its complex like a computer, and even then it mostly happens when they actually use their magic. Most of them have found magical workarounds to compensate for this. For some reason no wizard has ever created magical computers, despite the fact that basic binary computing is actually very simple, and we've seen wizards use much more complex magic throughout the series. The EMP effect is actually relatively recent, wizards have a probability effect that changes from time period to time period, it used to give them warts or cause fires to burn weird colors.
- Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden: Our titular character, a wizard and private investigator. A very tall and profoundly (un)lucky man, Harry Dresden is almost the perfect archetypal noire detective, but with a heavy dose of modern snark and humor. Born to an actual witch and a stage magician and orphaned at a young age, Harry Dresden is adopted by a friend of his mother and trained in the ways of magic. Sounding pretty generic, right? WRONG! His adoptive father, Justin DuMorne is actually a Warlock (black magic user) and was training Harry to be a loyal enforcer. When his adoptive father tries to put him in a psychic headlock of forced loyalty, Dresden ends up burning him to death in an impromptu wizard's duel. Naturally, the Wardens show up and arrest Harry for killing with magic, a violation of the Laws of Magic that Harry was never told about. He barely avoids getting beheaded, due to the fact that he was acting in self defense against Black Magic, and because Ebenezar McCoy speaks on his behalf and agrees to foster him. He's then placed under parole, with the penalty for violation being death, for the majority of his young adulthood. Being by far the most powerful mage of his generation and an openly practicing wizard mortals see him as a charlatan or a looney, much of the wizard community sees him as a loose cannon at best, although a good chunk of White Council's the younger generation look up to him as someone who is not afraid to call the senior council out., and an unrepentant warlock at worst, while low-level practitioners generally see him as a walking disaster and bully like they see all wizards (although their opinion shfts greatly as he grows in fame, joins wizard-KGB, and founds a mage neighbourhood-watch network). Other supernaturals generally treat all wizards with distrust and respectful fear, but over the course of series Harry's (partially misguided) reputation among non-human supernaturals grows from "Be afraid" to "OH FUCK HE'S AFTER ME!". Because of this he's become something of a loner, though he does have a few close friends. He's been in several relationships, but most ended in blood, tears, or flames. An honest man, he tries to do the right thing, but often, the right thing gets you put on the shit lists of vampire lords and the like. He's chivalrous to a fault, causing him no shortage of pain. It might be fair to call him honorable in that he prefers not to lie and will do his best to help the helpless, but he's not above fighting dirty or weaseling his way out of a deal, especially where his Godmother is concerned. Despite being a generally good person, he sees his own power as something he needs to carefully hold in check. He's well aware of the fact that with all his power he's one moment of careless rage away from burning down a building or blowing up a gas station, so he sees the careful and righteous use of power as being very important, though he never hesitates to use his power where he feels it's needed (read: burn down any building that looks at him funny). Harry has a bad habit of focusing a little bit too much on the features of attractive women, if this seems a little sexist, know that this is an intentional and acknowledged character flaw that is a result of Harry's messed-up upbringing; his sexual development was intentionally manipulated to make him easier to control, he gradually loses this flaw over time(only to have it replaced with paranoia, self-loathing, and more loneliness) and he himself constantly works to control his libido. His immense magical power is severely hampered by the lack of control and refinement resulting a very low cost-effectiveness with "quick and dirty" field magic - his fire evocations are huge explodey fireballs, his shields are direct force absorbers and his telekinesis can throw a carl but cannot hit a button across a room - for this reason some other wizards see him as kind of a brute. Later his evocation skill grows to a respectful level only for him to often find himslef fighting without his focus tools at hand which pretty much brings him back to "wasting raw power on flashy and powerful but barely controlled spells" level. Meanwhile his thaumaturgy is way more refined and controlled as he fucking loves tinkering with rituals, artifacts and potions in his free time and the majority of his day work also revolves around using thaumaturgical rituals to find people or lost things.
- Subconscious Harry: The manifestation of Harry's subconscious mind, "Id Harry" is what Harry could be if he were to stop trying to be so selfless and concerned with being a good guy. Unlike most repressed alter-egos, Id Harry is presented as neither wholly evil nor wholly good, he's nothing more than Dresden's self preservation instincts, sex drive, and untapped potential (which also kind of makes him Harry's super-ego, sort of), if Harry were to stop putting himself in danger for others and let go of all the baggage that the universe heaped on him, he'd be more wealthy and confident, but he'd also be kind of a dick. He also tends to notice and understand things that Harry doesn't consciously know, so take that as you will. Whenever Harry meets his Id he always points out that his Id is dressed darkly, black leather duster, black shirt, black dress trousers, smart black shoes, neatly trimmed goatee, tidy hair, all of which speaks to Harry's fear of his repressed desires making him evil. Something which Id Harry calls boring and uninspired.
- The Original Merlin: founder of the White Council(at least its current incarnation) and the most powerful human magic user ever recorded. A former student of Odin, he created the Council to regulate magic use and protect mortals from black magic, as of Cold Days its implied that the stuff about regulating magic is merely secondary to the Council's true purpose, defending reality from the Outsiders. Despite laying down the Laws of Magic, he himself is confirmed to have broken the Sixth Law, performing a single action at different points in the time stream, simultaneously(try wrapping your brain around that), adding credence to the theory that Laws 1-6 are a smokescreen for the 7th. According to Arthurian myth, he's not entirely human, so he might have been a Changeling(or a Changeling who Chose to be human) or a Scion. His surviving enchantments defy all known laws of physics and all known understanding of magic.
- Margaret LeFay: Harry's mom who died shortly after giving birth to him. Harry's got a rose tinted view of her, since he believes his life wouldn't have been so shitty if she had been around. But as the series progresses, its become increasingly clear that she was involved in shady business and was practicing Black Magic, and that her unsavory connections and actions are actually the reason why his life has been so crappy. "LeFay" is an epithet given to anyone who is deeply involved with the Fae Courts. Opinions differ as to whether she was just a misguided idealist or an irresponsible contrarian. She was over 100 years old when she became pregnant with Harry, though given how much time she'd spent in other parts of reality, it's entirely possible that her theoretical age was different from her practical age.
- Samuel Peabody: The council's main Bureaurocromancer and the guy who takes the minutes at each of the meetings. It's stated that the council would be nowhere as efficient as it is without him. He dislikes untidy things to a rather pathological degree and is rather poor at German as his book "Die Lied der Erlking" a collection of poems and lore about The Erlking Has a glaring mistake right in the title. (The actual title should be "Das Lied des Erlkönigs")
- Klaus "The Toymaker" Schneider: A small wizard with a round belly and cheeks, and white hair. Klaus has long been the running contender (in the Merlin's opinion) for the next open seat in the Senior council, losing it to both Ebenezar McCoy, and Gregory Cristos. He's described as an enchanter with a reputation for skill and honesty, and what little we've heard of him has been positive. WoJ says that Klaus's method of channeling magic is the Author's favorite, but he's never had a chance to publish the short story he wrote about it. From the interview.
"My favorite is probably from an unpublished short story I wrote, set in the Dresden Files universe, but during the Battle of the Bulge. The Nazis had a sorcerer operating out of an old monastery, and the White Council dispatched the Belgian wizard, Klaus the Toymaker. Klaus's magic is all based around using children's toys as focii. My favorite moment was when he killed a couple of SS-summoned demons with a windup wooden duck."
The Senior Council
The seven "ruling" wizards of the White Council. While the position is usually awarded for being one of the most ancient, experienced, influential wizards on the planet, positions can be selected due to political bullshit and the Senior Council tends to be aged and crotchety because of this. Contrary to what their name might imply, they actually have very little authority over the day to day lives of council members. Rather than a member of a ruling body, a position on the senior council could best be thought of as combining the responsibilities of Judge, Arbiter, Diplomat, Administrator, and in some cases Generals and Champions. There is also a certain amount of delegated authority given to certain members of the senior council. For example, Ancient Mai is implied to be responsible for diplomacy, Arthur Langtree seems to be responsible for arbitration within the council, Listens to the Wind commands the medical staff, the Gatekeeper is responsible for keeping Outsiders Outside, etc. Whether this is formal assignment of duties or simply wizards assuming the role they are best suited to is unknown, though it's strongly suggested that the Gatekeeper and The Merlin are formalized positions.
- The Merlin/Arthur Langtry: The Merlin is the formal leader of the white council. The current Merlin, Arthur Langtry, is a wizard and politician who believes in keeping an image of strength and solidarity against the terrors of the world above all else. Though he and Harry find themselves at odds often, he's not implied to be directly evil or malicious, just calculating, proud, and utterly ruthless in his politicking for the council. He's good with defensive warding magic. Like really, really good. As in, he once held off an entire court of vampires and outsiders with an improvised ward which had nothing to anchor itself against. As Harry points out several times, he didn't get his title by collecting bottlecaps.
- The Gatekeeper/Wizard Rashid Rashid The Gatekeeper is the most mysterious of the current Senior Council, his purpose has something to do with "the Outer Gates", and it's heavily implied he has some ability to see the future, or at least is well connected with someone who can. Until "Cold Days" that's all we know, and even after that he's almost cryptic as before. Without going into major spoilers territory, we come to find out in later books that he's one of, if not the most important council member, as far as his role is concerned. He's one of the few characters that is taller than Harry putting him at somewhere around 6'10-7'00
- Ebenezar McCoy/The Blackstaff Harry's second mentor, Ebenezar McCoy is a Scottish hill-billy (native to Scotland, immigrated to the US during the 17th century) who currently owns a ranch in the Ozarks.
He is also the Blackstaff, the Senior Council's secret wetworker who is exempt from the typical punishments those who broke the laws of magic would face. He is responsible for the Krakatoa Eruption, the New Madrid Earthquakes, and the Tunguska Event. There is no such position within the council, no member would dare breach the laws of magic, and to imply such is subversive misinformation spread to weaken the council from within. If you hear any such seditious falsehoods, report to Wizard McCoy for summary Debrief and Reeducation. Despite his work for the council, he doesn't get along with the Merlin, as they fought on opposite sides of the French and Indian War. He specializes in evocation, specifically Earth and Gravity magic, and is mentioned as being one of the top evocators in the world. For example, he once pulled a derelict Russian satellite out of orbit against his enemies. Think about that. He had the magical strength to reach up into fucking ORBIT to pull down a several ton satellite, and was able to control the insane force of its meteoric descent enough to bring it down on a specific target.
- Joseph Listens-to-Wind/Injun Joe A genuine Illinois medicine man, Listens-to-Wind is a Native American Wizard/Shaman, and one of the few truly decent people in the Dresden Universe. He is both a master of shapeshifting magic and healing biomancy, which isn't counting the fact that he goes back to medical school every few decades so he can keep up with current medical techniques. Generally level headed and calm, but holds plenty of anger about the fact the White Council's laws forced him to sit back and watch as his nation was destroyed. He's also a fucking genius. Think of how complex something like brain surgery is. Now imagine doing brain surgery with a current of energy you're controlling with your mind, without disrupting the electricity within the brain you're working on. Now imagine doing this and work like it every day for centuries. Call him "Injun Joe" without being Ebenezar McCoy at your own peril.
- Martha Liberty An exceedingly tall African-American Wizard, very little is known about her. Worthy of note is that she's one of the few ancient wizards who lives with her family. Most wizards move away from their families after a century or so, to avoid the pain of seeing multiple generations of your family die. Martha lives with some of her great great granddaughters.
- Ancient Mai The scariest old (human) woman you'll ever meet, ancient Mai lives up to her name. Despite being over over 400 freaking years old, she's said to retain much of her beauty, being compared to the flawless emptiness of a porcelain doll. She may or may not be the person in charge of handling contact with other supernatural powers as she sent out emissaries to both Faerie courts at the beginning of "Summer Knight", and becomes very formal and diplomatic in the presence of other supernatural powers, as we see in "Turn Coat". Her preferred form of magic is Enchantment and she is responsible for the Council's many magical constructs and golems/Wardhounds, beyond that, she is said to have "precious little gift for combat magic."
- Gregory Cristos The newest member of the Senior Council. He leads a large multi-national bloc of wizards with is what allowed him to gain his position as he neither has seniority nor much respect from the rest of the senior council. Harry and Ebenezar consider him to either be a member of the Black Council, or a useful patsy that they put in place. So he's either a Mole or Incompetent, jury is out as to which is more dangerous.
The law enforcement and military arm of the White Council. Wizards trained in combat, investigation, and warfare. Wardens enforce the Seven Laws of Magic with extreme prejudice. You break the laws, the Wardens cut your head off. Every Warden is given a unique nigh-indestructible sword that can cut through magic, and a grey cloak that doesn't stain. Considering the amount of blood involved in cutting off heads this last one is important. When the Council goes to war with the Red Court they had to increase recruitment, so a lot of the Wardens are really young, some even in their late teens. This creates a dynamic of the conservative old guard disapproving of the young upstarts' willingness to use more aggressive and unorthodox methods, while the new Wardens disagree with the old geezers' excessive caution and overly rigid interpretation of the First Law. Harry is liked by many of the younger wardens, and most of the old guard hold him in a mix of suspicion and wary respect.
- Anastasia Luccio Currently the Captain of the Wardens, formerly field commander, she is responsible for the organization, logistics, and training of the Wardens, due to necromantic body-switching psychic fuckery that ripped her out of her original body and into the much younger, magically weaker body of a grad student. She is still on of the scary members of the white council, as this switch did nothing to diminish her years of experience or masterful control, though it did weaken her magically, so she's no longer capable of forging the warden's swords as she once did (though goodness knows why she doesn't forge the enchantment while someone else does the magical heavy lifting, something the series has firmly established can be done). She's so good at fire evocation that some of her "fire" spells are more comparable to cutting lasers than anything else.
- Donald Morgan The Field Commander of the Wardens. Morgan is fanatical in his service to the White Council, and especially the Merlin and Luccio. He's down paranoid and stern after years of seeing the horrors of black magic. He specializes in Earth Magic, and was said to be one of the best evocators alive, capable of doing quick and dirty like no one else. In a singular moment of unrivalled badassery he once lured a nigh-unkillable evil shapeshifter called a skinwalker (Naagloshii) onto a nuclear testing site, and escaped to through a portal seconds before the nuke went off.
- Carlos Ramirez A "classically Spanish" Warden, Carlos is the youngest ever Regional Commander in the wardens, and one of Harry's few allies in the White Council. Witty, skilled, courageous, and something of a womanizer (though he may or may not actually be a virgin). He specializes in Water magic, specifically entropy magic, and is more than capable of hurling disintegration beams around in combat.
- "Wild" Bill Meyers: Warden in charge of the Southwest, specializes in earth magic and has been seen toting around a double barreled shotgun and a combat knife.
- (Yuki?)Yoshimo: Japanese Warden known to use biomancy and wind magic, carries around a silver katana, distant relative of Shiro Yoshimo(see: Knights of the Cross)
- Justin DuMorne: Harry's abusive adoptive father and first magic mentor. A former Warden and secret Warlock (Black Magic) user, DuMorne adopted Harry with the intent of raising him to be his Black-Magic-using underling. When Harry got lucky and stumbled onto his mentor's plans before he could impliment them, DuMorne tried to mentally enslave him. Harry began his long and illustrious career using Nike-Jutsu and ran the fuck away. Harry escaped into the "care" of his godmother, the Leanansidhe, after a brief stint of robbery and Outsider-Slaying. Lea then offered to make a faustian pact with him: she would give Harry the power required to defeat DuMorne. In exchange, he would belong to her. Harry then killed DuMorne in a magic duel, and did everything he could to snub his godmother on the deal. He may or may not have been a member of the Black Council.
The Seven Laws of Magic
The Laws of Magic that the White Council enforces, for damned good reasons.
- Thou Shalt not Kill (no murdering... with magic, anyway)
- Thou Shalt not Transform Others (no human transmutation)
- Thou Shalt not Invade the Mind of Another (no mind reading)
- Thou Shalt not Enthrall Another (no mind control)
- Thou Shalt not Reach Beyond the Borders of Life (no resurrecting the dead)
- Thou Shalt not Swim Against the Currents of Time (no time travel)
- Thou Shalt not Open the Outer Gates (no inviting Cthulhu and his buddies over for a beer)
It's worth noting that the first five laws are as such because they involve the usage of Black Magic. Black Magic twists and corrupts the user, eroding their self control and making them more likely to use Black Magic in the future. The Sixth and Seventh Laws are there because violating them is a Bad Idea, as mucking with time or summoning outsiders tends to fuck reality to a larger or greater extent. It's theorized that messing with time or summoning the wrong outsider could destroy time and space, but considering that time and space still exist, many beings question this. The laws are also really, really nebulous sometimes. Does it break the first law to push a rock off a cliff if that rock crushes a person? Does it break the second law to repair a congenital deformity? Does it break the third law to help heal someone whose mind has been damaged? Does it break the fourth law to put someone to sleep to help them avoid being damaged by mental magic? Does it break the fifth law to resuscitate a patient whose heart has stopped? As for the sixth and seventh laws, it's worth pointing out that if you're moving (which literally everyone is all the time), you're technically altering your own flow of time (for some reason Merlin was capable of using relative positioning in time to create a five-dimensional prison, but somehow didn't write any relativity clauses for his Laws? Come on Merlin, this shit is important). If you slow down your own movement through time relative to Earth, you aren't "swimming against the currents of time," you're just grabbing a rock and holding on for a bit. As if that weren't enough, different places within the Nevernever have time that flows faster or slower than Earth time. If you step off into an area of the Nevernever whose time moves faster than Earth's, for the express purpose of giving yourself more time relative to Earth, does that break the sixth law? The seventh law is the only one that's pretty much black and white, and is also the most important by far. Laws 1-5 only apply when the victim is a human being, so you can do whatever you want to vampires, ghouls, demons, demon-possessed, faeries, etc.
The Black Council?
The Black Council is a rumoured collection of mysterious entities and individuals that may or may not be seeking to throw all of existence under their mighty thumb through use of Black Magic. There's a lot more to it, but we can't go into it without entering some major spoilers. According to the Merlin, and thusly most of the White council, they DO NOT EXIST, and to say otherwise is sedition. The Merlin is almost certainly smart enough to recognize their existence, but believes that even if they do exist, acknowledging them as a real and credible threat would do nothing but drive up their recruitment rates among the more ambitious or rebellious members of the White Council.
The Fellowship of St. Giles
Named after the patron saint of outcasts and lepers. These guys are composed mainly of half-vampires of the Red Court and hate full vampires, but they take all types of outcasts and they have support network of catholic monks in secluded Latin American monasteries. If you're a fugitive from the White Council who thinks they can still do some good, they'll take you. If you're a monster who hates your own kind, they'll take you. If you want to be a weird edgy guy and an underdog with a sense of justice, you're basically these guys. The catch is, a lot of the stuff they do in the name of fighting evil is pretty shady itself. They're not as powerful or well-entrenched as some other factions so they rely on the underworld (the criminal one) a lot more. As a result, the old adage about one man's freedom fighter being another man's terrorist holds pretty strongly to them. There is also evidence that they harbor Warlocks. They spend all of their time waging a guerrilla war against the Red Court; but as of Changes, they've effectively disbanded due to REASONS. (Spoiler reasons.) The half-vamps are able to maintain a semblance of self-control through magic tattoos that appear when their bloodlust reaches dangerous levels, warning both the half-vamp and his/her allies that he/she is about to lose it and make for the nearest available source of blood.
Largely unrelated supernatural predators that all feed off of humans parasitically. They are also called "Anthrophages", and are almost all World of Darkness style tortured edgelords on the surface and pathetic, delusional World of Darkness style jerkwads underneath.
The White Court of Vampires/ "Whampires"
Psychic vampires that inspire a specific emotion in mortals which they use as a conduit to extract their life force. Those that feed off lust can make you debilitatingly aroused whether you like it or not, and if they actually feed on you the affect is addictive. Very pale and very beautiful on the outside, but their souls are bound to a hideous demon called the Hunger, which provides longevity and super strength in return for life energy. They reproduce by having children the old fashioned way. As a rule they don't tell their kids about their heritage until they grow up and lose their virginity. Upon having sex for the first time, the dormant Hunger awakens and completely devours their partner's life force, leaving the newly awakened vampire in bed with the corpse of their lover, traumatized, terrified, and confused. The vampire parent then swoops in and tells their child of its heritage and how normal this is and that it was okay to kill the human, after all, it was only food. It's also not entirely uncommon for the parent to rape the child as a way of displaying dominance and making their child subservient (see previous statement about addictive supernatural sex). Needless to say, they all have massive psychological baggage, creating a self sustaining cycle of trauma. The only way to escape this fate is to lose one's virginity to one who is in True Love with the young vampire, as White Court Vampires are harmed by True Love (which is actually pretty fucking hard to find, and is a rather nebulous concept in the first place), a dormant Hunger will be killed by the first exposure to True Love. It's implied that feeding off lust is the "natural" Feeding method of the white court, though some individuals/families/houses will feed of fear or despair, though the choice is implied to be more preference or tradition than anything else. White court vampires mainly inhabit first world countries since they prefer refinement and sophistication, where they try to use their influence to create an atmosphere of zero inhibitions, zero limits, zero restraint, while paradoxically espousing self control and careful manipulation(despite claiming to be subtle and intelligent, most of them aren't particularly smart, having gotten by largely due to their innate ability to make people horny against their will) . They also have a really annoying habit of calling humans Kine, Bucks, and Does. As far as physical abilities go, White Court vampires are typically no stronger or faster than an especially healthy human in peak condition. They can, however, draw upon their Hunger to throw a canister of NoS in the system, temporarily ramping up their physical abilities to supersoldier levels and giving them improved healing, senses, and combat instincts. They won't be throwing around cars or anything, but they can go toe to toe with Black or Red Court vampires, if only for a short time. Doing this makes them really Hungry, and makes them much more vulnerable to Love. According to WoJ, the Hunger can be exorcised from an awoken Whampire by a being of sufficient power, but there wouldn't be much of the Whampire left over afterwards. Its implied that they White Court first arose in ancient Etruria, a precursor civilization to Rome. The Court is organized into a series of Houses, with the ruling body being a triumvirate composed of House Raith(Lust), House Malvora(Fear), and House Skavis(Despair) who ruthlessly jockey for power, Raith has been at the top for centuries, but as of the beginning of Blood Rites their power base has been eroding.
- The White King: A rapist, murderer, billionaire, and owner of the vast majority of the american porn industry, the White King is the metaphorical(as opposed the the literal psychic manifestation) personification of squick, but wrapped up in a visually appealing package. He controls the pornography industry so he can manipulate popular conceptions of sexuality and beauty, making it easier for him and his kind to feed while making people shallow enough so that they have trouble finding True Love.
- Lara Raith: the White King's eldest surviving child, she's smarter than her father, but since he regularly rapes her, completely subservient to him. In the presence of regular people, she's basically a goddess(once again, metaphorically as opposed to the literal); confident, smart, attractive, etc (but she's also kind of an evil bitch). In the presence of her father, she's cowed and submissive. You'd almost feel sorry for her if she wasn't power-hungry and dangerous.
- Thomas Raith: the White King's only surviving son (he kills them when they get old enough to oppose him, since, while he's willing to rape his daughters into psychic submission, he's too picky an eater to do the same with his sons.) He's pretty bro-tier with Harry and unbeknownst to most they're secretly SPOILERS, but everyone thinks that they're just lovers (which, ironically, they aren't). He's managed to survive so far by projecting the image of an unambitious party boy (which he is to an extent because he enjoys the facade) and is quite savvy when it comes to politics. His Hunger is the second or third strongest in the White Court, meaning that he needs to feed a lot more but the power boost it provides is greater than the average whampire's.
- Justine: Human thrall and the love of Thomas' life. At the beginning of the series appears to be a vapid bimbo who's just addicted to Thomas's dick (literally), she shows increasing intelligence, courage, and level-headedness as time goes on. Displays symptoms of bipolar disorder and histrionic personality disorder, but Thomas feeding on her keeps those symptoms in check. Their relationship somehow manages to be the most stable, genuine romantic pairing that hasn't progressed to marriage (purely for political reasons, Thomas can't let the rest of the Whampires know that Justine means something to him) in the entire series, despite Thomas having bang with other women to sate his Hunger, something Justine later actually participates in (the protection of True Love is removed by sex with someone you don't love, so after Justine bangs a girl, she and Thomas can have a three-way w/o her burning his flesh on contact).
- Madrigal Raith: one of the White Court's many, many, many smug idiots who have fooled themselves into thinking that they're geniuses, despite the only reason for their success being their inhuman good looks. Nephew of the White King, he feeds on fear. He's incompetent, petty, and overly sure of himself.
- Madeline Raith: Madrigal's sister(not that they actually care about each other) and a vacuous, short sighted, immature bitch who Lara would have offed long ago if it weren't for her inherited fortune, good looks, and political standing in the White Court.
- Lord Skavis: ruler of House Skavis and known misogynist
- Lady Cesarina Malvora: ruler of House Malvora
The Red Court of Vampires/"Rampires"
Mesoamerican blood sucking vampires. They can create a beautiful disguise or "flesh mask" over a hideous bat-like body (without wings), but the flesh mask combusts in direct sunlight. They are physically stronger than humans and much faster. They also pacify their prey with hypnotic eyes and narcotic saliva (no, really). They reproduce by turning people into half-vampires. The half vampire then gains an insatiable thirst for blood and super strength, but retains their human appearance and mind (well, most of it). Upon killing a human by draining their blood, the transformation completes and their strength increases, turning them into a deluded blood addict with an unjustified god complex (they actually have to kill someone by feeding off of them, it's a metaphysical thing - so no, they don't get full powers by drinking a body's worth of blood from blood banks). They're mainly concentrated around Central and South America, where they use their connections to the cartels to benefit from human trafficking. The source of their supernatural power is the blood they have consumed, which is stored in their distended stomachs. Cutting a rampire's stomach open causes them to lose their strength and power(they also start bleeding out, which is nice). The Court is organized around a combination of feudalism(an influence of the Spanish) and traditional Mayan and Aztec society. At the top is the Red King, progenitor of their species. Below him are the Lords of Outer Night, Rampires of direct mayan descent who have masquerades as gods for millennia. Below them are the Dukes/Duchesses and Barons/Baronesses. Below them are standard initiated Rampires. Below them are half-vampire collaborators, who serve as "priests" to the upper echelons and general servants. At the bottom of the ladder are Los Esclavos de Sangre(the blood slaves), vampires who have given in completely to their blood addiction and have subsequently lost all higher mental functions and the ability to create a flesh mask, they are treated as expendable scum and vermin by the rest of the Court. Another caste that is somewhat outside the social structure is the Jaguar Warriors, who are the personal soldiers and bodyguards of the Lords of Outer Night and can be both half and full Rampires. Social mobility is based on a variety of factors including control over bloodlust, age, and race(those of pure Mayan descent being favored over europeans and mestizos). Its heavily implied that the vampire Lords of Outer Night took the place of the actual, divine Mayan gods, and are secretly afraid that their predecessors will return to exact divine judgement on their blasphemous asses.
- The Red King/Kukulkan: Progenitor of the Red Court and maniacal despot, the Red King has been around at since the time of the Classical Maya, possibly even before. He's masqueraded as a god throughout central american history, reaping the benefits of centuries of blood sacrifice. Evil, arrogant, and (sometimes) insane.
- Duchess Arianna Ortega: The Red King's daughter (unconfirmed if that's in a biological or purely vampire sense). Sadistic, scheming, vengeful, and has a literal love-hate relationship with her husband.
- Duke Paolo Ortega: Arianna's pussywhipped husband, a former Spanish conquistador and the Red Court's main wetworks operator, Arianna married him specifically for the purpose of making him suffer for his role in toppling the Aztec Empire (which she and her kind exploited).
- Bianca St.Claire: Red Court Vampire in charge of prostitution in Chicago. Surprisingly civil for a vampire, though still willing to murder the fuck out of someone if she needs to. Is implied to have a fair bit of self hatred, being very concerned about her image and wanting to be beautiful. Still a scheming, dangerous, hateful bitch though.
- Esmeralda and Esteban Batiste: The "Eebs" are a married couple of Red Court vampires and assassins. While "married" pairs of assassins are common in the Red Court, it's only because married couples attract less attention when traveling. The Eebs however are genuine lovers, on account of having complimentary insanities. They also happen to be swingers, which unnerves most of their targets when they flirt with them. They're also really short.
The Black Court of Vampires/"Blampires"
Classic "Bram Stoker's Dracula" vampires. They have all the folklore weaknesses, garlic, crosses, running water, etc. In appearance, they resemble rotting or mummified corpses so they can't pass for human without using magic to create illusions or make people ignore them. They compensate by hitting like fucking trucks, being nigh un-killable by conventional means, and being able to create more vampires extremely quickly (no half or dormant stage). The more powerful ones can walk around in sunlight freely, like Dracula did originally. In fact, the novel "Dracula" was written as a secret guide to killing them (commissioned and financed by the White Court), as a result they are almost extinct, with the survivors being extremely good at being hard to kill (which means not popping up and making more vampires whenever they want). Most of them are hiding all over the world. The Court no longer has any formal structure and is instead divided into solitary survivors and independent cells called Scourges each headed by a Master Vampire who maintains significant mental influence over the Scourge's lesser vampires (whose level intelligence can range from normal human to mindless avatar of the Master Vampire's will), Renfields, and regular thralls. Killing the Master Vampire does not cure the vampires or the Renfields, but the regular thralls might recover with time, and the lesser vampires will be left without leadership. Blampires need to feed less often than Rampires, but their feedings tend to be more fatal and can potentially create new Blampires out of their victims' corpses, meaning that any new Scourge needs to be put down fast before it gets out of hand. WoJ is that being converted into a Blampire essentially rips out the victim's soul and replaces it with a mass of pure evil and Black Magic that merely happens to be shaped like a soul. So in a sense, once turned, a Blampire isn't really the human it was before, it may have all the memories of the person, but its really just a sentient undead construct driven by dark power.
- Vlad Tepes/Dracula/The Black King: Yeah, really. Dracula. He may or may not have been the progenitor of the Black Court(WoJ is that he was the first Black Court vampire and that he created the court out of a desire to impress his dad, Drakul, a being on par with Mab) it isn't really clear. It's implied that his father was a demon lord. Or possibly a dragon. Look, so far he's only gotten a couple of throwaway lines in two of the books.
- Mavra: An ancient master vampire wizard and walking corpse who seems determined to have beef with Harry.
- "No Ear": Mavra's field lieutenant
- Renfields: The Black Court's thralls and dumb muscle, humans who have been brainwashed into mindless killing machines. The name is taken from the character in Bram Stoker's Dracula. The process of being turned into a Renfield (being mentally tortured, mostly) is irreversible and the Renfields end up killing themselves, whigging out and going berzerk, or otherwise self destructing after a varying length of time.
The Jade Court of Vampires/"Jampires(?)"
Mentioned only once, in Death Masks. WoJ is that the Jade Court is extremely secretive, but well entrenched in the Yangtze River basin in China. The leadership is even more conservative than that of the Council, being composed of Qin dynasty era isolationists who are still suspicious of the whole notion of modern China(presumably they're waiting to see if the relatively young People's Republic of China implodes like the majority of China's past governments). Fan consensus is that they're Chinese Jiangshi who feed off of their victim's qi.
Beings from the part of the spirit world (the Nevernever) closest to the real world, a region called The Land of Faerie or just Faerie. They are extremely diverse in mentality and appearance, but all share two similarities; they cannot tell an outright lie (but can still deceive people with precise wording) and iron burns them to the touch. They also have an obsession with the number three. They can't really be fairly called good or evil, as they tend to work with different codes of morality and conduct than humans. The Faeries are ruled by the Queens of the Fae and Sidhe nobles, inhumanly graceful, beautiful, ageless beings with cat eyes and varying degrees of insanity and obsession with bargains. Faeries tend to seem deceptive if not outright insane to humans, though this is just as often the result of misunderstanding by one or both parties as it is the result of malice (though it's often both). A good example of this is Harry's relationship with his godmother, the Leanansidhe. To Harry she seems like a malicious, scheming, dangerous faery bitch who keeps trying to entrap him, manipulate him, or turn him into a dog. To Lea, her godson seems like a misguided, arrogant, lost young man who doesn't appreciate her gifts; after all, you need trial and adversity to grow strong, and if he wanted out, he could always just join her hounds and live happily by her side. Neither are really evil, per se, they just have drastically different outlooks on life, so it takes them years to understand each other's perspective. Even later on when they get something almost resembling a working relationship, their respective actions often seem incomprehensible, if somewhat predictable. This relationship is somewhat indicative of all interactions between the fae and mortals. Whether their actions fuck you over or help you out, their motivations may or may not seem entirely antithetical to their goal by human reasoning, so miscommunication and misunderstanding by both parties is often a factor. If you must interact with one of the fae, a general rule of thumb is to be polite, be specific, take no idea or sentiment for granted, and carry some iron. If you manage to piss them off, get ready for a lifetime of paranoia, because the Fae NEVER forget a grudge, and, being functionally immortal, they have all the time in the world to plot their revenge. And don't call the Sidhe faeries, they don't like that. All faeries harbor a fascination with mortals often mixed with disdain, WoJ is that all fae have a tiny piece of mortal within them(not necessarily that they're all former Changelings, but that they straddle the line between the material and spirit worlds).
Each Court has three Queens, The Queen Who Was(The Mother), The Queen Who Is(The Queen), and The Queen Who Is To Be(The Lady)
It's worthy of note that each Queen has different duties to her court and to creation as a whole, and the Knights have different duties to each queen. Just what those duties are is rather unclear, although it's becoming somewhat less so as the series goes on, though they can't be mentioned without EXTREME SPOILERS. But in terms of power, the Ladies (Maeve and Aurora) are implied to being somewhere on par with a member of the Senior Council. The Queens are an order of magnitude above them, being far above any one mortal practitioner, with a sheer magical muscle that's speculated to rival Lesser Angels and Demon Lords. The Mothers are an order of magnitude above THEM, having a sort of limited omniscience, and being so powerful as to be more or less untouchable to anything short of a god, though the Mothers overtly use their power the least. As for the knights, it's implied that at least within winter, the Knight is a champion to the Queen, a consort to the Lady, and... Possibly a student to the mother? A punching bag? Lunch? We don't really know yet. The same may or may not be true of Summer. They're regularly equated with other "triple goddesses" such as the Greek Fates, the Scandinavian Norns, and Hecate.
The Lady and The Queen keep their vassal fae in line, set policy for the Court, and look out for the interests of the Court as a whole, running the day to day operations of the Court, with The Lady being more involved in smaller affairs and The Queen handling the bigger picture. The Mothers seem to act as the spiritual matriarchs of their respective courts, not being involved in day to day affairs, but commanding immense respect throughout the entirety of the Land of Faerie, they've essentially retired from politics and instead oversee the whole of Nature itself.
The Queens are forbidden to kill any human not directly involved with the fae courts, but that doesn't mean that they can't turn you into a living stone statue, enchant you into a magic slumber, turn you into a prey animal to eventually be devoured by predators, or simply beat you to within an inch of death, crippling you for life. Also, "directly involved" means anyone currently in a bargain with or in debt to winter or summer fae.
The Sidhe (pronounced shee) are the ruling nobility of the Summer and Winter Courts. The vast majority behave and look like a disturbing combination of Tolkein's elves and WH40K Eldar; otherworldly and beautiful, but also having questionable intentions and sanity. For the most part, they have white hair, cat eyes, and almost perfect physical beauty, but when they're particularly weakened, they become gaunt and alien in appearance. They have an innate ability to use magic. However, Sidhe can diverge greatly from this description, as any sufficiently powerful faerie in the Summer or Winter Court can be elevated to the position of Sidhe and become one of the nobility. For example, if a troll somehow manages to gain enough magic power, it might be welcomed into the ranks of the gentry, it might even decide to shape-shift into the basic quasi-elf form of the regular Sidhe. Alternatively, a Changeling could have one of the Sidhe as his or her inhuman parent, and upon Choosing might be automatically elevated to noble status. The Queens all technically belong to this subgroup of Fae. For the Sidhe, magic is as easy as breathing, its an intrinsic part of their being, although they interpret it differently from wizards and thus their magic has its own strengths and weaknesses.
- A Note on Glamour: Glamour is the legendary power of illusion that all Fae can utilize to some extent. Using Glamour, a faerie can create the appearance of something and simulate the emotional and sensory stimulations of that appearance. For example, if a Fae were to use Glamour to create the illusion of a sword, anyone hit with the sword would "feel" and "see" the sword biting into their flesh, even though there would be no actual physical effect. Or a powerful Fae could create Glamoured "walls" around his/her home that look and feel like actual walls, trying to climb them will result in either injury or unnecessary hard work depending on how much effort was put into the illusion's effect on others. One cannot directly kill with Glamour, but the the pain induced by it can potentially lead to shock if the Glamour is powerful enough (keep in mind that this level of skill with Glamour is not the norm in Faerie). Glamour is part of reason why its a really bad idea for to accept food or drink from the Fae; it could look like a five course meal, but it could really be day old goat's intestines for all you know, or worse, you could be eating nothing real at all and slowly waste away without noticing it over time. Fortunately, Glamoured food tends to be ... over the top, there's usually something off about the way it looks or smells that sets it apart from real food. Surprisingly, the Fae actually prefer to eat mortal food due to their obsession with mortals, Glamoured food is usually used to tempt mortals into a debt or spice up bland meals. One can see through Glamour using True-Seeing ointment, even if the Glamour is purely auditory or olfactory(the ointment is just a topically absorbed potion applied to the eyelids). Sometimes, a strong enough mind will enable one to see through Glamours.
The Unseelie Court/The Winter Court
The wicked court embodying the season of winter, cold logic, ruthlessness, and predatory instincts(but also self-sacrifice and learning through experience). Not necessarily "evil" but almost universally predatory and dangerous. Even if you're "allied" with winter, they're just as likely to "help you" by throwing obstacles in your path to help you grow and learn (or die horribly) as they are to directly aid you. They're still good for their word, just make sure that their word is EXACTLY what you want it to be. Winter Itself is also a force/element/mantle/power thing that the Queens and Knight seem to be able to tap into that takes different forms depending on its user, but generally manifests as an almost limitless supply of cold, ice, and blackness. The capital of Winter is Arctis Tor, a massive fortress made of ice and the bones of Mab's enemies situated at the top of a mountain in the Land of Faerie.
- Queen Mab: Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness, is the leader of the Winter Court and a ruthless, hyperlogical ice queen. Her likes include machiavellian schemes, amassing power for her court, torture, and metaphorically emasculating Harry Dresden. Do not piss her off, EVER, she'll either destroy everything you hold dear or torture you to the point of insanity, and if she really (dis)likes you, she might just heal you so she can start all over again. Not necessarily evil, but cold, businesslike, and utterly without pity or mercy. When she's in the mood, her voice will give you involuntary wood, when she's angry, her voice causes those who hear it intense physical pain.
- Lady Maeve: Mab's sadistic, irresponsible, nympho-maniacal bitch of daughter. Crazy beautiful, crazy dangerous, and crazy insane. Think Dark Eldar jailbait and you get the right idea. Since she regularly shirks her duties, she's partly responsible for Winter's reputation of senseless cruelty. Don't get me wrong, winterfae are naturally ultraviolent, but under Queen Mab those traits are controlled and channeled towards productive and ultimately positive endeavors, under Maeve, the winterfae just run wild and skullfuck people. WoJ is that she was the product of a union between Mab and an unnamed Austrian composer who died young.
- Mother Winter: Possibly the scariest character in the Dresden Files, and one heavily implied to literally be Death, which means Mother Summer is Taxes. Imagine every wicked witch story ever, distilled into a being of godlike power with the disposition of of a cranky grandmother from the old country. She's almost evil to cartoon-villain levels, to the point where she thinks the apocalypse would be a great time, and the mass murder of infants just means its lunch time. She manages to avoid being truly ridiculous by being... I think pure would be the best way to put it; she's got that cynical, jaded point of view that old people sometimes get as a result of living too long or seeing too much. She's every wicked, sadistic, cruel impulse you've ever had, but with none of the passion or drive that gave you that, all wrapped up with a delightfully blunt apathy. She's a mean old iron toothed she-bear who would rip you the fuck up if she ever cared enough to leave her cave. She's terrifying, but you also feel sorry for her because she spends almost all her time wallowing in misery, even though you know that her idea of fun usually involves genocide. She doesn't leave her cottage often on account of losing her walking stick, and here "walking stick" means artifact of immense power that mortal minds interpret as a walking stick. The good news is that she's sort of helpful in a survival of the fittest kind of way. Kind of. Also worthy of note is that she's the only fae who can touch iron, having iron cutting utensils and iron teeth, something that Harry has zero explanation for. She lives in a small cottage with Mother Summer, with whom she gets along with surprisingly well. WoJ is that she's also Baba Yaga, and presumably every other old witch throughout legend. She is also the biological mother of Mab and Titania.
- The Winter Knight: the faerie queens cannot kill any mortal not directly linked to the fae courts, so the Winter Knight was developed as a workaround, essentially being the Queens' mortal champion. The mantle can heal great injuries, enhance your strength and speed to olympic+ levels, and grants even non-wizard knights a degree of control over ice and snow. Such power is not without it's downsides though. Winter Knights become increasingly territorial and violent over time, often becoming prone to violence, addiction, and rape. So Winter Knights can start out all normal (though your average candidate is chosen by the queens for being a badass and/or a stone cold killer), but they eventually turn into disturbed Vaas Montenegro motherfuckers. When they are killed or eventually burn out, the queen removes the Mantle of the Winter Knight from the corpse and holds it until a suitable replacement is found. While in theory the mantle is some kind of supernatural steroid given to you by the queens, it's theorized by some characters as the series goes on that what it actually does is increase testosterone and adrenaline production, disable the body's inhibitors, and create a conduit to Winter within the Knight. This is supported by the fact that the Knights only rarely demonstrate physical power beyond that which is possible by people in absolute peak condition, and the increase in testosterone would explain their increasingly dickish attitudes(although there is evidence that it does actually increase strength in addition to the removing inhibitors) . As of the book Summer Knight, the Winter Knight is Lloyd Slate, a heroin addict, rapist, and murderer.
- (In)Famous Winter Knights: Gilles de Rais, Fritz Haarman, John Haigh, and Andrei Chikatilo, all of whom were serial killers and rapists. The only past Winter Knight we hear about who wasn't an absolute scumbag was Tam Lin, a character in Scottish mythology.
- The Leanansidhe / Lea: Mab's handmaiden/henchmaiden, and implied to be the third most powerful creature in the Unseelie Court after only Mab and Mother Winter. Also Harry's godmother. Comes from Celtic mythology where the Leanan Sidhe was a beautiful muse who would offer inspiration at the cost of driving the artist insane and putting them in a premature grave. She commands a pack of hunting hounds which may be Cu-Sith, or Black Hounds. Genuinely loves her godson, but because she's winterfae, that love takes odd forms, such as trying to turn him into a hunting hound (believing he'd be happier and safer that way, she might have a point), and torturing him (believing strength comes from pain). Contrary to what you might expect, she's actually quite civil and pleasant on the rare occasion she gets the chance to have a peaceful chat with her Godson.
- The Redcap: A truly sadistic fuckwad who pretends to helps travelers on the road before killing them while they are asleep and using their fresh blood to dye his hat. Has a serious hate-boner for Harry. Insists on being called THE Redcap, so there may be more of him, just lesser.
- Jenny Greenteeth: Matriarch of the swamp hags and shellycobbs, she looks like an attractive twenty something (she's much older) but with green teeth, and gets wet at the thought of drowning somebody, even in something as shallow as a bowl of punch, which is coincidentally about as deep as her aspirations in life. Maeve's henchwoman.
- Malks: Psychotic cheshire cats that travel in packs, known to have weird voices. They have a vicious but cowardly mentality, a single one might attack you, but only if your back is turned or its superiors gave it a direct order to. They'll only willingly engage in head on assaults if they're accompanied by other Malks
- Cat Sidhe/Cat Sith/Eldest Malk: Is said to be the progenitor of all Malks. Thus being the boss, he's slightly bigger than other malks and considerably more dangerous. Unlike the rest of his kind, he is more than willing to face his prey head on and is notably defiant where a regular Malk would be cowed. He serves as Mab's henchman, and can serve as a snarky, passive agressive butler in a pinch. Known to be a cold motherfucker, but also gives good advice. Seriously badass; he's quiet and deadly enough that he can pull a supernaturally fast sidhe out of a group of equally fast sidhe who don't notice that anything happened until he tears out the sidhe's spinal column and throws it at them. Seriously, the rest of Winter is terrified of him.
- Grimalkin: A larger than average malk who seems to be a personal aide and pet to the Queens. Could also be spelled as Greymalkin as his name comes from an archaic term for a cat or a spiteful old woman.
- Fetches: Shapeshifters who feed on fear, they serve as Mab's elite spies and assassins. Notable for making a White Court Vampire who literally ate fear nearly shit himself in terror. In an ironic turn that particular vamp was a total pussy.
- Eldest Fetch: The biggest and scariest Fetch. Masqueraded as a movie monster called "Scarecrow", which was essentially the Great Pumpkin on crack, and probably the lawyer friendly version of the monster from the Pumpkinhead movies. VERY magic resistant and strong.
- Trolls: green haired, man-eating brutes who are afraid of sunlight, serve the Queen as bodyguards and blacksmiths. (In)Famous for making Thorn Manacles which make it almost completely impossible for any mortal practitioner to cast magic while wearing them (You just need a very, very, very high pain threshold, and a shit-tonne of power).
- Hobs: Hairless, eyeless, baboon-like monsters who resemble nightmarish hybrids between apes and dogs, also afraid of sunlight. They compensate by conjuring supernatural mist called "myrk" that covers their surroundings in darkness and extinguishes all light sources. Known to wield crude stone and bronze weapons. They have a reputation for dragging their prey with them to Faerie, screaming and alive into lightless burrows.
- Shellycobbs: Giant crustaceans who like to drown people.
- Rawheads: ("Rawhead and Bloody Bones" in full) Monsters made out of the meat and bones from corpses that they've eaten, starting out small they are usually born from piles of discarded waste at slaughterhouses or abattoirs, feasting on rats and other small creatures, before they work their way up the food-chain. They look like skinless flesh golems cobbled together from a butcher shop's dumpster with Minotaur horns. Have a neverending supply of blood to creepily drip down their body. Somehow. The threat these things pose is seemingly inconsistent as Harry is able to take one out in "Welcome to the Jungle" (where it was also walking on train tracks which are iron WTH?), but one in Cold Days remains a perpetual menace from beginning to end.
- Snow/Winter Ogre: presumably what happens when an ogre permanently swears allegiance to Winter. Eight foot tall brutes covered in yellow-white fur
- Giant bats: Bats that are giant. Apparently intelligent enough to speak, as they can sing "Happy Birthday" somewhat intelligibly. Serve as a sort of airforce for winter.
- Giant Spiders: gigantic orb weaver spiders who are known to haunt the paths through Winter's territory. They're known to appear in cooperative groups but they'll feed on one of their own fallen without remorse.
- Manticores: one appeared at Arctis Tor in Cold Days
- Swamp Hags: one appeared at Arctis Tor in Cold Days
- Miksani: fae who live in the Aleutian isles, a simple, dignified folk, can change between human and cormorant forms
The Seelie Court/The Summer Court
Embodying the season of summer, passion, empathy, understanding, and growth. They're the more Disney of the faerie courts, in that they seem "good", but they're also largely paranoid, lawful stupid, and distrustful of anyone who doesn't conform to their own standards of virtue. Prone to favoring art and superficial "goodness" over practicality and inner fortitude. Generally good neighbors as Harry puts it, but still subject to the same misunderstandings and dangerous bargains as the Winter Court, the distinction being that while a Winter Fae might drag you into the water so they can fuck you while you drown, a Summer Fae might invite you to join them for a quick party (that happens to last 100 years, and they'll be deeply, murderously offended if you leave early) or they might bring you along into the Land of Faerie to play and dance with them, forever and ever and ever. Somewhat less likely to murderfuck you than winter, but by no means safe. If Winter is a pack of wolves, Summer is herd of bison, usually docile but extremely dangerous if provoked.
- Queen Titania: Titania, Queen of Life and Light, is Mab's sister and leader of the Summer Court. She believes in "the wisdom of the heart", which includes being more ruled by her emotions in contrast to Mab's coldly logical disposition; she follows her heart even if it tells her to kill someone who she doesn't like despite the consequences (although she can sometimes control herself). Is currently estranged from Mab, having not spoken for the next best thing to a millennium. Once threatened to feed someone who offended her to her garden alive, keeping them conscious and in constant pain for virtually an eternity, so as you can see, passion and emotion are hardly always nice.
- Lady Aurora: Titania's daughter, a compassionate and wise character.
- Mother Summer: Possibly the most level headed character in the Dresden Files. Imagine everything compassionate and understanding distilled into a being of godlike power with the disposition of everyone's favorite grandmother, though she usually speaks in metaphorical or obfuscated manners. She lives with Mother Winter in a small cottage, and they get along surprisingly well, despite being polar and literal opposites. While Mother Winter has only been shown to display bitterness towards those who meet her, a result of her endless disappointment with all beings lesser than her(a category that extends to the majority of humans and fae), Mother Summer has shown nothing but kindness to her visitors. The two have been known to bicker over each other's treatment of their guests, Mother Summer claiming that Mother Winter is being rude and cruel, while Mother Winter claiming that Mother Summer coddles them too much for them to really become strong.
- The Summer Knight: The faerie courts are locked in a constant struggle, so anything Winter does, Summer will likely try to counteract it. The Summer Knight was created as a way to oppose the Winter Knight, essentially being Titania's mortal champion. Theoretically, whoever holds the position is to defend those mortals that winter seeks to kill, and is instilled with magical power and enhanced strength. Like the winter knight, he must pay for this power. His identity will slowly erode under the strain of compulsive blind loyalty to Titania and a hardwired predisposition towards Lawful Stupid. So Summer Knights can start out normal, but they eventually turn into ineffectual paladin-types who abide by a code of "morality and honor" that is both obsolete and impractical. When they are killed or eventually burn out, the queen removes the Mantle of the Summer Knight from the corpse and holds it until a suitable replacement is found. As of the book Summer Knight, the title is held by Ronald Reuel, an old man and an artist.
- Gruffs: Goat headed satyrs who are really good at killing trolls. Serve Titania as supernatural wetworkers and enforcers.
- Eldest Gruff The eldest Gruff, and a serious badass. He's also pretty bro-tier. Unlike his younger brothers, who are progressively bigger and better armed, he's a tiny guy who looks like an old goat-headed man who needs his walking stick, but he's an enormously powerful spell-caster, having defeated at least three Senior Council members in Wizard's duels, and casually blasting away a being that Harry's magic could barely scratch.
- Centaurs: You know what a centaur is. They serve Summer in the Dresdenverse, fighting as cavalry when called to war.
- Giant bees/wasps: Bees that are giant. Duh. Serve as Summer's airforce.
- Elfs(Elves?): Think more Santa's workshop/germanic myth, and less Tolkien. Short, good with bows, agile.
- Unicorns: A "unicorn" is a horsey with a single horn on its head, but you knew that already. In the Dresdenverse, they're empaths who are attracted to purity. Unicorn hair has extreme tensile strength relative to its thickness and can be used to make ultra-strong, ultra-thin rope
All the faeries who aren't part of Summer or Winter. More populous than both courts but more fragmented. It Winter and Summer are Cold War Warsaw Pact and NATO, the Wyldfae are everyone else.
- The Little Folk: the stereotypical modern view of "fairies". Tiny people with insect wings. Most of therm have extremely short attention spans and the outlook of particularly hyperactive children, causing most people to dismiss them as stooges (and for the most part, they're not wrong in this assumption). However, despite(or rather because) of their insignificance, people tend not to notice them, meaning that they make good spies. Many of them have an addiction to mortal food, particularly pizza, making them easy to bribe. They all have a fear of cats, felines being their natural predator. Note that they are nominally wyldfae but they can be individually aligned with either Winter or Summer as a result of various circumstances.
- Toot Toot: Harry's primary "henchman", he leads a cohort of lesser faeries he calls "The Za-Lord's Guard", on account of Harry paying them in pizza. He's kind of oblivious and not especially intelligent, but makes up for it with cunning and genuine bravery, being willing to fight just about anything on Harry's behalf. Interestingly, he's been growing throught the books, being no larger than any other of his kind in Storm Front, but as of Cold Days he's more than a foot and a half tall. This is most likely connected to his continued service to Harry, and his role as general of the Za-Lord's guard. After all, if belief and emotion is just as real to beings of the faery as physical items, the continued trust of a wizard and the respect of dozens of your peers has to be worth something.
- Lacuna: A psychotic faerie who wears actual armor studded with hooks. Toot Toot has a crush on her that she does not reciprocate. Oddly inclined to violence, and seems to believe the Little Folk who serve Harry are hurting themselves by eating pizza, which leads many fans to speculate that she might be a tooth faery(semi confirmed by WoJ).
- Brownies: diminutive fae who clean the homes of those who earn their respect, they go away if you tell others that they clean your house
- Cobbs: diminutive fae who repair objects, mostly shoes, they cannot repai any shoe that is thrown away as trash, and doing so when they can see you has you marked for death. We're not joking about that. They will gank you.
- Ogres: Huge thugs who hire themselves as muscle to summer or winter, basically less hairy, more humanoid trolls who moonlight as mercenaries
- Goblins: Killers obsessed with the concept of hunting (doesn't matter what, so long as its entertaining), ruled by the Erlking/Herne the Hunter, no two Goblins have the same physical appearance, they can vary widely but they all have red eyes, they have been compared to ninja terminators, and a small skirmishing group of them is enough to hold in an army of Outsiders (they had help, but that still mean's they're badass).
- Tylwyth Teg: Benign shapeshifters, their king, Gwyn ap Nudd, is the reason why the Cubs lose so much, he's behind the Billy Goat Curse (but he's gotten over the insult that started the curse in the first place, he just keeps it going out of a sense of tradition, he's actually a huge baseball fan)
- Sylphs: pretty young women with razor sharp dragonfly wings, they have a degree of weather control and some are associated with storms and tornadoes. Known to eat corpses like vultures. Have been associated with both Summer and Winter so they might not be true Wyldfae but a fae species present in both Courts like the Sidhe
- Puck: An insanely powerful wyldfae lord who's ancient even among the fae. He's gone a bit crazy from both old age and boredom. He like to cause chaos among mortals for entertainment and delights in surprises and uncertainty.
- The Seelie/Unseelie Kings: The positions of Faery Kings are taken by powerful Wyldfae who represent the opposite "morality" of their court, but have a similar theme. The current Summer King is The Erlking who represents the passion of the hunt, nature red in tooth and claw, and the primal empathy between hunter and hunted, while the current Winter King is Kringle who represent togetherness and giving during bleak times, a moment of kindness in coldest Winter. This is just a political affiliation; as far as we know the title of King is just symbolic, they don't rule with or act as consorts to their respective Queens, but the Queens may still call on them with good reason..
- Kringle: Yes, that Kringle. Santa Claus is a Fae, or at least affiliated with the Fae courts. Kringle is basically the legend version of Santa where he's a jolly gift-giving warrior, minus the parts where he's weird and syphilitic. Also parts in the books casts uncertainty on if he's a fae or possibly something else from the Nevernever.
- Erlking/Herne the Hunter: The Goblin King and Lord of the Wild Hunt, the Erlking is equal to the Queens of Summer and Winter in power. He generally appears on Earth during Halloween, when he leads the Wild Hunt in search of prey to chase and kill. He has features that are asymmetrical and mismatched, like many goblins, yet he looks roguish and handsome, with features "carved by a master, but from a piece of twisted driftwood." May or may not look like 1980's David Bowie.
- Oberon: A figure from the past. We know next to nothing about him other than at one point he was caught up in a love triangle with Titania and Mab, and didn't make it. That's literally it. We don't even know if he was mortal, fae, god, or what. Could potentially be the reason Mab and Titania stopped talking to each other at Hastings (1066).
Millennia ago, when the Sidhe were a nobody faction of proto-elves hanging out in Ireland, they fought and defeated a race of weird-ass guys called the Fomor and drove them into the sea. As it turns out, driving one's enemies into the sea was really popular thousands of years ago and the Fomor met and subjugated a whole bunch of outcasts from all over the world, eventually turning into weird frog-men united by a burning hatred for the surface world. They like to abduct humans and animals, mutate them with magic, and sell them as living weapons to the highest bidder. A weakness they share with the Fae is being burned by iron, since they used to interbreed pretty heavily back when the average Fomor didn't look like Kermit the Frog. They give off anti-technology fields even stronger than the ones wizards make, a side effect of their heavy use of entropy magic.
- The Empress: mentioned in the short story Bombshells, presumably the ruler of the Fomor's multiethnic undersea empire
- King Corb: ruler of the Fomor holdings in Lake Michigan, was thought to be the ruler of all the Fomor prior to the mention of the Empress in Bombshells; is likely just a vassal or client king in the empire.
- Mag: Fomor sorceror
- "Froggy": nickname given to Fomor sorceror and brother of Mag. Attempted to bomb Svartalf holdings. Rapist.
- "Frogface": nickname given to Fomor sorceror in charge of acquiring human test subjects for the empire in Chicago. Implied rapist.
- Lord Omogh: Fomor noble and collaborator with Corpsetaker.
- Turtlenecks: the Fomor's preferred mooks, they're humans (usually people no none will miss), who were abducted and subjected to mutation,invasive surgery, and brainwashing by Fomor mages. They have grafted organs that are composed of ectoplasm (spirt world matter that can take the appearance of basically anything, which dissolves into goop and evaporates when there's no magic running through it), so when they die, they revert back to sliced up humans. The name is a result of them almost always wearing turtlenecks to hide their grafted on gills.
- Octokongs: exactly what it says on the tin, unholy fusions of gorillas and octopi
The setting's version of dwarves. Surprisingly, they're not alcoholic berserkers with scottish accents, but xenophobic grey-aliens with goatees. They're still extremely greedy and vengeful, not to mention bloodthirsty warriors, though they are famously good for their word. They have a reputation for being THE neutral faction, their schtick is basically "you don't mess with us, we don't mess with you," and they're deeply reactionary; no service will go unpaid and no slight unanswered. Tend to sell their services as skilled craftsmen and artisans. They're known for making their own version of Thorn Manacle, except theirs are iron while the ones made by trolls are made of faerie metal(which has essentially all the properties of steel but crumples like aluminum when hit with iron). They consider any attacks (intentional or otherwise) on their people and scions acts of war against Svartalfheim, and will respond with violence to a degree considered excessive even by the rest of the supernatural world. This terrifying image is somewhat offset by the fact that every Svartalf of either gender is a massive (but in most cases chivalrous) pervert with a fetish for non-svartalves, until you see them in combat that is, when you go right back to being terrified of them. They have been known to accept sex as payment instead of money.
Regular humans/ Vanilla Mortals
Mocked and derided as prey and cattle, but most predators appreciate how dangerous an angry mob of confused and scared humans can be, to some extent or another. Most supernatural beings just operate under the idea that not pissing off all the mortals might lead to an easier life, assuming they haven't noticed that the potential mobs are much bigger than the ones in the sixteenth century, and that the torches and pitchforks have been replaced with assault rifles and attack helicopters. As such there are plenty of mortals, both groups and individuals, regularly take on the supernatural and kick ass, such as paramilitary strike teams, monster hunters, and even a giant fraternity of librarians a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the supernatural community, involving human law enforcement in a supernatural dispute is the equivalent of waving around a nuclear warhead. (Un)Fortunately, most humans will try to rationalize and forget most encounters with the supernatural so they can get back to their safe, normal, mundane, lives. So the Masquerade in the Dresden Files isn't a massive conspiracy of epic proportions, its more of a series of low to medium level bribes and coverups.
- Susan Rodriguez: Reporter and Harry's sometime lover. They met when Susan kept trying to use Harry to write an article about the supernatural, which would have made no difference to the world at large because she works for a tabloid. Other than that, she's pretty smart (but lacking in foresight at times, leading to several spoilery plot points).
- Waldo Butters: Coroner and Harry's go to forensics guy and sometime "guy who takes care of my bullet/sword/claw/fang wounds". A literal genius and polka aficionado cursed with an unfortunate name
- Malcolm Dresden: Harry's father, and "a Good man". Malcolm Dresden was a stage magician in the age when television and technology was making more magic than magic could. He raised Harry as well as he could while they lived on the road. Died of a brain aneurysm in his sleep when Harry was 6. His ghost, or memory, or potentially his soul came back twice during the events of Dead Beat to give Harry life advice, because the other side had "cheated" whatever that means.
- Mac: The owner of McAnally's, Harry's preferred pub and the brewer of the greatest beer in the Great Lakes area (according to Harry), Mac is a tall, gangly, bald, 30-50 year old white male so surrounded in mystery that it's impossible to tell if he's human, inhuman, or a facet of reality given flesh. He rarely speaks or emotes, and often only giving monosyllabic advice when he does, Mab treats him with respect, he's on a first name basis with Donar Vadderung (Odin), the Queens of Faerie and their Knights (the ones that aren't complete scumbags anyways), and Kringle, his pub is Neutral Ground under the Unseelie accords, one of the Outsider walkers refers to him as "Watcher", and when Harry presses him for information and help, the only answer he gives is "I'm out." According to WoJ "He's not a god, or the scion of a god. he is, however, dangerous." and that Jim stated in a public talk at the Trails West Library, Liberty, MO he has "already told you who he is, but you'd have to be pretty nerdy..."
Most organized crime probably has some connections to the supernatural, they may not be directly involved in it, but they probably know about some of the supernatural predators and organizations in a given area and try to give them a wide berth. Some crime lords have a preference for hiring half-demon hitmen and ancient norse security consultants.
- John "Gentleman Johnny" Marcone: the "Baron of Chicago" and the man in charge of the Chicago Outfit, he's extremely ruthless and efficient, a man who believes its best to rule with two parts respect, one part fear. While the city was locked in a gang war as a result of the more entrenched families imploding, his rise to power began, he kept killing the competition until he was the only capo left. He realized that people are more loyal to you when you treat them nice, so all his underlings get decent working conditions and medical insurance. Violent crime and crimes involving minors (he's got a code: don't hurt kids) dropped to its lowest in years during his reign, thus making the streets more efficient, orderly, and easy for him to control. The police don't like to go after him partially because they're afraid of his replacement being worse than he is and partially because he'll have them fired, threatened, bribed, coerced, or failing those killed and thrown into Lake Michigan. Harry doesn't like him, but he knows that Marcone is almost always the lesser of two evils when it comes to organized crime. So turn a blind eye; the streets are safer, human trafficking is at its lowest, nobody's peddling drugs to your kids, and who do you have to thank? John Marcone of course, your friendly neighborhood real estate mogul and philanthropist, what an upstanding citizen! Let's make sure he stays in power why don't we? John Marcone is almost definitely an assumed name, and in the short story Even Hand he's implied to either be ex-military or law enforcement. He's a bit of an odd duck as far as crime lords go in that while he does have a code of honor(based off nordic and germanic models), he doesn't believe in old school italian mafia tradition and ceremony. He dresses less like The Godfather and more like the executive of a multimillion dollar corporation. He doesn't tolerate any interference with his personnel or any attempts by the Five Families on the East Coast to muscle in on his territory.
- "Cujo" Hendricks: Massive bodyguard for Marcone. Quiet, loyal, and thick-skulled in every sense of the word. Has studied philosophy.
- Troubleshooters: Marcone's heavy hitters, named so because their job is to find trouble, then shoot it
- Childs: Marcone's top troubleshooter. A man of apparently African descent with peroxide blonde hair and a caribbean accent. He may or may not be fully human
A recent faction of low level magic users and concerned citizens, its an online community that tries to distribute knowledge about the supernatural for self defense without things like giving up one's humanity or going through complex and humiliating initiations. Depending on who's using it, it can be anything from a support group to a grapevine to an online anarchists's cookbook for those looking to shove a thumb in the eye of a supernatural predator.
- Elaine Lillian Mallory: a rare non-warlock wizard who doesn't belong to the White Council. Harry's adoptive sister/ first lover(look, its complicated). Harry and Elaine were unrelated orphans who were adopted at roughly the same by Justin DuMorne and they subsequently grew up together. As one would expect, when the two turned into horny teenagers, one thing lead to another and they became lovers (although DuMorne might have encouraged it since it would enable him to gain leverage over one by manipulating the other). While Harry was able to escape DuMorne's psychic headlock, Elaine was not so lucky and ended up enthralled. When Harry burned DuMorne to death, he lost track of Elaine in the smoke and assumed that she too had died. Harry beat himself up over this for years until he learned that Elaine was alive, she had never contacted him until then because being enthralled and then seeing her father figure burn to death traumatized her. Then SPOILERS happened and they SPOILERS and ended up SPOILERS the SPOILERS. She was one of the founding members of the Paranet, providing much of the knowledge about the supernatural world required to get it off the ground. She's less powerful than Harry but better with more delicate magic, in combat she uses lightning evocation.
- Mortimer "Morty" Lindquist: Chicago's resident Ectomancer and spirit medium, by his latest appearance he's probably powerful enough to get on the council, but he lacks the generalised skill set of a full Wizard. He's an admitted coward, and at his introduction has barely any power left after squandering it on false seances and other cons. He grows more confidant and powerful throughout the series, but he continues to try and convince other people to leave him alone. He and Harry have an adversarial relationship based on mutual respect, Morty admits that Harry is powerful and usually means well, but every time he crosses Harry's path something goes excessively wrong in Morty's direction, while Harry gets a look at the things Morty deals with when his power starts to return, and starts to treat him like a person rather than a useful tool.
- Gary The Conspiracy Guy: One of those guys, lives in his mother's basement and tracks everything calling it "Studying the Paranormal through Statistics".
The branch of CPD that everyone else foists all the weird, supernatural cases on in the hopes that they cook up a rational explanation (read: bullshit) for it that allows everyone else to sleep at night. Its also the CPD's equivalent of a siberian detention camp, ask too many questions or piss off the wrong people and you'll get transferred to SI. People in SI rarely get transferred to other divisions and many leave the force soon after being put there.
- Lieutenant Karrin Murphy: Head of CPD's Special Investigations and one of Harry's closest friends and allies. Below average height, most people underestimate her, only to be proven wrong when they inevitably find out that she's both a gun nut and a master of aikido and several other martial arts. For most of the series, she's been the second half of an awkward hybrid will-they-won't-they + cop-buddy relationship with Harry. Her father was in a precursor to the SI, the Black Cat Division, and he ended up killing himself at his desk (it's implied that he was forced to by... something). She's been married and divorced twice, the second time to an FBI agent who promptly got remarried to her younger sister, earning both of them her eternal hatred. She's often times suspicious of others, confrontational, and a bit of a bitch, but she's loyal to her friends and doesn't afraid of anything.
- Henry Rawlins: A veteran beat cop and friend of the Murphy family. Worked with Murphy's father for a time, and eventually got transferred back into SI. Is one of the only people on the planet brave enough to call Lieutenant Murphy "Little Carrie Murphy". A friend and ally of Murphy's and Harry's, with a solid head on his shoulders. A real bro-tier guy. Generally a skeptic, but willing to suspend his disbelief when the situation calls for it.
- Rudolph: A whiny, corrupt, little shitstain who who got "promoted" to SI for sleeping with the wrong politician's daughter, before kissing enough ass to get into Internal Affairs. As he's in complete denial about his experiences with the supernatural and is implied to be unknowingly on the take from various supernatural nasties, he is one of the most despised characters in the entire series, both in-universe and by readers. He shows up every once in a while to make things difficult for Murphy and Dresden.
The Hunters in the Shadows or the Hunters of the Shadows depending on the translation, although it is more accurate to call them "The Shadows of the Hunters" (See Venatori below). A secret society composed of humans with a lot of knowledge about the supernatural but not a lot of magic power. Dedicated to fighting monsters that prey on humans and pretty good in an actual fight, but they mainly specialize in preventing the (complete) corruption of human government and laws by supernatural predators, hoarding knowledge, and distributing knowledge to others in order to be able protect themselves. Also very good at waging financial war on various supernatural entities, making it much harder for the more chaotic and predatory supernatural factions to hoard mortal wealth. Basically lawyer/librarians with a working knowledge of the supernatural and lots of flamethrowers.
- Venatori: The original hunters, and the reason the Venatori Umbrorum exist. The Venatori exist to combat a loose coalition of beings collectively referred to as the Old Ones (yes, those Old Ones), in a conflict called the Oblivion War that has been going since the dawn of humanity. They do this by wiping out all mortal awareness of an Old One and thusly consigning him/her/it to Oblivion. The Archive was created to lead this war and her reason for existing that's given in the main books is her cover story. (These guys only show up in the Short Story Backup). The Venatori Umbrorum were created as a smokescreen for these guys due to the fact that they are fucking with Elder Gods and their cult servants. Fun-Fact: the Venatori almost consigned the Faerie Courts to Oblivion, but Mab got the Brothers Grimm to write their Tales, and Gutenberg to distribute them leading to the Fae being firmly ensconced in the public consciousness. The White Court has either been recruited or has at least partly subsumed this organization, though the reason for either is the same: to drive out competition for the top of the food chain. The Archive, as a construct bound to a set of specific rules, cannot intervene and is relegated to providing information to the Venatori. TL;DR: Les Mysteres + Keepers of the Source + Division Six
The Archive is the living repository of written human knowledge. A magical construct that instantly knows anything that's been written down by a human being. It is bound to a single bloodline and is passed from mother to daughter on the death of each host. All this knowledge has two main effects, the host gains genius level intellect and magic ability, and she is forced to deal with millennia of knowledge and memories. The tremendous weight of all the knowledge can sometimes drive Archives insane, so to compensate, they limit the amount of time they interact with others in order to avoid forming unnecessary memories of loss and pain, to ease the burden on future Archives. What most people don't know is that the Archive plays a pivotal role in the Venatori's Oblivion war, providing the hunters with information they use to track their target, and keeping track of which entities have been "forgotten" until it's absolutely certain they're gone, at which point it forgets them.
- Oracles of Delphi: past Archives, they used their knowledge of the past to build predictive models of the future
- Ivy: the current Archive, she has been burdened with the position of the Archive since infancy, after her irresponsible, underage mother killed herself to avoid her duty. Said mother had become the Archive after her own mother died in an accident, and, hating the fact that her own youth was cut short while her daughter would get to live a relatively normal life, decided to take the selfish way out. She never even bothered to give her child a name. The child was aware of all of this the second she became the Archive, moments after her mother's death. Never experiencing a regular childhood, she grew up near emotionless and logical, with only brief hints of anything resembling a child (liking small animals). She began to develop more of an identity after Harry nicknamed her Ivy when she was seven, but she remains detached and analytical. She is accompanied by Kincaid, her personal assassin, bodyguard, and chauffer and the closest thing she has to a father.
Way back in the olden times, the Catholic Church tried to crack down on the more evil parts of the supernatural community. Unfortunately, they got carried away and started a shit show called the Inquisition. The Church hadn't expected that to happen(but then again, neither did anyone else). Nowadays, they're real sorry about that, to the point of trying not to actively involve priests in the supernatural. The "Ordo Malleus" (guess where Jim got that from) limits itself to providing a support network for those dedicated to fight evil with the power of faith, and do their best to protect those who come to the church for asylum against supernatural beings.
- Father Forthill: Michael's main contact within the church; a member of the Ordo Malleus and a Catholic priest. He's a generally good dude, a devout Christian who takes his duties seriously but isn't so rigid that he can't take a joke or share a drink with a friend. Studied law before becoming a priest, so in addition to being the Carpenter's contact and priest, he's their lawyer.
Knights of the Cross
Somewhat parallel to the Church are the Knights of the Cross, chosen individuals who wield a trio of swords made with the nails used to crucify Jesus. Each knight and sword represent one of the three final virtues espoused in 1 Corinthians 13:13 - Faith (Shiro/Fidelacchius), Hope (Sanya/Esperacchius) and Love (Michael/Amoracchius). Every knight is a paragon of the virtue for which the sword they carry is named, and the swords are immensely powerful divine artifacts when used in defense of their respective virtue. Contrary to what might seem intuitive, Knights of the Cross don't have to be Catholic or even religious; all they have to do is have sufficient inner strength and the belief that the weak should be protected and evil should be opposed. There are only at most three at a time, and they have a very high turnover rate. Not only do they fight next level apocalyptic stuff, which means casualties are common, most Knights only hold their title for the duration of one mission or task; of all the Knights in history, career Knights are very much the minority. The three serving Knights at the opening of the series are on the far right end of that bell curve: one having served for a few years, one for about two decades, and one being an old man who served since his youth. The three swords they wield have been reworked and reforged throughout the years, so they've carried other names and forms. Amoracchius was once called Excalibur, Esperacchius was once Durendal, and Fidelacchius was once Kusanagi. It's implied more and more strongly as the series goes on that the Knights are all descended from ancient kings.
- Michael Carpenter: A family man, Catholic, building contractor, and Knight of the Cross, wielder of the longsword Amoracchius (also known as "Excalibur, that's fucking EXCALIBUR?!"). A loving husband and father of seven, he's what happens when the holy-warrior archetype is written right. Unlike most portrayals of religious types (particularly members of the Catholic Church), the author decided that religion didn't automatically make you into an abrasive dick, taking into account that organized religion has actually had some positive effects on human history, like the establishment of charities and medical aid when everyone else was espousing social darwinism. Harry sees him as a friend and something of a worthy authority figure, seeking to gain his approval, knowing that if someone as good as Michael Carpenter likes him, he can't be all bad. He's been given the moniker "Fist of God," which should give you some indication as to his combat prowess. He's also an honest-to-God paladin, using what Harry describes as "True Faith" to create a few NOTmagic effects throughout the series, such as causing vampires to burst into flames from touching him, dispelling a mental illusion, and driving away a swarm of demons, though Michael would insist that all these were God's doing, not his. Descendant of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor and conqueror of much of Europe.
- Charity Carpenter: Michael's beautiful yet intimidating wife. A caring, if occasionally overbearing, mother who is honestly quite badass in her own right when her children and husband are in danger. Not a Knight or an Angel or anything; just a strong, smart, caring woman. She openly dislikes Harry because her husband always jumps to help him when he needs it, putting him in danger (note: Technically not a Knight or part of the Church, she could fit no less than five different categories in this list, so we threw her here).
- Molly Carpenter: Michael and Charity's eldest child. Harry's known her since her early childhood. When she reached her tweens, she started getting more and more rebellious towards her admittedly strict mother. This and a SPOILER incident eventually culminated in her turning goth, dropping out of high school, and eventually leaving home to live on her own. The rest of her (and the rest of Michael's family's) story is SPOILERS.
- Sanya: An agnostic soldier of good and amateur philosopher who grew up in Russia, wielder of the sabre Esperacchius (also known as Durendal). Despite all the stuff involving angels and the like that he deals with, he's an atheist (or at least an agnostic), his argument being that the beings he meets could just as easily be extraterrestrials or non-divine supernatural creatures, or that he may be hallucinating everything. He's notably one of the more practical Knights, being more willing to be aggressive, use unconventional tactics, and use modern weaponry. Being a black man who grew up in Russia, he grew up a minority and became bitter and lost because of it, resulting in more than a little bit of shade in his past. These days he's a warrior of light and a generally good dude, and unlike the other Knights he manages to retain a healthy sense of humor. He and Harry are buddies. Descendant of An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub, known to the most in the west as Saladin, an ancient king who founded the Ayyubid dynasty and who retook Jerusalem from the Crusaders.
- Shiro Yoshimo: An elderly Japanese man and wielder of the cane-katana, Fidelacchius (also known as Kusanagi-no-Tsuruki, it's a weird bit of "did not do his research"/"popular myth" here as Kusanagi technically predates the usage of katanas in Japanese history, but as it hasn't been seen by mortal eyes for the last 1,500 years or so, it can be a katana because that's Japanese and we have no clue what it really looks like at all). A genuinely selfless man and a total badass, whose skill in combat was compared by Michael to Mozart's skill with music. While he's technically a Baptist (a technicality involving a misunderstanding at an Elvis concert) he still thinks like a Shintoist in a lot of ways. While all Knights seem to be really, really lucky when it comes to guessing things, Shiro seems to have a borderline precogniscient ability to predict events; presumably he gets a pointer or two from the Almighty, or maybe he's just really observant. Descended from Sho Tai, the last king of the Ryukyu Kingdom in what we now call Okinawa.
Angels could perhaps be best described as beings that are half Divine Servant and half Eldritch Terror, who are usually polite enough to put on a human-looking form so as to not literally blow the minds of mortals around them. Seriously, it's made very clear as the series goes on that there's a reason that whenever angels pop up in the bible they open up by saying "be not afraid". It's implied in one of the later books that a wizard looking at even a minor angel with his Sight would destroy his mind, and an archangel outright says that he has the power to destroy galaxies. That said, they're for the most part servants to some nebulous Almighty Creator, a being/concept/thing that has worn many faces and titles throughout the ages, but whom they make a policy not to discuss with mortals. By and large, they tend to take a hands off approach to things, only directly intervening when mortals are manipulated by other equally powerful supernatural evils. Angels have no true gender, but most seem to preferred human appearance.
- Uriel: Archangel and head of what is basically Heaven's black ops division. A surprisingly amicable individual who's a fan of both Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, as long as you don't call him "Uri". All that friendliness distracts you from the fact that he's been engaged in a shadow war with Lucifer since before time was a thing, and he was responsible for most of the Punishments levied against mankind in the Old Testament. Generally appears as a vaguely Mediterranean looking young man.
- Michael The Archangel, prince of hosts. Implied to be the General of Heaven's armies.
- Raphael The Archangel, the Demon binder, also at least partly responsible for helping build the panic room in the Carpenter household.
- Gabriel The Archangel, the Trumpeter. Implied to be something of a herald and/or messenger.
- Amitiel: polite angel who works as a security guard in a transitory afterlife
- Angel(s) of Death: Clad entirely in black, with skin the colour of spilled ink, eyes like voids, and hair the shade of raven feathers the Angel(s) of Death cut an extremely unsettling sight. The one we meet in the books is a stand up girl. Her job being to watch over truly good people as they die, and then escort their souls to heaven personally. She's armed to the teeth because there are Things that will attempt to stop this.
A "private military corporation" based in Oslo, Norway. In addition to vanilla mortals, many of its employees are valkyries and einherjaren (norse warriors from valhalla). Has significant military and magical resources and is known for contracting out very competent mercenaries and consultants. The corporation's name is a freaking pun on the part of its founder.
- Donar Vadderung: Owner, Founder, and CEO of Monoc Securities. Is also Odin One-eye, Thunder's Father, King of the Aesir and Vanir. Maintains a cordial relationship with Harry, akin to mentor and unwitting pupil, or at the very least and interesting investor in Harry's exploits and future. WoJ is that he gave up most of his divine power in order to more freely interact with the mortal world, but being Odin, he can get by just fine using sheer intelligence.
- Hugin and Munin: Vadderung's raven haired secretaries and spymistresses. Known to be uptight and terrifying, in contrast to their boss' laid back demeanor
- Sigrun Gard: A valkyrie and Marcone's security and supernatural consultant. Possesses above average(but not definitively superhuman, more like peak human) strength and an unnaturally high pain threshold. Is very good at her job, and has lived for hundreds if not thousands of years. She's skilled with rune magic and magical theory, and is a skilled close quarters fighter, on par with the best warriors of the ancient world. Sometimes goes oldschool shield-biting mouth-frothing Berzerk in combat.
Order of the Blackened Denarius
Pure. Unrepentant. Evil. Thirty fallen angels trapped in the thirty coins used by the Romans to bribe Judas Iscariot. Sometimes called Knights of the Blackened Denarius as a parody of the Knights of the Cross who oppose them. The coins basically act like the One Ring, tempting and corrupting whoever holds them with promises of power, eventually tricking the unfortunate host into giving up his or her free will and becoming little more than a beast of burden in the thrall of the fallen. Coin bearers have access to the immeasurable experience and knowledge of the Fallen angel, in addition to a shape shifting ability that allows them to take on demonic characteristics to make them more formidable in battle. The Fallen and the Coin bearers are more of a loose coalition of allies than a formal order, with a few distinct factions within the order who will cooperate or backstab each other as the situation requires. The group's overarching goal is to cause the apocalypse, but its much more complex than that. The "leaders" of these groups believe that its unlikely that they'll actually cause the end of the world, but they can still advance the cause of Hell while trying. Subsequently, their plots are constructed such that if the lose, they're still able to cause pain and suffering and weaken the forces of good, for example: if they're stopped from obtaining nuclear warheads, they'll still have caused multiple deaths, widespread panic, and significant human suffering in the process of trying. Their philosophy is to push the world closer and closer towards Armageddon, creating an environment of chaos and terror. Put in the words of their de facto leader: "Apocalypse is a frame of mind." The group is known to be responsible for The Bubonic Plague, Columbian Cartels, and the Rwandan Genocide. An unsettling thing about the leadership is that they claim that they are in fact "saving" the world, presumably because the think Satan was in the right for rebelling against God, and if they win, the Fallen get to literally rewrite history and objective morality.
Known Coins and Bearers
- Anduriel/Nicodemus Nicodemus Archleone is, for the purposes of the stories, essentially the leader of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. As close to Evil as it is possible to get in the series, and a man who Harry fears and respects in equal measure. Nicodemus himself is an extremely enigmatic individual, the current prevailing rumor to his identity is the potter in whose field Judas Iscariot hung himself. He is completely devoted to the idea of the Apocalypse and is wholly convinced that all he has ever done was for the cause of good, believing the forces of Heaven to be evil. Throughout the series, there are subtle hints that he actually has an obsession with Christ and sainthood, seeking to become a messiah, he also seems to view the rest of the Denarians as his "apostles" . Anduriel is a former lieutenant of Satan who may or may not be completely subservient to Nicodemus, it can listen in on anything said within hearing distance of any shadow on earth (only one shadow at a time though and you can ward against its presence). Nicodemus prefers to work as a manipulator and schemer, rarely entering combat if he can avoid it, though once there he's all kinds of dangerous. An expert marksman and swordsman, he also wears the absurdly OP relic noose that Judas hung himself with, which more or less makes him immune to any harm, save for SPOILERS. Unlike most Denarians, he doesn't have any one overt combat form, instead forming shadows to serve as hands, tentacles, wings, that kind of thing. He speaks with a rich, cultured, "vaguely British" accent, because all villains are British.
- Squires: Nicodemus' personal cult of henchmen. Membership is hereditary, so each squire is raised to be absolutely loyal to Nicodemus. Upon their initiation to squire, Nicodemus has their tongues ripped out so that they can't speak if interrogated and can't function outside of the cult.
- Unknown/Deirdre Deirdre is Nicodemus's daughter/lover. Totally loyal to him, murderous, short tempered. Described as having the beauty and subtle curves of a straightrazor. Demon form looks like a green scaled, shapely medusa-like creature with razor-sharp hair that can extend to great lengths. Harry has repeatedly described her demon form as "disturbingly attractive," so make of that what you will. Speaks with a "vaguely british" accent, because Jim Butcher watched too many movies in the 80's and 90's.
- Imariel/Polonius Lartessa (Tessa) Tessa is Nicodemus's wife and rival in creating the Apocalypse. *obligatory pun about hell and relationships* Currently has the appearance of a girl in her mid to late teens (having been a former child prostitute in the Roman Empire before Nicodemus "saved" her). Imariel transforms its host into a humanoid praying mantis that can dissolve into swarms of smaller insects. She's considerably more impulsive and rash than Nicodemus, being more focused on short term carnage than long term apocalypse. She's also a wizard, with White Council levels of magic power (but she predates the current incarnation of the organization). As of Skin Game she's gone batshit, fucking, crazy.
- Ursiel/Rasmussen Ursiel is a fallen who takes the form of a giant demonic bear who loves brute force. Rasmussen, his bearer, is a broken, insane, wreck of a human being, tortured and beaten into submission. Ursiel itself has devolved into a bestial mass of madness and rage, motivated only by an addiction to bloodshed and a hatred of Heaven.
- Lasciel/SPOILERS Lasciel is known as the Web-Weaver, the Seducer, or the Temptress, and is described as a rebel angel among rebel angels who manages to avoid being a mary sue, somehow. Despite kinda sorta working for/with Nicodemus, she's as much of a backstabber to the rest of the Fallen as she is to everyone else (hence "rebel angel among rebel angels"). According to WoJ, prior to the Fall, she tried to profit by working for both sides during the War in Heaven. When her plans fell apart and the War went FUBAR for Lucifer's bunch, she was cast out for her disloyalty. She then threw her lot in with Satan, became something like an anarchist, and developed a huge chip on her shoulder in regards to God and any other authority figure. Her sigil is vaguely reminiscent of an hourglass. Like all angels she has no physical body, but prefers to take the shape of an attractive woman in the minds of her host. In combat she takes the shape of a cloud of smoke and subtle fire wrapped around her host.
- Saluriel/Quintus Cassius: A snake-themed Fallen angel bound to one of Nicodemus's "personal friends" (an expendable pawn). In combat it gives its bearer a serpentine lower body and a cobra-like head.
- Thorned Namshiel/Unknown Tessa's sorcery expert, enjoys picking pockets and strangling people, sometimes simultaneously. Looks like an emaciated man with thorns all over its body. Despises humanity and views humans as little more than animals. Is good enough at magic that he can literally grab and eat a spell thrown at him. He can take a combat spell, control it without dissipating its energy, and devour it. That's some next level shit right there.
- Magog/SPOILERS: Considering the enormous significance of angels' Names, there's probably a really interesting story behind the break in the naming scheme. Magog looks like an enormous purple gorilla with horns, and serves as Tessa's heavy hitter. He's fast, crazy strong, has next to no reaction time, but he doesn't have any strategy other than "run at the enemy and hit it really hard." Like Ursiel, it appears that he's devolved into little more than a blood-crazed beast.
- "Obsidian Statue": Nickname only.
- "Shaggy Feathers" Nickname only.
- "Green Antlers" Nickname only.
- ???/Rosanna Tessa's second in command, her coin is unknown. Looks like a sexy succubus with goat hooves. Manipulative type, but can also use magic, fire evocation at the very least.
- ???/McKullen We literally know his name and that's it.
This leaves at least 12 unknown coins assuming there's no overlap in the above unknowns, either being held secure by the church, or out in circulation
Demons in the Dresdenverse are distinct from the Biblical Fallen Angels, they are instead denizens of the Nevernever who are neither spirit nor faerie nor divine being. Most simply want to go about their business without having anything to do anything with mortals, but some are summoned to do the bidding of mortal magic users anyway, and a few try to enter out world to eat/murder/chat up/rape mortals. Almost every demonic being will test the bindings of those who summon them, even if they don't really want to murder the summoner, as a matter of principle. If they find those bindings wanting, they are free to do whatever they want to the unfortunate summoner, and whatever they want is almost universally unpleasant. While the vast majority are basically neutral, a large portion of them do work for Hell, serving as everything from foot soldiers to bureaucrats (Dresdenverse Hell is seems to work like an odd combination of a Feudal Kingdom, La Revolucion, and a Megacorporation)
- Kalshazzak: Low level toad demon has been forced into assassinations in the past, doesn't like being summoned
- Chaunzaggoroth/ Chauncey: A massive chitinous demon who works for Hell. He speaks in a perfect oxford accent and wears a pair of wire frame spectacles. He deals in information, providing intel in exchange for intel, occasionally trying to recruit mortals to the cause(a task for which he receives bonuses and potentially promotions from his superiors). While he's essentially a bean counter, his info gets passed along the chain of command to the Fallen and their allies.
- Shen: Purple, winged monkeys who throw flaming poop, we're not making this stuff up. They're malevolent demons who can fuse together to form a larger gorilla-like demon.
- Baka Baku: Don't really know where to put this one so its going in with the demons. Japanese folklore has this thing called a Baku that eats nightmares so children can sleep soundly at night, it looks like a cross between a lion, a tiger, and an elephant and is generally benevolent. These are not those Baku. In the 90s, a Japanese company made plush doll based off the Baku that came with its own little book explaining how the Baka Baku would eat all the kid's bad dreams and be their cuddly-wuddly protector. Because(heartwarming alert) the belief of children can do magical things, many Baka Baku actually manifested in reality and actually did protect kids from nightmares. Now here's where shit gets dark. After gobbling up kids nightmares, the Baku wandered off and tried to help other people. Unfortunately, no one told them that a) Negative psychic emanations, like nightmares, can have corrupting effects on psychic entities and b) PTSD is a thing. So lots of Baka Baku ended up being driven insane from eating too many or too dark nightmares and were corrupted. They now eat people's life forces and inspire fear as well as feed on it. To this end, they can assume human form and prey on the emotionally unstable and traumatized. Faith magic can make their human guise's skin translucent and make their shadow reveal its true form.
Honest to goodness fire breathing dragons. Most of what we know of them comes from WoJ. They were created by God to do monumental tasks in the act of creation, like pulling continents and crazy shit like that. There are two types of dragons: immortal, divine, shape shifting beings who are closer to Chaotic Neutral Angels than anything else, of which only two remain on Earth (think Dragons in the Far Eastern tradition combined with old school interpretations of Seraphim), and lesser servitor dragons who were created by the divine versions as pets and servants, of which there are an unknown number(think classical European dragon that kidnaps virgins and shit). Its unknown how they were involved in the War in Heaven,if they were involved at all, but presumably some of them sided with the Rebel Angels(Fallen).
- Ferrovax: Divine dragon and the eldest and most powerful of his kind(at least on Earth). He's mentioned by the author as being able to crush the faerie queens, coincidentally, his name translates to "Ironsides". In the world of supernatural politics, he's more or less a nation unto himself.
- Pyrovax: Second of the surviving divine dragons, he was mentioned in WoJ and that's all we know
Divine serpents from India. One appears in the comic Ghoul Goblin. They are dedicated to neutrality and are known to act as mediators of supernatural disputes.
The Prosthenos Society
Nutjobs in Scandinavia who surgically attach body parts of supernatural creatures to themselves to attain a sort of "patchwork immortality". Only mentioned in the short story Backup, but they might make good villains for an RPG campaign.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, a mortal will have a child with a demon or supernatural creature. This child, if it is not miscarried or stillborn, is often insane, deformed, or both (since having six arms and claws made of bronze aren't exactly compatible with typical mortal biology). However, sometimes a very lucky child or "Scion" has a largely human appearance and gets access to some of the badass powers of it's non-human parent.
- Changelings The most common type of Scion, Changelings are the result of Fae and mortals getting freaky. Their Fae traits manifest at puberty, giving them partially Fae physiology and psychology that depends on their Fae parent. Once they are made aware of their inhuman heritage they may make a choice to either embrace it (becoming fully Fae), and reject it (becoming full Mortal). Changelings are often treated like shit by their inhuman parents, if they are not just outright ignored, though some Fae do care for and love their offspring, but being Fae, they're not exactly great at communicating that love. So they have a Choice between normal human (sane but boring) and Fae (exciting but they're not really the same person anymore). They can decide not to Choose and stay a Changeling in an attempt to get the best of both worlds, but that means that they also have to deal with the both human and Fae baggage too. Changelings are beholden to and considered subjects of whatever Fae nation or Court their nonhuman parent belongs to.
- Grendelkin: Yes, that Grendel. They're exclusively male, very big and strong, and may or may not have some kind of natural countermagic. For some reason, they can only reproduce with virgins, after drinking Mead. The pregnancy is always fatal to the mother.
- Temple Dogs / Foo Hounds: An example of a non-human scion breed, Foo Hounds are said to be descended from a celestial spirit and a mortal hound. Larger than even a great dane and much heavier. Very strong for a mortal animal, with a few supernatural perks. They can live for centuries and are naturally very intelligent, implied to be just as smart as humans, though they still have a dog's instincts and priorities. Additionally, their bite can hurt supernatural and even ethereal beings, and they can Bark loud enough to be heard miles away, and across the borders of the Nevernever. They're also instinctively protective of their families and homes, and are almost impossible to sneak up on. All this makes them a much sought after companion for wizards, and they often guard temples, hence the name. The current guess for their mortal breed is Caucasian Bear Hounds with some Tibetan Mastiff mixed in. They are seriously scary stuff to the point where an Archangel refers to one as "Little Cousin".
- Mouse: Introduced as a puppy in Blood Rites, Mouse is adopted by Harry when he hides in the Blue Beetle and misses his flight back to Tibet. Once he gets a little bigger, he accompanies Harry on a few adventures. Sees Harry as more of a roommate than an owner, and ends up inheriting quite a few of the wizard's quirks.
- Jared Kincaid/The Hellhound: A bodyguard who moonlights as a mercenary and an assassin, throw Deadshot, Deathstroke, and Big Boss in a blender and Jared Kincaid is what comes out and shoots you straight through the temple from 30 yards away with a Glock pistol. He prefers to use firearms and he NEVER, EVER misses, how he does this is unknown, Harry theorizes that his nervous and muscular systems are so advanced that he has superhuman reflexes and coordination. He's hundreds of years old and he looks like he's in his late 30's/early 40's. He also used to be Drakul's(the father not the son) right hand. He managed to stir up the fan-base something fierce by claiming to be "just as human as [Harry] is," which means either Harry isn't fully mortal or more likely, Kincaid was lying. The fandom has tied itself in knots discussing this. Ebenezar has been out for his blood because of an incident that happened in Istanbul where Kincaid broke some nebulous assassin's code.
- Goodman Grey: A shapeshifting mercenary, and a professional. Apparently the scion of a mortal woman and a Naagloshii, which is all kinds of fucked up.
- Irwin Pounder: The son of one of River Shoulders (Strength of a River in his Shoulders is one of the Forest People, aka Bigfoot/Sasquatch) and Dr Carol Pounder. Irwin doesn't really demonstrate any physical supernatural traits, beyond being a bit bigger and stronger than your average guy, but has great vitality, comparable to that of a Wizard. Harry forces River Shoulders to meet him as the payment for his last case, because "No kid should never know their dad".
Semi-divine monsters from Navajo mythology, basically the Navajo version of a fallen angel. Immortal, powerful shape shifters who have instinctive knowledge on how to torture any given being in the most painful way possible. They feed on the life force of magic users, but they slowly lose their power the further away they are from tribal lands. What separates these guys from Fallen Angels, is while that the Fallen believe that they are in the right, the Naagloshii wholeheartedly admit they are pure evil. Their only joy is rampant slaughter and proving that all other beings are just as flawed and evil at heart as they themselves are, usually through insanity inducing torture. To illustrate how viscerally hateful these things are, here's a quote of one of them making a threat: “I will come for you. I will kill you. I will kill your blood, your friends, your beasts. I will kill the flowers in your home and the trees in your tiny fields. I will visit such death upon whatever is yours that your very name will be remembered only in curses and tales of terror”, and it said all of this while snacking on an unconscious White Court Vampire that it had effortlessly put in critical condition.
Ninja crow-men from Japan. Have blue blood and wield katanas. Can go through Red Court Vampires like a hot knife through butter
Man-eating monsters who hire themselves out to the various nasties of the world as muscle (when mind-raped or addicted thralls just won't do), the have an insatiable craving for human flesh. Appear as vaguely humanoid creatures with elongated limbs and dog-like snouts, but they can assume the appearance of humans with plain, unremarkable features. Harry despises them on principle, since every ghoul we've seen has been a depraved subhuman thing that's a threat to innocent lives. The RPG introduces the fact that they are weak to Faith Magic, much like the Black and Red Courts, however as we've never seen any interactions between Ghouls and The Faithful in series, this is something we've got to take on good faith (ha ha ha). They are speculated to be a form of true-breeding scion of Uber-Ghouls. Many of the smarter ones(relative to ghoul intelligence) have a Sumerian theme to them.
- The LaChaise Clan: the go to "people" for all your assassination/muscle/corpse disposal needs. The LaChaise Clan is the only known organized body of ghouls and hires out its members as mercenaries and assassins. Little is known about the inner workings of the clan but it is the premier provider of intermediate level muscle to the Red Court.
- Uber-Ghouls: Take a ghoul, cross breed it with the T-1000, and add in a heavy dose of those Ice Age genes that insist on adding size and tusks to all those old mammals, and you've got what Harry calls an Uber-Ghoul. These things are seemingly immortal as the one time they've shown up they demonstrated the ability to pull themselves together when reduced to nothing more than rotten, chunky salsa.
Nature Spirits/Genius Loci
If a dryad lives in a tree on the mortal plane, then the tree that a Dryad lives in would be a nature spirit/Genius Loci. Nature spirits aren't so much drawn to places of power as they are the will of places of power; you can have a Place of Power without a Genius Loci, but you can't have a Genius Loci without a Place of Power. Mortal spellcasters may attempt a Sanctum Invocation which is not a contest of wills, a straight-up fight, a contract, or an introduction, but a mix of all those things. It's a ritual that binds it to the wizard, and the wizard to it. This boosts the wizards power while in the Place of Power, and connects them to the will of the spirit. A Place of Power does not have to be natural to generate a nature spirit, it is just as likely that Auschwitz or the Statue of Liberty has a Genius Loci as the Grand Canyon or Niagra Falls, simply due to the large concentration of emotion and life moving through the area.
Known Places of Power
- "Demonreach" A spooky fucking island in Lake Michigan that was scrubbed off the maps after the spirit present caused every single person who tried to settle there to go irrevocably insane. The Genius Loci attached to this place looks like a cloaked twelve foot tall humanoid form made of roots, vines, and rocks. It's terrifyingly powerful, to the point where even Mab gives it a healthy respect. Walks with a pronounced limp, and speaks LIKE THIS.
- The Pyramids of Giza Mentioned in the RPG books.
- Chitchen Itza The Red's Courts primary ritual grounds, lots of Earth Magic, and dark, dark sacrificial rites go on here.
- The Hallowed Halls The White Councils headquarters underneath Edinburgh castle. Is said to move depending on the current world superpower, and was located under Rome during the time of the Original Merlin. Why it isn't under the White House or the Pentagon at the moment is a question that really should be asked, but then again, the White Council seems to have beef with America for some reason.
- Vesuvius An off hand comment in Cold Days implies the eruption was the doing of a pissed off Genius Loci.
These are the people that make humans in the US cry "Bigfoot!" every now and then. Yep, they're real, and they're actually pretty polite and not as hairy as you might think. They don't exactly blend in, so the Forest People have agreements with Native American tribes where they provide education and access to resources while the tribes provide them with access to wider mortal society by proxy, letting them enjoy modern amenities without causing a car crash every time they want to check their bank account. Big, strong, very powerful magic users. Thankfully, many are pacifists, but the violent ones can fuck shit up something fierce. If you drop your keys into a pool full of rabid bears, one of the Forest People could probably get it back for you without getting hurt.
- Strength of a River in His Shoulders: A mild-mannered bigfoot and water magic adept, lover of Dr. Carol Pounder and father of Irwin Pounder. He prefers to avoid conflict and is afraid that his son will reject him. As such, he has a professional relationship with Harry Dresden, whom he pays to look in on his kid every now and then. He's also loaded, having access to veins of gold ore that were never found by humans.
- The Genoskwa: A prick, pure and simple. Also explicitly claims not to be one of the Forest People, and is physically different just enough that it holds water. Where River Shoulders is kind, patient, and empathetic, this guy is cruel, aggressive, and dismissive. He attacks Harry for simply mentioning River Shoulders, and manages to shrug off a good chunk of Harry's magic during the attack by literally grounding it with Earth Magic. Eats goats at roughly a rate of 2-4 a day.
In the Dresdenverse, when you die, your soul goes to the afterlife (which may or may not be the Judeo-Christian one, the nature of the divine is extremely complex and no one on earth or the spirit world/Nevenever has a full understanding), it doesn't linger on. However, if you have unfinished business, you might leave behind a Shade, a spirit that has all your memories, sort of a spiritual footprint. The shade essentially is you, and shades believe that they are the souls of the departed (but they really aren't) at first. They can by seen and heard by some people, but they cannot physically interact with the world unless they go insane. Sunlight, particularly sunrise (which has a metaphysical cleansing effect) is fatal to them. Shades can sometimes get a foothold in the Nevernever and become powerful agencies of their own, creating pocket realms in the spirit world that they can rule over undisputed.
- Wraiths: shades that have gone insane and/or been warped by negative energies
- Lemures: shades that have decided to increase their own power, stave off losing their identities, and attempt to feel more alive by devouring other shades, the undead equivalent of a really dangerous crack addict.
One of the most (in)famous and powerful wizards of all time, Heinrich Kemmler (not the one you're thinking of, although given Jim Butcher's status as "one of us" this could easily be a reference) was a necromancer of unparalleled skill, to the point where death could not hold him. The guy had something of a compulsive urge to teach people, so he took on many students and disciples, and wrote four books that his teachings might be spread: The Blood of Kemmler, The Mind of Kemmler, The Heart of Kemmler, and the Word of Kemmler. He was almost singlehandedly responsible for orchestrating WWI, during which he used the chaos for a steady supply of corpses, and the rampant death to further hone his art. The White Council took up arms, and the entire senior council and all the wardens attacked his stronghold and "killed" him. He popped up again in WWII, repeat story, the White Council "killed" him again. He popped up again in the 1960's, where the White Council, literally every wizard, all the wardens, and as many allies as they could muster, went forth and "killed" him again, destroyed "all" his books, and killed "all" his apprentices. Coincidentally, on the same day that Kemmler died Soviet Russia decided to test the most powerful nuclear device ever developed, the Tsar Bomba. Given further hints from the author, it's quite possible that either the bomb was used to kill Kemmler, or the "bomb" was his death curse. It's possible that he isn't totally dead, heavily implied that some of his books survive, it's outright confirmed that some of his apprentices survived. Kemmler practiced and taught something he called True Magic, a discipline of magic that made no distinction between white and black magic, seeing them as two sides of the same coin, ditto for life and death, an idea that's been getting more and more support as the series goes on, considering what we've learned about the soul and the afterlife, that said, Kemmler himself was one of the few individuals that "amoral" beings like Mab and Bob see as objectively evil, so the True Magic might just have been super evil that felt really good. One of his followers claims that he would have liked Harry, take that as you will. To sum up: Nagash lite, with some Nazi occultist and Mannimarco thrown in for flavor.
- Grevane: Kemmler's first disciple, a scarred, bitter old necromancer by the current day. He seems to be the only one of Kemmler's living disciples who respects his departed master. A master of raising corpses as zombies; the older the corpse, the more powerful the undead, and he is capable of turning even the most unimpressive human corpse into a relentless killing machine.
- Capiorcorpus/Corpsetaker: Another of Kemmler's disciples, an ex-council wizard who used body switching magic to inhabit the forms of others to prolong her life. She prefers binding wraiths to her will rather than zombies. Kemmler didn't favor her in comparison to his other apprentices, and the feeling was mutual, as she saw him as little more than a means to an end.
- "Cowl": A mysterious wizard and a capital-freaking-B Badass, so named because he never gave Harry his name, and covered his face in a deeply shadowed cowl. He considered Kemmler to be nothing more than a talented madman(he could however be lying), so he may not have actually studied under Kemmler, but is associated with his other students. His evocation is on par with that of Morgan's or Ebenezar McCoy's, and he's "died" at least once, apparently surviving what was more or less having a supernatural necromancy nuke literally blow up in his face. He's implied to be a member of the White Council or possibly a former member.
- "Kumori": Cowl's apprentice, a necromancer with a heart. She stopped a man caught in the crossfire of a gang war from dying, and unlike all most antagonists, was actually willing to try and talk things out with Harry. She actually makes a pretty good case to Harry that the use of necromancy isn't inherently evil, that just as "white" magic can be twisted against its "good" nature, so too can "black" magic be twisted against its "evil" nature. May or may not be dead.
Spirits of Intellect/Knowledge
You know how humans leave behind shades and nature can sometimes manifest incorporeal spirits? Well, a Spirit of Intellect is what happens when a spirit and human (and some other things too) fall in love with each other. If their relationship is one of True Love, it can create a sentient mass of energy and knowledge called a Spirit of Intellect. SoIs are vulnerable to sunlight, but they can inhabit magical vessels to protect them from the sun, in exchange, they must do the bidding of whoever owns the vessel. They either take on the initial personality characteristics of whoever owns the vessel (only the characteristics at the time of introduction though) or they take on the characteristics of their owner's first impression of them (so if they change owners, they can stay almost the same if they met the owner before). This mutability may disappear when they get powerful enough. Essentially being a self-aware database with a personality, they're most useful as living repositories of knowledge and as advisers. They can get scary powerful over time, since for them knowledge literally equals power.
- Bob: Harry's Spirit of Intellect who inhabits a human skull. He helps Harry work on spells and enchantments and also gathers information from around Chicago and the Nevernever, serving as a something between an adviser, a spy, and a supernatural weather station, being equipped by training and inclination to map out the changing "flows" of magic. Harry first got him when he was a teenager, so Bob's kind of a horny bastard, much to Harry's ongoing frustration. Having worked alongside wizards for at least a millennium, Bob is scary powerful and intelligent, and knows secrets that have him on Mab's hit-list. It's easy to underestimate the power of someone who could be killed by taking him outside and smashing him with a hammer, but in spiritual terms he's a heavyweight, going toe to toe with powerful spirits, tearing down complex and powerful wards without much effort, and surviving a hit from wards made by someone whose other wards one-shot a twelve foot tall magic-resistant goat faery. That's just his magical muscle, so to speak, to say nothing of his centuries of experience and instinctual knowledge of magic.
- Evil Bob: Because spirits of intellect are made of knowledge, if they lose a large amount of information, that info can take on a life of its own, like cutting a starfish in half to get yourself two new starfish. "Evil Bob" is a manifestation of all the knowledge Bob gained from working with a certain S-Ranked necromancer we may or may not have mentioned above. Evil Bob is a twisted, enormously powerful version of his progenitor, loyal only to Kemmler's memory. He's also evil, to the point where he manifests as a skeleton in a freaking SS uniform. It's a testament to just how powerful Kemmler was that the comparatively small time Bob spent with him produced a spirit that's more than an equal for the one spawned from the collected experience of working with countless other wizards for centuries. Its also a testament to how greatly Kemmler twisted Bob's very being that the persona was loyal only to Kemmler instead of whoever owned the skull, and that it retained its own identity rather than the one of its current owner. Bob hated this part of himself, and locked away as many of the memories as he could. Impartial spirit of intellect, eh?
- INSANE SPOLIERS (Bonnie): Harry's daughter by Lash, Bonnie was all set to pop out of Harry's skull like Athena and Zeus during the events of "Skin Game". Harry was unaware of her existence up until this point as Mab told him he had a psychic parasite that was causing his increasingly painful migraines, which technically wasn't a lie. Fucking faeries. She's adorable and likes pancakes. She's also a horrifyingly powerful spirit, being the Scion of a Starborn mortal wizard who's one of the most dangerous practitioners alive, and the echo of Lasciel, a freaking Fallen Angel who was known for her intelligence and plotting. It's implied that she has all of their memories, and spiritual might proportional to that knowledge. Considering Bob's new living arrangements, it's entirely possible that she will be Harry's lab assistant going forward in the series.
- Athena: The Greek goddess Athena popped out of her father's skull fully grown, the result of one of Zeus' many, many, many, many, many, many affairs. She had so much power that she immediately ascended from Spirit of Knowledge to god status.
Beings from outside of Creation (outside of both the material universe and the spiritual world), inhabiting a place only known as Outside, beyond the Outer Gates at the very edge of the land of Faerie. They have impossible anatomy and minds, reality tends to break when they're around and they shake off most magic like raindrops. Very little is known about them other than that they're Outside, and they want IN.
- Outsiders: Extradimensional, would-be invaders. Lots of tentacles and mismatched body parts of the type that would not go in hentai. And trust us, we've seen some shit. Outsider is a catch-all term for the many, many creatures from Outside, though there's a possibility each one may be unique. They take cues from Cosmic Horror monsters, though they leave Lovecraft's deep sea theme to the Fomorians. The only consistencies between Outsiders is that they're good at psychic assaults, they can only be summoned up by human magic, and they are smarter than being an all-destroying rage monster would suggest them to be. They want in to our reality to wreck it, though the reason why, if there's any reason beyond instinctual hatred, is unknown.
- He Who Walks Behind/"The Walker": He Who Walks Behind, Lord of Slowest Terror, is a being who's partly responsible for making Harry who he is. When Harry ran away from Justin DuMorne, He Who Walks Behind was summoned to kill him, but Harry defeated and banished him instead. Has (at least) two manifestations, a cloud of razor sharp spikes, and a looming vaguely humanoid presence that is always behind you, even when your back is touching the wall. He Who Walks Behind is only a title, his real "name" is a psychic impression of pain, hatred, and sadism. He speaks with a vaguely British accent, because of course he does. There's evidence in the more recent books that HWWB might have intentionally thrown the fight to shape Harry somehow, and given that SPOILERS this implies that HWWB might be working against his own cause.
- He Who Walks Before/"Sharkface": He Who Walks Before, Gatebreaker, Harbinger, Feargiver, Hopeslayer, is another Walker like He Who Walks Behind, but he's slightly (and emphasis on slightly) less abstract. He appears as a ragged black cloak beneath a monstrous, eyeless face with fused teeth. The series somewhat paradoxically compares him to the power of Queen Mab or Demonreach, yet Harry survives fighting him twice. Make of that what you will. Surprisingly, he actually doesn't speak with a "vaguely British" accent. Can create clones of himself and near perfect illusions with only a single flaw.
- Shoggoth: A creature made out of insanity and the fused bodies of its past victims, it feeds on intelligence and is surrounded by a aura of psychic terror made from the final moments of every single person it has ever swallowed. It is only weak to fire. It's referred to as "the spawn of an Outsider", so it may be some form of Scion. Maybe an Outsider fucked an amoeba or something. We don't know. If anybody does know please report to a therapist and a Warden.
A blanket term for a number of magical talents that have wolf-themed capabilities. A bit of exposition made it clear there are four kinds of creatures that can be called werewolves; the non-species specific terminology is Weretherian, but for simplicities sake we'll stick with werewolves for here.
- Werewolves: Mortals who have a minor magical talent for shapeshifting, and learned how to use turn into a wolf at will under their own power. This means they have to learn to properly transform and handle their new body from scratch, but otherwise don't have many of the drawbacks that the other types have. Werewolves are still vulnerable to regular weaponry, so no silver required. Apparently if you get really, really good at it, you can shapeshift your clothes with you. For the rest of them, they have to get naked first or they're gonna be a wolf wearing blue jeans. While that might be hilarious, it probably won't be useful in a fight.
- Wolfwere: A wolf that has learned how to transform into a man, gaining the mightiest power of all: OPPOSABLE THUMBS. Also note that this is also really rare, because it means that an animal (not from the spirit world) has learned magic, which is almost unheard of.
- Hexenwolves: Mortals who use enchanted items infused with the power of a predatory spirit to shape-shift. This means there is no pesky learning curve to handling their new bodies, but at the same time a spirit of violence and predatory instinct is being let loose inside their skull, slowly turning them into psychotic beasts with little impulse control. Silver not required.
- Lycanthropes: People who channel a spirit of rage. While they don't technically shape-shift; their bodies do undergo minor changes during the full moon, making them harder, faster, stronger, and lowering their impulse control and intelligence as they become more bestial. This might be the same trick used by Viking Berserkers. Once again silver is not required, but bring a lot of force.
- Loup-Garou: Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? Well you'd better be scared of this guy. Loup-Garous are the only werewolf variant who have no control over their shape-shifting as they are under a generational curse which forces them to turn into a wolf like demon the size and weight of a small minivan, or large car, during the three days that surround the full moon. This curse has to come from a major heavyweight, like the Faerie Queens or a Demon lord, and is nigh-unbreakable without killing the family line that has been cursed. Loup-Garous are the only form of werewolf vulnerable to silver, and then it has to be silver inherited from a family member. A loup-garou can go through a building full of armed and trained men like a hot blender through an infant made of butter; they're huge, strong, and almost impossible to kill without silver, being immune to poison and mind magic, and capable of healing fatal injuries within seconds.
Types of Magic Users
Like many other settings, the Dresdenverse has many different types of magic users. We're going to go over the human ones here. Wizards also heal better (note: better, not faster) than mortals, and because of this live much longer. Some of the oldest wizards have lived to be over 400 years old, and if you study necromancy, you might just "live" longer than that. These affects will apply to all practitioners to a greater or lesser extent.
- Minor Talent: You don't have a lot of power or talent, but you have some. To do do anything really significant, you need the help of other minor practitioners. Most likely, you'll be part of a larger community of small time magic users. You might be part of a group of like minded people who will work together to perform magic for a variety of tasks. Work hard enough and you might become a Focused Practitioner, make the right connections and you might become a Sorcerer. Much of the wardens' information comes from tips from these minor talents.
- Focused Practitioner: You can do one type of magic really, really well. You've honed your gift and learned to use it in ways most people never thought possible. For example, if you learn to shape-shift into a wolf, you might learn to halt the transformation halfway and take on a hybrid form or you could use you shape-shifting to heal your own wounds incredibly quickly. You're inferior to wizards and sorcerers in terms of pure power, but you're likely to be respected for the effort you've put into your craft.
- Sorcerer: You're at best middle management in the magic world. You don't have wizard levels of power, chances are you only really have one or two proficiencies in magic. However, you've managed to supercharge your few skills either through making deals with higher powers or tapping into a source of power like artifacts, places of power, or specific dates and time. You're nowhere near Wizard levels but you can hold you own in a fight if it happens on your terms. The rest of you power comes from time consuming and often tedious rituals. You probably don't have a complete understanding of magic but to most sorcerers it doesn't matter how it works so long as it works. You'll seem like a badass to minor talents and vanilla mortals, but wizards might look down on you for taking the shortcut to power, and it's a truly rare sorcerer who has the versatility and practical experience to take on a Warden. You might get lucky with a sucker punch, but in a fair fight? Not likely. Sorcerer is also a general term for various nonhuman magic users, like the Sidhe and Fomor, who can potentially match or exceed wizard levels of power.
- Wizard: You're top of the food chain, as far as mortal magic users go. You can instinctively use magic, but you must study and develop your talent to truly excel. You have the potential to learn any magical discipline if you work hard and learn, but your skill in that magic is based on your individual preferences and talents. All wizards have The Sight, which enables them to see the true psychic manifestation of the world around them, letting them see paths of magic and allowing them to see through illusions. Its a double edged sword though, since anything you See will form a memory that will never fade or soften, so if you See the wrong thing, it might drive you insane. Wizards can also engage in Soul Gazes by looking into the eyes of beings with souls (and some who don't, lore kinda swings back and forth on this) enabling them to See some manifestation of the true essence of a person. This is completely involuntary and will occur whenever the wizard looks deeply into the eyes of someone. Soul Gazes are a two way street, anyone who is subject to a wizard's soul gaze gets a look into the wizard's soul. Among wizards, earning the right to join the White Council is akin to earning your PhD, being recognized by the premier wizards of the world as a peer, if not always an equal. If you play your cards right, you'll live centuries and amass a tremendous amount of wealth, power, and knowledge. If you play your cards wrong, your charred corpse will probably be lying in a ditch in some part of the Nevernever. You're also able to pull off a death curse, a spell that expends all the energy in your body, plus all the energy you can pull in from your environment, in one massive spell. This often takes the form of a massive destructive spell, but can take more subtle and long-lasting forms if the wizard has more time to prepare it.
- Warlock: You're a magic user of any level who's broken at least one of the Laws of Magic. Odds are you didn't know about any Laws and are an unlucky, inexperienced kid who just developed powers. Sadly, your life expectancy has taken a drastic decrease because the Wardens tend to compensate for their low numbers with sheer fanaticism. How unjust, right? WRONG! You've most likely been irrevocably warped by the Black Magic and/or have gone mad with power. In most cases, the only solution is for the Wardens to put you down like the rabid abomination in human skin that you are. If you're a Council member, the Council will probably look the other way if you break the First Law, since you very likely had a good reason and you're mature and experienced enough to avoid any warping. But if you break any of the other Laws, YOU WILL BE PUT DOWN. If you're not a Council member and you're sane and repentant, and someone on the Council vouches for you, then you might, just might, get put under the Doom of Damocles, which is basically parole with the penalty for violation being death. The Doom gets removed when you've proven yourself trustworthy in the eyes of the Council, which you'll be forced to join because they want to keep a close eye on you. If you're sane and unrepentant then you're a fucking whiner who's too self-absorbed to surrender your life for the good of the many. This probably sounds unfair right? WRONG! For every genuinely redeemable warlock, there's at least ten gibbering maniacs who deserve to die, and wardens have neither the time nor the resources to try to rehabilitate everyone. They do what needs to be done.
- Emissary of a Power: Like the sorcerer, your power comes from an external source, in your case the patronage of another being; likely a demon, spirit, or lesser god. Unlike the sorcerer, you probably don't have any natural talent for magic. You've been bestowed power by your patron in exchange for your allegiance(or the small price of your immortal soul). In most cases, you won't know how this power works and even if you do, you can't recreate it without your patron. Emissaries of a Power only keep their abilities as long as they continue to work for their patron. Depending on the arrangement, you might be forced into a job that lasts a lifetime (or several lifetimes) or your job might just last until next Tuesday. The exact nature of the power you've been granted varies depending on the nature of your patron, an emissary of a spirit associated with fire will have fire powers, etc.
- Chosen of God: You're a member of an extremely select group of people who get their power from God. You didn't decide to become a Chosen, God decided. Your power will leave you when you whens His will has been done, as such most Chosen have powers for an extremely short period of time. You'll likely appear in the right place at the right time to do the right thing, guided by divine coincidence or vague but specifically tailored hints from The Almighty. Your power is fueled by your faith. (Note: Chosen are explicitly of the Abrahamic God, or at least the mainstream religions, champions of other, more forgotten gods are more along the lines of Emissaries of Powers)
- True Believer: Your faith is so strong that it has supernatural effects. Its debatable whether or not this is really magic, its more like you have a greater than average metaphysical mass/psychic presence as a result of your belief or that your chosen deity has decided to reward you for the strength of your faith. You're not overtly supernatural, you can't cast divine magic or stuff like that, but you might be able to ward off and defend against supernatural beings whose nature is antithetical to your belief (a True Believer Christian might set vampires aflame if they touch him, for example). You seem to be ever so slightly more effective than most when fighting evil; when you give someone or something your blessing, its seems to actually work; when you genuinely pray, your prayers tend to be answered (or you just tend to forget the times they weren't answered. Confirmation bias is almost universal among True Believers, even if their Belief does objectively have power). Unlike chosen, your power comes from your own Faith rather than a specific god or God. True Belief in an idea or philosophy is just as potent as Belief in a god or religion, as we see when Harry uses his pentacle amulet and his raw faith in Magic as a tool to protect people and make the world a better, brighter place to ward off a vampire.
Types of Magic
This is simultaneously the simplest and most complicated part of the Dresden Files universe. Magic is basically the ability to move around energy with your will.
There are basically two types of magic; evocation and thaumaturgy. Evocation is the directing and calling of forces at an instants notice, and Thaumaturgy is ritualistic magic that requires the caster to jump through hoops, taking anywhere from a minute to a day to cast. There's a crapton of overlap though. For example: you can use thaumaturgic links and rituals to supercharge evocation spells.
The problem being there is no one way to cast magic; as magic is an exercise of will, belief is important in its use. Don't misunderstand, you can't just Believe yourself into being a powerful wizard, but if you don't Believe in your ability to use magic, you can't use it. As such, how you learn magic will affect how you practice it, and it'll be hard to change once it's learned. For example, if you were taught that magic comes from the gods, you're going to have a hard time changing that belief, because you've spent years of your life deliberately reinforcing that belief within yourself and watching that Belief shape the world around you. However, magic is often practiced more as a science than an art (it's implied that this is becoming increasingly common in the post-enlightenment world), an exercise in using quantifiable inputs to get quantifiable outputs. If this seems confusing or contradictory, good. Magic is shaped by mortal will, and mortals are a fractious and contradictory lot.
Every practitioner is unique in what they need to help them use magic. You don't really need anything, but again, Belief and Will and whatnot. There's also a certain practicality to using tools in magic, just as there is in any other endevour. If you prepare an item for casting by investing it with conduits and energy (such an item is called a focus, foci plural) can save you the effort of having to craft that part of the spell in your head. For example, Harry's blasting rod is designed to shape energy into contained blasts and lances, so that instead of carefully forming the energy and shape of a strike, he can just slam some energy through his blasting rod and it'll come out in roughly the right shape. Most wizards will have at least a few foci that they use for evocation (if they study evocation, most don't. After all, how many people do you know who learn martial arts or marksmanship? Most people just don't need combat skills in their day to day life), and potentially hundreds of various ritual items they'll use in thaumaturgy. Harry uses a staff, a rod, and his silver bracelet and necklace (kindly ignore biblical parallels). Carlos Ramirez uses a gauntlet and a staff(later a cane). An asian wizard might use the trappings of an Onmyogi. A rebelious or non-traditional caster might use things like a chain or a violin bow based on how they view their magic an the sort of things they cast. Foci aren't mandatory for the use of magic, after all, magic comes from you manipulating your environment, but a foci will always help. Think of it this way: it doesn't matter how strong you are, it's always going to be easier to pound in nails if you have a hammer.
It's also been said that controlling magic is something that all humans can do; what determines your ability as a practitioner is how developed your magical "senses" are and how easy you find it to channel large amounts of energy. Harry once compared a mortal learning magic to a blind man learning to paint. The basics are well within their reach (any mortal can establish a magical circle, for example), but truly complex or masterful renderings are beyond the reach of most. There's also the factor of time: even though a wizard can manipulate energy around them, they're leaning to move things that they have no point of reference for. You know how little kids are constantly falling over and tripping until they're ten or so? That's because it took them that long to really master using their bodies. Now try to imagine how long it would take a person to master moving something that isn't connected to their brain or nerves. It takes a decade to learn how to run without falling over, now imagine how long it takes to control a cloud of white-hot plasma exploding outward from your hand at supersonic speeds. I'm just saying, there's a reason that young wardens tend to rely just as much on guns and swords as they do magic.
It's also worthy of note that magic will still conform to the laws of physics; if you throw a fireball, you have to put energy into the spell to prevent the heat from expanding and the fireball from dissipating. Essentially, if you want the most bang for your buck, create an interpretation of magic that relies less on belief and more on physics to achieve the desired effect. You need a lot of energy to pull off most evocations, so of you're cut off from accessing energy in your environment, you're limited to the chemical energy output of your body, which means you won't be throwing around any fireballs or lightning blasts. This is why more experienced practitioners almost always beat less experienced ones in duels: the amount of energy in their environment is the same, but the more experienced practitioner knows how to control that energy more effectively and use less space in a smaller area to greater affect. God help us all if a wizard ever takes a physics course realizes he can manipulate relative time the same way you manipulate force and gravity. I think it's indicative of how magic works that the Sidhe, beings to whom magic is a fundamental part of their everyday lives, call mortal technology "ferromancy", or the manipulation of Iron. They see magical constructs as no different from physical items. Magic isn't some self aware mystical power, it's a quantifiable force you can study and map out; humans are what makes it complicated.
All this said, here are a couple of breakdowns of each "discipline" of magic. These schools are not set in stone; depending on the interpretation there may be a significant amount of overlap. For example, Harry views Ice and Fire magic as basically the same, it's just moving around heat energy. Due to the ongoing changes in lore/Harry's understanding of magic, and the occasional retcon, there's a ton of overlap here. We've seen mental magic associated with Air, Water, Fire, and Spirit at various times throughout the series. We've seen change associated with all elements except earth. Also worthy of note is that kinetomancy may or may not directly equate to Will. Increasingly as the series moves on we see many beings and even Harry himself exerting their will as pure kinetic force, with no spell casting involved. This is fitting, as all other schools follow the classic greek elements and prefixes, so ot makes sense for kinetomancy to have an aspect as the fifth greek classical element, the spirit.
Evocation, or quick and dirty Ka-Boom magic, is the most commonly found battle magic, and most practitioners in the books follow the ancient Greek philosophy of the classical elements when working such spells. It's not all that complex in what you can do with it, which is the province of Thaumaturgy and its infinitely variable rituals and complexities. A simple definition is: you willed it, it became true. The "schools" below are just the most common and they encompass far more than manipulating the specific "element", the elements are just symbolic placeholder names for the overall systems. As you can see, there's a lot of overlap. It's simultaneously easier to grasp than thaumaturgy, but more dangerous to practice. Throwing out a big explosion of heat and energy isn't hard; it's one of the simpler things you can do with magic. Doing it without blowing your own hand off, or setting everything around you on fire, or killing yourself from the concussive force of the spell's heat displacing air? Yeah, that's a bit harder.
- Aeromancy (Air): Speed, cold, mind, lack of physical substance, electricity, weather, mutability, life, spring.
- Geomancy (Earth): Stability, gravity, magnetism, nullification, power, immutability, stasis, death, autumn.
- Hydromancy (Water): Probability, entropy, mutability, healing, nullification, cleansing, dissipation, darkness, winter.
- Pyromancy (Fire): Thermodynamics, change, cleansing, creating or removing heat, light, death rays, warmth, the sun, explosions, summer.
- Kinetomancy (Kinetic energy): Pure kinetic force, speed, strength, pure energy, barriers, nullification, telekinesis, movement
Thaumaturgy is mostly ritual based, you can use it to create links between things and use those links to transfer energy. A lot of thaumaturgy can be accomplished without rituals though, rituals just help by providing symbolic form to the connections you are making, a "dotted line" for you to trace the flow of the energy. You can do some of the below on the fly, but it generally requires more mental effort on the part of the caster, you have to substitute rituals and their required materials by mentally making the connections and links.
- Summoning: Calling living beings, be they natural or supernatural)
- Conjuration: Different from summoning as it is about the object rather than an entity. SEMANTICS HO!
- Necromancy: Using magic to directly manipulate life, death, and the soul. Naturally has a ton of overlap with biomancy, healing, and ectomancy. Can do everything from raising the dead to saving lives by binding their souls to their body so they can't die. Can become crazy overpowered in the right hands (read: Kemmler).
- Ectomancy: the council-approved version of Necromancy, more about communicating with or binding ghosts than controlling them. Can also pull ghosts into yourself to see their memories and use their skills.
- Probability magic: Using magic to influence probability. Duh.
- Entropomancy/Fortunamancy: The of mucking about with probability to influence luck. Can cause anything from slipping on a crack to finding a 20 on the sidewalk to suddenly having an improbable number of electrons flying free from the atoms that make up your body, turning you into a cloud of radioactive dust. Theoretically this should be absolutely, horrifyingly, incomprehensibly complicated, because there's really no way to quantify as a force what is good or bad for you. Entropy is easy, stasis is easy, but reversing entropy or trying to quantify good and bad outcomes relative to probability? How the fuck do you write an equation for good or bad outcomes? We never see it used in a beneficial manner in the series, and I'd guess that's because the second law of thermodynamics is a hard thing to argue with.
- Hexing: Mortal practitioners have an effect on the world around them which has changed throughout the ages, in the current day Wizard's have a deletrious effect on nearby technology. Hexing is the magic of specifically using this tech-bane to a much greater degree. Can quite literally make computers explode or cause cars to tear themselves apart. This magic isn't so much straight up entropomancy as it is a natural ability of all wizards rather than a particular style of magic. There are plenty of theories about why it happens in universe, but none of them have proof. Oh, and wizards are always doing this to a certain extent. They can ramp it up if they want, or target a specific thing, but machines will always fail faster around a wizard.
- Divination: Using magic to attempt looking at the future, past, or some other location in the present. Comes in many flavors.
- Anthropomancy: The art of divining the future in the entrails of a corpse, often fresh. Unsurprisingly illegal as it involves murder.
- Sympathetic Tracking: Using a piece of somebody (fresh hair, blood, toe nail clippings) or something (Paint chips, metal shards, a paired ring) to track them. One of the most common methods of divination, and easy enough that even non-practitioners can do it with a lot of patience and a good teacher.
- Resonant Divination: Much more like a magical telephone than anything else, this is the magical version of Quantum Entanglement, which allows for simple, long distance communication.
- Holomancy: Manipulating light to create 'solid' illusions. Distinguished from veils in that they are a physical effect on the environment, not just an image projected into your mind. Presumably you could take a picture of a holomancy imagine, but not a veil.
- Biomancy: Healing and shapeshifting, can also be used to supercharge the physical body, but doing so comes with great risk. Just because you pump enough energy into your muscles to throw your fridge through a wall doesn't mean your ligaments or bones can take that weight, so people who do this without extensive practice and preparation tend to tear their bodies apart to a greater or lesser degree.
- Mind Magic
- Neuromancy: Magic that directly interacts with the brain or nervous system. This is the sort of magic that allows you to overclock your brain to amp up reaction speeds or thinking processes, but the backlash is unbelievable. You can also activate people's pain receptors in combat, making them feel like you did when you broke you leg.
- Psychomancy: Magic that interacts with the mind, soul, psyche, or memories. Very illegal, do not do this at home, or in public, or anywhere. As a note it is not illegal to use psychomancy on non-humans, but because of the way that non-human entities minds work enjoy your never-ending acid trip from the comfort of your new padded room with the fancy white jacket. Psychomancy differs from other types of mind magic in that you're altering the psyche on a long term basis. Removing/creating memories, turning people into thralls, reading unwilling minds. There's a healthy amount of leeway when it comes to healing psychic trauma though, especially if it was inflicted by magic, so ironically there are actually plenty competent psychomancers in the White Council, including the Gatekeeper and Listens to Wind.
- Thralls: humans who have had their Free Will subverted by psychomancy
- Fine Thralls: think "manchurian candidate", a fine thrall's mind has been tampered with in such a way that the thrall is left unaware of the tampering. Either their behavior is altered without them knowing it, or they perform certain actions when triggers activate their programming. The condition is curable.
- Rough Thralls: Rough Thralls just stand around awaiting orders. They can perform basic tasks and follow orders, but they have no initiative or true awareness of their situation. A Rough Thrall will carry out orders and think of absolutely nothing else, that means that it can't think creatively or critically when faced with an unexpected problem. The condition is curable in some cases but can be permanently damaging.
- Renfields: Black Court's special thralls created through overpowering mortal minds with sheer power and torture. Basically dead men walking. They're not good for anything other than excessive violence or very simple tasks. Incurable without exceptions, a Renfield will commit suicide after a few months of being created.
- Thralls: humans who have had their Free Will subverted by psychomancy
- Veils/Illusions: Making it so that people receive false sensory input or suggestions, so they either see nothing or don't notice you. Typically doesn't break the Laws.
- Oneiromancy: Dream Magic, this breed of magic blends with Psychomancy to a rather uncomfortable degree, when used to implant nightmares, or other subliminal commands, however it is also used for communication. Arguably Harry himself uses it subconsciously himself when talking to Id-Harry as he only talks to Id-Harry when asleep..
- Worldwalking: Opening portals to the Nevernever. The Nevernever sits under/above/around/inside our world, and you can enter it at any point in our world by tearing a hole or a portal between the material world and the Nevernever. It's incredibly difficult to create a portal directly to your desired destination but it can be done if you're a real badass (note that the only people we see do this are an Archangel, a Faery Queen, and a god). Theoretically, because it be done, you could also create such a portal just barely inside another portal, thus creating a portal that connects two places within the mortal world, or two places within the Nevernever, but we've yet to see this done. Most of the time, people just open a hole to the Nevernever in a specific location in the real world, take a trip through a relatively stable part of it (usually through Faerie), open up a portal to the material world, and end up at a specific location. Think "Webway"
- Wards: A blanket term for all defensive magics, which can be anything from straight up walls of kinetic energy to evocation-in-a-box style landmines to crazy psychomancy "I'm now terrified of that door I was about to kick down" stuff.
- Item Crafting: The making of Foci, Enchanted Items, Charms, that kind of thing. Every wizard knows how to do this to some extent.
- Brewing(?): Making potions. Thaumaturgy in a bottle. Usually involves cooking (metaphorically or literally) ritual or symbolic items with an investment of energy to activate them. Every potion made has to have eight ingredients. A Base, one ingredient for each physical sense (sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste), and an ingredient for the mind and soul. An additional fact is that potions do not have to be fluid, Ghost Dust and "Sunshine in a Handkerchief" are both technically examples of non-fluid potions according to the RPG books.
- Alchemy: Altering substances based on their psychic/metaphysical properties. Has a ton of overlap with chemistry.
- The True Magic: Kemmler's magic system/discipline. Never completely defined, but denies the distinction between Black and White magic, and seems to lean heavily on necromancy, psychomancy, entropomancy, and the removal of energy from things. Kemmler's students also tend to use direct will and kinetic force as evocation, and Kemmler himself didn't concern himself much over being alive or dead, so it's likely the discipline focused on the mastery of Will over life and death.
A Note: The game handles the way a player may handle their Thaumaturgy focus in one of two ways. They can either choose to specialise really heavily in one particular type of thaumaturgy (such as divination) or they may choose a thematic specialization (such as Photomancy where they can do Holomancy, divination, viels, teleportation, or anything else so long as there is a LIGHT aspect to what they're trying to do). Thaumaturgy is an inherently flexible and complex style of magic use and trying to lock it down the way other games might would be damaging to the DFRPG games narrative. Play fast and loose with it when you can.
Magical Items and You (WIP)
To any sort of practitioner focus items are the tools of their trade. A White CouncilWizard has his staff, a True Believer has his symbol, a Renegade Warlock has dagger carved out of volcanic obsidian he bought at some sort of mexican tourist trap.
The fact is that all practitioners, regardless of source or power level, have at least one focus item, and those that don't are often considered to be headstrong idiots who insist on doing everything by hand, regardless of its complexity.
- In Setting
In the setting of the Dresden Files Focus Items are, as above, considered multi-purpose tools that aid practitioners in their spell-slinging. As vocal invocations are Oven-Gloves to help the caster avoid frying their brains with the power they're manipulating; a Focus Item acts like a Crowbar or a piece of rope and a pulley or a knife, it aids the caster by taking out the amount of effort they need to put in, or by focusing the power they're slinging about.
The more multi-purpose a Focus is, the longer it takes to make, and the more effort it carries over from the caster the larger it is. Examples of this in motion would be Harry's Staff, Blasting rod, and Little Chicago.
Harry often doesn't even try to cast anything overly complex without his Staff, he's got the power in spades, but the Staff allows him to weave it more completely and in a wide variety of patterns, as a tool it could be compared to a firefighter's Halligan Bar that took him several months to make the first time around, and he is very cagey about potentially losing it. Compare/contrast to his Blasting Rod which doesn't help with the complexity of his spells, but instead helps him focus the power he does throw around, but only in Fire, Air, and Force evocation. His staff can help with those spells but the Rod is designed to help with those spells, and only those spells making it more of a magical Combat Knife, a weapon with some utility outside of stabbing things, that can be replaced rather quickly, compared to his more versatile staff Harry has replaced his Blasting rod several times over, each time only taking a couple of weeks worth of work.
- In Game
In game Focus Items are a little more limited, but also better defined.
Every Practitioner who takes either Channeling ([-2 REFRESH] 2FP) or Ritual ([-2 REFRESH] 2FP), or their more powerful variants Evocation ([-3 REFRESH] 2FP) and Thaumaturgy ([-3 REFRESH] 2FP) gets at least 2 Focus item slots to a maximum of 4 (you can't stack the slots from Channeling to Evocation, or Ritual to Thaumaturgy). You can however gain more Focus Item slots by grabbing the Refinement power [-1 REFRESH], which is stackable, and can give 2 extra Item slots each time it is taken.
So a Practitioner who has only taken Channeling has two Focus Item slots. How do they use them?
By investing Slots into a single item the Player can gain a boost to either the power or control of their spells of a certain type, so a Wizard who puts 1 slot into an Evocation focus would gain something that looks like this +1 Power, (Air) or +1 Control, (Air), whereas if he put in 2 slots he could have an item that boosted both power and control by +1 at the same time +1 Power/+1 Control, (Air), or something that boosted the power of two seperate elements such as +1 Power, (Air, Earth). However if a player wants to do something like this +1 Power, (Air), +1 Control (Fire) it costs 4 slots, because the number of slots used is equal to Number of Elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit) multiplied by the number of Types (Offensive Control/Power, Defensive Control/Power).
This means in game, it's usually better to make a wide variety of specialised Focus Items until you have the Refresh to blow on Refinement, because trying to stack everything into one item means it is going to cost a lot more for a single item, which can, and most likely will, get busted at some point even if your DM is a nice guy. It just happens to everyone. I would recommend haggling for FATE points slightly less than the number of slots that item cost when it does get broken, though.
It's also possible to gain an extra Slot for a single item by tying the item to a single specific spell, but if you're going to do that, then make sure it's a spell you are going to use ALL THE GODDAMNED TIME.
- In Setting
Where Focus items are tools that aid in Spellcasting, their uses infinite and complex, Enchanted Items are spells stored in physical items.
An enchanted item is more akin to a magical battery than any thing else, it stores a single spell's worth of energy until it is triggered, and once triggered it is depleted, until more energy can be put in.
The primary examples of this would be Harry's Force Rings. These are essentially just a set of rings, each enchanted to save up and store little bits of Kinetic Energy whenever Harry moves his arms, releasing all that energy as a coherent blast of raw kinetic energy when he triggers them. However once they have been triggered, they need to be recharged again. The blast of force released always acts in the same way (A single coherent beam of force), and in fact cannot be charged beyond a certain point as the spell has a maximum power limit (to avoid shattering the rings on Harry's hand).
The secondary, but more common example of this would be Harry's duster, which has been enchanted to be constantly tougher than regular leather, protecting against bullets and blades (up to .50 caliber rifle rounds) but not as much against blunt force. Unlike his force rings, Harry's duster does not need to be actively charged for the spell to work, however the enchantments need to be repaired and maintained once every year to keep them operating at full effectiveness.
For Players: an A-Z List of potential "prefix"mancies that don't really fit in any particular column and can be used to make a character
- Agromancy (Farm Magic, or the magic of growth)
- Brontomancy (Thunder/Lightning Magic)
- Chloromancy (Plant Magic, also see Floramancy)
- Chronomancy (Time Magic, MUHUHAHAHAHA)
- Cryomancy (Ice Magic)
- Eromancy (
LoveSex magic, it makes you horny, Love Hurts)
- Faunamancy (Animal Magic, whether this is shapeshifting or a Disney Princess singsong with the birdies is up to you)
- Ferromancy (Iron Magic / Technology)
- Floramancy (Flower Magic specifically, opium poppies anyone?)
- Meteoromancy (Weather magic, Make it rain!)
- Pathomancy (The magic of making diseases and contagions, Nurgle approves)
- Photomancy (Light Magic, lasers ahoy)
- Radiomancy (Radiation magic, Dr Banner, pelted by Gamma radiation, turns into a cancerous husk)
- Sonosmancy (Sound Magic, put your hands up and shout)
- Volcanomancy (Lava/Magma Magic, for when you want to bring Vesuvius to you)
Planes of Existence (WIP)
Points/Places to cover
The Mortal/Physical World
If we seriously have to explain to you what the physical world is then we are wasting our time. Go outside and experience it for yourself.
The spirit world, a vast collection of countless planes and sub-realms. Time may flow differently depending on where you are in the Nevernever. By traveling short distances in the Nevernever, you can cross massive distances in the real world. Large tracts of the Nevernever are inhospitable to human life, with the laws of physics in a constant state of flux. Relatively safe and stable paths through the Nevernever are called "Ways"
- Faerie (Winter Wastes, Summer Meadows, Erlking's Hall, Arctis Tor, The Pyramids of Giza, The Mother's Cottage): the largest and most stable part of the Nevernever, while some parts of the Nevernever might change constantly, with their layout shifting and the laws of physics being altered, Faerie is relatively stable and has physics roughly similar to the real world. Iron is forbidden to most vistors, dropping iron on sacred Awnsidhe soil will earn the direct ire of the Queens themselves, as the Fae and their land are one. If you bring iron into Faerie, take it with you when you leave, or else the next time you visit the land itself might turn against you. You'll probably see a lot of standing stones, or Menhir, courtesy of the Fae's neolithic origins, and are occasionaly used to mark specific ways into and out of the Nevernever.
- Winter: every scary fairytale setting ever, bleak tundras, haunted forests, freezing bogs, jagged frost covered mountains, stone altars in the middle of a moor covered in dried blood, near constant night, you know, that stuff.
- Summer: verdant, sunny forests, flower covered meadows, pavilions in the middle of the woods, babbling brooks, circles of Sidhe holding hands and dancing, sights so beautiful that you'll want to stay, forever.
- The Wyld: extremely varied, can encompass environments including and between the two extremes of Winter and Summer.
- The Mothers' Cottage: a humble cottage with a floor of packed earth, surrounded by rolling hills. Inside is a small hearth, with Mother Winter's numerous dentures sitting the mantlepiece. There is a wooden shelf that holds small, homemade ceramic pots, each containing a virulent plague, Mother Summer's collection of "preservatives"(she is the caretaker of all life, that includes anthrax and smallpox). The cottage lies in an extremely remote part of Faerie, normally inaccessible to both man and fae save for those who are personally invited by the Mothers.
- Hell(?): according to WoJ, Hell is the domain of the Fallen and their allies, an empire of many realms tied together by alliances and promises of power, for mortal souls, it is a place of pure, agonizing(but not personalized) suffering.
- The Underworld: a massive prison-nation of shades governed by Hades, here punishments are personalized and are often cruelly ironic.
- "The Foot of Yggdrasil": seen in Changes, Yggdrasil, the Norse world-tree is a massive tree on the shores of a frozen lake.
- The Far Reaches(?)
- Personal Demesnes
- Chicago-over-Chicago (The Queen's Battleground, The Stone Table)
A transitory afterlife for the souls of those who died in Chicago although it may be the whole world, we just see 'Chicago'. Uriel runs a soul protection agency(?) on this level, often taking the ghosts or souls of those who are unwilling or unable to pass on to the afterlife until they believe themselves redeemed. They do this by helping Mr Sunshine protect free-will against the machinations of the Enemy. The agency itself is staffed by angels and "mortals" alike, although most of those "mortals" seem to either be dead cops, or soldier given what little we've seen of them.
The apparent methods of moving on from this place seem to be "The Southbound Train" (no prizes on guessing where that leads), and the Door. It's one person wide, one person tall, and when you go through it, you do so alone.
An endless Void of physical non-existence. Dead winds howl in their stillness. Lost and forgotten Things scream at their punishment. There are no stars in the sky, no movements to stir the dirt underfoot, no thought to stave off madness. A place where life and hope cannot exist. That which should not be is instead given horrific un-life. That is what the Outside is. The only thing found here are the Outsiders in numbers uncountable, directed by the eldritch, unknowable will of the Old Ones. And they want in.
Separated from reality by the Outer Gates, the Outside is the opposite of existence, not anti-matter, but non-existence. It is everything that the Mortal World and the Nevernever aren't and it is nothing at the same time. It is the antithesis of all that exists, the very concept of nothingness given impossible form and will. It is a place of abominations, reality inverted.
The Outer Gates themselves border Faerie on the Winter side, stretching from horizon to horizon, standing impossibly tall all the way. Before them sits a vast battle plain covered in crumbling bones, bordered by a massive wall of ice and fortifications that has existed since the dawn of time.
Potential Places for a Gaming Group to Use
- The Bizarre Bazaar (Goblin/Fae Market)
- Santa's Workshop (Ho. Ho. Ho.)
- Arctis Minora
- The Summer Capitols (Verdant Tor? Verdant Minora?)