A red cap is an unseelie fae from Anglo-Scottish folklore, said to prefer dwelling in ruined castles. The creature's name comes from it's trademark hat or cap which it dyes with the blood of murdered humans - some sources suggesting that unless the bloodstain is kept fresh the fae will sicken and die. Apart from the bloody cap, these creatures are said to resemble small, ugly old men.
Unusually for a fae, the red cap is said to wear iron boots and sometimes to wield a heavy iron spear or pike, but is still meant to be fast enough that it is impossible to outrun them. Unlike many of the fair folk, red caps are not usually portrayed using magic.
Apropos of nothing, the term "Red Cap" can also refer to the Royal Military Police in modern usage. Allegedly the only common element is the colour of their hats.
Game and Story Use
- Fae with a tolerance for iron are a rare breed - perhaps the unseelie court created the redcap specially to wage war on humanity.
- Perhaps the human blood is necessary to tolerate the proximity of so much iron - without fresh blood the iron will once again begin to rot and burn its flesh.
- The lack of magical abilities may be part of the trade-off.
- Of course, rather than being fae the red cap may actually turn out to be a different kind of vampire.
- Canny bandits might disguise themselves as redcaps for psychological effect.