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Designed by: Steven Wallace
While the Monster Manual (and other monster compendiums) contains a fair share of faerie-based foes, most are drawn from European folklore (hell, much of the entire fantasy genre is distilled from Tolkeinesque medieval Europe, but let’s not get sidetracked).
The concept of faerie player races isn’t exactly new, but “Children of the Fey” has a distinctly international flavoring, drawing in cultural nature and spirit beings from around the world, including Australia, Celtic, Japanese, African and Inuit, creating a rich tapestry of faerie races and subraces, as well as a full NPC bestiary using each race.
“Children of the Fey” includes three broad category of fey player races with three subraces each, for a total of nine new player races.
Half Fey include the wolf-like Adlet, the Kitsune, who can transform into multi-tailed foxes, and the lanky, rock-loving Mimi. These were my favorite races of the bunch as they felt the most unique and original.
The Adlet half wolf lower bodies and feel adapt in wintery climes, while Kitsune grow tails as they age and gain wisdom, which in D&D terms translates to reflecting their WIS score. Mimi had by far the coolest look and culture, living in small isolated communities, squeezing between rocks with their elongated bodies and painting their caverns.
The Lár Fey originate in the Material Plane and include the Alseid, the Ghillie Dhu, and Tikoloshe. I’ve seen Alseid in other compendiums as basically deer centaur, but the designer puts an emphasis on their fey connections and their magical, protective groves, similar to dryads.
Ghillie Dhu, the Celtic Children of the Forest, make for a weird player race. A perpetually precocious child is a tricky line to walk in any adventuring party (and usually the worst character in any JRPG) and their mechanics are weak. Tikoloshe are the classic pranksters who look like sea dwarves and come with swimming speed, water breathing and innate spells!
You can probably guess what the Arboreal Fey are all about. Dryad is a pretty easy and obligatory inclusion. Kodama are straight-up walking plants, which is always a fun race to see (I AM GROOT), those these plants are quite vindictive. The final new race is the Tani, a sort of sentient plant-fruit that constantly hover just above the ground, giving them a limited flying speed.
At a glance each race feels sufficiently balanced, with nothing too terribly game-breaking or eyebrow raising, though it does feel a little weird that an Alseid can only use their horns defensively once per short rest.
As a complimentary bonus to the player races, each of the entries is given multiple statblocks to be used as NPCs. These range from a generic statblock, usually around CR 1 or 2, to more exotic and specialized versions, like an epic CR 15 Kitsune monk. It also serves as a fun example to see how these races can fit with certain class builds and archetypes, such as the Snow Strider (Adlet Wizard with ice spells) and Floral Ravager (Alseid Barbarian/Ranger wielding a greataxe).
Better yet, each NPC is given a brief blurb on how to effectively use them in combat – or how to introduce them in a campaign. The CR 5 Park Warden dryad, for example, isn’t necessarily designed as a combatant but perhaps as an NPC who can offer a quest, share some information, or just provide a fun chat.
- Nine player races and 26 NPC statblocks, all within a fey-touched theme.
- A diverse roster of choices that favor multiple ability scores and play styles.
- Each race includes a nice section on ‘Adventurers,’ highlighting possible character concepts.
- The ‘grove protector’ concept is overly used, and could by applied to the dryad, alseid, and tani races.
- The Ghille Dhu, or child of the forest, makes for a lame player race.
The Verdict: By drawing from folklore around the world, “Children of the Fey” provides a refreshingly diverse pool of interesting new player races and NPCs.
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