It was only two days ago, when Wizards of the Coast officially released Heroes of the Feywild, a new supplement for Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition. Now, we have the opportunity to check this new book in detail, and therefore share our experiences and opinion with our readers.
As we already talked about it in our previous article here, Wizard of the Coast released a new book filled with character options, titled Heroes of the Feywild. Now, it’s time to get a much more detailed look on the book, and it’s usefulness to the Dungeons & Dragons brand.
As we mentioned, Heroes of the Feywild gives us a new setting to use as a background for our characters. We receive a description of the setting, and a lots of options from new races to subclasses and possible backgrounds. The book is divided into 5 chapters, dealing with the various aspects of the theme. The outlook of the book is what we expect from a WoTC product, however, maybe because of the theme I really enjoyed the artwork even more than I used to.
The first chapter, “Into the Bright” gives us the background information on the Feywild, the land where fairy tales come from. The descriptions are good for set the mood for the setting, but it seems to me that they contain few practical information. They provide some ideas for adventurers venturing there, and possible dangers, overall the GM has to spend a great deal of time if he want to include the Feywild in his campaign. However, if you use this only for the backstory for several characters, than this part is more than enough to help.
In the second chapter we receive the first new options for characters in the book : the three new races. These are the Hamadryad, the Satyr and the Pixie. The Hamadryad is a mix between a nymph and a dryad, but in abilities its much closer to it’s dryad brethen. Comared to the other two races, these girls don’t have the same roots to fantasy folklore, but they are ok as a fantasy race, and they are quite suited to the druid class. Their abilities are mostly connected to trees, and resilience but somehow I didn’t felt it really innovative.
The other two races, the pixie and the satyr in the Heroes of Feywild captured my imagination much more than the Hamadryads. The pixies are something entirely new compared to standard DnD races, and they are very favorful to use. The Shrink ability is a great equalizer here, which enables them to use items, created for normal sized creatures without penalty. The satyrs in the other hand, are much closer to a standard character, but I think their background and abilities are well executed, so we get what we would like to from such character.
The next chapter is about new subclasses and powers for the barbarian, bard, druid and wizard classes. The barbarian subclass, seems fine, but since it’s most of it’s unique abilities are tied to defense, it doesn’t really feels like something I would call as a berserker. The berserker fury is great, but sadly it’s usage switch of the (uncharacteristic) defense powers. The different new powers are good, but some of the flavor-texts aren’t match the game effect.
The bard received a new, very interesting optional class feature, Songs of Influence, which seems a very nice option to use. The Skald subclass is another nice option, replacing some traditional bard abilities for some combat and healing related powers, and above all, he receives Master of Story and Song. The later basically gives a really great versatility with daily powers. On the other hand, the new druid subclass sacrifices regular daily powers for summon nature ally, and i1m not sure if it’s a great payoff. At least, the new powers for the classes are good, as for the barbarian. The witch is again a viable option, and it’s arcane familiar and augury powers set her apart from regular wizards. It1s recommended to take her some powers from the Heroes of the Feywild book as she gains levels, to make here even more “witch-like”.
The chapter 4 offers us a lots of Feywild related options, like fey-themed paragon paths, epic destinies, feats, items, and the very interesting fey gifts. We receive 4 character themes available at first level in the book :the Fey beast tamer, the Sidhe lord, the Tuathan and the Unseelie agent, both with very unique abilities on their own.
My personal favorite is the Fey beast tamer, with 4 different exotic companions to choose from. They are very useful assistance in any close combat encounter, and their auras are useful. The other themes are also usable, only the Sidhe lord left me uninterested. The new feats are also good, giving the chance to subclasses to gain some other class related abilities and vice-versa. We also receive an arcane familiar feat, and some upgrades to it, which could be useful, especially for a witch.
I really liked the new gear available in the Heroes of the Feywild, and the magic items too, but the really interesting things are the fey gifts. These are abilities, much like a magic item, but they cannot be traded away or lost – they become inherent to the character. Fey magic gifts fall into a category with divine boons, legendary boons, and grandmaster training, and share the same rules characteristics with them.
The 5th, and final chapter is about creating a background for our Feywild related character. It could be used for a somewhat random background generation to a character, if you would like to.
Overall, I think most parts of the Heroes of the Feywild sourcebook are useful, but it’s not without faults. At the end, I would give it about 4 points out of 5, because it’s executes most things I wanted to see in a good way, with only rare more problematic parts.
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros