Folk of the Feywild
With the release of the playtest material Folk of the Feywild, players now have 4 new race options to use for their characters within Dungeons & Dragons. In case you’re not familiar with it, the Feywild is a plane imbued with arcane magic with strong ties to natural elements. The creatures that exist in the Feywild were influenced by the magic of the plane and are sometimes treacherous. While the plane is visually beautiful, it is an incredibly dangerous place to visit.
The new Feywild races are Fairy, Hobgoblin of the Feywild, Owlfolk, and Rabbitfolk.
If you know the Feywild then a Fairy is probably what comes to mind first. The Fairy race offers players a variety of incredible bonuses, that upon initial review seem a bit too strong. The Fairy is Small in size and is a Fey creature type, however, the Fairy race also gains the ability to fly. Additionally, with its ability called Fey Passage it can fit through any 1-inch space.
Essentially there are very few places the Fairy cannot get in and out of.
While the Fairy seems a bit too ambitious, the addition of the Hobgoblin of the Feywild appears to compliment any player who wants to adopt a supportive playstyle. There are two main abilities this race possesses that make it stand out. The Fey Gift ability allows the Hobgoblin to use the Help action as a bonus action. One example of the many practical uses of this would be giving an ally advantage on their attack, and all it would cost is your bonus action.
If this wasn’t powerful enough, the Hobgoblin can also use the Help action to grant temporary HP, movement speed, and potentially impose disadvantage on an enemy after attacking it. Personally, I’m a huge fan of any character options that encourage players to play as a team, and this race hits the nail on the head for inspiring teamwork.
The Owlfolk gives players access to a list of thematically compelling abilities and traits. Owls are commonly known as night predators and this race catered to that by giving the Owlfolk enhanced Darkvision and an ability called Silent Feathers which grants the race proficiency in Stealth. The obvious quality that hasn’t been addressed yet is flight, and of course the Owlfolk have access to it. Not only can it fly but it can also use its wings to break fall damage with a manageable Dexterity saving throw.
Out of all the options in the Feywild, the addition of Rabbitfolk surprised me the most. This race is defined by heightened senses and fancy footwork, taking shape in the form of combat mobility. Rabbitfolk gain proficiency in initiative and perception. Few details go unnoticed and even when they are surprised Rabbitfolk will often act first due to their initiative bonus. This race also enjoys the bonuses of Lucky Footwork which will allow it to turn around some failed Dexterity saving throws into successes. And lastly, the Rabbit Hop ability will launch your character in any direction of your choosing, resulting in a reasonably large bonus to movement. The enhanced mobility and the proficiency bonuses seen in the Rabbitfolk race are dynamic and useful for almost any type of character.
All things considered these races are unique and welcomed additions to the player toolbelt of customization.
Personally, the Fairy and Owlfolk races stand out as problematic mainly because of their ability to fly at level 1.
It is my opinion that having access to flight at level 1 creates challenges to the DM in balancing encounters, dungeons, and traps. Additionally, it creates an issue of players outshining each other due to innate abilities in a game that is supposed to be team oriented.
Players can eventually learn the Fly spell, so why is flight tied to race so problematic? To list a few, the spell Fly comes at the cost of resources, class investment, it can be dispelled, and its only available at a minimum of level 5. Groups of players ultimately can ban features they find too strong. And it’s also important to highlight that this is only playtest material so far.
The D&D community does a good job of providing feedback on playtest material and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some adjustments to these races before an official release.
Overall, Folk of the Feywild, is an intriguing suite of new options for players to use, but does their appearance foreshadow a visit to the plane in an upcoming sourcebook? Only time will tell.