A Step-by-Step Guide to the Feywild Elf Subclass
If you're a Dungeons & Dragons fan, you've probably heard of the Eladrin. In general, elves are known for their grace, beauty, and magical abilities. The high elves even more so.
They take it to the EXTREME... in fact, they go TOO far, going from stunningly gorgeous to almost creepy.
But hey... thats the cost of living in the feywild!
In this step-by-step guide, we'll explore why you should or should not play an Eladrin as your next D&D character.
Where Are the Eladrin From?
The Eladrin subrace lives in and is formed by the Feywild: the inner plane of faerie. Here colors are bright, emotions run wild, and beauty and horror are married at the hip. Time flows differently, seasons change with the blink of an eye, and reality itself seems to bend and twist
In other words... watch yo' step.
The Feywild plays a pivotal role in shaping the eladrin's existence. They have a deep-rooted bond with this enchanting realm; they are direct ancestors of some primal elves who chose to reside in it as their chosen dwelling after the fall of Arvandor.
What do D&D 5e Eladrin Look Like?
Depends on the season!
No... really... Eladrin SHIFT their physical appearance season based on whatever season they "exist in".
And not just like, the season they physically walk in... like putting on a coat cuz it got chilly... but like in their SOULS.
Spring Eladrin: Fresh greens and pastel colors of flowers sprouting from their bodies. Playful and naughty, they are celebrating the passing of winter and full of joyful hope for the future.
Summer Eladrin: Bright gold and yellows, with some shades of deep, bright green. Absolutely full of strong conviction, quick to encourage and even quicker to enrage.
Autumn Eladrin: Burnt reds, oranges, and browns dominate their palate. Peace loving and eager to resolve conflict, these wise eladrin are thoughtful and considerate of all sides and possibilities.
Winter Eladrin: Pale blues, purples, and icy whites for those of the cold. They exist in sorrow, mourning what could have been and depressed and resentful for what is.
How to Role Play a 5e Eladrin
Living in the feywild shapes the eladrin race's physical and personality. Here is how you can practically apply that at the table when role playing your character.
Shift Your Emotions
If you take only one thing from this post, it should be this: to role play an Eladrin, you must shift your emotions CONSTANTLY. It is explicitly mentioned in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes and instantly make your character stand out in the party. When making decisions... both important and mindless... your Eladrin character should change its opinion and level of passion on a whim. By all outward appearances is should make ZERO sense to anyone else.
Have Weird Ethics
The Feywild is WEIRD. The creatures here are not "good" or "evil" but "alien"; they operate with "blue/orange" morality... they might execute your for a missing button and laugh when you commit murder. It is a land of magic, mirth, and madness. So when your party approaches a social norm do, like, the OPPOSITE of that.
Eladrin are not only emotionally bombastic... they are also PROUD. They know their ancient ancestry and know how difficult it is to survive in the feywild. And through their lofty and nature infused architecture (the best among elves) and their attitude towards other elves, they let everyone know. For players, this manifests as an almost condescending kindness, trying to show other elves how much they are missing out... or a downright haughtiness, regarding other races as magical simpletons.
The Unique Gaming Mechanics of Eladrin
Ok... the mechanics of an Eladrin depends on which Mordeknainen you prefer...
In "Monsters of the Multiverse" the eldadrin are their own distinct race. However, despite the distinction, not much really changed... they still "trance" instead of sleep... they still have "Fey Ancestry"... they still have Darkvision. All they lost was the Perception skill. In "Tome of Foes" they share everyting else with the other elven subraces.
However... BOTH versions contain the signature mechanic for the Eladrin player race: "Fey Step".
As a bonus action an eladrin player character can teleport 30ft (yes... just like misty step) allowing them to traverse the battlefield or escape from dangerous situations. It recharges every short and long rest, which means you can use it regularly to gain strategic advantages both in and out of combat.
In keeping with the theme of seasonal changes, the Fey Step ability gains an addition bonus based on which season your Eladrin is in at the moment:
Spring Eladrin: Touch a creature within 5 ft of yourself, and THEY teleport 30 ft instead of you!
Summer Eladrin: Deal fire damage equal to your CHA modifier to a creature within 5ft of you.
Autumn Eladrin: Force 2 creatures within 10 ft of you to make a Wisdom Saving Throw after you use Fey Step. If they fail they are charmed by you for 1 minute.
Winter Eladrin: 1 creature within 10 ft must succeed a Wisdom saving throw. If they fail, they are frightened of you until your next turn.
Oh... one last thing... you can CHANGE YOUR SEASON every long rest! All of these abilities are at the disposal of any 5e eladrin character!
Exploring the Best Character Classes for Eladrin
When it comes to exploring the best character classes for Eladrin, you have to think about two things:
What class needs a +2 to Dex and +1 to CHA (if you are going by the original rules)
What class benefits most from Fey Step (its a bonus action, and a lot of class abilities also use bonus actions.
Now, any spell casting class that does not have access to Misty Step could benefit, but there are a few other classes that stand out as it being particularly advantageous:
Warlock: Thematically, this makes the most sense; their Fey Ancestry and connection to the feywild makes forging pacts with otherworldly beings (Archfey) easy. And Warlocks rules as written use Charisma as their casting ability and know VERY few spells, so having Far Step basically gives them Misty Step for free.
Any Dexterity Based Martial Class: But mostly Fighters, Monks, and Rangers. High Dex builds tend to have light armor and an Armor Class that is dependent on their ability to get away/avoid attacks. And nothing says "GET AWAY!" like teleporting 30ft!
Why Play an D&D Eladrin Character?
To truly bring your Eladrin character to life, you must embrace their otherworldly nature and tap into their connection with the Feywild. Be moody with whatever season you are "in" and strategically Fey Step across the battlefield. Just as the feywild is full of whimsy... so too are the Eladrin, so have fun with it!
Light Our City of Elves Candle
Based out of Spokane, Riley is a freelance copywriter that combines his love of reading, writing, and people into something useful! He is thankful to be applying his passion for imaginative role-playing to help DnD related businesses communicate their value in the best way possible. He's kinda like a bard giving inspiration, except without the annoying pop covers!