Tabletop Review: Dungeons & Dragons – Player’s Option: Heroes of the Feywild & Fury of the Feywild Fortune Cards

Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Option: Heroes of the Feywild & Fury of the Feywild Fortune Cards
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Release Date: 11/15/2011
Page Count: 160
Price: Heroes of the Feywild Hardback $29.95 / Fury of the Feywild Fortune Cards Pack of 8 cards $3.99
Get It Here: Wizard of the Coast Store Locator

Fourth Edition brought many changes to Dungeons and Dragons, among them a revamped cosmetology. Gone was the Great Wheel cosmology and in its place was the World Axis cosmology. The many planes of existence in the Great Wheel were consolidated into six planes in the World Axis. The ethereal plane disappeared altogether, and two new planes were given birth, the Shadowfell and the Feywild. Both are parallel planes to main D&D world, called The World (Called the Prime Material Plane or the Material Plane in earlier editions). Both the Shadowfell and the Feywild represent mirrored version of the world, but with a twist. The Shadowfell is if dark powers overtook the world and left it in ruins, whereas the Feywild is the fairy tale version of the world, if your fairy tales are written by the Brothers Grimm. And in Player’s Option: Heroes of the Feywild , players now have the opportunity to create characters indigenous to the world and experience firsthand that not all fairy tales have happy endings.

Heroes of the Feywild starts off by giving you background on the Feywild itself. Major cities and sites are described with enough detail that a player will have a rudimentary knowledge of the world and its inhabitants, but not so much that a player will gloss over it because it’s too long. For me, it’s just enough information to introduce them to the world without exposing them to a long history will have no impact on their game. Also, long time D&D players may also notice that the Isle of the Dread, from the old X1 module, is now located in the Feywild, so if you ever wanted to port the X1 module to 4th edition, here is your chance. I’ll admit I wasn’t too knowledgeable on the Feywild before reading this book, as most of my D&D planar knowledge comes from prior editions, but the beginning chapter of the book gave me a good introduction to the Feywild and the type of stories best told in the setting.

Since this is a player’s option book, we are presented with a slew of new races, classes, powers, paragon paths and epic destinies related to the Feywild. Three new races are introduced: Hamadryads, pixies, and satyrs. The Hamadryads are part nymph and part dryad. They seek to protect their woodland and will often seek revenge against those that defile it. They also have a special bond with a tree, call their Home Tree. This is reminiscent of the bond a Dryad will have with a specific tree, but the Hamadryads are able to leave the tree, unlike their Dryad brethren. They also have a racial utility power that represents their split origin, Hamadryad Aspects. This encounter power allows them to, as a minor action, either cause every enemy that can see you to grant combat advantage until the end of your next turn or gain a resist 5 to all damage until the end of your next turn, and as you increase your levels, the damage resistance increases, up to resist 15 once you hit level 21. When looking at this race, I can’t help but think of a member of Batman’s Rogue Gallery, Poison Ivy. The natural beauty and charm powers mixed with the deep connection with nature, reminds me so much of Ms. Isley. Not to mention, the art for the Hamadryad depicts one with red hair, wearing green armor, with vines wrapping around her.

While the Hamadryads may take me to Gotham, the next race takes me to Neverland; Pixies. So yes, you can now be Tinkerbell. You are even given Pixie Dust as a racial power that allows the target to fly up to 6 squares as a free action to complete the Peter Pan analogy. They are curious and eternally childlike, just like you would imagine. They are also tiny in size, making playing one rather interesting since most equipment and loot they will come across will be too large for them to use. To help combat this issue, they have a second racial utility power, Shrink. This encounter power lets them shrink an object intended for medium or small creatures to a size appropriate to a tiny creature. This power last till the Pixie’s next extended rest or when they use the shrink power on a different object. Thematically, pixies are very appropriate for the Feywild. They are almost a necessity for the fairy tale feel the Feywild conveys. I’m not sure I would ever play one however, because of the difficulties being of tiny size will present in most adventures. Plus I would never be able to get past the fact I’m playing Tinkerbell, and my group would probably shank me after I make the 200th Peter Pan reference.

Now from Neverland, we’ll travel to Narnia as we are presented with the Satyr. Unlike the Satyr of Narnia, in the Feywild they have a humanoid face and lack the body hair, so really the Feywild Satyr have more in common with the appearance of the Fauns of Narnia than the Satyr. The Satyr in the Feywild are extremely curious and want to explore and experience the world around them, but they are quite cautious about it, so a Kender they are not. They have the curiosity of a Kender, but with better impulse control. All Satyrs are male and are born when a Satyr and a nymph mate. Their nymph lineage shows itself in their Racial Ability, Lure of Enchantment. It’s a charm encounter power that lets them slide an enemy up to 3 squares and cause that enemy to grant combat advantage until the Satyrs next turn. Like the Pixie, I could see myself playing a Satyr Bard, with the pan flute as his instrument of choice. It would be a good fit, since Satyrs get a racial bonus in charisma and bluff. Plus I’m not has versed in C.S. Lewis as I am J.M. Barrie, so I’m less likely to be shanked for obnoxious The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe references.

The classes in Heroes of the Feywild draw heavily from Player’s Handbook 2, with new sub-classes for the Barbarian, Bard, and Druid. There is also a new subclass for Wizards as well, for those of us that didn’t pick up Player’s Handbook 2. First up is the new Barbarian subclass, the Berserker. The Berserker is a defender/striker mix. The way this is accomplished is through its combination of class features. Berserkers possess Defender Aura which creates an Aura 1 that causes enemies in the aura to take a -2 to their attack rolls if their attack does not include either the Berserker or an ally of the Berserker in the aura, for a minor action. This encourages to the Berserker to rush into combat and tie up enemies while their allies strike from a distance. They also have the Vengeful Guardian class feature, that grants you an opportunity attack against enemies in your aura that attack an ally of you, without targeting you or an ally with a defender aura. Plus you gain a bonus 1D8 damage to that opportunity attack. This combination of powers helps focus the enemy’s attention on the Berserker. Once engaged with the enemy if the Berserker uses a primal attack power or spends a minor action when bloodied the striker portion of their class kicks in by the way of Berserker Fury. This cancels their aura but all basic attacks deal 1D8 extra damage, a bonus that increases as the Berserker increases in level. Also some power grant additional bonuses when using Berserker Fury. So the Berserker starts of combat as a defender but then, as the battle goes on, shifts into more of a striker roll. This is a great character class that wants to play a character that will always be in the middle of a swarm of baddies and have the potential to lay them all out, kind of reminiscent of a short Canadian mutant prone to a berserker rage.

The next class is a subset of the Bard, the Skald. Skald is an arcane/martial leader class. They are best described as part historian, part war reporter. Skalds are the ones that pass down the wisdom and advice of past civilizations as well as observer and pass on the major events of their time. They are well respected across board and only the most vile and dishonorable would attack one. And in the Feywild they are treated as dignitaries, no matter where they are from or what kingdom they find themselves in. This class I’m a bit on the fence on as a player class. I understand their place in the world and the purpose they serve, but having a player run around with a diplomatic immunity of sorts, could be rather disruptive in the wrong hands. I would use this more as an NPC class, having the players come across a traveling Skald that gives them information pertaining to a far off land. Or perhaps they are seeking one out, to find out some need piece of historical information. But should you decide to play one as a character let’s talk about what the Skald brings mechanically to the table.As a class feature they can use their charisma instead of strength for attack and damage rolls. This is a great boon since charisma is the most important stat for a skald. They also have an aura 5 that can be used twice an encounter that grants an additional 1D6 hit points to healing surges used in the aura. And this power increases 1D6 for every 5 levels of the Skald. Also possess The Song of Rest. If the Skald plays an instrument or sings during a short rest each character regains additional hit points equal to the Skalds charisma modifier for each healing surge spent. And now we get to the feature that most interested me, Master of Story and Song. This grants the Skald two daily bard powers at the first level, instead of one. They can only use one a day, but they possess two daily powers. At level 5 you can use two bard daily powers a day, but no more than one a level. And at level 9 you can use three bard daily attack powers. To me this is huge. I really like two daily powers at the first level. It provides an extra level of utility that I enjoy and can help avoid situations where you possess a daily power that isn’t all that useful for your current predicament.Mechanically, I like the class. The extra healing from its aura is nice and I really like the option possessing two or three daily powers presents. Still a player character running around from a start with a lesser version of diplomatic immunity bothers me. Unless I had a specific idea for using that as part of my game, I would have a hard time letting my player play a Skald because of it.

Now we move on to a subclass of druid, the Protector. The Protector is a primal controller that presents two different flavors depending on your choices during character creation. All protectors have Nature’s Growth as a class feature. It’s an encounter power that creates difficult terrain with a burst 1 area of effect within 10 squares. The next class feature is Druid Circle. The Druid Circle represents the druidic circle that taught you your powers, and you are presented with two choices: Circle of Renewal or Circle of Shelter. Members of the Circle of Renewal are driven to restore life in places ravaged by war and unnatural threats. They are also able to use their Nature’s Growth to help heal allies. When an ally spends a healing surge inside the Protector’s nature growth zone, the gain additional hit points equal to the protector’s constitution score. The Protector also has Primal Guardian that lets them use their constitution modifier instead of dexterity or intelligence when determining armor class. In case you haven’t noticed constitution is an important stat for Protectors. The other option for Druid Circle, Circle of Shelter, is focused on protecting nature from monsters, dark magic and uncaring humanoids. The Circle of Shelter grants the Primal Predator class feature that a +1 bonus to speed when not wearing heavy armor. Also granted is Unhindering Growth, allies ignore the difficult terrain created by your nature’s growth. Between the two I find Circle of Renewal more appealing. I like the healing and I like the AC bonus. Circle of Shelter helps with the mobility of the protector and party but I’m feeling I’d get far more use from the healing and ac bonus.

Now that the druid circle has been chosen, the Protector now gets to choose three primal attunement powers. There are 5 druid utility powers to choose from offering a variety of minor, but useful, effects. Air Spirit lets you conjure an air spirit to manipulate small objects. Sense of the Wild give you bonuses to detect poisons and diseases, as well as sense the presents of a corpse, which is great if your party is searching for cadavers. Call of the Spirits lets you light candles and torches with your fingertips or cause a lit fire to burn brighter, as well as open unlocked doors. Verdant touch lets you turn difficult terrain into normal terrain for a turn as long as it was composed of grass, brush, vines or other undergrowth not created by a power. You can also use this to cause plant life to begin growing in barren terrain. And last power is my favorite, Vine Rope. This lets you as a minor action pull 50 feet of vine from the ground and it acts as a silk rope for the rest of the encounter. So if you have a protector in your group you never have to worry about carrying rope again. How often has an adventure party been want for a rope? I can count the number of times I’ve had ropes break or needed rope when none was around. So being able to create 50ft of rope on demand is awesome in my book.

And now we are at the last class feature, Summon Nature’s Ally. It’s a daily power that summons a creature. Just what that creature is depends on what druid circle you selected. If you selected Circle of Renewal, you summon creatures from the deserts, like a giant cobra or desert hawk. Circle of Shelter summons creatures from the forest and jungle, like a grizzly bear or hunting tiger. There are three different tiers of creatures you can summon, depending on your level and two creatures per tier. So when using this power you have some options in what you summon, that way you can summon the creature that would be most advantageous to your current situation.

I like this as a class, it makes for a nice support utility class between its primal attunements and summon nature’s ally. With all the options the Protector brings, they should always be able to find something useful to do in every encounter.

The last class presented in Heroes of the Feywild is an absolutely must in any fairy tale style world: the Witch. It’s a subclass of Wizard so it’s an arcane controller, but with some differences. First off they gain Arcane Familiar as a bonus feat. Also at the end of an extended rest the Witch can confer with its familiar and swap out a Wizard daily or encounter power with another of the same level. So the Witch has a minor for of in game respecing at their disposal. The Witch gains three cantrips of their choosing. A Witch also chooses what moon coven they are a part of. They have the Dark Moon Coven and the Full Moon Coven to choose from. The Dark Moon Coven given them the dread presence power, and encounter power in this book that deals 1D10+Intelligence modifier necrotic damage as well as creates a blast 5 zone that deals your wisdom modifier in damage to any enemy that enters it until the end of your next turn. You also gain training in Intimidate and gain +2 to your stealth and intimidate checks at level 5. If you choose the Full Moon Coven you gain the glorious presence encounter power that deals 2d6+Intelligence radiant damage as well as grants temporary hit points equal to your wisdom modifier to all allies inside a burst 2. The last class feature of booth covens is Augury. Augury is a daily power that can only be used during an extended rest. It lets the Witch ask a question and receive a vague notion of the future, so it’s a poor precognition. This is power that DMs can have some fun with. You can give your players vague answers that can be interpreted different ways, to create more of a mystery, or you can make it not quite as vague to help nudge the players back on track. Thankfully, they can use this once per day, otherwise I can see this constantly used and abused the way paladins would perpetually detect evil in prior editions. Thematically, this is great for the Feywild. You even have your choice of a good Witch (Full Moon Coven) or a bad Witch (Dark Moon Coven). I can really seem myself creating evil Witches for my players to battle; maybe they could kidnap kids, taking them back to their gingerbread house to eat, and it’s the players’ job to stop them. You could even have a player be a reformed member of the coven that turns their back on the coven once the child eating begins. The story possibilities are endless, making the Witch a welcomed class in my game.

Also present in Heroes of the Feywild are additional power words for Druids, Bards, Barbarians, and Wizards. All of them tie into the themes of the subclasses present in this book, but can easily be used by any variation of the main classes. If you’re playing a Berserker, though, you’ll want to look through this book first. This is the book where you’ll gain the most benefit thanks to the bonuses granted by your Berserker fury.

Four new character themes are presented as well. There is the Fey Beast Tamer that grants you a companion fey creature. Your choices are Blink Dog, Displacer Beast, Fey Panther, and a Young Owlbear. It also opens up a few new powers related to your companion creature. This theme has no restrictions on it, so not matter what race or character class you may be, if you ever wanted a displacer beast as a side kick now is your chance. If having an animal companion isn’t your thing, you can always go with the Sidhe Lord theme. Being a Sidhe Lord means you’re a part of a noble house in the Feywild. No class restrictions apply to this theme but you must be a Fey race, so Elves, Eladrin, Half-Elves or any of the faces found in this book are fair game. For selecting this theme you gain the daily power, Summon Sidhe Ally. This summons a house guard that will follow your commands. The guard stays around until it drops below one hit point or you use this power again. So in other words the Sidhe Lord should always have a house guard lackey around, to fight for it or walk in front of the party and trigger all the traps in the dungeon.

The next theme is the most restrictive in this book, the Tuathan. Tuathan have been touched and imbued with Fey Magic and must be either a human or half-elf, but have no class restrictions. Starting out, they chose between two class features: Continue the Story (which grants +1 to death saving throws and allows you to roll twice on endurance checks) or Shapechanging Physique (this lets you roll twice for all athletics checks). The additional class features available to the Tuathan are varied. They can develop the ability to shape shift into small animals or fey creatures or they can force a target to tell the truth to the end of an encounter among other things. You see little bits of the different effects common in the Feywild in this theme. So while it may be the most restrictive, it also provides the most options to a player. The final theme presented is more sinister in nature, The Unseelie Agent. The Unseelie Agent theme bestows dark magical powers upon the character, provide by a mysterious figure. This power was grant by this dark benefactor in exchange for the occasional innocuous favor. The character normally will have little direct interaction with their patron; instead communication will be through more indirect means. The starting theme feature is Create Shadow-Wought Weapon, an encounter power that lets the character create a shadow-wrought weapon from their hand. This weapon as a +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage and deals an extra 1D8 damage on a critical hit. As the character advances in level the power of this weapon increases and more power become available that illustrate the dark origins on the Unseelie Agents power. For example, the level 10 theme feature grants you reroll intimidate checks. The catch is when you do your skin turns grey, eyes turn into pools of obsidian, and the air around you grow stifling and murky for a moment. In that instate the dark powers you have been granted start warping your physical appearance. This theme has all kinds of story potential. Perhaps the character stuck a deal with what is, unbeknownst to them, a demon. And the demon is using character as a pawn, and all the task the character completes for their benefactor is leading to the end of the world. Having this mysterious figure lurking in the shadows, gives a DM a lot of room to build an interesting story, even it’s not the focal point of the campaign. Plus it gives the opportunity of telling the tried and true being tempted by the forces of darkness story, as the Unseelie Agent grows in power. This is a theme ripe with storytelling potential and I really like it for that reason.

Four new paragon paths and three new epic destinies are presented in Heroes of the Feywild. There is a new paragon path for each of the four new classes; the Deadly Berserker, the Master Skald, the Legendary Witch, and Inner Circle Initiative. As for the epic destiny’s you have three choices that are have minimal restrictions as at who can take them. The Shiradi Champion is a warrior that was earned the trust of the Summer Queen. The only restriction in this epic destiny is it forbids evil aligned characters. The next is Wild Hunter a destiny with no restriction outside of being 21st level, one that every epic destiny has. Wild Hunters are the righters of wrong and a hit squad of sorts. If someone has broken an oath, you would summon a Wild Hunter and they would seek out the culprit and dole out punishment. Few no the ritual to summon Wild Hunters, otherwise I’m sure most of the Feywild would have a Wild Hunter on their tail at one point or another. There may even be a story to tell of the players being chased by a Wild Hunter is they go around breaking their words of oath. The last destiny is Witch Queen. They are limited to wizards and represent the best of the best when it comes to witches. A Witch Queen is the one who rules over other witches and often must do battle with their own kind has other ambitious witches seek to take your crown. Excluding the Shiradi Champion, every paragon path or epic destiny can easily be used in any game setting. The Shiradi Champion is a little too linked to the Feywild thanks to the Summer Queen to easily be ported into another setting. I like the fact that even though you can feel the Feywild roots, they each have enough utility to be used outside the Feywild. That’s something I like in sourcebooks, utility. I like being able to use the content in a variety of ways and not be limited to a specific campaign world.

A small selection of feats are present as well. You have feats that enable multiclassing into the new classes. The races of the Feywild gain feats as well. You’ll find racial feats for the Eladrin, Elves, Gomes, Wilden and the new races presented in this book. And if you upset your Protector was lacking the Wild Shape normal druid possess, don’t fear, you can take the Beastwalker Circle feat and gain the Wild Shape power.

The mundane items introduced in this book, in most worlds wouldn’t be considered that mundane. Magic is so common in the Feywild magic is infused in most things in the realm. There is the doppleganger mask that attaches to ones face and lets them possess the face of the creature depicted in the mask until removed. It give the wearer a +5 bonus to bluff checks to disguise itself as the creature from the mask, as long as they have a similar body to that creature since the mask only effects the facial features. And this item is considered standard adventuring gear in the Feywild. In most other worlds this would be a magic item. So remember when running adventures in the Feywild, it’s a high magic setting and treat it accordingly.

A new game concept is also introduced in this book Fey Magic Gifts. These are magic powers granted by to an adventure by a Fey Creature often in exchange for something. Think of it as a one off version of the Unseelie Agent. Maybe a Fey Creature asked the players to retrieve an item for him and in return promises to grant them the power of Fey Magic. These also can be used as rewards in lieu of magic items and gold equivalent value is listed for each. The nice thing about giving Fey Magic Gifts instead of magic items as gifts is the players cannot sell them for large quantizes of gold, preserving the economy of your game.

If you are having problems developing a back ground for your Feywild character, the last section fo this book can help you with that. The Build Your Story chapter provides a way to randomly determine your background. You generate things such as your upbringing, where you are from and what you did in your homeland before becoming an adventurer. I usually have an idea of the character I want to play in mind before I start a new campaign, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit I am a sucker from random background tables. I’ve played in a many Palladium and Marvel Superheroes games where the background was generated randomly. Most recently I played in an Aces & Eights game using random backgrounds. Some gamers may be turned off by this section because they write out an eight page back story for every character. But for a gamer new to the Feywild or someone looking to play something different I would give this section a roll through and see what stories you generate.

Also released in conjunction with this book is a new set of fortunes cards, Fury of the Feywild. For those unaware, fortunes cards are random booster packs of cards that players can use during gameplay to give themselves little boons. It could be something as simple as not falling prone when you would otherwise or weakening an enemy until the start of the next turn. There are three types of cards attack, defense and tactics. The way you use these cards is you build a deck minimum of 10 cards, and at least 3 of each type and at the beginning of an encounter you shuffle your deck and draw a single cards. You can play that card whenever the states it can be played. At the beginning of your turn, you may discard the card in your hand and draw another one. Or if you have no card in your hand you may draw a card. Once you play or discard a card it goes into your discard pile. All of the cards have minor effects some more situational than others, so if you allow them in your game don’t worry about breaking it. However, I would recommend everyone playing either use fortune cards or not. I can see some players getting upset someone else’s character is doing better because they dropped a lot of money on fortune cards, when they have none. Included in both of my packs were promo codes for Dungeons and Dragons Online: Ebberon Unlimited. Both codes were worth 250 points in the online store, with the equivalent of four dollars or the price of the booster pack. So if you play D&D Online and spend money in the online store you can buy a pack of these get your 250 points and eight fortune cards, for the price of 250 points in the online store. My one complaint about these cards is not every pack has rules on how to use them. One pack instead of rules had an advertisement for D&D Encounters and there was not a link to the rules online on the booster packaging. My other pack did have a card with a brief explanation of the rules and a link to the specific fortune card rules. The problem with this is that link redirects to the main D&D product page, not the Fortune Card rules. So you have to go on the Dungeons and Dragons website and track down the rules yourself. For those curious here is a direct link where you can find the Fortune Card Rules and FAQ.

Heroes of the Feywild brings Dungeons and Dragons to a magical land where fairy tales are real. What I like about the book is the content is flexible enough to use in any campaign. While they classes and races have Fey roots they are not bound to the Feywild. I really appreciate this utility. If you are a DM, you may be able to pull enough background from this book and run a Feywild campaign, but really you need The Manual of the Planes for that. It will give you a much better overview of the Feywild and its relationship to the entire D&D cosmos you will not find here. If you’re a player and play any of the classes from Player’s Handbook 2, you’ll find a lot for your characters in the powers present. For everyone else it depends on your thought on the new classes and the Feywild in general. Myself reading this book, I couldn’t help but want to steal the plots of various Brothers Grimm stories and use them as adventures in the Feywild. The Feywild sparked a creative part of me and that is a huge plus. Mechanics are nice but if a book inspires me with countless adventure ideas, it’s worth far more to me than any assortment of new feats or powers. Any really that is what the Feywild is about, creativity, imagination and a sense of awe of the world around you. Heroes of the Feywild sparked flashes of creativity in me and it just may do the same for you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a gingerbread house to map out.



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2 responses to “Tabletop Review: Dungeons & Dragons – Player’s Option: Heroes of the Feywild & Fury of the Feywild Fortune Cards”

  1. Battlefield 3 cdkey Avatar

    From this I think that the fourth edition have much more than the previous one’s three new races are introduce in it are: Hamadryads, pixies, and satyrs and all other facts that you explained it would be very interesting for us.

  2. Serious Sam 3 cdkey Avatar

    D&D Encounters is an exciting campaign that plays out one epic encounter at a time. Love to play the games.

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