Player’s Option: Heroes Of The Feywild, by Rodney Thompson, ,Claudio Pozas, and Stee Townshend
Readers of this book should be aware that it is a supplement for those who are particularly interested in creating unusual characters or gaining a greater understanding of the theological underpinnings of the worldview of Dungeons & Dragons . It is likely that few people would wish to have a deep understanding, beyond the enjoyment of that particular world and its focus on coercive magic, which can be found in great supply here. As might be expected, this book is a particularly short one, looking at a magical, somewhat chaotic world that in the odd and mysterious world of D&D as well as the numinous world of Celtic and Greek mythology, and giving some options for races and classes and places for campaigns that can be added to the more mundane physical world that people are more easily familiar with. To be sure, this Feywild is an odd world, and a world that offers both a great deal of wonder and a great deal of danger because of the logic that it uses, and the tendency people would have to make foolish deals and bargains that they are then unable to wiggle out of.
The contents of this book appear, like most of the books in this series, to have a particular format. The 160 or so pages of this book are divided into five unequally sized chapters. The first chapter describes the world and perspective and geography of the Feywild, and how it may be accessed from the ordinary world of the game. There are discussions of the rules of the world as well so that people are not caught unwary by their interactions with the fey. The second chapter discuses the races of the fey, such as the all-female Harmadryads, the all male Satyrs, and the miniscule and mischievous Pixies. The third chapter discusses various class options that can be added here, such as the Beserker subclass of the Barbarians, the Skald subclass for Bards, the protector subclass of Druids, and the witch subclass of Wizards for those who have certain native abilities but lack the academic rigor of the typical D&D wizard. The fourth chapter includes various character options including themes like the Fey beast tamer, noble Sidhe lord, Tuathan, or the unpleasant Unseelie agent, as well as various paragon paths, epic destinies, feats, familiars, gear, and magic items from this area. The fifth and final chapter includes discussions of how to build one’s story by including notes on upbringing, relationships between the Feywild and the nominally civilized lands, and options for adventuring in the wilderness and dark lands. Throughout the book there are brief bard’s tales that discuss some of the dangers and adventures in the D&D mythos of this area.
As might be expected for those who have some familiarity with the Fey as it has appeared in classic Western mythology and paganism, this particular short book offers a certain degree of shrewd if implicit insight into the world of the Fey. For one, it is an extremely chaotic world. Its logic is different from that of our own, and does not view the breaking of pacts or covenants to be a trivial matter, although the way the punishment follows is often not very straightforward. Its laws, including the fact that bards must be given warm hospitality, are not always well recognized. The search for pleasure or the possession that comes from indulging in anger and wrath are also matters that thoughtful readers will view as decidedly ungodly aspects of this particular world. As is frequently the case, there is a question as to the extent that those who think they are in control really are, whether one is looking at someone who claims to dominate a fey creature or whether one looks at the fey nobles who feel constrained to accept the claims to nobility even of other, rival people, in order to preserve a sense of harmony. One must be very careful who one is dealing with, and in being humble about one’s belief in control and domination, as that sort of matter can easily go very badly.
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