While elves, gnomes, satyrs, and many other fairy-adjacent creatures have been playable races for years, fairies were introduced as a playable race in 2021’s The Wild Beyond the Witchlightfinally giving D&D players have a chance to step into the diminutive shoes of the Feywild’s most iconic inhabitants. With fascinating lore and unconventional abilities, fairies are an excellent option for players pondering ideas for their next character.
What Are Fairies in DnD?
Like many other creatures in D&Dfairies don’t originate from the Material Plane, the realm that houses most of D&D‘s established and homebrew settings. Instead, fairies hail from the Feywild, one of the many alternate planes that encircle and occasionally cross into the Material Plane. Bursting with life and colour, the Feywild is a realm of untamed nature fueled by the positive emotions of its inhabitants. However, the Feywild is just as treacherous as it is beautiful, as plane-crossing travelers can easily become lost within its ever-shifting landscape. Even if one does manage to find their way home again, the flow of time works differently in the Feywild, and what felt like days and weeks could translate to years and decades within the Material Plane.
Making their homes among the many groves and glades that dot the Feywild, fairies share a similar appearance with the similar-looking (but much smaller) pixies and sprites. Rarely growing more than three feet tall, fairies generally resemble diminutive elves with a pair of insect-like wings sprouting from their backs, though many sport one or more unique physical attributes that set them apart from others of their kind. Well-versed in a diverse set of languages, fairies are generally friendly and sociable creatures, but may possess an innate mischievous streak that drives them to pull the occasional prank on their companions.
DnD Fairy Racial Abilities Include Flying
Fairies’ connections to the Feywild gives them many unique abilities. With the ability to put a +2 into any one of their core stats and a +1 into another, fairies are technically a good fit for any class, but their Fairy Magic ability (which gives them access to the Druidcraft cantrip and allows them to use the Faerie Fire and Enlarge/Reduce spells once a day) makes them best-suited for spellcasting classes. Thanks to their unique ability to choose Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as their innate spellcasting stat, fairies make for excellent, Bards, Clerics, Druids, Paladins, Rangers, Sorcerers, Warlock, and Wizards
What’s most likely to catch players’ eyes is the fact that faeries are one of only a handful of playable races who naturally have the ability to fly. Like the controversial Aarakokra, a fairy’s fly speed is proportional to that of their walking speed, meaning the range of their flight depends on their class. Even though it comes with serious risks, flight is an incredibly useful ability that gives the fairy an edge in both combat and puzzle-solving.
DnD Fairy Names Don’t Adhere to Convention
Unlike other playable races, D&D’s fairies don’t adhere to strict naming conventions. Given the mirthful and serendipitous nature of the Feywild, many fairies don’t put much value on their family’s lineage and legacy. In fact, it’s not uncommon for some fairies to be named after animals, plants, objects, or feelings that represent and complement their personalities. However, faeries with strong ties to the Seelie and Unseelie Courts that rule over the Feywild may care a little more about their family’s image, adopting hereditary titles that reflect their families’ service to Titania or the Queen of Air and Darkness, respectively.
Why You Should Play a Fairy in Dungeons & Dragons
In most cases, faeries are mirthful, fickle, and simple-minded creatures whose attention is as easy to earn as it is hard to keep, which can make creating an engaging player character out of a tricky one. However, this also sets the stage for a unique “fish out of water” story. It’s rather unusual for a fairy to leave the Feywild, allowing the player to craft an interesting backstory for their fairy. Perhaps this fairy has always been interested in the workings of the Material Plane and left their village to explore, or maybe they were kidnapped by a malicious wizard and want nothing more than to return home to the Feywild.
Having found their way into an alternate realm, a fairy’s transition from the Feywild to the Material Plane could make for an intriguing character arc that could unfold throughout the campaign. While the character may start off indifferent or ignorant to the lasting consequences that actions in the Material Plane can have, interacting with their fellow party members could help them learn that what may have been a simple jest in the Feywild is now a hurtful act, causing them to gradually develop into a more empathetic person.
Playing a fairy also creates a natural incentive for the DM to give the party an opportunity to enter and explore the Feywild. There is no shortage of ways for the conflict between the Seelie and Unseelie Court to bleed its way into the Material Plane, and the fairy’s insider knowledge of the Feywild could help the party enter the plane and resolve an issue originating from within it. This not only gives the DM an opportunity to pit their players against unique enemies and obstacles, but also provides an opportunity for the party’s fairy to confront their past and be confronted with the difficult choice to either return to their former life — or embrace their new home in the Material Plane.
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