Table of Contents:
Lords of the Feywild
Eladrin are elves with their fey magic cranked up to 11. Emotional, powerful, in-tune with nature, the eladrin represent everything that was once wild and primal within elven-kind. While technically a subrace for elves, the eladrin are unique and diverse enough on their own to deserve a bit of the spotlight. Let your emotions guide you through the feywild as we go through everything you need to know.
In earlier editions “eladrin” was a sort of ancient or formal term for what we now call high elves in addition to the “fey eladrin” we now simply call eladrin. This is all a tad confusing, but just know that the term “eladrin” used to be used for a bunch of different things, but now it just refers to the elves of the feywild.
We also have two different sets of stats for eladrin in 5e. The first version is now called “variant eladrin” and the final and official version of their stats is just called “eladrin”. You can technically still play that old version but, honestly, it’s not worth it. Unless you’re building something that needs Intelligence, simply use “eladrin” and forget about the variant version.
The Eladrin live within the feywild and are technically the oldest and most enduring elven society in the multiverse. There they’ve taken elven architecture and culture to creative heights, melding nature and structure through the feywild’s innate chaotic power. Most of the original eladrin have since lost humanoid form and have been elevated into powerful fey, strangely, the eladrin we know today are those that showed restraint.
Eladrin have merged with feywild magic, and much like the feywild their existence is dictated by their emotions. Eladrin are passionate, prone to wild mood swings, and generally go where their hearts take them. The eladrin value and respect personal freedom, love music and art, and often feel compelled to surround themselves with beauty.
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At a surface level eladrin look quite a bit like other elves, though even more slender and their eyes tend to sparkle or shine which betrays their innate feywild magic. It’s the link between their emotions and their appearance that really sets them apart from other elves. There are broadly 4 “states” for an eladrin to be in, each one linked to a particular feeling and one of the 4 seasons. Some eladrin will spend their entire lives within a single “season” or “state”, while some will go back and forth between them as often as they change clothes.
Eladrin in the spring state tend to have green skin and hair, their presence and aura is filled with new life to such an extent that young flowers and plant shoots may sprout around their bodies. This state is linked to joyful and playful emotions, celebrations, and cheerfulness. Eladrin in this state are often energetic, exuberant, optimistic, and prone to mischief while acting naive and careless to potential dangers.
Eladrin in the summer state tend to have bright golden hair and skin, their presence and aura is intimidating and almost radiates heat. This state is linked to passionate and wrathful emotions, confrontations, and anger. Eladrin in this state are often enraged, motivated, vindictive, and ready to act against any threat.
Eladrin in the autumn state tend to have red or orange hair and skin, their features mimicking freshly fallen autumn leaves. This state is linked to peaceful and calming emotions, self-reflection, and measured resolutions. Eladrin in this state are level-headed, well-meaning, open-minded, and slow to act without careful thought.
Eladrin in the winter state tend to have pale blue or white hair and skin, their features mimicking the rime and frost of the coldest depths of the year. This state is linked to sad and melancholy emotions, bitterness, and quiet contemplation. Eladrin in this state are gloomy, sorrowful, regretful, and are prone to lashing out, holding grudges, and crying frozen tears.
Eladrin have the same names as other elves. The examples of elven names within the player’s handbook will serve your eladrin characters just as well as any other elven character.
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Eladrin are a subrace of elves, so the majority of eladrin traits are shared between all elves. Your eladrin character has the following racial traits.
Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
Age: Although elves reach physical maturity at about the same age as humans, the elven understanding of adulthood goes beyond physical growth to encompass worldly experience. An elf typically claims adulthood and an adult name around the age of 100 and can live to be 750 years old.
Alignment: Elves love freedom, variety, and self-expression, so they lean strongly toward the gentler aspects of chaos. They value and protect others’ freedom as well as their own, and they are more often good than not. The drow are an exception; their exile into the Underdark has made them vicious and dangerous. Drow are more often evil than not.
Size: Elves range from under 5 to over 6 feet tall and have slender builds. Your size is Medium.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision: Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Keen Senses: You have proficiency in the Perception skill.
Fey Ancestry: You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
Trance: Elves don’t need to sleep. Instead, they meditate deeply, remaining semiconscious, for 4 hours a day. (The Common word for such meditation is “trance.”) While meditating, you can dream after a fashion; such dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive through years of practice. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Elvish.
So far these are just the basic elven abilities that every subrace of elf gets, but they’re still quite important so let’s go through them one at a time.
Ability Score Increase: +2 to Dexterity, which is useful to every class unless you’re somehow using an alternate AC. It’s particularly useful for martial classes that are going for speed, precision, or range over brute strength, such as Rogues and Monks, or many builds of Rangers or Fighters.
Age: 750 is a venerable lifespan that can easily let you live through a good chunk of your setting’s history. Play around with just how ancient you want to be.
Alignment: I see a lot of players roleplay elves as noble sticks in the mud (I blame lord of the rings for this), but their alignment is meant to push you towards carefree chaos. Elves have a ton of wiggle room though, so feel free to take the angle that fits your character design.
Size: Thin, but otherwise bog-standard medium builds.
Speed: Basic movement speed (unless you go wood elf).
Darkvision: Darkvision is common but it’s still good, 9 times out of 10 your campaign will have some situations where seeing in the dark will come in handy.
Keen Senses: Perception is the king of the skills and nabbing it for free may seem basic, but it’s definitely appreciated.
Fey Ancestry: Both conditions are somewhat fringe, but you’ll be extremely thankful for this ability if they come up. Just make sure to remind your DM when he starts hitting the party with sleep or charm effects.
Trance: You can stay awake longer and only require half the “sleep” as everybody else for your long rests, which is fantastic! The second half gets a bit weird because 5e doesn’t have clear cut rules regarding semi-consciousness. Currently, most DMs will use your “passive Perception” rather than let you make perception checks while you’re in a trance but make sure to ask your DM how they want to deal with your trance state if it comes up.
Languages: Common and Elvish. There are a lot of areas in Toril that speak Elvish and depending on your locale Elvish can be a very useful language to have in your pocket.
Now we can finally get to the good stuff! The following includes all the racial traits you gain from choosing eladrin as your elvish subrace:
Ability Score Increase: Your Charisma score increases by 1.
Fey Step: As a bonus action, you can magically teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. Once you use this trait, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.
When you reach 3rd level, your Fey Step gains an additional effect based on your season; if the effect requires a saving throw, the DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier:
Autumn: Immediately after you use your Fey Step, up to two creatures of your choice that you can see within 10 feet of you must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by you for 1 minute, or until you or your companions deal any damage to it.
Winter: When you use your Fey Step, one creature of your choice that you can see within 5 feet of you before you teleport must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of you until the end of your next turn.
Spring: When you use your Fey Step, you can touch one willing creature within 5 feet of you. That creature then teleports instead of you, appearing in an unoccupied space of your choice that you can see within 30 feet of you.
Summer: Immediately after you use your Fey Step, each creature of your choice that you can see within 5 feet of you takes fire damage equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of 1 damage).
Note! You Can Change Seasons!
As an eladrin, you can change to a different season whenever you finish a long rest. They hid this rule within the eladrin description, and I’ve seen players who stick to a single season because they think they have to. Not so!
Ability Score Increase: +1 to Charisma, which is useful to players trying to be the “face of the party”. It’s particularly useful for Charisma-based casters like Paladins, Sorcerers, Bards, and Warlocks.
Fey Step: This is the cool core ability for eladrin that gets tweaked slightly depending on your season and it is a good one. A free bonus action teleport that restores on a short rest and doesn’t even count as casting a spell is gloriously useful. Pop it when you get cornered, need to get somewhere to solve a puzzle, or even just when you need a little extra movement that turn to get to grips with the bad guys.
Autumn: This one is probably the least useful in combat but has the most potential out of combat. The charm here is conditional and iffy while you’re already fighting, but just perfect for talking your way past a couple of guards.
Winter: This one says “I’m bamfing away, don’t follow me” and can be pretty effective at keeping a baddie away from you for a turn. Use it like a stronger expeditious retreat.
Spring: Poofing a friend to wherever they need to be can be incredibly useful, and there are some neat tag team strategies that involve dropping your allies into the middle of the bad guys. It’ll take a bit of thinking, but this one has great tactical possibilities.
Summer: If you’re playing something with damaging auras, this ability can bamf you right where you need to go, add some free automatic damage, and will still leave you with your action for the turn.
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Last updated: January 27, 2019
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