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That Rabbit’s Dynamite!
The harengon are a fey rabbit folk hopping their way into Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition as a new playable race with their release in The Wild Beyond the Witchlight adventure in the feywild domain. Ranging from scrappy jack rabbits to cute little buns, I’m sure you’re soon going to be seeing quite a few rabbits on your dnd 5e game tables. So, what can the harengon do? What are these fey creatures about? Get your best Bugs Bunny impression and bad rabbit puns ready as we go through everything you need to know.
The harengon's traits that get described in the book are brief and we don’t get much beyond “humanoid rabbits” descended from denizens of the mysterious feywild. They’re lucky, energetic, love to travel, and come in every color and style you can find in a mundane rabbit or hare. We don't get any weight or height ranges anymore, so you can really make your harengon however you please so long as it's a humanoid rabbit. It’s also quite telling that we get to pick as a player between small and medium size for our humanoid rabbitfolk (more on that later) but that lets us get little fluffy characters and bigger scruffy ones. And they have some intense luck, but they aren't exactly supernatural beings like the other new fairy race.
Rabbits are more diverse than you might think, just google “rabbit species” and you’ll get a wealth of inspiration. Make a little brush rabbit harengon wizard, or a big gentle harengon paladin based on English lops, or maybe a quick-witted jack rabbit harengon fighter. I recommend finding a rabbit or hare breed that speaks to you and designing your bipedal rabbitfolk using their animal counterparts for inspiration and working through your character creation from there.
Harengons use the new fifth edition “lineage” formatting which means you get to pick a lot of the racial things that used to be locked in as features. You can pick whatever split you want for your ability score increase, and they don’t really specify things like weight, age, or alignment. They also don’t have any subraces, so all we’re caring about here four our tabletop rpg are the racial traits. Let’s go through the harengon’s features in their raw text first, then go through how they work and what they’ll mean for your new harengon character:
Creature Type: You are a Humanoid.
Size: You are Medium or Small. You choose the size when you select this race.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Hare-Trigger: You can add your proficiency bonus to your initiative rolls.
Leporine Senses: You gain proficiency in the Perception skill.
Lucky Footwork: When you fail a Dexterity saving throw, you can use your reaction to roll a d4 and add it to the save, potentially turning the failure into a success. You can’t use this reaction if you’re prone or your speed is 0.
Rabbit Hop: As a bonus action, you can jump a number of feet equal to five times your proficiency bonus, without provoking opportunity attacks. You can use this trait only if your speed is greater than 0. You can use it a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
Honestly these features are pretty nice for a lot of different play styles, let’s go through each of them and how they work:
Creature Type: I was honestly really surprised they didn’t slap a fey creature type in here, but I guess the harengon is meant to be only distantly fey. So, they’re humanoid, which is the standard that won’t affect much.
Size: As part of a new trend, you’re allowed to pick between small and medium when creating your harengon. There aren’t many differences mechanically between small and medium characters but there are a few to keep in mind.
- Small characters can’t really use heavy weapons (so two weapon fighting makes a lot of sense here)
- Small characters can get cover and hide easier.
- You can only grapple up to one size larger than yourself, so medium is better for grappling.
- You can move through the spaces of creatures two sizes larger than you, meaning small creatures can move past large creatures.
- You can ride mounts one size larger than yourself, so small creatures can technically access some smaller mounts where medium characters can’t.
And that’s about it really. If none of those things matter for your character build, then the choice between small and medium is just aesthetic, and you should go with what feels best for your character.
Speed: Standard 30-foot movement speed, though as we’ll see in a second, you’ve got some interesting mobility options besides this.
Hare-Trigger: There aren’t many ways to gain initiative bonuses in 5th edition but the harengon get a nice flat bonus to them equal to their proficiency. Going earlier in initiative can be a big deal, especially if you’re scouting ahead or really need to set something up at the beginning of combat. This is going to be a welcome bonus to any character, but you’ll find it particularly useful if you’re a sneaky scouting character and you need to get out of harm’s way to save some hit points, or if you have strong defensive buffs to get in before the enemy swings.
Leporine Senses: Gaining any additional skill proficiency is great, but Perception is arguably the most useful skill in the game and snagging it here for free is amazing. Perception is by far the most common skill check a dungeon master will call for and getting it here opens you up to pick other skills elsewhere.
Lucky Footwork: Adding dice to your Dexterity saving throws is already great, but every aspect of this is worded in the best possible way. Firstly, this doesn’t use any sort of resource beyond the reaction, so while you can’t use it on multiple Dexterity saving throws in the same round you’ll still basically be able to use it every time. And to top it off you get to add it after you already know you failed. A lot of features like this make you guess but this straight up lets you wait until you know you need to use it. Instead, you get to save your reaction and only use it up for the bonus d4 when you both already know you failed, AND you know a d4 could potentially make a difference for a powerful spell or dragon breath.
Rabbit Hop: Five times your proficiency bonus means this jump will go 10 feet from levels 1-4, 15 feet from levels 5-8, 20 feet from 10-12, 25 feet from 13-16, and 30 feet from 17-20. That means as early as 5th level you'll be jumping better than practically anybody else without using a spell slot for a literal Jump spell. Beyond just covering a lot of distance, the key here is this movement doesn’t have any direction restrictions (so a 17th level harengon can jump 30 feet straight up!) and it doesn’t provoke an opportunity attack. In combat, you can use this to instantly bound right past enemies without any risk, and out of combat you can use it potentially to reach heights that would otherwise be difficult to reach or inaccessible. The rabbit hop also sneakily bypasses many types of difficult terrain (since you're not actually walking through it). a Great for melee characters to dance around enemies, and a great getaway mechanic for ranged characters, strong all around.
Building a Harengon Character
Since the lineage model detaches the race from the ability scores, there aren’t any “ideal” classes anymore and you really don't have any limitations on your character options. In Dungeons and Dragons 5e your harengon character can be a sorcerer, or a barbarian, or any other class just as optimally. Every class can make use of the harengon’s features and there aren’t any wrong choices. I do think that the rabbit hop feature can be best utilized by martial characters using a more mobile fighting style to leap into the ideal places in combat and by spellcasters and other ranged martial strategies for a quick escape.
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Last updated: January 27, 2019
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