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Satyrs have been with D&D since the first edition, but it wasn’t until the recent Mythic Odysseys of Theros that players have been offered a chance to step into their cloven hooves. A far cry from the mild manners of Mr. Tumnus, Satyrs in D&D are all about celebrating life to its fullest. They’re not concerned with the past or the future, only the ever-exciting now. Ready or not, satyrs are leaping into your D&D adventures on spring-jacked heels. Grab your pan flute and a party platter as we go through everything you need to know.
Satyrs are true hedonists, they believe life is for living and rarely think ahead further than the next scrumptious morsel, tantalizing sensation, or exciting guffaw. At their best, satyrs are joyous and whimsical, at their worst they’re selfish and cruel.
Most satyrs simply wander wherever their whims take them, following impulses and living off the land. When they congregate, it’s usually for a “revel”. Revels are parties, but where humans might celebrate for an evening with food and wine, satyrs can spend weeks indulging in every sensation imaginable before finally settling down in the rubble. Satyrs are half-man and half-beast, and it’s the philosophy of the beast half they’ve embraced. For better or worse, satyrs live for freedom, happiness, and excitement.
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Not all satyrs are entirely devoted to partying though. Some form druidic circles devoted to restoring and nurturing wildlife (especially fixing up after particularly ruinous rollicks). Some also become explorers, emissaries and storytellers called “dawngreets”. These adventurous satyrs spread stories that expound their carefree philosophies as far as they can travel. Finally, while they balk at any sort of “authority”, many groups of satyrs are led by a “sibyl”. Sibyls are typically elder satyrs that have been blessed with a limited foresight into the future, a gift they use to warn other reveling satyrs to impending dangers.
Satyrs are half human and half goat, though you can play around with those ratios quite a bit. The upper half of a satyr is generally the human half topped with a pair of short horns, with a goat’s lower body including hooves and a stubby tail. Their skin tends from tan to light brown, and their hair is often red or chestnut brown. They usually have scruffy patches of hair along their forearms and shoulders, though this can range from hair as fine as human body hair all the way to thick coatings of fur.
Like many other 5e races, these descriptions only fill in about 90% of the picture and leave you with some creative space when making your new satyr character. How big are your horns? Do you style your hair or leave it wild and natural? Are your features completely human or do you have any goat-like features such as goat eyes, long scoop shaped ears, or a flattened bovine nose?
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Satyrs tend to have a single short name, with most male names ending with “US” and most female names ending with “A” or “I”. These names are given once satyr parents discover their child’s personality. Satyrs often give each other nicknames as well and given their playful nature such names are often used more frequently than their real names.
Satyr Male Names: Apostius, Baucus, Cerbus, Helus, Kratius, Orthrius, Tolus, Zenus
Satyr Female Names: Adelphia, Baccia, Bastia, Gila, Jasia, Lichia, Loxia, Yoria
Satyr Nicknames: Bounder, Bristlechin, Clip-Clop, Dappleback, Hopper, Nobblehorn, Orangebeard, Quickfoot, Scrufflebutt, Sunbeam, Skiphoof, Twinkle-Eyes
Your satyr character has the following racial traits.
Ability Score Increase: Your Charisma score increases by 2, and your Dexterity score increases by 1.
Age: Satyrs mature and age at about the same rate as humans.
Alignment: Satyrs delight in living a life free of the mantle of law. They gravitate toward being good, but some have devious streaks and enjoy causing dismay.
Size: Tritons are slightly shorter than humans, averaging about 5 feet tall. Your size is Medium.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 35 feet.
Fey: Your creature type is fey, rather than humanoid.
Ram: You can use your head and horns to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier.
Magic Resistance: You have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Mirthful Leaps: Whenever you make a long or high jump, you can roll a d8 and add the number rolled to the number of feet you cover, even when making a standing jump. This extra distance costs movement as normal.
Reveler: You have proficiency in the Performance and Persuasion skills, and you have proficiency with one musical instrument of your choice.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan.
Satyrs are GOOD, to the point of potentially being overpowered, though some of the abilities that push it over the edge are rather stealthy. Let’s go through them one by one to understand their potential.
Ability Score Increase: +2 to Charisma and +1 to Dexterity. Most Charisma casters also want a high Dexterity for a higher AC, so this stat line is absolutely perfect for Bards, Sorcerers and Warlocks, and also Dexterity based Clerics and Paladins.
Age: Human age range is nothing special but shouldn’t cause problems either.
Alignment: The strong chaotic leaning will make it difficult to justify a satyr paladin, but bards, sorcerers, and warlocks line up just fine.
Size: A little on the short side but otherwise standard medium size.
Speed: 35-foot movement speed is more powerful of a buff than it may seem at first. That extra speed works wonders with builds that already want to move quickly (barbarians and monks mostly) and even without a special build you can simply outpace most humanoid creatures.
Fey: This is the extra sneaky powerful ability. It specifically says you are a fey instead of a humanoid. Why does that matter? Because there are a lot of spells that specifically target humanoid creatures. As a fey you’re completely immune to spells like charm person, hold person, dominate person. You’re also vulnerable to some fringe abilities that affect fey, but they’re fewer and further between. It’s only situationally powerful, but you’ll likely run into at least a few situations where you can simply ignore major threats because of the type mismatch.
Ram: Natural attacks aren’t all that great in 5e as they were in other editions, but they still have their uses, especially if the attack isn’t tied to your hands like these ram horns are. Whenever you find yourself faced with the enemy with your hands full you still have a suitable weapon strapped to your head. Remember you have these as an option when you’re sneaking into someplace or your weapons have been taken away, it’s nice to have a permanent backup plan.
Magic Resistance: This is the ability that really puts satyrs over the edge into overpowered territory. You’ll have advantage on about 90% of the saving throws you’re called to make which gives you a massive edge. Notice it says, “spells and magical effects”, which is practically everything that isn’t purely physical. This ability is strong, leaves little wiggle room for your DM, abuse it to your heart’s content.
Mirthful Leaps: A single d8 doesn’t add a whole lot to long jumps when you’re most often dealing with gaps in 5-foot increments but adding a d8 to a high jump is a major modifier. A satyr with 18 Strength has a high jump range of 8 to 15 feet from a standing jump. With this ability you may well be able to clear obstacles and avoid threats in ways your DM won’t be expecting.
Reveler: The biggest “get” here is the proficiency in Persuasion, which can have dramatic effects on a campaign when used well. Performance and the instrument are more situational, but extremely flavorful. These also line up with the bard’s playstyle nicely and free up those skill proficiency options for other utilities like Perception or Stealth.
Languages: Common and Sylvan. Just to clear up a common misconception, sylvan is a very “nature” based language but animals don’t speak it. Animals don’t have a language in 5e so don’t think satyrs can just go around talking to the wildlife. Sylvan is however a language that pops up a lot though, so remember you have it whenever you start encountering druids or anything that feels particularly “nature-ish”.
Power Level Caution
Mythic Odysseys of Theros is a new book so only time and extensive playtesting will tell, but satyrs are potentially overpowered. Depending on how you calculate the strength of their abilities satyrs easily have a stronger lineup of racial traits than most other options. The existing OP race option that usually comes up is the Yuan-ti, and while I don’t think satyrs are quite as strong, they’re in the same ballpark.
Just be forewarned, I don’t think many DMs have had the time to really analyze satyrs as a racial option, but I predict they’ll soon be banned as OP at many tables alongside the Yuan-ti.
If you’re a DM considering a player’s new satyr character, be very aware of the satyr’s major strengths and surprising immunities before allowing it in your campaigns.
If you’re a player considering a new satyr character, make sure it’s ok with your DM beforehand and make sure they understand exactly what you’ll be capable of.
5e is easy to build with and satyrs are very strong to begin with, you’ll have to work pretty hard to make your satyr character wrong. Any combination of race, class, and background will come together into a character that works, even if some of their abilities are a bit mismatched (and sometimes those are the characters that are the most fun). If however you’re looking for something a bit more optimized the following builds are good starting points:
Warlocks already line up very well with the satyr’s ability score increases but taking the fiend patron can let you become a walking bomb. Your magic resistance applies to the spells you cast as well, and once you reach 10th level the fiendish resistance ability will grant you your choice of damage resistance every time you rest. So simply load up your favorite fire spell, grant yourself fire resistance and feel free to center fireballs on yourself as you stride confidently into the wave of enemies. Your resistance to both the spell and the damage will mean most of the time you’ll only be taking a quarter of the damage from your raging infernos. Fill the area with flame strikes, fireballs, and walls of fire with reckless abandon.
Wild Magic Party Animal
Sorcerers want Charisma and Dexterity, but specifically as a satyr we can abuse our magic resistance and I recommend trying out a wild magic sorcerer. The main downside from wild magic is the potential to hit yourself with some nasty magical ability, a downside that is largely negated by our magic resistance and we have our tides of chaos ability as a backup. In exchange you gain the potential for a ton of wild magical effects, and the bend luck ability makes you a powerful control caster to boost or negate the rolls around you.
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Last updated: January 27, 2019
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