Under the starry skies of the Feywild lies a race of elves so intimately connected to the primal magic of this whimsical realm that their very moods ebb and flow with the turning of the seasons. These are the eladrin—elven bodies housing fey souls, their grace and passion rippling with arcane energy.
As champions of the Feywild, eladrin wield ancient powers linked to the seasons. A flick of their wrist transports them through space in the blink of an eye. Their swords whistle with mystic power as they dance nimbly across the battlefield. Even their alluring eyes shimmer with glimpses of a far-off realm of beauty and terror.
Yet for all their fantastic talents, eladrin are cursed with tumultuous emotions that transform with the seasons. One day an eladrin may overflow with joy, only to spiral into melancholy when the cold winds blow. This intrinsic duality makes eladrin one of the most unique and unpredictable races to harness in your 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.
This comprehensive guide shall unveil the mysteries of the eladrin and provide indispensable insights into mastering these fey elves as a playable race. Whether conjuring storms of ice and lightning or disappearing in a swirl of autumn leaves, we shall teach you how to embrace the magic of the four seasons.
So gather close, traveler from the Material Plane. It is time we walk amongst the mist-veiled glens of the eladrin and learn their secrets…
Chapter 1: Origin of the Eladrin—Whence the Fey Elves Came
Before an eladrin can blink from the Feywild to the Material Plane, we must first understand this mystic race’s origins. While eladrin now dwell in the Feywild, this was not always their home. In fact, all elves—high, wood, dark, and eladrin alike—once originated from the paradise-like realm of Arvandor.
When the elves were still newborn, they inhabited the highest layer of Arborea in harmonious unity with the Seldarine, the elven pantheon of gods. Chief among the Seldarine was Corellon Larethian, creator of the elves, who first crafted elvenkind from their own divine blood. In this bygone era, the boundaries between god and elf remained permeable. The elves transcended flesh, shifting form and reality with but a whim. They needed no food or shelter, for the magic of Arvandor sustained them.
Over time though, the elves grew restless. They yearned for a realm they could shape as their own. And so the trickster goddess Lolth whispered temptation into their ears, promising the elves unfettered dominion over their own world and bodies to house their spirits. Many elves heeded Lolth’s calls, abandoning Corellon’s guiding light in exchange for independence.
Enraged by this betrayal, Corellon cursed those that abandoned Arvandor, binding their spirits into mortal forms. For the first time, elvenkind knew suffering, desire, and death. But they also experienced boundless joy and creativity unlocked by their newfound mortality.
This exodus from Arvandor led the various tribes of elves to diaspora across the Material Plane and beyond. From high elves settling refined cities to wood elves protecting mighty forests, elvenkind adapted to each new realm they discovered.
Except, that is, for the eladrin. These elves chose to remain in the Feywild, a sort of echo of Arvandor's primal magic. Over millennia exposure to the Feywild’s indomitable wildness transformed the eladrin. Their bodies absorbed the boundless energy of the fey, gifting them innate magic attuned to the seasons.
While the Feywild changed them forever, the eladrin never abandoned their elven heritage. Rather, they evolved, becoming elf-fey hybrids—though some Eladrin remained closely tied to Arvandor, ascending as celestial servants of the Seldarine rather than remaining earthbound by mortal coils.
Now the least numerous of the elven diaspora, the eladrin traverse the Feywild as defenders and stewards of its wonders. Occasionally an eladrin may venture to the Material Plane when beckoned by wanderlust or upheaval in the Feywild. But they always remain conduits of their fey realm’s capricious magic.
Chapter 2: Eladrin Racial Traits in 5th Edition—What Makes an Elf Fey?
So what abilities does exposure to century upon century of unrestrained fey magic grant the eladrin? How do these traits distinguish them from their elf kin? Let us illuminate the key attributes that define the eladrin as featured in the 5th edition sourcebook Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse.
Ability Score Increase: Quite fittingly, eladrin receive boosts to both Dexterity and Charisma. Their lithe bodies channel fey grace while their hypnotic personalities reflect the seductiveness of fey magic. You can increase one ability score by 2 and another by 1, or boost three different scores by 1.
Fey Step: The signature power of the eladrin is Fey Step—a special teleportation that embodies the eladrin's transient nature. As a bonus action, you can magically teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. Unlike most teleports, Fey Step is not considered a spell, meaning it can be used in an Anti-Magic Field or when spellcasting is prevented.
You can use Fey Step a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, regaining expended uses after a long rest. This provides excellent mobility in battle, allowing an eladrin to blink across the battlefield untouched. Out of combat, Fey Step enables stealthy infiltrations or swift escapes. Its non-magical properties also mean it is available more often than spell equivalents like Misty Step.
Trance: As elves, eladrin do not sleep. Instead they enter a meditative trance for 4 hours per day. After resting in this fashion, eladrin retain the same benefits that other races would gain from 8 hours of sleep. The eladrin's partial fey nature is what enables this useful trait.
But trance provides more than just enhanced rest efficiency. After a long rest, an eladrin can alter their season and gain proficiency with two weapons or tools of their choice. This shows the eladrin tapping into the collective racial knowledge of elfkind, temporarily mastering new skills.
Keen Senses: All elves possess innate perceptiveness, with eladrin being no exception. You gain proficiency in the Perception skill, enabling eladrin to keenly scan their natural surroundings. This pairs well with their high Dexterity for ranged attacks or stealth.
Darkvision: Accustomed to the veiled illumination of the Feywild's endless twilight, eladrin have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. However, you can only distinguish color in bright light.
Fey Ancestry: Thanks to their fey lineage, eladrin gain advantage on saving throws against being charmed and immunity to magical sleep. This steelies an eladrin's resolve against fey enchantments and mental domination.
Languages: Eladrin begin play speaking Common and Elvish. Elvish is spoken natively throughout much of the Feywild, enabling communication with other denizens of the plane.
Clearly the abilities gifted by an eladrin's fey ancestry provide great benefits, both in battle and while exploring their twilit realm. Their martial training as elves combines with fey talents for mobility and charm resistance. But the eladrin's most iconic power remains their mystic connection to the seasons, which we shall now explore.
Chapter 3: The Magic of Eladrin Seasons—Personality and Abilities Shifting with the Wind
Beyond their elven and fey traits, an eladrin's alignment with one of the four seasons constitutes their most definitive racial attribute. An eladrin's chosen season changes their personality, appearance, and how their Fey Step manifests.
When creating your eladrin character, you may select their season or roll 1d4 on the following table:
- Autumn – peacefulness and goodwill, sharing summer's harvest
- Winter – isolation and dolor, when the world slumbers
- Spring – joy and celebration abound
- Summer – aggression and boldness unfettered
Some eladrin remain eternally bound to a single season, while others shift seasons upon finishing a long rest. The latter allows you to modify your eladrin's abilities and moods to suit the needs of the current adventure. Now let us explore each season in depth…
When an eladrin is in their Autumn aspect, serenity fills their heart. Leaves of gold, orange and red adorn their hair, flickering like flames when they Fey Step through the air. An air of melancholy and generosity surrounds an Autumn eladrin.
In tune with the bounty of the harvest, Autumn eladrin focus on providing for others rather than hoarding for themselves. They share what they have freely, with little thought of their own needs. However, this generosity can transform into naivety, as an Autumn eladrin may trust too easily or give away too much in their desire to help others.
When an Autumn eladrin uses Fey Step, up to two creatures within 10 feet of them must make a Wisdom saving throw or be charmed for 1 minute. This Fey Step enhances the Autumn eladrin's soothing presence, potentially disarming foes with their goodwill.
The beauty of an eladrin in their Winter aspect conceals an inner sorrow. Skin and hair turn icy blue and white as though kissed by frost. A melancholy chill surrounds a Winter eladrin, their eyes brimming with unshed tears that freeze upon their cheeks.
In tune with the harshness of winter, these eladrin become introspective and isolated. They prepare for future deprivations, hoarding what they have since the world provides little. This penny-pinching survival instinct can transform into bitterness, for a Winter eladrin knows the world cares not whether they endure or perish.
When a Winter eladrin uses Fey Step, any creature within 5 feet of them must make a Wisdom save or become frightened until the end of the eladrin's next turn. This Fey Step enhances the Winter eladrin's aura of dread, striking fear into the hearts of their opponents.
No eladrin embodies the boundless energy and joy of the Feywild more than one in their Spring aspect. Skin and hair burst with flower petal hues of pink, green and blue. Where they step, snowdrops and crocuses bloom. The air around a Spring eladrin shimmers with new life.
For a Spring eladrin, every day overflows with beauty and wonder. Song and dance fill their heart when they awake. They want nothing more than to celebrate the gifts of the Feywild by bringing merriment to all they encounter. But this endless revelry can spawn darker traits like hedonism, narcissism, and lack of discipline.
When a Spring eladrin uses Fey Step, they can touch an ally within 5 feet to instantly transport that creature to any spot within 30 feet. This Fey Step enhances the Spring eladrin's freewheeling support, whisking companions wherever they need to be.
Fiery passion smolders within the breast of an eladrin in their Summer aspect. Hair and skin blaze with shades of gold, orange and red like tongues of flame. The air around a Summer eladrin ripples with heat. Those who draw too close may be burned by their aura of fury.
In tune with summer's relentless energy, these eladrin overflow with conviction and zeal. They believe solely in action, confronting any obstacle directly whether threats or tentative allies. But this aggression can metastasize into belligerence, for a Summer eladrin always chooses force over diplomacy.
When a Summer eladrin uses Fey Step, any creature within 5 feet takes fire damage equal to the eladrin's proficiency bonus. This Fey Step enhances the Summer eladrin's searing aura, injuring foes who stray too near.
By harnessing the mystical power of the seasons, an eladrin can enhance their abilities to serve whatever needs each adventure brings. Their seasonal transformations provide both roleplaying inspiration and tactical advantages. When you create an eladrin character, consider which season best fits their personality and your team's combat dynamic.
Chapter 4: Optimizing Classes and Builds for Eladrin PCs
Now that we understand the eladrin's racial traits and seasonal abilities, how can we best optimize them mechanically for each character class in 5th edition? Below we shall analyze the ideal classes, subclasses, and builds to maximize your eladrin’s unique talents.
Warriors who channel divine power through force of personality, paladins perfectly complement the eladrin’s mixture of martial skill and fey magic. Polearm and great weapon paladins can use Fey Step to swiftly close distance then unleash devastating nova rounds on key targets. Meanwhile sword and board paladins combine Fey Step with defensive auras and healing to control the battlefield.
Ideal Subclasses: Vengeance paladins can Fey Step next to their sworn enemy then channel Vow of Enmity on them. Ancients paladins use their aura of warding to apply resistance when they Fey Step into a thick melee.
Similar to paladins, melee rangers thrive when built with eladrin. Twinning Hunter’s Mark with Fey Step allows you to swiftly change targets when desired. Horizon Walkers also appreciate the added mobility from Fey Step, and Fey Wanderers embody the eladrin’s fey magic fantasy. Ranged rangers benefit less from Fey Step but still appreciate the charm effects.
Ideal Subclasses: Horizon Walker, Swarmkeeper, and Fey Wanderer offer the most useful synergies. Monster Slayer can also apply Slayer's Prey then Fey Step out of range.
Barbarians love Fey Step’s ability to instantly reach melee range so they can begin raging and recklessly attacking. Starting as a barbarian gives you proficiency in Constitution saves, bolstering concentration on Fey Step effects. Either dexterity or strength builds work, with dexterity enabling more use of Fey Step's advantages.
Ideal Subclasses: Zealot barbarians smite with divine power, adding more damage to Summer Fey Step's fireburst. Ancestral Guardians can taunt enemies then Fey Step away.
Fighters lack mobility options, making Fey Step extremely valuable. Use it to chase down ranged enemies or escape being swarmed in melee. Great Weapon and Polearm fighters use Fey Step to close distance, while Sword and Board fighters Fey Step to defend allies with Protection. Archers still benefit from Fey Step to kite foes.
Ideal Subclasses: Rune Knight, Echo Knight, Eldritch Knight, and Psi Warrior offer useful synergies. Fey Step avoids attacks of opportunity for Psi Warrior's Psionic Strike or Echo Knight's Unleash Incarnation.
Charismatic tricksters, bards mesh perfectly with eladrin abilities. Fey Step enhances their mobility, making them even harder to pin down. Glamour and Lore bards specifically embrace fey magic. Swords and Valor bards combine Fey Step with martial skill for daring flourishes.
Ideal Subclasses: Swords, Glamour, and Lore bards. Glamour can open combat with Fey Step then use Mantle of Inspiration. Swords flourish after Fey Stepping beside an enemy.
Fey Step grants mobility to make up for squishiness, helping sorcerers avoid opportunity attacks when casting. Draconic sorcerers in particular appreciate boosting their AC with Fey Step to reduce damage when finally hit. Enchantment and Clockwork Soul sorcerers also embrace trickery or fey magic.
Ideal Subclasses: Clockwork Soul, Aberrant Mind, and Draconic Bloodlines offer strong synergies. Enchantment sorcerers also leverage Fey Step's charm effects.
Similar to sorcerers, warlocks love Fey Step for improved mobility and charm effects to complement their beguiling magic. Archfey patrons directly connect to the eladrin lore. Pact of the Chain warlocks can have their familiar use Help actions after they Fey Step away.
Ideal Subclasses: Archfey for thematic synergy, plus Hexblade, Genie and Fathomless for melee spellblade builds work very well.
Arcane tricksters to the core, eladrin wizards use Fey Step both for mobility and to set up creative spell combos. Pair Fey Step with control spells like Hypnotic Pattern then use your action on a powerful concentration spell. War Magic wizards combine this with Arcane Deflection for defense.
Ideal Subclasses: War Magic, Bladesinging, Illusion, and Enchantment wizard builds make the best use of Fey Step.
Masters of shaping nature’s forces, druids can use Fey Step in wildshape form for improved mobility and to bypass difficult terrain. Fey Step also helps escape melee if you lose concentration on wildshape and return to humanoid form.
Ideal Subclasses: Circle of Stars, Circle of the Moon, Circle of Dreams, and Circle of the Shepherd all integrate well with eladrin abilities.
Final Thoughts on Optimized Eladrin Classes and Builds
As we have seen, eladrin work fantastically well with a wide range of classes and builds. Focus on enhancing your character's storytelling and roleplaying opportunities when selecting your class rather than pure optimization. Lean into your eladrin's fey magic talents to create memorable moments during gameplay. With the fundamentals covered above, you are now equipped to build unique and flavorful eladrin characters that evoke the mystique of the Feywild.
Chapter 5: Roleplaying Your Eladrin to the Fullest
Creating a compelling backstory and roleplaying your eladrin consistently during adventures is critical for bringing this fey race to life at the table. Keep these tips in mind when developing your character.
Ensure your roleplaying shifts subtly when you change your eladrin's aligned season. In the spring, you might be more cheerful and songs spill effortlessly from your lips. In winter, you grow solemn and curt with lighter banter. Discuss with your DM how pronounced the shifts are based on your preferences.
Eladrin feel every emotion to its extreme due to their fey nature. When angry, you fly into a rage. When mourning, you weep loudly and without restraint. This immediacy of experience sets eladrin apart from the detached and aloof stereotype of elves.
You speak wistfully of a homeland your companions can scarce imagine, filled with natural wonder and apex predators. Share tantalizing details of your life in the Feywild, delighting others with visceral descriptions of its beauty and terrors. Paint a picture of the alien realm you call home.
Biases and Quirks
Perhaps you have difficulty understanding why mortals waste their brief lives on bitterness when joy is a choice. Or you collect odd keepsakes that embody the passing seasons, like skeletonized leaves from your favorite tree. Identify endearing quirks and perspectives your eladrin has developed over a much longer life than those around them.
Eladrin feel sorrow more acutely when in their Winter aspect. Find compelling reasons for your eladrin's sadness tied to their history or bonds. Do they mourn slain fey allies? Lost loved ones from centuries ago? Some tragedy they blame themselves for? Like all emotions for an eladrin, sadness cuts to the bone.
By keeping these roleplaying insights in mind, your eladrin can develop beyond a collection of game mechanics into a dynamic character brimming with fey mystique. Now let us see how this fey race compares with other elven options in 5th edition.
Chapter 6: How Eladrin Compare to Other Elf Subraces
While eladrin share many similarities with their elven brethren, they fulfill a distinct niche among the elf subraces of 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. Below we shall contrast eladrin against the high elf, wood elf, and drow.
High Elf vs. Eladrin
On the surface, high elves appear most similar to eladrin with their pointy ears, limber frames, predilection for magic, and home in the Feywild's counterpart—the plane of Arborea.
But several key differences set eladrin apart. High elves are strongly tied to arcane magic, gaining extra wizard cantrips and boosts to Intelligence. By contrast, eladrin excel at harnessing innate fey magic, gaining teleportation, charm effects, and seasonally influenced abilities.
High elves also tend towards order and refinement. But eladrin embody wild emotion and passion. While studious high elf wizards unravel magical theory in solemn academies, eladrin dance and duel with fey magics influenced by their own ever-shifting moods.
Ultimately eladrin are defined by their humanoid bodies housing sensitive fey souls in harmony with nature's seasons. High elves lean more into precise intellect.
Wood Elf vs. Eladrin
While wood elves also cherish nature, they do so by embodying earthly forests rather than the otherworldly Feywild. Wood elves prefer understated colors that camouflage them in the forest. Eladrin proudly display bright seasonal hues.
Wood elves tend to avoid spiritual philosophy, preferring practical action. Eladrin live earnestly through their emotions, which shape their magic.
And where wood elves master survival skills and stealth, eladrin train their innately fey magic. An eladrin wizard teleports through battle with magics influenced by their moods. A wood elf ranger hides in plain sight, striking silently with bow and blade. Both revere nature, but in markedly different ways.
Drow vs. Eladrin
No two elven subraces differ more starkly than the exiled drow and the fey-touched eladrin. Drow are alignment-wise typically evil while eladrin remain neutral with extremes of emotion. Drow worship dark gods; eladrin channel primal fey magic.
Yet their key difference lies in their relationship to the Feywild. Most drow fear and abhor the Feywild, becoming uneasy at the mention of that capricious realm. But eladrin proudly hail from its dangerous beauty. The Feywild nourishes an eladrin's magic, while it promises only peril for the drow.
So in summary, eladrin offer a distinctly fey flavor compared to other elven subraces. From dour high elves to savage drow to woodsy wood elves, only the eladrin truly embody the otherworldly magic, passion, and unpredictability of the Feywild itself. For those seeking to play the fey version of elfkind, the eladrin stand alone.
Chapter 7: Common Questions About Eladrin in 5th Edition
Our journey through the fey paths of the eladrin nears its end, but let us pause to answer some final questions new players often have about this seasonal race.
Can You Play an Eladrin?
Absolutely! Eladrin are one of the 30+ official playable races featured in the Player's Handbook and other 5th edition D&D sourcebooks. The rules for creating an eladrin character are provided in Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse.
What Classes Work Best for Eladrin?
As we covered earlier, eladrin work very well as bards, fighters, barbarians, druids, paladins, rangers, rogues, sorcerers, and warlocks. Their racial abilities synergize neatly with these classes. But truly any class is viable if it matches your character concept.
What Book Are Eladrin In?
The eladrin originally appeared in the Dungeon Master's Guide as an example race, but were unofficial and lacked subrace options. They became an official, seasonal fey race in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Currently their final racial traits appear in Monsters of the Multiverse.
Are Eladrin Fey Creatures?
Yes. Eladrin are considered both humanoid and fey in terms of creature type in 5th edition. They gain Fey Ancestry as a racial trait, can be affected by spells that target fey, and originate from the Feywild plane. But as elves, they are still humanoids rather than monstrosities or other types.
Can You Change Eladrin Seasons?
An eladrin can change their seasonal aspect after finishing a long rest if desired. Some eladrin shift seasons fluidly, while others remain eternally bound to one. Work with your DM regarding how often your eladrin can change seasons based on their personality and your campaign style.
Conclusion: Embrace the Mysteries of the Feywild
Across frigid tundras where ghostly lights dance, to verdant forests where ancient legends roam, the Feywild's wonders call to all who seek adventure. But no race is more attuned to its enigmas than the mercurial eladrin—elves infused with fey magic, their spirits changing as readily as the seasons.
We hope this guide has prepared you to fully embrace these fey elf folk both mechanically and in captivating roleplay at your table. Whether autumn leaves adorn your blademaster's hair, or your foppish bard's jokes chill worse than winter, the eladrin offer a chance to experience the alien majesty of the Feywild. Heed the call as your own saga unfolds alongside these fey elf folk. The story awaits…