Learn all about the whimsical fey species known as Fairies
Flying creatures native to the Feywild, Fairies are small, elf-like creatures with natural magical abilities. Fairies in D&D are larger than the stereotypical fairies of popular culture, fitting into the small category of creatures rather than the tiny size designated for pixies and sprites. Originally introduced as a playable race in Wild Beyond the Witchlight and later republished in Monsters of the Multiverse, playing as a fairy is mainly beneficial for their ability to fly. You can learn about all their features and traits below.
What are Fairies in D&D 5e?
Fairies have an appearance similar to Elves but have a pair of wings on their backs and are much shorter standing about 2-4ft high. While this does make Fairies fairly small, it is larger than they’re usually portrayed in popular culture, though they are able to use their innate spellcasting to shrink even smaller.
All Fairies have certain unique features that differentiate them from others of their kind. This can include features like bird’s wings, multicoloured skin, large ears, a horn on their head (like a unicorn’s) or even a set of insectile legs. The magic that surrounds the Feywild and its denizens can be chaotic in nature meaning Fairies can end up with these unusual features.
Fairies are joyful, fun and whimsical. They enjoy playing practical jokes at the expense of others, especially mortals and don’t like to take life too seriously. They enjoy crossing over into other planes so they can play their pranks on more unsuspecting victims. They are not cruel beings though and in moments of true need, can be known to provide protection and support rather than mockery.
While they may be good-natured folk, Fairies are capable of protecting themselves and their own, utilising the power of flight and innate magical ability to fight others.
How to play as a Fairy
You’ll likely want to play a Fairy as a fun-loving free spirit. Consider ways you can play practical jokes on party members and especially enemies. Most Fairies are not cruel or unkind so you’ll want to make sure your pranks don’t go too far. You’ll also need to be wary of your size. You’re small so unless you’ve gone with some kind of gnarly barbarian style Fairy, you’ll probably cautious of causing too much anger with your jokes.
Fairy Features in 5e
|Ability Scores||+2 to one ability score and +1 to another or +1 to 3 different ability scores|
|Lifespan||About 100 years|
|Speed||30ft (walking and flying)|
|Languages||Common and 1 other|
|Traits||Fairy Magic, Flight|
|Book found in||Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, Wild Beyond the Witchlight|
If you want to play as a Fairy, your character will have the following traits and abilities:
Fairy Magic – You know the druidcraft cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast faerie fire. When you reach 5th level, you can also cast the enlarge/reduce spell. When you cast faerie fire or enlarge/reduce, you can’t cast either of these spells again until you’ve completed a long rest. You can also use spell slots of the appropriate level you may have to cast these spells.
When casting these spells, you can use intelligence, wisdom or charisma as the spellcasting ability (choose when you select this race).
Flight – Because of your wings, you have a flying speed equal to your walking speed but you can’t use your wings for flying if you’re wearing medium or heavy armour.
Which classes work well for fairies?
Fairies give you the power of flight as well as a few innate spells. That’s all there is, but flight is a powerful ability and enough of a reason to take a fairy. Faerie fire is a good foil for invisibility and gives advantage while enlarge/reduce can allow you to become tiny which has useful stealth impacts. Growing in size also means your weapon attacks do a little more damage too.
The best use for flight is to stay away from danger so fairies naturally work well as spellcasters and other more vulnerable and ranged classes. Flight is also great out of combat too for scouting and scaling meaning rogues and bards also benefit too. Their innate spells can be complemented with the spell slots of a spellcasting class for extra uses too.
Best classes for Fairies
Ranged classes and spellcasters are your friends here, though you’ll also want to make sure your innate spells complement your class nicely as well. With the above in mind, we’d recommend the following classes for Fairies:
There’s a bit of a mix here but with each of these classes, you’re going to want to use flight to stay away from danger while you blast ranged weapons and spells at your enemies. Faerie fire will give you advantage on weapon and spell attacks so spells like eldritch blast on a warlock are ideal for Fairies. In combat, this does mean that enlarge/reduce may be used less due to it and faerie fire being concentration spells but it can be used to give a fighter an extra d4 damage on each of their attacks (or reduce an enemy’s damage output, though they do get a save against that so normally works better as a buff.
Artificers can be particularly effective as Fairies as artillerists can use faerie fire to grant advantage to themselves and their artillery. Just don’t take a melee based artificer subclass like the battle smith.
Rogues work a little differently for Fairies, but you can use them in melee to aid in gaining sneak attack, then use disengage as a bonus action and fly our of range. Taking the mobile feat can also save your bonus action if you want to use it on something else like dashing or the help action if you’re a mastermind.
Worst classes for fairies
As fun as it is to play a barbarian fairy, they don’t tend to complement each other well. For a start, flight is little good when you’re going to be in melee combat all the time. On top of this, as a small creature, you normally can’t wield the d12 weapons that make barbarians so deadly. As purely close-combat specialists, monks also fare poorly when paired with fairies, though flight at least gives you a little more maneuverability.