Several of the most fun and memorable Dungeons & Dragons adventures I’ve participated in involved the Feywild and fey themes. I love the myth and magic of fairy courts in tales from our own world’s history and culture and especially the portrayal of the Twilight Realm of Faerie in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic books. I borrow heavily from that fabled writer and in my own setting the Feywild is represented by the Dreaming World to contrast with the Material Plane called the Waking World. So you can imagine my excitement when Through the Veil: Tales of the Feywild released at Dungeon Masters Guild. Producer and Project Lead Elise Cretel — @DNDElise on Twitter and a Dungeon Master I’ve got great respect for — sent me a copy and I am more than happy to signal boost this terrific book of fey adventures for fifth edition D&D.
Running D&D Fey Quests & Adventures #116 — Nerdarchists Dave and Ted host a live chat all about the fey, Feywild, and fey creatures in 5E D&D
Journey into the Feywild
As of this writing there is very little official material regarding the Feywild in 5E D&D, essentially only touched on in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. I keep an eye out for content exploring this most magical realm so when Elise mentioned to me a while back she was working on Through the Veil: Tales of the Feywild I couldn’t have been happier. Elise and the expansive team behind the DM’s Guild product created a 138 page book of ten enchanting fey adventures spanning all four tiers of play. The adventures spotlight classic creatures associated with the Feywild plus present new entities to challenge 5E D&D adventurers like the jabberwock (a CR 22 fey dragon!). There are more writers listed on the credits page than I see credited for the adventures, so there’s a few whose contributions I’m curious about. With so many writers, editors, artists, cartographers and playtesters involved I feel very confident about incorporating any of the material in Through the Veil into my own games.
Layout Lead Alan Tucker did a terrific job creating the visual design of the book. It’s really easy on the eyes and I particularly dig the use of bold contrasting color to denote important DM’s Notes like tips on scaling an encounter or making clear a connection between different sections of an adventure. New material like monsters and magic items are included in appendices at the end of the adventure they’re related to, which I would prefer to see collected in single appendices at the back of the book but that’s just a personal design choice. Overall the layout and design came together great. There’s three adventures in the book that include a Dramatis Personae section, an inclusion I always find super useful for understanding the major characters and their goals and motivations. I’m not sure why the other adventures didn’t include this section.
Three of the fey adventures within Through the Veil stand out to me as really evocative scenarios I’ll almost certainly run. Lallwyn’s Lament, The Fomorian Who Would Be King and The Gypsum Forest speak to me for various reasons, which I’ll highlight.
“The party is led through the Feywild by the verses of “Lallwyn’s Lament,” and try to bring resolution to the tale of heartbreak and loss.”
The introduction pretty much sold me completely on this one. It’s designed as a 2-3 hour adventure for 3rd-5th level characters so right off the bat I’m heavily interested. The Feywild is a wonderful place for adventure and I’m all about getting characters there as early as possible. Lallwyn’s Lament seamless slides from the Material Plane to the realm of the fey and straight up lets the DM know this adventure is linear — a quality I personally appreciate. There’s a practical reason for this orchestrated by the adventure itself too, since Unseelie fey magic exerts control over the events.
Encounters in this adventure could prove perilous to adventurers if they approach situations in the traditional D&D way of engaging antagonists in combat. The really cool thing about this adventure is the titular song (included in the appendix) provides a path to resolving challenges using the appropriate lyrics. This achieves two very important things. The adventure can be fun and challenging for any level characters first of all, and second it lends itself to a very storybook like quality of defeating monsters and dangers through more whimsical means. I love this!
“A dangerous enemy is kidnapping and murdering the good fey of the forest. Can the adventurers end this threat despite the overwhelming danger?”
Full disclosure: big fan of fomorians so this one hooked me from the title alone. This fey adventure also includes duergar, another favorite of mine. You’re really hitting all the notes here! Designed for 5th-8th level characters puts it in the sweet spot for me too. Those are my favorite characters to play and run adventures for and like the previous one The Fomorian Who Would Be King incorporates noncombat solutions to conflicts and challenges. Problem solving, investigation and social interaction provide alternate paths to success and whenever designers consider these opportunities it is very valuable to me.
There’s two terrific maps with this one, beautifully created with lots of color and detail. I lean heavily on great maps like this when I run games. A great map shows enough details to help you really describe a room, chamber or otherwise, which intrigues players and gives them several things for their characters to interact with or ask more questions about. This one also includes an awesome adventure hook possibility. It’s a fantastic short encounter that a DM could drop right into their game while the party travels to a new destination.
“Stories tell of an ancient slumbering creature and groves that bloom forever in spring. Treasure seekers may find themselves lost in the labyrinth of the Feywild, never to return. Can the party escape the Gypsum Forest?”
This summary resonates with me hard core. Ancient slumbering creature, Feywild labyrinth and ever blooming groves sells the sizzle of a fey adventure big time. I also see mention of a mirror realm. Are you trying to ensorcell me even more, Through the Veil? One of my favorite things about the Feywild is the notion you could sort of unwittingly walk into it from the Material Plane and this one goes a step further with a mystical maze already in the Feywild that further ensnares wanderers. Dragons, stepping between realms of spring and winter and a relatively small map combine to make this fey adventure for 13th level characters relatively straightforward to run. (Tier 3-4 adventures are extremely challenging for me as a DM and this one looks way more accessible for someone like me.)
There’s a lot of really neat interactions in The Gypsum Forest whether its moving between the spring and frost realms, discovering hidden clues and items, fishing — with a random chart for what you catch and even places where Extreme Cold affects adventurers and how many times do you see that actually show up in published content? [NERDITOR’S NOTE: All you Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden fans reading this in the future ought to note the publication date of this post!]
If you love fey adventures as much as I do Through the Veil: Tales of the Feywild makes a fantastic addition to your collection of 5E D&D content. The special touches in the book help you run these adventures really smoothly. If you’re a player and you haven’t tried your hand at being a Dungeon Master yet and you dig stories and adventures with fable and fairy tale quality to them this might be the perfect thing to get you behind the DM screen too.
At the time of this writing you can get Through the Veil: tales of the Feywild as a PDF, a hardcover standard color book or a bundle of both, with the bundle currently discounted from $44.94 to $29.99. Check it out at Dungeon Masters Guild and take your 5E D&D game on fey adventures in the Feywild here.