When building a Fey Wanderer ranger in DnD 5e, consider the following elements:
- Choose a race with high Wisdom: wood elf, firbolg.
- Build ranger for spellcasting, archery and trickery.
- Fey Wanderer abilities: Dreadful Strikes, Otherworldly Glamour, Beguiling Twist…
- Fey Wanderer spell list: charm person, misty step…
- Add basic ranger spells: hunter’s mark, summon beast, detect magic…
The ranger who takes the Fey Wanderer archetype in DnD 5e leans into the tricky, magical elements of fairies and Fey creatures. This character is a bit more whimsical than your typical monster-hunting survivalist, tapping into a fairy source of Charisma to charm others. Plus, I’ll gain access to unique spells and use my Wisdom modifier for Charisma checks.
Choose a race with high Wisdom: wood elf, firbolg
Because I want to flex this ranger’s magic capabilities, I’ll focus on Wisdom as my highest ability score. However, I’ll also want to consider thematic aspects of my choice, as well as special abilities. This brings me to the wood elf and firbolg races.
Wood elves gain a +2 Dexterity/+1 Wisdom ability score bonus and are thematically the most relevant to the class. Tapping into the Fey is inherent to wood elves, who gain advantage against conditions like fear and charm. Plus, this woodland roamer gains Fleet of Foot (35 feet of speed) and Mask of the Wild. Now, I can attempt to hide in conditions such as fog or snow.
Firbolgs are another kind of forest wanderer, gaining a +2 Wisdom/+1 Strength ability score bonus and several impressive magical abilities. These hulking, hairy humanoids count as Large for their carrying capacity and have the ability to speak to plants and animals. Hidden Step turns me invisible between turns, broken when I attack, cast a spell or force an enemy to make a saving throw. Plus, I’ll gain inherent spells like detect magic and disguise self.
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Build ranger for spellcasting, archery and trickery.
My initial ranger build should take into consideration my later abilities and role in the group as trickster. Therefore, I’ll choose several class variants from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything at early levels, including Deft Explorer, Favored Foe, Druidic Warrior Fighting Style and Primal Awareness.
Deft Explorer grants my ranger adventure abilities at level 1, 6 and 10. Canny comes at level 1, doubling my proficiency in one of my skills. Then, I gain Roving (level 6), which increases my walking speed by 5 and gives me a climbing and swimming speed equal to my walking speed. Finally, Tireless (level 10) gives me a number of temporary HP equal to 1d8 + Wisdom modifier. Plus, my exhaustion rate (if any) is reduced by 1 after a short rest.
Favored Foe marks an enemy, similar to hunter’s mark. Once per turn, I can deal an extra 1d4 damage with weapon attacks while my concentration lasts. I can use this feature 2 times at first—my proficiency bonus.
For my Fighting Style (level 2), I’ll try out the new Druid Warrior option, which gives me 2 cantrips from the druid spell list. Spells like guidance (add 1d4 to ally checks) and poison spray (1d12 poison damage) can come in handy. Or I could choose a more traditional Archery Fighting Style, giving me +2 to ranged attack rolls.
Level 3 grants me the Primal Awareness option, which grants me additional spells at certain levels. Spells such as speak with animals, beast sense, speak with plants, locate creature and commune with nature grant me practical options to use in an adventure. Plus, I can use these spells for free once a day and they don’t count against my ranger spell list.
Fey Wanderer abilities: Dreadful Strikes, Otherworldly Glamour, Beguiling Twist…
I’ll gain my Fey Wanderer abilities at level 3, gaining Dreadful Strikes, my first Fey Wanderer spell and Otherworldly Glamour. Also, I’ll gain natural phenomena around my appearance—antlers, flowers growing from my hair, ethereal butterflies…
Dreadful Strikes adds an extra 1d4 psychic damage to attacks, drawing from the darker side of the Feywild. It’s not the best extra damage in the ranger class, but extra damage is always nice.
However, Otherworldly Glamour gives me an impressive roleplaying feature that adds my Wisdom bonus to Charisma checks. This means I’ll be able to persuade and intimidate the way beings of the Feywild charm and frighten. Plus, I’ll gain proficiency in Deception, Performance or Persuasion.
Then, level 7 grants me Beguiling Twist, which gives me advantage on saving throws for fright and charm. Plus, when an enemy fails an attempt to frighten or charm, I can redirect the effect to another target. I’ll need to use my own Wisdom modifier for the new target’s DC.
Fey Reinforcements (level 11) grants me the summon fey spell, which doesn’t count against my spells known. Plus, I can cast it without concentration for 1 minute. With this trick, I could bring multiple summons to the field or hold concentration on hunter’s mark.
Finally, Misty Wanderer comes at level 15, giving me the ability to cast misty step for free and bring along a willing ally. I can use this feature an amount of times equal to my Wisdom modifier.
Fey Wanderer spell list: charm person, misty step…
Beginning at level 3 with charm person, I’ll gain a set of special spells that relate to the trickery of the Feywild domain.
- Charm Person (level 3): On a failed Wisdom saving throw, the target becomes charmed and his friendly to me and my allies for the duration of the spell.
- Misty Step (level 5): I can vanish in a poof of silvery mist, reappearing in another location 30 feet away.
- Dispel Magic (level 9): End a magical effect on the field—an interesting counter-magic example from the fairies.
- Dimension Door (level 13): This is next level teleportation, allowing me to move to a place I can see, visualize or describe in measurements (400 feet north).
- Mislead (level 17): I turn invisible and replace myself with an illusory clone. The illusion can move twice my speed, gesture and speak. Plus, I have access to sensory information my clone is experiencing.
Add basic ranger spells: hunter’s mark, summon beast, detect magic…
Between Primal Awareness and my Fey Wanderer spells, I’ll have a well-rounded list of ranger spells already chosen. However, it’s important to have options. I’ll need to add damage-dealing options, healing options and other spells that fit my trickster style.
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- Hunter’s Mark: A concentration-based spell that marks a target and deals extra 1d6 damage per successful attack. I should be able to stack a decent amount of damage with a longbow (1d8) + hunter’s mark (1d6) + Dexterity (3 or 4). Add a Dreadful Strike (1d4) in the mix and we’re cooking.
- Cure Wounds: Heal 1d8 + Wisdom modifier HP. Add 1d8 for each spell level above 1. I can heal myself or an ally within touching range.
- Detect Magic: I can detect where magic is coming from and what school it belongs to. This fits my Fey-connected vibe and comes in handy. Plus, I may already have this spell as a firbolg.
- Ensnaring Strike: Thorny vines snag an enemy when I hit them with a weapon attack. Target must succeed on a Strength saving throw to escape the vines or be restrained. At the beginning of its next turn, it takes 1d6 piercing damage from thorns and can attempt to roll another Strength check to escape.
- Animal Friendship: I can charm animals to be friendly toward me and my party. This can be useful in convincing natural threats like wolves and bears to be cool. Or maybe I’ll charm a horse to carry me.
- Summon Beast: I can summon a Small beast spirit with 20 (flying) or 30 HP. This creature can be of the sky, water or earth, taking appropriate forms for each. The flying creature can escape attacks of opportunity, but the other 2 gain advantage on attacks when allies are near (Pack Tactics). The beast takes its turn after mine and can deal 1d8 + 4 + spell level damage.
- Pass without Trace: Everyone within 30 feet of me gains the benefit of a vail of shadows, gaining + 10 to Stealth checks. My party can’t be tracked except by magical means and we don’t leave a trail to follow (footprints, scents, etc.).