As an adventure that teases the edges of possibility of the Feywild, The Wild Beyond the Witchlight: A Feywild Adventure brings the delightful and terrifying aspects of a Domain of Delight and fey magic to an adventure for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. The most recent adventure from Wizards of the Coast is a departure from other Dungeons and Dragons adventures in that the entirety of The Wild Beyond the Witchlight can be run without combat, as each encounter can be resolved or overcome without violence. As players venture into Prismeer, they will encounter fantastical creatures, a fractured realm, diverse characters, and aspects of magic that reach across the multiverse.
This adventure begins with expanded resources for Dungeon Masters, who are the target for this adventure book. It has a variety of advice, encouragement, and sparks of inspiration along with permission to stray from “official” text, because the adventure you run is the right adventure. The Wild Beyond the Witchlight has multiple running threads to keep track of, and while there is a lot of investment for Dungeon Masters, no one is perfect, and even when mistakes are made, they become a part of the adventure.
There are supporting resources similar to those that were included in Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, such as cards and pages that are designed to be copied and printed as references and tools. There is a map of the Witchlight Carnival for use while exploring the enchanting traveling carnival, as well as a full map of Prismeer. There are roleplaying aids that encompass details about the significant and the less important NPCs, from characters that drive the narrative to somewhat more colorful characters who are less pivotal to the story, but no less interesting. Additionally, the inclusion of the Story Tracker is a great resource for Dungeon Masters to help keep track of important details about characters and events. In Prismeer, effects such as curses or decisions made by players at certain points of the adventure might have further ramifications down the road, and the Story Tracker can help keep those together in one place.
The Wild Beyond the Witchlight brings a handful of new character creation options to 5th Edition, and all are whimsical and fey in both style and theme. There are two new player background options: the feylost and the Witchlight hand. The feylost is a beautiful and authentic piece of inspiration that echoes old fey mythology, a child taken from their home to be raised in the Feywild. Characters with the feylost background have a special connection and insight to the Feywild, considering it their “home away from home.” The Witchlight hand is a member of the carnival that ushers in the adventure. Another perfectly themed background, a Witchlight hand might have run away from home as a child to join the carnival, and they probably never looked back.
The new playable races are both fey in nature, but the adventure recommends that players who choose to play these new races are native to the world that the other characters are, that the Plane of the Faerie is new to them as well. There is the Fairy, with wings and fairy magic; and the Harengon, rabbitfolk who are the embodiments of speed, freedom, and travel. Both bring fun and creative options for players, adding color and diversity to any adventuring party.
To further tie fey magic and the nature of the Feywild into characters, there are trinkets and traits that can be incorporated into player characters. Some trinkets are tied specifically to character backgrounds, or some might appear somewhere important where the characters might come across them. The traits are Feywild-themed, and might offer a more unique tie-in to this adventure than the options found in the Player’s Handbook, though they are presented as optional, and not required.
The Witchlight Carnival
A magical oddity that appears every eight years, “the Witchlight Carnival is a fairground of kaleidoscopic tents and wagons crewed by wondrous beings.” The massive carnival has multiple tents and unique locations, all of which characters can explore when they arrive at the Witchlight Carnival. Dungeon Masters are given tools to help track characters’ locations, the mood of the carnival, and even time passing while at the carnival, as its time is limited. Players will meet the mysterious carnival owners, Mister Witch and Mister Light, as well as have interactions with various hands of the Witchlight Carnival. There are more than a dozen sites within the fairground with expanded details and opportunities from the Big Top, where grand performances happen, to the Carousel, to the Hall of Illusions, and even snail races.
The Witchlight Carnival is where the adventure begins, though The Wild Beyond the Witchlight offers two different hooks to introduce the adventure. One presents a strong personal connection for the characters to the story, and can incorporate more elaborate aspects of the characters’ backgrounds and backstories. The other is a more traditional adventure start, with one or more characters beginning with little to no connection to the Witchlight Carnival prior to the start of the adventure. Both are viable choices, and are likely to be influenced by the nature of the players at the table and the adventuring party they create more than anything.
Traveling through a fey crossing in the Witchlight Carnival, characters arrive in Prismeer, a Domain of Delight in the Feywild, and the home of the carnival’s secret patron, a powerful archfey named Zybilna. Prismeer is made up of Hither, Thither, and Yon, three splinter realms that once made up the whole of the domain. Prismeer was shattered by a coven of hags known as the Hourglass Coven as the archfey of the domain was imprisoned and sequestered away, and her shattered realm has suffered in her absence. Hither is a foreboding and dank swamp, and is where the characters first land upon arriving in Prismeer. Thither is a sprawling fey woodland with a sickened, diseased core. Yon is an array of rocky mountaintops surrounded by thunderclouds and howling winds.
The Wild Beyond the Witchlight is a broad exploratory adventure, where characters will interact with various individuals including natives of Prismeer, members of the fey courts, and even the hags of the Hourglass Coven. For characters with connections to Prismeer and the Feywild, there might be scattered trinkets and Lost Things for them to find. There are magical creatures and curses, individuals tied to the realm by magic or by choice, and more than a fair share of rabbit holes to disappear through.
Beyond the three splintered realms of Prismeer, there is the Palace of the Heart, the point where Hither, Thither, and Yon would connect together to form the intact domain. Players’ adventures will more than likely reach Zybilna’s fairytale palace near the height of the campaign. It is the heart of Prismeer, figuratively and literally, where the archfey matron makes her home and where fey magic influences everything. It is also the location where a number of individuals connected to the archfey can be found, from emissaries of other worlds, to competing factions like the League of Malevolence and Valor’s Call.
The Wild Beyond the Witchlight brings additional content through its Appendices. There are more than twenty included Magic Items, ranging from common items that add flair to artifacts that can affect the nature of magic throughout the multiverse. Some might be familiar to veteran players, but many have taken on new aspects to reflect the Feywild setting and theme such as an item’s appearance or its traits.
There are nearly fifty individual stat blocks, though they are arranged differently than previous adventure books. The three primary factions are presented in Appendix B, with the Hourglass Coven first and foremost, the three hags given their due as significant figures both in this adventure and their respective realms. The League of Malevolence, a gathering of villains seeking power, and Valor’s Call, a noble adventuring party, are each given their own attention, along with five members of each faction. Additional stat blocks are given for creatures and other NPCs. Many are included in a bestiary or creature list like previous D&D books, but many are arranged throughout the adventure book. Some of the creatures given stat blocks are repeats from previous sourcebooks, but all are included so that the adventure can be run only needing the core rulebooks to supplement the adventure.
If The Wild Beyond the Witchlight is intended to be a test run or sounding board for more publications centered around the Feywild as a setting, I think things are very promising. Prismeer offers contained aspects of the Feywild to Dungeon Masters as well as its own unique traits and quirks as its own Domain of Delight. The greater Feywild is massive and wild and fantastical. The details of Prismeer are enough for an adventure book, but a full campaign sourcebook for the Feywild would definitely be something that could be in the works for Wizards of the Coast. So travel to the enchanting Witchlight Carnival, venture through the fey crossing, and imagine an adventure with your displacer beast kitten, drinking tea with a hunched hag in her hut, and maybe even reuniting the fractured pieces of Prismeer and saving the realm. But never forget your way home, because in the realms of the fey, who knows how far your adventures might take you.
The Wild Beyond the Witchlight: A Feywild Adventure is published by Wizards of the Coast.
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