Fairy du Jour: Thistledawn

“Why so sad, little friend,” the dwarven voice boomed, carrying easily over the buzz of the crowded tavern, “you fairies should be all dancin’ and playin’ practical jokes on the rest of us. But not you, never you. Why is that, Thistledawn?”. In reply the tiny fey sighed. These huge lumbering creatures would never understand. He quickly changed the subject. “Never mind that, you oaf. Drink up and tell me about that lost Dwarfholt again. Do you still have the map?”

Thistledawn isn’t like other fairies. Where they wear gaudy colours, he wears grey. Where they hide and avoid the larger folks, Thistledawn steers clear of other fairies and prefers the company of humans and dour dwarves. Where fairies live for the hour, he has plans that may take months or years to come to pass.

No, Thistledawn isn’t like other fairies. For he has lost the one thing that the fey folk hold dear above all else. Love.

Dirty little secret: Once upon a time, Thistledawn was like other fairies. He laughed and danced and joked and wore brightly coloured clothes made from leaves and flower petals. And he loved. He loved the fairy Riverthorn with all his heart, mind and soul. He loved her when she sat under the stars. He loved that she could name every one. He even loved her when she began offering sacrifices to them – burned flower petals at first, then mice and voles. He even loved her when the fairy children started to disappear. When the other fey discovered their bodies and Riverthorn sat among them chanting, something broke inside him. When she was exiled forever from the Fey Realms, he put away his bright clothing and took to the outer world. Shame burned him, and in every fey face he could see her laughing, crazed eyes taunting him. One day, he vowed, he will find her and rip out her eyes so they can never taunt him again.

Notes: Fairies in 4e D&D rock! Finding a good Tiny Fairy race write-up was difficult, and the Aerie (also in Combat Advantage #11) is easily the best out there. As a Tiny race, fairies are just 4″-8″ tall and have to enter their opponent’s square to be able to melee attack. This provokes opportunity attacks meaning only an agile and brave fairy would dare to take the melee route. Thankfully, Thistledawn is both and the combination of Artful Dodger and Defensive Mobility gives him a +5 against opportunity attacks. Fairies can only wield daggers, shortbows, slings and any weapon with the off-hand property (which they have to use two-handed but gain no benefit for doing so). Think of it like this: fairy weapons are sized for them, but thanks to fairy smithing techniques are supernaturally sharp. Dagger stats are used for their one-handed blades, Shortbow for their bows and Slings for their…. slings. Thistledawn prefers to wield a fairy-sized greatsword (which uses Shortsword stats and proficiency) as he flies into battle. Oh yeah!

When it comes to making Sneak Attacks, your typical Fey Rogue is best served by relying on Stealth and their innate ability to turn invisible to gain Combat Advantage. Gaining cover shouldn’t be difficult for someone who is only 6″ tall :D The jury is still out on whether a Tiny creature can Flank. I say yes provided they enter their opponent’s square from the opposite edge to another ally, but that’s entirely a GM call.

Coming up next: Riverthorn, Evil Fairy Star Pact Warlock!

Thistledawn, Male Chaotic Good Faerie Rogue-1
Str 11, Con 13, Dex 18, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 16
AC 16, Fort 11, Ref 16, Will 13, Init +4
HP 25, Surges 6×7/day

Acrobatics +11, Athletics +5, Bluff +8, Perception +5, Stealth +11, Thievery +9
Languages: Common, Elven. Speed 2, Fly 5

Deft Strike/w, Sly Flourish/w, Faerie Twinkle/w, Dazing Strike/e, Trick Strike/d

Size: Tiny, Buzzing Flight, First Strike, Rogue Weapon Talent, Artful Dodger (+3 AC vs opportunity attacks), Sneak Attack +2d6, Defensive Mobility (+2 AC vs opportunity attacks)

Crossbow, Shortsword (wielded 2-handed), Leather Jerkin, Adventurer’s Kit, Thieves’ tools

3 Comments on “Fairy du Jour: Thistledawn”

  1. Love the back story. And I’m glad I’m not the only one still using the nine alignments in 4e.

    I think the Aerie as presented in Combat Advantage #11 is flawed. The Buzzing Flight racial feature essentially makes it just another small creature in every way — contradicting the tiny rules and removing the uniqueness playing a tiny PC. I understand that it’s only while you’re in flight, but that’s going to be pretty much always while in combat. Seems more like a flying halfling than a 6″ tall faerie.

    Were it my character or campaign, I’d replace the [take up 1 square/can’t end move in enemy’s square/normal reach] with something else. Being tiny is mostly disadvantages and few benefits. Yes, it’s easier to hide behind things, but it’s also more opportunity attacks against you, less damage, and one more square you have to move to be able to attack something.

    Rather than have a racial feature that negates these limitations (limitations which I think are essential to the spirit of playing a tiny PC) I’d rather see racial benefits applied elsewhere that level the playing field with other PC races.

    I just noticed that the racial invisibility power is at-will, so that’s a big offset right there, even if it is a standard action. A bonus to a particular save (charm or illusion or fear would make sense) or resistance to some type of damage (psychic, maybe?) would bring the Aerie more in line with other races.

    Just a thought. The idea of a tiny race with a racial feature that essentially makes it NOT a tiny race just doesn’t sit right with me.

  2. @mccoo1 Thanks for the comment. I agree, Buzzing Flight made me stop and look twice too. I can see why it was included mechanically, and I quite like the imagery of a flitting fairy who seems to travel everywhere but not a straight line, so decided to keep it in. At least until I get to sit down and playtest this character properly :D

    Like you, I believe that Tiny character bring their own challenges to the table, and that’s a part of their charm. Buzzing Flight seems to exist to negate one of those challenges, and that takes something away from the race as a whole.

    Thinking about it, I might relegate the rules about Reach and taking up a whole square to being a Feat (Upredictable Flight, perhaps). This way, a Fairy can take it if they specifically want to play a melee-focused Fairy who flits and darts in and out of combat, but there’s a price to be paid as it costs a Feat slot. Sounds fair to me, and keeps the rest of fairy-kind vulnerable to pesky Opportunity Attacks.

    We’ll see.

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