This fall Wizards of the Coast is releasing three seemingly very different adventures (and all the corresponding ancillary products that could possibly go with them).
- In October, we will take the deep delve into the dragons and their lore.
- In November we will see the continued meshing of the worlds of Magic: The Gathering and the Dungeons & Dragons with the next book in their Strixhaven series.
But first, we get this fascinating journey that comes The Wild Beyond the Witchlight: A Feywild Adventure!
So what is Witchlight’s elevator pitch?
The basic premise of the The Wild Beyond the Witchlight is that once every so many years, the veils between our world and the Feywild gets thin, most notably around The Witchlight Carnival. After experiencing the carnival, the adventurers are then pulled into a tug of war between warring factions, one of whom is a captive Feywild leader.
So while that is the elevator pitch, how do all the pieces work?
Early buzz about the book has nearly all been focused on the first chapter, which is entirely about the Witchlight Carnival. And it is for very good reason. This section of the book is fantastic. Even if you have no intentions of ever running the rest of the adventure, this part of the book alone is nearly worth the investment.
As a DM, the ideas and games inside this wierdo carnival are so well crafted, have such good game dynamics and interesting NPCs, you can have some really fun, memorable game nights with your PCs easily with this book. I could completely see using this chapter whenever the group needs an injection of just pure old fashioned game fun. “You know what team? The veil up ahead shimmers, you hear the noises of the bands, the lure of the tents…The Witchlight Carnival has returned!“
And that isn’t to say that the rest of the book is a waste. The rest of the story is a good adventure. The journey into the Feywild has some really great scenarios and situations. And there has been some buzz because the creators of this adventure have discussed that players could play through large swaths of it without being in any real combat scenario.
Now, that approach is probably not the one that happens at a majority of our game tables; most of us are murder hobos or, at the very least, manslaughter vagrants. But it is fun to see that someone spent the time and effort to create a compelling story that doesn’t need a fight to “win” every time.
To be clear, this Feywild is twisted. Think about the mixture of the way Disney does fairy tales and the way that dark Russian versions of the same stories work. The story has a vibe where you get the sense that Tinkerbell is happy and shiny and firefly-like, but she is perfectly willing to eat your hand off with her razor sharp teeth.
That dual nature allows this adventure to be more playable. It is similar to something like Kobold Press’ Tales from the Old Margreve, which is also centered on Russian and Eastern European mythos. But where there is a major difference here is that the writers and creators let there be some points of levity and silliness. Most tables need both and this adventure gives you potential for both!
There are other bits in here as well. There are two new playable ancestrys that are sure to some folks’ favorites. While the Fey race option is of interest to some, it is the weaker of the two in the book to me. That said, I already have a back-up character that will be of the Harengon ancestry, or as most will call them, Rabbit-folk. Just something in it awakens my heart to the old Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle RPG and the characters you could make in that wild post apocalyptic world.
So with all that factored in, The Wild Beyond the Witchlight is an excellent first book of the Fall of 2021 coming from Wizards. It holds up as an adventure all on its own, it has some pieces that a good DM can easily take and use in their own game and it has a great balance between comedy and weird, dark mythos.
If you were on the fence about this one, I would pick it up! You can get it here or better yet, ask for it at your local game shop!
[Disclosure: Wizards of the Coast provided Nerds on Earth with a copy of The Wild Beyond the Witchlight in exchange for an honest review.]