Dungeons and Dragons is introducing a touch of whimsy to its fantasy adventuring. The Wild Beyond the Witchlight is the next sourcebook to release for the classic tabletop RPG, and the first release of 5E to focus primarily on the magical, faery-filled realm of the Feywild. But much like that hidden plane of unrestrained potent magic, there’s a lot to dig into under the covers of this upcoming book.
Billed as an adventure book that will flesh out the Feywild for contemporary D&D, it looks like a bumper crop of content is on the way: an adventure that will take you through a new domain, two new player races, additional player backgrounds, GM resources to help you run a whimsical adventure, and even alterations to allow you to run all of its encounters as non-combat variants.
To shed some light on all these mischievous musings, we’ve combed the vaults of official D&D announcements, reveals, and interviews, to create this one-stop-shop on the book’s contents. Here’s everything we know about The Wild Beyond the Witchlight.
The Wild Beyond the Witchlight release date
Announced back in June as one of three final D&D books to release this year, we’ve been waiting a few months to open the cover of this fey-filled tome. But we won’t be waiting much longer.
The Wild Beyond the Witchlight setting
Although The Wild Beyond the Witchlight introduces the Feywild to D&D 5E for the first time, it won’t cover the entire plane. Instead, the book centres on a new domain within the Feywild, called Prismeer, which lead writer Chris Perkins says has been designed as an “archetypal Feywild domain”.
Prismeer is intended to give you a taste of the Feywild, and highlight what makes the realm distinct from the material plane most of us are used to. Expect to see typical Fey creatures popping up, such as Satyrs, Pixies, Sprites, and those who don’t naturally belong in the Feywild but have jostled their way in, or become lost within its time-bending, space-morphing environment.
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Many of Prismeer’s inhabitants are modelled on the mischievous creatures of traditional fairy tales and folklore. Often capricious or playfully wicked, they’ll aid the player characters, but want something in return for their help.
However, Prismeer isn’t just any domain, it’s a ‘Domain of Delight’. As game designer Ari Levitch describes, these isolated locations mirror the Domains of Dread explored earlier this year in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. Each thematic domain is ruled by a powerful Archfey who shapes the domain to their will and might command its inhabitants.
The Wild Beyond the Witchlight adventure
At the heart of The Wild Beyond the Witchlight is the included adventure module. Designed for player characters of level one to eight, it’ll take you from the material plane into the depths of the Feywild, while careering you through some of its wondrous locations and wacky hijinks along the way.
The main action of the adventure centres in Prismeer
Although much noise has been made about the carnival setting that graces the book’s front cover, that location is only one of several environments you’ll explore. The Witchlight Carnival – operated by a Mr Witch and Mr Light – appears in the material plane every eight years, and will act as your gateway into the Feywild. You’ll step through its doors, enjoy the various attractions on offer, probably get tangled up in a mess that goes way above your head, and journey onto the Feywild beyond.
The Witchlight Carnival is also confirmed to be a counterpart to ‘The Carnival’ that appeared in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft earlier this year. That Ravenloft carnival is led by an Elf Feywild native who, according to D&D lore, previously traded ownership of The Witchlight Carnival to Mr Witch and Mr Light some years ago. Should the two carnivals ever cross paths again, ownership will revert back – something Mr Witch and Mr Light aren’t too keen to see happen.
The main action of the adventure centres in Prismeer. You’ll enter the scene after the ruling Archfey has gone missing, leaving her domain to fracture into three realms: Hither, a dank swamp; Thither, a glorious ancient forest; and Yon, a dramatic mountainous landscape. All the while, the Hourglass Coven wreak havoc on the land, demanding a sacrifice to satiate their wicked ways. You’re charged with stopping the Hags’ devilish machinations.
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However, The Wild Beyond the Witchlight is shaking things up. Perkins says that a “clever party” will be able to play through the entire adventure without ever resorting to combat. He emphasises it’s the first time the D&D team have offered the opportunity to play a pacifist run in a 5E adventure, which looks to fit well with the book’s whimsical, light-hearted tone.
New player options
The Wild Beyond the Witchlight won’t just cater to DM’s. The book will introduce two new player races, first introduced in an Unearthed Arcana playtest document back in March. You’ll be able to play as a Fairy, which will let you cast faerie fire spells and squeeze through one-inch spaces if they follow the Unearthed Arcana rules. You’ll also be able to play as a Harengon – bipedal rabbitfolk known for their speed.
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The sourcebook will also introduce two new player backgrounds. The Feylost are those player characters who grew up in the Feywild after finding their way inside, but never successfully navigated their way through its treacherous, shifting forms to escape. Witchlight Hands, meanwhile, are workers at the Witchlight Carnival, who might have spent their youth travelling with the Carnival across the material plane.
Outside of the new material, The Wild Beyond the Witchlight will also see a few familiar faces return to D&D. Wizards of the Coast have confirmed the half-armoured, muscular, and vehemently evil human Fighter Warduke will make an appearance, alongside his villainous Sorcerer friend Kelek.
Both characters appeared in the 1980s Dungeons and Dragons animated TV series, and were often produced as action figures, miniatures, and other toys. They’ll be joined by their buddy-turned-mortal-enemy, Strongheart.
It’s anyone’s guess as to how these characters will make their way into the book, but we reckon some Faerie trickery has beguiled them into the Feyweild from which they’ve been unable to find an escape, forcing them to fight out their rivalry forever in the motionless passage of Feywild time.
The Wild Beyond the Witchlight alternate cover art
As with several recent D&D releases, The Wild Beyond the Witchlight is also available with alternative cover art, illustrated by Hydro74. They’ve previously created the alternate covers for several D&D sourcebooks, including Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, in their distinct art style.