Monday, January 9, 2012

If Puck Doth Offend: A Look at the Pixie

Oh why did you do this to me Puck?

I have already done a review of the Berserker. Now I would like to take a look at a race from Heroes of the Feywild. Faeries have a long history in myth and literature.   From the friendly, if mischievous, pixies to the outright evil redcaps, fairies have been tricking people since Julius Caesar set foot on the British Isles. The pixie represents the latest attempt to bring the wee folk into Dungeons and Dragons. If you like the idea of a flying, tricky, wise-talking, tiny hero you need look no farther.

I can't crash every party you know.
The Pixie in D&D 4e is very interesting both from a story perspective and also mechanically. The story behind the pixie, which can be found here if you are a D and D Insider subscriber, is very interesting. The origin of story of the Pixie is, like most origin stories in 4e, somewhat vague. It is equal parts Sleeping Beauty with no Wicked Witch, and Peter Pan. I really like the fluff associated with the Pixie. Apart from the origin story the place Pixies have in the world, keepers of the natural world, lends itself to several character archetypes. There are many good story reasons to play a Pixie. Maybe you want to play a mischievous trickster, perhaps you have always liked fairies like Momantrix, or maybe you just want to play the head of the Pizza Lord’s Guard. Whatever the reason, the story of Pixies in 4e fits well with any of them.

Mechanically there are a lot of good reasons to play a Pixie. Being a Pixie is one of the only ways to gain consistent flight at level one. Of course there are some drawbacks, but nothing character changing unless you want to break the game by flying out of range and dropping arrows on all the monsters. I have to admit that sounds kind of fun, but with no challenge, the game would get boring quickly. If you are confused about how pixie flight works there is a good discussion here.  There is an excellent guide for pixies here as well.

Know when to hold em
Besides low level flight there are several other good mechanical reasons to play a pixie. First the ability bonuses are very appropriate for the type of classes you would likely want to play. Pixies have a bonus to Charisma and either Dexterity or Intelligence. Charisma is great for fast talking your way out of (or into) situations, Intelligence  can help you think your way out, and Dexterity is wonderful for all those times when it is time to run. Your AC Reflex and Will Defenses should be decent, but you will want to stay away from poison because your Fortitude defense may be a bit low.

Second you get a bonus to stealth, arguably one of the best skills in the game. Coupled with a bonus to Dexterity, possible racial invisibility and your small stature you could be one of the stealthiest characters in the game. Your bonus to Nature isn’t really all that special, but it does fit well with the story of the Pixies’ place in the world

One thing about the Pixie that is a bit of a mixed blessing is its size. I have already talked about some of the benefits to the Pixie’s reduced size. Additionally as a tiny creature the Pixie can enter and even end its turn in larger creatures’ squares. There is a feat that makes this even better because you can gain cover from being in the other creature’s square. Some of the drawbacks are somewhat alleviated because unlike other tiny creatures you can wield small weapons and you also have a reach of one which is normal for all other characters. Still there are some size associated penalties and could even be some real role-playing problems for you as well.

I very much enjoyed researching the Pixie for this article. Not only did I learn a few things, but I also got some cool ideas for upcoming characters. I submit Brazilnut the Raven riding Pixie Blackguard for the win. If you have any ideas for a fun Pixie character please feel free to leave them in the comments. Until next time remember don’t let your dm tell you no. It’s always “Yes and…?”


  1. I still hate 'em. It goes Twilight, pixies, American politics. - John

  2. John I think it should be Twilight, Twilight, American Politics, Twilight, Sparkly Vampires. Also that's what I get for doing a post for a request