Why play Satyrs? Mythic Odysseys into Revelry

With the arrival of MYTHIC ODYSSEYS OF THEROS last week, we got the best sourcebook ever from the Magic the Gathering world.  We also got the first official 5E stat block for the Satyr as a playable race.  Now, there have been plenty of reasons NOT to open this race up as playable, but Satyrs are known for more than not being able to block or being completely expendable.

But, first, a D&D history lesson.

Satyrs go back all the way the first edition Monster Manual.  Since then, they have been a staple ‘monster’ in D&D; always bringing their frolicking, debaucherous, fun-lovin’ ways along with them.  In the first edition, they were random encounters that only attacked to run interlopers off.  But by fourth edition, they were described as ‘self-centered, greedy and decadent’ which isn’t so bad if not mixed with a ‘murderous’ intent and a nasty, deceptive way of ‘befriending’ people to get close and cozy with them before taking them for all the satyr can get.

But, now, we have the option to actually play a Satyr.  We get to choose how playful or how sinister our character will be.  But WHY PLAY a Satyr?  What makes this choice work?  What are the positives?  Negatives?  Well, that’s why I’m here.  Let’s figure out if the Theros Satyr is worth it.

True to Greek myth, the Satyrs have always come with a wind instrument of some sort; usually a ‘pan flute’.  They have been especially talented with these pipes.  So much so, that they were able to charm or instill fear or sleep with them.  Even the 5E monster manual gives this as an option for the Satyr.  However, the new racial traits as given in the new Theros book only allows a trait, Reveler, that gives the character proficiency with ‘one instrument of your choice’.  But (and I think I’ll work one up) a bard school would be useful here.

A plus is their speed and leap option.  The Satyrs have a speed of 35 making them faster than most and an added 1D8 to any high or long jump.  This will make them hard to catch verses the mean speed of 30 and allow for awesome leaps across wider expanses or up to higher ledges or the sort.  Not sure it gives them much of a physical advantage but allows for some interesting advantages in certain situations.

The best advantage is the fact that they are not ‘humanoid’ and will not be susceptible to spells like CHARM or DOMINATE PERSON that effect only humanoids.  Add to this that their magical resistance giving them advantage on saves verses spells or magical effects and you have a quite resilient character.  I mean, who doesn’t want advantage when they face their first fireball?

Obviously, coming with a small set of horns, the Satyr has always come with a ‘butt attack’.  That’s ‘HEAD BUTT’ for all of you middle schoolers out there (you can stop laughing now).  It just simply gives you a natural weapon doing a cute little 1D4+ Strength which may come in handy in some situations, but, if I want a REAL horn attack, I’ll be a Minotaur.

The Ability Score Increases give you a lot of great options for class.  Getting a +2 to Charisma will allow your Satyr to excel at either Sorcerer or Warlock.  I think being a Warlock with Nylea as a patron would be interesting.  Another great class for Satyr is Rogue with the plus in Dexterity added to the Charisma ups that make great for persuasion, deception and intimidation.

The blatant omission in MYTHIC ODDYSSEYS OF THEROS is the exclusion of Xenagos, the actual god of revelry.  Yes, I know he’s dead in the magic mythos.  Thank you, Heliod and Elspeth.  But it leaves a big hole in the pantheon, especially for the Satyr.  As a continuity guy, I kind of expect there to be something to fill in the void.  I feel a module coming on where a Satyr leads an adventure to either find what’s left of Xenagos or his replacement.  Discuss among yourself…or wait for future installments here or on our facebook (click and go)!

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D&D Sourcebook References:

1E Monster Manual p.85

2E Complete Book of Humanoids p. 53

Dragon 109 (Half Satyr) p. 58

3.5E Monster Manual p,219-220

4E Monster Manual p. 228

5E Monster Manual p. 267

4E Heroes of the Feywild

Dragon Mag #155

“The Folk of the Faerie Kingdom” p. 37

The Ecology of the Satyr p. 42

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