Last Updated on January 22, 2023
From the works of Shakespeare to Greek myths and the Chronicles of Narnia, satyrs (also known as fawns or beastmen if you play Warhammer) are an instantly recognizable hybrid between man and beast.
Hailing from the mystical realm of the feywild, satyrs are a playful race of creatures inspired by both Roman and Greek mythology and steeped in fey magic.
Originally introduced as part of the Mythic Odysseys of Theros sourcebook, making them one of the first non-humanoid playable races in the game, satyrs have since been reworked as part of the new Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse sourcebook.
In this guide, we’re going to break down what satyrs are, how they work in D&D 5e (especially in a post-Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse world), and which classes they’re suited to playing as well as their appearance, cultural characteristics, and naming conventions — everything you need to get ready to bring a satyr character to your next campaign.
What Is a Satyr?
Satyrs are medium humanoids that look like elves with goat legs, cloven hooves, and curling ram or goat horns protruding from their heads. Satyrs’ exposure to the magic of the Feywild makes them resistant to unwanted arcane influence and fuels their innate ability to persuade and perform.
Satyrs tend to give an impression of being mirthful, merry, and whimsical, always ready to indulge their curiosity and gregarious natures.
Their detractors call them debaucherous fools prone to frivolous caprice, but Satyrs rarely concern themselves with keeping the company of anyone they consider to be boorish (or worse, boring).
Because of their naturally friendly demeanors, people often make the mistake of dismissing satyrs as useless aesthetes or pacifists. They are often corrected with extreme prejudice.
Satyrs are not only able to shrug off magical interference with ease, but their powerful back legs allow them to jump further and higher than their foes, perfectly positioning them for a devastating unarmed attack with their horns.
As a satyr, you have the following racial traits.
- Creature Type: You are a Fey.
- Size: You are Medium.
- Speed: Your walking speed is 35 feet.
- Ram: You can use your head and horns to make unarmed strikes. When you hit with them, the strike deals ld6 + your Strength modifier bludgeoning damage instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.
- Magic Resistance: You have advantage on saving throws against spells.
- Mirthful Leaps: Whenever you make a long jump or a high jump, you can roll a d8 and add the number rolled to the number of feet you cover, even when making a standing jump. This extra distance costs movement as normal.
- Reveler: As an embodiment of revelry, you have proficiency in the Performance and Persuasion skills, and you have proficiency with one musical instrument of your choice.
The Satyr, along with pretty much ever other non “classic” fantasy character race, has been reworked as part of Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse.
Innate racial ability-score bonuses (and penalties, in the case of the “monstrous” races like Orcs and Kobolds) have been relegated to the realm of “legacy” content.
The new method for ability-score improvement in character creation (as set forth in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything’s Custom Lineage rules) gives you a +2 and a +1 bonus to apply to any ability scores you choose.
Going forward, choice of character race doesn’t affect ability scores, meaning you could pretty much play any character class you like with a Satyr as the basis of your build, and it’ll be good.
Actually, it’ll be better than good. It’ll be amazing because, mechanically, Satyrs are incredibly strong.
Proficiency in two Charisma-based skills right off the bat is very strong and admittedly pushes Satyr characters in the direction of Charisma-based classes like bards or sorcerers — although something like a swashbuckler rogue, an oath of the ancients paladin, or an archfey warlock would all be amazing choices (mechanically and narratively) as well.
Then, on top of that, Satyrs get advantage on saving throws against spells. That’s an insane buff to throw on any character in any class.
The jumping bonus is… fine. I can’t see it coming up very often (except maybe in a chase, although it’s not extra movement; your base movement speed is already fantastic as is), and it feels like it’s something that’s there for flavor rather than mechanical benefit.
That’s fine though because everything else about the Satyr’s racial traits is incredible.
Which brings me to the d6-damage unarmed horn attack, which is a fantastic way to bypass the weapon proficiency issues of classes like the sorcerer and the wizard, or it can absolutely supercharge a low-level monk’s unarmed strikes.
Satyrs can honestly feel strong in any role, although they make excellent tanks — able to soak up magical damage — or party faces. Maybe there’s a new “best” choice out there for a Paladin.
If you’re using the original legacy rules for Satyrs from Mythic Odysseys of Theros — prior to which Satyrs were only in the game as a type of monster — you’re going to want to pretty much exclusively head in the direction of a bard, although other Charisma/Dexterity-based classes can work as well.
Using the legacy rules, your Satyr has the following traits…
- Ability Score Increase: Your Charisma score increases by 2, and your Dexterity score increases by 1.
- Age: Satyrs mature and age at about the same rate as humans.
- Alignment: Satyrs delight in living a life free of the mantle of law. They gravitate toward being good, but some have devious streaks and enjoy causing dismay.
- Size: Satyrs range from just under 5 feet to about 6 feet in height with generally slender builds. Your size is medium.
- Speed: Your base walking speed is 35 feet.
- Fey: Your creature type is fey rather than humanoid.
- Ram: You can use your head and horns to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier.
- Magic Resistance: You have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
- Mirthful Leaps: Whenever you make a long or high jump, you can roll a d8 and add the number to the number of feet you cover, even when making a standing jump. This extra distance costs movement as normal.
- Reveler: You have proficiency in the Performance and Persuasion skills, and you have proficiency with one musical instrument of your choice.
- Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan.
With the exception of the ability score bonuses and the weaker ram attack, the legacy version of the satyr is largely unchanged.
Satyr culture — at least the majority of it — is deeply preoccupied with hedonism.
Satyrs love to feel good, to enjoy one another’s company (as well as the company of other races), and tend to roam the Feywild in large groups, like large mobile parties foraging in the woods for food and performing plays, singing, or playing instruments for coin.
In the material world — where satyrs often venture in search of excitement and new experiences — they’re much the same, and many take on the role of traveling bards and minstrels as they wend their way from one tavern to the next.
Not all satyrs are itinerant drunks and wandering poets, however. Some of them embrace their powerful connection to nature and the land, forming druid circles and performing pagan rites and rituals.
(Incidentally, I think taking a Satyr character and turning them into some sort of nightmarish krampus would be loads of fun.)
As multiversal travelers with a knack for making friends (and then making those friends buy you drinks all night), satyrs are D&D’s most prodigious extroverts and can be fun to play as such.
Everyone’s a potential friend to a satyr, even that bandit currently trying to stab you for your lunch money.
It’s important to remember that satyrs might look like elves with fuzzy feet, but they are fey creatures.
As such, their emotions are stronger; their ties to cold, hard material things are weaker; and they’re pretty much always going to approach the world from a slightly different angle than races from the material plane.
When you make a satyr character, you can roll on the table below for an eccentric habit.
Back in 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, satyr biology actually took a leaf out of the Tolkein dwarf playbook; they were an entirely male species who reproduced through methods unknown (although, if they were in any way true to their Grecco-Roman origins, they certainly weren’t chaste).
This has been done away with in recent years, and in D&D 5e, satyrs can belong to any gender and tend to be inspired by Greek names from our world.
All satyrs have a true name, but many choose to go by a nickname — an often cutesy sobriquet, usually gifted to them in the wake of a particularly spectacular party.
- Feminine Satyr Names: Aliki, Avra, Chara, Dafni, Eirini, Elpida, Irini, Kaiti, Lia, Niki, Tasia, Xeni, Yanna, Zoi
- Masculine Satyr Names: Alekos, Dimi, Filippos, Ilias, Kyriakos, Neofytos, Omiros, Pantelis, Spyro, Takis, Zenon
- Nicknames: Bounder, Bristlechin, Clip-Clop, Dappleback, Hopper, Nobblehorn, Orangebeard, Quickfoot, Scrufflebutt, Sunbeam, Skiphoof, Twinkle-Eyes
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I played my first tabletop RPG (Pathfinder 1e, specifically) in college. I rocked up late to the first session with an unread rulebook and a human bard called Nick Jugger. It was a rocky start but I had a blast and now, the better part of a decade later, I play, write, and write about tabletop RPGs (mostly 5e, but also PBtA, Forged in the Dark and OSR) games for a living, which is wild.