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I enjoy the roleplay potential offered by the Eladrin's season mechanics, so I'm considering letting Eladrin characters change season once per long rest (instead of only when finishing the rest), so that they can react to impactful events immediately. Now obviously this allows Eladrins to choose an advantageous Fey Step based on the encounter they are in. I personally don’t see this as a huge issue, but I’d like some second opinions on balancing. I also wonder if changing season should take:

  • An action, which seems a little costly in combat.

  • A bonus action, which means they can’t use Fey Step in the same turn.

  • 1 minute, which basically eliminates season change in combat entirely. This is most similar to the status quo, but it also prevents the Eladrin from reacting to events in combat (e.g. companion dying).

  • Just to cover all the bases: …nothing? Which is objectively stronger, but still doesn’t seem too disruptive.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you are asking for balance advice, the best starting point is to tell us why you are making this change? Do you think them weak? Is it just flavour? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Oct 18, 2022 at 7:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri Mostly flavour, yes. As I said, I don't really see this being a big balancing issue, but I'm also inexperienced, so I'd like to check if there're some particular situations I haven't thought of, and just to gather any thoughts and advices on this change. \$\endgroup\$
    – EEQ
    Oct 18, 2022 at 8:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri I think that this is close to a homebrew review, but I am not sure that this is the intent. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 18, 2022 at 13:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast as asked, it is not review but shopping. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Oct 22, 2022 at 21:23

2 Answers 2

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It shouldn't have a big effect on balancing no matter what you choose

The Eladrin's seasons is a primarily roleplay thing, in term of mechanics it affects a single ability, that can only be used once per rest, is very situational, and the effect of the season is very minor (and before they hit 3rd level there is no effect at all). It's very unlikely this would make or break any encounter so you might as well change it to allow them to use it at the beginning of a long rest or at any point throughout. I'm assuming you want to primarily make this more usable in an ambush-type situations where your long rest is interrupted, I would personally just let them change it for free, they'll only be able to use the Fey Step in the encounter once at most, or not at all if they used it prior to the long rest. It's mostly going to be a non issue, just pick the option you like best.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ sounds like OP wants to change it from "at the end of a long rest" (like preparing spells) to "once per long rest" (like Action Surge) - ie, they can do it at any time, but only once per day. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adeptus
    Oct 19, 2022 at 2:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm using MMoM Eladrin so Fey Step can be used number of proficiency bonus per long rest. But this doesn't really factor into the change that much anyway. I agree on other fronts, and the lack of answers/comments otherwise seems to suggest there's no glaring problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – EEQ
    Oct 19, 2022 at 3:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EEQ I don't think that really changes things, unless your campaign is high level, the majority of time they will end up with 2 or 3 uses per day which is potentially even less than once every long or short rest, there was a question some time ago on which one of these are better and iirc the consensus was that once per long/short rest gives more uses on average \$\endgroup\$
    – AnnaAG
    Oct 19, 2022 at 7:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus ok, I misunderstood then but my answer still stands, they will still end up using it in a single encounter \$\endgroup\$
    – AnnaAG
    Oct 19, 2022 at 7:57
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I think you could make a whole thing out of it. For example, we think of things mechanically; you don't have access to the ability once you've used it up, but as soon as you've been chilling out for 8 hours, poof, it's back. But the reality (as far as reality is concerned in a magical role-playing world) is that you spend time taking actions to regain that ability (often sleeping to physically recover from the exhaustion of using the ability and if you don't get a tight 8, you just don't have the wherewithal to do it again). You could say that in order to change seasons the eladrin must spend some time meditating or engaging in some short ritual that effects this change. Normally, something like this we just gloss over and say it happens some time during the long rest. For your game, maybe the character engages in this ritual before laying down to sleep so it takes effect immediately and applies in the event the team is ambushed during the night. I might have the player even describe the ritual to the party, e.g. "As the eladrin finishes preparing his bedding, he sits on the ground and closes his eyes. As you watch him, his subdued brown and orange, autumnal colors brighten. His skin begins to take on an emerald hue, his hair seems to grow a little longer, and even the grass on the ground underneath him seems suddenly more full and lush."

As for balance, I'd say try it out. If it seems to cause any issues, you could say that if it's used prior to the rest too often, it causes the character to suffer some kind of minor exhaustion penalty, thus encouraging them to go back to doing the ritual at the end of the rest period.

Just a (long) thought.

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