Are you ready to build a rascally rabbit? Okay, okay I see you checking your pocket watch. Oh yeah, be prepared for an Easter basket of puns. Like a great hair once said, “If you ain’t gotta sense of humor, you’re better off dead!”
I’ve got plenty of these. You might even say I could keep on going, and going, and going…
The Harengon, a humanoid rabbit race, demands a bit of irreverent, sarcastic humor. In this post, I’m going to be breaking down some this long eared adventuring race. We’ll look at some of the options and tactics you can use when playing a Harengon So why don’t we hop into it and see how far the rabbit hole takes us?
What is a Harengon?
The Harengon is a newly official (if not entirely new) race found in The Wild Beyond Which Light. They are humanoid rabbits. All those rabbit puns make more sense now, don’t they? These stinkers (yes, another cartoon rabbit reference. I just can’t help myself) offer a lot of interesting features and role-play opportunities.
Harengon are from the Feywild, but are considered humanoid, not fey. They have more in common with Tabaxis than they do creatures in the Fey Courts. That being said, the writers decided to instill some of that irreverent Feywild flair when composing these adorable long-eared rabbit folk. They simply couldn’t help but layer little puns throughout the race description.
For instance, their racial ability “Hare-Trigger” plays with the spelling of Hair-Trigger. The ability “Lucky Footwork” obviously references a lucky rabbits foot, and, of course, the name, Harengon, can be broken down to “Here-and-Gone”. Creatures with this much wordplay baked into their description have to come from that wacky Feywild.
How do you play a Harengon?
I’m going to split this into two parts. First, let’s look at the mechanics and potential. I want to examine what classes lineup best with this race as well as effective tactics that can be employed with their racial features. This is going to be a little controversial. I’ve seen a lot of D&D bloggers a Harengon is good for any class but not especially good for any particular class. I respectfully disagree.
I believe that there are a few classes that disproportionately benefit from the Harengon’s abilities. And one, in particular, that makes the best use of their unique talents. I’ll explain my reasoning and breakdown of which class and racial features stack when combined with one of these long-eared adventurers.
I wanted to include a section examining role-play opportunities with these peculiar humanoid creatures, but this post ended up running a little long. I’ll be following up next week with an RP for the Harengon breakdown. For now, we’ll just focus on the mechanics.
What’s under the hood?
Since the release of Tasha’s Cauldron, all subsequent supplements employ the “custom lineage” system. This means ability scores are no longer anchored to a character’s race. When creating a new character, you can place 2 points into any ability and 1 additional point in any other ability. Alternatively, 1 point can be placed in three separate abilities. This essentially allows you to create a character optimized and ready for any class; no consideration for race necessary.
Personally, I’m a little back and forth on where I stand on the “custom lineage” system, and the Harengon is a good example of why. But I’ll actually get into that when I go over character development and role-play in next week’s post. For now, let’s take a closer look at the special features we get to play with and what classes can benefit the most from rabbit folk.
How they handle speed with this race is interesting. At first glance, you might not notice anything peculiar about their movement. Harengon gets 30 ft of movement like most creatures, but they’re not like most creatures. A Harengon can be a medium or small-sized creature. Yes, this is a minor point but one worth noting.
You definitely get some advantages as a small creature. Sure, there are some drawbacks too. You can’t use heavy weapons and grappling ends up being a little limited. On the other hand, you can use small and medium-sized mounts and are able to slip into some pretty tight spots. Small playable races often have pretty solid racial features to help compensate for some of their drawbacks as well.
The option to choose either small or medium for your Harengon’s size category may not be a game changer, but it’s definitely worth giving some consideration. Think about how you intend to use this character. A small rogue that hasn’t lost any speed due to their stature can make some interesting decisions.
Okay, let’s look at the good stuff. The features that you really want to take advantage of; Hare-Trigger, Leporine Senses, Lucky Footwork, and Rabbit Hop. What do these features do and what classes can maximize their potential?
“Hare-Trigger: you may add your proficiency bonus to your initiative roll.”
This is a nice well-rounded and versatile ability. Going first in initiative can change the outcome of a battle. When thinking about how to maximize this feature, the first class that comes to mind is the assassin. At level 3, assassins gain the feature “assassinate”. If you attack a creature that hasn’t taken its turn yet, you gain “advantage” on your attack roll. If you build a Harengon assassin and place 2 of your free ability modifier points into dexterity, you quickly increase the odds of rolling well for initiative.
Swashbuckler really leans into and doubles down on the initiative bump as well. The rogue swashbuckler doesn’t gain extra perks from a high initiative roll like “assassinate”. However, simply being high in initiative is very helpful. Rogues don’t have the best defense, so being able to maneuver yourself into an optimal position before the enemy attacks must be a part of every rogue’s strategy.
Stacking Hare-Trigger with the swashbuckler’s “Rakish Audacity” ability gives pairing this class and race a little more incentive. This feature doesn’t directly benefit from a high initiative in the same way “assassinate” benefits, but tactically going first in a fight will frequently give you access to using this feature. Rakish audacity provides you with two benefits. First, you can add your charisma modifier to your initiative. Combining that with Hare-Trigger is really maxing out your initiative roll potential.
The combination of these features will end up looking like (dexterity modifier) + (proficiency bonus) + (charisma modifier). If you made dexterity your primary ability, the rest of your party had better get used to your Harengon taking the lead in nearly every fight.
The second feature provided by Rakish Audacity makes the powerful initiative modifier all the more valuable for a rogue. Rakish Audacity allows a swashbuckler to use their sneak attack on an enemy as long as there are no other creatures within 5 ft of the rogue. Being the first to move in a battle gives the swashbuckler more access to this tactic. They have the ability to zero in on an enemy standing off on their own.
Rogues aren’t the only ones that can make good use of this racial ability, however. A clever cleric can strategize and employ other class features more effectively the higher they are in the initiative lineup. This class puts more emphasis on wisdom and strength rather than wisdom and dexterity, which means the initiative modifier rarely receives much of a bump.
Unfortunately, several cleric spells provide more benefit when cast earlier in the battle. “Shield of Faith” and “Bless”, for example, provide powerful buffs but should be used as early as possible. Your companions should either have the added AC before somebody attacks them or added one D4 to their attack modifier before they start swinging. If your cleric ends up low in the initiative order, they may not get these benefits until the second round. “Hare-Trigger” compensates for this potential shortcoming.
Of course, any class can benefit from an initiative modifier, but these classes make the best use of it. If you’re looking to optimize your Harengon’s racial abilities, this is a good place to start.
Leporine Senses: you gain proficiency in the Perception skill.
Leporine Senses provides a solid benefit, but it doesn’t particularly aid any one class over another. If you’re trying to figure out which class gets the most out of this feature, you’ll most likely find the scales balanced. It would make more sense to add this feature to the big picture as opposed to zeroing in on who stands to gain the most from this one.
Rogues across the board have access to Perception, but they also have options. They can choose 4 skills from a list of 11, so if Perception is provided as a racial ability, a Rogue is free to choose something else. That being said, a class that doesn’t provide Perception as a skill may also get some use out of Leporine Senses.
I’m typically of the mind that doubling down on strengths is better than reinforcing weaknesses. The other adventurers in the party should be handling the workload your character isn’t good at. But if nobody in the party is all that perceptive, then Leporine Senses may end up being an important racial ability.
when you fail a dexterity saving throw, you can use your reaction to roll a D4 and add it to your initial saving throw.
Of course, every class could benefit from this, but classes that employ dexterity as their primary ability double down on its effectiveness. Most saving throws within the game are dexterity saving throws. You’ll get a lot of use out of Lucky Footwork. If you already have a solid Dexterity saving modifier, this racial ability ends up stacking on what you’re already good at. In Dungeons and Dragons, stacking your stats makes a big impact.
Rogues and monks take the lead when trying to determine which class makes the best use of this feature. They both gain Evasion at level 7 which complements Lucky Footwork well. If a monk or rogue fails a dexterity saving throw, they only take half the damage, but if they pass a DEX save, they take 0 damage. An extra D4 stacked on top of a dexterity saving throw could mean the difference between taking half damage from a dragon’s fire breath attack and taking no damage at all. For a class that has lower AC and HP, stacking defensive buffs makes sense.
If you go with the Swashbuckler subclass, your Rogue also gains a feature called Fancy Footwork. Now, Lucky Footwork and Fancy Footwork don’t really compliment each other, but wouldn’t it be fun to have a character with such talented feet?
Barbarians get a nice little bonus from this as well. Danger Sense provides them with Advantage against Dexterity saving throws as long as they can see it coming. Combining that advantage with the 1D4 you get with Lucky Footwork creates a nice defensive buff. Tactical benefits aside, just imagine the fun you could have with a Six-foot five barbarian rabbit!
as a bonus action, you can jump a number of feet equal to 5-times your proficiency bonus. This does not provoke an opportunity attack. Your speed cannot be 0 when using this feature, and you may use it a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. You regain all opportunities to use this feature after finishing a long rest.
This one has a ton of applications and will likely get used the most. Rabbit Hop increases your creature’s overall speed, provides what essentially amounts to a Bonus Action Disengage, and makes vertical terrain and movement accessible. Lucky Footwork was good, Hare-Trigger was very good, Rabbit Hop is best.
This feature, like all of the Harengon’s abilities, provides benefits to every class. I would also say that some classes might benefit from this feature more than others. However, up to this point, the rogues seem to have the lead. Harengon racial abilities either stack upon rogue class abilities or tactically support the use of rogue features exceptionally well. Interestingly, the most impactful feature in the Harengon’s arsenal, Rabbit Hop, offers rogues disproportionately fewer gains than it does to most of the other classes.
Being able to disengage from an enemy as a bonus action opens up a lot of tactical advantages and possibilities. Of the three benefits provided by Rabbit Hop, this bonus will see the most gameplay. However, Rogues can already do that. Instead of stacking on a class feature, it simply doubles a feature and therefore provides no added benefit.
That being said, movement adding to a Rogues base speed still offers a significant buff. By level 4, a Harengon will gain 15 ft of movement in the form of a jump. Hit-and-run tactics can be pretty useful for a rogue but added movement improves the effectiveness of that tactic. A rogue can attack an enemy engaged in combat, use Sneak Attack, then disengage as a bonus action and run away. The added speed provided by Rabbit Hop gives them a better chance of getting outside of attack range. That’s good, but there’s a class that can make even better use of this racial feature, the monk.
Monks are also powerful hitters and are also a little soft on defense. Hit-and-run tactics come in handy for this class as well, but they gain a greater benefit from Rabbit Hop. Rogues can disengage as a bonus action. Monks can do this too, but it cost them a Ki point. If a Harengon Monk uses Rabbit Hop, they save a Ki point. Rogues really gained no additional benefit other than the added movement to their base speed.
Monks already get a little extra movement as part of their class, so an extra 15 ft by level 4 stacks nicely on something that they’re already good at. Again, this can be used in coordination with hit-and-run tactics, but there are plenty of other circumstances in which added speed can specifically benefit a monk. Being able to zip around the battlefield gives an adventurer more options, more options are always something you should seek.
My Take Away.
The Harengon offers a lot of interesting and tactical abilities to any player. It fits nicely with just about every class. Contrary to popular opinion, however, I do think there are classes that can benefit more from these rabbit-themed racial features. Monks are my top choice, followed by, Swashbuckler Rogue, Assassin Rogue, and Barbarian.
That being said, there’s no reason you shouldn’t make a Harengon Bard or wizard. D&D is a role-playing game; not a statistics-playing game. It’s good to think tactically, but don’t let that overtake the choices that seem like the most fun. If you’re trying to create a character with a race and class that complement each other, awesome. Just don’t limit yourself to only that.
This blog post ended up being a little longer than I expected, so I’ll be following up with a post detailing interesting background and character options for the Harengon next week. This will serve as something of a writing prompt when trying to create a Harengon character.
Before I hop out of this post, I’d like to ask my readers if they’ve ever played a Harengon? What class did you choose? How did you enjoy the character? Leave a comment, I’d really like to know!