PC Fairies or Faeries

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Hey there.

As ridiculous as it may sound to some, I'm a fairy/faerie lover and, well, I prefer to play one as a result. I've seen absolutely nothing on playable fairies or faeries for 4e. Has anybody seen some decent ones? Any recommendations? Sorry if this sounds ridiculous to some, but it's what I enjoy!:D

Thanks!
Winwin
If your talking Victorianized tiny Fey then not so far. If your talking more old-Celtic style, then the Eladrin, and Gnome would fit well.
Ack! Light pink on light brown! It burns!

Seriously though, I'm currently working on a playable fey race, though they're still a work in progress. You can find the Nettle here.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Eladrin = Sidhe/Tuatha De Danaan more or less

Gnome = brownies, pooka, & other trickster fairies

This is what I love about 4e, we finally have playable fey that with the right class/feat choices actually feel like fey.
I was hoping for the standard colourful, winged fae/fey. ^_^
I think you'll just have to mix and match gnomes and some wing/flying related feats. Its all about imagination, you don't really need a pixie race.
I was hoping for the standard colourful, winged fae/fey. ^_^

Then define "standard colourful, winged fae/fey". If, by standard winged fey, you mean Tinkerbell-sized and endowed flight, you're going to run into problems with such a race.

4e doesn't do PC sizes smaller than small or larger than medium. A tiny race will have an impossibly hard time contributing to melee and would need special considerations for weapons, which goes against 4e's design philosophy that all races should be at least competent in all classes. Also, 4e doesn't do at-will flight, and even at higher levels, items, powers, or rituals that grant PCs few, limited, and usually short in duration. Though to be fair, 3e frowned on these qualities as well, as such a race would require a hefty LA and/or racial HD adjustment balance out those benefits.

The closest you are going to get to a balance, fairy type race is one that's mechanically small, even if, flavorwise, they're described as being pocket size, and have extremely limited flight that's either per encounter, or limited in such a way that they can't automatically ignore melee. For an official example of the latter, the dragonborn have a racial paragon path in the PH2 that grants two forms of flight. One's an at-will, move action flight that requires them to land after each use, and the other is a permanent overland flight speed, which means they can't take any actions other flying or else they crash. The latter form is their 16th level ability, which is quite far into the game to wait for flight, so yeah.

While my race may not fit the flavor you are looking for, you still might want to use some of the mechanics at least, as "small, winged fey" was the basic concept I was trying to capture.

And, again, I ask that you define what exactly you are looking for in a fey race, because there are many kinds of fey you could possibly be talking about.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
As the other posters have noted there are two problems you have to deal with in order to come up with a balanced, playable race.

First of course is the flying problem. If a race can simply fly with no restrictions then by the standard interpretation of the flying rules, they will certainly have some huge advantages, like being able to simply move to any part of the battlefield and avoid melee and OAs at will. The question then becomes is there a way to balance this, or a way to cut back on it and still maintain the flavor of the race?

Second is certainly the size problem. There could be two answers here. Either the race has to be on the larger side of the spectrum and be considered small in 4e terms, or they simply are tiny, which is going to be a pretty serious impediment to adventuring with normal PCs.

I'm tempted to wonder if a balance could be struck between tininess and at-will flying. However it really doesn't seem like that would be possible. Tiny size isn't strictly a disadvantage. Players would certainly exploit it in any number of fairly obvious ways. At best a DM would be constantly pressed to say "no, you cannot sneak into the Evil Overlord's castle through the skylight." Not an ideal scenario for a DM. The sheer battlefield mobility alone will tend to make the character overly able to deal with many encounters.

The two factors countervail to a certain degree. It is just that there are classes such a race could pick that would so emphasize the advantages of flight and be so little effected by the disadvantages of being tiny that the net effect would be an overly powerful character. For example a warlock would pretty much not care a bit if he couldn't engage in melee effectively. Tinkerbell would just hover 20 feet above the battle, casting spells.

The only other way I can see to design the race is to design out its unique features. Make it size small, and limit the fly ability to an encounter power that works for one move action. That would put it on a par with Fey Step. Now you have a workable race, but it isn't going to be very fairy-like. You could still imagine your character fluttering around, but it would effectively be walking most of the time.

Maybe something like this would work for a basically one-off character. The PC is a fairy which somehow ended up stuck in the normal world. Cut off from the powerful magics of the Fey Wild it assumes roughly the size of a gnome and loses most of its native flying ability. Treat it pretty much like an Eladrin except with small size and the encounter fly 5 squares ability replacing fey step. It would probably have other slightly different racial traits, the DM would have to rule on that.

It might be fun that way. The character can be constantly lamenting the dullness of the world and her companions, and pining for the wonders of home.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I reskin gnomes to be faeries (yes the flightlless ones), their abilities and origin work well.

It seems to me that flying is the major headache to fit in. Even if limited in the way some monsters are to never going more than 5' off ground, it still gives a way of skipping over difficult terrain and making moot pits etc. Terrain is a big part of 4e and so a class that nerfs lots of terrain features is a big balance issue.

Rob
One danger is that all it takes is one enemy to say "I don't believe in fairies" and your character will go to 0 hp and you'll start to die (your allies can give you a +2 to your death save if they clap).
I think it's a great idea. This is how I would rule on it:

  • Tiny size
  • -4 penalty to strength
  • Severe limits on weapon sizes, strongly encourage magic-only
  • Fragile-winged flight: 6-square speed at-will flight, but immediately fall straight down if you take any damage, taking normal falling damage, and can't fly again until you are healed to full hit points.
  • 2-square walking speed.
  • Like swarms, half damage resistance to melee and ranged attacks, vulnerability 5 from close or area effects.
  • Equipment has to be approved/adjusted on an individual basis.


From experience, the kind of mobility that allows one party member to go places the rest can't follow is often as much of a liability as a benefit. It needn't be unbalancing if you keep it in mind while designing your encounters.
  • Tiny size
  • -4 penalty to strength
  • Severe limits on weapon sizes, strongly encourage magic-only
  • Fragile-winged flight: 6-square speed at-will flight, but immediately fall straight down if you take any damage, taking normal falling damage, and can't fly again until you are healed to full hit points.
  • 2-square walking speed.
  • Like swarms, half damage resistance to melee and ranged attacks, vulnerability 5 from close or area effects.
  • Equipment has to be approved/adjusted on an individual basis.

From a 4e racial design perspective, I'm not liking this at all. First there's the obvious issue of melee absolutely sucking with such a race due to the penalty to strength (besides the fact 4e doesn't do stat penalties), the tiny size offering 0 reach, and "severe limits on weapon sizes".

But going back to equipment, how exactly would weapons and equipment be adjusted? What items, besides weapons, could possibly not be appropriate to tiny sized creature? Magic armor of any type can be resized to fit the wearer, so there's no problem there. And I can't see any of the body-slot occupying items not being able to made made size appropriate. The exception possibly being made for shields because they require size and bracing to reduce impacts. But shields, or at least magic items, could easily be reflavored as force field-type effect, so even that's not really an issue. Otherwise, I can only see potions and maybe some wondrous items being difficult for a tiny race to deal with.

Half-damage against melee and range is huge. No race should get something that good, even at the expensive of +5 damage against certain types of attacks. Just no.

And flight is still a problem, if not more so. Either the tiny fairy is going to trivialized a standard encounter by staying out of reach and pelting the opposition with Eldritch Blasts and the like, or they get swatted by a stray rock for trivial damage, possibly take additional falling damage, be effectively stranded in a sea of melee with their constant slow effect and likely be a prime target to OAs (since they're likely only have effective range or area attacks unless they had the forethought to play a caster with a close blast or burst) until such time when/if they get healed back up to full HP. Way too polar for my tastes at least.

From experience, the kind of mobility that allows one party member to go places the rest can't follow is often as much of a liability as a benefit. It needn't be unbalancing if you keep it in mind while designing your encounters.

This, however, I can agree with. As long as encounters are built with three dimensions in mind, flight need not be much of an issue. Then again, if we address the issue of tiny, flying fairy race from an individual game perspective, we could also forgo harsh racial penalties that would otherwise be a necessary evil to make such a race balanced for the general gaming populace.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
  • Tiny size
  • -4 penalty to strength
  • Severe limits on weapon sizes, strongly encourage magic-only
  • Fragile-winged flight: 6-square speed at-will flight, but immediately fall straight down if you take any damage, taking normal falling damage, and can't fly again until you are healed to full hit points.
  • 2-square walking speed.
  • Like swarms, half damage resistance to melee and ranged attacks, vulnerability 5 from close or area effects.
  • Equipment has to be approved/adjusted on an individual basis.

Looking at that list it's obvious you don't understand 4e race design. No race gets penalties to ability scores, for one, and every race should be able to play every class* - your fairy can't be any kind of weapon user at all. And you've got at-will flight, which, regardless of Vaal's blindspot, completely obliterates most heroic challenges.

And you fall into the Oberoni fallacy - "It's not broken if I design my entire campaign to compensate for it!"

*although not equally competently. A halfling can be a fair defender, if you want, though there are plenty races that are better at it.
I was hoping for the standard colourful, winged fae/fey. ^_^

Technically, the Eladrin and Gnomes are the standard fey, representing archetypes that go back several hundred years, if not a thousand or more. The colorful winged pixie/sprite is more a Victorian idea, only really becoming common in the 1800s.

But yeah, pixie/sprite races are going to be almost impossible to do under 4e rules.
But yeah, pixie/sprite races are going to be almost impossible to do in a balanced fashion under 4e rules.

Fixed that for you.

Fireclave has offered the best constructive advice so far. If you'd like to design your own Sprite race, I agree with making it small (not tiny) and limiting its flight in some fashion. From a balance perspective, full-on flight should be limited to about once/encounter at Heroic, and can be at-will as long as it doesn't invalidate melee at Paragon or higher.

We can probably design something for you along those lines if you'd like, assuming Fireclave's existing design doesn't work.

If you're looking for something you can play in an official game (such as LFR), your options are limited. Probably the best you can do is refluff a gnome or halfling (flying, but near the ground!) and get abilities/items that enhance your jumping (which can be fluffed as flight) at low levels, moving to those abilities/items that grant limited flight at higher levels.

t~
Looking at that list it's obvious you don't understand 4e race design.

I wasn't trying to design a "4e race." I was designing one character for one particular player imagining them in my specific campaign. I don't know the OP, but most people don't ask to play tiny fairies because they want to make a broken combat character, but that seems to be all you guys are obsessed with. Maybe I would need to tweak some details after seeing how it plays for a few sessions, but I would find a way to make it work without some lame refluff like a 3 foot tall gnome-like fairy who can only hover a couple inches over solid ground.
I believe the best way to handle flight is to make it akin to the flight of Tenser's Floating Disk; where the faerie would be able to fly, but only about 4-5 feet above a solid surface.

If a faerie can hover about chest high to a human standing on the same surface, then the flight is closer to balanced. and it wouldn't need to land to become a valid combat target. The faerie would still succumb to pitfalls, and be able to fall off cliffs. The only real problem with this system is that it takes difficult and challenging terrain out of the equation.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I wasn't trying to design a "4e race." I was designing one character for one particular player imagining them in my specific campaign. I don't know the OP, but most people don't ask to play tiny fairies because they want to make a broken combat character, but that seems to be all you guys are obsessed with.

Obsessed with broken combat? Not at all. However, if you present some possible mechanics to use without any kind of modifiers clarifying their intent (especially if part of that intent is to bend, break, or ignore standard conventions), people are going to take you at face value and PEACH those mechanics in reference to default raw and conventions.

Further, it can also be assumed that most people who come to the boards looking for material of any kind are also looking for material that's relatively balanced against the core game as well (barring explicitly stated conditions, of course).

Would your suggestions work in an individual game? Of course. Customizing the game to fit the group is what's so great Rule 0. Anything can be made to work on at the individual game level if the gaming group puts the effort into making it work. In fact, most people already assume that, Rule 0 being Rule 0 and all. But there is no doubt that your solution is a heavily tailored one that would not be considered good PC material for most games.

The only real problem with this system is that it takes difficult and challenging terrain out of the equation.

I call that a racial trait :D
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
I call that a racial trait :D

I agree. That would work quite well.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I agree. That would work quite well.

And it's not exactly without precedent either. Look at the Elves. Course, they need a feat or two to carry it out fully, but still, it's a direction to look at.
Why not give them at-will flight but say it can't be used to go above 5 feet off the ground and your still affected by difficult terrain? In other words it's fluff only. Later on maybe a feat in paragon or a paragon path will grant you full on flight.
Why not give them at-will flight but say it can't be used to go above 5 feet off the ground and your still affected by difficult terrain? In other words it's fluff only. Later on maybe a feat in paragon or a paragon path will grant you full on flight.

No offense, but if it's only fluff, is there any reason to force them to lose a racial power over it?

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I have no problem playing with major disadvantages. I always thought that was one of the best things about this game personally - sometimes having a LACK of survivability but making the best of it.
I personally would imagine them tiny (despite rules) or small, with extremely slow ground speed and fast flight speed, with limitations to height. Personally, when it comes to "Victorian" faeries, I imagine them having a million weaknesses and being tricksters. There is so much more to DnD than combat!
Anyway, I truly think they could be a viable race... I don't think they need any true weaknesses in combat, but flight should mostly be fluff - danger is everywhere, unknown and equal for all players. It is, after all, a world in which magic exists.
From a mass-produced game design perspective, the posts here are 100% correct in saying that tiny size and access to flight are unbalancing and can't be reconciled with 4E design philosophy. That's fine, you don't have to pay attention to that philosophy in designing home brew and house rules.

It looks like you are on the right track in designing a fairy race. One thing I would do as a player is, instead of assigning ability penalties for small size, just purposely give them low scores as a player. Again, since you aren't making the race for mass production it shouldn't matter that fairies as-written could have 18 Str if no fairy in the campaign ever does.

In fact, let me try my hand at a victorian era fairy race; I'm doing this purely as an exercise, take what you like and leave the rest. I am willingly breaking a lot of 4E design philosophy for this race, in the interest of responding to the OP's request.

[u]Faerie-Folk[/u]
Average Height: 2'2"-2'8"
Average Weight: 18-24 lbs.

Ability Scores: +2 Wis, +2 Dex
Size: Tiny
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Detect Magic

Skill Bonus: +2 Nature, +2 Stealth, +2 Trickery
Vision (detect magic): Any magical object within line of sight radiates a faint, distinct, colorful aura to Faerie-Folk.
Tricksy: When using the full defense action, Faerie-Folk gain +3 to all defenses and +2 to saves instead of the usual effects of a full defense action. These bonuses also apply when the faerie uses the second wind ability.
Flighty: Faerie-Folk have wings and can dart rapidly through the air for short times over short distances. Faerie-Folk ignore the effects of difficult terrain for the purposes of shifting and may shift 2 squares instead of 1 as a move action.
Hover: Faerie-Folk cannot sustain rapid movement, but they can hover in place comfortably for appreciable durations. Faerie-Folk are immune to fall damage and can hover up to 4 ft. off the ground indefinitely (when they move, they essentially land and take flight rapidly many times, giving them a fast ground speed and a darting method of locomotion but not the ability to cross pits, chasms etc.).

Playing a tiny character:
-You may not assign a score higher than 12 for Str, or Higher than 14 for Con during character creation. This is for flavor reasons, and allows you to reassign those ability points to other attributes instead.
-You may only use melee weapons with the off-hand property, and you may not use the Longbow, Crossbow, or those weapons' superior equivalents. You do not benefit from the off-hand property of the weapons you use unless they are resized to 1 damage dice lower than normal (a 1d4 shortsword, for example).
-Your small size and extremely low weight allow you to infiltrate and hide in places that other characters never could.
I think you should let them use one handed weapons that do not have the offhand or versatile properties as two handed weapons but thats just me.
That's probably fine, as you can tell I didn't spend a long time considering game balance or anything, I just made up something and put it out there for the OP's consideration. I hope it helps!
You could always try to adapt the Pixie-Fairies from HackMaster since HM itself is adapted from D&D 1&2e...

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I've been working up a comprehensive "Guide to Tiny" for 4th ed with this very topic in mind. SteelMirror has made a number of good points:
Playing a tiny character:
-You may not assign a score higher than 12 for Str, or Higher than 14 for Con during character creation. This is for flavor reasons, and allows you to reassign those ability points to other attributes instead.

I definitely like the "just assign a lower score" method over outright penalties. The only thing I'd argue with is limiting Con-- some small critters can be plenty tough.
-You may only use melee weapons with the off-hand property, and you may not use the Longbow, Crossbow, or those weapons' superior equivalents. You do not benefit from the off-hand property of the weapons you use unless they are resized to 1 damage dice lower than normal (a 1d4 shortsword, for example).

I've been trying to figure out an elegant way to extend the Small creatures' weapon limitation down to Tiny creatures without having to mess with weapon dice, and I think you've hit on an excellent idea. I'll have to go back and look at what weapons are off-hand.
-Your small size and extremely low weight allow you to infiltrate and hide in places that other characters never could.

This is a big deal, I think-- Small and Tiny creatures no longer get size bonuses to Stealth, but their size should definitely be taken into account when determining concealment and cover.

Something to note is that of the three or four non-swarm Tiny creatures in the 4th ed Monster Manual, all of them have ways of getting around the 0-reach problem. That's definitely something a Tiny PC is going to have take into account.
I would just allow the tiny PC to threaten adjacent squares. Say that the very small fairy is also very fast and darts back and forth within its square, allowing it to threaten every enemy within 5 feet as normal.
You could let the PC just threaten adjacent squares. Or you simply use the rules for tininess. The creature has a melee reach of 0 and can only attack by entering the square of its opponent.

Lets face it, that is NOT going to be much of a disadvantage to a fairy. They are going to be pathetic in melee combat no matter how you slice it and dice it. Weapon restrictions of any modestly sensible type (halflings are already seriously disadvantaged and it has to be at least that much) already precludes any melee oriented class.

Remember though, nobody is going to want to run a fairy fighter or a fairy paladin, etc. I could see a fairy archer or fairy lazer cleric, but those should work fine.

I don't actually think that flight per-se is unbalanced either. At least not with the kinds of limits people are suggesting. The problem is not so much that the character is overpowered as that it is 'differently abled' compared to the rest of the party. In some fashion it will be operating by different rules in core respects of the game. It would probably be very difficult to run this character in for example published modules.

In a setting where it was taken into account or where the whole party had similar abilities then it would be perfectly good. Quite fun and etc. I can certainly imagine someone running a game like that without any problems.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I would just allow the tiny PC to threaten adjacent squares. Say that the very small fairy is also very fast and darts back and forth within its square, allowing it to threaten every enemy within 5 feet as normal.

That's certainly the simplest solution, and the solution that Monte Cook offered for the Tiny spryte race in Arcana Evolved (one of my favorite gaming books ever).
The problem is not so much that the character is overpowered as that it is 'differently abled' compared to the rest of the party. In some fashion it will be operating by different rules in core respects of the game.

All true. I just want to find the least invasive set of rules that will minimize the amount of jury-rigging a fey PC (and its benevolent DM) need to fit in with the rest of the campaign.
One way to limit abuse of flight is to make it an action in of it's self. That is, you must land at the end of your combat turn, or give up your attack to hover (sort of a double move). Think of flight as an assisted (by the wings) jump. You cannot regularly maintain flight in this way, but can use it to move over things.
I liked Steel's way of taking on the flight issue, you can hover around in at slow speed in a small area, and to get around fast, you take lots of small leaps of flight, effectively still being effected by terrain and such, except when shifting. Not so certain about the shift 2 as a move action, but otherwise it seems like a nice flavorful method of doing it. Perhaps a paragon tier feat or something that allows for more short bursts of more capable flight. This also makes sense if we keep to the idea that biological flight is highly energy intensive, move too far too fast would wear them out most of the time.
I am of the mind that if Pixies were to be used, it is important to remember that the race design ought to be simple and not punish the player. In this way, one of the abilities I present here is used to get around the strength issue, while keeping things fairly easy to remember.


Pixie

+2 CHA

Clever Tricks: Rather than relying on pure muscle to fight, Pixies tend to utilize magic or precise attacks to deal damage in combat, or to get around the issues of carrying large items. They control a small pocket of space in which they may keep their valuables, which is equivalent to their physical strength, representing the ability to maintain this space. Should a Pixie be knocked out, their hold on this space would fail and their inventory would exit in their immediate vicinity. Unwilling creatures can't be placed into this space or kept inside it. A pixie that is grabbed and shaken will have one or more items in it's space ejected.


Fairylight: Pixies possess the ability to glow and project light. Their glow may change colors according to the will of the Pixie, and counts as a Sunrod in terms of lighting range. Pixies can decrease the strength of this glow or snuff it out at a will.


Flight of the Fey: You may hover up to 5ft near any surface, including trees, cliff walls, and other features. However, sudden changes in geography are likely to cause you to fall to the nearest vertical surface. To fully pass a wall or obstacle that surpasses the 5ft limitation requires a climb check.


Fairy Dust: Expend your own healing surges to allow another character to use their own. In combat, your Second Wind may be granted to another character, without them sacrificing their own Second Wind, though they still lose a healing surge. If they have no surges left, this ability will not be able to work.
"The word Live is Evil spelt backwards." "Flaws are what make our perfections shine so brightly"
This.
I don't actually think that flight per-se is unbalanced either. At least not with the kinds of limits people are suggesting. The problem is not so much that the character is overpowered as that it is 'differently abled' compared to the rest of the party. In some fashion it will be operating by different rules in core respects of the game. It would probably be very difficult to run this character in for example published modules.

Keeping the faerie out of normal combat doesn't mean it's never going to fight. Scouting that forest path means running into hawks or owls. Slipping into that building to spy means tangling with the bats roosting in the rafters. Squeezing through that crack in the dungeon wall means battling a swarm of rats. For those fights treat it like it's a normal sized character fighting giant animals.

In any case, Having Tinkerbelle in the party would be like having a sentient talking bird as a familliar. Treat it like that if you want it to fit the rules better.
I'd just say "Let an eladrin take Scion of Arkhosia."

Instant flying fey. Mayby let them swap out their encounter and daily... but perhaps not, as the price of doing buisness.
this might not be what the op had in mind, but rather then count it as one tiny creature, why not a swarm of tiny pixies and model some of thier abilities on that level as a swarm. that may help with reach, hp, not having to drastically adjust abilities. in crunch terms its one small or medium creature. visually when a bad guy swings to strike at one of them and hp is lost he might make them pop to fae dust. and they just res-spawn tiny immortals resurectting as they heal.

most art shows tiny creatures teaming up to lift objects. ask bruce campbells character the damage a bunch of determined tiny creatures could do.:P imagine if those little buggers could have flown. lol

perhaps as wizards they can take familier feats fae and have one leave the swarm an act as a familiar for arcane classes.

just a thought.
We already have three Fey races don't we? I am also fairly sure that fairies of the winged variety (pixies or what have you) will be statted out as a PC race at some point.
5, if you include the Wilden.

Eladrin
Elf
Drow
Gnome
Wilden