In the vast spectrum of D&D 5e the Aarakocra Player Race has captured the imagination of players with its potential for flight and unique culture. With Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves shining a light on this Noble race (long live Jarnathan!), many campaigns will no doubt start to feature these highflyers. But what exactly are the Aarakocra and what makes them so cool in D&D 5e?
The Aarakocra player race is described in the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition book, the “Elemental Evil Player’s Companion”. This supplement was published by Wizards of the Coast as a companion to the “Princes of the Apocalypse” adventure module, focusing on races and spells related to elemental powers.
Please note that while this supplement can be used with any D&D 5e campaign, the Dungeon Master always has the final say on what additional resources are allowed in their game. Therefore, it’s important to discuss with your DM if you wish to play an Aarakocra or use other elements from this supplement.
The Noble D&D 5e Aarakocra: The Aerial Aesthetics
Residing primarily in the Elemental Plane of Air, the Aarakocra bear resemblance to giant birds of prey, their bodies decked with feathers of varied hues and sharp talons at the end of their limbs. Standing typically around 5 feet tall, these avian creatures have wings that unfurl from their backs, often boasting a wingspan of 20 feet.
The Aarakocra live a lifestyle that complements their celestial origins. They nest on high mountain peaks and other lofty regions in the Material Plane, aligning their lives around the principle of flight and the freedom it represents. The Aarakocra society emphasizes a deep-seated respect for air, wind, and sky. It’s no surprise that the average Aarakocra, despite being somewhat aloof to grounded races, exhibits a strong sense of responsibility in protecting their territory from elemental evil.
Here are the base racial traits for the Aarakocra in D&D 5e:
Ability Score Increase:
Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Aarakocra reach maturity by age 3. Compared to humans, aarakocra don’t usually live longer than 30 years.
Most aarakocra are good and rarely choose sides when it comes to law and chaos. Tribal leaders and warriors might be lawful, while explorers and adventurers might tend toward chaotic.
Aarakocra are about 5 feet tall. They have thin, lightweight bodies that weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
You have a flying speed of 50 feet. To use this speed, you can’t be wearing medium or heavy armor.
You are proficient with your unarmed strikes, which deal 1d4 slashing damage on a hit.
You can speak, read, and write Common, Aarakocra, and Auran.
Which 5e Aarakocra is right for YOU?
There are differences between Monsters of the Multiverse Aarakocra and the legacy Aarakocra stats listed throughout this article. Monsters of the Multiverse stats are as follows:
- Increases any ability score by 2 and any other ability score by 1, instead of +2 to Dex and +1 to Wis.
- Typical PC lifespan instead of 30-year lifespan.
- Typical PC height and weight instead of 5′, 80-100 lb.
- Base walking speed is now 30 ft. instead of 25 ft.
- Flying speed is now equal to walking speed instead of 50 ft. Armor restriction is the same.
- Talons now do 1d6 damage instead of 1d4.
- Now knows Common + 1 other language, instead of Common, Aarakocra and Auran.
- Wind Caller trait available at 3rd level (cast Gust of Wind)
Keep in mind that D&D is all about customization, so these stats can be adjusted or modified to fit the specific campaign or character concept. Make sure to discuss any changes with your Dungeon Master!
Above the Horizon: Traits and Abilities
Aarakocra possess numerous unique traits that make them fascinating choices for D&D 5e players. Their racial abilities are as remarkable as their cultural traits, aligning perfectly with their high-flying, explorative lifestyles. We listed a few Racial facts above but let’s explore them in a bit more detail!
Arguably their most defining feature, Aarakocra can fly. Yes, you read that right. With a remarkable flying speed of 50 feet, they have an edge in mobility like no other, being able to navigate aerial combat and evade land-based threats easily. This ability, however, comes with its limitations — Aarakocra cannot fly in medium or heavy armor, keeping their options limited in terms of defense.
When it comes to close-quarters combat, Aarakocra have an ace up their sleeve – or should we say, at the ends of their feet? Their talons are natural weapons, with which they can make unarmed strikes to deal slashing damage.
Aarakocras can fluently converse in Common and Aarakocra. The latter language, interestingly, includes a series of clicks, trills, and whistles, a communication method not commonly found among other races.
Ability Score Increase:
Aarakocra are dexterous and wise. They receive a +2 bonus to Dexterity and a +1 bonus to Wisdom, making them nimble in flight and spiritually connected to the elemental air.
The High Flyers: Classes and Alignments
While the Aarakocra can technically choose any class, their racial traits naturally lean towards classes that benefit from high Dexterity and Wisdom. The ranger and the monk are commonly chosen options, the former being capable survivalists and trackers, while the latter, especially those who follow the Way of the Open Hand, can use their natural weapons effectively in martial arts.
In terms of alignment, Aarakocra tend to lean towards good, driven by their innate desire to protect their homes from elemental evils. They often follow lawful alignments, given the structured hierarchy of their tribal societies.
Role-playing as an Aarakocra can be a soaring adventure. These characters provide a unique perspective, quite literally, as they view the world from above. An Aarakocra character might be fascinated by the grounded races and their strange habit of living “with their feet stuck to the ground”.
Make your Feathered Friend Unique with Feats and Background
Choosing the right feats and backgrounds for your Aarakocra character can enhance their abilities, emphasize their bird-like traits, and bring depth to their backstory. Here are some potentially suitable options:
Mobile: Given their natural aerial mobility, this feat can further enhance an Aarakocra’s ability to dart in and out of combat. The speed increase and the ability to avoid opportunity attacks can be extremely useful, especially for hit-and-run strategies.
Sharpshooter: If you are planning on playing a ranged character like a Ranger or Rogue, the Sharpshooter feat can be a great choice. It allows you to maximize your effectiveness in aerial combat by taking long-range shots without disadvantage and ignoring cover.
Alert: Aarakocras are keenly observant. The Alert feat plays into this, granting a bonus to initiative and preventing you from being surprised while conscious. This represents the Aarakocra’s vigilance and quick reactions.
Observant: This feat emphasizes an Aarakocra’s keen senses and spiritual connection, increasing their Wisdom (or Intelligence), and enhancing their ability to spot hidden creatures or read lips.
Outlander: Given their nature as inhabitants of high mountain peaks or other remote places, the Outlander background fits well with Aarakocra characters. This can reflect their survival skills and their familiarity with mapping, navigation, and foraging.
Hermit: If your Aarakocra character has spent a long time in solitude for spiritual growth, the Hermit background could be appropriate. This suits a character who values peace and quiet, perhaps spending time meditating on the winds that carry them through the skies.
Far Traveler (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide): An Aarakocra in the Material Plane is often far from home. The Far Traveler background reflects their alienation and their eagerness to explore, learn, and understand the strange lands they’ve found themselves in.
Anthropologist or Archaeologist (Tomb of Annihilation): If your Aarakocra has a keen interest in other cultures and civilizations, these backgrounds can be excellent choices, emphasizing their explorative nature and curiosity about the Material Plane’s societies.
As always, your choice of feats and backgrounds should align with your character concept and the narrative of your campaign. Be sure to discuss your choices with your Dungeon Master to ensure they fit well within the story.
Adventure awaits the Dungeons & Dragons 5e Aarakocra
The Aarakocra offer a unique and exciting avenue for role-playing in D&D 5e, blending the thrill of aerial mobility with a rich and nuanced culture that draws its essence from the Elemental Plane of Air. With their bird-like features, superior flight abilities, and profound connection to the elements, they provide players with a refreshing perspective on exploration and combat.
Choosing feats and backgrounds that complement their racial abilities and lore can further enrich the Aarakocra gameplay, allowing for nuanced characters that truly embody the spirit of these avian beings. Whether you’re a ranger darting through the skies, a monk delivering swift justice with your talons, or a druid embodying the natural forces of air, playing an Aarakocra opens up a sky full of possibilities.
Remember, at the heart of every Dungeons & Dragons game is the spirit of adventure, creativity, and, most importantly, fun. Whether you’re soaring high as an Aarakocra or exploring the world from a more grounded perspective, the most important aspect is creating a character you love and a story you’re excited to tell.
So spread your wings, Aarakocra players, the sky’s the limit!
What cool Classes, Feats or Background would YOU give an Aarakocra? What other classes or races would like to see us cover? From The Player’s Handbook to The Dungeon Masters Guide – We have you covered! Tell us all about it in the comments below!
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