Aarakocra 5e D&D Guide

Soaring through the air, their acute eye scans the ground for attackers that disguise themselves as harmless stones. But the Aarakocra are well aware that they are far from harmless.

They are gargoyles who drag themselves across the earth, closer and closer to the Elemental Plane of Air border, determined to bring everything that flies above them to the ground.

They could fly, but they are wise enough to realize they have little chance against the Birdfolk above, who fly in flocks carrying their weapons.

The Birdfolk may occasionally band together and pick off their elemental adversaries below, sharpened javelins penetrating through stone-like skin and frequently declaring victory.

They are the air’s victors, whether in the Material Plane or the Elemental Plane. Whether adventurers or warriors, the stars of this Aarakocra 5e Guide will guard their homes and conquer the skies.

Overview

Aarakocras can be NPC or player characters, with minimal difference in their background or powers.

NPC

  • AC 12
  • HP 13 (3d8)
  • Speed 20 feet walking, 50 feet flying
  • STR 10 (+0) DEX 14 (+2) CON 10 (+0)
  • INT 11 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 11 (+0)

Player

  • Dex gets two points, whereas Wis gets one.
  • Walking speed of 25 feet, soaring speed of 50 feet
  • Heavy or medium armor cannot be worn to maintain the 50-foot flying speed.
  • It works well when combined with a Rogue or Ranger class.
  • You can transform your Aarakocra into any bird (I recommend a rooster).

Where they Roost?

Aarakocra, also known as Eisfuura, are humanoid Birdfolk with huge wings that grow from their backs or replace their arms.

Aarakocra is frequently found on the highest mountain peaks or among the tallest trees in the Material Plane. Aarakocra, on the other hand, are not native to the Material Plane.

They are from the Elemental Plane of Air, where they can soar across the heavens and spread their wings to their greatest length.

Aarakocra are fearsome warriors in the Elemental Plane of Air that protect their homes against enemies from the Elemental Plane of Earth, notably their sworn nemesis, Gargoyles.

Aarakocra classes

The essential thing to remember when selecting Aarakocra classes is that they cannot fly while wearing medium or heavy armor.

Thus, the ability to fly is a compelling reason to choose classes that do not require armor, such as the Monk 5e, DnD Barbarian, or Wizard 5e, or classes that do require light armor and a high Dexterity score, such as the DnD Ranger and DnD Rogue.

Aarakocra Paladin 5e, Cleric 5e, or Fighter 5e can focus on Dexterity to compensate for wearing lighter armor, but you’ll be under-armored and have limited weapon options.

Below is a more in-depth look at two of our personal favorite Aarakocra class options: Aarakocra Monk and Aarakocra Ranger.

Aarakocra Monk

An Aarakocra Monk, as a mentally disciplined martial arts master, can flex away from enemy punches and reply with open-palm assaults (or, in Aarakocra’s case, open-claw, as they can deliver lethal unarmed strikes with their lethal clawed feet).

Because the Monk class can apply their Wisdom bonus to their armor class when they’re unarmored, this drop-kicking bird ninja will have full use of their wings.

Monks earn a benefit to their movement speed at second level, which also increases an Aarakocra’s flying speed. There are ways to take this a step farther.

The Drunken’s Path When a monk spends Ki on Flurry of Blows, Master Monastic Tradition grants 10ft of movement and the advantages of the Disengage action. Imagine a kimono-clad birdman corkscrewing through a crowd, cracking jaws and breaking bones with a flurry of roundhouse kicks. Beautiful.

If you want to learn more about the Monk class, our DnD Monk 5e class guide goes into the ins and outs of the class, as well as some athletic character builds.

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Aarakocra Ranger

Rangers are wilderness warriors with a dash of magical power who live beyond the reach of civilization. They are unrivaled trackers and hunters, ideal for a swooping, predatory Aarakocra Ranger. More information on the Ranger 5e class can be found in our comprehensive Ranger 5e class guide.

Follow this little build for a winged ranger I call the Aarakocra Orbital Laser to ensure your GM starts lowering the ceiling in all the rooms of the dungeon:

Begin with a longbow and a Dexterity of 16. Replace the Favored Enemy class feature with the optional Favored Foe feature from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything at level one.

You can choose one opponent to take an extra d4 damage the first time you hit it each round a number of times per day equal to your proficiency bonus.

Choose the Archery Fighting Style at level two for +2 on attack rolls with ranged weapons, and the Hunter’s Mark first level spell for a bonus action to mark an enemy for death. When you hit it, you deal d6 damage and can transfer the mark to a new adversary when it falls.

Specialize as a Monster Slayer at level three. Their Slayer’s Prey feature lets you spend a bonus action to mark an enemy and deal d6 damage to it the first time you hit it each turn.

Enjoy turning boss adversaries into pincushions with +7 to hit and d8+2d6+d4+3 damage once all your buffs are piled, delivered from a comfortable height above the battlefield.

That is, until the GM remembers that swarms are immune to prosaic attacks like your bow, and ravens can fly considerably faster than Aarakocra…

The Fearsome Warrior NPC

Character who is not a player Aarakocra and Neutral Good characters are common.

Aarakocra are intended to scout the multiple planes of existence in pursuit of Elemental Evil and its temples in their sworn allegiance to the Wind Dukes of Aaqa.

They will either operate as spies, reporting to the various Dukes, or they will take action to destroy this Elemental Evil and their temples.

Aarakocra prefer to live their lives as free as birds, drifting wherever the wind takes them outside of their devotion to the Wind Dukes of Aaqa.

Aarakocra are listed with a Challenge rating of 1/4 on page 12 of the Monster Manual. Despite their reputation as fearsome fighters in the Elemental Plane of Air, they are not very difficult to defeat.

Unfortunately for those who try to take them on, individuals who aren’t scouts frequently travel in huge groups.

Fighting them will very certainly prove difficult nonetheless. However, before you and your party dash in to combat a flock of Aarakocra, try to be diplomatic and friendly first.

If you must combat them, knowing their stat block will be useful.

  • AC 12 HP 13 (3d8)
  • Speed Walking 20 feet, flying 50 feet
  • DEX 14 (+2) CON 10 (+0) INT 11 (+0) STR 10 (+0) CHA 11 (+0) WIS 12 (+1)
  • Skills: +5 Perception Passive Perception Aarakocra and Auran are two of the fifteen languages. Assume they have spent a significant amount of time on the Material Plane. In that instance, it is likely that they have learned the local language or speak Common.

Their Abilities

Aarakocra 5e

Aarakocra have few diverse attacks, with their Dive Attack being their most distinct racial attribute. The only way they can accomplish this is to fly at least 30 feet over their objective.

However, because Aarakocra are swift in the air and can easily stay out of the range of most melee fighters, they are extremely annoying to combat. They pick you out one by one at the same time.

Dive AttackWhen flying, Aarakocras can use a feature called Dive Attack. They have the ability to dive at least 30 feet straight for a target and hit it with their melee weapon. If you attack, you will deliver an additional 1d6 damage if you hit.
TalonMelee Weapon Attack +4, 5-foot range, single targetSlashing damage of 1d4+2
JavelinMelee or Ranged Weapon Attack +4, 5-foot reach or 30/120-foot range, single targetPiercing damage of 1d6+5

If you’re a Dungeon Master, keep in mind that these stats and abilities can be easily altered to meet your circumstances and needs.

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Dungeon Masters have nearly complete control over their games. Make an Aarakocra that is more difficult to battle if you need to! Assume you wish to provide them with another weapon.

Nothing prevents you from doing so in that situation; just make sure the weapon has a ranged ability before attempting to use it from the air.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Aarakocras possesses at least one more ability, but it cannot be used alone. A small party can summon an Air Elemental without casting a single spell, according to the Monster Manual on page 12.

An Air Elemental can be summoned by five Aarakocras within thirty feet of each other. To perform an aerial dance, each of the five Birdfolk must employ their action and movement on three consecutive turns. They must keep their concentration throughout the dance, or the entire thing will have to be restarted.

The Elemental will appear in an unoccupied place within 60 feet of the group once all five Aarakocra have completed the third circle of the dance.

The Air Elemental will remain friendly with the Birdfolk who summoned them and will heed their stated instruction. It will remain for one hour, or until all of its summoners die, or until one of them dismisses it as a Bonus Action.

After a short rest, an Aarakocra who has performed the summoning ritual cannot execute it again. After dismissing the Air Elemental, any Aarakocra within five feet of it can return to the Elemental Plane of Air.

This ability effectively means that if you’re fighting an army of Aarakocras, you’ll soon be fighting an army of Air Elementals as well. This ability also provides the Birdfolk with a swift escape path if things begin to go wrong.

If necessary, entire groups within five feet of the Air Elemental (up to eight Birdfolk) can flee to the Elemental Plane of Air.

Becoming a Birdfolk

Aarakocras aren’t just opponents or NPCs to oppose or befriend. The Aarakocra race was introduced (ironically) in the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion.

Between the Monster Manual and the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion, the broad history and surroundings of Aarakocras remain unchanged.

However, because of the nature of the Player race, this offered background and history is something that Players can choose to work off of or entirely disregard.

  • You acquire some benefits if you opt to become an Aarakocra.
  • Increase in Ability Score: A two-point boost to your Dexterity and a one-point boost to your Wisdom.
  • As an Aarakocra, you attain maturity at the age of three, albeit you won’t live much more than 30 years.
  • You have a better chance of having a favorable alignment. Warriors and tribal leaders are more likely to be lawful good. Explorers and adventurers, on the other hand, are more likely to be chaotic good.
  • You’re a Medium creature, standing around five feet tall and weighing between 80 and 100 pounds.
  • Your walking pace is 25 feet per minute. Your flight speed is 50 feet per second. However, you cannot use this flight speed when wearing heavy or medium armor.
  • You are skilled with unarmed strikes, causing 1d4 slashing damage on a successful hit.
  • Common, Aarakocra, and Auran are the languages you can speak, read, and write in.

An Aarakocra provides a fantastic starting point for a novice player right away. It provides them a direction in terms of alignment and attitude for their character, and it can give them a short-lived character.

Because of the short lifespan, a new player may be more willing to take risks or pursue fun alternatives rather than the safest and most cautious approach (which is frequently the most boring route).

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Furthermore, if a new player decides they no longer wish to play, it makes sense for an Aarakocra to return home to complete its life or to die courageously in battle without being tragically young.

Because of their long longevity, Aarakocras are easier to kill off than other characters such as Elves.

Refeathering Your Aarakocra

Although the Monster Manual and the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion depict Aarakocra and eagle-like Birdfolk, your Aarakocra does not have to be an eagle.

You can transform it into any type of bird you choose. I have a suggestion for you: the rooster.

The rooster is one of the funniest Aarakocra reskins you can do, especially if you transform it into a Rogue Assassin class.

You know where I’m going with this if you have roosters… Or perhaps I just have a grumpy rooster.

They stroll around, seeming as if nothing is wrong, but as soon as you turn around, they Sneak Attack you, looking for blood.

It’s not only funny, but it’s also a genuinely viable concept. Aarakocras lend themselves to becoming Rogues thanks to the +2 Dexterity gained from the class and the lightweight armor that Rogues frequently wear.

Flying High with Complimentary Classes

Aarakocra players can also enroll in other complementing classes. Aside from the Rogue class, there are also Dexterity-based classes like as Fighters, Monks, and Rangers.

Monks and Rangers, whose primary talents are Dexterity and Wisdom, both contribute to the extra Ability Score points you receive while creating an Aarakocra character.

The main difficulty with a Monk is that it doesn’t play well with an Aarakocra’s ability as a ranged fighter, nor does it play well with their Dive Ability, which demands a Melee Weapon Attack.

If you want the finest complementing class for an Aarakocra, I recommend a Ranger or a Rogue. Both classes can benefit from the ranged ability.

You can make your Dive Attack when equipped with a Melee weapon and their Ranged weapon and still deliver more damage to your adversaries before swooping back into the air.

You are not required to take any of these classes; rather, you may take whatever class you consider will be the most enjoyable. Choosing a class based on your Strengths or Intelligence does not deduct your excess Ability Score Points.

However, before you sign up for a class that will send you diving headfirst into the action, keep in mind that you can’t actually wear any heavy or medium armor because it will slow down your flight speed.

With a walking speed five feet slower than other races, your fly speed is critical, and you don’t want to unintentionally disadvantage yourself while playing.

FAQs

Do Aarakocra Have Dark Vision?

They don’t, they don’t. Aarakocras have standard vision, but if you work with your DM and reskinned your Aarakocra to be a hawk Birdfolk or something similar, you may be able to earn an advantage on Perception tests that rely on sight.

Why do DMs Ban Aarakocra?

Early on in the game, flight is an extremely powerful skill. While Rogues and Monks can move up to 120 feet every round near the end of the game, Aarakocra have a 50-foot movement speed from the start.

Aarakocra can have a 100-foot flight speed by level five when combined with Haste, a spell that can also be obtained early in the game. This effectively eliminates all terrain for our Birdfolk.

Regardless, there are solutions that all of you Dungeon Masters can employ rather than outright prohibiting Aarakocras from your players!

Don’t remove the ability totally, but put your players in circumstances where they must discover workarounds rather than relying solely on their rapid flying speed! Consider having certain bouts take place in caves, where flying isn’t a possibility, or beneath extensive forest cover.

Can Aarakocra Fly Indefinitely?

Can you walk forever? If the answer is no, then it is most likely not. While Aarakocra can fly for months on end on the Elemental Plane of Air, this is not possible in the Material Plane. Even birds in the wild need to find a place to rest, whether it’s in trees, on top of rooftops, or on powerlines.

However, this does not imply that Aarakocra can only fly for limited periods of time. They learn to fly from birth, and the muscles required for flight grow. They can easily carry on for hours at a time due to their lightweight bodies and armor.