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Aarakocra 5e

Aarakocra 5e

High above the tranquil city of Aqaa, the winged guardians keep watch. Their acute eyes endlessly search for any who would transgress against the city in its serene location in the Elemental Plane of Wind.

Suddenly there is a shift in the breeze, a signal of a breach. It is Earth Elementals, gargoyles. They’ve come to take revenge for their last embarrassing defeat. Sworn to fight against elemental evil, the Aarakocra guardians fly into formation. When the first hideous visage of a gargoyle makes itself apparent, the aerial protectors of Aqaa descend at sickening speeds. 

What are Aarakocra 5e?

The Aarakocra are a race of bird people. They vary in plumage from parrot to eagle. There is no predetermined way an Aarakocra is supposed to look. Their appearance often reflects tribe membership and background. Consistently, the Aarakocra have a humanoid shape with wings that sprout from their backs. Other than that, how they look is up to the player. 

Aarakocra prefer the sky to the ground. They are not native to the Material Plane and choose to stay in their home environment, the Elemental Plane of Air. The Elemental Plane of Air is one of the inner planes or elemental planes. Four inner planes represent each of the four elements that make up the 5e universe. 

Aarakocra can spend days, weeks, and even months in the air without touching the solid ground in their home plane. They find the material world strange and take pity on earth-bound creatures. In the Material Plane, they must be reminded that not all creatures can fly. Aarakora will often ignore vertical height and treat deep canyons as shallow cracks.

History & Society of Aarakocra

The Aarakocra enjoy a prosperous communal society. They celebrate the freedom of the Elemental Plane of Air. Freedom is an integral part of their identity. The Aarakocra have no concept of political boundaries or personal property. Who can own the sky?

The Aarakocra are reluctant to leave their aerial plane. It takes something dire to move Aarakocras to descend. Usually, only a significant mission of revenge or honor will be sufficient. They are the lawful-good protectors of the City of Aqaa, ruled by the Wind Dukes. They will also come to the aid of the Wind Dukes on the Material Plane if required.

The Aarakocras are sworn enemies of elemental evil. They patrol the skies looking for elemental incursions. They will aid creatures of the Material plan in fights against evil elemental cults. 

Aarakocras will protect all realms from elemental evil. Aarakocras are known to fight epic battles with their sworn Earth Elemental enemies, gargoyles. The gargoyles are savage predators that terrorize in service of the prince of the Earth, Ogremoch. These battles occasionally spill over into the Material Plane.

Rod of Law

Aarakoras may also enter the Material Plane in search of the seven shards of the Rod of Law, also known as the Rod of Seven Shards. In the distance past, the Wind Dukes of Aqaa crafted the Rod as a weapon to fight against Miska the Wolf Spider. Miska was created by the Queen of Chaos as her champion. The Wind Dukes destroyed the Wolf Spider. Despite their triumph, Miska’s blood was fueled by chaos and shattered the Rod into seven pieces.

Aarakoras seek exceptional honor and look for signs of missing pieces. Aarakocra, who are successful in retrieving parts in hopes of restoration. Once restored, this weapon would be a powerful defense against elemental evil. 

Aarakocra 5e Racial Stats

The Elemental Evil Player’s Companion (Princes of the Apocalypse), Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, and the Monster Manual describe Aarakocra. Both guides describe similar racial traits for the Aarakocra.

Ability Score Increase: Aarakocra players can increase one score by 2 and increase a different score by 1, or increase three different scores by 1. (OR +2 DEX, +1 WIS)

Size: The Aarakocra are medium humanoids that are good in alignment. They mature quickly but have short life spans. Most Aarakocra live to about 30 and a fully mature at age 3.

Speed: Aarakocra have a flight speed of 50ft and a walking speed of 25ft. They are typically small and slim, with light bodies perfect for flight. Because of their birdlike slenderness, they cannot wear medium or heavy armor. 

The Aarakocra are similar to birds in more than just physiology. They also have the same mannerisms as typical birds. They are often cleaning and pruning their feathers.

Wind Caller: Starting at 3rd level, you can cast the Gust of Wind spell with this trait, without requiring a material component. Once you cast the spell with this trait, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest. You can also cast the spell using any spell slots you have of 2nd level or higher.

Language: When they speak, Aarakocra includes clicks and chirps representative of birds. These speech patterns sometimes make them difficult to understand. Aarakocra can speak, read, and write Aarakocra, Common, and Auran languages.

Names: They have short names, 2-3 syllables. They often include typical bird sounds like clicks and whistles. Their names can be hard to pronounce without bird physiology. Their names tend to be unisex. Some examples ate Zleek, Aur, Lkki, and Errk. 

Aarakocra 5e Abilities

In battle, Aarakocra have some powerful and unique abilities. 

Dive Attack: If an Aarakocra dives from at least 30ft and makes a melee attack, that attack does an additional 1d6 of damage. The Aarakocra need enough space above the battlefield to perform this maneuver. The Dive Attack ability is awe-inspiring if performed correctly. It is an excellent way for players to move quickly in and out of the battlefield.

Talons: Aarakocra are naturally equipped with a fearsome weapon. Their legs end in sharp talons. As an unarmed strike, these talons can deal 1d4+2 slashing damage. Talon isn’t a super powerful attack, but it’s a nice bonus for being a descendant of raptors. 

Javelin: (Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack) The Aarakocra’s javelin attack is +4 to hit within a 5-foot reach or 30/120 feet of a single target and deals 1d6+5 piercing damage.

Summoning Air Elementals: When Aarakocra get together, they gain a unique ability. When five Aarakocra are flying within 30 ft of each other, they can summon an air elemental. Each member must form a circle in the sky and use a movement and action for three consecutive turns.

After completing this ritual, an air elemental will appear in an unoccupied space within 60ft of the group. The air elemental is friendly to the summoners and obeys their spoken commands. The air elemental will exist for up to an hour or until all its summoners die. Whichever comes first.

A summoner can also dismiss the air elemental as a bonus action. When the air elemental returns to the Elemental Plane of Air, a summoner within 5ft may choose to return with it. 

Summoning an air elemental could be a fascinating plot device. The DM could ally the party with a group of Aarakocra to fight the BBEG. The Aarakocra could summon the elemental as a pre-battle ritual. The ritual could symbolize the support of the Elemental Plane of Air and a battle beacon of hope. 

Who can play as an Aarakocra?

Aarakocra can be both NPCs and PCs. They were initially described as PCs in Elemental Evil Player’s Companion and NPCs in the Monster Manual. They are good-aligned characters that will help your party with a quest for the Wind Dukes as NPCs. PC Aarakocras can take many forms. 

As a PC, Aarakocras usually have a hermit, outlander, or sage background. Aarakocras rarely leave their homes, so a PC Aarakocra would have elements in their backstory explaining why they left their home. 

When creating an Aarakocra character, they gain + 2 to DEX and +1 to WIS. Unless the DM uses Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything system, they can add +2 to one and +1 to an ability score of the player’s choosing. It is important to note that Aarakocra have incredible flying speed at level 1. It is essential to discuss the physics of this skill with the DM. Fast flight can be handy but also dangerous. 

The DM may want to impose some limits to an Aarakocra’s flight ability at the earlier levels. For example, the player may have to make frequent DEX checks to make sure they aren’t running into obstacles while flying. 

PC Aarakocras are usually Rangers or Fighters and work best in open-air environments. The Aarakocras are used to the freedom of the skies and would not fare well in an underground environment.  

Aarakocra are also relatively short-lived creatures. They also are very goal oriented and generally home-bound. This race is great for new players who want a powerful and exciting character but want an easy way to change characters. The Aarakocra are pretty easy to sunset either by them returning home or sacrificing themselves in battle at a reasonable age. The opposite would be Elves who live for hundreds of years and are well spread across the Material Plane.

As NPCs, Aarakocra would make an excellent temporary addition to a campaign. They stand stoically as guardians of elemental righteousness. They would make excellent quest-givers. 

Many Aarakocra NPCs are sworn to the service of the Wind Dukes, often acting as scouts or spies looking for the temples of elemental evil. In a likely scenario, an Aarakocra scout requests the help of a party on the Material Plane to take out a group of earth elementals in their underground temple. 

The Aarakocra scout may have sensed the evil but is not comfortable with being underground, therefore might need the help of earth-bound assistance.  

Best Classes for Aarakocra

Flight is one of the critical features of Aarakocra. Matching them with a class that can best use this skill is best. 


Aarakocra, watch over the earth, monitoring elemental evil. From an early age, they are taught the ways of surveillance and make excellent scouts. Rangers also use the standard racial bonuses Aarakocra receives, WIS, and DEX. The Aarakocra’s ability to fly enhances the use of ranged weapons. These bird people can put a lot of distance between themselves and their enemy. Their bonuses in DEX make this a very effective form of attack. 


Rogues would make good use of the Aarakocra’s flight skills. Rogues are great with ranged weapons. They can use their flight speed to perform a sneak attack, diving down to their target before flying away. 

Since the Aarakocra can be skinned as any bird type, making a raven Aarakocra assassin would be possible. Ravens are highly intelligent and excellent hunters. 

Cloaked in the darkness of the trees, the assassin waits. They have memorized the movements of their target. Any moment now, they will be walking down this dimly lit path on the way to their lover’s home. 

Sensing the closeness of their target, the raven noiselessly leaves its perch and takes to the sky, carefully circling just out of sight. The assassin plunges from the sky, weapon in hand when their target steps into view. The target never saw it coming. The target lies bleeding on the path as the raven takes off silently into the night. 


Aarakocras would also make great ranged Fighters. Equipped with a longbow, they could fly above their target and fire down at them. Aarakocras are also known to fight with javelins. Packing a 1d6+2 punch as a melee or ranged weapon. 

A harpy eagle Fighter would make an impressive addition to a battle. These strong predators are known to eat small to medium tree-dwelling mammals. In this particular bird species, the females are, on average larger than the males. A player could create a massive female harpy Battle Master fighter.

The harpy eagle Battle Master can utilize the Sweeping Attack maneuver to deliver a crippling blow. This maneuver can be coupled with the Aarakocra’s natural dive attack ability. The harpy eagle dives from the sky sweeping its javelin with the entirety of their massive wing span, crippling their first target and injuring another. 


Monks are also an excellent choice for an Aarakocra character. Monks never wear armor, so they do not have to worry about limiting their flight ability. They also have a speed boost that would allow them to quickly move across the battlefield. They can make the best use of the unarmed talon attack. 

However, they will only be able to use the unarmed strike described on the Monk’s class table or the slashing damage of the talon attack, not both. Monks are not particularly suited to use ranged weapons or dive attacks because they require a melee weapon. Monk is still a good choice for an Aarakocra character. Monk’s backstories and use of the DEX and WIS abilities are great for this racial type. 

There aren’t any classes that would be particularly bad for an Aarakocra character. It would make less sense to play a melee class like a Barbarian as an Aarakocra, however. The Barbarian’s fighting style would ignore many of the bird benefits. 

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05/23/2023 08:49 am GMT

Aarakocra 5e FAQs

Is an Aarakocra a playable character?

Yes, the Aarakocra can be a playable character. The Elemental Evil Player’s Companion describes the Aarakocra racial build.

What is Aarakocra in 5e?

An Aarakocra in 5e is a humanoid bird. Aarakocra typically are short, around 5ft, and slight, with bird-like mannerisms, light, slender bodies, and the capacity for flight.

What subraces are Aarakocra?

There are no official subraces for Aarakocra. However, they can reflect the attributes of any avian family member. There are many different ways to adapt different bird varieties.

What’s the difference between a Kenku and an Aarakocra?

Kenku and Aarakocra are both bird-like races. However, all Kenku are flightless. Kenku are earthbound and tend to live on the outskirts of society. Kenku have a sinister reputation. Kenku are also inherently magical, while Aarakocra are mostly “natural.” Aarakocra are creatures of the sky. They live high atop mountains and towers with little or no association with the outside world.

Can Aarakocra fly?

Yes, Aarakocra have a flight speed of 50ft.

Do Aarakocra have darkvision?

No, they do not have darkvision. However, players can base their Aarakocra on any type of bird. If the DM allows, a hawk build may have perception advantages.

Are Aarakocra banned as PCs?

No, Aarakocra are not universally banned as playable characters. However, many DMs are aggravated by the inclusion of flying races. Flying characters take more work to manage. They often have a different dynamic within the campaign that might make things more challenging for the DM.

The DM is not required to acquiesce to everything a player wants. However, player enjoyment is one of the most critical parts of DnD. There are many ways to mitigate and work with a player who wants to play an Aarakocra. Players also need to recognize how much work DMs put into their campaigns. It is a labor of love for both the players and the DM. It’s most important to have fun.

Are Aarakocra right for your character?

The Aarakocra are a fantastic addition to any campaign as an NPC or a PC. There is a lot of lore associated with this race of being. There are a ton of options when it comes to creating a unique character. Arakocras are freedom-loving collectivists. But this does not make them immune from joining a fight.

Their bird-like abilities and variety make creating an Aarakocra a lot of fun. It is essential to consider how you want to play a character long-term. Do Aarakocra bonuses and limitations fit your vision for your character?

DnD is more than stats and abilities. It is also about roleplaying and world immersion. If you want to create a character that loves the sky, rejects the idea of private property, and keeps its head in the clouds, Aarakocra might be right for you.