Beak and Feather
From below, aarakocra look much like large birds. Only when they descend to roost on a branch or walk across the ground does their humanoid appearance reveal itself. Standing upright, aarakocra might reach 5 feet tall, and they have long, narrow legs that taper to sharp talons.
Feathers cover their bodies. Their plumage typically denotes membership in a tribe. Males are brightly colored, with feathers of red, orange, or yellow. Females have more subdued colors, usually brown or gray. Their heads complete the avian appearance, being something like a parrot or eagle with distinct tribal variations.
Nowhere are the aarakocra more comfortable than in the sky. They can spend hours in the air, and some go as long as days, locking their wings in place and letting the thermals hold them aloft. In battle, they prove dynamic and acrobatic fliers, moving with remarkable speed and grace, diving to lash opponents with weapons or talons before turning and flying away.
Once airborne, an aarakocra leaves the sky with reluctance. On their native plane, they can fly for days or months, landing only to lay their eggs and feed their young before launching themselves back into the air. Those that make it to a world in the Material Plane find it a strange place. They sometimes forget or ignore vertical distances, and they have nothing but pity for those earthbound people forced to live and toil on the ground.
The resemblance of aarakocra to birds isn’t limited to physical features. Aarakocra display many of the same mannerisms as ordinary birds. They are fastidious about their plumage, frequently tending their feathers, cleaning and scratching away any tiny passengers they might have picked up.
Many aarakocra punctuate their speech with chirps, sounds they use to convey emphasis and to shade meaning, much as a human might through facial expressions and gestures. An aarakocra might become frustrated with people who fail to pick up on the nuances; an aarakocra’s threat might be taken as a jest and vice versa
The idea of ownership baffles most aarakocra. After all, who owns the sky? Even when explained to them, they initially find the notion of ownership mystifying. As a result, aarakocra who have little interaction with other people might be a nuisance as they drop from the sky to snatch livestock or plunder harvests for fruits and grains. Shiny, glittering objects catch their eyes. They find it hard not to pluck the treasure and bring it back to their settlement to beautify it. An aarakocra who spends years among other races can learn to inhibit these impulses.
Confinement terrifies the aarakocra. To be grounded, trapped underground, or imprisoned by the cold, unyielding earth is a torment few aarakocra can withstand. Even when perched on a high branch or at rest in their mountaintop homes, they appear alert, with eyes moving and bodies ready to take flight.
Most aarakocra live on the Elemental Plane of Air. It’s not clear how the aarokocra of Athas arrived to the world, but it is clear that they have become warped versions of their former selves. The current aarokocra of Ahtas are more vulture like than their ancestors and standing them side by side they would be barely recognizable as related.
Once tribes of aarakocra settle in an area, they share a hunting territory that extends across an area up to 100 miles on a side, with each tribe hunting in the lands nearest to their colony, ranging farther should game become scarce.
A typical colony consists of many small nests often high atop cliffs or other high structures. The eldest acts as leader with the support of a shaman.
Aarakocra enjoy peace and solitude. Most of them have little interest in dealing with other peoples and less interest in spending time on the ground. For this reason, it takes an exceptional circumstance for an aarakocra to leave his or her tribe and undertake the adventurer’s life. Neither treasure nor glory is enough to lure them from their tribes; a dire threat to their people, a mission of vengeance, or a catastrophe typically lies at the heart of the aarakocra adventurer’s chosen path.
One aspect of their ancestors that has remained with the Aarokocra is the hatred of elemental earth creatures. Often nests of Aarokocra will go out of their way to drive off earth elementals that have wandered into their territory.
As with much of their speech, aarakocra names include clicks, trills, and whistles to the point that other peoples have a difficult time pronouncing them. Typically, a name has two to four syllables with the sounds acting as connectors. When interacting with other races, aarakocra may use nicknames gained from people they meet or shortened forms of their full names. An aarakocra of either gender may have one of these short names: Aera, Aial, Aur, Deekek, Errk, Heehk, Ikki, Kleeck, Oorr, Ouss, Quaf, Quierk, Salleek, Urreek, or Zeed.
As an aarakocra, you have certain traits in common with your people. Being able to fly at high speed starting at 1st level is exceptionally effective in certain circumstances and exceedingly dangerous in others. As a result, playing an aarakocra requires special consideration by your DM.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Age. Aarakocra reach maturity by age 3. Compared to humans, aarakocra don’t usually live longer than 30 years.
Alignment. 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.
Size. Aarakocra are about 5 feet tall. They have thin, lightweight bodies that weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.