The aarakocra, also known as birdfolk, are avian humanoids who live in high, mountainous regions. They are strong fliers and capable warriors.

Aarakocra is pronounced "@-ra-KO-kra", where "@" sounds like the "a" in "happy".[1] "Aarakocra" is usually both singular and plural,[2] although the plural "aarakocras" has also been used.[3][4]

Aarakocra have also been called "sky hunters" and "feather heads".[5]

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra are bird-like humanoids with feathers and a beak. Their hands have three fingers and a thumb, and they also have a pair of feathered wings.[2] Aarakocra have lean legs ending in talons. Aarakocra look like large birds from below, until they land.[6]

Until Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, aarakocra did not have separate arms and wings; their hands were about halfway along the length of the wing, with a fourth finger running the remaining length of the wing.[7][5]

Male aarakocra tend to have brighter plumage, often red, yellow, or orange, while female aarakocra are found in duller colors such as brown or gray. Their heads resemble those of eagles or parrots, and they have distinct tribal variations.[6] Aarakocra identify one another by their plumage.[8]

Personality and alignment[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra are most comfortable in the sky, and can spend hours or days gliding on thermals; in their native Elemental Plane of Air, this can extend to months in the endless sky. Once airborne, they are reluctant to land on the ground.[6]

Aarakocra prefer to live an unburdened, mobile existence, like that of the wind itself. They believe in only using what they need, and leaving any leftovers behind for others.[2] Aarakocra have no concept of property; for example, they can be known to casually take food from farms.[6] Aarakocra also have little interest in material wealth, but can take an interest in shiny objects, which they use to decorate their homes.[2][6] For example, aarakocra may serve as scouts in their territory in exchange for jewels or coins.[9]

Aarakocra have no concept of political borders,[2] and generally have little interest in dealing with other races. They look down on ground-based races with pity.[6] However, they are tolerant of elves (except for gray elves, which they are on good terms with, and drow, who live underground), and have a distaste for dwarves (because they live underground, and because elves dislike them). They also dislike half-orcs and members of similar races.[8]

Aarakocra have some bird-like mannerisms: they frequently tend their feathers, and when landing, they prefer to be near water they can use to bathe. Aarakocra are also known to ignore or forget vertical distances.[6]

Aarakocra have a strong fear of confinement, and fear being grounded or trapped beneath the earth.[6] Most will not willingly enter caves, buildings, or other enclosed spaces unless there is no other choice.[5][10] Being within an enclosed area can even erode an aarakocra's combat prowess.[11] Certain aarakocra may claim to have no fear of enclosed spaces, but once they enter them they become abnormally quiet; when faced with combat they may experience a breakdown, sinking into reckless violence, paralyzing terror, or blind panic.[8]

Aarakocra are often neutral good.[2] Leaders and tribal warriors may be lawful, while adventurers and explorers may be chaotic.[6]

Abilities and traits[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra have lean, lightweight bodies, typically 80 to 100 pounds.[6] Their skeletons are hollow and fragile.[9] Their wings anchor in a bony chest plate that provides some slight natural protection.[5]

Aarakocra are dexterous, especially in the air, where they are skilled fliers. However, aarakocra are unable to fly while wearing medium or heavy armor.[6] They are also unable to fly when wielding a shield of any size larger than a small buckler.[8] The aarakocra's walking speed is also slightly slower than that of humans.[6] Aarakocra have keen vision and are exceptionally perceptive.[5][2]

Aarakocra talons may unlock to become as functional as hands.[5] They may wield weapons in their talons while in flight,[11] but only those that are handheld or thrown, not weapons such as slings or bows.[8]

Until Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, aarakocra could not use the hands on their wings while flying, and depended on their talons to grasp weapons during aerial combat.[7][5]

Aarakocra avoid fighting on the ground, and are reluctant to engage in grappling combat, due to their fragile bones.[5][9] In aerial combat, aarakocra favor attacks that involve diving at their foes, striking, and then flying away.[6] These dive attacks impart greater force to their melee strikes.[2] As aarakocra strike at the end of their dive, they emit a frightening shriek.[9]

Most aarakocra favor javelins as their weapons, used both for stabbing and for throwing.[9] Flying aarakocra warriors may wield one javelin in each of their talons during battle.[11] Aarakocra typically hold their last javelin in reserve for stabbing attacks.[9]

Some aarakocra tribes use flight lances.[11] Aarakocra may also use their talons in combat.[2] They can bite with their beaks, but only rarely do so, except when cornered.[9]

Ecology[edit | edit source]

Life cycle[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra mating seasons occur once a year, during which male plumage is especially striking.[7]

Aarakocra lay eggs, which take eight months to hatch. They are incubated by females.[9] In the Elemental Plane of Air, laying eggs or feeding their young are the only two things that motivate aarakocra to land.[6]

Aarakocra are considered mature by three years of age. They typically do not live beyond 30 years.[6]

In The Wings of Eagles, Dragon #124 (Aug 1987) and Races of Faerûn (2003), aarakocra could live to be over 100 years old, having a similar life expectancy to humans.

Diet[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra are omnivorous, and are known to eat fish, livestock, fruits, and grains.[6]

Environment[edit | edit source]

In the Elemental Plane of Air, aarakocra live in the Howling Gyre, a stormy region surrounding the realm of Aaqa.[2]

Aarakocra who have settled in the Material Plane live in remote places, and form insular communities, with few aarakocra living away from them.[6] These aeries are frequently established atop high mountains in warm and temperate regions, near portals to the Plane of Air.[2][5] Aarakocra colonies may also be found in the canopies of ancient forests.[6]

Culture[edit | edit source]

Society[edit | edit source]

Most aarakocra live on the Plane of Air, where they serve the Wind Dukes of Aaqa.[2] Aarakocra on the Material Plane may travel there to confront enemies, or choose to establish nests there after traveling through natural portals, or simply find themselves and their entire nests transported there via planar accidents.[6]

Aarakocra colonies are usually built around a single large, open-roofed nest made of vines; the eldest aarakocra leads, with support from a shaman (cleric),[6][10] who is typically the second-oldest member of the community.[9] Aarakocra leaders tend to be fighters.[5] Tribal groups may have up to 30 individuals.[5]

Aarakocra tribes are divided among gender lines: males hunt, while females craft weapons and tools,[5] such as javelins, from stone and wood.[9] Their settlements have a hunting territory of up to 100 miles on a side,[6] and their prey may include the livestock on nearby farms.[5] A tribe marks its hunting territory with colorful banners and pennants,[9] with each tribe having a unique design.[7]

Aarakocra females engaged in incubating eggs may use both hands and both talons to weave vines and feathers into boundary pennants, sheaths for javelins, and other useful objects.[9]

When encountered away from tribes, aarakocra are usually solitary, or found in flights of three to six individuals.[5]

Religion[edit | edit source]

Many aarakocra worship the deity Syranita.[12] Some instead worship the deities Krocaa or Chikurra.[8][13]

Aarakocra clerics favor deities with domains focused on air, healing, and the sun.[5] Clerics lead simple ceremonies at sunset on the first day of a new month, involving the whistling of melodic hymns.[9]

Worshipers of Chikurra may use trance-inducing charrak seeds, which can grant them visions.[14]

Adventurers[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra adventurers are rare, due to their lack of interest in treasure or glory, or in other races in general. Typically an aarakocra adventurer is motivated by a looming threat to their people, or a desire for revenge. They may also be motivated by a desire to honor their people's ancient ties to the Wind Dukes, such as by searching for the Rod of Seven Parts, or to battle the forces of Ogrémoch and other evil earth elemental creatures.[6] Misfit aarakocra may also become adventurers.[11]

Many aarakocra adventurers are considered insane by "normal" aarakocra. Adventuring clerics may be tolerated, but are still considered outcasts, unable to perform rites for aarakocra communities.[8]

Adventuring aarakocra may restrain their fear of enclosed spaces, at least for short periods, in order to enter settlements. However, they are also content to sleep outdoors, on the roofs of buildings, while their comrades stay indoors.[8]

Language[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra speak their own language, as well as Auran and Common.[6] However, their voices are not well-suited for Common.[15] Some aarakocra only speak Auran,[2] or only Auran and Common.[5] Other aarakocra are known to speak their own language, as well the language of giant eagles.[9]

Aarakocra speech is punctuated with chirps, which they use to add meaning to their words much as humans use facial expressions. However, this can lead to miscommunication when non-aarakocra fail to pick up on these cues.[6]

Equipment and clothing[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra that favor the use of the javelin typically carry six strapped to their chest, each in individual sheaths.[5] Their javelins are heavily fletched.[9]

Aarakocra who have traveled outside their home territory may wear studded leather for protection, but never use shields.[11] However, most dislike armor in general, due to their claustrophobia.[8]

Names[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra names have two to four syllables, punctuated with whistles, trills, and clicks that are difficult for non-aarakocra to pronounce. When dealing with non-aarakocra, they sometimes shorten their names, or use nicknames others give them. Aarakocra names are not distinguished by gender.[6]

Typical aarakocra names include Aera, Aial, Aur, Deekek, Errk, Heehk, Ikki, Kleeck, Oorr, Ouss, Quaf, Quierk, Salleek, Urreek, or Zeed.[6]

Allies and minions[edit | edit source]

Many aarakocra serve the Wind Dukes of Aaqa, patrolling the Howling Gyre against incursions from the Elemental Plane of Earth. These aarakocra also search for threats to the Plane of Air, as well as signs of elemental evil on other planes. They are uncharacteristically willing to stay and guard a region against elemental evil for years if needed. Assuming they do not fight those elemental forces themselves, aarakocra will report the threat to the Wind Dukes.[2]

Aarakocra may perform a ritual to summon friendly air elementals to their aid. Five aarakocra are required for the ritual, which involves an aerial dance. The air elemental remains for up to an hour, but may depart earlier if dismissed, or if it or its summoners die.[2] Aarakocra also get along well with giant eagles.[7]

Bird maidens learn their duties, rituals, and abilities from the aarakocra at the Crown of All Feathers.[16]

Enemies[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra consider creatures from the Elemental Plane of Earth to be a major threat,[2] with Ogrémoch and his gargoyles being their sworn enemies. The aarakocra word for gargoyle loosely translates as "flying rock".[6]

History[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra are native to the Elemental Plane of Air. They have ancient ties to the Wind Dukes of Aaqa.[6]

Notable aarakocra[edit | edit source]

For a full list of aarakocra, see Category:Aarakocra.

Variants[edit | edit source]

Flame aarakocra are native to the Elemental Plane of Fire. Made of fire, they are resistant to fire-based attacks, but vulnerable to colder temperatures and water-based attacks.[17]

In the Forgotten Realms, the cloud giant Countess Sansuri had numerous aarakocra simulacrums at her disposal. She captured a wounded aarakocra named Jakka, and used a unique variation of the simulacrum spell, Sansuri's simulacrum, to create an army of duplicates that served as guards and decorations. Sansuri then slew the original Jakka, and had his body stuffed and mounted above the fireplace in her lounge in Lyn Armaal.[18]

In other worlds[edit | edit source]

Greyhawk[edit | edit source]

In the World of Greyhawk, aarakocra are found in the Corusk Mountains, the Griff Mountains, the Rakers, the Lortmil Mountains,[19] and the Thillonrian Peninsula.[20] At least one small tribe lives in the Yatil Mountains, where they compete with griffons.[21]

Greyspace[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra live in the skies of the air world of Edill.[22]

Dragonlance[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra in Krynn are known to cultivate corn and wheat. They use their talons to cover their weapons and tools with intricate carvings; the carved items are prized by collectors in Palanthas.[23]

One population of aarakocra have a kingdom in a hidden vale near the Stone Dragon of Ergoth. The territory was granted to them long ago by "the Great Dragons". These aarakocra use swords and crossbows, and are enemies of a local group of margoyles. The population of the vale also tend orchards, and raise goats and sheep.[24]

In the Sovereign Press Dragonlance adventure Dragons of Winter (2007), the aarakocra in Ergoth were replaced by a clan of kyrie calling themselves the "Aara-Kocra".[25]

Forgotten Realms[edit | edit source]

The aarakocra of the Forgotten Realms only rarely travel to the Plane of Air.[6] Sages in the Realms believe the aarakocra originated in Maztica.[5] They are believed to be creations of the creator race known as the aearee, who fled to a continent north of Maztica at after the Days of Thunder.[26] The aarakocra traveled across the Trackless Sea in search of nesting grounds, until they arrived at Faerûn in 418 DR, the "Year of the Eagle's Flight."[10]

When hunting, aarakocra in the Realms swoop down on their prey at high speed before snatching it up. Their non-combat as well as combat skills can be at a disadvantage when within enclosed areas.[10]

For the first three months after they hatch, aarakocra hatchlings are not permitted to leave their nest. Aarakocra are considered mature by five years of age, at which time they leave their family's portion of the communal nest and receive a place of their own.[10]

In the Realms, tribal leaders may be male or female. However, nearly every male is expected to hunt; only male children and elderly males are excused from that duty, or those with a strong justification. Away from a tribe, aarakocra tend to behave in an aloof manner.[10]

Young aarakocra with a particular reverence for the sky and their prey may be encouraged to become clerics. Aarakocra in the Realms usually worship Aerdrie Faenya, who sometimes appears to them as a giant, brilliantly white bird; feathers left behind by this bird are prized by the aarakocra. Their worship of Aerdrie Faenya, as well as a shared regard for nature, gives aarakocra common ground with elves.[10] Aarakocra in the North worship Syranita, as well as Aerdrie Faenya, Stronmaus, and Remnis.[27]

Aarakocra may learn other languages besides Common and Auran, including Draconic, Elvish, Orc, or Sylvan. They also know the primary language of their region.[10]

Aarakocra befriend smaller birds, allowing the birds to nest around them. Aarakocra hate goblinoids, orcs, and lizardfolk, as members of those races are known to torment captured aarakocra.[10]

In Faerûn, aarakocra have four major colonies: one in the Storm Horns of Cormyr, a second in the Cloven Mountains of Vilhon Reach, a third in the Mistcliffs in Chult, and a fourth in in the Star Mounts of the High Forest.[6]

The Storm Horns and the Cloven Mountains[edit | edit source]

The Storm Horns colony has a reputation for casually taking things they need, then simply leaving the items somewhere else when finished with them, or adding the items to the colony's communal object pool. Local humans have coined the phrase "lost it to the birdfolk" when anything goes missing, and know they need to lock up items they want to keep. There is also money to be made by traders in retrieving taken items.[4]

The Cloven Mountains colony has ties to the Emerald Enclave, and their members are known to target those that threaten healthy groves with cutting, abuse animals, and pollute the local environment.[4]

Both colonies are connected by a portal, created by a powerful sorcerer as payment for aerial reconnaissance. This has led to mixing between the two colonies; disagreements are handled decisively and quickly by community leaders, while violence between members of the two colonies is punished by nearby aarakocra pressing in on the offender, triggering a sense of claustrophobia.[4]

The Star Mounts[edit | edit source]

The Star Mounts colony was secretive and well-guarded, yet it was nearly destroyed by the green dragon Elaacrimalicros.[6][5] The aarakocra survivors and their descendants swore vengeance on the dragon,[6] forming organizations such as the Nest of Retribution.[28] Only the so-called Last Aerie, located in the southern Star Mounts at the headwaters of the Unicorn Run, remains of those settlements.[6] The aarakocra of the Star Mounts got along well with the avariel, before the avariel were driven from the region.[29]

Other colonies in Faerûn[edit | edit source]

The Sirocco colony in Anauroch is populated by leaner and more savage aarakocra. They largely live on small game, and are not above eating mounts, caravan animals, or livestock, but prefer not to eat intelligent creatures. They leave dead members of their tribe atop the Mesa of the Fallen, but living aarakocra will not set down there. The only exception is the tribal cleric, who performs funeral rites involving chants, drums, and feathers of family members, before carrying the body into the Cave of Beyond, where the dead aarakocra apparently passes into the afterlife of Open Sky.[30]

A colony of aarakocra in the steppes of the Hordelands were kidnapped by a Mulhorandi slave trader and pressed into slavery. These aarakocra are treated well, largely used as living decorations and status symbols, but still yearn for freedom.[31]

A small population of aarakocra, led by a druid, live in the upper branches of Mauberg's Oak in the Great Dale.[32]

Aarakocra also live in the floating Adder Hills of Chessenta, where they war with the avariel.[33] Another civilization of aarakocra once lived in Chessenta, in the Riders to the Sky Mountains, but they were hunted for sport by mercenaries until they went extinct.[34]

Long ago, aarakocra lived in Sanguine Mountain, and traded with both Netheril and Delzoun. This lasted until a Netherese archwizard discovered that their plumes, and a mixture of other body parts, could be used to create a potion of extra-healing; the local aarakocra population was wiped out within five months.[35]

Malatra[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra are also found in Malatra. They translate their race's name as "one who has the freedom of the skies."[36] The population in Malatra has grown to the point that some aarakocra have left the mountains, instead building nests in large trees in the Rayana Savannah.[37][36] Malatran aarakocra breed slowly; as a result, they are strongly invested in the preservation of their race.[37]

Some Malatran aarakocra try to adapt to the jungle, but take-offs are more difficult for them there. Their preferred method for launching into the air is from 20 feet off the ground, or with a running start.[37]

Rarely, Malatran aarakocra speak one of the common Nubari languages. Adventuring aarakocra are motivated by the protection of their hunting grounds, or an interest in knowledge or honor among other tribes; some are also motivated by a desire to prove to non-aarakocra that they are an honorable people, who should not be struck down like animals for sport.[37]

The aarakocra of Malatra were once familiar with the Nubari, but until recent encounters proved otherwise, they thought the Nubari had been wiped out in the scourge of the Yaku Savannah. While the tam'hi were long known to the aarakocra, other races of Malatra such as the korobokuru and shu were unfamiliar.[36]

Realmspace[edit | edit source]

Over 100 different aarakocra nations can be found in the inner islands of the air world of Coliar. The aarakocra settled on the inner islands due to the threat of lightning, which strikes the inner islands less frequently. They compete for territory with the lizardfolk, who live on the outer islands; the aarakocra regard their conflict as a holy war against lizardfolk terrorism.[38]

The aarakocra of Coliar practice democracy. Their leaders are chosen from the five best candidates, who each tout their merits to the people through a horn of voices. The population then votes on the candidate, a process which can take several Coliar days to complete. The winning candidate holds office for seven years. For the last 1,200 years, only female aarakocra have been elected to leadership, as they are seen as more stable than males. Chauvinistic males from other worlds are known to take issue with this female dominance.[38]

Male aarakocra of Coliar are known to fly into irrational rages in response to perceived slights, and are prone to extramarital flirting.[38]

Aarakocra on Coliar operate trading posts for spelljamming ships. They sell gems in exchange for weapons and smokepowder to use against the lizardfolk. These gems supposedly dot the islands like sand, but the aarakocra actually mine them from the inner islands.[38]

The lizardfolk of Coliar trade aarakocra meat and feathers in exchange for the use of spelljamming ships.[38]

Spelljammer[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra in wildspace have spelljamming ships that use feathered hides and cloth to "catch" magical currents from their spelljamming helm. Their ships are faster than many other designs, but they travel with a lurching and bouncing motion which can discomfort unaccustomed passengers. Their ships also shed down and fluff during transit, which can affect those with allergies.[39]

Aarakocra prefer to run from battle in space, so their ship designs tend to focus on defense rather than offense. Aarakocra clerics and wizards have modest spellcasting ability, which limits their ships' speed in combat; however, their aerodynamic ship designs help compensate for that weakness. Types of aarakocra spelljamming ship include the Corbina, and the newer Eagle Ship, which is used for exploration.[40]

Dark Sun[edit | edit source]

The Athasian aarakocra, as it appeared in the Dark Sun Creature Catalog (2010).

The aarakocra of Athas, also known as vulture-folk, live atop high cliffs and mesas in the wastelands.[3] They resemble vultures; males have black plumage with a white collar, while females have black or brown plumage with a smaller white collar. Young aarakocra have a mix of brown and black plumage.[41]

Athasian aarakocra are aggressive scavengers, and also demand tribute from travelers passing through their territory.[3] Typical tributes include livestock or shiny objects; in the latter case, they can tell the difference between valueless glass and valuable gems, but not between common and rare gems. Some tribes will allow those who pay the tribute to pass unhindered.[41] They may even guide travelers to landmarks or safer regions,[3] though this may cost lost travelers all their valuables. Those same tribes will capture scouts or outriders from parties that do not pay, and hold them for ransom until a larger tribute is provided. Other tribes will attack travelers even if their tribute is paid.[41] Aarakocra are also known to target survivors of attacks by raiders or monsters of the desert.[3]

Most desert travelers despise Athasian aarakocra, regarding them as opportunists to be avoided. However, merchant houses are known to bargain with stronger aarakocra tribes for protection.[3]

Athasian aarakocra warriors typically use spears rather than javelins,[3] although javelin use is not unknown.[42] They typically carry only one spear at a time, although very large aarakocra are known to wield two. Athasian aarakocra often drop weighted nets to entangle ground-based targets; it is rarer for them to use nets against flying targets, unless the aarakocra attackers form a large group.[41] These nets are sometimes barbed.[43] Some Athasian aarakocra harass ground-based foes with darts,[41] which may be poisoned.[43] Aarakocra typically retreat when outnumbered, or when facing particularly strong foes.[41]

Athasian aarakocra mate for life, and often have as many as 10 children, with one egg laid per year. The high daytime temperatures of the desert free the females from responsibility for incubating the eggs, so that they may maintain the nest and the tribe's treasures.[41]

Athasian aarakocra are carnivores.[41] Some even eat travelers,[3] and may prefer human and humanoid meat to other food.[41]

Tribes of Athasian aarakocra usually have no more than 20 members, although tribes as large as 50 have been known. A tribe of 10 members will typically have a hunting territory of up to 500 square miles. Tribes tend to follow the morality of their leaders. Good and neutral tribes prefer to live in mountain aeries, while evil tribes are nomadic, and do not respect the territorial boundaries - or lives - of other tribes. Evil tribes are even known to take lairs from other tribes, if they feel they must remain in an area for a longer period.[41] Aarakocra are sometimes said to have chaotic tendencies. They dislike long-term obligations.[42]

The oldest male in the tribe leads hunting parties, while the oldest female runs the aerie. In larger tribes, the next-oldest aarakocra is their shaman. All three are required to summon air elementals, and smaller tribes without shamans are unable to do this. [41]

Athasian aarakocra only rarely visit settled regions such as the city-states; those that do tend to be traders, diplomats, or exiles. A small number of aarakocra are born and raised in diplomatic enclaves in the city-states, or in trading outposts. Aarakocra living in cities only pay lip service to the idea of dragon-king worship.[42]

Athasian aarakocra are spiritual creatures, and worship the sky and sun. Shamans known as windcallers can control winds to afflict their foes. Aarakocra know rituals to summon spirits, in addition to air elementals.[3] Druids are sometimes found among aarakocra in addition to shamans.[42]

The rite to summon air elementals involves an intricate dance, conducted by the shaman while chanting a mantra, and accompanied by a high-pitched whistle from the oldest male and female. Smaller tribes, without the necessary three for the summoning, must band together with other tribes to have the three needed for this rite. The air elemental is typically summoned for the final initiation rites of young aarakocra into adulthood; the elemental and the tribe hunt down a silt drake, with only the adult members assisting in the battle, and only the youths striking the killing blows. Such hunts are the only time a tribe, including its females, will leave its territory, and even evil aarakocra tribes will not interfere with them. Scars from these hunts are considered marks of pride.[41]

The leaders of tribes may have limited psionic powers, but they generally do not initiate psionic combat, except when the aarakocra are in large numbers or when they are faced with obviously psionic foes. In the latter situation, all psionic aarakocra present will try and destroy the psionic threat.[41]

In addition to their own language, Athasian aarakocra speak the language of vultures and other larger birds.[41] Athasian aarakocra also have an easier time speaking the thri-kreen language than humanoids.[42]

Athasian aarakocra are known to work with kenku tribes. They also train flying beasts as pets.[3] Athasian drakes are natural enemies of aarakocra.[41]

Athasian aarakocra eggs and young are sometimes stolen by slavers, to be raised by nobles and merchants as soldiers or scouts.[3] Tribes whose young have been stolen remember this, and sometimes seek revenge on the thief.[41] Aarakocra pressed into slavery or military service are known to become depressed or suicidal.[42]

Winter Nest[edit | edit source]

One group of Athasian aarakocra, the silvaraak of Winter Nest in the White Mountains, are different in several ways from their relatives in the deep desert. They typically stand around seven feet tall, with gray beaks and plumage ranging from white to pale blue. The silvaraak can live into their early 40s. Their weak bones make them vulnerable to bludgeoning damage.[44]

Adventuring aarakocra from Winter Nest are rare.[42] Those that do become adventurers are typically young rebels, seeking a higher purpose in life, and have little patience for those that abuse nature. Winter Nest aarakocra are known as excellent fighters and good rangers. Some Winter Nest aarakocra have learned preserving magic from Oronis of Kurn, but they are unable to learn defiling magic.[44]

Planescape[edit | edit source]

The cliffside aarakocra settlement of Precipice in Eronia, the second layer of Elysium, is shared with giant eagles and a small number of avariel. The aarakocra there fish in the nearby river Oceanus, and also retrieve reeds for use in nests and weaving. Syranita herself also visits Precipice, as does her friend Remnis. Precipice is sometimes targeted by gargoyles and margoyles, who drop youngsters of all three races to their deaths.[45]

Wildemount[edit | edit source]

The aarakocra of Wildemount are so rarely encountered that many consider them mythical. Some legends suggest that the aarakocra of Wildemount were created by the deity Melora, as herders of storms across the sky. The aarakocra have a sport called h'aara-shie ("sky-chasing") that parallels this legend.[46]

Aarakocra are mainly found in western Wildemount, in the Cyrios Mountains and the canopy of the Quoraska Jungle. They have few settlements in the mountains around Xhorhas, and are practically unknown to the Kryn dark elves there. In the Dwendalian Empire, aarakocra live in a hidden settlement in the Cyrios Mountains known as Vol'antim. Rural folk in the Truscan Vale and Marrow Valley that encounter aarakocra see them as angels of Erathis, which typically embarrasses the aarakocra. Aarakocra who visit the Menagerie Coast are often struck by the beauty of the sea, and are known to travel the Lucidian Ocean with allies, such as Clovis Concord sailors and the pirates of the Revelry.[46]

Publication history[edit | edit source]

AD&D 1st edition[edit | edit source]

The aarakocra as it appeared in the Fiend Folio (1e) (1981).

The aarakocra first appeared in the Fiend Folio (1e) (1981). Lawrence Schick is credited as their creator, and they were originally depicted in art by Jeff Dee.

Aarakocra were presented as a character race in The Wings of Eagles, Dragon #124 (Aug 1987), by J. E. Keeping. The aarakocra deity Krocaa was also presented in an accompanying article by Christopher Jones.

The aarakocra featured prominently in the adventure UK7 Dark Clouds Gather (1985).

The Manual of the Planes (1e) (1987) lists the flame aarakocra among creatures encountered in the Elemental Plane of Fire.

AD&D 2nd edition[edit | edit source]

The aarakocra as it appeared in the Monstrous Manual (1993).

The aarakocra were updated for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989) and reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).

They are presented as a character race in PHBR10 The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993), and are presented again in Player's Option: Skills & Powers (1995).

The aarakocra deity Syranita is detailed in DMGR4 Monster Mythology (1992).

The aarakocra was card #1 in the 1992 Trading Cards Factory Set (1992).

The Athasian aarakocra was introduced in the Monstrous Compendium: Dark Sun Appendix II (1995), and presented as a playable character race in the revised Dark Sun Campaign Setting (2e) (1995).

The Malatran aarakocra was introduced in Polyhedron #121 (Jul 1996).

D&D 3rd edition[edit | edit source]

The aarakocra as it appeared in Monsters of Faerûn (2001).

The aarakocra returned in Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition in Monsters of Faerûn (2001). They were assigned the monstrous humanoid creature type. The aarakocra returned as a character race in Races of Faerûn (2003). In both works, their favored class was fighter.

The Athasian aarakocra appeared as a character race in Dark Sun: Setting & Races, Dragon #319 (May 2004).

D&D 4th edition[edit | edit source]

Athasian aarakocra appear in the Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition Dark Sun Creature Catalog (2010), which detailed the aarakocra diver, aarakocra warrior, and aarakocra windcaller. Aarakocra were assigned the natural origin and the humanoid type.

The aarakocra darter appeared in Dark Sun Threats, Dungeon #187 (Feb 2011).

Ashes of Athas[edit | edit source]

The Ashes of Athas adventure AOA2-1 Plotting the Course allowed players whose character died during the adventure to replace them with an Athasian aarakocra.

D&D 5th edition[edit | edit source]

The aarakocra returned for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition in the Monster Manual (5e) (2014). They returned as a character race in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion (2015).

Aarakocra simulacrums appeared in Storm King's Thunder (2016).

The aarakocra of the Wildemount setting were described in the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount (2020).

D&D miniatures[edit | edit source]

TSR released a two-pack featuring an aarakocra and a phoenix as part of their 1983-1984 Monster Miniatures line.

Creative origins[edit | edit source]

The aarakocra was credited to Lawrence Schick in the original Fiend Folio.[47]

Reception and influence[edit | edit source]

Reception[edit | edit source]

By the time of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition, aarakocra were considered iconic enough to become part of the core monsters of the game.[48] After their debut as a character race in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, some gamers expressed concern with the potential game-breaking effects of their flight ability.[49]

Appearances in other D&D media[edit | edit source]

Aarakocra miniatures were part of the Icons of the Realms: Tyranny of Dragons line produced by WizKids, as well as the second wave for the Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing game. A two-pack with an aarakocra and a harpy was part of WizKids' Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures line.

Influence on unofficial works[edit | edit source]

The Fiend Factory column article Inhuman Gods - Deities for Non-Human Races: Part I, by Phil Masters in White Dwarf #39 (March 1983), presented the aarakocra god K'ooriall, also known as "Skylord".[50]

The Hacklopedia of Beasts Volume I (2001), a monster book for the parodic but licensed AD&D-based HackMaster role-playing game,[51] included the "avianderthal" or "bird-man", which shares many characteristics with the aarakocra as depicted in AD&D 2nd edition.[52]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd, Dragon #93 (Jan 1985), p.30.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Monster Manual (5e) (2014), p.12.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Dark Sun Creature Catalog (2010), p.10-11.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Perilous Gateways: Aarakocran Portals - The Internest Portal. 2002-01-02. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 Monsters of Faerûn (2001), p.11.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19 6.20 6.21 6.22 6.23 6.24 6.25 6.26 6.27 6.28 6.29 6.30 6.31 6.32 Elemental Evil Player's Companion (2015), p.3-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Fiend Folio (1e) (1981), p.8.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 The Wings of Eagles, Dragon #124 (Aug 1987), p.34-37.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 Monstrous Manual (1993), p.5.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 Races of Faerûn (2003), p.130-132.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 PHBR10 The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993), p.16-17.
  12. DMGR4 Monster Mythology (1992), p.86,94.
  13. UK7 Dark Clouds Gather (1985), p.11.
  14. UK7 Dark Clouds Gather (1985), p.2.
  15. Player's Option: Skills & Powers (1995), p.41.
  16. The Ecology of the Bird Maiden, Dragon #218 (Jun 1995), p.94.
  17. Manual of the Planes (1e) (1987), p.39.
  18. Storm King's Thunder (2016), p.188,197.
  19. From the Ashes, Reference Card #12 (1992).
  20. Player's Guide to Greyhawk (1998), p.40.
  21. WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun (1982), p.6-7.
  22. SJR6 Greyspace (2e) (1992), p.36.
  23. The Bestiary (1998), p.199.
  24. DL7 Dragons of Light (1985), p.24.
  25. Dragons of Winter (2007), p.74-75.
  26. Serpent Kingdoms (2004), p.55.
  27. The North, The Wilderness (1996), p.25.
  28. Perilous Gateways: Aarakocran Portals - Elemental Plane of Air Portal. 2002-01-09. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  29. Races of Faerûn (2003), p.33.
  30. Perilous Gateways: Aarakocran Portals - The Portal of the Dead. 2002-01-16. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  31. Perilous Gateways: Aarakocran Portals - The Slaves' Escape Portal. 2002-01-23. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  32. Unapproachable East (2003), p.117.
  33. Backdrop: Chessenta, Dungeon #178 (May 2010), p.72.
  34. FR10 Old Empires (1990), p.52.
  35. Netheril: Empire of Magic, The Winds of Netheril (1996), p.86.
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 The Living Jungle Just Got Livelier, Polyhedron #121 (Jul 1996), p.3-4
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 Polyhedron #121 (Jul 1996), p.11
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 38.4 SJR2 Realmspace (1991), p.12-17.
  39. War Captain's Companion, Book 1 (1992), p.64.
  40. War Captain's Companion, Book 2 (1992), p.16,22.
  41. 41.00 41.01 41.02 41.03 41.04 41.05 41.06 41.07 41.08 41.09 41.10 41.11 41.12 41.13 41.14 41.15 Monstrous Compendium: Dark Sun Appendix II (1995), p.8-9.
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 42.4 42.5 42.6 Dark Sun: Setting & Races, Dragon #319 (May 2004), p.19-20.
  43. 43.0 43.1 Dark Sun Threats, Dungeon #187 (Feb 2011), p.1-2.
  44. 44.0 44.1 Dark Sun Campaign Setting (2e), The Age of Heroes (1995), p.9-10.
  45. Planes of Conflict, Liber Benevolentiae (1995), p.60-61.
  46. 46.0 46.1 Explorer's Guide to Wildemount (2020), p.165-166.
  47. Fiend Folio (1e) (1981), p.120.
  48. MC14 Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (2e). 2016-10-18. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  49. 15 Things Wrong With the Aarakocra Race (RPG Indesign Hobbyist). 2018-07-24. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  50. White Dwarf #39 (Mar 1983), p.10
  51. HackMaster: A History. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  52. HackMaster: Hacklopedia of Beasts Volume I (2001), p.38-39.
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