Aarakocra Guide 5e

Published on June 10, 2020, Last modified on May 30th, 2022

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What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the aarakocra will be right for your 5e character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your aarakocra. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Aarakocra in 5e?

Source: Elemental Evil Player’s Companion

Aarakocra are medium humanoids that resemble, large, bipedal birds. They were the first class introduced in 5e that provides the ability to fly at 1st Level. Note, they are not Adventurer’s League legal.

Aarakocra 5e Traits

Ability Score Increase: DEX +2 and WIS +1. This is one of the most common racial bonuses.

Age: Age doesn’t matter a whole lot in most D&D campaigns. Reaching maturity by 3 and living to 30 could end up poorly if you get hit with a Ghost’s Horrifying Visage

Alignment: Lawful/Chaotic Good

Size: Medium

Speed: 25ft Walking and 50ft Flying. Flight speed at 1st level is amazing.

Talons: Dealing a 1d4 + STR with an armed strike is a nice feature, but not something that will be used a ton.

Languages: Common, Aarakocra, and Auran

Aarakocra 5e Subraces

Updated

In the new Monsters of the Multiverse update, Aarakocra get some movement traits updated as well as some additional buffs.

Flight: Even though the Aarakocra’s flight speed was dropped from 50ft to equal to you walking speed, flight at 1st level is still an insanely powerful ability. The flight speed being equal to your movement speed also allows for shenanigans where you can buff your walking speed through different spells or class traits to increase your flight capabilities.

Talons: Unarmed options have received a buff from the typical 1d4 + STR to 1d6 + STR. While this isn’t going to be a huge change for most builds, it can certainly make the option more attractive for two-weapon or offhand builds.

Wind Caller: Gust of wind just isn’t a great spell. That said, it can be useful in niche circumstances, for example when trying to push enemies off a cliff.

Which 5e Classes Work With Aarakocra?

Artificer: Free concentration-less flight is great for a spellcaster like the Artificer. The ASI spread isn’t great though.

  • Updated: Seeing as the ASI array can be anything you want, this option is much more attractive over the original Aarakocra. 1st level flight is the main reason you'd be going with an Aarakocra but doesn't change the fact that you're giving up your medium armor for evasion + movement options.

Barbarian: Barbarians need to be in melee range to tank for their parties. Flying around and no beneficial racial bonuses means this race does not work for this class.

Bard: Free concentration-less flight is great for a spellcaster like the bard. The ASI spread isn’t great though.

  • Updated: 1st level, concentrationless flight, an extra spell, and a beneficial ASI array make this an extremely attractive option for bards.

Cleric: Good racial bonuses and flight is powerful, especially for DEX-based builds.

  • Updated: 1st level, concentrationless flight, an extra spell, and a beneficial ASI array make this an extremely attractive option for ranged clerics. Melee clerics will likely be wearing heavy armor, which will restrict the Aarakocra's flight.

Druid: Great racial bonuses and gets around the "no flying" caveat to wild shape.

  • Updated: 1st level, concentrationless flight, an extra spell, and a beneficial ASI array make this an extremely attractive option for druids.

Fighter: Most fighters need to be in melee range in order to dish out damage and tank for the party, though the added mobility is nice. A ranged fighter however will absolutely love getting flight at 1st-level.

  • Updated: Tankier builds who wear heavy armor and want to be in melee range won't have any use for the Aarakocra's flight, which is it's best ability by far. Ranged builds who are fine wearing light armor and staying at a distance will love the flight at 1st level and may have some use for the natural weapons and spell the race provides.

Monk: With the exception of Kensei monks, most monks don't have a ton of ranged options which makes the Aarakocra's flight significantly less attractive

Paladin: Paladins will want to be on the ground and tanking. Plus, their ranged options are awful.

Ranger: Perfect racial bonuses and flight make this an ideal race for a ranger.

  • Updated: Tankier builds who wear medium armor and want to be in melee range won't have any use for the Aarakocra's flight, which is it's best ability by far. Ranged builds who are fine wearing light armor and staying at a distance will love the flight at 1st level and may have some use for the natural weapons and spell the race provides.

Rogue: Solid racial bonuses and flight can get you into situations with advantage for sneak attack quite easily.

  • Updated: Both ranged and melee rogues will love the 1st level flight that Aarakocras provide. Because they can use their bonus action to disengage, they'll have no trouble making an attack, disengaging, then flying out of reach. The Aarakocra's Talons allows for a decent offhand option as it does more damage than a dagger, but can't be thrown.

Sorcerer: The only beneficial thing here is flight.

  • Updated: 1st level, concentrationless flight, an extra spell, and a beneficial ASI array make this an extremely attractive option for sorcerers.

Warlock: The only beneficial thing here is flight.

  • Updated: 1st level, concentrationless flight, an extra spell, and a beneficial ASI array make this an extremely attractive option for warlocks.

Wizard: The only beneficial thing here is flight.

  • Updated: 1st level, concentrationless flight, an extra spell, and a beneficial ASI array make this an extremely attractive option for wizards.

Sources Used in This Guide

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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