|“||You are all slaves. You all suffer from the tyranny of the ground. Only in the company of clouds will you find the true meaning of freedom.||”|
|— Kekko Cloud-Brother. Aarakocra Cleric|
Aarakocra are the most commonly encountered bird people of the Tablelands. Some are from Winter Nest in the White Mountains near Kurn, while others are from smaller tribes scattered in the Ringing Mountains and elsewhere. These freedom‐loving creatures rarely leave their homes high in the mountains, but sometimes, either as young wanderers or cautious adventurers, they venture into the inhabited regions of the Tablelands.
These bird-people can spend hours riding the wind currents of the mountains, soaring in the olive-tinged Athasian sky. While traveling, Aarakocra prefer to fly high above to get a good view all around of their location and detect any threats well in advance. When they stop to rest, they tend to perch on high peaks or tall buildings.
Enclosed spaces threaten the Aarakocra, who have a racial fear of being anywhere they cannot stretch their wings. This claustrophobia affects their behavior. Unless it is absolutely necessary, no Aarakocra will enter a cave or enclosed building, or even a narrow canyon. As such, they have a morale penalty when in closed chambers.
Physical Description Edit
Aarakocra stand 6 1/2 to 8 feet tall, with a wingspan of about 20 feet. They have black eyes, gray beaks, and from a distance they resemble lanky disheveled vultures. Arakocran plumage ranges from silver white to brown, even pale blue. Plumage color varies, but males generally have red, orange, and yellow coloration, while females tend towards brown and gray.
Male aarakocra weigh around 100 pounds, while females average 85 pounds. An Aarakocra’s beak comprises much of its head, and it can be used in combat. At the center of their wings, aarakocra have three‐fingered hands with an opposable thumb, and the talons of their feet are just as dexterous. An elongated fourth finger extends the length of the wing and locks in place during flight. The hands cannot grasp while flying, but are nearly as useful as human hands when an Aarakocra is perched and its wings folded back. While walking, they use their wing‐hands to carry weapons or equipment. Their powerful legs end in four sharp talons that can unlock and fold back to reveal another pair of functional hands.
Their faces combine the features of both vultures and raptors.
Aarakocra have a bony plate in their chest (the breastbone), which provides protection from blows. However, most of their bones are hollow and brittle and break more easily than most humanoids. The Aarakocra’s unusual build means they have difficulty finding armor, unless it has been specifically made for Aarakocra. Aarakocra usually live between 30 and 40 years.
Aarakocra zealously defend their homeland. They are distrustful of strangers that venture onto their lands. Many of the southern tribes exact tolls on all caravans passing through their lands, sometimes kidnapping scouts or lone riders until tribute is paid. Tribute can take the form of livestock or shiny objects, which Aaarakocra covet. Some evil tribes may attack caravans without provocation. Aarakocra have great confidence and pride in their ability to fly, but have little empathy for land–bound races.
Aarakocra tend towards neutrality with regard to law or chaos. With respect to good and evil, Aarakocran tribes usually follow the alignment of their leader. A tribe whose leader is neutral good will contain lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good and neutral members, with most members being neutral good. Aarakocra, even good ones, rarely help out strangers.
Aarakocran Lands Edit
Most Aarakocran communities are small nomadic tribes. Some prey on caravans, while others or build isolated aeries high in the mountains. The least xenophobic Aarakocra generally come from Winter Nest, in the White Mountains, a tribe allied with the citystate of Kurn. Of all the human communities, only Kurn builds perches especially made for Aarakocra to rest and do business. In contrast, King Daskinor of Eldaarich has ordered the capture and extermination of all Aarakocra.
Other human communities tolerate Aarakocran characters but do not welcome them. Merchants will do business with Aarakocra as long as they remain on foot. Most landbound creatures are suspicious of strange creatures that fly over their herds or lands unannounced, and Templars, even in Kurn, have standing orders to attack creatures that fly over the city walls without permission.
Aarakocra are as familiar with psionics as other races of the Tablelands. They particularly excel in the Psychoportation discipline. In spite of their low strength and constitutions, they excel as psychic warriors, often using ranged touch powers from above to terrifying effect.
Aarakocran Shamans are usually air Clerics, sometimes Sun Clerics, and occasionally Druids. Most rituals of Aarakocran society involve the summoning of an Air Elemental, or Raak’thunn in Auran (although an Aarakocra would call their language Silvaarak, and not Auran). Summoned Air Elementals are often used in an important ritual, the Hunt. The Aarakocran coming of age ceremony involves hunting the great beasts found in the Silt Sea.
Athasian Aarakocra speak Auran. Aarakocra have no written language of their own, though some of the more sophisticated tribes have borrowed alphabets from their land‐bound neighbors.
Regardless of the language spoken, Aarakocra do not possess lips, and therefore cannot even approximate the ‘m’, ‘b’ or ‘p’ sounds. They have difficulty also with their ‘f’s and ‘v’s, and tend to pronounce these as ‘th’ sounds.
- Male Names: Akthag, Awnunaak, Cawthra, Driikaak,Gazziija, Kraah, Krekkekelar, Nakaaka, Thraka.
- Female Names: Arraako, Kariko, Kekko, Lisako, Troho.
- Tribal Names: Cloud Gliders, Sky Divers, Peak Masters, Far Eyes, Brothers of the Sun.
Adventuring Aarakocra are usually young adults with a taste for the unknown. They are usually curious, strong‐minded individuals that wish to experience the lives of the land‐bound peoples. Good tribes see these young ones as undisciplined individuals, but can tolerate this behavior. Evil tribes may view this sort of adventurous behavior as treacherous, and may even hunt down the rogue member.
Aarakocra Society Edit
The Aarakocra have a tribal society. The civilized tribes of Winter Nest form the largest known community of Aarakocra in the Tyr Region. Though their communities are lead by a Chieftain, the Aarakocra have a great love of personal freedom. So while the Chieftain makes all major decisions for the community, unless she consults with the tribal elders and builds a strong consensus within the tribe first, her decisions may be ignored.
Air and Sun Shamans play an important role in Aarakocra societies. Aarakocra worship the sun because it provides them with the thermals they need to soar. The Air Shamans of Winter Nest lead their community in daily worship of the air spirits.
Aarakocra of Winter Nest have a deep and abiding respect for the gifts of nature and little patience for those who abuse those gifts. They look after the natural resources of the White Mountains and have been known to punish those who despoil or abuse them.
In more primitive societies, female Aarakocra rarely travel far from the safety of the nest, and focus solely on raising the young. In Winter Nest, both sexes participate in all aspects of society, with females more often elected by the elders to be Chieftains.
Aarakocra believe that their ability to fly makes them superior to all other races and thus they have great confidence and pride in themselves. Though they often express sympathy for people unable to fly, this more often comes across as condescending.
Aarakocra are carnivores, but do not eat intelligent prey.
Aarakocra inhabit high mountains. Because of that they have an affinity for high, cold places.
Aarakocra Racial Traits (15 RP) - 5 ed Edit
- Ability Score: Aarakocra have keen reflexes, but their lightweight bones are fragile. They gain +4 Dexterity, -2 Constitution and -2 Strength.
- Type: Monstrous Humanoid
- Size: Aarakocra are Medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Base Speed: Aarakocra have a base speed of 20 feet on land. They also have a fly speed of 50 feet (average).
- Languages: Aarakocra begin play speaking Auran. Those with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Common, Elven, Gith, and Saurian. See Linguistics for more information about these languages.
- Carrion Sense: Aarakocra have a natural ability to sniff out carrion. This functions like the scent ability, but only for corpses and badly wounded creatures (creatures with 25% or fewer hit points).
- Claustrophobic: Aarakocra receive a -1 morale penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks when in an enclosed space. Being underground or in enclosed buildings is extremely distressing for them.
- Darkvision: Aarakocra can see in the dark 60 feet.
- Keen Senses: Aarakocra receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
- Natural Attack: An aarakocra can attack with its talons as a primary attack for 1d4 points of damage.