The aarakocra (also known as "bird-men") are humanoids with features of parrots and eagles, who live in high, mountainous regions. They are strong fliers, and capable warriors. Curiously, they are known to be severely claustrophobic, refusing to enter caves and buildings. Aarakocra are Neutral Good.
Aarakocra have a humanoid body shape, though with many avian qualities, such as feathers, talons, and a beak. Perhaps most prominently, they have wings in place of arms. They have three-fingered hands, about halfway along the length of the wing, and the rest of the wing is made of an elongated fourth finger, something like the wings of a pterodactyl. They use their hands normally when on the ground, but they can't make use of them while flying. Fortunately, the talons on their feet are equally as capable as their hands, and it is with these that they wield javelins when hunting and fighting. The plumage of an aarakocra varies from tribe to tribe, but the males tend to be brightly-colored, and females are duller.
Aarakocra fight according to their training. Keen-eyed, and capable fliers, many hurl javelins from high above the battlefield, just as they would when hunting large prey. They can fight with claws and beaks as well, but these aren't much more effective than a normal human's punches or kicks. For this reason, they usually keep at least one javelin for melee combat, if pressed into it.
Aarakocra have perfected a diving attack that hurls two javelins from their talons at great speed when they are airborne.
Habitat & LocationsEdit
Aarakocra are found in temperate and tropical mountains.
Aarakocra colonies are thought to be native to Maztica, with some recent settlements in Faerun. There are colonies in the Storm Horns of Cormyr, the Cloven Mountains of Vilhoon Reach, and the Mistcliffs in Chult. There is also a colony in the Star Mounts of the High Forest, but this colony has been nearly destroyed by the green dragon Elaacrimalicros.
Aarakocra are fairly divided along gender lines, with males doing the hunting, and females incubating the eggs. While the eggs are incubating, the females weave the grasses males bring them into elaborate forms, and are capable of crafting potent, durable javelins. Aarakocra are known as brilliant weavers, in part for this reason. A tribe marks its territory with colorful flags that it weaves and places high on mountain ledges, to catch the wind, each tribe with its own set of colors.
Aarakocra get along well with great eagles, and air elementals. The latter, they have a summoning pact with, and a group of 5 aarakocra can summon an air elemental with a special ritual, to help them in combat or perform some other favor. Their relationship with most civilized races is distant, given their isolated homes. When they do encounter others, the relationship can be somewhat strained, as their hunter/gatherer lifestyle regards many domestic herd animals as prey.
Aarakocra first appeared in the first Fiend Folio. In second edition, they appeared in the second Monstrous Compendium, and then were reprinted in the Monstrous Manual. They are presented as a playable race for the first time in the Complete Book of Humanoids in 2e, and are presented again in the Player's Option: Skills and Powers book. In 3e, it appeared in the early Monsters of Faerun book, and appeared as a player race in Races of Faerun.
Aarakocra in 4eEdit
Aarakocra appear in 4e re-conceptualized as aggressive, monstrous "vulture-people."