Aarakocra (Pathfinder Race)

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Aarakocra are majestic creatures that hold supreme command over the skies. These avian humanoids, also known as birdfolk, evoke wonder and awe in those that are lucky enough to encounter them. Aarakocra hail from the Elemental Plane of Air, a groundless dimension with endless skies and strong winds, perfect for their seemingly endless flight. Their sheer existence represents the freedom and independence that all creatures hope to achieve.

Physical Description

An aarakocra looming over the city.

Aarakocra are primarily humanoid in general anatomy. Standing upright, Aarakocra may reach 7 feet tall. They have impossibly lightweight bodies due to their hollow bones and slim muscles, making them almost weightless while flying. However, the skeletal structure of the aarakocra makes them far more prone to broken bones than other humanoid races. All aarakocra have a very large pair of wings jutting from their backs, which give them the gift of natural flight. Aarakocra, much like birds, are absolutely covered in feathers, including tail feathers, which are used for much-needed balance while flying and walking. The color of their plumage is usually subdued with brown, gray, or white being common colors found within this race. A tough-textured skin covers their arms and legs (from the knees down), the only featherless parts of their bodies. They also have long, narrow legs that taper to sharp talons. Finally, aarakocra also have long, sharp beaks, completing their avian appearance.


Most of the aarakocra population is situated in the Elemental Plane of Air. Since this was the place they were created, they find it challenging to traverse across different planes and leave their comfort zone. However, many aarakocra have found the transition from the Elemental Plane of Air to the Material Plane much more comfortable than traveling to other planes. In a few dotted areas of the Material Plane, large aarakocra communities called colonies can be found. In aarakocra colonies living spaces are called nests, gargantuan and roofless living spaces that the entire colony shares. The nest is made of woven branches and leaves, materials used meticulously by only the most skilled of aarakocra craftsmen. Its design and construction makes the nest surprisingly sturdy and durable. Inside nests are multiple rooms with walls that branch out from within, a large meeting area in the nest's center, and a room that houses the Chieftain.

Each aarakocra colony is led by the colony's Chieftain, the eldest and wisest aarakocra in the colony as voted on by the colony's population. Chieftains hold their position until their death, in which case a new Chieftain is elected to take their place. Assisting the Chieftain is a Shaman, the religious leader of the colony. The Shaman must be a talented musician and is considered to be the closest to their goddess Syranita. They lead the colony in asking for her blessings through music. Aarakocra that don't hold a position of power mainly survive through hunting, a very old tradition and a practice done by all aarakocra regardless of gender. Since aarakocra hunting skills have been passed on through generations of aarakocra, most of the aarakocra population are extremely skilled with the bow and arrow.

Their primary targets of an aarakocra while hunting include livestock and large beasts of the forest. When a colony is established, the Chieftain claims a hunting area in a 100-mile radius around the colony. Chieftains treat any game found here as the colony's, even if it is found on a farm. This mindset has led to many conflicts with other races living near a Material Plane aarakocra colony.


Aarakocra are quick to trust races that share the air with them, mainly the other races found in the Elemental Plane of Air. They have immediate suspicions about flightless races and usually prevent them from entering their domain, regardless of their moral standing. Time must pass before an aarakocra can completely trust a member of a flightless race. They have a bitter resentment towards gargoyles and will stop at nothing to drive each and every one out of the Material Plane and back to where they came from.

Alignment and Religion

Most aarakocra are good in regards to good and evil. They generally dislike conflict and tend to do what is morally just. In contrast, aarakocra vary widely in terms of law and chaos. Chieftains must be lawful to uphold order in their colony, while aarakocra that become adventurers or defect from their home are chaotic.

All aarakocra are devout worshipers of their creator, Syranita. Syranita is an air goddess and the first aarakocra. While in a physical form, she takes on the appearance of a female aarakocra with golden-pink feathers that glitter in the sunlight. As a close ally to many other air deities, she is benevolent in nature and wants nothing but the best for the race she created. She is also a patron of music, often taking on her physical form just to hear aarakocra shamans and bards perform. Her feathers are said to have an immense healing property, mending the worst of injuries in seconds.


Reactions to an aarakocra adventurer by those living an average life vary widely from colony to colony. Because of the effort needed to maintain an aarakocra colony, many aarakocra adventurers are exiles, searching for meaning in their new life away from their kin. Others may be sent to achieve a certain task by their Chieftain. Their duty to serving their Chieftain acts as their drive and fuels their determination to venture into the unknown. A rare and select few may receive a divine message from their goddess Syranita. Requests from Syranita are considered irrefutable commands, and so some begin their quest to seek approval and religious enlightenment from their deity. Failure to heed Syranita's call to action is severely frowned upon in aarakocra society.

Something that will be revealed to a party traveling with an aarakocra will be their uncontrollable and irrational claustrophobia. The aarakocra adventurer may not even be aware of their fear because aarakocra living in a colony are never exposed to places where this fear would be triggered. For an aarakocra, entering any enclosed building or any space where aarakocra can't extend their wings to their full wingspan puts them into a complete panic and a state of emotionally-draining anxiety. Shiny objects, gemstones, jewelry, and treasures are coveted by the aarakocra. These might distract an aarakocra and get them into unnecessary trouble if they do not know how to control their impulses.

Aarakocra Racial Traits

  • +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, −2 Constitution: Aarakocra are incredibly swift in the air and inherit strong senses from their avian anatomy. However, their hollow bones make them susceptible to physical attacks.
  • Aarakocra: Aarakocra are humanoids with the aarakocra subtype.
  • Medium: Aarakocra are medium creatures. As such, they do not gain bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Aarakocra have a normal base land speed of 20 feet. They also have a flying speed of 50 feet with good maneuverability.
  • Automatic Languages: Aarakocra begin play speaking Common and Auran. Those with high Intelligence scores can choose to learn languages from the following: Aquan, Ignan, Terran, Yuan-Ti, Elven, Sylvan, and Gith.

Bowtrained: Aarakocra fighters are trained at birth to use ranged weapons, resulting in them being proficient with bow-like ranged weapons (including longbows, shortbows, composite longbows, and composite shortbows).

Aerial Prowess: Aarakocra receive a +2 racial bonus on Fly checks. Fly is always a class skill for an aarakocra.

Keen Sight: Aarakocra receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks that involve sight.

Natural Weapon: Aarakocra possess a talon natural attack that inflicts 1d4 points of damage on a hit. This is a primary attack, or a secondary attack if the aarakocra wields a manufactured weapon.

Claustrophobia: Aarakocra are not used to living in enclosed spaces as many other races do. Because of this, aarakocra go into a panic when kept in an enclosed space for too long. Aarakocra receive a -1 penalty on all attack rolls, saves, and skill checks while underground or in an enclosed space that is 100 square feet (10 ft. x 10 ft.) in area or smaller.

Alternate Racial Traits

The following racial traits may be selected instead of existing aarakocra racial traits. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.

Nimble Attacks (2RP): When it comes to aarakocra battle tactics, many focus entirely on speed, swiftly slashing at targets and retreating to prevent a counter-attack. Aarakocra receive Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat. This racial trait replaces bowtrained.

Breeze-Kissed (4RP): Because of their extended amount of time in the Elemental Plane of Air, aarakocra are constantly surrounded by swirling winds, allowing them to gain a +2 racial bonus to AC against non-magical ranged attacks. They can calm or renew these winds as a swift action. Once per day, the aarakocra can channel this wind into a single gust, making a bull rush or trip combat maneuver attempt against one creature within 30 feet. Doing so exhausts the user’s breeze-kissed ability for 24 hours. This is a supernatural ability. This racial trait replaces aerial prowess and bowtrained.

Favored Class Options

The following options are available to all aarakocra who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the class reward.

Ranger: When a Combat Style is chosen, choose a weapon. The weapon you choose must be a ranged weapon if the archery combat style is chosen and the chosen weapon must be a melee weapon if the two-handed combat style is chosen. Add +1/2 on attack rolls made while using that weapon or a weapon of the same type (maximum bonus of +4). The chosen weapon cannot be changed after the choice is made.

Monk: Add +1/4 point to the monk's ki pool.

Cleric: When the cleric would gain a domain spell from your chosen Domain, the cleric can choose to take a domain spell from the Air Domain instead.

Aarakocra Spells

Aarakocra have access to the following spells:

Aarakocra Feats

Aarakocra have access to the following feats:

Master Flyer

You have flown for so long that flight maneuverability comes to you as second nature.

Prerequisites: Character level 5th, Skill Focus (Fly), aarakocra.

Benefit: Your flying speed increases by 5 feet and your maneuverability improves by one category.

Razor Talons

You have used your talons as weapons for as long as you could remember. Your skill with your talons is unmatched by any blade you could wield.

Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6, Dex 15, natural weapon racial trait, aarakocra.

Benefit: You can add your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier to your talon's damage.

Scavenger's Eye

Your gaze is naturally drawn to valuable glittering objects.

Prerequisite: Aarakocra.

Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus on Appraise checks. You may determine the most valuable item in a hoard as a standard action and gain an additional +2 bonus on the Appraise check to do so. In addition, if you fail an Appraise check by 5 or more, you treat the check as if you had failed by less than 5.

Normal: Determining the most valuable object in a treasure hoard takes 1 full-round action.

Doyen of Archery

The bows that you wield act as an extension of your body. Your skill with the bow has reached an impressive level.

Prerequisites: Precise Shot, character level 9th, bowtrained racial trait, aarakocra.

Benefit: Whenever you make an attack with a bow, add your Dexterity modifier to the damage roll and a +2 racial bonus to the attack roll. Creatures immune to critical hits are immune to this extra damage.

Vital Statistics

Table: Aarakocra Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Simple1 Moderate2 Complex3
20 years +1d4 +1d6 +2d6
  1. This category includes barbarians, oracles, rogues, and sorcerers.
  2. This category includes bards, cavaliers, fighters, gunslingers, paladins, rangers, summoners, and witches.
  3. This category includes alchemists, clerics, druids, inquisitors, magi, monks, and wizards.
Table: Aging Effects
Middle Age1 Old2 Venerable3 Maximum Age
50 years 110 years 140 years 140 + 2d20 years
  1. At middle age, −1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  2. At old age, −2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  3. At venerable age, −3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
Table: Aarakocra Random Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 5' 10" +3d6 100 lb. +4d10 lb.
Female 5' 8" +3d6 80 lb. +4d10 lb.

Race Point Costs

Racial Trait Value Cost
Type Humanoid (aarakocra) 0
Size Medium 0
Base Speed Slow Speed -1
Ability Score Modifiers Standard 0
Flying Speed 50 ft. (good maneuverability) 9
Natural Weapon Talons 1
Weakness Racial Trait Claustrophobia -1
Skill Bonus Fly 2
Skill Bonus Perception 1
Weapon Familiarity Bowtrained 1
Total 12

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