Beastfolk, Birdfolk (3.5e Race)

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The Birdfolk are one of the most varied among sentient creatures, though despite their differences of appearance, they are each able to produce fertile offspring with other Birdfolk of any type, and each tend to fall into one of the following three general breeds: Ravenblood, Hawkblood, and Heronblood. The Ravenblood are the subtype to which the kenku belong, tending to take after songbirds and lesser scavengers, with some appearing like ducks and even parrots, being skilled as bards, rogues and other sorts who linger on the edges of the law and society, whether from a carefree attitude or for more sinister purposes. Hawkblood Birdfolk take after the raptors - hawks, falcons and eagles, though a few look like swans - and are fierce fighters, staunch supporters of freedom (or at least their own), and often follow paths of a martial bent. They are the most likely of the three Birdfolk breeds to have functional wings. Heronblood Birdfolk most resemble herons (as the name suggests), cranes, ibises, and peacocks, as well as other graceful, relatively peaceful avians, and prefer lives of quiet contemplation and serene beauty and grace, taking most easily after the paths of the wizard, the priest, or the artist. Of the three Birdfolk subraces, they are the least likely to have functional wings.


No matter their breed, the Birdfolk tend to look down on those without the ability to fly under their own power, including those of their own kind who lack working wings. Hawkblood and Heronblood Birdfolk can be quite aloof and even a bit haughty at times, preferring solitude or the company of others of their own kind, or else to bask in the adoration of lesser, flightless beings. The Hawkblood tend to be violent and prone to fits of temper against those that thwart or defy them. Heronblood Birdfolk, meanwhile, are usually quite serene, calm, and carry themselves with an air of supreme grace. The Ravenblood Birdfolk tend to be gregarious and work very well in groups, their flock mentality still quite strong, and lack the pretentiousness that sometimes plagues the other two breeds. All Birdfolk have a tendency towards philosophy, even the most humble of the wingless Ravenblood, and they often have great verbal talent.

Physical Description[edit]

The Birdfolk as a rule are covered in feathers appropriate to their breed of bird from their beaks to about halfway down their legs, where the feathers give way to scaly, horny skin. Their legs end in feet that match their breed of avian, though flatter and broader than normal to allow for ease of walking, and their have strong beaks with a fleshy base nearest the nares, allowing for some basic facial expressions. Most speech actually takes place inside the throat and is shaped by the tongue on its way out, rather than by the lips and teeth as in most other speaking creatures. Ravenblood average about 5 feet and 75 pounds, while Hawkblood and Heronblood average around 6 feet and 110 pounds, the light weights of the Birdfolk the natural result of their hollow bones.


Birdfolk, in general, get along very well with humans, another species with great variation and a love of art and music, and those who live in urban, human-dominated areas find passable niches as quickly as possible. However, it is very common for Birdfolk, especially Hawkblood Birdfolk, to come in conflict with humans and numerous other races that attempt to despoil the places they call home, especially the mountains and old forests. As a side note on this subject, Birdfolk of all breeds are unable to produce offspring with humans. Elves and dwarves often share homes with Birdfolk, using the lower parts of forests and mountains while the Birdfolk take the highest reaches, with neither side molesting the other. In fact, Birdfolk generally make excellent neighbors to dwarves and elves, because they are quite happy to warn their neighbors and allies of coming threats.


Birdfolk love freedom, regardless of their subrace, and do not see the world with the boundaries that most groundborne species must live with all their lives. Most Ravenblood Birdfolk are Chaotic Good, though many city-dwelling Ravenblood are Chaotic Neutral. Heronblood Birdfolk are more moderate in their views of the world, while still seeking for the greater good, and so are often Neutral Good in alignment, and Hawkblood Birdfolk are stern and aristocratic, while being fierce in their opposition against oppression and injustice, and so tend towards Lawful Good.


Ravenblood Birdfolk seem to thrive best in urban environments, loving the noise and bustle of cities that best suits their noisy natures. They tend not to have lands or cities of their own, but instead live in the cities of other races and make a living using the societal structures already set up, sometimes honestly, and sometimes not, preferring the path of the entertainer to earn their living. Hawkblood Birdfolk are hot-blooded, and too fierce and free-spirited to be confined in closed-in cities for too long, and so they find places that are above all the groundborne races, in the old forests and high mountain peaks, and make their aeries there, sometimes building cities of truly vast sizes, all open and free to the sky, where all Birdfolk may come and dwell if they like. Heronblood Birdfolk find a happy medium, preferring rural regions, near to settlements but not truly a part of them, and eke out a quiet mendicant subsistence through their own efforts, trading their knowledge and wisdom (which can be considerable) with others for the necessities. They do not generally form communities, but may gather into small groups for mutual protection, or small family units.


The Birdfolk worship Re-Horakhty, also known as Horus or Ra, or Thoth, both of the Egyptian pantheon and found in the Wizards of the Coast Deities and Demigods book. Ra is a Lawful Good Greater Deity, and allows the Glory, Good, Law, Nobility, Sun and War Domains, while Thoth is a Neutral Intermediate deity, and allows the Knowledge, Magic and Rune Domains.


Avian is the native language of the Birdfolk, though they all learn Common as well as a matter of survival. They start with Avian and Common, and can choose bonus languages from Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Feline (language of the catfolk, both urban and wilderness), Giant, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Orc, and Sylvan.


Names for Heronblood and Hawkblood Birdfolk tend to be Egyptian in tone, with males having names such as Amon, Mumad, Rahab, Re and Sekh, and females with names such as Atara, Ba, Kunda and Nut. Ravenblood Birdfolk usually either adopt names from the species in which they live (using only first names), or take on a wide variety of nicknames from their friends and relations.


Adventuring comes easily and often to Birdfolk of all subraces. Ravenblood Birdfolk do it to acquire stories to tell and the chance at quick wealth. Hawkblood Birdfolk feel that a period of wandering and danger is essential to prove the mettle of a growing warrior. Heronblood believe that the only way to acquire true understanding of the world is to live in it and experience all that they can.

Universal Racial Traits[edit]

  • Limited Flight: a character may choose Limited Flight as their 1st level starting Feat, which gives the character a set of workable wings, which can either extend from the shoulder blades or be extensions of the arms themselves. This allows the Birdfolk to glide, traveling 20 feet horizontally for every 5 feet of vertical descent. As long as a Birdfolk is conscious and the wings are not hindered in any way (such as by the walls of a very narrow pit or being entangled with a net), the Birdfolk can drop any distance and take only 1d6 damage, maximum. Also, those Birdfolk who choose this option can fly for as many rounds in one burst as they have points of Constitution bonus (minimum 1), at a speed of 20 feet, with Average maneuverability, for up to 10 minutes each day, varying periods of gliding with periods of flight for long distances. If the Limited Flight Feat is not taken at 1st level then the Birdfolk in question can never take it, and will be forever flightless.
Those Birdfolk who take the Limited Flight option at 1st level can take True Flight at 6th level or beyond as another Feat, allowing them to fly at a speed of 20 feet with Average maneuverability, without the limits of Limited Flight.
  • Enhanced Leaping: Regardless of whether a Birdfolk has the Limited Flight Feat or not, they can use their feathered arms or wings and specially-adapted leg muscles to provide a +2 to all Jump checks.
  • Hollow Bones: Because of the weakness inherent in the hollow bones of the Birdfolk, while they are able to function otherwise in a normal fashion, they are unable to wear Heavy armor (though mithral versions of armor types can get around this limitation).
  • Variable Size: Birdfolk can take the Dwarfism and Gigantism Feats (found in the “Feats of the Beastfolk” document) at 1st level without restriction.
  • Automatic Languages: Avian, Common. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Feline, Giant, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Orc, and Sylvan.

Ravenblood Racial Traits[edit]

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength:
  • Monstrous Humanoid
  • Medium-size
  • Ravenblood base land speed is 30 feet
  • Low-light vision
  • Great Ally: +3 (instead of +2) when aiding or being aided by another, +4 to attack rolls (instead of +2) when flanking
  • Mimicry: can replicate sounds at will, using Bluff checks (opposed by Sense Motive) to reproduce exact sounds and voices
  • Natural Weapons: 2 claws (1d3 slashing damage each)
  • +2 Hide, +2 Move Silently
  • Favored Class: Rogue.
  • Level Adjustment: 0

Hawkblood Racial Traits[edit]

  • +3 Strength, +2 Charisma, -1 Intelligence, -1 Wisdom
  • Monstrous Humanoid
  • Medium-size
  • Hawkblood base land speed is 30 feet:
  • +4 Spot, +2 Listen
  • Unerring Direction: A Hawkblood Birdfolk always knows which direction is north, even when they are unable to see the sky
  • Weapon proficiency: Hawkblood Birdfolk are proficient in all bows (though not crossbows) and spears, regardless of their class. Those that can fly are able to use bows of one size larger than normal while in the air, as though they were Large creatures, by using their hands and feet together to draw the bow.
  • Natural Weapons: 2 claws (1d4 slashing damage each)
  • Favored Class: Fighter.
  • Level Adjustment: 0

Heronblood Racial Traits[edit]

  • +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, +3 Wisdom, -2 Strength, -2 Constitution:
  • Monstrous Humanoid
  • Medium-size
  • Heronblood base land speed is 30 feet
  • Low-light vision
  • Fragile: Heronblood Birdfolk are especially unsuited for melee combat due to their especially fragile, slender bodies, and take a point of subdual damage whenever they are struck, in addition to any other damage suffered.
  • Sight of the Heavens (Sp): Heronblood Birdfolk can cast Augury 1/week, as a Cleric of the same level as the character.
  • Favored Class: Cleric.
  • Level Adjustment: 0

The races listed above are the major subraces of the Birdfolk, however, a few additional types need mention.

Archae Racial Traits[edit]

These primitive throwbacks are a hardy breed, leftovers from a time long ago past, almost as much related to lizards as to avians, and most closely related to the ancient archaeopteryx and other proto-birds. These are birds with wings that are only partially developed, their feathers intermixed with scales, their beaks lined with sharp teeth. They are a savage race, Chaotic Evil and feared by those who know them. The archae are thankfully rare, found only in the most remote areas of dark jungles and forgotten valleys .

  • +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma
  • Monstrous Humanoid
  • Medium-size
  • Archae base land speed is 30 feet
  • Low-light Vision
  • Scaly Feathers: Starts automatically with the Limited Flight character option, but can never take the True Flight option. Also has a +2 natural armor bonus to AC.
  • Natural Weapons: Beak (1d6 piercing) and 2 claws (1d4 slashing).
  • Sturdy Construction: Being as much lizard as bird, archae do not have the hollow bones of other Birdfolk, and do not have the restriction agains't heavy armor.
  • Favored Class: Barbarian.
  • Level Adjustment: +1

Bushrunner Racial Traits[edit]

Kiwis, quail, and other small, flightless birds are known as bushrunners, a shy but kindly subrace known for its soft-spoken behavior and Neutral Good outlook on life.

  • Statistically identical to the Ravenblood Birdfolk, except that they cannot take the Limited Flight or True Flight character options, and they usually take the Dwarfism Feat.
  • Favored Class: Rogue.
  • Level Adjustment: 0

Buzzard Racial Traits[edit]

A special variant of the Hawkblood are the buzzard subrace. These are scavengers, carrion birds of great physical power and lofty ability and status, but a lowly calling. They are mighty warriors when they must fight, but they are cursed with a cowardly streak. They worship gods of death, and often find themselves in the role of healers as well as morticians. Among the Birdfolk, their role is clear: to keep the communities in which they live and which they serve healthy, they eat the dead, to prevent any spread of infection. This task is one that takes on monumental spiritual significance for them, but is also one which makes them unsavory characters in any community of Birdfolk, as feared as they are revered as agents of the gods.

  • +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma
  • Monstrous Humanoid
  • Medium-size
  • Buzzard base land speed is 30 feet
  • Low-light vision
  • +4 Spot, +2 Listen
  • Unerring Direction: A buzzard always knows which direction is north, even when they are unable to see the sky
  • Toxin Resistance: Buzzards are highly resistant to disease and poison, and get a +2 to all saves against them.
  • Iron Stomach: The stomach of a buzzard is able to digest almost any meat, no matter how badly decayed it might be, and they get a +2 save versus anything that might cause them to be nauseated.
  • Natural Weapons: 2 claws (1d3 slashing damage each), beak (1d4 piercing).
  • Keen Scent: Buzzards get the Scent ability as an automatic racial Feat.
  • Favored Class: Cleric.
  • Level Adjustment: 0

Hummer Racial Traits[edit]

Hummers are tiny terrors of the skies, the most adept fliers around, and incredibly agile on the ground as well, easily dancing around their opponents and dominating the battlefield with their superb mobility. They appear as humanoid humminbirds, and tend to be Chaotic Good in alignment, cocky and self-assured dogfighters with a devil-may-care attitude. Generally, the slightly more drably-colored females of the species are quite polite and gentle, but the brightly-colored males are almost intolerably self-assured, while both sexes are prone to acts of impulsiveness that can give them as edge in any aerial combat, but which also can get them into all sorts of trouble.

  • +4 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, -2 Intelligence
  • Monstrous Humanoid
  • Small-size: +1 size bonus to AC, +4 size bonus to Hide Checks, -4 size penalty to Grapple checks
  • Hummer base land speed is 20 feet
  • Low-light vision
  • +2 Spot, +2 Listen
  • Aerial Agility: If a hummer has the Limited or True Flight racial abilities, then that hummer has Perfect maneuverability, instead of Average
  • Favored Class: Fighter.
  • Level Adjustment: +1

Penguinblood Racial Traits[edit]

Penguinblood Birdfolk are the cold-adapted versions the Birdfolk, a deeply spiritual people living beyond the realms of all other races, in forgotten lands of icy mystery. They are true survivors, and their lack of flight makes each type of penguinblood Birdfolk attain a special sort of equality not found among other Birdfolk, so that even the mighty Emperor penguinbloods do not look down on even the lowliest fairy penguin, except due to height.

  • +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity
  • Monstrous Humanoid
  • Medium-size
  • Penguinblood base land speed is 20 feet: 30 ft Swim speed
  • Flightless: Cannot take the Limited Flight or True Flight Feats.
  • Iron Lungs: can hold breath for 4 times longer than normal.
  • Cold-adapted: +4 on all Fortitude saves against cold and get a +2 bonus to any Balance checks while traveling over snow and ice
  • Variable Size: Can take the Dwarfism and Gigantism Feats (found in the “Feats of the Beastfolk” document) at 1st level without restriction.
  • Favored Class: Cleric.
  • Level Adjustment: 0

Ratite Racial Traits[edit]

Ratites are large, flightless birds designed for land travel, such as ostriches and emus. Birdfolk who take after these traits are few in number, but powerful fighters and accomplished runners, proud rulers of their domains, and vicious in defending their territory, with a more Chaotic Neutral outlook on life stemming from their vicious and occasionally erratic behavior.

  • +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma
  • Monstrous Humanoid
  • Large-size: -1 size penalty to AC, -4 size penalty to Hide Checks, +4 size bonus to Grapple checks.
  • Ratite base land speed is 40 feet
  • +4 Spot.
  • +1 Natural Armor
  • Flightless: Cannot take the Limited Flight or True Flight Feats.
  • Natural Weapon: Kick (1d6 slashing damage).
  • Favored Class: Barbarian.
  • Level Adjustment: +1

Vital Statistics[edit]

Table: Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Simple Moderate Complex
30 years +1d8 +1d12 +2d12
Table: Aging Effects
Middle Age1 Old2 Venerable3 Maximum Age
64 years 112 years 170 years +1d% 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: Random Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 4' 5" +2d10 85 lb. × (2d4) lb.
Female 4' 0" +2d8 55 lb. × (2d4) lb.

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