Avian – A Bird Race for D&D 5e


Hailing from the highest regions of Arcadia, the Avians are naturally at home in the air.  Alongside airborne races such as the Avariel, these intelligent beasts comb the skies in search of new lands and new adventures.  Despite certain forms being common, there are many types of Avian in this realm.  However, only a certain amount of sub-types are common in other Material planes.  Typically the sturdiest and sneakiest stock slip their way through dimensional gateways.


Birds of a Feather


As the name would imply, Avians look like upright/semi-bipedal bird creatures.  Despite their beastly appearance, they are none the less capable of intelligent thought and insightful wisdom.  Some are very confident speakers as well!  While not using their wings for flight, they’re capable of operating complex objects or utilizing weaponry with the hand-like ends of arms.  In some instances, an Avian is capable of utilizing its talon feet to manipulate objects while in flight.  Some have been able to covet large amounts of (typically shiny) objects with their talons before taking to the skies, as their witnesses are more than likely unable to catch them.  Some are capable of incredible talents much like the birds they descended from; agile feats of combat, the ability to seek out death, inspiring aid through bird song.


Feuding Societies and Free Outsiders


Avians in their home realm are divided based on the variety of bird that inspired them.  Some avians, such as Corvid based ones, tend to lay within realms that touch the Ethereal, the Demiplane of Shadow or lands of the Unseelie.  Some avians, like Songbird based, are likely to dwell close to realms that touch the Astral, the Demiplane of Radiance and the lands of the Seelie.  More neutral, such as the Hawk-based avians, tend to stay within the most wild of Arcadia’s endless worlds.  Politics and extreme bias play quite the roll among natives to Arcadia, especially their sky dwelling residence.  However, neither side is geared towards good or evil, just because there’s a favoritism towards certain parts of Arcadian life.  They tend to be ambivalent towards viewpoints outside of their own.  However, stereotypes tend to breed and spread throughout the various avian societies.  More adventurous avians are quick to dispel these notions and are likely to cross into other planes entirely.  Some caravans and colonies have even started from an avian desire to see the multiverse as a whole.  Many avian who have left Arcadia have also left their allegiances to factions behind as well, aiming to start anew in realms of countless possibility.

Author’s Note:  The Aarakocra have been rather divisive for a long time.  Their appearance in 5th edition has been no less controversial.  I’ll admit, my version isn’t an attempted fix on what’s dubbed broken.  Rather, it’s my own take on the concept from the ground up, using various species for inspiration.



Avian Racial Stats

Ability Score Increase.  Your Dexterity score increases by 2.

Age.  You reach maturity by age 14 and tend to live to around 60.  There have been records to around 80 though.

Speed.  You are not built to walk on the ground, you are meant to soar in the air!  Your land speed is 20 ft. and your flight speed is 30 ft.  Your wings are not properly adept to to supporting medium/heavy weight limits or armor though.  You can only fly without it.  Furthermore, you cannot fly while you have items in your arms.

Natural Weapon Attack.  The avian is capable of either attacking with talons or with beak.  It must be designated before attacking.  Talons do slashing damage, while beak does piercing.  Talons cannot be used while walking on ground or grasping an item.  This unarmed attack deals 1d4 damage.  As you gain levels, these attacks gain strength.  Upon reaching level 6, these attacks deal d6 damage.  At level 12, they deal d8.  At level 18, they deal d10.



Sub-Race: Sky-Hunter – Swift and clever, these avians are adept at stalking and closing in on prey.  Their ancestors are mighty eagles and great hawks.

Ability Score Increase.  Your Wisdom increases by 1.

Size.  Your size is medium.

Observant.  You gain proficiency in Perception checks.

Dive Bomb.  While flying, you can rush an enemy in the air part of your Movement before you attack with talons.  Upon hitting with the attack, the target takes an extra 3 (1d6) damage.  You only get this bonus once per round.



Sub-Race: Carrion-Caller – More intelligent than most avian, these birds are masters of strange arts and taboo knowledge.  Perhaps it was from their ancestors feasting upon carrion, having associations with death or their incredible memory and use of tools.

Ability Score Increase.  Your Intelligence increases by 1.

Size.  Your size is small.

Crow’s Knowledge.  You gain proficiency in Arcana checks and one of the following: 1 Artisan’s tool, Disguise Kit, Thieves Tools.

Sense Death.  You gain advantage on Medicine checks to see if a creature is near death, how recently they died or the cause of their death.



Sub-Race: Song-Weaver – Descended from various song birds, you can craft soothing and invigorating sounds from your natural voice.

Ability Score Increase.  Your Charisma increases by 1.

Size.  Your size is small.

Uplifting Song.  Once per short rest or long rest, you may inspire your allies with courage and vigor through an engaging song call.  By dedicating 10 minutes of time, you can grant 1d6 to the listener’s next skill check, attack roll or saving throw.  This lasts until it is spent or the targets rest again.  The same targets cannot benefit from this again until they take a long rest.

Charming.  You are proficient in Persuasion.



NEW FEAT – Avian Adaptation

Prerequisite: Avian race

  • Ability Score Increase: +1 Strength or Dexterity
  • Armor Adaptation: You can fly while wearing armor that you are proficient with.
  • You may use Strength or Dexterity for your natural weapon attacks.
  • Avian Talent: You may cast one of the following cantrips at-will: Friends, Guidance, True Strike, Vicious Mockery.  The mental stat gained from your sub-race is your casting stat.

IMAGE Aarakocra – Mik Wilkens

Created by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.


2 thoughts on “Avian – A Bird Race for D&D 5e

  1. I like your thoughts on this. You seem to be thinking along the same lines as I was. I have long been interested in developing a campaign setting where Avians are the dominate race. I was rooting it back to the origial three races. I have what i think are some good ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Faerie-themed Content Masterlist | Daemons & Deathrays

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