Sequestered in high mountains atop tall trees, the aarakocra, sometimes called birdfolk, evoke fear and wonder. Many aarakocra aren’t even native to the Material Plane. They hail from a world beyond — from the boundless vistas of the Elemental Plane. They are immigrants, refugees, scouts, and explorers, their outposts functioning as footholds in a world both strange and alien. In Hivokia they enjoy an exalted position, revered as part of the Tengu; the Heavenly Guardians that travel Dharguun, protecting it from forces of ill from other planes. While most aarakocra think this absurd they none the less encourage it as it lends them certain freedoms not granted to other species who refuse to bend to the Caste system. In battle, they prove dynamic and acrobatic fliers, moving with remarkable speed and grace, diving to lash opponents with weapons or talons before turning and flying away. The idea of ownership baffles most aarakocra. After all, who owns the sky? Even when explained to them, they initially find the notion of ownership mystifying. As a result, aarakocra who have little interaction with other people might be a nuisance as they drop from the sky to snatch livestock or plunder harvests for fruits and grains. Shiny, glittering objects catch their eyes. They find it hard not to pluck the treasure and bring it back to their settlement to beautify it. An aarakocra who spends years among other races can learn to inhibit these impulses.
From below, aarakocra look much like large birds. Only when they descend to roost on a branch or walk across the ground does their humanoid appearance reveal itself. Standing upright, aarakocra might reach 5 feet tall, and they have long, narrow legs that taper to sharp talons.
Growth Rate & Stages
Aarakocra reach maturity by age 3. Compared to humans, aarakocra don’t usually live longer than 30 years.
Ecology and Habitats
Nowhere are the aarakocra more comfortable than in the sky. They can spend hours in the air, and some go as long as days, locking their wings in place and letting the thermals hold them aloft. Once airborne, an aarakocra leaves the sky with reluctance. They can fly for days or months, landing only to lay their eggs and feed their young before launching themselves back into the air. When aarakocra do descend to ground level they build tall spires, woven from branches and springy saplings with gaping windows all around and on every level of the spire for them to fly into and out from. The floor on each level usually consists of a walkway around the interior with a opening at its center to allow flight up and down between the levels. Aarakocra do not tend to spend long in these spires, only landing to lay their eggs and to raise their fledglings before taking to the sky once more and leaving them empty for seasons or sometimes years at a time. Their intrinsic connection to the Plane of Elements allows their magi to harness the power of the air itself which legend has it they have used to create vast airborne cities high above the clouds, safe from the predators and politics of the world below.
Aarakocra live in small communities called 'flocks' which lead a nomadic, migratory life, travelling the span of the world between the collections of nest-spires and their great floating cities
Civilization and Culture
The resemblance of aarakocra to birds isn’t limited to physical features. Aarakocra display many of the same mannerisms as ordinary birds. They are fastidious about their plumage, frequently tending their feathers, cleaning and scratching away any tiny passengers they might have picked up. When they deign to descend from the sky, they often do so near pools where they can catch fish and bathe themselves.
Major Language Groups and Dialects
Many aarakocra punctuate their speech with chirps, sounds they use to convey emphasis and to shade meaning, much as a human might through facial expressions and gestures. An aarakocra might become frustrated with people who fail to pick up on the nuances; an aarakocra’s threat might be taken as a jest and vice versa.
Confinement terrifies the aarakocra. To be grounded, trapped underground, or imprisoned by the cold, unyielding earth is a torment few aarakocra can withstand. Even when perched on a high branch or at rest in their mountaintop homes, they appear alert, with eyes moving and bodies ready to take flight.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Feathers cover their bodies. Their plumage typically denotes membership in a tribe. Males are brightly colored, with feathers of red, orange, or yellow. Females have more subdued colors, usually brown or gray. Their heads complete the avian appearance, being something like a parrot or eagle with distinct tribal variations.
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