D&D 5e: Aarakocra Sorcerer Guide
D&D 5e: Aarakocra Sorcerer Guide
From the storm-wracked skies comes a flapping nightmare, letting loose bolts of energy with every gesture. Filled with eldritch power and permanently flying, Aarakocra Sorcerers are a class with incredible highs, and several key weaknesses.
This guide breaks down the class, including how to build, what to avoid, and potential RP directions going forward.
How to Make an Aarakocra Sorcerer
Sorcerers are an incredibly simple class to build. Max your Charisma, as that single stat dictates damn near everything the class is going to want to do.
Any spare points go straight into Dex and Con. As a spellcaster, Concentration saves are important, and the Sorcerer is an incredibly squishy class, boasting a mere D6 hit die and no armor proficiencies. Allowing enemies to deal damage to you is generally a very bad idea, and one you and your party want to avoid at all costs.
Taking Aarakocra as your race helps with that. At least when you’re not locked inside a dungeon. Anywhere the character can flex their (literal) wings and take to the skies is one where you’re significantly safer, as many enemies have no option to deal with flight, especially at lower levels.
Unfortunately, the Aarakocra racial heritage doesn’t offer much more in terms of benefits. A utility spell, melee claws that are worse than all your cantrips, and a bonus language known are all that’s on offer. But realistically, none of that is why you’re here.
You also get nothing in terms of gear. One of the most limited weapon proficiency lists in the game, none of which you’ll ever use, and no armor proficiencies either.
Skills are equally limited; only two can be chosen from a short list of six, though at least here the Sorcerer has options it can be good at. Social skills, specifically Deception, and Persuasion, as well as Stealth, Perception, and Arcana are useful choices.
Lastly, the Sorcerer is also one of the few classes that decide their subclass at level 1. This has advantages and disadvantages. While the class does gain a chunk of power early, this is a lot of decision-making to settle before you’ve even played the character. Hopefully, your GM is permissive with shifting your class if you make mistakes here.
How to Play an Aarakocra Sorcerer
The Sorcerer is a direct, aggressive caster with a spell list to match. Your role in combat is going to be one of two things: Either you slam down massive amounts of damage, roll handfuls of dice, and go full scorched earth until every enemy is dead. Or you pick a single enemy and stack debuffs onto them until their every living moment is misery.
Both of these benefit massively from the constant, always-on flight of the Aarakocra. Not only can you freely choose targets for your spells, but positioning to stay safe from enemies, which is always a consideration for squishy spellcasting classes, becomes much simpler.
When choosing spells for your Sorcerer, it’s best to pick a combat role and build heavily around that. 5e is a system that rewards focus and dedication, and the Sorcerer’s class abilities, specifically Metamagic, benefit from having multiple possible targets amongst your spell list.
Potential roles include damage dealing, picking spells like Magic Missile, Chaos Bolt, Minute Meteors, and Earthen Grasp, plus the Empowered Spell metamagic to reroll poor damage dice.
Instead, you might want to shift into controlling the battlefield, casting buffs like Enlarge, Invisibility, or Haste on allies, while throwing out damage using Quicken Spell and cutting off sightlines using spells like Fog Cloud.
Alternatively, debuff your enemies using Twinned Phantasmal Force, Suggestion, or Blindness to hit two targets at once, while throwing down major AOE debuffs like Web and Fear against hordes.
You might even want to take your spellcasting into the social sphere, using Subtle Spell to affect potential targets without others knowing: Always fun, but incredibly risky, which feels very “Sorcerer.”
Finally, as we already mentioned, Sorcerers are incredibly fragile, so taking at least one defensive spell is a very good idea. The shield is a staple, pushing your AC up to tank levels against a single attack, decided after you see the roll, and can easily save your life multiple times per day. Absorb Elements does the same but against elemental damage. As you level, options with longer durations such as Mirror Image and Blur are unlocked.
A point of caution. When building your character, there is a significant increase in power for the latest three subclasses that have been released: Aberrant Mind, Clockwork Soul, and Lunar.
Each of these bloodlines offers your character the usual suite of class abilities but also gives another ten spells known as the character gains levels, entirely for free. For a class that only knows a maximum of 15 spells, that’s a 66% increase in spells known at most character levels, which is obviously a huge buff.
This means if you’re planning on using any of the older subclasses, it’s worth talking to your GM to see if you can add some more spells known to your class. The difference it makes is that large, and can really have a large impact on how fun your Sorcerer will be to pilot.
Outside of combat, Sorcerers often find themselves acting as the party’s face, because the class’s naturally high Charisma naturally offers a lot of affinity with the required skills. As they level and gain more spells known and spell slots, the Sorcerer can also comfortably take on utility roles, especially if they branch out in flexibility, either by multiclassing or taking Feats that aren’t directly related to magic. (For example, Inspiring Leader offers up a lot of temp HP at the start of the adventuring day, and synergizes perfectly with your high Cha.)
How to Roleplay as an Aarakocra Sorcerer
A whole lot of a Sorcerer’s RP potential is tied up in their bloodline; the source of their magical prowess. And a whole lot of the RP specifics depend heavily on the bloodline you choose.
After all, an Abberant Mind Sorcerer touched by the far planes and works with subtle manipulations is far different in feeling and mechanics from the mage tied to the Draconic who wants to burn the world down. So step 1 for RP potential is this: look at your character sheet.
Step 2 is race. Aarakocra as a people tend to be reserved and private, mostly staying away from the ground dwellers and their goings on. So asking why your character is risking limb and life adventuring is a good one. Have they been driven to it by the burgeoning power in their blood, or have they been driven from their friends and family, shunned by those that love them because of the so-called corruption?
A last point to touch on is animal inspiration. You are a literal bird-man (or woman) so take nature as your touchstone. The majestic, soaring eagle as a motivation is a completely different feeling to the hunched, lurching vulture who descends onto the battlefield as an encounter closes to finish things a little more personally.