Posted in: Dungeons and Dragons 5e

Aarakocra Monk Guide [D&D 5e]

In the world of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, blending the speed and agility of a monk with the unique flight capabilities of the Aarakocra race results in an extraordinary character. This guide will take you on a deep dive into creating, playing, and roleplaying an Aarakocra Monk in a way that not only soars above your enemies but also ascends to the top ranks in your D&D adventures.

Aarakocra Monk Guide [D&D 5e]
Image Source: MaharajahofPookajee

Creating an Aarakocra Monk

Monks are a versatile class that relies on three primary ability scores: Dexterity (Dex), Wisdom (Wis), and Constitution (Con). Let’s break down the importance of each:

  • Dexterity (Dex): This score is your bread and butter. It controls your attack and damage rolls, Armor Class, several skills, and more. Maximize your Dexterity as it directly impacts your combat prowess.
  • Wisdom (Wis): Wisdom fuels the mystical powers of the monk. It increases your save DCs, the number of uses of various abilities, and more. Wisdom is vital for enhancing your monk’s capabilities.
  • Constitution (Con): Monks need some hit points to withstand blows. Invest in Constitution to avoid falling too quickly in combat.

It’s important to note that monks are relatively gear-independent. Your Armor Class relies on Dexterity and Wisdom, and your damage scales with your character’s level. Monks tend to have moderate AC and hit points, making them less effective as direct damage soakers. They rely on their mobility and supplementary defenses for survival.

Monks also have limited skill proficiencies, but they excel in what they are proficient in. Skills like Perception, Survival, and Insight are excellent choices. Consider your character concept when selecting skills like Stealth, Medicine, and Sleight of Hand.

Monastic Subclasses for Aarakocra Monks

Several monk subclasses can synergize exceptionally well with the Aarakocra race:

  • Sun Soul: This subclass allows you to hurl Ki blasts as ranged attacks and cast spells at higher levels, providing versatility in combat.
  • Way of Mercy: Transform your Aarakocra Monk into a flying healer, capable of soaring over battles and restoring hit points to your allies.
  • Way of the Open Hand: This subclass gives you the ability to control enemies by forcing them prone, knocking them backward, and providing healing options.
  • Drunken Master: Offering a Flyby Attack-like feature, this subclass enables you to engage in combat, retreat to safety, and even redirect attacks and pass saving throws at higher levels.

Playing an Aarakocra Monk

Aarakocra Monks are known for their hit-and-run tactics. They excel in darting into combat, dealing damage and applying status effects to key targets, and then retreating to minimize exposure to danger. Their innate flying ability allows them to drop directly onto foes, deliver multiple attacks, and retreat to the skies, adding an extra layer of mobility.

As Aarakocra Monks progress, they become even more formidable. At level 5, they gain access to Stunning Strike, which can render opponents useless for a turn if they fail their saving throws. This makes them exceptional at disabling a single powerful enemy.

Monks, in general, are one of the safest classes for flying characters due to their good saving throws and various defensive abilities such as Deflect Missiles, Slow Fall, Evasion, and debuff negation.

As you level up, Monks gain a growing bonus to their speed, which complements their flight speed, making them one of the fastest characters in the game. Higher levels also unlock abilities to move across walls and run on water, further enhancing their versatility.

In terms of gear, it’s wise to carry a secondary ranged weapon, like a shortbow or light crossbow, for dealing with enemies who stay out of melee range or pose a significant threat.

Lastly, consider multiclassing with Rogue. Just a few levels in Rogue can provide significant advantages such as Sneak Attack damage, Cunning Action for bonus actions, skill proficiencies, and expertise in skills. The choice of Rogue subclass can further enhance your character’s capabilities.

Roleplaying as an Aarakocra Monk

The roleplaying aspect of your character is just as important as their mechanical abilities. Here are some roleplay tips for your Aarakocra Monk:

  • Character Archetypes: Monks can be portrayed in various ways, such as wise zen masters, mischievous tricksters, perfectionists, or peaceful warriors. Tailor your character’s personality to match your chosen archetype.
  • Aarakocra Traits: Consider the Aarakocra side of your character’s background. These bird-people are known for their wandering nature, which can lead to interactions with diverse cultures and places. Alternatively, you can emphasize the reclusive aspect, highlighting a character who is experiencing the outside world for the first time after intense training.
  • Fighting Style: Your character’s combat style reflects their personality. Are they an aggressive warrior who punches through obstacles, or do they use a more fluid, flowing approach? Take inspiration from the animal kingdom, as many martial arts are based on animal movements. Your character is, after all, a literal bird, so consider bird-like behaviors to add flavor to your roleplaying.

In conclusion, an Aarakocra Monk offers a unique blend of mobility and combat prowess in the world of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. By optimizing your abilities, selecting the right subclass, and embracing a well-rounded roleplaying approach, you can become the fastest, hardest-to-pin-down character in the game, soaring above your enemies and achieving greatness as an Aarakocra Monk.

Aarakocra Monk: Achieving Mastery

Roleplaying Challenges

Aarakocra Monks come with their own set of roleplaying challenges and opportunities. To fully embrace the character, consider the following:

  • Cultural Observations: Aarakocra culture is unique, often emphasizing communal living and close-knit social structures. Use this cultural backdrop to shape your character’s values and interactions with the party. Perhaps your character is more focused on unity and cooperation, striving to bring harmony wherever they go.
  • Avian Instincts: Aarakocra have avian traits, which can influence their behavior. Birds are known for their curiosity and keen perception. Your character could display a strong sense of curiosity, always eager to explore and understand the world. Additionally, your character might be adept at spotting hidden dangers and secrets due to their natural avian instincts.
  • Language Barrier: Aarakocra have their own unique language, which might be a point of interest or tension in your roleplay. Consider how your character communicates with non-Aarakocra party members and how they overcome language barriers. This could lead to interesting interactions and opportunities for character growth.

Character Development

As your Aarakocra Monk advances in level, they undergo significant character development. Here’s what to expect as your character progresses:

  • Enhanced Mobility: The Aarakocra’s flight ability becomes even more valuable as you gain levels. You’ll have a growing bonus to your speed, which, when combined with your flight, makes you one of the most mobile characters in the game. This extra mobility allows for creative and strategic combat options, such as aerial assaults and swift rescues.
  • Mastery of Ki: Monks rely heavily on their Ki, a wellspring of inner energy. As you advance, you’ll unlock powerful abilities like Stunning Strike, Empty Body, and Perfect Self. These abilities further define your character’s unique combat style and capabilities.
  • Subclass Features: Your choice of subclass will greatly impact your character’s development. Sun Soul Monks gain the ability to hurl ranged Ki blasts and access to radiant damage spells. Way of Mercy Monks become skilled healers. Way of the Open Hand Monks become experts in disabling and controlling enemies, and Drunken Master Monks achieve remarkable agility in combat.

Campaign Integration

Integrating your Aarakocra Monk into a campaign can be an exciting journey. Discuss with your Dungeon Master (DM) how to incorporate your character’s avian nature and monastery background into the story. Consider these ideas:

  • Aerial Challenges: Your Aarakocra character’s flying abilities can lead to unique challenges and scenarios in the campaign. Discuss with your DM how you can use your flight creatively, whether it’s for reconnaissance, exploration, or unconventional combat tactics.
  • Monastery Ties: Explore the backstory of your character’s monastery. It could be a hidden mountain retreat or a monastic order with ancient secrets. Your character’s quest could involve protecting the monastery or seeking guidance from its elders.
  • Quest for Mastery: Perhaps your character’s ultimate goal is to achieve mastery of their monk abilities. This journey could lead to powerful revelations and personal growth. Your DM can weave this quest into the overarching campaign narrative.


An Aarakocra Monk in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition offers a remarkable blend of speed, versatility, and aerial combat. By optimizing your character’s abilities, selecting the right subclass, and immersing yourself in roleplay, you can create a character that is not only mechanically powerful but also a captivating addition to your adventuring party. Embrace your avian nature, strive for mastery, and let your character soar to new heights in the world of D&D.

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