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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Mainly to help my own thinking for an up-and-coming campaign I'm going to run, but also to share my inspired insights, I'm going to go through the Monster Manual in order and comment on each of the beasties. How evocative is this creature? What adventure hooks could I use with them? How fun is it in combat?


    Aarakocra

    Firstly, it took me about three tries to get that spelling correctly, and it's one of those strange names where pronunciation for your players will be all over the place. One of those names sufficiently bereft of English inspiration that I have a kind of selective dyslexia about, and will called Aarakcockra or Arkarockra without ever holding the name properly in the brain. It's not a name with the immediate resonance of an Orc. It does have a good mouth-feel though - the word 'Aarakocra' has an innate birdiness that is hard to deny.

    But it's cool! The Aarakocra, despite being a staple of the game for many editions, isn't immediately recognisable. It doesn't have a brand - which opens it up to any tinkering you want to do with it.


    Art
    Secondly, the artwork. The Aarakocra is strident, standoff-ish, which I like - very much a Neutral good creature working out your intents. I feel there's a real lack of movement, though. This image doesn't feel kinetic, or birdlike, or evoke the speed and maneuverability that its combat tactics bear out. The art is a bloke with some wings glued on - whereas I think the art should evoke more of an alien, avian, feel.

    The spear is also one of those silly fantasy spears that with a bizarre shape that would be less functional that a normal spear. I do love that it is perched on the stat--block, though.

    Purpose and Tactics
    With a 1/4 CR and humanoid bent, the Aarakocra is the lowest rung on the alternative Goblin-Orc-Hobgoblin ladder. However, as the Aarakocra are Neutral Good, and spend most of their time hanging about in the Elemental Plane of Air, it seem unlikely that your low-level party will ever bump into one without them having some alternative existence in your setting. If they're an established race on the Prime Material, they'll probably be quite well established everywhere - flight is a pretty considerable advantage other other sapient creatures and opens up area for habitation that few others can reach.

    Flight makes them interesting combatants and increases the tactics needed to defeat them. You can walk up to an Orc, stick a sword in it, and it'll die. The Aarakocra can be flying around, dive-bombing the PCs, and staying out of melee range throughout: either swooping in with their talons or throwing a javelin. A lot of good low-level control effects (Entangle, for example), wouldn't reach them. I'd make flight an interesting weakness as well though - a spell like Hold Person should see them falling from the sky!

    The ability to summon an air elemental is interesting, but all five summoners need to maintain concentration for three consecutive turns to achieve this (does the summoning fail if they are interrupted by a Ranger PC's arrow up the jacksie?). In play, I'd simply spawn any Aarakocra with an Elemental in tow if they got wind* of the PC's arrival.

    Jazz up the Aarakocra by making them one part of a band of diverse humanoids (I love the rival adventuring party shtick, and rolling up the wierdos and nutters that serve as foils to the PCs) or pairing them with something meatier: they skirmish whilst the big monster punches the PCs in the throat.

    Perhaps Aarakocra would be better served being occasional allies or quest-givers for your PCs, although the fact that by-the-book they only speak Auran (how many of your PCs pick that language up?) Perhaps they only made muster because so they can be a PC race.

    Fluff
    Rubbish. I find it really difficult to envisage how or why the creatures of Elemental Earth would invade air (don't you need to fly? Aren't the Air creatures at a huge advantage?) or why anyone would task the CR 1/4 Aarakocra with the defense of the realm over the hardier elementals detailed later. Much of the fluff is really derived from the Elemental Evil adventure path, and the idea of a sapient race acting in the same way as Elementals, or having the same priorities, baffles me. Whilst there are some nice evocative bits of language (Who are the Wind Dukes of Aaqa? The Howling Gyre?) it doesn't give you much to work with off that adventure path. If the Aarakocra are sitting on inaccessible peaks keeping an eye on pesky Elemental Evil, the PCs are fairly unlikely to stumble across them.

    They're (Every Aarakocra? All the time?) searching for some silly Rod because of bla bla bla.

    Sorry to the Aarakocra, but the major problem here is the Elemental Plane of Air is boring.
    More boring still is the Aarakocra are constantly presented as lackeys: searching for someone else's Rod of Seven Parts to fight someone else's enemies to guard someone else's borders. When are these Aarakocra going to learn to squawk 'NO!'?

    The final paragraph is handy though: the Aarakocra espouse a sort of radical-utilitarian philosophy and simply do not believe in property. Whilst I'm fairly sure this is cribbed from the garuda of Perdido Street Station, it helps make an encounter with Aarakocra more interesting - what precious belongings of the PCs might these card-carrying avians make off with for the greater good? How would your players react?

    Hooks
    The local Aarakocra make off with magic-item or maguffin in order to fight a greater threat. Do their PCs let them borrow their kit? How do they go about reclaiming it?

    Local Aarakocra, not understanding property laws, have been robbing peasants blind. However, they're also keeping the local harpies in check. How do your players disentangle this situation?

    An Aarakocra warlord has lost his wings. Can the players repair his powers of flight? (Yes, I can steal from China Mieville too).

    A general wants to hire some Aarakocra scouts for his army. What reward, when no property exists, can the players think to tempt the Aarakocra into honest work?

    Verdict: A less-interesting Kenku.

    So Playground, what do we think of the Aarakocra? Tomorrow we can look forward to the Aboleth.


    *Sorry.
    Here is my DIY D&D blog, where I post my thoughts and homebrew ideas, mainly for 5e.


    Here is where I post my Let's Read of the 5e Monster Manual.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Nice one. I am looking forward to the other critters.

    The A. (can't spell it either, but not really trying at all) have never been used in my campaigns. For the most part, because they always felt too much "out there". But I can see them being used in my current game, which is definitly more on the high-fantasy side of things.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    This thread is going to go on for a while, I see.

    I love this, it really helps contextualize these critters. As you were describing it I was envisioning my own players encountering it and dealing with the problems you brought up. Bravo!

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Occasional Sage's Avatar

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Nice to see another Mieville fan.
    Avatar by the incomparable araveugnitsuga!

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Aararocka bother me for some reason. I suspect it's the sheer awkwardness of wings and arms interacting in the same region. They just look clumsy - Unintelligent Design, if you will pardon the expression.

    I don't allow them as PCs because flight combined with grapple is murderous at low levels. Seize the victim, go straight up at 25' per round. If they break the grapple, they fall and die. If you let go, they fall and die unless they grappled you first. NPC Aararocka ought to do the same thing; if a flock fights the party look for your archers to be seized and carried into the air. And then dropped on your wizard.

    If you bring these into your campaign, you have to explain why they aren't using grapple & drop tactics. Or, for that matter, picking up massive rocks and dropping those from 500' above the party. Gravity still works, and there is no reason for a creature that can lift a 50 pound rock and drop it from high above to ever come within arrow range. They may not hit often, but unless you can find sturdy shelter they only have to hit once.

    I do like the idea of eternal war between the noble Aararocka and evil gargoyles. It's the Blood War writ small. Most powerful Earth Elementals are countered by more powerful Air Elementals, but at the bottom, it's the little guys slugging it out.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    Aararocka bother me for some reason. I suspect it's the sheer awkwardness of wings and arms interacting in the same region. They just look clumsy - Unintelligent Design, if you will pardon the expression.

    I don't allow them as PCs because flight combined with grapple is murderous at low levels. Seize the victim, go straight up at 25' per round. If they break the grapple, they fall and die. If you let go, they fall and die unless they grappled you first. NPC Aararocka ought to do the same thing; if a flock fights the party look for your archers to be seized and carried into the air. And then dropped on your wizard.

    If you bring these into your campaign, you have to explain why they aren't using grapple & drop tactics. Or, for that matter, picking up massive rocks and dropping those from 500' above the party. Gravity still works, and there is no reason for a creature that can lift a 50 pound rock and drop it from high above to ever come within arrow range. They may not hit often, but unless you can find sturdy shelter they only have to hit once.

    I do like the idea of eternal war between the noble Aararocka and evil gargoyles. It's the Blood War writ small. Most powerful Earth Elementals are countered by more powerful Air Elementals, but at the bottom, it's the little guys slugging it out.
    Very simple and realistic fix for both pc and npc bird men

    Aarakocra's effective lift capacity is drastically reduced while flying. They might be able to pull off the 'grapple, fly, drop' trick with a kobold, but pretty much nothing larger than that.

    Dropping rocks still presents a major hazard, but rocks large enough to be difficult to avoid can't be lifted, and dropping a small one from a high enough distance to make it a deadly threat would be a ranged attack roll at disadvantage (possibly with other penalties stacked on in extreme cases)

    As for the weird aesthetics of both arms and wings, I've got nothing.
    Last edited by Daishain; 2015-08-04 at 09:55 AM.
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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    To be fair, the Wind Dukes and the Rod of Seven Parts (I assume it's that one) aren't adventure path specific, they are both essential D&D multiverse background that shows up all over.
    So make sure your ole' knife is sharp, me lad,
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by Daishain View Post
    Very simple and realistic fix for both pc and npc bird men

    Aarakocra's effective lift capacity is drastically reduced while flying. They might be able to pull off the 'grapple, fly, drop' trick with a kobold, but pretty much nothing larger than that.

    Dropping rocks still presents a major hazard, but rocks large enough to be difficult to avoid can't be lifted, and dropping a small one from a high enough distance to make it a deadly threat would be a ranged attack roll at disadvantage (possibly with other penalties stacked on in extreme cases)

    As for the weird aesthetics of both arms and wings, I've got nothing.
    I agree totally that the amount an Aararocka should be able to fly with ought to be quite a bit less than what a walking person could carry. This is a good houserule; flight load is equal to 2x Strength. That includes whatever the Aararocka is carrying. However, a 30 pound rock chosen because it's fairly round will still be a cannon ball when dropped from altitude.

    It's not just the aesthetics; it's that the muscles and bones that anchor the arms also must anchor the wings and vice-versa. There just isn't room for all the connections that need to be there. And yes, I'm getting dangerously close to injecting realism into our enchanted dwarf games.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    And yes, I'm getting dangerously close to injecting realism into our enchanted dwarf games.
    Realism might be tough to achieve, but there's nothing wrong with looking for consistency.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Aarokocra (did I spell that right?) are interesting as the first elemental creatures a party is likely to encounter. I also like the idea of low-level elementals for each element- gargoyles for earth, for example. There are really no equivalents for water and fire, unless you count the Genasi.

    Anyways, Elemental Evil is clearly the reason the Aarokocra have been spotlighted in this edition, but I think that characterization is a reasonable route to try and focus low-level adventuring parties on the realities of the Planes and their influence on the Material (especially nearby Planes like the Elemental ones).

    So, because high-level (and high-fantasy) DnD eventually points the way towards planar issues as central to the great philosophical contests and struggles in the multiverse, it's useful to have low-level agents who are explicitly connected to the broader picture.

    Not all DnD is pulp or low fantasy, and it's creatures like the Aarokocra which connect low-level play to high-level fantasy.
    Last edited by Ardantis; 2015-08-04 at 10:32 AM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    I agree totally that the amount an Aararocka should be able to fly with ought to be quite a bit less than what a walking person could carry. This is a good houserule; flight load is equal to 2x Strength. That includes whatever the Aararocka is carrying. However, a 30 pound rock chosen because it's fairly round will still be a cannon ball when dropped from altitude.

    It's not just the aesthetics; it's that the muscles and bones that anchor the arms also must anchor the wings and vice-versa. There just isn't room for all the connections that need to be there. And yes, I'm getting dangerously close to injecting realism into our enchanted dwarf games.
    I don't entirely agree with this. Aararocka (from the fluff that is presented) seem to walk as much as they fly (If not more so on the fly part, considering they are from the air plane). So it's logical to assume that their wings are as strong as say their legs.

    Their arms wouldn't share the same muscles that their wings do anatomically except for back muscles. Sure back muscles are being strained when carrying an object, but that would hold true whether you were flying, or walking with something heavy. It stands to reason that if you could carry a 30lb rock up a staircase (your arms/shoulders, back, and leg muscles all working in conjunction to carry said object) that you could just as easily fly upward with a 30lb rock to drop it on someone.

    Magnify that real life scenario with the fantasy exaggeration that is DnD (to avoid a simple "guy at the gym" fallacy) and there is nothing unreasonable about a bird person lifting a hefty amount of weight up in the air in a short amount of time.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by -Jynx- View Post
    I don't entirely agree with this. Aararocka (from the fluff that is presented) seem to walk as much as they fly (If not more so on the fly part, considering they are from the air plane). So it's logical to assume that their wings are as strong as say their legs.

    Their arms wouldn't share the same muscles that their wings do anatomically except for back muscles. Sure back muscles are being strained when carrying an object, but that would hold true whether you were flying, or walking with something heavy. It stands to reason that if you could carry a 30lb rock up a staircase (your arms/shoulders, back, and leg muscles all working in conjunction to carry said object) that you could just as easily fly upward with a 30lb rock to drop it on someone.
    My solution: a flying Aarakocra's own body weight counts against his carry weight. A typical 90-lb Aarakocra with Strength 10 can carry a couple of javelins with no problem, or he could lift a 100-lb. elf with great difficulty (half speed), and that's about it. No carrying the 200-lb. fighter unless he is a Barbearian Aarakocra with double carry capacity, or has Enhance Ability (Strength) cast on him.

    They do make fantastic monks though, and the Mobile feat on an Aarakocra is top-notch.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    But is it an African or European Aarackocra attempting to carry this rock?
    Here is my DIY D&D blog, where I post my thoughts and homebrew ideas, mainly for 5e.


    Here is where I post my Let's Read of the 5e Monster Manual.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by -Jynx- View Post
    I don't entirely agree with this. Aararocka (from the fluff that is presented) seem to walk as much as they fly (If not more so on the fly part, considering they are from the air plane). So it's logical to assume that their wings are as strong as say their legs.

    Their arms wouldn't share the same muscles that their wings do anatomically except for back muscles. Sure back muscles are being strained when carrying an object, but that would hold true whether you were flying, or walking with something heavy. It stands to reason that if you could carry a 30lb rock up a staircase (your arms/shoulders, back, and leg muscles all working in conjunction to carry said object) that you could just as easily fly upward with a 30lb rock to drop it on someone.

    Magnify that real life scenario with the fantasy exaggeration that is DnD (to avoid a simple "guy at the gym" fallacy) and there is nothing unreasonable about a bird person lifting a hefty amount of weight up in the air in a short amount of time.
    IIRC the Aararocka's walking speed is 10, their flight speed, 50. Their legs are no match for their wings. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong. In a "real world" situation an Aararocka is simply impossible, and anything even remotely like that would have hollow bones as our flying birds do - which would mean a solid blow with a mace ought to turn one into pudding. I hereby explicitly reject any and all considerations of physics, and instead argue from a play balance position; to me, it seems too powerful to let a humanoid fly with the same weight it can carry while walking, because you can pick up the archer, soar into the air, and drop him on the wizard. And then repeat it if either survived.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    My solution: a flying Aarakocra's own body weight counts against his carry weight. A typical 90-lb Aarakocra with Strength 10 can carry a couple of javelins with no problem, or he could lift a 100-lb. elf with great difficulty (half speed), and that's about it. No carrying the 200-lb. fighter unless he is a Barbearian Aarakocra with double carry capacity, or has Enhance Ability (Strength) cast on him.

    They do make fantastic monks though, and the Mobile feat on an Aarakocra is top-notch.
    This is another way to restore some play balance - but with the nominal carrying capacity 15x strength, a 14 strength Aararocka can get 220 pounds into the air. If they weigh 100, their gear 30, they can still pick up halflings, gnomes, and many elves, and kill them with almost no effort.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrConsideration View Post
    But is it an African or European Aarackocra attempting to carry this rock?
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    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
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    I am a Ranger Archetype: Gleaming Warden (thx to Ninja Prawn)

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    IIRC the Aararocka's walking speed is 10, their flight speed, 50. Their legs are no match for their wings. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong. In a "real world" situation an Aararocka is simply impossible, and anything even remotely like that would have hollow bones as our flying birds do - which would mean a solid blow with a mace ought to turn one into pudding. I hereby explicitly reject any and all considerations of physics, and instead argue from a play balance position; to me, it seems too powerful to let a humanoid fly with the same weight it can carry while walking, because you can pick up the archer, soar into the air, and drop him on the wizard. And then repeat it if either survived.



    This is another way to restore some play balance - but with the nominal carrying capacity 15x strength, a 14 strength Aararocka can get 220 pounds into the air. If they weigh 100, their gear 30, they can still pick up halflings, gnomes, and many elves, and kill them with almost no effort.
    Meh, it's not as powerful as it's often made out to be. Beyond being foiled by a ceiling or a creature of large size or larger, dropping the creature does 1d6 damage per 10 feet. Since grappling replaces an attack, that means they're doing at most 5d6 damage in a round, and that's assuming they started next to the creature in question. Since for every foot they go up, they must come back down, it's actually 5d6 damage every other round (or 10d6 every 4 rounds, etc). Dropping it on another enemy and hitting, assuming the DM a) allows it to hit and b) rules that heavy falling objects deal damage to creatures equal to what the object itself would take, can double that damage, but even then, 5d6 damage per round is balanced as of 9th level (see Rogues). Now, the fact they can do this from level 1 is certainly a problem, and were it not for their complete lack of athletics I'd say there's no way they're a CR 1/2 creature, but as monsters I think they're fine.

    As Players, a Aarakocra Arcane Trickster with self cast haste who moves 200' per round between their movement and bonus action dash, who grapples and then with their haste action attacks (with advantage thanks to the Grappler feat) for a potential 17d6 damage per round (27d6 if the DM allows dropping them on other enemies), sure, that's quite powerful. However I personally would never make it so they can't carry anything while flying, since if I was going to make it 2xStr for them, I'd have to make it 2xStr for all flying creatures (otherwise the game has an unacceptable lack of consistency for me) which would immediately eliminate all flying mounts from being possible. I'd much rather personally have the player be able to dominate encounters against medium sized or smaller creatures who lack flying speeds in wide open spaces, confident that as the DM I have control over the environment and the enemies to make the trick not work against anyone I want to be a credible threat. After all, it's no more encounter ending than hypnotic pattern or wall of force, and carries far more restrictions on when it's applicable.
    Last edited by GiantOctopodes; 2015-08-04 at 01:03 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by GiantOctopodes View Post
    Meh, it's not as powerful as it's often made out to be. Beyond being foiled by a ceiling or a creature of large size or larger, dropping the creature does 1d6 damage per 10 feet. Since grappling replaces an attack, that means they're doing at most 5d6 damage in a round, and that's assuming they started next to the creature in question. Since for every foot they go up, they must come back down, it's actually 5d6 damage every other round (or 10d6 every 4 rounds, etc). Dropping it on another enemy and hitting, assuming the DM a) allows it to hit and b) rules that heavy falling objects deal damage to creatures equal to what the object itself would take, can double that damage, but even then, 5d6 damage per round is balanced as of 9th level (see Rogues). Now, the fact they can do this from level 1 is certainly a problem, and were it not for their complete lack of athletics I'd say there's no way they're a CR 1/2 creature, but as monsters I think they're fine.

    As Players, a Aarakocra Arcane Trickster with self cast haste who moves 200' per round between their movement and bonus action dash, who grapples and then with their haste action attacks (with advantage thanks to the Grappler feat) for a potential 17d6 damage per round (27d6 if the DM allows dropping them on other enemies), sure, that's quite powerful. However I personally would never make it so they can't carry anything while flying, since if I was going to make it 2xStr for them, I'd have to make it 2xStr for all flying creatures (otherwise the game has an unacceptable lack of consistency for me) which would immediately eliminate all flying mounts from being possible. I'd much rather personally have the player be able to dominate encounters against medium sized or smaller creatures who lack flying speeds in wide open spaces, confident that as the DM I have control over the environment and the enemies to make the trick not work against anyone I want to be a credible threat. After all, it's no more encounter ending than hypnotic pattern or wall of force, and carries far more restrictions on when it's applicable.
    I always try to think from both sides of the problem - if my PCs can do it, so can my NPCs and monsters. That's just a basic rule and it shuts down some infamous cheese. Anyway, if the PCs can swoop down and carry away small and medium creatures, then a race of unfriendly Aarorocka (or, for that matter, gargoyles) ought to be able to swoop down, soar away with the party, and drop them all for 5d6 (or even 3d6) damage, then finish off the survivors. At low levels it is a devastating power, although as you point out it doesn't scale.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
    http://easydamus.com/character.html

    I am a Ranger Archetype: Gleaming Warden (thx to Ninja Prawn)

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    I do hope this discussion on flying birdlike humanoids as a fantasy race doesn't lead to an argument that angers people on account of realism.

    So how about them Abolthies (I also cannot spell these creatures worth a damn)?
    Last edited by Ralanr; 2015-08-04 at 01:38 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    IIRC the Aararocka's walking speed is 10, their flight speed, 50. Their legs are no match for their wings. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
    Their walk speed is actually 25ft so it's not far behind. On par with dwarves as "slightly behind the norm" which is not unusual considering well... they can fly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    In a "real world" situation an Aararocka is simply impossible, and anything even remotely like that would have hollow bones as our flying birds do - which would mean a solid blow with a mace ought to turn one into pudding.
    I take it your dragons don't fly then? By your definition Oozes/puddings shouldn't be able to exist either. due to their size and lack of bone structure they would simply be a puddle. There is only so much real world physics you can apply to dnd.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    I hereby explicitly reject any and all considerations of physics, and instead argue from a play balance position; to me, it seems too powerful to let a humanoid fly with the same weight it can carry while walking, because you can pick up the archer, soar into the air, and drop him on the wizard. And then repeat it if either survived.
    It's only OP at early levels. Let's say level 5 and below. If you perpetually play in games that don't get any higher than level 5 then I can see not allowing the race. As characters gain more access to abilities (read: spells) mundane flight is much less of a balance issue. I'd also wager as you increase in levels, and you fight tougher monsters that they have the presence of mind to keep an eye on the bird struggling to fly a rock over its head (DM dependent, but if he's not willing to tailor enconunters to the party he's not doing a great job). Unless your dnd campaigns play out like looney toons in which case as long as your birdman can afford acme's anvils, he's all set.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by -Jynx- View Post
    Their walk speed is actually 25ft so it's not far behind. On par with dwarves as "slightly behind the norm" which is not unusual considering well... they can fly.



    I take it your dragons don't fly then? By your definition Oozes/puddings shouldn't be able to exist either. due to their size and lack of bone structure they would simply be a puddle. There is only so much real world physics you can apply to dnd.



    It's only OP at early levels. Let's say level 5 and below. If you perpetually play in games that don't get any higher than level 5 then I can see not allowing the race. As characters gain more access to abilities (read: spells) mundane flight is much less of a balance issue. I'd also wager as you increase in levels, and you fight tougher monsters that they have the presence of mind to keep an eye on the bird struggling to fly a rock over its head (DM dependent, but if he's not willing to tailor enconunters to the party he's not doing a great job). Unless your dnd campaigns play out like looney toons in which case as long as your birdman can afford acme's anvils, he's all set.
    I'll agree that the advantages of the Aararocka diminish over time. OTOH, they make astonishing monks because speed and mobility bonuses start kicking in just as the advantages of flight at low levels start to fade. Unless you put them in rooms with low ceilings all the time, you've got someone that can always reach the wizard in the back row and stun him. The classic "mooks protecting caster" setup stops working at all without jumping through hoops.

    Regarding the dragons, you probably noticed the next line was "I explicitly reject physics ...". The number of things that don't work if we start with F=MA is very large; for example, a gelatinous cube with the same density as water would weigh about 62,000 pounds. And it has a speed of 15, so it ought to be able to move down the hallway and slam into people with the same momentum as a 200 pound fighter with a speed of 4650 (528 MPH).

    There is no physics at my table.
    Last edited by Shining Wrath; 2015-08-04 at 02:18 PM.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

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    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    I'll agree that the advantages of the Aararocka diminish over time. OTOH, they make astonishing monks because speed and mobility bonuses start kicking in just as the advantages of flight at low levels start to fade. Unless you put them in rooms with low ceilings all the time, you've got someone that can always reach the wizard in the back row and stun him. The classic "mooks protecting caster" setup stops working at all without jumping through hoops.
    I'll agree the Aararocka can definitely exploit certain environments, however if you compare them to the popular wood elf you miss out on:
    - Darkvision (which is huge imo your mileage my vary on DM, but seeing in the dark is a great advantage)
    - 35ft movement speed (not huge, but when coupled specifically with monks bonus movement speeds it does add up)
    - Crazy easy hiding via mask of the wild
    - Keen sense: Prof. in perception is always useful, and it's free.
    - Resistance to charm and can't be magically put asleep (also situational on your DM but really so are good flying conditions as a birdman)

    I do think that the fly speed is a huge perk, it's just not as one-sided as it's made out to be. Plenty of other races have nice perks that make them just as good or better at classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    Regarding the dragons, you probably noticed the next line was "I explicitly reject physics ...". The number of things that don't work if we start with F=MA is very large; for example, a gelatinous cube with the same density as water would weigh about 62,000 pounds. And it has a speed of 15, so it ought to be able to move down the hallway and slam into people with the same momentum as a 200 pound fighter with a speed of 4650 (528 MPH).

    There is no physics at my table.
    Fair enough. You just mentioned the bone composition with birds in relation to Aararocka and I felt it necessary to counterpoint.

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    DracoKnight's Avatar

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by -Jynx- View Post
    - 35ft movement speed (not huge, but when coupled specifically with monks bonus movement speeds it does add up)
    VS. a 50 fly speed which also benefits from Monk movement bonuses, as the PHB says "movement speed" not "walking speed."

    I'm not hating on the Aarakocra, as both a player and a DM I love them. They're fun to have in the environment, and the way one of my players RPs his Aarakocra Monk is hilarious, and semi-realistic. He put his 8 into CON to represent the hollow bones.

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    *pokes head into thread*

    Did somebody say Aboleths?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RazDelacroix View Post
    *pokes head into thread*

    Did somebody say Aboleths?
    *raises hand*
    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    "Just because the DM lets you break the game, doesn't mean the game is broken."
    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunkette View Post
    "My Patron is Steven Spielberg"
    Quote Originally Posted by CNagy View Post
    For some reason this feels really fitting; I got a mental image of a bunch of psions setting up a LAN party.

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    One of the things I like most about 5E's Monster Manual is that all the monsters, except for a small few, feel like they have a purpose, and could be incorporated into a game in an interesting manner without being redundant. The Bird-People are one of those exceptions, being super-lame.

    I do love the writing you did, OP. Excited to see your take of Aboleths!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    Aararocka bother me for some reason. I suspect it's the sheer awkwardness of wings and arms interacting in the same region. They just look clumsy - Unintelligent Design, if you will pardon the expression.

    I don't allow them as PCs because flight combined with grapple is murderous at low levels. Seize the victim, go straight up at 25' per round. If they break the grapple, they fall and die. If you let go, they fall and die unless they grappled you first. NPC Aararocka ought to do the same thing; if a flock fights the party look for your archers to be seized and carried into the air. And then dropped on your wizard.

    If you bring these into your campaign, you have to explain why they aren't using grapple & drop tactics. Or, for that matter, picking up massive rocks and dropping those from 500' above the party. Gravity still works, and there is no reason for a creature that can lift a 50 pound rock and drop it from high above to ever come within arrow range. They may not hit often, but unless you can find sturdy shelter they only have to hit once.

    I do like the idea of eternal war between the noble Aararocka and evil gargoyles. It's the Blood War writ small. Most powerful Earth Elementals are countered by more powerful Air Elementals, but at the bottom, it's the little guys slugging it out.
    I like the way they looked in earlier editions. Their hands were on their wings, their wings were their arms and their feet were talons that functioned as crude hands in flight. The we're very humanoid bird looking.

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    I like the way they looked in earlier editions. Their hands were on their wings, their wings were their arms and their feet were talons that functioned as crude hands in flight. The we're very humanoid bird looking.
    That sounds like an interesting design.
    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    "Just because the DM lets you break the game, doesn't mean the game is broken."
    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunkette View Post
    "My Patron is Steven Spielberg"
    Quote Originally Posted by CNagy View Post
    For some reason this feels really fitting; I got a mental image of a bunch of psions setting up a LAN party.

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    Zombie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralanr View Post
    That sounds like an interesting design.
    I'm on my phone so I don't really have the functionality to easily link a pic, but I do know the image can be found via google.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!


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    Zombie

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisBasken View Post
    That's it. Weird color job.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read: The Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    That's it. Weird color job.
    Well, coupled with the pose, I suspect he just woke up from napping on the beach. "AAAAAAH sunburn!"

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