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I am currently a DM who has a player wanting to play as an Aarakocra. I don't want this Aarakokra to be able to fly right from the start and I had come up with a way to have her wings be damaged in a way that it doesn't seem like bs.

Though I was wondering; I wanted to have something be pierced through one of her wings leaving her unable to fly but from what I've read anything can be healed with magic even if she'd loose the entire wing. What I had planned was that she would no longer be able to use one of her wings and later on in the story she would get a mechanical one to replace it.

Is there a way, within the rules of D&D 5e, that I can wound her wing without it being able to be healed by our cleric so that in the early levels she won't be able to fly? Because in the official ruling from what I understand, any lost or severely wounded limbs can be healed with magic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Before I post an answer, I'll say this seems rather similar to this post, in that the more pertinent question may end up being "Why do you want to ban flying in the first place?" Is there a particular reason she needs to have this happen? \$\endgroup\$ – John Clifford Aug 5 at 8:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you looped the player in on any of this? \$\endgroup\$ – sevenbrokenbricks Aug 5 at 8:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for clarifying your question. I've reworded the title and rewritten it to flow better as though this was how you'd asking it to begin with, since there's no need to signal edits, but if you're not happy with my edits, please feel free to rollback or edit it again yourself to overwrite or rewrite my edits. Either way, your question will likely be reopened soon. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Aug 6 at 10:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is worth thinking about why you don't want them to fly, flight is not that big an advantage at low level. \$\endgroup\$ – John Aug 7 at 3:40
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A missing wing is not easily replaced at lower levels.

You’re right, magic can fix anything, but at lower levels limbs are not so easily regrown.

To regrow a limb you’d need access to the Regenerate spell:

The target's severed body members (fingers, legs, tails, and so on), if any, are restored after 2 minutes.

However, this is a 7th level spell. Your PC’s won’t get those until level 13.

Assuming you don’t want your player to wait quite that long to be able to fly, you can insert a 13th level NPC spellcaster into your narrative who wants the party to do them a favour, or let them find a scroll of Regeneration, at an appropriate point.

But is your player going to be happy with this?

Have you discussed with them the idea of taking their ability to fly away at lower levels? How do they feel about this?

Is flight their main reason to consider playing an Aarakocra? If so, then taking away that ability initially may mean they'd rather play something else - with all their racial benefits intact.

Before following this strategy I'd advise checking that your player is on board.


N.B I've assumed in this answer, that in your gameworld an Aarakocra's wings and arms are separate limbs, which is inkeeping with offical 5e depictions but varies somewhat with lore from previous editions. Losing effectively a whole arm (as well as a wing) would have very debilitating implications for combat - ability to use shields, wield 2h weapons etc.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I haven't yet talked this through with my player but I wanted to know if this was a possibility before I did so. Also my idea was to let her have a like prostetic wing / mechanical wing \$\endgroup\$ – MDN wyte Aug 6 at 10:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MDNwyte Regarding your prosthetic wing idea, I guess that may depend on whether your player may prefer their "real" wing back (as per the regenerate spell) or whether they like your idea of a prosthetic. As for the prosthetic, assuming you both agree to go with that idea, that's where you're in homebrew territory, since I'm not aware of any rules around that (just so you know), although functionally I imagine it will be as though they have their "real" wing back with regards to the effect it will have on the PC, but again, that's for you and your player to decide... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Aug 6 at 11:12
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There is; see the Lingering Injuries DMG variant rule

Is there a way, within the rules of D&D 5e, that I can wound her wing without it being able to be healed by our cleric so that in the early levels she won't be able to fly?

There are rules, although they are optional. The DMG has the "lingering injuries" variant rule, that describes mechanics for lost or heavily damaged limbs. See the "Lingering Injuries" section on DMG page 272:

Damage normally leaves no lingering effects. This option introduces the potential for long-term injuries.

It's up to you to decide when to check for a lingering injury.

You can easily homebrew a new "broken wing" condition, using "Lose a Foot or Leg" as a template. Such injury can be only healed by a powerful spells like Regenerate, so a low-level cleric won't help.

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