I wanted to know if there was a way to play a flightless Aarakocra in D&D 5e (maybe one without wings because of a curse, but not a Kenku).

I don't want to play Kenku because they can't really talk and they can't make their own creative decisions. I wanted to have a birdfolk race. but from what I see there are only two bird species. And I don't want them to be able to fly. I always liked birds but I want more of an equal ground.

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    – V2Blast
    Sep 1, 2019 at 4:12

2 Answers 2


No issues with this

Basically you are just choosing to not use one of the best features of your race. An Aarakocra without flight is a very underpowered race, but if you are ok with that there is no need to homebrew anything to make this work.

Replace flight with a feat

In campaign 2 of High Rollers (a D&D livestream) one of the players choose to play a flightless Aarakocra. The DM Mark Hulmes allowed the player to replace flight with a free feat instead. This returns the Aarakocra to being possibly the strongest race you can choose, but not in such a gamebreak way as a 50ft fly speed.

It is important to note that the character has story reasons for being flightless (an accident took his wing) and that not all Aarakocra in this world are flightless. Additionally the player makes sub-optimal choices for roleplaying reasons which prevents this character from being too powerful. It is possible that with a player more focused on optimization this house-rule would become unbalanced.


Play your character, your way.

There's no reason to play D&D any other way!

A relevant section from the PHB's Backgrounds section:

Choosing a background provides you with important story cues about your character’s identity. The most important question to ask about your background is what changed?

The "What changed" of your character's aversion to flying is a powerful character-building tool. It could be related to him/her personally, the villages' beliefs, the conditions of his/her upbringing, etc.


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