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[Let's Read] D&D 5e Monster Manual

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#1
Welcome to my next Let's Read! This time, we will have a look at the latest D&D monster book. The D&D 5e Monster Manual:



The book sure looks gorgeous! But how are the actual monsters? We'll find out.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#2
Aarakocra

The aarakocra, D&D's go-to birdfolk, are one of my favourite races of monstrous humanoids. Until a few years ago, I never bothered to really read their name - it always ended up with aar... yeahwhatever. This aarakocra here looks quite different. Instead of being a parrot-vulture bastard with some humanoid features, it's now a bird-faced humanoid with wings, kind of like a tengu.

Aarakocra are still Neutral Good. With CR 1/4, aarakocra aren't too though. They do have a dive attack for extra damage and fight with talons and javelins. I'm not sure how many javelins an aarakocra can carry, but a ranged flyer can be an issue for a party with a lack of decent ranged attackers.

Aarakocra only speak Auran. The ones at home on the Air Plane serve the Wind Dukes of Aaqa (I never got why Aaqa is the realm of the Wind Dukes), guarding the Air Plane against gargoyles from the Earth Plane and smoking out temples of Elemental Evil or looking for the pieces of the Rod of Seven Parts.

Aarakocra on Material Prime live on high mountaintops. They have "no concept of [...] property ownership", which basically makes them flying kender. Serously, though, this "don't own anything" attitude never made sense to me. Maybe the aarakocra are perfect communists or something, but the first time some guy takes your spear without asking - because it isn't your spear - that concept falls apart.

There's also an info box regarding air elemental summoning. Previously cleric-exclusive, 5e allows any five aarakocra to perform a summoning dance for three turns to summon an air elemental for one hour. I predict this to be broken in the future once additional books include more powerful air creatures that are technically still air elementals.

Bottom line: The aarakocra fluff is alright, if rather specific, but why did they turn the aarakocra into a tengu? It was fine as it was and its lack of full arms made it an interesting choice as a player character race.
 

Crinos

Be inspired!
Validated User
#3
Aarakocra on Material Prime live on high mountaintops. They have "no concept of [...] property ownership", which basically makes them flying kender. Serously, though, this "don't own anything" attitude never made sense to me. Maybe the aarakocra are perfect communists or something, but the first time some guy takes your spear without asking - because it isn't your spear - that concept falls apart.
Dear God the Kender have learned to fly.

There will be no stopping them now.

Anyways, I appreciate then separating wings and arms. I've always felt that arm wings were really awkward designwise and always preferred having them two separate limbs.
 
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Clansmanone

Registered User
Validated User
#4
Dear God the Kender have learned to fly.

There will be no stopping them now.

Anyways, I appreciate then separating wings and arms. I've always felt that arm wings were really awkward designwise and always preferred having them two separate limbs.
The only way Kender should fly is when they are launched from a catapult!

Anyway, I kind of liked the "wings as arms" version, and always pictured them using javelins and such with their feet while flying, doing a power dive while gripping it with both sets of claws. Just presents a neat visual to me. YMMV.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#5
Anyway, I kind of liked the "wings as arms" version, and always pictured them using javelins and such with their feet while flying, doing a power dive while gripping it with both sets of claws. Just presents a neat visual to me. YMMV.
Anyways, I appreciate then separating wings and arms. I've always felt that arm wings were really awkward designwise and always preferred having them two separate limbs.
I prefer the awkward version. There's nothing wrong with having limbs, but that's what we have the tengu and that bird-themed angel for.

The only way Kender should fly is when they are launched from a catapult!
Oddly enough, kender aren't even in this book. You would have though that they made it in if the modrons made it.
 
#7
Yeah, wing-arms division totally unecessary.
But then I also prefere wingless Pathfinder tengu.
Two wings, two hands, two legs - I leave this model for dragons and outsiders.

Also weren't aaracora sort of genetically enhanced parotts in classic version? Without Wind Duke servants thing?
 

Hituro

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#8
I thought they were a nice opening to the book, because i love the amount of detail in the Rod of Seven parts section. It is ripe for starting off all sorts of plot lines, from Aarakocra sending PC's on quests to places they can't easily go, to them stealing things from the players that they think might help them on their search (because property ownership is meaningless anyway), to just acting as wise oracles at the top of a wind-swept mountain who horde knowledge pertaining to their ancient war. I was certainly hoping that every entry had as much adventure-promoting material in it, but I didn't quite get my wish.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#9
The arguments about Modrons are significantly less violent.
Got a point there.

Also weren't aaracora sort of genetically enhanced parotts in classic version? Without Wind Duke servants thing?
They first appeared in the Fiend Folio (or rather in the article that then was included in the Fiend Folio) and get a whole page dedicated to them. However, the FF only mentions that aarakocra are friendly with eagles and air elementals. The parrot comparison comes from 2e (or is at least mentioned there). The Wind Duke thing was probably added later. There is an adventure (?) with a "Plateau of the Aarakocra", but I don't remember the details.
 

Yeoman

Registered User
Validated User
#10
I prefer the awkward version. There's nothing wrong with having limbs, but that's what we have the tengu and that bird-themed angel for.
I can go either way on it. Really depends on the over all design. The more human looking the more I tend to prefer arms and wings, the more animal looking, the more I prefer arm wings.
 
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