“Aarakocra Attack!” by Silvenger on DeviantArt
Welcome to Character Building Exercise, a feature about building characters for your RPGs. We’ll walk through how we created a particular character and solicit your thoughts on the build.
This time around, we built Kleeck, a level 4 aarakocra ranger, for a Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition campaign.
I created Kleeck for two reasons: D&D released rules for aarakocra (bird folk) and my friend and DM had an open spot at his table for another player. As aarakocra can fly, I thought it would be fun to build an flying ranger that could deal death from above with volleys of arrows.
I already had my race and class down, so that was easy. What was most exciting for this build was creating his backstory, which informed much of his abilities and stats.
Using D&D’s free Elemental Evil Player’s Companion, I fleshed out his backstory. Most aarakocra stay with their tribes, but I wanted Kleeck to be out in the world. I adapted a section of the player’s companion that seemed perfect:
Kleeck was a member of a major colony of Aarokocra in the Star Mounts of the High Forest. A secretive and guarded people, they were nearly wiped out by a cruel green dragon that scattered the survivors, Kleeck included.
Kleeck has sworn vengeance against the dragon (and all other dragons) and he scours the land in search of him.
That also helped me fill out his ranger abilities: Favored enemy is dragons and favored terrain is forests.
I gave Kleeck the “outlander” background, which gave him the “wanderer” feature (excellent memory for geography and maps) and a token from a killed animal. In this case, I modified it to be a dragon hide from a small dragon he killed.
Kleeck’s personality traits, ideals, bonds and flaws were chosen to outline his aarakocra nature (always picking things up and fiddling with them), desire for revenge (“I will bring terrible wrath down on the evildoers who destroyed my homeland.”) and outsider status (he remembers every insult).
And now, what you’re probably waiting for, let’s get into his combat stats:
I rolled for ability scores (our DM allows this so long as we film ourselves doing it… seriously) and got a pretty good array of 16, 14, 13, 11, 11 and 9. In highest to lowest order, I assigned them to Dexterity, Wisdom, Constitution, Strength, Intelligence and Charisma. (Aarakocras get a bonus to Dex and Wis, and I assigned his level 4 ability score bonuses to Wis and Con.)
In line with my idea for the build, Kleeck’s ranger fighting style is Archery, which gives a bonus to ranged attacks. I also gave him the Hunter abilities, and took the Colossus Slayer bonus (extra 1d8 to attacks if the target is below its hit point maximum).
For his Ranger spells, Kleeck has cure wounds (gonna need that with only 15 armor class and 37 hit points), hail of thorns (thorns erupt from your arrow and splash anything within 5 feet… great area damage for a level 1 spell) and hunter’s mark (an extra d6 damage when you hit your marked foe).
Since he’s an aarakocra, he can fly if I put him in light armor. I thought the 50 feet of flying speed was worth losing 3 points of AC. Hopefully being in the air won’t make him an obvious target.
With his desire for revenge and being a giant bird man, he should be pretty fun to roleplay. And when the arrows start flying, he should be a pretty deadly hunter.
I have included the first page of his character sheet below if you’d like to check it out. Click the image for a full-size version.
What do you think of the build? Have you built a ranger in 5e? Or made an aarakocra character?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.