Birdfolk and Gliding Rules
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score
increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Age. Aarakocra reach maturity by age 3. Compared
to humans, aarakocra don’t usually live longer
than 30 years.
Free Feat. At first level you get a free feat of your choice.
Alignment. Most aarakocra are good and rarely
choose sides when it comes to law and chaos. Tribal
leaders and warriors might be lawful, while explorers
and adventurers might tend toward chaotic.
Size. Aarakocra are about 5 feet tall. They have thin,
lightweight bodies that weigh between 80 and 100
pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Flight. In this planet’s gravity, you have a GLIDE speed of 50 feet. To use this
speed, you can’t be wearing medium or heavy armor. If you are ever in low gravity or zero-G, then it is a flying speed of 50 feet. You do not have the hover ability.
Wings. You have big wings. When flying or gliding they stick out 5 feet to the sides of where your body is. Your wings must stick out to fly or glide. When they stick out for purposes of determine your reach, you are in the middle square. For purposes of determining if you can be hit, all three squares count as you. (Monsters can hit your wings, but the tip of your wing can’t hold a dagger.)
When you are not flying your wings can be folded up so you only occupy on 5 foot square.
Talons. You are proficient with your unarmed strikes,
which deal 1d4 slashing damage on a hit.
Language. You can speak, read, and write Common,
Aarakocra, and Auran.
A glide speed of 50 feet means the following. You can fly, but for every 20 feet you move horizontally you must descend 5 feet. Thus if you have moved 40 feet west, you have also moved 10 feet down. (40 +10 = 50, so thats where the 50 speed comes from). The 5 foot descent may come at any place along the flight. But you must be able to descend 5 feet somewhere in the 20 feet of horizontal movement, or you cannot glide.
You have big wings. When flying or gliding they stick out 5 feet to the sides of where your body is. Your wings must stick out to fly or glide. When they stick out for purposes of determine your reach, you are in the middle square. For purposes of determining if you can be hit, all three squares count as you. (Monsters can hit your wings, but the tip of your wing can’t hold a dagger.) Most things in 5e just occupy a square area (like 2×2 or 3×3), but when flying you are 3×1.
Like other movement you can break it up before and after your action. Like other movement you can mix gliding with walking, see PHB 190. (Or even swimming )
A gliding creature will fall under the same conditions that make a flying creature fall (See PHB 191 [prone, speed 0]).
You cannot hover, staying in one place. You cannot turn in place. Facing is not normally a thing in D&D, so I won’t come up with hard and fast rules. Generally just try to swoop around when gliding, moving forward at least 5 feet for each 90 degree turn. So the smallest ‘circle’ you can fly is 10 feet square. You can glide straight down if you want (like down a pit that is 15 feet wide, 5 feet across, and 100 ft deep.) [I think this makes you pretty nimble, but having flying become gliding has already nerfed it enough. A magical fly spell will be more nimble, but monsters with wings will be this nimble or less. Earlier editions had lots of complicated rules for this sort of thing, making it a pain in the butt.]
Gliding is not the same as featherfall the spell. It is pretty good for pit traps and such, but not perfect if you are caught unawares. For a trap or other sudden effect that would have you make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage and can glide down if you succed and only half damage if you fail. (This is like a Rogue’s Evasion ability, but only for sudden unexpected falls.)
You do not have to end your turn on the ground. 6 second turns are an abstraction used to explain everyone’s simultaneous actions in an easy way to make the game easy to play. If you were at the top of a 1000 foot cliff, you could glide down and out 4000 feet.
Examples of gliding:
1. You are on the edge of a 5 foot tall cliff. On your turn, you move 20 feet ahead and 5 feet down, landing on the ground. You are done gliding
2. You are on the edge of a 5 foot tall cliff. On your turn, you move 5 feet ahead and 5 feet down, landing on the ground. You are done gliding, You have moved 10 feet so far. It wasnt just 5 feet, because you cannot go diagonal if one of the corners is filled (see PHB 192). Your ground speed is 25 feet, so you could still walk ahead 15 feet this turn.
3. You are 10 feet from the edge of a 5 foot tall cliff. You can glide forward 15 feet and then down 5 feet, landing on the ground. You are done gliding.
4. You are 10 feet from the edge of a 5 foot tall cliff. You can glide forward 20 feet and then down 5 feet, landing on the ground. You are done gliding.
5. You are 50 feet from the edge of a tall cliff. You cannot glide this turn. A Dash action would you 25 feet of walking toward the cliff, but you would still be to far from the cliff to glide.
6. You are at the edge of a 20 foot tall cliff. You glide out 40 feet and down 10. You then use the Dash action to move again, gliding another 40 feet out and 10 down, landing on the ground.