Few half-breeds take as much pride in their heritage as the aellar. In times past, an ancient nation of elves was besieged by an army from the skies, which fell upon their soldiers in a tide of blood and steel. To counteract this threat, brave elves volunteered to be fused with giant eagles and take the fight to the skies in support and defense of the nation’s war mages. Through their combined might, their foe was driven back and pushed out of the world entirely, leaving the aellar behind.
Though the nation eventually fell, as nations do, the aellar remain, a race unto themselves that breeds true. Proud of their heritage, the aellar have not chosen to sit upon their one mighty deed – the race continues to strive for greatness, and leave a legacy upon the world greater than their mere existence.
And, quietly, to watch for the return of their great enemy.
Aellar retain the tall, graceful builds of their elf forebears, but have powerful eagle wings. They typically have a tan or golden sheen to their skin and a few rare individuals have feathers covering their heads instead of hair. Hair and feather colors are always complimentary, with blonds, golds, silvers, grays, and reds most common. Aellar have sharp features, hooked noses, and thin faces. Their wings connect just behind the shoulders, making it difficult for aellar to wear any clothing or armor not tailored specifically for them.
Aellar prefer minimal, light clothing when relaxing so that they can feel unencumbered while flying and gliding. They favor mithral armor for similar reasons, and often use weapons made from enchanted glass to keep their overall weight down. Magical storage space is common in aellar society, especially for couriers, and their “messenger tubes” usually bear a winged stamp to denote that the one carrying them is on business for his village or roost.
Aellar are much more dynamic than elves, even if they don’t decide to take up a life of excitement and adventure. Their villages and roosts, though somewhat small, bustle with activity and the to-and-fro of aellar coming and going on various errands. Aellar often have an excited attitude towards their life, ready to face new challenges and leave their mark on them.
Many aellar do live exciting lives – they travel the world, hire themselves out as mercenary scouts, take up rooftop robbery, and more. Aellar are driven in a way most elves are not, and that drive can be infectious; faced with difficulty, the aellar response is to rise in glory rather than accept limitations. This can work against them too – many aellar die young, and die violently. Their passion expresses itself in most facets of their life; aellar love like fire, hate like ice, and shun ritualistic worship in favor of vibrant hymns and sacred dance.
A few topics can make aellar solemn, chief among them their racial duty to watch the skies for the return of their great enemy. Their passion also leads to deep grief that sometimes never truly heals, and there is very little that can make an aellar violent faster than disrespecting the dead, especially someone they cared for
For a significant period of their life, aellar can only glide and not fly. As a result, aellar tend to be very athletic – they keep their villages and roosts in high places so they can glide down, and then must trek back to the cliffs or mountains where they make their homes and climb back up. After about a month of this, even the most arrogant young aellar develops an appreciation for the limits of wingless travel.
Most aellar are raised and trained to battle, less for battle’s own sake and more for the discipline, courage, and self-confidence that martial training can instill. Many pursue the path of magic or faith at a young age, but the study of tactics is something of a cultural pastime, and few aellar, even peaceful ones, are unaware of how they might apply their skills in an emergency. These reflexes serve them well – outsiders rarely, if ever, catch aellar unprepared.
Aellar can develop a serious fascination with urban environments. Partly, this is because almost all of them are raised in small villages or only-slightly-larger roosts, and the sheer number of people and cultures is an allure all its own. However, aellar are deeply in love with the verticality of cities, the changing heights and updrafts that make flying and gliding a challenging and rewarding pastime. More than one has settled permanently as a thief or messenger in an urban environment, finding their niche in the smoky air.
Many aellar take up adventuring as a career, wanting the excitement and rewards of wealth, as well as the chance to test and hone their skills. They might be former militia members, thieves wanting more than what robbery nets them, or sorcerers in search of lore that points to their ancient enemy. Aellars bring their vibrancy into adventures with them, keeping morale up with their enthusiasm and tackling difficult challenges in innovative ways.
Aellar are fascinated by most other races and get along well with those who have an appreciation for problem-solving and pushing themselves past their limits. Aellar members can be found in almost any class (though sorcerers and oracles are comparatively rare), but they tend to favor clerics, paladins, and martial prowess.
Ability Score Adjustments
Medium: Aellar are Medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties due to their size
Other Racial Traits
Vestigial Wings (Ex) Aellar gain Vestigial Wings as a bonus feat. At 9th level, they gain Aerial Wings as a bonus feat
Aerial Elitist (Ex) An aellar in the air is an aellar in their natural environment. While airborne, they gain a dodge bonus to their AC equal to 1+ 1 per 5 character levels. Aellar deal an additional 1d6 points of damage when charging, provided they begin their charge while airborne. They may use their Fly modifier in place of their Reflex save when flying; if they do so while gliding, they fall 30-ft. (this may cause them to take fall damage).
Raptor’s Gaze (Ex) Aellar are unusually perceptive, able to pick out opponents from behind illusions and obscuring smoke; the aellar ignores 10% of any miss chance his attacks suffer (such as when attacking a concealed opponent, or fighting in darkness)
Languages: Aellar begin play speaking Common and Elven. Aellar with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Auran, Celestial, Halfling, Orc, or Sylvan
Alternate Racial Traits
Feathered Mantle (Ex) Some aellar don’t have enough feathering on their wings for gliding, instead finding it across their bodies. This increases their natural armor bonus by +1, but the feathering thickens over time and increases by +1 every 5 levels. Their “mantle” also grants increased control over the winds, increasing the caster level of any spell with the air descriptor by 2. This racial trait replaces vestigial wings and aerial elitist
Clawed Assailant (Ex) Some Aellar lack the giant eagle’s wings, but gain their wicked talons and have their incredible leg strength instead. They gain 2 claw natural attacks and a bonus on acrobatics checks to jump equal to their hit dice. At 9th level the claw damage increases to 1d6 + Str modifier. This replaces Vestigial Wings and Aerial Elitist
Suqur-blooded (Su): These aellar have interbred with creatures touched by the strange force known as akasha. They may invest essence into this ability to gain a +1 bonus to Reflex saves and a +1 insight bonus to ranged attack rolls per point of essence invested. Gain 1 point of essence. This replaces the aerial elitist racial trait
Favored Class Options
Guru: Increase the essence capacity of your Gentle Touch ability by +1/6.
Stalker: Gain 1/6 of a new stalker art.
Vizier: Gain +1/4 point of essence.
Bloodforge, © 2017, Dreamscarred Press, LLC; Author: Matthew Ryan Medeiros, Jade Ripley, based on material by Owen K.C. Stephens.