Owlin are a relatively new race in Dungeons & Dragons, first introduced to 5th edition in Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos. These bird people differ from the more familiar Aarakocra and have some features that lend themselves more naturally to certain classes. With that in mind, there are a few fun builds players can try to test out this avian race.
Owlin first appeared in March 2021 as Owlfolk, part of Dungeons & Dragon’s Unearthed Arcana’s playtest for Feywild content, which also included materials so DnD players could create Owlfolk, Fairy, and Rabbitfolk, who later went on to become the Harengon race. Owlin are descended from the Giant Owls of the Feywild and, like their Aarakocra cousins, look mostly humanoid in appearance, albeit with feathers and wings. Players who wish to make an Owlin character can choose any type of owl to base their character on as Owlin can be either medium or small in size.
To create the best possible Owlin build, players should consider 3 main abilities of the characters. Owlin have both brilliant Darkvision with a range of 120 feet and proficiency in Stealth, both of which help with scouting or keeping watch at camp during a short or long rest for their DnD party. Finally, Owlin have a flying speed that is equal to their walking speed, but this cannot be used if the character is wearing heavy or medium armor. So provided that the build uses light or no armor, this flying speed opens up some interesting options for player characters.
A Rogue is the most obvious choice for an Owlin with the boost to Stealth and Darkvision. Rogues wear light armor allowing the Owlin player to continue to use their flight speed, making getting into places all the easier. When choosing from the four proficiencies when creating a Rogue, Perception, Investigation, and Sleight of Hand are great choices. The final skill could be either Deception or Insight, depending on the type of DnD Rogue character the player is building.
Picking Scout at level three as the Roguish Archetype subclass will make the best use of the Owlin features. The Skirmisher ability means that players can move up to half their speed as a reaction if an enemy ends their turn within five feet of them. Using the Owlin’s flight, that movement has greater versatility as players can fly up and away from danger without provoking an attack of opportunity.
Then at level nine, Scout Rogues get Superior Mobility which increases their walking speed by 10 feet. As the Owlin’s flight is equal to their walking speed, it is now also increased. All of this means the Owlin Scout Rogue is a quick, extremely mobile attacker and makes for an interesting addition to the usual character class combinations in DnD.
Another obvious choice for an Owlin character to make the best use of their abilities is a Ranger. Although Rangers can wear medium armor, it’s best to stick to light armor to keep the Owlin’s flight speed. This lower AC can be counteracted by choosing Archery as a fighting style at level two in . This will mean that the Owlin Ranger will be able to fly up and snipe during combat and stay out of direct melee.
At level 10, Rangers get the ability Hide in Plain Sight, where players can spend a minute camouflaging themselves to hide better. This gives the Ranger a +10 bonus to their Stealth check, which when combined with the Owlin’s proficiency, is a great boost. When choosing a subclass for an Owlin Ranger, the best choice is the Gloom Stalker.
Dread Ambusher boosts walking speed by 10 feet during combat which also applies to the Owlin Ranger’s flight speed too. While Umbral Sight gives a Ranger Darkvision if they do not already have it. However, if the character already has Darkvision, it is extended by 30 feet, so an Owlin character would have 150 feet of Darkvision, meaning nothing would escape their gaze.
Many of the Owlin encountered in Strixhaven are spellcasters, and Owlin make great Wizard characters. With no armor to slow them down, an Owlin Wizard could soar above the battlefield with ease. At second level, players should choose the arcane tradition of Bladesinging for their Wizard subclass, which was at one time considered a broken DnD class but was fixed in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
Choosing to be a Bladesinger Owlin will give the character access to light armor and proficiency in one one-handed melee weapon. The Bladesong ability works very well with the Owlin’s flight as it boosts their speed by 10 feet while the Bladesong is active whilst also giving a bonus to AC equal to the character’s Intelligence modifier. This makes the Bladesinger Owlin able to choose between firing spells from the air or joining melee combat, making them a very versatile party member.
Monks are another fantastic choice for an Owlin Dungeons & Dragons character, as players can easily turn these quick and stealthy avians into ninjas. Sometimes Monks are seen as overpowered in DnD 5e but are perfect for Owlin as Monks wear no armor allowing for unrestricted flight for the Owlin, with Unarmored Defense providing a boost to AC for protection. But what makes an Owlin Monk so fun is the many boosts to speed Monks get, which translates directly to flight for the Owlin race.
At levels two, 10, 14, and 18, Monks get steady increases in their speed. So by level 18, Monks can now move their walking speed plus an additional 30 feet, this means that an Owlin Monk would have a flight speed of 60 feet and 120 if they choose to dash.
With the Owlin’s stealthy nature, the Way of Shadow is a brilliant choice at level three and offers another Rogue-style stealth class option for DnD players. Shadow Arts allows the players to spend two ki points to cast spells such as pass without trace, which gives a +10 boost to Stealth checks. At level six, Shadow Step lets the Monk teleport up to 60 feet in dim light or darkness, further increasing the character’s range, and with the Owlin’s flight, that could also mean straight up or down with no fear of fall damage.
Barbarian might seem like an odd choice, but it’s also one of the more fun and creative. A flying Barbarian who can sneak up on enemies would be terrifying to encounter and brilliant to play. At fifth level, Barbarians get an extra 10 feet of movement, which Owlin’s can also use in the air, while just like Monks, Unarmored Defence will counter any AC loss.
Owlin are descended from the Giant Owls of DnD‘s idyllic but dangerous Feywild, so Path of the Beast or Path of Wild Magic both make the most sense thematically. However, for this build, Path of the Beast is the best choice, as Owlin don’t get talon attacks like Aarokocra. Using Form of the Beast at level three and choosing the claw transformation would give the Owlin character claw attacks just like a real owl.
Beastial Soul at level six gives players three options; however, with the Owlin’s flight, two are unnecessary. But the third option relates to swimming making the character’s swim speed equal to walking speed plus underwater breathing. All of this would make an Owlin Barbarian unstoppable on land, air, and sea and ready for anything a Dungeons & Dragons campaign could throw at them.
More: DnD: Building Your First Character (& What Not To Do)
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