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DnD 5e - The Aasimar Handbook

Last Updated: August 23rd, 2021

Introduction

Aasimars are the go-to option for players who want to play a character with clear celestial influence. Originally presented in the Dungeon Master's Guide as an example of designing a race, the finalized version which appears in Volo's Guide to Monsters is much different from both the version in the DMG and aasimar in previous editions of the game. The final version is exciting and has a lot to offer both in terms of flavor and in terms of mechanics.

Aasimar get three subraces to choose from, plus the DMG variant. While it's never explicitly stated, it's implied that the Protector and Scourge are intended to be good-aligned, while the fallen is intended to be evil-aligned. From a more mechanical perspective, the three subraces provide a different ability score increase and transformation, making each viable in different sets of builds and classes.

The Aasimar subraces' transformations all apply a damage boost which applies to damage you deal on your turn with an attack or a spell. Since the transformation only works for one minute per long rest, you want to get as much mileage as possible. If possible, use multi-target effects like AOE damage spells, or make numerous attacks in the same turn. Keep in mind that the damage is reduced by resistances, targets passing saving throws, etc. so if you rely on AOE damage spells you'll want to apply the bonus damage to a target that fails its save.

The DMG version of the Aasimar, often overlooked by most groups, is still a perfectly functional race. It shares the Protector Aasimar's ability score increases, and the regular Aasimar's Darkvision and damage resistances, but instead of Healing Hands, Light, and Transformation, the variant Aasimar just gets some innate spellcasting.

Classes (Customizable Origins)

This section assumes that you're using the option "Customizing Your Origin" rules presented in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. If you're not using those rules, scroll down to the next section.

With the addition of the Customizing Your Origin rules, the only thing which distinguishes aasimar subraces is the subraces' transformations, and matching the transformation to your class is an important decision. Fallen is great for classes that are sometimes in melee, but aren't built to be a front-line defender, like the Rogue. Scourge is good for durable front-line classes with big piles of hit points like the Barbarian or the Fighter, as well as classes with the ability to heal themselves like the Cleric and the Paladin. Protector is great for spellcasters and ranged attackers because it offers flight without Concentration, allowing you to stay in the air even if you take a few hits.

Artificer

The Fallen Aasimar works for melee artificers and the Protector Aasimar works for ranged artificers, though the Fallen Aasimar's Charisma-based save DC will be a problem. The Scourge is too risky with the Artificer's d8 hit points and limited healing capabilities. The Variant Aasimar works, but the innate spellcasting doesn't add anything that the Artificer needs and can't already provide.

Barbarian

The Protector Aasimar gives the Barbarian easy access to flight, and the damage bonus will be reliable thanks to Reckless Attack. Scourge is a very tempting option for the Barbarian because it both helps to handle crowds as well as focusing on large single targets. You can even use Healing Hands while raging, though the healing isn't big enough that it's worth the action unless it's an emergency.

Bard

The Aasmiar's innate spellcasting is a good complement to the Bard's capabilities, and the damage resistances are nice for a fairly frail class. For melee bards, the Fallen Aasimar's Necrotic Shroud is a great crowd control option with a Charisma-based DC. For bards focusing on spellcasting, Protector is an easy choice. The DMG Variant Aasimar's additional spellcasting is tempting, but doesn't add anthing that the Bard can't already do.

Cleric

The Aasimar's innate spellcasting is redundant with the Cleric's features, especially for the DMG Variant Aasimar. Even so, the Scourge Aasimar's Radiant Consumption is a tempting option for a class with abundant magical healing, and the Protector Aasimar gives and easy option for flight in combat which can often be difficult for clerics to find.

Druid

The Aasimar's innate spellcasting is redundant with the Druids's features, especially for the DMG Variant Aasimar.

It's unclear which, if any, of the Aasimar's racial traits work while wildshaped. The Aasimar draws their unique racial traits from their celestial lineage, so it makes sense that they wouldn't work in a different form, but you could also argue that things are more spiritual than biological. Talk to your DM about it.

Fighter

The Aasimar's innate spellcasting doesn't help the Fighter much, but the damage resistances are hard to replicate and can protect the Fighter from powerful foes like celestials and undead. Fallen is a tempting option, but most fighters won't have the Charisma to make Necrotic Shroud's DC reliable. Scourge can work, but the self-inflicted damage from Radiant Consumption is difficult to manage without a lot of built-in healing. Protector is probably the easiest choice, allowing melee builds to get into melee with flying foes and allowing ranged builds to get out of reach.

Monk

The Aasimar's innate spellcasting does little to htelp the Monk, but the damage resistances are just as useful as they are for other martial classes, and Transformation offers an enticing damage option for a class which can make so many attacks right from level 1.

With no dependency on Charisma, the Fallen Aasimar's Necrotic Shroud won't have a reliable DC. The Protector Aasimar's flight may be useful, and Unarmored Movement's speed bonus will apply to the flight speed. Scourge looks tempting on a melee class, but with few healing options it's a hard choice. It may work for Way of Mercy, provided that you're willing to spend Ki to heal yourself repeatedly in combat.

Paladin

Every variety of aasimar works for the Paladin. Fallen works great for a high-Charisma build, so Blessed Warrior builds are an excellent choice. Protector is a natural choice, allowing you to handly flying enemies without relying on allied spellcasters or magic items. Scourge is great for handling crowds, which is normally hard for the Paladin due to their almost complete lack of area damage options. The DMG Variant Aasimar provides early access to spellcasting options which paladins don't normally get until well into their career due to their slow spellcasting progression.

Ranger

Protector's flight is great for the Ranger. Scourge may also work, but the Ranger's healing options are very limited to be cautious.

Rogue

The Aasimar provides some magical options not normally available to the Rogue, but subclass options are difficult. Protector is almost certainly your best choice.

Sorcerer

The Aasimar offers access to some options which the Sorcerer can normally only get from Divine Soul. Fallen looks tempting due to Necrotic Shroud's Charisma-based DC, but most sorcerers don't want to be in melee to use it, so stick to the Protector Aasimar for flight or the DMG Variant Aasimar for access to Lesser Restoration.

Warlock

The Warlock offers a lot of great options for the Aasimar. Fallen Aasimar are a good choice for hexblades built for melee, and the Protector is a great option for caster warlocks looking to get off the ground occasionally. Scourge may be hard due to the Warlock's d8 hit dice and lack of healing options. The DMG Variant Aasimar may work for celestial warlocks looking to serve as their party's healer, offering access to Lesser Restoration so you can do more than just restore hit points.

Wizard

The Protector's access to flight is an easy option for the Wizard, but few of the Aasimar's other traits directly benefit the Wizard.

Classes (Default Rules)

This section assumes that you're not using the option "Customizing Your Origin" rules presented in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. If you are using those rules, scroll up to the previous section.

Artificer

Bad ability spread. The damage boosts from Transformation would work great, but without and Intelligence increase you'll lag behind other artificers most of the time.

Barbarian

The Fallen Aasimar's Strength bonus and their Necrotic Shroud ability work fine for the Barbarian, but the Aasimar's other subraces and the core racial traits do very little for the Barbarian.

Bard

A +2 Charisma increase is a great start for a bard, and Healing Hands and Light Bearer provide magic options which will open up space in your cantrips and spells known.

Your choice of subrace will likely depend on your subclass. Fallen Aasimar might work as Sword or Valor bards, but Strength is generally a poor choice for bards planning to use weapons. Scourge Aasimar works great offensively, but you'll fall behind expected attack bonus and damage with weapons until you pick up at least one Ability Score Increase, and the Bard doesn't have enough hit points for the Scourge Aasimar's Transformation to be safe. Protector Aasimar offers access to flight, making it a safe option for bards focused on spellcasting.

Cleric

Despite their Charisma increase offering very little to clerics, the Aasimar still makes a decent cleric. Resistance to necrotic and radiant damage is great for a class which frequently confronts celestials and/or undead, and Healing Hands is a useful complement to your healing spells..

Protector Aasimar is the go-to option for aasimar clerics because of their Wisdom increase, and Radiant Soul allows you to fly and deal a bunch of extra damage for one minute per day. Scourge and Fallen Aasimar can both work depending on your choice of domain and your role in the party, but your spellcasting may lag behind at low levels until you pick up some Ability Score Increases. If you don't want to deal with Transformation, the DMG Variant Aasimar's innate spellcasting could be a good option.

Druid

The Protector Aasimar provides a Wisdom increase and access to flight when you need it in combat, plus the innate spellcasting nicely complements the Druid's spellcasting.

It's unclear which, if any, of the Aasimar's racial traits work while wildshaped. The Aasimar draws their unique racial traits from their celestial lineage, so it makes sense that they wouldn't work in a different form, but you could also argue that things are more spiritual than biological. Talk to your DM about it.

Fighter

Purple Dragon Knight is the only archetype where Aasimar is a truly good fit, especially for a Fallen Aasimar. Scourge Aasimar are fine, but their lack of a Strength or Dexterity increase can be crippling for a low-level fighter until you pick up a few ability score increases.

Monk

Almost nothing useful for the Monk.

Paladin

Aasimar make natural paladins. Charisma supports many paladin features, and Blessed Warrior makes a Charisma-heavy build not just possible but also very effective. Scourge aasimar are a great option for durable paladins, and fallen aasimar are great offensive options, and their flavor makes sense for oathbreaker paladins. Protector aasimar typically work better as clerics, but the flight is still very appealing. The DMG Variant Aasimar's innate spellcasting offers access to Lesser Restoration long before the Paladin would normally get it, making it a tempting option in a party without a cleric or a druid.

Ranger

Nothing useful for the Ranger.

Rogue

Bad ability spread.

Sorcerer

A Charisma increase is the most important part of your race selection for the Sorcerer, but the Aasimar also gives you resistance to two damage types and an option for healing which arcane spellcasters usually can't replicate.

Protector is an easy choice for spellcasters because it provides access to flight without Concentration. Scourge may be an option for sorcerers worried about being pulled into close quarters, but Radiant Consumption will burn through your hit points very quickly.

Warlock

Like the Sorcerer, the Warlock needs Charisma first and foremost.

Protector is an easy choice for spellcasters because it provides access to flight without Concentration. Scourge may be an option for sorcerers worried about being pulled into close quarters, but Radiant Consumption will burn through your hit points very quickly.

Wizard

Bad ability spread.