DnD 5e - The Aasimar Handbook
Last Updated: January 8th, 2020
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances.
- : Good options.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can't assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won't cover Unearthed Arcana content because it's not finalized, and I can't guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.
The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.
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 slightly 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 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.
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.
Bad ablity spread.
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.
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 intended choice of college. Fallen Aasimar might work as Sword or Valor bards, but Strength is generally a poor choice for bards planning to use weapons. Scourge Aasimar work great for most bard builds, but you'll fall behind expected attack bonus and damage with weapons until you pick up at least one Ability Score Increase. Protector Aasimar don't do much for the Bard.
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, but 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.
Almost nothing useful for the Druid. It's unclear which, if any, of the aasimar's racial traits work while wildshaped.
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 at least one ability score increase.
Almost nothing useful for the Monk.
Aasimar make natural paladins. Charisma supports many paladin abilities. 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.
Nothing useful for the Ranger.
Nothing useful for the Rogue.
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.
Scourge is the clear choice for the Sorcerer. Sorcerers don't need Strength or Wisdom, so the Scourge provides some extra hit points on top of the other wonderful things that the base Aasimar racial traits offer.
Like the Sorcerer, the Warlock needs Charisma first and foremost.
Scourge is again the clear choice. Fallen Aasimar were a an option for blade pact warlocks for a while, but the Hexblade allows the Warlock to double down on Charisma, making the Fallen Aasimar less appealing.
Bad ability spread.