DnD 5e - The Aasimar Handbook
Last Updated: August 24th, 2018
I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.
- Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
- Green: Good options.
- Blue: 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.
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. 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 provide a different ability score increase and signature ability, making each viable in slightly different sets of builds and classes.
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.
Nothing useful for the Wizard.