Last Updated: April 25, 2022
Introduced in Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos (affiliate link), the Owlin is an owl-like humanoid. Similar to the Aarakocra, the Owlin can fly nonmagically, but the Owlin trades a bit of the Aarakocra’s speed and the Aarakocra’s largely useless claws for several other useful racial traits. The Owlin also benefits from the post-Tasha’s changes to race design, so much like the lineages introduced in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft and the Fairy, introduced in The Wild beyond the Witchlight, the Owlin has their choice of +2/+1 increases or three +1 increases. Taken as a whole, the Owlin is outright better than the Aarakocra in everything except speed.
Owlin also receive proficiency in Stealth. You may be locked into this choice since the Owlin doesn’t explicitly have the “Ability Score Increase” trait which is required to use the custom origin rules (see the Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything errata).
Table of Contents
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. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
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.
RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
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.
The ability to fly is great for ranged artificer builds, but you can’t fly in medium armor, so your AC may suffer. Be cautious around enemies that can attack you at range, and consider a shield and some infusions to boost your AC. An armorer in infiltrator armor seems like a great choice, and with built-in flight and Darkvision you can be a truly exceptional Scout with little further effort.
For a class locked into melee, permanent flight isn’t always useful since many of your foes can’t fly. The Owlin also can’t fly in medium armor, so you’re likely going to rely on Unarmored Defense, which means that your AC will lag for a long time, and you’ll need to invest Ability Score increases in on ability scores, making feats an expensive and difficult choice. Darkvision and Stealth proficiency will help diversify your capabilities outside of combat, which the Barbarian sorely needs, but the added reliance on Dexterity may not be worth the benefits.
While bards do get light armor (medium if you go for Valor), they’re still frail, so the ability to fly and remain at a safe distance is excellent. Darkvision and Stealth proficiency are great, too.
While you’ll be stuck in light armor, the ability to fly will keep you at a safe distance, hopefully offsetting your relatively poor AC. Stick to caster builds. Trickery Domain may be especially appealing when combined with the Owlin’s flight, Darkvision, and proficiency in Stealth, allowing you to more easily fill the role of your Party’s Scout.
Druids have notoriously poor AC, so access to non-magical flight makes it easy to stay at a safe distance in combat, but outside of combat Wild Shape already solves the issue of access to things like Darkvision and flight. If necessary, druids can just turn into owls. Still, flight is a fantastic tool in combat, and Stealth proficiency never hurts. Other flying races like the Fairy and the Winged Tiefling may offer more unique benefits to the Druid, but an owlin druid is still a very effective character.
The Owlin is a great choice for ranged fighter builds. Flight, Darkvision, and a Stealth proficiency make it easy to serve as a Scout in place of a rogue if you build around Dexterity. Melee builds will also work, of course, but the usefulness of flight will frequently be negated once you’re in melee.
The ability to take three +1 increases is very appealing for the Monk, but the usefulness of flight is diminished for a class that’s mostly locked into melee combat. Monk subclasses which can work at range like Way of the Kensei and Way of the Sun Soul might be better choices, but they’re still not ideal. The Monk’s speed bonus applies to the Owlin’s flight, and the Owlin’s Stealth proficiency reduces the skill gap between the Monk and the Rogue, so an owlin monk makes a great Scout.
A lightly-armored paladin can still take advantage of the Owlin’s flight, so I recommend building around Dexterity. You could build around Charisma thanks to Blessed Warrior, but your AC will suffer significantly. Flight may be enough to compensate by keeping you at range, but at that point just play a cleric.
Flight, Darkvision, and Stealth proficiency are perfect for the Ranger. Basically any ranger build will work well for the Owlin except for Strength-based builds which need to rely on medium armor.
Flight, Darkvision, and Stealth proficiency are perfect for the Rogue. Flight allows you to use Cunning Action to dart into melee to attack before retreating vertically to stay out of reach, making the Rogue’s signature hit-and-run tactics even more powerful.
Flight and Darkvision make it easy to stay at a safe distance, and Stealth proficiency will help you expand beyond Face skills.
Flight and Darkvision make it easy to stay at a safe distance, though even the Owlin’s Darkvision still doesn’t match Devil’s Sight. Stealth proficiency will help you expand beyond Face skills.
Flight is great for the wizard since wizards are almost entirely unsuited to fighting in melee, and Darkvision saves you the trouble of getting it from a spell. Stealth proficiency is helpful, but wizards rarely rely on physically going places to scout things, so it might not see much use.