[RPG] Can an Aarakocra use a shield while flying


Another PC in a new campaign is an Aarakocra druid, with a (wooden) shield and a free hand for spellcasting (or throwing javelins). At first, the DM and some PCs (myself included) thought the wings and arms were the same limbs. This would mean the druid could not carry a shield while flying. However, most imagery online (and in the books) clearly show they are different limbs: a set of humanoid arms, and a pair of wings on their back. So the ruling of the DM was simple: he allowed to use the shield and other weaponry while flying.

I'm fine with this ruling, but I'm still curious whether the rules say something about flying PCs that carry and use weaponry mid-air, such as a shield in this case. Is our DM's ruling correct, by RAW?

Best Answer


There is no language in the Aarakocra stat block that says they must have a hand or arm free in order to fly. They simply just have a fly speed.

Adding a rule that if they hold a shield, or possibly a weapon/focus/etc, then they won't be able to fly complicates the race and introduces rules and requirements that don't exist. This definitely nerfs a racial ability (flight) without a rules reason to do so.

The only limiting language is with regard to medium and heavy armor - and a shield is not one of those:

You have a flying speed of 50 feet. To use this speed, you can’t be wearing medium or heavy armor.