[RPG] precedent for wounds that can’t be healed


I am currently a DM who has a player wanting to play as an Aarakocra. I don't want this Aarakokra to be able to fly right from the start and I had come up with a way to have her wings be damaged in a way that it doesn't seem like bs.

Though I was wondering; I wanted to have something be pierced through one of her wings leaving her unable to fly but from what I've read anything can be healed with magic even if she'd loose the entire wing. What I had planned was that she would no longer be able to use one of her wings and later on in the story she would get a mechanical one to replace it.

Is there a way, within the rules of D&D 5e, that I can wound her wing without it being able to be healed by our cleric so that in the early levels she won't be able to fly? Because in the official ruling from what I understand, any lost or severely wounded limbs can be healed with magic.

Best Answer

A missing wing is not easily replaced at lower levels.

You’re right, magic can fix anything, but at lower levels limbs are not so easily regrown.

To regrow a limb you’d need access to the Regenerate spell:

The target's severed body members (fingers, legs, tails, and so on), if any, are restored after 2 minutes.

However, this is a 7th level spell. Your PC’s won’t get those until level 13.

Assuming you don’t want your player to wait quite that long to be able to fly, you can insert a 13th level NPC spellcaster into your narrative who wants the party to do them a favour, or let them find a scroll of Regeneration, at an appropriate point.

But is your player going to be happy with this?

Have you discussed with them the idea of taking their ability to fly away at lower levels? How do they feel about this?

Is flight their main reason to consider playing an Aarakocra? If so, then taking away that ability initially may mean they'd rather play something else - with all their racial benefits intact.

Before following this strategy I'd advise checking that your player is on board.

N.B I've assumed in this answer, that in your gameworld an Aarakocra's wings and arms are separate limbs, which is inkeeping with offical 5e depictions but varies somewhat with lore from previous editions. Losing effectively a whole arm (as well as a wing) would have very debilitating implications for combat - ability to use shields, wield 2h weapons etc.

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