Avariel are a race of flying elves native to the Forgotten Realms. They should not be confused with the Ee'ar, a race of flying elves native to Mystara, although probably nobody ever will, thanks to the fact nobody remembers Mystara in the first place.
They first appeared in issue #51 of Dragon Magazine, in an article titled "The Winged Folk". Here, they were named the "Al Karak Elam", and were a race of beauteous, flying, elven demihumans who had once been staunch allies to the other races of light. However, when their race was decimated after first coming to aid of a rebellious nobleman who turned against his demon-worshipping king, and then betrayed by that same noble, they withdrew into seclusion. These proto-Avariel are described as resembling half-elves, save for the presence of large, white-feathered wings on their backs, and their naturally intense beauty. They live simple lives as tribal hunter-gatherers, with males tending to be the tribe's warriors and females its priests. They also have a strong affinity for illusion magic. Possessing stupendous strength for an elven race (minimum Strength 15 for males and 14 for females!), they possess eagle-like vision, owl-like night vision, and the ability to speak to raptor-birds (that's hawks, falcons and eagles), owls, griffons, hippogriffs and pegasi. They dislike being at sea, but absolutely hate to be underground, which can drive them insane with fear. They're much shorter-lived than normal elves, only living as long as half-elves.
After this, the Al Karak Elam disappeared, until the release of the infamous Complete Book of Elves. Here, now renamed the Avariel (although Al Karak Elam is mentioned an alternate race they are known by in some lands), they appeared as a monster entry in the book's appendix. Now fully resembling winged elves, avariel are defined by their more delicate frames, large eyes and chiseled, angular features. Avariel have lost the bird-speech ability of the Al Karak Elam, and their wing strength has also decreased; whereas the Al Karak Elam fly as easily as they walk, avariel must rest after flying for at least an hour, and they are also vulnerable to flame attacks, which burn their wings and can ground. They are no longer afraid of being at sea, but retain their claustrophobia, and have more restricted weapon skills than common elves, due to their wings getting in the way. They typically wield glass or obsidian weapons, as for various reasons they're not inclined to forge metal. Avariel act more "human" than some elves do, perhaps because of their short lifespan of 300 years, although even by elven standards they tend to be arrogant and aloof, to the point they can't become rangers. Unlike the Al Karak Elam, avariel adopt a more elaborate social structure, typically dividing into two castes; warriors and artisans.
Whilst information is presented in the CBoE to make an avariel player character, it's a matter of teasing out the relevant info from the monster writeup. So, it was followed up by a second Dragon article, "On Wings of Eagles", in issue #233. Here, readers are presented with a full-fledged and easy-to-read PC writeup, as well as some expanded social information, new racial proficiencies and weapons, and a sample avariel city.
Avariel earned a certain level of exposure when Black Isle put out Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, which introduced an avariel wizard/cleric as a recruit and one of the game's three waifu options. Admittedly, she had no wings because, rather than deal with game limitations, Black Isle chose to just give her a back story of having them amputated when she was kidnapped by slavers as a kid, but it still got them some attention.
As such, avariel were one of the the races that made it into the 3e Realms in "Races of Faerun", which basically reiterated/built-upon the lore established in the Complete Book of Elves and in Wings of Eagles.
After this, avariel faded away into nothing; only an Unearthed Arcana for 5th edition has seen them get any mention so far (they are actually also mentioned in Princes of the Apocalypse, the Moon Elf Aerisi Kalinoth imagines herself to be one, and as such uses a combination of minor illusion and fly to make herself one).
- Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 15 or 14 (Male/Female)/18(00) or 18(50) (Male/Female, Dexterity 15/18, Constitution 12/18, Intelligence 12/18, Wisdom 12/18, Charisma 13/19
- Ability Score Adjustments: None Mentioned
- Class & Level Limits: Fighter 7, Cleric 7, Druid 7, Magic-User 7, Illusionist 11
- Exceptional Abilities: An Al Karak Elam Fighter, Cleric, Druid or Magic-User can rise to 8th level if their Primary Ability Score (Str for Fighter, Wis for Cleric/Druid, Int for MU) is 17 and to 9th level if it is 18. An Al Karak Elam Illusionist with 18 Int and 18 Dex can reach unlimited levels.
- Multiclass Options: Fighter/Magic-User, Fighter/Illusionist, Fighter/Cleric, Magic-User/Cleric, Magic-User/Druid, Illusionist/Cleric, Illusionist/Druid
- Can fly whilst carrying half of maximum encumberance, but are slowed as if encumbered.
- If carrying max encumberance, can only fly for 1-2 rounds.
- Can speak to eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, griffons, hippogriffs and pegasi.
- An Al Karak Elam that is forced to stay underground or at sea, or which is imprisoned, must make a save vs. magic once per day. On a failed save, they go insane, developing either the Mania, Manic-Depressive, Homicidal Mania, Suicidal Mania, Hebephrenia or Catatonia insanity.
Keep in mind that Avariel, as elves, retain the "standard" elven abilities, level limits, etc, such as 90% resistance to sleep & charm spells, detect concealed doors, etc. Exceptions are noted.
- Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 8/18, Dexterity 8/20, Constitution 4/16, Intelligence 8/18, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 10/18
- Ability Score Adjustments: +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution
- Classes Options: Fighter, Mage, Cleric, Thief, Bard, Thief/Mage, Fighter/Mage, Fighter/Thief, Fighter/Mage/Thief, Fighter/Cleric
- Thieving Skill Adjustments: -50% to Climb Walls.
- Infravision 60'
- Keen Eyesight: Avariel can see clearly up to 1 mile away.
- Wings: Avariel can fly with Movement Rate 18 and Manueverability Type C.
- Lost Weapon Skills: Avariel do not possess the standard elven +1 bonus to attacking with swords and bows.
- Clumsy on Land: An avariel's land Movement Rate is 9, and they suffer a -2 penalty to their To Hit rolls and a +2 penalty to their AC when fighting on land, unless they spend 2 proficiency points on the Ground Combat proficiency. At the DM's discretion, they may lose their Dexterity bonus entirely when operating on the ground.
- Painful Flight: Each hour that an avariel has been flying, it must make a Constitution check. On a failure, it must rest for 15 minutes per hour of flight prior to the check.
- Bulky Wings: An avariel cannot fly if its hit point total drops to less than 50%. If its hit points drop down to 25% or less, it also loses its ability to glide and to jump up to 10 feet.
- Weight Limitation: An avariel can only carry mass equal to their own body weight and still be capable of flight, with their maneuverability dropping by 1 for each for each (half body weight) of load carried.
- Claustrophobia: When confined in some fashion, such as being underground, an avariel must make a Wisdom save on each day it is imprisoned. On a failed save, it suffers from some debilitating insanity, as described by the DM. Four failed saves cause the insanity to become permanent until treated with a Heal or Remove Disease spell.
For the 3e Avariel, take the 3e Elf statblock and make the following changes:
- Ability Score modifiers are +4 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom
- Keen Sight (Ex): +4 racial bonus to Spot checks instead of the normal +2.
- +4 racial bonus on Jump checks.
- Replace Elven Weapon Proficiency with Avariel Weapon Proficiency (Proficient with Lasso, Bolas, and either Rapier or Longsword).
- Flight (Ex): Flying Speed of 50 feet with Average Manueverability, but cannot fly if carrying more than a Medium load, wearing Heavy armor, fatigued or exhausted. Wings span 12 feet, so cannot fly in an area without room to open wings. An avariel can "run" whilst flying, so long as they move in a straight line.
- Dive Attack: When flying, an avariel armed with a piercing weapon can make a special charge attack that requires descending a minimum of 30 feet; on a hit, the attack inflicts double damage.
- Shortened Lifespan: Avariel use the Gnome aging table instead of the Elf one.
- Favored Class: Cleric
- Level Adjustment: +3
As a subrace, Avariel are pretty gypped; they get Auran (the Air Elemental language) as a bonus language and the somewhat standardized "You can Fly 30 feet per round, but you can't fly if wearing Medium or Heavy Armor, or if Encumbered" flight racial trait. They're literally the only elven subrace at this point to not get a +1 to an ability score... as well as one of only two races that only get +2 to their ability scores. The other one is the Kobold!