|This article contains PROMOTIONS! Don't say we didn't warn you.|
If you were looking for the player character in Skyrim, then gb2/v/.
Dragonborn are a race in Dungeons & Dragons, introduced in the game's 4th Edition, which are the result of the designers putting their heads together during the edition concept-working stage and going "you know what'd be awesome? Playable dragons!" The result are a bunch of proud, martially-skilled, driven and emotional draconic humanoids, who can best be described as the result of throwing a dragon, a human, a klingon, a knight, a paladin and a samurai into a blender and seeing what comes out.
As a distinctive race in their own right, dragonborn are only two editions old as of 5th edition. But, the idea of a playable humanoid dragon actually goes back a lot further into D&D's history - all the way to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, in fact.
On /tg/, dragonborn tend to be a Love 'Em or Hate 'Em sort of race. Many people love them because they're a proud warrior race with a distinctly different theme to them than the traditional dwarf, or because they're a great choice for a "Bruiser" character that lacks the pigeonholing stats and/or creepy fluff of the half-orc, or just because they find the basic idea of a playable dragon character that you don't have to wrestle around Level Adjustment to be just inherently awesome. Just as many people hate them for having no precedent in AD&D, or give them heat-by-association for being introduced by a controversial edition of the game, or for not being lizardfolk, or for just not fitting the neo-Tolkien lineup of races.
But, no matter what /tg/ thinks, Dragonborn seem to be here for the long haul, and truthfully they have gotten more popular now that they're on their second edition. The loss of hatred is probably helped by the fact that Dragonborn fill a previously unfilled niche: Satisfying the "I wanna play a dragon!" itch without otherwise unbalancing the base game the way that Half-Dragons and the dragon "racial classes" did in earlier editions.
Dragonborn in 2nd Ed
In these days, they were called Half-Dragons, and their fluff amounted to "your mom was a demihuman and your dad was the dragon who banged her". Only male bronze, silver, and gold dragons can produce hybrids with female elves, dwarves (wtf?), and gnomes (WTF?!). The products combine a human-style inability to multiclass with a demihuman-style inability to get too high level, and the only thing they get in exchange are a few useless racial abilities, plus a very weak breath weapon at level 7. To add insult to injury, they are introduced in Council of Wyrms, wherein you can, right off the bat, play a powerful as fuck dragon PC. They come off as both ugly and weaker than humans, demihumans, or dragons.
For other "dragonfolk" concepts that came out during this edition... well, honestly, there were a few, even including the Dragon-Kin race, who were basically humanoid dragons. However, two races in particular were of note.
These guys have their own page, but to sum up: the Dragonlance setting dumped orcs and replaced them with draconic humanoids created as expendable foot-soldiers through magically corrupting the eggs of Metallic Dragons. Draconians are most notorious for their Death Throes ability; their corrupted fundamentums keep them from the draconic breath weapon, but cause various pain-in-the-ass effects upon the draconian's death.
They have their own page as well. Long story short, they were part of the Dark Sun setting, a race made by the Sorcerer-King-Lich Dregoth, who figured that since his own status as a Sorcerer-King had led to his near-complete transformation into an Athasian Dragon, then humans transforming into dragons was the way to go for the future, and so he experimented on his people to give them a weaker version of his own draconic transformation. The first batch went wrong, the second were better. The 4e port outright made them dragonborn mechanically, with a few tweaks to justify it.
Dragonborn in 3rd Ed
They were called 'half-dragon templates', and had no fluff other than "Dude, a dragon fucked your mom? Duuuuudde!" There were two big changes from AD&D, though; now every kind of dragon could make half-dragon offspring, and female dragons could get pregnant by males from other species, so you no longer had to play the son/daughter of some demihuman slut who got more than she bargained for after a night enjoying that dragon dick. Now you got the option to play the son/daughter of some demihuman pervert who got more than he bargained for a few months after enjoying that dragon vagina.
- Hit Dice: bump it up one die type, no larger than d12
- AC: +4 racial bonus to base armor class
- Attacks: Bite attack for d6, claw attack for d4
- Special Attacks: breath weapon 1/day, damage ranges from 3d6 to 6d10, depending on who fucked your mom/dad
- Special Senses: gains low-light and darkvision to 60'
- Special Defenses: immune to sleep and paralysis effects, and immunity to 1 elemental type depending on who fucked your mom/dad.
- Ability scores: +8 Str, +2 Con, +2 Int, +2 Cha
- Challenge Rating: +2 of base creature. Yep, just +2, because it rhymes with "Mary-Sue" ('cause I still know what that means), although the DMG says being a half-dragon counts for +4 extra levels if you're playing it as a PC, which is a very painful penalty since virtually nothing (not even all those bonuses) are worth being 4 levels behind the rest of your party.
There is nothing preventing you from stacking either the half-fiend or half-celestial templates on top of this, in addition to the axiomatic, anarchic (from the MotP), celestial, and fiendish templates, as well as the half-illithid and half-fey templates (FF), and the Half-Ogre and Half-Minotaur templates on top of all this. If you do have such a ridiculous number of templates stacked on top of each other, only one of those templates is going to signify your parentage, the others are just signs that a Wizard got really bored and decided to kidnap you in order to screw with your DNA to see what would happen when you were a kid.
Dragonborn in 3.5 Ed
They were published in Races of the Dragon, an official splatbook written by Gwendolyn Kestrel, who also gave us The Book of Erotic Fantasy. They were people of any race who got sucked into the cult of Bahamut and were born-again as dragon-aspected lizardfolk with a side-order of Mary-Sue.
And we mean "born again" literally; the ritual of pledging themselves body and soul to Bahamut culminates in the devotee unbirthing themselves by crawling into a giant dragon's egg and being remolded into a humanoid dragon.
Ignoring for a moment that this is horrifying in its own right and that the splatbook with them tries to pass this whole process off as a good thing, they lose their Dragonborn forms if they willingly perform an evil act... which means that, whilst they are Bahamut's very own super soldiers, he never has to worry about them going rogue.
If these guys were too squicky for you, there was also the Spellscale race, which were basically the result of draconic sorcerers interbreeding until they woke up their draconic genes, mutating into a new race of dragon-touched humanoids.
- +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity. Dragonborn are hearty and healthy, but they are awkward in their newly adopted bodies.
- Humanoid (dragonblood): Dragonborn are of their former type (usually humanoid) with the dragonblood subtype and any other subtypes they had before undergoing the Rite of Rebirth. For all effects related to race, a dragonborn is considered a dragon and a member of her original race. This does mean that ANY creature with intelligence 3+ and a non-evil alignment can become a dragonborn; warforged and awakened golems can become dragon-bots, awakened trees can become fucking dragon trees, ooze elementals can become goo-dragons, whatever. And yes, a dragon can be born again into a shittier dragon. Why is it shittier? Their lifespan will become a lot shorter and their already bad dexterity will become even worse in exchange for another con bonus point, which given the fact that no great wyrm dragon has a con score under 20 means that this bonus isn't needed.
- Age: After a dragonborn undergoes the Rite of Rebirth, she emerges as an adult creature regardless of her previous age. If she lives for 200 years (see Table 1-1, page 10), she enters middle age. This is a good thing for human dragonborn, and a big disappointment for formerly immortal beings who became dragonborn.
- +2 dodge bonus to Armor Class against creatures of the dragon type. The dragonborn have an innate sense of how best to defend themselves against their potential enemies.
- Immunity to Frightful Presence: Dragonborn are immune to the frightful presence ability of dragons, just as if they were dragons.
- Draconic Aspect: Bahamut has blessed the dragonborn with aspects combining some of the best attributes of good dragons. Upon completing the Rite of Rebirth, a dragonborn chooses which of the following three aspects to manifest. Once the choice is made, it cannot be changed.
- Heart (Su): A dragonborn who chooses heart as her draconic aspect gains a breath weapon. Straight line, (level/3 + 1)d8 damage, save for half, each use you can choose the damage type from these elements: acid, cold, electricity, or fire.
- Mind (Ex): A dragonborn who selects the mind aspect sharpens her senses, gaining immunity to paralysis and magic sleep effects. She gains darkvision out to 30 feet and low-light vision, plus a +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks.
- Wings (Ex):A dragonborn who selects the wings aspect hatches sporting fully formed wings. Dragonborn can use these wings to aid their jumps (granting a +10 racial bonus on Jump checks) and to glide. Those with 6 HD or more can use their wings to fly.
- Automatic fluency in Draconic, because sitting in an egg for a year is apparently the draconic equivalent of Rosetta stone.
- Favored Class: Fighter. No XP penalties for multiclassing into Fighter. You know, the shittiest base class in the game that can be outplayed by some NPC classes.
- Note that while Bahamut only accepts beings of lawful good or neutral good alignment as clerics, he accepts any non-evil being as dragonborn. Yes, Bahamut is the god of good dragons, won't actually accept the prayers of Always Chaotic Good brass and copper dragons, but will still let them be reborn into shittier dragons, he's racist like that.
Introduced in Race of the Dragon was the Kobold only "Dragonwrought" feat, which could only be taken at the first level, representing a rare form of Kobold touched by dragon experimentation. This feat made Kobold's the dragon type, giving them a few immunities and dark vision. This doesn't sound too bad, except the editor forgot there's a lot of baggage to having the dragon type added in Races of the Dragon.
- You don't take penalties from aging, so you can start as really old (with 150 years left in your life, more than a typical kobold will ever have) and have +3 to all your mental scores.
- "Dragons automatically qualify for any classes, prestige classes, racial substitution levels, feats, powers, or spells that require the dragonblood subtype.". Likely meant "Dragons are considered to have the dragonblood subtype for the purpose of meeting requirements", but whatever idiot wrote it let you bypass all requirements.
- A True Dragon is defined as a dragon typed creature with age categories. Kobold, like all player races, have age categories so you're now a true dragon and an "old" age category one at that. This has even further rules baggage.
After a stint as a monster in 2E and updates to 3.0 in both Dragon Magazine and Wizard's website, these urban dragons were updated to 3.5 in Dragons of Faerûn. While not explicitly designed as such, these dragons actually made good player characters without utterly breaking the game (though they are on the more powerful side).
- 4 Dragon racial hit die. These aren't too badly off compared to class levels. You get the best HP and BAB per level, all good saves and some of the best skill.
- +2 level adjustment. Reasonable for what you're getting.
- Under the optional level adjustment buy-off rules one point of this can be removed at level 6 (so right away in exchange for temporarily being a lower level than the rest of the group) and 9. You're still going to spend multiple levels a level or 2 behind on HP, skills and saves though.
- +2 Con, +2 Charisma. Fairly solid racial adjustments without being too crazy.
- Immunity to magical sleep, paralysis, and acid: Some basic resistances.
- A bunch of stuff that's tied to your natural form (so you lose access to most gear if you want to use it)
- Low-light vision and darkvision
- Flight at good speed and a swim speed.
- +3 natural armor, though no access to manufactured armor.
- Change Shape into a humanoid.
- 1 level of Sorcerer casting, but with cleric spells selectable as spells known.
- Since you have 4 BAB and a level in caster, you only need 1 more BAB and proficiency in a martial weapon to qualify for Abjurant Champion, which makes you a pretty solid Gish.
- Spell Resistance 16: As much of a hindrance as a boon since it also blocks friendly spells. Good thing you're buffing yourself.
The cheese in Dragonwrought Kobold technically applies, but since going up in age categories saddles you with a bunch of racial hit die and level adjustment the first and second don't apply. More importantly, the cheese all comes from a completely different book whereas Dragonwrought Kobolds were in the same book with the rules that caused that cheese.
Dragonborn in 4e
- Height: 74" - 80". Weight: 220 - 320 lbs.
- Size Class: Normal. Speed: 6 squares.
- Ability Bonuses: +2 Strength or +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma
- Skill Bonuses: +2 History, +2 Intimidate
- Dragonborn Fury: +1 bonus to attack when Bloodied (half hitpoints or lower)
- Draconic Heritage: +CON bonus to healing surges
- Dragon Breath: (Encounter Power, Minor Action) choose an element type (Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning or Poison) and one physical attribute at character creation. Once per encounter, may exhale as a close blast-3 attack using ability mod +2 vs. Reflex for 1d6 +attribute bonus elemental damage to all in area. Attack roll bonus and base damage increase each time you go up a tier; +4 and 2d6 at level 11, +6 and 3d6 at level 21.
- Recommended classes: Fighter, Paladin, Warlord
They have fine scales over all their body, with colors ranging between golden, scarlet, rust, ocher, bronze and brown. The scales aren't metallic, they feel like leather. They have blunt snouts, frills along the jawline, and a headcrest of long ropey scales (think the dreadlocks that the Predator alien had). There used to be a huge Dragonborn empire, Arkhosia, but it was wiped out in a war with the Tiefling empire of Bael Turath more than a dozen generations ago (and Dragonborn live only as long as humans do), and now they're just rootless clans. They still hold onto the pride of once being on top, and they insist they were always honorable in the good ol' days, so feel free to play them like fire-breathing Klingons, or musclebound Russian gypsies.
Because of their stats, they make one of the best races in the PHB for Paladins and Warlords, in contrast to half-orcs, who spent most of the last two editions basically pigeonholed into being barbarians. (Though one good thing 4e did for the half-orc was open up a number of other classes, like the monk). It goes without saying that they're also killer Draconic Sorcerers.
An article in Dragon Magazine #388 introduced a dragonborn subrace, the Dragonfear Dragonborn, who lack the traditional draconic breath weapon but can instead invoke a terrifying aura. Mechanically, this works as replacing their Dragon Breath racial power with the Dragonfear power, an Encounter Close Burst 5 (10, at level 21+) Fear attack that targets the Will defense and, on a hit, inflicts a -2 penalty to attack rolls and causes the victim to grant combat advantage. This subrace has some dedicated feats and a unique racial Paragon Path, the Fear Walker, both in the same article.
They had both their own Ecology of the Dragonborn article in Dragon Magazine #365, and a miniature PHB devoted to themselves. The latter had a sidebar talking about the traditional Dragonborn code of honor, and you could really do worse than read both of them even if you're playing 5e: they're full of all kinds of neat cultural lore and artifacts, like how dragonborn regard the various classes, their family structure, their history, religion, all that good stuff.
The PHBR: Dragonborn booklet featured multiple new dragonborn Paragon Paths, one for each of the Power Sources that were present in the game at the time (it came out around the same time the PHB2 did):
- Arcane: Ninefold Master: Practices draconic spellcasting techniques, learning to unite the arcane energy of their spells with their fundamentum in order to wield potent sorcerous exhalations.
- Divine: Platinum Templar: A champion of Bahamut who strives to emulate the teachings of the Platinum Dragon, until their draconic physiology reshapes itself to emulate Bahamut's own.
- Martial: Honorable Blade: A master of Arkhosian fighting styles that channel the draconic magic within their blood into their limbs and weapons.
- Primal: Storm Dragon: A worshipper of the blue dragon or the typhoon dragon as a symbol of the primal might of the storm, whose worship changes their own draconic physiology to match.
The Dragonborn Honor Code:
- In battle, treat your enemies with courtesy and respect.
- Fear is a disease, and cowardice a moral failing.
- Keep your promises; a solemn oath is more important than your life. Speak with honesty, and don't make promises lightly.
- Strive to do your best, and if your best isn't good enough, improve yourself until it is. Do not give up until you have made every possible effort.
- Respect your elders, your leaders, and others who deserve your respect. Obey just commands, and carry out the duties they impose on you. Oppose those who misuse their authority.
- Remember that your deeds reflect on your companions, your clan, and your entire race. Do not do that which would bring you shame if another in your clan did it.
- Boldly challenge your enemies, just as you challenge yourself.
Whilst the Dragonfear Dragonborn was the only "subrace" that dragonborn ever got, the mechanics that the Neverwinter Campaign Setting introduced to tweaking Dwarf, Eladrin and Elf racial stats to better mesh with traditional Forgotten Realms lore were applied to dragonborn in a similar way. Dragon Magazine #421 used the "swap racial features" mechanics to let dragonborn base stats stand in for 4e draconians, specifically the Bozaks and Kapaks. As always, you could selectively mix and match these traits to create unique custom breeds of dragonoid for your own settings.
Bozak Draconian Racial Traits
- Replace Dragonborn Fury with Draconian Blood (+1 to damage for arcane attacks, scales up to +2 at level 11 and +3 at level 21)
- Replace Draconic Heritage with Instinctive Flight (Gain a flight speed of 6, but you can't carry a heavy load and must land after flying)
- Replace Dragon Breath with Concussive Vengeance (Racial Daily; close burst burst 1 Str/Dex/Con+2 vs Reflex; If successful, both you and that target take thunder damage equal to your bloodied value and fall prone (missing halves damage and negates prone); if you die, this is used immediately)
Kapak Draconian Racial Traits
- Replace Draconic Heritage with Instinctive Flight (Gain a flight speed of 6, but you can't carry a heavy load and must land after flying)
- Replace Dragonborn Fury with Murderous Eye (Gain combat advantage vs immobilized, slowed, and weakened enemies)
- Replace Ability Bonuses with +2 Dexterity and +2 Charisma
- Replace Dragon Breath with Caustic Heritage (Two racial powers)
- Toxic Saliva (Racial Encounter; minor action; makes the next hit with an axe, heavy blade, light blade, pick, or spear, or an arrow/crossbow bolt deal 1d6 poison damage (2d6 on level 11, 3d6 on level 21) and save-ends slowed - first failed save escalates slowed to immobilized)
- Toxic Revenge (Racial Daily; immediate reaction close burst 2 Str/Dex/Con+2 vs Reflex; If successful, this deals 1d6 poison damage and save-ends ongoing 5 poison damage (2d6 and 10 ongoing on level 11, 3d6 and 15 ongoing on level 21)).
Dragonborn in 5e
- Ability Score: +2 Strength, +1 Charisma.
- Typical Alignment: Favor Lawful Good or Chaotic Evil.
- Size: Medium. They are stated as growing to well over 6 feet in height and averaging about 250 pounds.
- Speed: 30 feet base walking speed.
- Draconic Ancestry: Choose one of the five Chromatic Dragons (Black, Blue, Green, Red, White) or Metallic Dragons (Brass, Bronze, Copper, Gold, Silver); this affects your other racial abilities.
- Breath Weapon: Your breath weapon's style (Blacks, Blues, Brasses, Bronzes and Coppers have Line type breath weapons; Golds, Greens, Reds, Silvers and Whites have Cones), damage type and the ability score used to save against it (Greens, Silvers and Whites attack Constitution, everything else attacks Dexterity) are all determined by your Draconic Ancestry.
- Damage Resistance: You have Resistance to the same damage type that you inflict with your Breath Weapon.
- Languages: Common and Draconic.
A highly self-sufficient and clannish race literally born of dragons, in that they were created from dragon eggs either by the draconic gods themselves or by powerful dragons. Some still serve as faithful servants, especially as soldiers, but many more are now without a purpose and try to find a reason for their existence. First generation dragonborn more strongly resembled their ancestors, especially in terms of scale color, but generations of interbreeding have created a more unified appearance, with common scale colors being brass, bronze, scarlet, rust, gold, or copper-green. Strongly blooded individuals, whose coloration (and sometimes appearance) again calls to mind their Chromatic or Metallic ancestors, do occasionally appear and are considered marked by destiny.
The dragonfear dragonborn "subrace" of 4th edition was resurrected through a feat in Xanathar's Guide. "Dragon Fear" grants +1 to Str, Con or Cha and lets them burn a use of breath weapon to instead utter a terrifying roar to activate a "draconic presence" aura, forcing a Wisdom save on any creature within 30 feet that can hear or see the roaring dragonborn; if they fail this save, they are frightened of the dragonborn for 1 minute, but can retake the saving throw each time they take damage.
The dragonborn are somewhat behind the curve in 5e. With the possible exception of the paladin, there are choices for any particular class that are simply better, and even there the dragonborn's breath attack and resistance simply can't compete with a variant human's free feat, the half-orc's resilience and bonus critical damage, or the half-elf's bonus to another stat and pile of extra bonuses. Additionally, they trade poorly with their 4e predecessors in every way: the breath weapon's damage scales up worse than a cantrip now and is a full action rather than a bonus action to use, they flat-out have half as many racial features as any other race (not even darkvision), and zero features for the social or exploration pillars of the game beyond a somewhat-rarer language, and, to add insult to injury, they actually lose their free History skill. Also, they bear the dubious honor of being the only race in the game to have a racial feature that scales off a stat they don't get any kind of innate bonus to. Volo's also introduces additional "bruiser" races in the goliath, firbolg, and bugbear, each of which puts the dragonborn to shame. The dragonborn aren't "bad" mechanically, but they are by far the weakest playable race in the game that didn't originate from a Plane Shift article.
The Dragonboobs Controversy
When 4e was releasing its first teasers, the dragonborn drew some attention, positive and negative, just for being new. But one pic in particular caught peoples' eyes. A female dragonborn rogue, wearing a "bikini-style" leather armor cuirass, which you can see on the left here. It didn't matter that her chest was barely as round as the pectorals on some depictions of Conan the Barbarian, the internet promptly exploded with fury and protests, mocking WoTC for resorting to such basic sexual dimorphism, blasting the dragonborn for being a furry race, and just endlessly bitching about the fact that dragonborn should not have breasts.
How did WoTC respond? In the PHB, they released artwork for the dragonborn where the female had visible cleavage, and followed it up by stating in their Ecology article that dragonborn are not reptiles, but actually scaly monotremes; females lay eggs and then nurse their young for the first few months of their lives. They also pointed out that dragons themselves are not reptiles by any taxonomist's standing, given their skeletal structure, musculature and warm blood makes them closer to mammals than anything else.
The meme is still around today, but people got used to it and so it's a fairly tired meme at this point. Most people legitimately don't give a shit anymore, and are more likely to complain about the dragonborn's lack of a tail.
|This article or section is about Monstergirls (or a monster that is frequently depicted as a Monstergirl), something that /tg/ widely considers to be the purest form of awesome. Expect PROMOTIONS! and /d/elight in equal measure, often with drawfaggotry or writefaggotry to match.|
Ironically, although you'd think that the fact dragonborn were created to fill the "playable dragon" niche would naturally lead to their being reskinned everywhere as the iconic draconic monstergirls, this actually doesn't happen at all. Whether this is because /tg/ only likes to look at monstergirls and not to play them, because the memetic taint of 4e scares people away from playing them, or just the fact that a reskinned dragonborn still isn't as brokenly overpowered as even a Half-Dragon, is anyone's guess.
Weirdly, it actually wouldn't be that out of canon; a dragonborn Paragon Path called the Gleeborn has a line mentioning that these dragonborn in particular often become courtesans to human royals. Which implies that it's not unheard of in general for humans and dragonborn to hook up.
- Official Art
- Cheesecake Art
|Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Races|
|Player's Handbook 1:|| Dragonborn - Dwarf - Eladrin - Elf |
Half-Elf - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
|Player's Handbook 2:||Deva - Gnome - Goliath - Half-Orc - Shifter|
|Player's Handbook 3:||Githzerai - Minotaur - Shardmind - Wilden|
|Monster Manual 1:|| Bugbear - Doppelganger - Githyanki |
Goblin - Hobgoblin - Kobold - Orc
|Monster Manual 2:||Bullywug - Duergar - Kenku|
|Dragon Magazine:||Gnoll - Shadar-kai|
|Heroes of Shadow:||Revenant - Shade - Vryloka|
|Heroes of the Feywild||Hamadryad - Pixie - Satyr|
|Eberron's Player's Guide:||Changeling - Kalashtar - Warforged|
|The Manual of the Planes:||Bladeling|
|Dark Sun Campaign Setting:||Mul - Thri-kreen|
|Forgotten Realms Player's Guide:||Drow - Genasi|