Dragonborn, the Drahk’la’darin

“I am Ardeth. and my word is my bond. So be warned, challenge me and your doom is certain.”

-Ardeth, Sorcerer and Warrior-Monk, interrupted in his meditations on the 17th Treatise of the Orm Bel Orm in comparison with the tenets of En Khoda Theos Kirk as described by the philosopher Yevaud while guarding the Wailing Bridge at Starfell Pass against the passage of Urmhaur the Insane and his warband.

The Drahk’la’darin as they are called by the Elves, but more commonly known as the Dragonborn, are a mysterious race whose origins are lost in the mists of time. They are found throughout the Mortal Realms and are known to infrequently travel to both the Faerie and the Shadowlands. Existing over the ages in splendid isolation they have begun to travel and settle close to the lands of men for unknown reasons and despite the fears on the part of humans everywhere. Deeply respected by the wise for their knowledge and insight into arcane matters, as well as for their deeply honorable and traditional natures, the Dragonborn find themselves to be objects of curious apprehension by many. They often have a manner that many view as formal or reserved, and while often eloquent though far from anything that could be described at garrulous, but they form deep and abiding friendships and relationships with people of any race if they find a connection there.

Statistic Bonuses: +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, +1 Charisma

Languages: One Local Human Language, True Speech, Demonspeech (on touch)

Size, Speed, and Appearance: Dragonborn stand 5′ 6″ tall (+2d8), and weigh 175 lbs (x2d6) lbs. Their Size is Medium and their Speed is 30 feet per round. They appear much like tailless, wingless bipedal dragons or drakes standing upright, easily taller than the largest of men. They are covered in fine scales of a combination of vibrant, metallic hues such as rusty-iron, scarlet-gold, copper-green, and polished brass. Less commonly hues of graphite, silver, platinum and electrum are found – the Dragonborn themselves lay no significance on the color of their scales. Their feet and hands are strong, with three fingers and one highly flexible and rotational, opposable thumb (Dragonborn feet are quite prehensile, and this is often a surprise for those unfamiliar with Dragonborn) – the strong talons grant +1 Damage in hand-to-hand/unarmed combat. They all have tawny, yellow-gold eyes with slit pupils, with double eyelids that protect from both wind and water. Dragonborn also have prominent horns, with ridges and frills that many humans almost mistake for some sort of hair.

Common Dress: The most common form of dress among Dragonborn “in the wild” is a combination of harness and straps to attach equipment to. For Dragonborn among other races robes, surcotes, or greatcoats are popular merely to avoid a certain amount of staring. Dragonborn generally prefer Light or Medium armor, though some warriors prefer Heavy armor.

Lifespan: Dragonborn mature quickly, they are considered young adults by age 10 and mature adults by 15. They are known to live up to 500 years of age though there are rumors of Dragonborn of exceedingly ancient age that make the oldest elves seem babes in arms. They generally begin play at the 10 + 1d4 years in age.

Common Culture: One of the most particular aspects of the Dragonborn is that they have no known history of organized settlement or organization – though some obscure legends suggest a presence in the First City. They seem to have always lived fundamentally simple lives either in solitary contemplation or as part of a small village. Those Dragonborn who are interested in a more “civilized” life have traditionally travelled to live with other races – though no race has proven to be more or less popular than any other with the exception of the Serpent Folk of Ith (who have an atavistic fear of Dragonborn and Lizard Folk due to their vague similarity to the Serpathians). Life among the Dragonborn is governed by group council and accord, with the most important social unit being that of the Gens (or clan). The threat of being cast out from the Gens and access to the rights and rituals that come with that is one of the greatest that can face a Dragonborn.

Common Backgrounds: The Acolyte, Hermit, Outcast, Outlander, Sage, and Soldier Backgrounds are most appropriate for Dragonborn.

Naming Conventions: Dragonborn have exceedingly simple names using merely a given name followed by their Gens using the following nomenclature.

<Given Name> Gens <Name of Clan/Gens>

Commonly Dragonborn only use their Gens among other Dragonborn, or among those educated enough to know the significance of the Gens (which is quite rare among non-Dragonborn). Use the examples given in the Player’s Handbook.

Common Alignments: Dragonborn prize and honor tradition greatly, as such they are primarily of Lawful ethics. Morality, as might be suspected from such a alien race, is far more variable, and it is not uncommon to find Lawful Good and Lawful Evil Dragonborn living and working together, side by side.

Common Religions: Though it is not well known (or at least confirmed rather than suspected), the Dragonborn are the originators of the En Khoda Theos Kirk, or the Church of the Great Elemental Dragons. This religion still commands the majority of the Dragonborn’s faith, though an ancient cult following the Primordial Dragon Orm is also venerated. Similarly, those Dragonborn who have fallen to evil and chaos often follow the Forsaken (Typhon and Tiamat).

Common Classes:  Preferred — Fighter, Monk, Sorcerer; Common — Barbarian, Paladin, Wizard; Uncommon — Bard, Cleric, Druid; Rare — Ranger, Warlock; Very Rare — Rogue

Common Professions: Dragonborn seem to be drawn in two opposite directions, one of combat and the other contemplation. Most Dragonborn pursue both at different times of their life. In general, Dragonborn are capable of taking care of themselves in isolation as well as a living in small groups, as a result no profession is generally more common – though they are rarely overly concerned with money. Because of this, both merchants and thieves are rare.

Racial Traits

Extraordinary Senses: Dragonborn have keen vision and senses. They can see in dim light up to 60′ as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. They cannot discern colors in darkness, merely varying shades of grey. They also have Blindsight within 20′.

Breath Weapon: Dragonborn have a Breath Weapon of Flame. It can be used in either a line (5’x30′) or a cone (15′), the line requires a Dexterity save, the cone a Constitution save (DC = 8 + Con Bonus + Proficiency Modifier). Damage is 2d6, then 3d6 at 6th level, 4d6 at 11th level, and 5d6 at 16th level. Once it is used it cannot be used again until after Short or Long Rest.

Dragonhide: Dragonborn may always add their Constitution modifier to their base Armor Class.

Draconic Constitution: The Dragonborn have Advantage against Poison, and Resistance to Fire, Cold, Acid, and Poison.

Draconic Appetites: Dragonborn are, as might be expected from their size and heritage, not just omnivorous but generally require prodigious amounts to eat and drink (though they can adapt to any clime). As a result, their requirements and costs for sustenance are five times that of a human (this also applies to Lifestyle expenses).

Arcane Blood: Due to the Arcane Energies flowing in their blood, Dragonborn never have need of an Arcane Focus no matter what their class (Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard – or Eldritch Knight or Arcane Trickster).

Special Vulnerabilities: Born of arcane energies, the Dragonborn are always considered magic-using creatures when considering the effects of Orikalkum.

Psionics: Reserved

Death: Upon death, the spirit of a Dragonborn returns to the Maelstrom where they wait to be reincarnated. They may not be Raised or Resurrected, only True Resurrection (and Revivify) works. If Reincarnated they invariably come back as an Dragonborn.

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Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Dragonborn, the Drahk’la’darin

  1. Wow, very nice integration of dragonborn into your world. The addition of Typhon to the draconic mythos is inspired. I wish that I had thought of it.

    • Thank you! The Dragonborn are interesting. Never had them in my world before (I have a very different version of “dragon-kin” that I’ll write up at some point, more in common with Le Guin’s work than anything else I suppose). I’m not exactly sure when they entered D&D canon, but when I saw them in 5e I knew that somebody would want to play one sooner or later, I can see where they would “fit in” conceptually (just another, probably near-extinct, Elder Race), and they seem kind of fun – so I figured I’d write them up!

      D.

    • LOL! Forgot to comment RE Typhon… Yeah, the Foresaken in my setting are both Dearth-corrupted Lords of the Maelstrom (Primal Chaos) who either were or are now, draconic in nature/form. This matches the four Great Elemental Dragons of the En Khoda Theos Kirk (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) who are likely simply a fundamentally expressed Form that the mortal mind interprets and perceives as draconic. But Typhon always seemed like a fundamentally “perfect fit” as a match (if not exactly mate) to Tiamat.

      In my setting I have Drakes and Dragons. Greater and Lesser Drakes are kind of standard D&D dragons, “Dragons” in my world are more akin to a Terrasque in power (or “CR”) and in fact many of them are essentially divine in power level (kind of like the Archangels of the Celestials are more than “simple Celestials” in effect and influence). There is a bit of mystery regarding the relationship between Drakes and Dragons, and between Dragons and the Elder Dragons (the divine ones) – the prevailing theory is some combination of age and magical inherent arcane energy.

      D.

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