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Dragonborn in the Sea of Stars

24 October, 2019

More like thisThe Dragonborn . . . did not have a place in the Sea of Stars.  When I started work on the setting, the Dragonborn were not even a published species and when first introduced in 3.x were entirely optional, so I just ignored them.  Fast forward to D&D 5E and I am running an open game at Tyche’s Games (drop by and join us sometime) and people wanted to play Dragonborn.  As they are in the Player’s Handbook, I did not feel right telling them no, so, suddenly there are Dragonborn in the Sea of Stars.  But where do they come from?  How do they fit into the Draconic Empire?  Well, I have been working on that and this is what I have so far:

The Dragonborn were created well before the Godswar and the Sundering by a god who occasionally appeared as a dragon in an attempt to lead the dragons onto a better, more honorable path.  He raised and nurtured them in his philosophy of might for right, honorable conduct and selfless behavior (this being a callback to the original D&D origin story of the Dragonborn as uplifted agents of Bahamut).  Their numbers were never great, especially given their tendency to go on quixotic quests from which they did not return, but they slowly grew.

Then the Godwar happened.  The Dragonborn patron was one of the first to fall under the talons of the Empress, she made it a point to display his failure of might to his creations, and even those not too shocked and demoralized by this were unable to mobilize quickly enough to have any serious effect on the course of the war.  After the war, the Dragonborn lands were divided among no fewer than three Draconic Houses, a few distant villages ending up under yet other houses than the main three, and their faith and worship as they knew it was proscribed.  A handful of brave, or foolish, Dragonborn tried to fight off their new draconic rulers . . . it did not end well.  Most just accepted the yoke and turned to the philosophy of Dominae to fill the void in their spiritual life.  Others sought new paths, such as the Way and some just sunk into apathy.

But a few, the one who were clever as well as faithful, took their old faith underground, now as a philosophy of honorable aid, personal duty and self discipline.  They act as a secret society within the Dragonborn, carefully vetting those they recruit and occasionally even bringing in those of other species, but relying on dire oaths to keep secrecy.

As far as game mechanics go, they are as presented in the SRD except for:

Age. Newly hatched dragonborn grow rapidly with an appetite to match.  They walk hours after hatching, attain the size and development of a ten-year-old human child by the age of three, and physically reach adulthood by around fourteen years but are not considered adult until they pass through some sort of coming of age ritual. They can live to be as old as one hundred and fifty years but violence often cuts this sort.

Size. Dragonborn are often taller and heavier than human a human of equivalent height.  Their draconic ancestry is quite obvious.  (Size Medium.)

Languages. You can speak, read, and write the Imperial Tongue and Low Draconic.  Many take the additional time to master High Draconic as a symbol of their blood ties to the dragons.

Draconic Ancestry

Damage Type Breath Weapon
Acid 5 by 30 ft. line (Dex. save)
Cold 15 ft. cone (Con. save)
Fire 15 ft. cone (Dex. save) or 5 by 30 ft. line (Dex. save)
Lightning 5 by 30 ft. line (Dex. save)
Poison 15 ft. cone (Con. save)

Optional
Necrotic 15 ft. cone (Con. save) “enervating miasma”
Psychic 15 ft. cone (Wis. save) “psychotropic gas”
Radiant 5 by 30 ft. line (Dex. save) “energy lance”
Thunder 15 ft. cone (Con. save) “thundering voice”

Draconic Ancestry. You have draconic ancestry. Choose one energy type (and form in the case of fire) .

Breath Weapon. You can use your action to exhale destructive energy. Your draconic ancestry determines the size, shape, and damage type of the exhalation. When you use your breath weapon, each creature in the area of the exhalation must make a saving throw, the type of which is determined by your draconic ancestry. The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. A creature takes 2d6 damage on a failed save, and half as much damage on a successful one. The damage increases to 3d6 at 6th level, 4d6 at 11th level, and 5d6 at 16th level. After you use your breath weapon, you cannot use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

Damage Resistance. You have resistance to the damage type associated with your draconic ancestry.

Notes: I imagine Dragonborn as looking more like the Silurians from the recent Doctor Who (and from which the photo is from, owned by the BBC and used without permission but should be fair use) than the human/dragon of the official illustrations.  How do you envision the dragonborn?

I am still not sure about the optional breath weapons, they are an odd trade off of resistances with very narrow application but breath weapons that strike against those rare resistances.  What are other peoples’ thoughts?

2 comments

  1. Nice adaptation.


    • Thank you. It is always an interesting challenge to adapt things to an existing game world.



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