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AngryJesusMan
2016-07-20, 10:17 PM
Looking over everything in the PHB and the other published supplements (and even some of the Unearthed Arcana material), I felt that the Dragonborn got the short end of the stick.

With some decent Ability Score Increases, it looks like a good start.

Their Damage Resistance is good, but is quite circumstantial.

Their Breath Weapon, again, starts off good. In fact, it's pretty powerful at lower levels. But once you start leveling up and the enemies' CR starts to climb, the Breath Weapon becomes less and less viable. First, it's damage becomes laughable unless you're facing off against a horde of low CR creatures, even after its damage scales up a bit. Second, it takes an entire Action to do it. With that action, depending on your class, you could be doing so much more.

And that's it. No Skill Proficiencies. No other little flavorful... anything.

So I started looking around in an effort to fix this, at least for my campaign. That's when I found the Homebrew Compendium thread. In it, I found RakiReborn's Dragonborn Variant Thread. Most of what I have is lifted straight from that. A lot of it is tweaked a bit to fit into my campaign more smoothly, but RakiReborn has done some exceptional work.

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Dragonborn are the same as the entry in the Playerís Handbook, with the following modifications.

Draconic Ancestry. Rather than granting Breath Weapon and Damage Resistance across the board, you have a number of options from which you can choose. Choose from the list below. If you choose Dragon Wings, that is the only choice that you can make. If Dragon Wings is not your choice, you can choose two of the other options. You still choose a Draconic Ancestry from the Playerís Handbook. This often determines the color of your characterís scales and may influence the way others interact with you, but it may not make any mechanical difference unless Breath Weapon and/or Damage Resistance are chosen.


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 4d6 at 6th level, 6d6 at 11th level, and 8d6 at 16th level. After you use your breath weapon, you can't use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

Dragon Claws. You have retractable claws on both of your hands that are strong and sharp enough that you can make attacks with them. Extending or retracting your claws requires no action. Your claws are natural weapons which you can use to make unarmed strikes. They are considered to have the finesse and light weapon properties. If you hit with them, you deal 1d6 + your Strength of Dexterity (your choice) modifier slashing damage, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike. You can choose to use your claws as an off-hand weapon. If you do, you do not add your Strength or Dexterity modifier to the damage unless another feature allows you to do so.

Dragon Hide. The natural scales and plating on your body make you more difficult to harm than your peers. While you arenít wearing armor, you can calculate your AC as 13 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use a shield and still gain this benefit. In addition, you have resistance to the damage type associated with your draconic ancestry.

Dragon Fear. You can channel your draconic presence, striking fear to those around you. As an action, you can roar in an attempt to frighten creatures within 30 feet of you. Each creature in that radius must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw (DC 8 + proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) or be frightened of you for 1 minute. A creature automatically succeeds on this save if it canít see or hear you. If the frightened target takes any damage, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. You can use this feature once per short or long rest.

Dragon Senses. Your senses are more dragon-like than others of your kin. You gain darkvision (you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray). You also gain proficiency in Perception. Finally, you can identify magical items as if you had cast the spell Identify. You can use this effect once per short or long rest, and it is not a magical effect.

Dragon Tail. You have a powerful, semi-prehensile tail that can be used to attack. Your tail is a natural weapon which you can use to make unarmed attacks. Your tail deals 1d8 + Strength bludgeoning damage. Immediately after a creature within 5 feet of you deals damage to you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to make an unarmed strike against that creature with your tail. If you hit, you deal slashing damage equal your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.

Dragon Wings. Wings sprout from your shoulder blades. You gain a fly speed of 25 feet. To use this speed, you canít be wearing medium or heavy armor. Any armor or clothes you wear must be made to accommodate your wings.


In the end, I think that this offers a highly customizable character that can be tailored to fit a huge variety of character builds. (I understand the idea behind magical dragons, but I'm just not on board with RakiReborn's option for Innate Spellcasting. Nothing's wrong with it; it just doesn't fit my campaign well.) I don't think that anything is particularly overpowered, even when combined with the other options. It's strictly stronger than the PHB race, but like I said, that only serves to bring it more on par with the other races. By lessening the number of scaling benefits, I'm hoping to keep the focus on class advancement rather than racial benefits. And finally, such variety helps to illustrate that messing with draconic heritage is hardly a sure thing and can sometimes have unpredictable results.

So let me know what you think. Thanks.

RakiReborn
2016-07-25, 06:16 AM
Glad my ideas made a good impression, its a huge compliment to see them used like this :) some feedback i have for you right now:

Dragon Claws: great work. You got them better than i do right now, and i think i'll use your version, though i would make them use STR only because of the dragonborn stat increase. And i would maybe still add that they count as magical at some point for two reasons - it becomes pretty weak later on as resistance to non-magical becomes quite common with High cr creatures, and in my mind (and future homebrew campain) the dragons and thus dragonborn are innately magical.
Innate Magic: which is why i added that option. If it doesnt fit your campain, you should ofcourse not add IM and the magical resist avoidance of the claws and tail
Dragon tail: which brings us to the tail. The 1d6 is on the low side for me, but the prone is a neat extra that makes more than amends for it. The wording should be cleaned up a bit imo, as i had to Read it twice before i understood that only the prone Part is once per short (or long?, perhaps add that) rest. The part of an attack action i would reword to 'when you use the attack option, you can attack with your tail. If you have the extra attack feature, you can use your tail for one of those attacks' or something like that. Look at some PHB wordings to make it look in line. I think i'll use this to change my version the same way as the Dragon Claes.
Dragon senses: i do not really like the identify part. I personally think the darkvision and perception prof is good enough, but if you want to add something more, perhaps a feature that gives you the ability to know the value of something by looking at it fits better, especially since you already disliked the innate Magic.
Breath weapon: probably minor typing error - it 'increases' from 6d6 to 6d6 at 16th level...
Natural armor: doesnt the warforged get armor restrictions? I could be very wrong, dont remember clearly. Do be careful to give AC bonusses with bounded accuracy in 5e. I had the 12+dex because of the b.a.

Thats it for now. Thanks again for the compliment of using my homebrew as a basis, and keep tweeking so it fits your campain ;)

AngryJesusMan
2016-07-25, 11:03 PM
Glad my ideas made a good impression, its a huge compliment to see them used like this :) some feedback i have for you right now:

Dragon Claws: great work. You got them better than i do right now, and i think i'll use your version, though i would make them use STR only because of the dragonborn stat increase. And i would maybe still add that they count as magical at some point for two reasons - it becomes pretty weak later on as resistance to non-magical becomes quite common with High cr creatures, and in my mind (and future homebrew campain) the dragons and thus dragonborn are innately magical.


I'm glad you approve. As far as using only Strength, I wanted to give an option that Dex-based Dragonborn could make use of. And with the magical damage, there are two ways to go with this.


The way I've gone, it relies on some magic item or class feature to overcome the magical requirement for damage resistance. With the magic item presented on page 94 of The Hoard of the Dragon Queen, that's an uncommon magic item away from being addressed, which puts unarmed attacks and natural weapons on par with normal weapons.
The way you present, I might introduce some small compromise. The idea of giving a character the effects of an uncommon magic item or a class feature as a part of simply leveling a character, no matter what class they take, is actually pretty powerful. As a trade-off, I might offer that this attack may only be used once per attack action, or that the attack does -1 damage, or some other means of offsetting the advantage this gives.




Dragon tail: which brings us to the tail. The 1d6 is on the low side for me, but the prone is a neat extra that makes more than amends for it. The wording should be cleaned up a bit imo, as i had to Read it twice before i understood that only the prone Part is once per short (or long?, perhaps add that) rest. The part of an attack action i would reword to 'when you use the attack option, you can attack with your tail. If you have the extra attack feature, you can use your tail for one of those attacks' or something like that. Look at some PHB wordings to make it look in line. I think i'll use this to change my version the same way as the Dragon Claes.


I think you must have misread part of it. I referenced the longsword, so 1d6 is a reasonable assumption, but the attack actually does 1d8 (longsword with versatile bonus). I've reworded the section in an attempt to clarify it. hopefully it helps.



Dragon senses: i do not really like the identify part. I personally think the darkvision and perception prof is good enough, but if you want to add something more, perhaps a feature that gives you the ability to know the value of something by looking at it fits better, especially since you already disliked the innate Magic.


Yeah... I'm kind of torn on the idea of magical dragons, unfortunately. The idea of allowing the Identify spell without materials was an attempt to simulate some of the older versions of spell-like abilities. A magical effect that they can achieve without actually using magic seems useful to me. Maybe I should specify that this is not a magical effect?



Breath weapon: probably minor typing error - it 'increases' from 6d6 to 6d6 at 16th level...


Thank you for the proofreading. Fixed.



Natural armor: doesnt the warforged get armor restrictions? I could be very wrong, dont remember clearly. Do be careful to give AC bonusses with bounded accuracy in 5e. I had the 12+dex because of the b.a.


I double-checked and the Warforged receive no such restriction, though I understand the concern. As far as Lore is concerned, I have no problem allowing Dragonborn and Warforged the benefit of enhanced Armor Class due to sheer toughness. Bounded Accuracy is a thing, and I can appreciate it. I've denied the ability to other homebrew races developed by players in the setting for specifically that reason. I just can't agree with the idea that Dragonborn can't develop the ability to produce thickened armor equivalent to a Warforged's plating.
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Thank you for your critiques and adjustments. I'm glad some of my ideas pleased you enough to use. Hopefully the changes and explanations I've made serve to address some of your concerns. Thanks for the feedback.