PDA

View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Alternative Dragonborn for 5E (PEACH)



Ninjadeadbeard
2016-11-27, 04:48 AM
I hate the Dragonborn race from the PHB. I don't hate them because of flavor or anything. I just find them so boring. So blah. So...blegh. The following is a quickly slapped together redo of the race that I hope gets a few eyeballs on it before I try using it in my campaign. I am certain this is not balanced yet, so critique is all-important! Please let me know how this holds up and what needs changing*.

Dragonborn
Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma increases by 2.
Age. Dragonborn live long lives. They reach maturity in their mid-20ís and can live near three centuries.
Alignment. Depending on their elemental affinity, Dragonborn can be either Lawful or Chaotic.
Size. Typically, Dragonborn stand between 6 and one half, and seven feet tall. Dragonborn are Medium sized.
Speed. Dragonborn move at 30ft.
Subraces. Dragonborn are categorized according to their element, as opposed to a specific type of True Dragon they might descend from. This includes Fire (formerly Brass, Red, and Gold), Water (Silver, White), Storm (Blue, Bronze), Earth (Black, Copper), and Venom (Green).

Fire Dragonborn
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution increases by 2.
Fire Breath. As a bonus action, you may breathe fire in a 15ft cone. Creatures caught in the cone take 2d10 fire damage, or half on a successful Dexterity save (8 + Your Proficiency + Your Charisma). Unattended or highly flammable items catch fire if within the cone. The damage increases by 1d10 at levels 6, 11, and 16. You must complete a short or long rest before using this feature again.
Fire Resistance. You have Resistance against Fire damage.
Heat Vision. You are able to discern heat sources, including living warm-blooded creatures, at a range of 60ft. You can only determine the relative heat and size of such things. This heat vision can see through thin wood and other materials, but 2 inches of metal or 2 feet of stone block it.

Water Dragonborn
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength increases by 1.
Ice Breath. As a bonus action, you may breathe ice in a 15ft cone. Creatures caught in the cone take 1d10 ice damage, or half on a successful Dexterity save (8 + Your Proficiency + Your Charisma). The damage increases by 1d10 at levels 6, 11, and 16. Any creature caught within the cone of this ability loses 5ft of movement until they finish a short rest. You must complete a short or long rest before using this feature again.
Cold Resistance. You have Resistance to Cold damage.
Amphibious. You are able to breathe in air or in water. You also have a swim speed of 30ft.

Storm Dragonborn
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity increases by 1.
Lightning Breath. As a bonus action, you may breathe lightning in a 30ft line. Creatures whose space the line passes through take 1d12 lightning damage, or half on a successful Dexterity save (8 + Your Proficiency + Your Charisma). The damage increases by 1d12 at levels 6, 11, and 16. Any creature hit with this ability loses their Reaction until the end of your next turn. You must complete a short or long rest before using this feature again.
Storm Resistance. You have Resistance to Thunder or Lightning damage (your choice).
Vestigial Wings. You possess a set of vestigial wings. These do not provide enough lift for flight. You are always considered under the effects of the Feather Fall spell, and you may imitate the effects of the Gust cantrip as though you knew it. Neither of these abilities are magical.

Earth Dragonborn
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom increases by 1.
Acid Breath. As a bonus action, you may breathe Acid in a 15ft cone. Creatures caught in the cone take 1d10 acid damage, or half on a successful Dexterity save (8 + Your Proficiency + Your Charisma). The damage increases by 1d10 at levels 6, 11, and 16. Any creature hit by this ability that is wearing armor has their AC reduced by 1 until they have their armor repaired. You must complete a short or long rest before using this feature again.
Burrow. You have a burrow speed of 15ft.
Darkvision. You can see in areas of dim or no lighting up to 60ft, but cannot discern colors.
Acid Resistance. You have Resistance against Acid damage.

Venom Dragonborn
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence increases by 1.
Poison Bite. You have a Natural Weapon, your bite, which is a 1d6 piercing weapon that uses your Strength bonus. Any creature hit by this attack must make a successful Constitution save (8 + Your Proficiency + Your Charisma). On a failed save, the creature is poisoned. You must complete a short or long rest before using this feature again.
Poison Resistance. You have Resistance against Poison damage, and you have Advantage on saves against Poison.
Ambush. You have proficiency in (Dexterity) Stealth.

*Please blame any mistakes on my sleep deprivation.

Marcotix
2016-11-28, 02:59 PM
I think these are pretty good, though I mirror what I say about the regular dragonborn - make sure to have there breath be a bonus action so that the players will use the thing frequently.

Other then that IDK how well the damage stacks up, and burrow speed may make it easy to bypass mundane barriers (which may be the point).

All in all pretty solid!

VoxRationis
2016-11-28, 06:19 PM
The categorization seems kind of odd to me; the names seem to function by element, but classically silver dragons are Air, not Water, and black are Water, not Earth. It also seems odd to me that most of the varieties get resistance to their element, but Earth does not.

Ninjadeadbeard
2016-11-28, 11:33 PM
I think these are pretty good, though I mirror what I say about the regular dragonborn - make sure to have there breath be a bonus action so that the players will use the thing frequently.

Other then that IDK how well the damage stacks up, and burrow speed may make it easy to bypass mundane barriers (which may be the point).

All in all pretty solid!

I've updated to have the breath weapon be a bonus action. I don't think it would seriously unbalance them to have that. I also feel that burrowing comes up so rarely anyway that it isn't a huge concern at the moment (unless someone enlightens me on this issue). Also, thank you for taking a look! Any other thoughts?


The categorization seems kind of odd to me; the names seem to function by element, but classically silver dragons are Air, not Water, and black are Water, not Earth. It also seems odd to me that most of the varieties get resistance to their element, but Earth does not.

Blame the PHB for giving Silver a cold breath attack and acid breath for Black. I went purely off the elemental types of damage. The Earth type missing a resistance was an oversight. I worried that giving it four abilities would be an oddly balanced situation, but for now I've given them Resistance.

Thank you for responding! Is there anything else that comes to your mind on this race?

Marcotix
2016-11-29, 09:51 AM
For the burrowing I can imagine it being used to go under a wall or some other thing. It also means that the dragonborn can lurk under dirt for an ambush. They can also use it to retreat pretty easily

I don't know how common of an ability it is so it does seem like a game changer. Not necessarily as bad as level 1 fly, but still. If your worried about it I'd add a clause that forces the character to end their movement above ground.

Ninjadeadbeard
2016-11-30, 11:40 AM
For the burrowing I can imagine it being used to go under a wall or some other thing. It also means that the dragonborn can lurk under dirt for an ambush. They can also use it to retreat pretty easily

I don't know how common of an ability it is so it does seem like a game changer. Not necessarily as bad as level 1 fly, but still. If your worried about it I'd add a clause that forces the character to end their movement above ground.

I think I'm okay with all that. If it proves to be a mechanical bugbear, so to speak, I'll have another look at it, but otherwise I think it's fine.

So is that it? New Dragonborn are fine? No one else wants to weigh in?

Ziegander
2016-11-30, 11:57 AM
Personally? I think Fire Dragonborn are very well-balanced, very well-designed. They offer an attractive, yet not-overpowered amount of utility and strength, but I find all of the other options lacking.

Water Dragonborn have a weak breath weapon, both in damage, but also in secondary effect. A 5ft speed reduction, despite the long duration, is almost completely negligible unless you're trying to run away.

Storm is okay, but coupled with a less damaging breath weapon and what feels like a less useful utility feature (Heat Vision vs Vestigial Wings), I still rate it slightly lower than Fire.

Earth Dragonborn has a good breath weapon, but burrow is overpowered. I would allow the acid to reduce natural armor as well, but, burrow... It's basically just a negative Y-axis flight, only WAY better, because I can Fire Bolt or Longbow a flying creature but I can't even target a burrowing creature. Darkvision is actually a really good ability that people take for granted, but acid resistance is kind of niche. This one's really swingy with power levels, but I would remove burrowing and tweak from there.

Venom is really bad.

Compare it to Dwarf. Venom Dragonborn is just not even as good as base Dwarf with no subrace.

I would honestly suggest just nixing this subrace, because there are no poison dragons (that I know of). But, if you need to keep it, give them proficiency in the Poisoner's Kit and Stealth, make their bite attack deal 1d10 poison damage on a failed Constitution save, +1d10 additional poison damage at levels 6, 11, and 16, and make the poisoned condition last for 1d8 hours or until the creature completes a long or short rest.

Nifft
2016-11-30, 12:35 PM
because there are no poison dragons (that I know of).

Monster Manual, pages 93 through 96.

The are colloquially known as Green Dragons.

Ziegander
2016-11-30, 03:30 PM
Monster Manual, pages 93 through 96.

The are colloquially known as Green Dragons.

Pfft! I didn't even notice 5e changed that from 3e! Still...

VoxRationis
2016-11-30, 06:42 PM
I'm inclined to agree with the assessment on poison bite. While it does add variety to the actualization of dragonborn, a melee, single-target bite attack has a lot less in the way of utility than a ranged, multi-target breath weapon. I'd be disinclined to select it just because it requires me to enter an opponent's reach.

Ninjadeadbeard
2016-12-01, 08:01 PM
Personally? I think Fire Dragonborn are very well-balanced, very well-designed. They offer an attractive, yet not-overpowered amount of utility and strength, but I find all of the other options lacking.

Well, glad that Fire was well-received!


Water Dragonborn have a weak breath weapon, both in damage, but also in secondary effect. A 5ft speed reduction, despite the long duration, is almost completely negligible unless you're trying to run away.

I am updating the damage values on all breath weapons (I see now that making them significantly different isn't working), but I wonder what would you suggest for the secondary effect? At the moment, I am torn between "half speed" or some sort of incremental speed loss (penalty increases to 10ft at 6th level, 15ft at 11th, and 20ft at level 16).


Storm is okay, but coupled with a less damaging breath weapon and what feels like a less useful utility feature (Heat Vision vs Vestigial Wings), I still rate it slightly lower than Fire.
I wonder what makes Vestigial Wings such a weak option to other people's eyes. For myself, I liked free feather fall and gust, but then I tend to overlook things from time to time.


Earth Dragonborn has a good breath weapon, but burrow is overpowered. I would allow the acid to reduce natural armor as well, but, burrow... It's basically just a negative Y-axis flight, only WAY better, because I can Fire Bolt or Longbow a flying creature but I can't even target a burrowing creature. Darkvision is actually a really good ability that people take for granted, but acid resistance is kind of niche. This one's really swingy with power levels, but I would remove burrowing and tweak from there.

What would you say to replacing Burrow with +1 to AC?


Venom is really bad.

In retrospect, agreed. I made the decision to have their weapon be a bite more to fit some sort of aesthetic in my head. I felt that a cloud of poison gas felt too much like the Earth's acid breath, and that a venomous bite fit better. I think I will bring it in line with the others. And I also like your suggestion of bonus skill proficiencies.

I look forward to your thoughts on this proposed changes.