The worlds of D&D are populated by all manner of weird and wonderful player races, but none are more proud and fearsome than the DnD Dragonborn. These imposing, dragon-blooded heroes have long been a staple of D&D. They’re found in the Player’s Handbook, and, thanks to their popularity, they received a massive overhaul in Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons.
Intimidating, versatile, and unique, a Dragonborn 5e character can be a serious presence at the table and a great way to spice up a D&D party. Shaped by draconic DnD gods or, maybe even DnD dragons themselves, these strong, stoic outsiders are extremely customisable and can offer all sorts of novel experiences for the savvy TTRPG enjoyer. From both mechanical and roleplaying standpoints, Dragonborn is one of those DnD races that bring a great deal to the table.
If you’re planning on creating a Dragonborn character, you’ll also need to choose which DnD classes and DnD backgrounds to include on your DnD character sheets. We can give you pointers on all of those things – whether you want a DnD character creator to do all the work for you, or you’d rather create a DnD character build yourself from the ground up.
For all your roleplaying needs, here’s the essential lowdown on the DnD Dragonborn 5e race:
DnD Dragonborn 5e names
A Dragonborn’s most important name is its clan name, and these are put before all other names. Examples of Dragonborn clan names include Delmirev, Nemmonis, Shestendeliath, and Daardendrian.
Different D&D books will suggest various male and female Dragonborn names, but you may also want to consider giving your character a nickname. Many Dragonborn are given these as terms of endearment, and they often describe something unique about them – no prizes for guessing what a Dragonborn called Shieldbiter was like as a child.
Here are some male Dragonborn 5e names to choose from:
And here are some suggested female Dragonborn names:
DnD Dragonborn 5e traits
Here are the primary DnD Dragonborn 5e traits:
|Ability score increase||+2 Strength, +1 Charisma|
|Features||Draconic Ancestry, Breath Weapon, Damage Resistance|
Bear in mind that, thanks to the Custom Origin rules in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, you can choose to apply your +2 and +1 to two different ability scores. You can also use this to further customise the languages you know.
Each Dragonborn benefits from the same three features, but they all differ slightly depending on which subrace and particular Draconic Ancestry that character has. We’ll explore what each of these features means for the different subraces shortly, but for now, here’s an example.
Imagine a Chromatic Dragonborn the Draconic Ancestry of Blue dragons. As Blue dragons can wield the power of lightning, this Dragonborn’s Breath Weapon will deal lightning damage, and it will have resistance to lightning damage also.
The Breath Weapon in particular has a few rules to learn. Whatever type of damage it deals, this attack spans a 30-foot long, five-foot wide space, and creatures caught within range must pass a Dexterity saving throw (challenge rating is eight plus your Constitution modifier and proficiency bonus). If they do, they can half the damage taken; if they don’t, that’s a full 1d10 damage.
Breath Weapon can be used a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you get all these back when you take a long rest. You also get an extra 1d10 of damage when your Dragonborn reaches fifth, 11th, and 17th level.
DnD Dragonborn 5e subraces
These are the three main DnD Dragonborn 5e subraces:
The Chromatic Dragonborn are descended from – you guessed it – Chromatic dragons. The Chromatic Dragons are a race of Evil Aligned predators who worship Tiamat, a 5e god and the queen of evil dragons. However, this doesn’t mean your Dragonborn has to follow in Tiamat’s footsteps. Chromatic Dragonborn are as varied as any DnD race and, like DnD Tieflings, are free to embrace or reject the legacies of their ancestors as they see fit.
Depending on whether your ancestor was a Black, Blue, Green, Red, or White dragon, you’ll be aligned to Acid, Lightning, Poison, Fire, or Cold elemental types respectively for your Draconic Ancestry. This gives you access to a Breath Weapon that deals damage aligned to your choice of ancestry.
In addition to the three core Dragonborn traits, Chromatic Dragons also have a unique Chromatic Warding feature from fifth level onwards. This ward makes you immune to the damage type associated with your Chromatic Ancestry for one minute, and it can be used once per long rest.
Metallic Dragonborn, on the other hand, are descended from Metallic Dragons. These worshippers of Bahamut are generally good, altruistic, and just creatures. Like their Chromatic cousins, Metallic Dragonborn received a glow up in Fizban’s Treasury, too. Metallic Dragonborn come in Brass, Bronze, Copper, Gold, and Silver varieties, corresponding to Fire, Lightning, Acid, Fire, and Cold damage types.
Metallic Dragonborn have a range of powerful abilities at their disposal. As with all Dragonborn, they get their signature breath weapon and elemental resistance. However, Metallic dragons get a unique trick up their sleeves.
From fifth level onwards, Metallic Dragonborn have access to a second powerful Breath Weapon. It can be used once per long rest and can either take the form of an Enervating or Repulsing breath attack. Enervating breath forces all creatures within a 15-foot cone to succeed on a Constitution saving throw or become incapacitated until the start of your next turn, while Repulsion breath forces anyone caught in the blast to make a Strength saving throw or be pushed back 20 feet and knocked prone. Altogether, that makes for some serious crowd control.
A relatively new addition to 5e, Gem Dragonborn are psionically active creatures, descended from the traditionally Neutrally Aligned Gem Dragons. Gem Dragonborn have a reputation for being aloof, contemplative, and less down-to-earth than their Chromatic and Metallic relatives.
In terms of Chromatic Ancestry, they can be descended from Amethyst, Crystal, Emerald, Sapphire, or Topaz Gem Dragons, granting them affinity to Force, Radiant, Psychic, Thunder, or Necrotic energy respectively.
Gem Dragonborn enjoy flexible ability score increases, as well as the usual breath weapon and elemental resistance common to all Dragonborn. However, due to their psionic nature, Gem Dragonborn are able to telepathically communicate to any creature they can see within 30 feet, without even having to share a DnD language. This can be extremely useful if you prefer to talk your way out of difficult situations.
What’s more, Gem Dragonborn can, starting at fifth level, manifest spectral wings, giving them the power of flight for one minute. Though this trait can only be used once per long rest, there’s no denying the appeal of playing a Dragonborn who can take to the skies.
One DnD Dragonborn
Before we delve into all the official Dragonborn content found in the core DnD books, it’s worth taking a moment to mention One D&D, otherwise known as DnD 6e. Coming sometime in 2024, this new ‘edition’ of the game is currently in the playtesting stages – and we’ve already seen some new Dragonborn content.
If you only want the finished, published species, skip over this section. Otherwise, let’s look at the latest Dragonborn news.
A One DnD Dragonborn playtest was included in the earliest Unearthed Arcana from Wizards of the Coast. However, out of all the new content, the Dragonborn ranked lowest in satisfaction surveys.
Designers largely blamed the breath weapon for the disappointing results. Additionally, it seemed players weren’t sure whether the new Dragonborn, which will appear in a new version of the Player’s Handbook in 2024, would replace or stand alongside the extra Dragonborn rules in Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons (more on this book later).
A new version of the Dragonborn appeared in the third playtest document, released on D&DBeyond in December. The breath weapon now deals damage using d10s rather than d6s, and all kinds of breath prompt a Dexterity saving throw. Additionally, all Dragonborns now have darkvision.
One of the biggest changes is a new fifth-level ability, Draconic Flight. This lets you sprout wings as a bonus action once per long rest, and these give you a fly speed equal to your regular speed. Time to take to the skies.