DnD Dragonborn 5E race guide

The iconic Wizards of the Coast DnD Dragonborn 5E is a Dungeons and Dragons staple - learn the essentials about the classic TTRPG race here.

DnD Dragonborn 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a smiling Dragonborn playing a lute

The worlds of DnD are populated by all manner of weird and wonderful player races, but none are more proud and fearsome than the Dragonborn 5e. 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 DnD party. Shaped by draconic gods or, maybe even 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 bring a great deal to the table.

In 5E, Dragonborn come in a wide variety of flavours; ranging from the noble Metallic Dragonborn to their ominous Chromatic cousins. However, Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons added a new type of Dragonborn to the mix. Claiming to be descended from Saridor, the Ruby Dragon, Gem Dragonborn boast eerie psionic powers as well as unique elemental affinities.

For all your roleplaying needs, here’s the essential lowdown on the DnD Dragonborn 5E race:

DnD Dragonborn 5e bard (art by Wizards of the Coast)

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 first names to choose from:

  • Arjhan
  • Baqrin
  • Kilgar
  • Medrash
  • Rhogar
  • Vorseth

And here are some suggested female Dragonborn first names:

  • Biri
  • Jesfyire
  • Mishann
  • Phibis
  • Torinn
  • Xydrish 

DnD Dragonborn 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of two dragons fighting in the air

DnD Dragonborn 5E traits

Here are the primary traits of the DnD Dragonborn 5E race:

Ability score increase +2 Strength, +1 Charisma
Size Medium
Speed 30ft
Features Draconic Ancestry, Breath Weapon, Damage Resistance
Languages Common, Draconic

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.

DnD Dragonborn 5e fighter with party

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 in plate armour with a sword and shield

DnD Dragonborn 5E subraces

These are the three main subraces of the DnD Dragonborn 5E race:

Chromatic Dragonborn

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 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.

DnD Dragonborn 5E - art of a red Chromatic dragon

Metallic Dragonborn

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.

DnD Dragonborn 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a blue dragon

Gem Dragonborn

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 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.