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Dragonborn (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Dragonborn
First appearanceRaces of the Dragon
Information
TypeHumanoid
AlignmentVaries

The dragonborn, in the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy roleplaying game, is a humanoid race. Originally introduced in Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, they became one of the primary races available for player characters in the fourth edition of the game.

Publication history[edit]

3.5 edition[edit]

The dragonborn were originally introduced in the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 supplement book Races of the Dragon, published by Wizards of the Coast in 2006.[1][2]

4th edition[edit]

In 4th Edition, dragonborn are available as one of the core player character races in the Player's Handbook.[3][4] The dragonborn are further detailed for 4th Edition in Dragon #365 in the "Ecology of the Dragonborn",[5] and in the book Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn.[6] The dragonborn were also available as a core character race in the 4th Edition Essentials rulebook Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms.[7]

5th edition[edit]

The dragonborn remained one of the core races in the 5th Edition Player's Handbook,[8] which reviewers cited as an attempt to keep 4th Edition players from feeling "abandoned".[9]

Description[edit]

In the 3.5 supplement Races of the Dragon, dragonborn are presented as a transitive race, members of other humanoid races who, to show devotion to Bahamut, willingly took on draconic traits in place of their original biology.[2]

The dragonborn race is a true draconic race in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, and they are descendants of the greater Dragon God, Io.[4] Within the setting of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, they frequently appear as mercenaries, and make excellent sorcerers, warlords, paladins, and fighters.[10][11]

Development[edit]

The dragonborn were introduced to the core rules of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition in an attempt to reflect contemporary trends in fantasy fiction and appeal to newer players.[12][13] In addition, it reflected a perception among the game's designers that it should be possible to play dragon-like creatures in a game with "Dragons" in the title.[12][14] Richard Baker, who helped design 4th Edition, noted that the introduction of dragonborn to the core rules allowed them to "grow the D&D world by allowing the mix of characters to evolve in the new edition."[14]

Campaign settings[edit]

Forgotten Realms[edit]

In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, the Dragonborn came from Abeir (the lost sibling world of Toril). In Faerûn, the dragonborn mainly inhabit the militarized kingdom of Tymanther, but many live in Returned Abeir, the continent that has replaced Maztica as a result of the Spellplague. The Dragonborn of the Forgotten Realms have a deep hatred of true dragons, for in their previous world of Abeir they fought terrible wars against them.[citation needed]

Eberron[edit]

In the Eberron campaign setting, the Dragonborn are descendants of the dragons of the lost continent of Argonessen, where they have lived in isolation since before Khorvaire's founding.[citation needed]

Dark Sun[edit]

In the Dark Sun campaign setting, the Dragonborn are created from humans by the sorcerer-king Dregoth, and refer to themselves as Dray.[15] Campaign setting designer Rich Baker described the Athasian dray as having a penchant for magics and money. They are more prideful and avaricious (but also more socialable) than their standard counterparts, forming insular clans and houses. These clans often provide moneylending, assassination, or deal-brokering services. While the Dray who fill these roles are often not respected by their communities, these services are grudgingly acknowledged as useful.[16]

Dragonlance[edit]

The article "You Say Dragonborn, I Say Draconian" in Dragon #421 (March 2013) ties the 4th Edition Dragonborn to the Dragonlance campaign setting's Draconian race.[17] This connection was repeated in the 5th Edition Player's Handbook.[18]

In other media[edit]

The Dungeons & Dragons-based MMORPG Neverwinter made dragonborn available as a player character race as part of the Tyranny of Dragons expansion.[19]

Reception[edit]

Jonathan Bolding of The Escapist noted that the inclusion of the dragonborn in the 5th edition Player's Handbook does "push the 'traditional D&D' mold a bit, but this is a greatest hits of D&D player races and powers from the last fifteen years of the game."[20]

References[edit]

  1. "Races of the Dragon Excerpt".
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kestrel, Gwendolyn F.M.; Wilkes, Jennifer Clarke; Liquette, Kolja Raven (2006). Races of the Dragon. Wizards of the Coast. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. "20 Things About Dungeons & Dragons That Make No Sense". ScreenRant. June 2, 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Heinsoo, Rob; Collins, Andy; Wyatt, James (2008). Player's Handbook. Wizards of the Coast. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  5. Sims, Chris (July 2008). "Ecology of the Dragonborn". Dragon Magazine. Wizards of the Coast. 365.
  6. Wyatt, James (2010). Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn. Wizards of the Coast. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  7. Mearls, Mike; Slavicsek, Bill; Thompson, Rodney (2010). Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms. Wizards of the Coast. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  8. Player's Handbook. Wizards of the Coast. 2014. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  9. Nelson, Samantha. "The new Dungeons & Dragons is more streamlined but no less of a challenge". Games.avclub.com.
  10. Slavicsek, Bill; Baker, Rich; Mearls, Mike (2008). Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition For Dummies. For Dummies. ISBN 978-0470292907. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  11. Lissauer, Gabrielle (2015). The Tropes of Fantasy Fiction. McFarland. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  12. 12.0 12.1 Tresca, Michael J. (2010). The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games. McFarland. p. 81. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  13. "D&D Player's Handbook: Then and Now". Wired. wired.com. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn (4e)". rpgnow.com. 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
  15. Dark Sun Campaign Setting (4th edition)
  16. Rich Baker. "Dark Sun dragonborn". Athas.org (repost). Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  17. Helmick, Daniel (March 2013). "You Say Dragonborn, I Say Draconian". Dragon Magazine. Wizards of the Coast. 421.[permanent dead link]
  18. Knode, Mordicai (November 20, 2014). "Dungeons & Dragons' 5th Edition is Built on the Lessons Learned from Past Editions". Tor.com.
  19. "'Neverwinter: Tyranny of Dragons' Free Expansion Brings 'Onslaught of Dragons'". gamerant.com. 2014-08-15. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  20. "D&D Player's Handbook Review - A Greatest Hits Collection | Reviews | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com.


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