A proud race who once ruled the strongest empire on the planet, these dragon-like humanoids have done all within their power to maintain their dignity and honor in the time since the Great Cataclysm that toppled Arkhosia.

While it’s easy to equate Dragonborn with actual dragons, the reality is never that simple. Dragonborn scales vary wildly, and there’s no direct correlation between scale color and breath weapon type. Scales may become faded with age, but that doesn’t mean that a gray-scaled dragonborn is particularly ancient.

Dragonborn, like dragons, have a sort of racial memory. Not like the Deva, who actually have past lives to draw upon… but more like impressions of great moments other members of their race have gone through. Deja Vu is actually an accepted racial quality among dragonborn (who would be SEVERELY messed up if they ended up in The Matrix). They refer to deja vu as “the feeling”, as in “No, nothing’s wrong… I just got a bit of the feeling about this place. Something happened here.” In game terms, this just translates to a bonus to History checks, but in roleplaying it can be a bit cooler than a simple stat boost.

If you need a real-world equivalent for dragonborn and Arkhosia, think of the old Soviet Union and the current Russia. It is remembered as being a great, unstoppable force, but the reasons for its fall are not understood by anyone. In fact, I think it’d be cool if Dragonborn spoke in a Russian accent, and Draconic as a language actually sounded like Russian.

Things My Racist Relatives Say

“You know what ‘tiefling’[spit] means? LITTLE DEMON. Now tell me, do you want to be going to some public school that allows demons to roam the halls?”

“Humans have the ambition and power of a red dragon and the sense of a kobold. It’s not a good combination.”

“Those Eladrin magicians? I’ve heard their warlocks study with tieflings [spit]. THAT’s why their great city in the feywild fell apart.”

“Dwarves don’t understand that hiding in caves all your life is no better than a dark dragon who jealously guards her horde. Neither will ever get to really see the world or experience true honor and valor.”

Dark Secrets

Just to throw this out there, dragonborn are born, not hatched. A baby’s scales are soft for the first month or so, and parents must be extra careful for their child’s well-being during this time. Of course, to confuse outsiders, it’s a generally accepted cultural practice to refer to birthdays as “Hatching Days”. Some dragonborn will go so far as to create fake pieces of shell that they can claim as part of their birth shell. While most dragonborn avoid the dishonor of brazen lies, this misdirection is seen as a sacred racial duty to protect the newborn from threats. So the rumor that dragonborn are hatched already spitting fire is intentionally perpetuated by the dragonborn themselves.

The fall of Arkhosia still has a deep impact on dragonborn. Many refuse to admit that it’s gone, and there’s even a small military force of dragonborn in the Nentir Vale that seeks to find the remnants of Lost Arkhosia and bring about a new empire where dragonborn are once again the rulers of the world.

While it’s easy to blame the tieflings for the dark demonic magics they summoned for the fall of Arkhosia (and the corresponding implosion of the tiefling kingdom, Bael Turoth)… but in truth, nobody knowns what actually happened. Tieflings will claim that dragonborn hubris insulted the gods or some other great power, and they just might be right. As a result of this nagging possibility (which no dragonborn would ever admit, maybe not even to himself), many dragonborn are careful not to allow pride to rule their own lives.

There are rumors that lizardmen are descended from a race of savage dragonborn who gave up their civilized minds. Because of this, many dragonborn are extra sure to point out that lizardfolk are NOT dragonborn, and to slay these barbaric creatures where ever they are found.

While Bahamut, the platinum dragon god of justice and honor, is venerated by most Dragonborn, it cannot be denied that any dragonborn who has ever lashed out in rage or acted in greed has felt the surge of power that Tiamat, dark dragon goddess of chaos, represents. Many dragonborn are uncomfortable with how right that presence can feel. There are also some small sects that serve the memory of Io, the progenitor dragon god killed in the Dawn War, but they are few and widely scattered.

While dragonborn can be found in most of the civilized world, many maintain cities in the former lands of the fallen Kingdom of Arkhosia, in city states like New Bahama. Many elder dragonborn in these lands speak of “Old Arkhosia” as an ideal that should be lived up to and returned to the world.

Stats & Options

Dragonfear (from Dragon 388)
Instead of the Dragon Breath racial power, you can choose Dragonfear as your dragonborn racial power.

Encounter <> Fear
Minor Action Close burst 5 (increase to close burst 10 at 21st level)
Target: Each enemy in burst
Attack: Strength +2 or Charisma +2 vs. Will
Hit: The target takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls and grants
combat advantage until the end of your next turn.
SEE ALSO: Draconic Heritage feat in House Rules section

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Heroes of the New Day joelastowski joelastowski