Wizards of the Coast has really been churning out these Dungeons & Dragons Adventure and Sourcebooks. In the past year alone players have got official resources for running horrific adventures, exploring ancient libraries, or disappearing off to the Feywild. Fizban's Treasury of Dragons is the next supplement that focuses on new dragon-related character features. Within its pages, DMs will find many resources to populate their world with dragons. How do you roleplay a dragon? What does a Topaz Dragon's lair look like? You'll have to read to find out.
Before we get too deep into creating dragons, the players at your table might be interested in what new character options are on offer. Fizban's Treasury of Dragons introduces a new variant of Dragonborn, the Gem Dragonborn, as well as two new subclasses for Monk and Ranger.
The new Fizban's Treasury of Dragons Character Options
The Gem Dragonborn are descendants of the Ruby Dragon, Sardior, and much like the Chromatic and Metallic Dragonborn pull their power from the elements. Their scales glint and shimmer with the powers they keep within. While the Metallic and Chromatic Dragonborn share the same elements the Gem Dragonborn Ancestry Table gets a whole new set of creative options. Put away the fire or electricity and replace it with Force, Radiant, Psychic, Thunder, or Necrotic damage types.
Some other interesting features that the Gem Dragonborn has including the ability to speak telepathically, and that at level 5 the Gem Dragonborn obtains the ability to manifest wings for a minute. While not quite as powerful as the Protector Aasimar's Radiant Soul the chance for level 5 flight is difficult to pass up.
It's not just the Gem Dragonborn that gets new tricks either. Chromatic and Metallic Dragonborn have also received buffs for their breath weapon. No longer does the Breath Weapon deal a fixed amount of dice rolls with one use per short rest. The new Breath Weapon has damage that scales at certain levels, and can also be used up to the player's proficiency bonus per long rest. This is an important addition as it helps demonstrate the power of the Dragonborn as they mature. A damage boost also means it's not an ability that gets left behind in favor of other damage. A Level 1 Dragonborn can do 1d10 elemental damage twice per long rest, but a Level 17 Dragonborn is able to do 4d10 elemental damage six times per long rest.
The Monk's Way of the Ascendant Dragon allows players to live out their Wuxia dream of playing a character who has trained with, or in the image of a dragon. This allows a monk to strike enemies with elemental damage like a dragon, breathe fire like a dragon, and at higher levels can make draconic wings appear when using Step of the Wind. The benefit of the Ranger's Drakewarder subclass is that you get your very own Drake companion. This Drake Companion will fight alongside you, and can even power up your attacks with elemental energy based on its Draconic Essence. This Drake is practically a Pokemon for your Ranger, as you level up it will grow wings, become rideable (assuming you're not a large creature), and obtain its own Drake's Breath attack. I'm already expecting this will be the next character I roll for myself...
Fizban does introduce a few new Magical Items and Spells, but none of them are more interesting than the new Hoard Magic Items. This new style of Magical Item has multiple levels to it as it spends time steeping in the magic of a dragon horde. Depending on the age of the dragon and the size of the horde the level that these items can rank up to. In its Slumbering state, the Dragon's Wrath Weapon acts like a normal weapon with the added bonus that when you roll a 20 on your attack, creatures directly adjacent to your target can take five points of damage of an element of the weapon. When powered up through the Stirring, Wakened, and Ascendant forms it gets bonuses to hit and damage, deals even more extra damage and gains more range on its cone of destructive energy. This is a neat idea that allows for a magical weapon to level up as your characters do. Sounding almost like Link from The Legend of Zelda powering up the Master Sword through a series of trials you too can create your own ultimate weapon.
How you power up these items though leaves a lot to the imagination and planning of the party. Your party might find one of these magical items already powered up, but to have the weapon level up it needs to steep in the energies of a dragon horde. Normally, this would take a year but if you don't have that much time the chaotic energy after the death of a dragon will allow ascension in just eight hours. Will your party spend their time traveling from dragon den to dragon den to slay them and use their power? Perhaps you have a pacifist party that befriends a dragon and has plenty of time skips as they take on different adventures for a year in-game to pass in a month of real-time play? The book does a fantastic job posing these questions to make you think about your approach.
The death of a Dragon can also have other unintended effects if the party chooses to absorb the energy for themselves. Players can get rewarded or cursed with a Draconic Gift. You could get the telekinetic gift of a Gem Dragonborn, the ability to manifest a Frightful Presence and instill fear in enemies, you could even be transformed into a Dragonborn. Some of the choices of Draconic Gifts can work not only to enhance a player's character but could also give all kinds of story hooks for the campaign. Maybe your character doesn't want to be a Dragonborn and part of their quest is to find out how to remove this curse? In a world filled with dragons that might mean finding an item from an even deadlier dragon, or perhaps befriending one.
How to roleplay your dragon
Where everything I've talked about so far is a mere thirty pages the following two-hundred pages are solely dedicated to how dragons can be roleplayed. This includes the relationships they have with their followers and the world around them, their purpose in your campaign and the many different kinds of dragons that could appear.
The roleplaying dragons' section is incredible for really getting into the nitty-gritty of playing a dragon. Anyone who takes a look through this section will immediately draw comparisons to character creation with so many suggestions for dragon mannerisms, bonds, flaws, and appearance options. Wizards of the Coast take this a step further by displaying three different examples of dragons with the same coloration but each displays a wide range of personality in portrait alone. Not all dragons need to be angry fire breathing flying apocalypses, they can be regal and proud, or any other personality you want.
In the past to create a dragon you've had a stat block and the general idea that dragons like treasure. This new character creation process probably goes deeper than many will need but for fleshing out your world and the draconic forces in them it also works well to prompt the creative mind to think of things you normally wouldn't have. What if the Dragon didn't actually want to fight, but had been alone so long it wants to show off its cool lair and lair actions? You can take what might be perceived as a standard combat encounter and spin it as needed.
Open the Draconomicon
For every type of dragon that you could conceivably think of there's an entry for it in the draconomicon. For each of the dragons featured here, you'll get a brief description of that type of dragon's connections, some personality traits and ideals, and an example of the type of lair they might have. These maps are absolutely gorgeous to look at and can be easily thrown into any game.
Dragon adjacent creatures are also heavily present in Fizban's Treasury of Dragons. You'll be introduced to Sea Serpents, Draconians, Dragonflesh Grafters, and even horrific eldritch entities like the Elder Brain Dragon. If it's related to dragons, or even has scales, there's a stat block in this book for it. There's plenty of wonderful opportunities to showcase the variety of dragonkind and allow players that chance to scale and defeat bigger and badder enemies.
The Bottom Line
For a game called Dungeons & Dragons unfortunately 5th edition hasn't given players too much information on dragons other than the few that appear in adventure books. The tools that are offered to DMs to create a world filled to the brim with dragons are absolutely staggering. The book also does a fantastic job forcing the DM not just to think of dragons in the traditional sense guarding their treasures against adventurers, but also how they might lead others benevolently. This is all even before thinking about the fun changes made to Dragonborns, and the inclusion of the new Gem Dragon race. Fizban's Treasury of Dragons will surely open the door to many more amazing adventures for those who are interested.
Get this game if:
- You like dragons
- You're currently playing a Dragonborn and want to get excited about your new powers
- You're a DM looking for creative ways to implement dragons into your game
Avoid this game if:
- You want an adventure, not the building blocks for one
- You prefer dragon-free dungeons
- You're happy with homebrewed content/what you already have