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For a Dragonborn, what is the difference between a tail and a stump? I’m in a new campaign and my DM asked me if I had a tail, then proceeded to ask if I knew the difference with a smile on her face. What is the difference?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.se. When you have time, please take our tour. I have added the dnd-5e and removed the system indications from the text and title, as they are not needed (the tag is enough to specify it). \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 12 '18 at 2:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Jun 12 '18 at 4:25
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Sounds like she's taking a page from Matt Mercer's Tal'Dorei campaign setting, where dragonborn with stumps for tails are second-class citizens treated as just a hair better than slaves and looked down on by the dragonborn with tails.

According to the Basic Rules/PHB, dragonborn in general don't have tails at all:

Dragonborn look very much like dragons standing erect in humanoid form, though they lack wings or a tail.

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    \$\begingroup\$ worldanvil.com/w/taldorei-Jhackney1337/a/dragonborn-article and "a guess because Mercer's campaign is real popular on the interwebs and who else talks about tails vs stumps?" I would assume. I like supported answers too but I'm not sure this one needs the third degree. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jun 12 '18 at 3:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ To those who watch the show, this is a pretty straightforward reference. It might be nice to have a link, such as mxyzplk's, or criticalrole.wikia.com/wiki/Ravenites But it might also be nice to remind the OP that their DM did not tell them the difference, so maybe they might think twice before hunting for spoilers... \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Jun 12 '18 at 5:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hmm, that world anvil link is a derivative work, a "what if" of the author's own devising. Though there is less info on the critical role wikia, it might be a better source, since it describes the campaign as delivered by Mercer & Co. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Jun 12 '18 at 5:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk My justification was more on the lines of Dragonborns not having tails in the PHB to begin with, so it's (even) more likely that it is making a reference to that, as there is no distinction in the official books. If it was a "everyone knows that" case, we wouldn't have the question. I, myself, while familiar with the Mercer's name, don't have time to follow his work, so that's new for me :P \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 12 '18 at 5:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ This would be a far better answer if it included the fact that by default Dragonborn don't have tails at all, and then went into campaign-specific musings. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jun 12 '18 at 12:54
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According to the PHB, there are no dragonborn with tails (pg. 32):

Dragonborn look very much like dragons standing erect in humanoid form, though they lack wings or a tail.

On the other hand, Abishai, which kinda look like dragonborn, do have tails (MToF 160). Maybe your DM was trying to test your knowledge somehow?

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Your DM may be indirectly referring to Half-Dragons.

I have not seen any official source for a playable race option, there is a template for a DM to create a half-dragon from other creatures in the 5th Edition SRD.
Half-Dragons DO have a tail, Dragonborn do not.
Dragonborn have dragon lineage, Half-Dragons are the direct offspring of a dragon and another race.

The distinction is pretty vast and is 100% part of the published materials.

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