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I like dragonborn, but I don’t really like the breath weapon that much. You can’t use it very often, and it doesn’t seem to scale very well at all, so it’s hard to imagine it having much relevance to a character after the first few levels. (And since I’m looking to play a warlock, eldritch blast says “why bother?”)

But I note a sidebar on page 34 of Player’s Handbook (or this section of the basic rules) about the draconians of Dragonlance, and it includes this tempting note:

In place of their draconic breath weapons, [draconians] have unique magical abilities.

What are those abilities? Where are they detailed? Certainly doesn’t seem to be in Player’s Handbook.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you only looking for 5e RAW? Because nothing official's been printed yet that focuses that deeply on DL, so my first instinct would be to reach back to older draconians... but I'm not sure if that would answer your question. (I've been running DL1-12 converting-on-the-fly to 5e, so I've certainly thought about it.) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Jul 26, 2018 at 3:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Correct, I want the unique magic abilities that the 5e Player’s Handbook is referring to, as 5e abilities. If it hasn’t been printed yet, confirmation of that is also a good answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 26, 2018 at 3:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan: Regarding your edit note that book titles don't get articles, even the intro to the PHB mentions that "The Player's Handbook is divided into three parts." Not a big deal, but I've just never seen it written without the word "the" before it. It looks weird to see it written without it. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jul 26, 2018 at 3:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast No, but that shouldn’t stop you from answering based on it—I already have some reasons to want to pick up XGtE, more would’t hurt. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 26, 2018 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast My DM isn’t currently using it, but is amenable to starting to if there’s interest. I’ll likely be using the Hexblade patron, for instance. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 26, 2018 at 13:52

4 Answers 4

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They have not been specified for PC races.

While the statistics for draconians as monsters are included in Fizban's Treasury of Dragons, there are no rules for playing draconians as a variant of the dragonborn PC race. Fizban's does include more options for PC dragonborn, but all of them include breath weapons.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It could be worth worth mentioning the Dragon Fear feat from Xanathar's as an option to increase the viability of this racial trait. Although it doesn't answer the question it does deal with the underlying issue a little. \$\endgroup\$
    – Baergren
    Jul 26, 2018 at 12:36
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The adventure Princes of the Apocalypse has guidance for adapting the adventure to the Dragonlance setting. In this section, there is a suggestion for constructing a stat block for a draconian:

There isn’t space in this book to provide stat blocks for draconians, but you can make your own by adding the half-dragon template (see the Monster Manual) to hobgoblins or lizardfolk.

The Monster Manual contains instructions for creating a half-dragon statblock. In particular, it gives the half dragon a breath weapon:

New Action: Breath Weapon. The half-dragon has the breath weapon of its dragon half. The half-dragon’s size determines how this action functions.

So if you are going to follow the guidance in Princes of the Apocalypse and the Monster Manual, draconians actually just have a traditional breath weapon. But wait! The draconian breath weapon can be expected to be different from traditional Dragonborn!

If constructed in this way, a draconian should have two different breath weapons. One corresponding to the appropriate element, and a second corresponding to the secondary breath weapon possessed only by the various types of metal dragons! These secondary breath weapons seem to be a unique feature of copper, brass, silver, gold, and bronze dragons, which the sidebar in the Player’s Handbook identifies as the Draconic origin of the draconians:

Five types of draconians, corresponding to the five types of metallic dragons, fought for Takhisis in the War of the Lance: auraks (gold), baaz (brass), bozak (bronze), kapak (copper), and sivak (silver).

For example, note the brass dragon wyrmling and it’s two breath weapons:

Fire Breath. The dragon exhales fire in an 20-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw, taking 14 (4d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Sleep Breath. The dragon exhales sleep gas in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or fall unconscious for 1 minute. This effect ends for a creature if the creature takes damage or someone uses an action to wake it.

A brass draconian statblock or playable race created in this way should have both fire breath and sleep breath.

So while there is no unique magical ability spelled out as replacing the traditional breath weapon, a draconian constructed according to this guidance would have a secondary breath weapon that sets it apart from traditional Dragonborn.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Although I see where you are going here, that's actually a really poor representation of draconians, imo. Still, the fact it was mentioned at all is probably of use to someone. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Jul 28, 2020 at 3:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it’s the best we can do with what is explicitly written for 5e, and still yields a result unique to traditional Dragonborn. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 28, 2020 at 3:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ It also contradicts what’s stated in Player’s Handbook and fails to provide the thing that interested me and prompted this question. It’s valuable and should be here, but it doesn’t really help me. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 28, 2020 at 12:33
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It's not an official source, but the Dragonlance Nexus fan site published 5e versions of playable Draconian races a few years ago, available here. Some of them (like the Aurak) still have Breath Weapons, others (like the Sivak) have more versatile abilities. All of them have wings that allow gliding, and a special Death Throe ability that you should probably avoid triggering, but which match what I recall of the original Draconians.

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One place it isn’t: this D&D Beyond page labeled “Draconian,” but note the little blue house icon: this is homebrew. Found on D&D Beyond and aside from that little icon, completely indistinguishable from official content. Wizards desperately needs to reconsider the design here, because this is a thousand times worse than D&D Wiki.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS Well that’s atrociously inconspicuous and undiscoverable. The entire page design should be strikingly different, to make it impossible to confuse the two. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 26, 2018 at 14:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Providing links and traffic to something that you don't want people to use may not be the best idea :) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jul 26, 2018 at 15:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I have nothing against the author, the homebrew, or the page’s existence. I only have an objection to the entirely-insufficient design details, that make it all-too-easy to mistake homebrew for official content. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 26, 2018 at 15:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Marq I did not use the search functionality on DNDBeyond.com; I used Google. Which is precisely why the poor design is such a massive problem: I am not familiar with the site, I didn’t come from within the site, I just used a search engine and this page came up. With absolutely nothing obviously indicating it was homebrew. I had assumed the house icon was a “home” button, like go back to the root page or whatever. I didn’t hover it or click it (since I didn’t want those things), but I note that it doesn’t even have a tooltip explaining what it means. It also lacks ARIA for accessibility \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 26, 2018 at 15:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Partial answers, particularly answers that point out pitfalls or where things are not, have value. I’m not particularly concerned by the actual rating of this answer, and I’m certainly not going to accept it, but it seems more valuable than just a comment, and it is directly related to answering the question, so it shouldn’t be a comment. Also, about the breadcrumb—good point. That disappears when your browser window is narrow enough. As mine is, because I don’t generally need 2000 pixels worth of web page. As anyone on a phone also would be. So that’s no saving grace. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 26, 2018 at 18:32

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