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A player of mine has a cool idea of a dragonborn using his breath weapon on his sword to get an elementally-charged sword that would deal extra damage. I like the concept, discussed the general lines of the power with the player and came up with this first draft:

Enveloping breath

As a bonus action, you can consume a use of your breath weapon to imbue with elemental energy a melee weapon you are holding. On a hit with the charged weapon, the attack deals the damage of your breath weapon in addition to the normal damage. The weapon loses this charge on the first hit, if you are no longer holding it or after a number of rounds equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum 0, meaning it ends at the end of the turn you activate it).

For PHB dragonborn, this could replace the breath weapon but since Dragonborn are not the most powerful of races I'm tempted to just give it to the character for free. How balanced would this be with other standard races?

The question arose before the new dragonborn races from Fizban's Treasury of Dragons came out. I might end up using those instead but they do not need an extra boost. In that case this ability would replace the second breath/emenental immunity/flight that they get.

The player in question intends to play a Fighter (Samurai) with "maybe a bit of sorcerer". Problems with other classes (like Paladin or Rogue) are less of a concern for me here but still worth being brought up.

Tweak suggestions are also welcome.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you want this compared to the dragonborn race as it is right this moment? Because I think the dragonborn is supposed to get a rework in Fizban's Treasury of Dragons, which comes out tomorrow. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 25, 2021 at 14:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ didn't know about that. Yes, I'm thinking of PHB dragonborns. The question still stands since I, for one, will not have read Fizban by tomorrow \$\endgroup\$
    – Rad80
    Oct 25, 2021 at 14:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Although, I suppose an ambitious answer might compare "base dragonborn + enveloping breath" to both "base dragonborn" and "post-Fizban dragonborn". \$\endgroup\$ Oct 25, 2021 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you talked to your player about this concept before coming here? Just checking because the initial pitch makes it sound to me that your player wants this to be more than a one off, maybe charge the weapon with a small bonus for a minute or something. I would suggest getting their input if you haven't already. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Oct 25, 2021 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri I did, we discussed this proposal (with a few details open). I would find such an option underpowered if it kept the very limited uses that breath weapon has. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rad80
    Oct 25, 2021 at 15:46

1 Answer 1

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They can take the Gift of the Chromatic Dragon feat.

Fizban's Treasury of Dragons includes three new feats that PC's can take instead of an ability score increase, and one of them, Gift of the Chromatic Dragon, allows them to do something like what your player wants to do.

The portion of it in question reads as following:

Chromatic Infusion. As a bonus action, you can touch a simple or martial weapon and infuse it with one of the following damage types: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or poison. For the next minute, the weapon deals an extra 1d4 damage of the chosen type when it hits. After you use this bonus action, you can't do so again until you finish a long rest.

It would be simple enough to say that this I infusion of elemental energy take the form of them breathing onto it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thematically it fits reasonably well but mechanically it's very different from my draft: the damage is lower but for a longer period of time and the element is flexible rather than fixed at character creation. Overall it seems more powerful than what I was planning but it does cost an ASI... I'll still wait for comments on my implementation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rad80
    Oct 28, 2021 at 14:28

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