Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dragonborn Ecology

From the moment WotC revealed the new race, the Dragonborn, I was in love. It took me back to the old days of AD&D and the Dragonlance modules. Only this time, the Draconians are a playable race (and not a trademark infringement I’m sure).

It gets even better with the release of the Dragon article The Ecology of the Dragonborn from issue #365.

As an aside, I’ve always enjoyed the “Ecology of…” articles and consider them to be one of the few must reads.

Anyways, the Dragonborn ecology hit the bullseye with me. The race’s emphasis on ancestors and honor and action filled what I saw as a missing gap. For sure I could play a character of any race who reveres any or all of those things. It’s just nice that there’s a race to fill the space between the corruptible humans, flighty elves, dour dwarves, impish halflings, and brooding Tieflings. The Dragonborn certainly give me the perfect race for samurai character type I so love to play.

I’m not so sure why WotC felt the need to tie the history of the Dragonborn to the Tiefling. Some sort of validation for the latter? Or maybe it was just a simple “hey, here’s two new races with a connected history.”

More importantly, I’m not sure how they’ll drop this new core race into the Forgotten Realms. For those who don’t know FR is our play group’s defacto setting. While we don’t stick strictly to canon, we do take an interest in the history and grand events as well as the geography. So having an entirely new race suddenly appear in the streets of Waterdeep might be a bit tricky. I’ve guarded optimism that they’ll do it right and not fall back on the planar rift cliché.

History and personality archetypes aside, I’m honestly glad they didn’t overdo the draconic powers. The breath weapon adds some nice flavor (although my character has yet to use his) while staying far from being overpowered. At the same time I think a weak bite attack would have been fitting as well, (I mean, they have a maw full of sharp teeth) but that’s a small quibble..Personally I roleplay it out by thinking of my Dragonborn as having a low view on using such an animal like attack.

There are definitely tons of possibilities for racial feats (besides the lame ones in the PHB) so I’m excited about future releases. In fact, I’d love to see an entire splat book devoted to just the core races and feats and powers. As it stands, that’s probably what it will take to live up to WotC’s design goal of making race matter throughout a character’s adventuring career.

Anyways, the Dragonborn is a hit with me and gets a solid “good job mate”.


Anonymous said...

I too like the dragonborn but I was a little unhappy with the details. They are oviparous but the mother is said to ween them - I don't think they should be mammalian.

Also I think tehy should have something better in terms of natural AC and vision. I would forego the breath weapon for balance.

Giacomo said...

I've always had a problem with the "mammalian dragons" thing, too. Mostly I've run into it on MUDs before, where but people want to play something with scales, but... whoa! Just get a load of those bodacious mammaries and child-bearing hips on the females. Which just leaves me saying, "Huh?"

Anonymous said...

One word, my friends: monotremes. Since the dragonborn don't incur penalties for extremes of cold, one must assume that they're endothermic and thus owe some of their ecology to a mammalian ancestor.
That being said, I'm with you on the breasts thing. Monotremes may have mammary glands, but they have small slits in their chests, not 'bodacious mammaries' (which would also be a good name for a band).