Dragonborn 5e Guide

Published on June 14, 2020, Last modified on September 27th, 2021

What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the Dragonborn will be right for your character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your Dragonborn. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Dragonborn?

Dragonborn are bipedal, dragon-like creatures that originally hatched from dragon eggs. These creatures have scales, taloned claws, and long, reptilian faces that resemble their elder kin. The color of the scales resembles the dragon that they descended from, usually the ones with more vibrant scales and a particularly potent blood lineage. Dragonborn are notoriously proud beings and their clan is more important than life itself.

Dragonborn Traits

Ability Score Increase: +2 STR is a fairly uncommon double racial bonus. Dragonborn are the only race with a +2 STR and +1 CHA bonus. This particular bonus isn’t great because most STR melee fighters are dumping CHA, and most CHA casters are dumping STR. The biggest exception to this is the Paladin who absolutely loves this racial bonus.

Age: Dragonborns mature by 15 and live to around 80

Alignment: Dragonborn tend to strongly believe in their cause, whether it is Good or Evil.

Size: Dragonborn are medium creatures, though are larger than humans at around 6 1/2 feet tall and starting at 300lbs.

Speed: 30ft walking is standard

Draconic Ancestry: Being able to choose a resistance and damage type with your breath weapon is an awesome utility.

  • Damage Resistance: Fire is the most common spells damage type, followed by cold, lightning, acid, then poison.
  • Breath Weapon: Seeing as fire is the damage type with the most immunities, it is kind of a double-edged sword to take fire as your Draconic Ancestry. Cold is a fairly common damage type and also has a lot of creatures with resistance. The main thing you want to to avoid is poison, which has by far the most immunities.

Languages: Common and Draconic

Dragonborn Subraces

Unlike Dwarves and Elves, the Dragonborn subclasses completely replace the racial bonuses, breath weapon, and damage resistance from the primary race

Draconblood Dragonborn:

Ability Score Increase: +2 INT is great for Wizards and Artificers, +1 CHA won’t necessarily be wasted because social skills are always important, but a DEX or CON bonus would be preferred.

Darkvision: Darkvision is useful, whether it is more debatable than a damage resistance is debatable.

Forceful Presence: Getting one persuasion check with advantage is solid, but it is rare that a face class will want to play a Draconblood Dragonborn so this will likely only serve to offset a dumped CHA stat.

Ravenite Dragonborn

Ability Score Increase: Same +2 STR and +1 CHA as the vanilla Dragonborn.

Darkvision: Darkvision is useful, whether it is more debatable than a damage resistance is debatable.

Vengeful Assault: Paladins and other melee classes will love this extra attack.

Which Classes Work With Dragonborn?

Artificer: The Draconblood subrace has decent ASIs for an Artificer. Darkvision is always nice and Forceful Presence fine.

Barbarian: +2 STR is and the damage resistance, and an AoE are great for Barbarians.

Bard: The CHA bonus is alright, usually you would be looking for +2 here. The +2 to STR is great for College of Valor Bards but would be wasted on most other Colleges.

Cleric: The STR bonus is okay but the lack of WIS and CON makes this a suboptimal choice.

Druid: No WIS or DEX for Druids.

Fighter: Bonuses to STR are beneficial for Melee Fighters. Breath Weapon is also a nice AoE attack that scales with character progression.

Monk: STR and CHA doesn’t do anything for Monks since they use DEX for attack and damage rolls instead.

Paladin: +2 to STR and +1 to CHA make Dragonborn an ideal racial bonus for Paladins. Combine this with the breath weapon and damage reduction and you are looking at a very strong base build. You can choose between the vanilla Dragonborn to get the Draconic Ancestry or the Ravenite Dragonborn to get additional attacks (and smites) when in melee combat.

Ranger: +2 STR is nice for a melee Ranger, the +1 CHA is wasted.

Rogue: No DEX for a Rogue. Darkvision won’t make up for the poor ability bonuses here.

Sorcerer: The STR boost will be wasted but the CHA is what you are looking for. Shame the CHA bonus is only +1 or else this class would be an amazing choice. A damage resistance and Breath Weapon is a good bonus.

Warlock: The +1 CHA bonus is nice, but the +2 STR will go to waste. The breath weapon can help with limited spells.

Wizard: The Draconblood Dragonborn has a good racial bonus, but the traits aren’t quite as good as other Races that will give a +2 bonus. If you want to be a Dragonborn Wizard, it is certainly still viable.

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.