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The Wyrmling: Playable Dragons

The Wyrmling: Playable Dragons

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"My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!"

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Although playing as Smaug would be wonderfully fun for the player, it might lead to a bit of a lack in game balance for the rest of the party. It is just not practical to let your player be a fully grown dragon who can destroy entire towns, but why not let them play as a cute little wyrmling?

This document lists a race, class, and background (as well as one optional feat) all intended to be used together to create a wyrmling dragon PC or if the party happens to adopt a dragon along the way. The abilities and balance are pulled largely from the monster manual stat blocks, with a little bit of deviation for balance and to give the dragon spellcasting. The intent is to create something closely related to the monster manual dragons.

As the dragon levels, it grows from a newly hatched dragon into a young dragon, from small to large. If a campaign takes place over a short period of time, it may make sense to introduce a magical means of growth or some other explanation for accelerated growth.

I have been working and tweaking this document for about two years now. I origionally started it as I struggled to find a playable dragon that was faithful to the monster manual stat blocks. It has since seen a small amount of playtesting and tweaking; however, more tweeks may come out in the future based on feedback.

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Tom F November 16, 2018 1:53 am UTC
Just a quick question...
In the spellcasting section, it first says that constitution is the spellcasting ability, though it says charisma after that. Which is it?
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Dylan R November 16, 2018 7:40 pm UTC
Sorry that should say charisma in both locations.
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Joseph E November 13, 2018 3:29 am UTC
Very interesting work here. Well done.

A few notes:

Why bother with a size change? First off, it doesn't match the fiction (unless your campaign spans decades or hundreds of years) and when a creature reaches large size it creates some logistic issues (fitting in doors and dungeons) and balance issues (grappling, etc). There's no reason a dragon couldn't stay small, but just become skilled as it adventures. This could match the fiction since most dragons are generally lazy, so their skills/powers grow slowly over time.

Second, level 20 looks way unbalanced, and legendary actions really are a feature to make enemies tougher since they effectively get more actions. I recommend retooling this.

You don't specify if you can use "Human Form" more than once.

The hit die change seems super strange. no other class works like this, and it strikes me as a possible balance issue. Hit points often hide as a balance issue since having a few extra hit...See more
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Joseph E November 13, 2018 3:45 am UTC
another aspect this class is missing is the joy of acquiring items.

A dragon would have the ability to use a very minimal set of magic items in D&D. The role of magic items has been a bit reduced in this version compared to previous versions (i.e. only up to +3 isntead of +5) but this will be missing from this class. What about adding a "hoard" feature (i'm sure this has been done in different homebrews of dragon class) where just "having" magic items increases the power of the dragon somehow. And define which items could reasonably be used by this class. Necklace? probably. Wand/weapon? no. staff, no. cloak, probably? etc.

Also, adding something about the natural greed of dragons would be cool to see.
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Dylan R November 13, 2018 4:25 am UTC
I do completely understand a lot of your concerns with the class. I originally started without the growth, but as most dragons hit young by roughly 6-10 years old the growth period is pretty short for them to hit large. The human form is something you can go in and out of at will with a time limit per long rest. The legendary actions are powerful yes, but Level 20 is such a rare occurancd I figured it is fine. Also some of the more powerful aspects are partly balanced out by the DMs ability to limit what magic items the dragon can actually use.
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File Last Updated:
November 12, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on November 12, 2018.