Proud heirs of a long shattered empire, the dragonborn struggle to preserve their racial identity in a world that is no longer theirs to command. They believe themselves to be the most ancient race to walk the land, second in creation after only the dragons themselves, but they are a race in twilight, watching as younger races squabble over the remnants of power that was once their's.
To be a dragonborn is stand above the races of mortals, to be something more, - kin to the majestic and mighty dragons, and bearers of the once-great kingdom of Arkhosia, armed with a breath weapon and draconic durability to strike down their foes and weather their attacks.
Dragonborn resemble humanoid dragons. They are covered in a think, scaly hide, but they do not have tails, and only the most powerful amongst them have wings. They are tall and strongly built, often standing close to 6 in a half feet and weighing three hundred pounds or more. Despite a passing resemblance to reptilian creatures, dragonborn are warm-blooded beings rather than cold-blooded reptiles. Their bodies are hot enough to seem feverish to human sensibilities. This keeps a dragonborn more comfortable in cold temperatures. A lack of body hair coupled with a large mouth that can be opened to release body heat means that a dragonborn is no more vulnerable to hot temperatures than a human.Their hands and feet are strong talon-like claws with three fingers and a thumb on each hand. A dragonborn's head features a blunt snout, a strong brow and distinctive frills at the cheek and ear. Behind their brow, a crest of horn-life scales of various lengths resemble thick, ropy hair. Their eyes are shades of red or gold.
A typical dragonborn's scales can be scarlet, gold, rust, ocher, bronze or brown. rarely do an individuals scales match the hue of a chromatic or metallic dragon, and scale color gies no indication of the breathweapon a dragonborn uses, or if they use one at all. Most dragonborn have very fine scales over most of their body, giving their skin a leathery texture, with regions of larger scales on the forearms, lower legs and feet, shoulders and thighs.
Young dragonborn grow faster than human children do. They walk hours after hatching, reach size and development of a ten year-old human child by the age of three and reach full-on adulthood at fifteen. They live to be about eighty, with a great deal living to be 90 or older.
Common Culture or Traits
Dragonborn trace their modern cultural leanings to the hale days of Arkhosia, when the precepts of dignity and progress were paramount in the dragonborn mindset. In Arkhosia, strong clans arose and formed ties that yet endure among dragonborn bloodlines. Within that lost empire, dragonborn knew their greatest glory and became instilled with an everlasting sense of their place in the world. War with Bael Turath and the loss of Arkhosia served to hone dragonborn into what they are today.
Clans and family bloodlines are still preserved among the dragonborn, and both are important. The difference between the two is subtle. Family is defined by one’s actual blood relatives as far back as records go. Clan is a federation of families, unified in the annals of time, often for forgotten ends. All dragonborn revere their honored ancestors, family, and clan. They perform their work with an eye toward what their deeds say about their lineage. Such ties can define peace and enmity, as well as cooperation or antagonism, among individual dragonborn. Families and clans have reputations, good or ill, that can have little to do with the living scions of the bloodline. The desire to live up to a laudable legacy or overcome a besmirched birthright can define a dragonborn’s life. Some dragonborn instead embrace infamy or flee from the responsibility imposed by the past. Others make their way according to personal values, perhaps aiming at becoming the most capable and admired dragonborn among the elders of a clan, thereby becoming the clanmaster. When doing so is possible, all dragonborn of a particular clan look to their clanmaster for guidance. Clan elders have ways to contact a distant clanmaster. The clanmaster also has loyal dragonborn agents to act in his or her stead, and to serve as messengers. Keeping contact can be difficult, but dragonborn of the same clan more easily form cohesive coalitions and enclaves. Marriages are defined by age-old pacts among clans. Dragonborn parents with weighty responsibilities look to such relations for help fostering children. A whole ward in a large settlement might be filled with dragonborn from allied clans, and each clan could have its own hall like in the old days of Arkhosia.
All this focus on clan comes from the fact that, while family bloodlines can be extensive, the dragonborn family unit is very small. The typical one contains only two dragonborn: a mated pair, or a parent and child. Dragonborn wed to procreate. Although notable exceptions exist to this generality, wedlock ends as soon as the offspring from a union is 3 years old. If the parents have no reason to maintain proximity, one of them, usually of the same gender as the child, raises and trains that youngster in the ways of people, family, and clan. Honor demands that a parent teach a child well, and that adults care for the young. Through storytelling, tutoring, and demonstration, the parent instills virtues and skills in the child. Although this process serves to educate, it also gives the youngster’s fiery spirit a focus. Without such direction, the fierce nature of a dragonborn comes to the fore, resulting in feral savagery. When rightly trained in dragonborn ways, however, a juvenile learns that honor requires respect for elders and other worthies, focused and sincere effort, reliability and fulfillment of oaths, and integrity. At an early age, he or she understands that chosen actions can bring credit or disgrace to self, family and clan, and even all dragonborn. Even dragonborn crafters and laborers grow up with discipline, play inspired by lessons and tales of derring-do, and an admiration for brave and principled deeds. All learn a thing or two about fighting and soldierly ways. They learn to be bold so that they can challenge themselves and those who misuse authority. Where dragonborn are a small portion of the local population, which is the norm, such tiny families are common. But where an integrated enclave exists, the process is different, and some dragonborn claim, resembles what life was like in Arkhosia. In such a community, dragonborn foster children communally. Adults watch out for and teach the young, and the young enjoy a broader exposure to an array of dragonborn role models. A single parent still maintains authority and responsibility for a youngster, but in these situations, the other parent is often close at hand and has some influence as well.
From a very young age dragonborn are expected to become independent people. Dragonborn come of age and are considered an "adult" by the age of fifteen, and at this time the draginborn is fully expected to have incorperated it's parent's teachings into it behavior and every day life.
They are taught to hold all races in esteem, and judge individuals by their calbier rather than by their kingdom or race. They are also taught to be proud of their heritage, and to learn from the mistakes of their forebearers. Even though dragonborn are taught to be proud of their family and their clan, they are taught to take full responsibility for their actions, for they were not made by the clan or the family. Because dragonborn are taught to have high principals and have daring and courage instilled in them at a young age, dragonborn society produces fewer petty criminals, than a society of other races but more outright villains—dragonborn are more likely to be bandit lords than pickpockets. Conversely, dragonborn are numerous among adventurers. They also find places more regularly in the company of those who have unusual or specialized skills, artistic or venturesome. Regardless of what they do, and whether in the presence of other of their kind, all dragonborn are very aware of the actions they take, the quality of their work, and how such things reflect upon them. A dragonborn weaponsmith aims to be the best, to push the boundaries of his craft, to sell weapons in an honorable manner, and to honor those who use his armaments by creating items of great worth and value. The dragonborn soldier, in turn, focuses on honoring himself, his armorer, his general and his clan, by being the best soldier he can be. He or she does so by taking initiative in training and on the battlefield, and by helping comrades. Failing to recognize such interconnectivity is a failing of character. This system of honor with awareness and answerability was the strength of the dragonborn when, in Arkhosia, they served dragons.
Today it is rarer to see a dragonborn bow to a dragon than it was in the days of Arkhosia. Some clans still remember the last days of their empire, when the selfishness and cowardice of some dragon lords became all too visible. Dragonborn from these bloodlines sometimes even despise dragons. Other clans still hold dragons in esteem, weighing a dragon’s worth by its actions. Most clans remain free from draconic influence at all. Those few dragonborn who serve dragons are often more barbaric than their kin who live among humans and other races.
Faith is a personal matter for each dragonborn, and it is an issue in which the dragon deities take prominence. Bahamut is most important among the dragonborn people, but Tiamat’s cult thrives well in the hearts of avaricious dragonborn. Erathis, Ioun, and Kord also remain important as symbols of advancement and a progressive, fighting spirit. After the fall of Arkhosia, Avandra also became important to the dragonborn populace, because she is the god of wanderers. Bereft of their own temples, most dragonborn practice religion in churches within mixed communities. They participate in few rites, unless duty, such as that placed on a cleric or paladin, or respect, such as that for a devout friend, compels them to do so. Clan elders preside over dragonborn marriages and funeral rites, for instance; absent these, family and close friends participate. Although gods might be invoked at such ceremonies, to call such rites religious would be a mistake.
Dragonborn are practical and meticulous about their crafts. Like dwarves, they create few items for purely artistic reasons, preferring the coupling of functionality and beauty. Strong individuality among dragonborn causes them to focus more on personal items, such as weapons, rather than those that can’t be carried, such as architecture or statuary. One exception to this generality of usability and beauty exists in the case of jewelry.
Crafters among the dragonborn take care and time with their work. A finished work is an expression of the nature and capabilities of its maker. Although completed items are seldom as ornate as the work of dwarves, a dragonborn item almost always has a distinctive flare. Elemental, draconic, and scale motifs are most common, as are bold colors and precious metals. The love of bold colors and precious metals extends to jewelry, gems, armaments, and even coins. Many dragonborn crafters are jewelers, gemcutters, smiths, or minters. Clearly an expression of the draconic tendency to hoard valuables, dragonborn adorn themselves with baubles of all sorts, and dragonborn warriors and adventurers seek out the finest gear. Most dragonborn show reserve and taste in this aspect of personal adornment, rather than garish overindulgence.
Dragonborn rarely take place in true leisure activity, instead using their off-time to further hone their skills, or in some way prove their mettle. Dragonborn loves competition and games, where they can prove their strength, whether physical, mental, or spiritual. Dragonborn are not scared of new things and rarely feel pressured to compete in areas which they know they are skilled - just because a dragonborn has never done it does not mean they are not the best. Of all games dragonborn prefer those which are one versus one, though team competitions are accepted. Therefore, a dragonborn hones skill at strategic board games, philosophic riddle contests, improvised storytelling events, and one-on-one sports. The ferocity of the draconic spirit couples with their innate physical strength and their ancient, militaristic culture, leading dragonborn to create and participate in sports which are far violent than many other peoples are used to. In fact, numerous dragonborn—even nonheroic sorts—form fighting or wrestling clubs, as well as regular contests of weapon skill. Intrepid dragonborn try their hands at actual blood sports, such as gladiatorial matches, pit fighting, and dueling.
During the time of Arkhosia most dragonborn spoke solely Draconic. In modern times this is rarely true, due to the size of the late kingdom of Nerath most intelligent races know common and this is true of dragonborn. It is rare indeed to find a dragonborn who does not speak both common and draconic.
Dragonborn have a number of distinctive iodims, oaths and proverbs, including:
"Three and One!" (Tesjendar!) A common exclemation, it refers to the three gods of Arkhosia's imperial temples and the emperor, called the Golden One.
"By my clan and honor" (Uth vethindas en thuris) An oath or interjection, this is a solemn expressioj of what is most important to a dragonborn.
"Not all scales shield a dragon's heart" (Thricanda molik litrem vethiejir darastrix) A proverb expressing that not all things are as they seem. Also used as an expression of courage, reminding that a threat is often not as dangeroous as it seems.
"Io's Blood" (Vethio ierjir) Another exclamation, it's also a subtle reminder that even the god of god's could be slain - an exhortion in humility.
"Every lair has two ways out" (Thurisvant eth donsjeret) There is more than one way to accomlish any given task. their is always hope
"Stop straddling the chasm" (Pokesthajar kharasj) Means, Choose a side, make a decision.
"Bahamut's Breath!" (Vethisvaerx Bahamut!) Considered somewhat irrevelant, this oath is commonly used to express frustration, but can refer to just about anything.
Dragonborn psychology centers on their draconic nature tempered by strong cultural ideals. The inner draconic spark is expressed as their natural intensity coupled with a well-developed sense of self. From this sprouts a resolve born of an honest desire to be the best one can be and to be worthy of one’s heritage. Tradition focuses the dragonborn ego with principles of personal excellence, accountability, honor, and wisdom.
Strongly emotional, dragonborn approach life with a natural enthusiasm. Passion comes easily, and dragonborn readily invest themselves in the tasks set before them. At its simplest and perhaps basest level, this fervor expresses itself in extremes of feeling—dragonborn don’t hide anger or joy. Such emotion also surfaces as ferocity in battle, especially when dragonborn feel their resolve faltering. When failure comes into view as a possibility, dragonborn become more tenacious.
This is partly because a healthy self-image is common among dragonborn. Few dragonborn are timid or reserved, except as a matter of showing proper respect to others. Guided by personal morals, dragonborn look out for themselves, along with those creatures and items they value. They have no trouble asking for what they need or taking time to improve their abilities. And they expect others to do the same. How else can associates and friends rely on one another? In what other way can society be expected to function?
The paradox in the dragonborn belief in a strong group dynamic is that, like dragons, all dragonborn are fiercely independent. They learn to be so in their upbringing, focused as it is on individuality. So this conviction is an outgrowth of personal pride. Dragonborn see the strengths of a group they are part of as an expression of their own strengths. The group’s failures and successes become those of the dragonborn members within it, reflecting on them and their choice to be a part of the group. Coupled with such pride, dragonborn carry a high personal standard. When a challenge comes, dragonborn rise to it. They set their sights on success and keep going until no options remain to prevent failure. This trait isn’t as simple as a disdain for flaws and lack of success. Dragonborn want to contribute and to be seen as valuable by those they value. They consistently want to show that their confidence in themselves and the reliance others have on them isn’t misplaced. Consideration of how they can become better at whatever they do, whether by further fortifying assets or shoring up weaknesses, is part of dragonborn thinking.
Responsibility is also a piece of the dragonborn mindset. This can be an expression of their attachment to others involved in a situation. It’s also attributable to the cultural value placed on respect, for self and others, and good judgment. No dragonborn gives his or her word lightly. In fact, dragonborn often value honoring their promises and fulfilling their obligations more than their lives.
Good judgment is, therefore, required of dragonborn. They must assess the options before them and make the best choice. A failure to do so is just that—failure. As an expression of all these personality aspects, any dragonborn aware of his or her abilities might realize he or she can’t hope to succeed in certain circumstances. Dragonborn show wisdom by not giving their oaths to accomplish what they know they can’t. They show virtue by admitting their sense of the state of affairs and offering to help as best they can. They show courage by trying to accomplish the impossible anyway, when the cost of inaction would otherwise be too great.
Such positive expressions of dragonborn nature are common especially among heroic dragonborn. But, as with all fallible creatures, negative expressions also abound. Passion can lead dragonborn to brutality, hasty decisions, and unrighteous vengeance. Greed and worse forms of selfishness can grow from a misguided ego. Blind ambition can follow a commitment to excellence, as can a willingness to evaluate others severely or to undertake foolhardy deeds. Although such twisting of virtue can be a seed of wickedness, most of the time it never goes so far. An individual dragonborn might not see some of his or her failings, but such negative behavior never truly descends into evil. And a lot of dragonborn villains display a subset of dragonborn scruples, especially courtesy and respect to enemies.
Dragonborn Characteristics: Driven, honor-bound, noble, perfectionist, proud, reliable, reserved, rooted in ancient history
A childhood name or nickname is common. Such a name is usually descriptive, and it serves as a term of endearment or encouragement for a young dragonborn. The name might recall an event or center on a habit. It could derive from an ancestor that acted similarly to a child, or a favored toy or item might be the inspiration. Such names are seldom appropriate for adults. For anyone to use such a name without proper authority, such as that of a parent or elder, or without permission is a sign of disrespect. A dragonborn’s elders use a childhood name after that dragonborn becomes an adult only to indicate disapproval.
Childhood Names: Climber, Earbender, Leaper, Pious, Little Kriv, Shieldbiter, Zealous, Shellkeeper, Gnaw, (any of these names in draconic)
Male Names: Arjhan, Balasar, Bharash, Donaar, Ghesh, Heskan, Kriv, Medrash, Nadarr, Patrin, Rhogar, Shamash, Shedinn, Torinn
Female Names: Akra, Biri, Daar, Harann, Kava, Korinn, Mishann, Nala, Perra, Raiann, Sora, Surina, Thava
Family names are Draconic words, much like given names, carried by a specific bloodline. They often come from the deeds of an ancient scion of the family line or an amalgamation of the names of notable ancient ancestors. A dragonborn seldom identifies itself by family name, unless specificity is required. Dragonborn keep their family names private except among close friends, and instead go by clan name.
Family Names/ Last Names: Alreja, Bhergav, Duggal, Garodya, Iyotar, Letrah, Mulhotra, Odeyar, Pradhu, Reddyar, Samanga, Tyagi, Ulharej, Vadula, Yadav, Zaveri
Clan names are ancient titles that are frequently taken from the names of dragon lords of Arkhosia. Those that aren’t dragon names are names of trade associations or martial cadres, much like modern guilds, arcane societies, or knightly orders. A dragonborn goes by his clan name, so his deeds are known to reflect on that clan. Members of a clan fiercely defend their clan name against misuse, and some dragonborn outlaws are stripped of the privilege of using the clan name.
Clan Names: Bloodbane, Drakerider, Flamebrow, Hammerwing, Loremark, Moonscale, Peaceblade, Redmark, Silverspear, Spellscale, Warbringer
Origin and History
As with all stories that deal with the ancient past of the mythic age, tales about the birth of the dragonborn are hazy in their details and often contradict eachother. Each tale, regardless of its accuracy does reveal at least one truth about the dragonborn, and many more truths about the teller.
One tale relates that the dragonborn were shaped by Io at the same time as he created the dragons. Io fused spirits of the astral sea with pure raw elements of the elementa chaos. The greater astral spirits became dragons, which were so powerful, strong-willed and proud that they immediately became the lords of the newformed world, while their lesser kin became the first dragonborn. Although smaller, and less powerful they were no-less draconic in form. This tale stresses the close kinship between dragons and dragonborn, while reinforcing what has always been true, dragons rule, and dragonborn serve.
A second tale claims that Io created the dragnos seperatly from their kin. In the begining of the world, Io crafted dragons to represent the pinnacle of power amongst mortals, imbuing them with the power of the elemental chaos. Io granted them brilliant minds and the lofty spirits. During the dawn war, when Io was struck down by the King of Terror, this legend claims, his blood spread acoss the surface of the world, and where it spilt the dragonborn arose.
This legend seperates the creation myths of the dragons and the dragonborn, implying that they are indefinitly seperate. Sometimes those who tell this tale will be quick to point out how the dragonborn were an accident, far less perfect than the dragons so lovingly crafted by Io's hands. Other tellers, though, stress that the dragonborn rose up from Io's own blood, just as the two draconic gods rose from his sundered body. Are they not, therefore, like the gods themselves?
A third tale, rarely told in current times, claims that dragonborn were the firstborn of the world, created before dragons and the other mortal races. Those other races were created, the legend states, in pale imitation of dragonborn perfection. Io shaped them with his claws and breathed his firey breath into their lungs, and spilt some of his own blood to send life coursing throught their veins. Io made them, the legend claims, to be his companions and alies, to fill his astral court and sing his praise. The dragons he made later, during the dawn war, as weapons of destruction. This version of the tale wasp opular during the height of Arkhosia, though it was subversive at the time becuase it proclaimed that the dragons should serve the dragonborn not vice versa. It also highlited the theme that dragonborn are above the other mortal races, a theme which was very popular during Arkhosia's height.
One common theme binds all these legends together though - the dragonborn owe their exsistance to Io, the great dragon-god who created all of dragonkind. The dragonborn are not the creation of Bahamut or Tiamat and thus do not owe any loyalty to either side of their eternal war. It is up to each individual dragonborn to decide where he belongs between the sides of the ancient war between chromatic and metallic - or to ignore the conflict completely.
Historically the dragonborn are most renown for their ancient empire, Arkhosia.
Enemies and Allies
Dragonborn have few overarching racial enemies or allies. Their history might have provided them with a natural enmity for tieflings, but that doesn’t pan out in reality. The same can’t be said for devils. It is the nature of dragonborn to form strong ties with trusted friends, however, and a dragonborn’s boon companions are often treated more like family or clanmates. Despite the centuries-gone war between Arkhosia and Bael Turath, few modern dragonborn hate tieflings. Most see the disintegration of the two nations as a mutually shameful episode in history, brought on as much by the eroding of Arkhosia’s creed as the depravity of Bael Turath’s rulers. Many dragonborn also recognize that those tieflings now alive aren’t responsible for the wrongdoing of their forebears. So dragonborn weigh tieflings like they do other people—on individual merit, respecting even the worthy adversary. Exceptions to this generality exist. Some dragonborn clans, especially those who have descended into barbarism or those who still serve dragons, still bear old grudges. More widespread among dragonborn, however, is ill will toward the true masters of Bael Turath, the devils who led the once-human empire astray. Few dragonborn are willing to put trust in anything or anyone that even seems to be aligned with the Nine Hells. Dragonborn do rely on allies and friends. In fact, dragonborn are frequently without nearby family or clan members, and comrades are essential in the darkening world. Dragonborn give their all to support those who trust them. When such associates show a similar sense of duty, dragonborn come to see them like relatives. They eventually form clanlike bonds with them, sharing the stories of their lives and people. Nondragonborn do well to realize the honor they’re being given when such bonding occurs.