Chromatic Dragonborn Playable Race Guide in D&D 5e

From lore and descriptions to traits and abilities, learn all about Chromatic Dragonborn in D&D 5e

Dragonborn are humanoid creatures with traits similar to those of a dragon such as scaly skin and elemental breath abilities. Chromatic Dragonborn are those that trace their lineage back to chromatic dragons; black, blue, green, red and white. Each colour of Dragonborn has breath that exhibits a different element such as fire for red Dragonborn, cold for white Dragonborn and so on (you can see the elements associated with each Chromatic Dragonborn colour in the traits section below.

Dragonborn were originally released in the Player’s Handbook as one of the original races in D&D 5e. They’ve since been updated in Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons which has made some vital improvements along with distinguishing the 3 types of Dragonborn a little more; Chromatic, Metallic and Gem. Our guide will help you make the most of your Dragonborn character.

What are Chromatic Dragonborn?

Chromatic Dragonborn trace their lineage and abilities back to Chromatic Dragons. They come in one of five colours; black, blue, green, red and white. A Dragonborn’s colour determines the type of element they’re associated with and affects the element they breath out when using their breath weapon.

Chromatic Dragonborn appearance

Metallic Dragonborn

While Chromatic Dragonborn are descended from dragons and have many attributes in common, Dragonborn are in fact humanoids standing upright on 2 legs. They retain the scaled appearance, jaws, tail and other aspects of their dragon ancestors, though stand a considerable amount smaller in height. Chromatic Dragonborn all take on a skin colour based on one of; black, blue, green, red and white.

Chromatic Dragonborn personality

Chromatic dragons are generally evil creatures. This is particularly so in the Dragonlance setting where the chromatic dragons sided with Takhisis in the War of the Lance and other wars on Krynn. While many Chromatic Dragonborn may feel an affinity towards their chromatic dragon brethren, they are not predisposed towards evil or even more inclined towards it than any other race.

Most Chromatic Dragonborn tend to live in communities with other Dragonborn. Most seek mastery in an art or skill and are rarely satisfied until they’ve accomplished mastery of their chosen vocation. In fact, this is often the reason a Chromatic Dragonborn might leave their community; to go out into the world to develop their skills.

While Dragonborn are keen to attain self-mastery, this does not mean that they are unable to co-operate with others. In fact, they tend to disregard personal needs for the betterment of the group. Dragonborn take great pride in accomplishing their area of responsibility and feel a sense of shame when their contributions are subpar. This extends to an adventuring group they might find themselves with as well.

Chromatic Dragonborn names

Dragonborn tend to have names that use soft tones. Female names tend to start with letters near the beginning of the alphabet while male names tend to beign with letters in the middle of the alphabet.

Some examples of female Dragonborn names include; Akra, Biri, Daar, Farideh, Harann, Havilar, Jheri, Kava, Korinn, Mishann, Nala

Some examples of male Dragonborn names include; Ghesh, Heskan, Kriv, Medrash, Mehen, Nadarr, Pandjed, Patrin, Rhogar

A Dragonborn’s clan name is considered more important than their own name so Dragonborn will tend to use their clan name before their given name. Dragonborn clan names though can be long and tend to include both the clan’s name and events and signficiant accomplishments of the clan. These clan names include things like; Clethtinthiallor, Daardendrian, Delmirev, Drachedandion, Fenkenkabradon, Kepeshkmolik, Kerrhylon, Kimbatuul

How to play as a Chromatic Dragonborn

Most Chromatic Dragonborn lean towards the following traits:

  • Loyalty to their friends
  • Respect for those that deserve it
  • Mastery in their chosen vocation
  • Working for the good of the group

Chromatic Dragonborn do not steer towards any particular vocation or another. Many vocations are seen as important. The pursuit is instead towards mastering the vocation you operate in, whether that be as a wizard, fighter or bard.

Chromatic Dragonborn come in all sorts of alignments too (despite the evilness of chromatic dragons).

Below are some things to consider when creating your Chromatic Dragonborn character:

  • Loyalty to your friends – Chromatic Dragonborn are usually loyal to those that earn it. How might your behaviour differ with your friends to those that are not your friends? What lengths are you willing to go to for your friends?
  • Respect to those that deserve it – What do you respect? This may determine when and how you demonstrate respect. Do you respect powerful warriors, the kindhearted, great knowledge or something else?
  • The path of self-mastery – You will likely seek to become a mastery of your craft. How will you react when your performance is less than satisfactory?

Chromatic Dragonborn Features in 5e

There are a few different versions of Dragonborn found across various sourcebooks in D&D 5e. The original version is found in the Player’s Handbook, but this version tends to be a little weak comapred to other races. Fortunately, there have been subspecies and updates added. Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount gives you a couple of subspecies to play with while Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons gives you a full rewrite of the rules and giving you 3 subspecies in Chromatic, Metallic and Gem Dragonborn. These rules make Dragonborn work much better and these are the rules we’ll work with in our guide.

Ability Scores+2 to one ability score and +1 to another or +1 to 3 different ability scores
Creature TypeHumanoid
SizeMedium
LifespanAbout 80 years
Speed30ft
LanguagesCommon and 1 other language
TraitsChromatic Ancestry, Breath Weapon, Draconic Resistance, Chromatic Warding
Book found inPlayer’s HandbookFizban’s Treasury of Dragons

If you want to play as a Chromatic Dragonborn, your character will have the following traits and abilities:

Chromatic Dragonborn Traits

Chromatic Ancestry – You trace your ancestry to a chromatic dragon, granting you a special magical affinity. Choose one type of dragon from the Chromatic Ancestry table. This determines the damage type for your other traits as shown in the table.

DragonDamage Type
BlackAcid
BlueLightning
GreenPoison
RedFire
WhiteCold

Breath Weapon – When you take the Attack action on your turn, you can replace one of your attacks with an exhalation of magical energy in a 30-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that area must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC = 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus). On a failed save, the creature takes 1d10 damage of the type associated with your Chromatic Ancestry. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage. This damage increases by 1d10 when you reach 5th level (2d10), 11th level (3d10), and 17th level (4d10). You can use your Breath Weapon a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Draconic Resistance – You have resistance to the damage type associated with your Chromatic Ancestry.

Chromatic Warding – Starting at 5th level, as an action, you can channel your draconic energy to protect yourself. For 1 minute, you become immune to the damage type associated with your Chromatic Ancestry. Once you use this trait, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Which classes work well for Chromatic Dragonborn?

When playing as a Chromatic Dragonborn, your main abilities revolve around your chosen colour which affects the element your powers revolve around. A red Dragonborn will find their resistances work well as fire damage is common, but will also find that their damage can be more easily resisted because fire resistance is also more common.

On the other hand, blue Dragonborn cause lightning damage which is rarely resisted, but their resistance will also rarely be of use. It’s up to you which colour Dragonborn you use, but recognising this trade off is important.

Best class for Chromatic Dragonborn

For each of a Chromatic Dragonborn’s abilities, they are of most use when the player using their attacks rather than spells making Spellcasters less effective in most cases. Your damage resistances will be of most use when in the thick of melee combat while your breath weapon, which does have a 30ft range, can be used as one of your attacks when using the attack action rather than taking up your whole action (if you have extra attacks that is like a fighter or barbarian). This is powerful as it always hits (if only partially on a successful dexterity saving throw) and can hit multiple targets as it shoots in a 30ft line.

One other reason that melee classes do better with a Chromatic Dragonborn is that the line when made from the back of an attacking party can make it difficult to avoid allies, more likely, you’ll want to be near the front where it’s easier to hit multiple enemies.

With this in mind, your best class options for a Chromatic Dragonborn are:

  • Barbarian
  • Fighter
  • Paladin
  • Monk

These classes benefit especially from a Dragonborn’s breath weapon as they get few (if any) area of effect options for dealing with large crowds.

A case can be made for certain other classes and subclasses for Chromatic Dragonborn. Battle Smith and Armourer artificers enjoy an extra attack and often like to be in the middle of combat. College of swords and college of Valor bards, hexblade warlocks and rangers enjoy similar benefits.

Worst classes for Chromatic Dragonborn

Essentially, you’re looking at most dedicated Spellcasters, especially those with options for area of effect spells and that don’t get extra attacks. This is especially the case for sorcerors and wizards who have much better spells to use and would be unable to use a breath weapon alongside an extra attack. These classes are better of using spells like fireball to thin the crowd and focus on a different race.

Other playable races

Published by DM Ben

Ben is an experienced dungeon master and player who's been immersed in the D&D universe since he was a teenager over 20 years ago. When he's not writing for Dungeon Mister, Ben loves creating fiendish puzzles and devious dungeons for his players. He's an especially big fan of the Ravenloft and Dragonlance settings.

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