Gem Dragonborn Playable Race Guide in D&D 5e

From lore and descriptions to traits and abilities, learn all about Gem 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. Gem Dragonborn are those that trace their lineage back to Gem dragons, and in particular, the heirs of Sardior, the Ruby dragon and have a different gem associated with them; amethyst, crystal, emerald, sapphire and topaz. Each type of Dragonborn has breath and resistance that exhibits a different element such as radiant for crystal Dragonborn, psychic for emerald Dragonborn and so on (you can see the elements associated with each Gem 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 Gem Dragonborn?

Gem Dragonborn trace their lineage and abilities back to the heirs of Sardior, the Ruby dragon. They come in one of five gem types; amethyst, crystal, emerald, sapphire and topaz. A Dragonborn’s type determines the type of powers they’re associated with and affects the element they breath out when using their breath weapon as well as their resistances.

Gem Dragonborn appearance

Copper Dragonborn

While Gem 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. Gem Dragonborn all take on powers and a skin tone based on different gems; amethyst, crystal, emerald, sapphire and topaz.

Gem Dragonborn personality

Gem Dragonborn are blessed (and cursed) with psychic energy. How these energies manifest depends on the type of Gem Dragonborn they are, but each Gem Dragonborn does have common among them some telepathic abilities as well as limited flight capabilities as well. This psychic energy does also mean that they are burdened with a continuous onslaught of emotions that they must attempt to master.

Most Gem 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 Gem 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.

Gem 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 Gem Dragonborn

Most Gem 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
  • Control of their psychic abilities and emotions

Gem 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.

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

  • Loyalty to your friends – Gem 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?

Gem Dragonborn Features in 5e

Ability Scores+2 to one ability score and +1 to another or +1 to 3 different ability scores
Creature TypeHumanoid
LanguagesCommon and 1 other
TraitsGem Ancestry, Breath Weapon, Draconic Resistance, Psyonic Mind, Gem Flight
Book found inFizban’s Treasury of Dragons

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

Gem Dragonborn traits

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

DragonDamage type

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 15-foot cone. 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 Gem 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).

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

Psionic Mind – You can telepathically speak to any creature you can see within 30 feet of you. You don’t need to share a language with the creature, but the creature must be able to understand at least one language.

Gem Flight – Starting at 5th level, you can use a bonus action to manifest spectral wings on your body. These wings last for 1 minute. For the duration, you gain a flying speed equal to your walking speed and can hover. Once you use this trait, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Which classes work well for Gem Dragonborn?

Metallic Dragonborn

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

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

Best class for Gem Dragonborn

For most of a Gem Dragonborn’s abilities, they are of most use when the player is using attacks rather than spells making Spellcasters less effective in most cases (as most dedicated spellcasters have access to more powerful spells than a breath weapon, but most melee characters don’t have more powerful attacks than a breath weapon). Your damage resistances will be of most use when in the thick of melee combat too.

The same is true of your breath weapon which has a 15ft cone of range (if you want a bit more range, Chromatic Dragonborn have a 30ft breath weapon). What’s even more helpful for your martials is that your breath weapon 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 fires in a 15ft cone.

Having said this, Gem Dragonborn don’t get a second breath weapon like Metallic Dragonborn (which makes Metallic Dragonborn more effective as martials). Instead, they get telepathy and temporary flight once a day. Both of these have lots of uses outside of combat and in combat, ranged classes will gain use from a minute of flight to get somewhere safe while they shoot arrows and lob spells into the fray. If you do want a ranged or spellcasting Dragonborn, then you’ll probably want to go with a Gem Dragonborn for this reason, but they are still better suited to martial classes.

With this in mind, your best class options for a Gem 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 Gem 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 Gem 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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