Metallic Dragonborn Playable Race Guide in D&D 5e

From lore and descriptions to traits and abilities, learn all about Metallic 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. Metallic Dragonborn are those that trace their lineage back to metallic dragons; brass, bronze, copper, gold and silver. Each colour of Dragonborn has breath and resistance that exhibits a different element such as fire for brass Dragonborn, cold for silver Dragonborn and so on (you can see the elements associated with each Metallic 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 Metallic Dragonborn in D&D 5e?

Metallic Dragonborn trace their lineage and abilities back to Metallic Dragons. They come in one of five colours; brass, bronze, copper, gold and silver. 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 as well as their resistances.

Metallic Dragonborn Appearance

Copper Dragonborn

While Metallic 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. Metallic Dragonborn all take on a metallic appearance based on one of; brass, bronze, copper, gold and silver.

Metallic Dragonborn Personality

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

Most Metallic 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 Metallic 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.

Metallic 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 Metallic Dragonborn

chromatic dragonborn

Most Metallic 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

Metallic 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.

Metallic Dragonborn come in all sorts of alignments too (despite the goodness of most metallic dragons).

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

  • Loyalty to your friends – Metallic 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?

Metallic 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
LifespanAbout 80 years
LanguagesCommon and 1 other
TraitsMetallic Ancestry, Breath Weapon, Draconic Resistance, Metallic Breath Weapon
Book found inPlayer’s HandbookFizban’s Treasury of Dragons

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

Metallic dragonborn traits

Metallic Ancestry – You trace your ancestry to a metallic dragon, granting you a special magical affinity. Choose one type of dragon from the Metallic 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 Metallic 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 Metallic Ancestry.

Metallic Breath Weapon – At 5th level, you gain a second breath weapon. When you take the Attack action on your turn, you can replace one of your attacks with an exhalation in a 15-foot cone. The save DC for this breath is 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. Whenever you use this trait, choose one:

  • Enervating Breath – Each creature in the cone must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or become incapacitated until the start of your next turn.
  • Repulsion Breath – Each creature in the cone must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be pushed 20 feet away from you and be knocked prone.

Once you use your Metallic Breath Weapon, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Which classes work well for Metallic Dragonborn?

Metallic Dragonborn

When playing as a Metallic Dragonborn, your main abilities revolve around your chosen metal which affects the element your powers revolve around. A brass 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, bronze Dragonborn cause lightning damage which is rarely resisted, but their resistance will also rarely be of use. It’s up to you which metal Dragonborn you use, but recognising this trade off is important.

Best class for Metallic Dragonborn

For each of a Metallic 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.

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.

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