“Mom, where do dragonborn come from?”

That’s a question I didn’t have an answer for. A player wanted to be a dragonborn, but they don’t exist in the world as I built it. That’s not always a great reason to not allow a race.

When you build a limited world players either need to buy-in completely or you can work together to figure out how the character fits.

When a player asked to be a warforged he came up with an incredible backstory. They were the only warforged, built by those that became gods. Wakened for unknown reasons (we knew it was because of the rediscovery of the powers that those who created them used) the warforged is an outsider who knows that the myths of the founding are reality, that idyllic times of the past can be recreated using the same tools that the past used.

This also made sense because the player wasn’t familiar with the world as it is. Instead they created what it was and together the player and character learned the current reality.

When I was approached about a player being a dragonborn I wasn’t ready. We worked the character in with no backstory, knowing that at some point it will come up again.

Then DnDBeyond presented the following idea;

The Rise of Dragonborn and Kobolds

As the Dungeon Master, you can craft unique origins for draconic folk like dragonborn and kobolds. You could decide that the burst of magical energy released by a dragon’s death could lead to the spontaneous emergence of these people in nearby areas. Just as mysteriously as a dragon egg could appear, a dragonborn infant could be found napping among resting sheep. In such a case, would the party be responsible for ensuring the child’s safety? And what will they do or say if the child has been imbued with some of the dead dragon’s memories? Such an ill-fate could lead the child to grow up to resent the party and even become a villain themselves.

What Happens When a Dragon Dies in D&D?

Now, my brain started flowing.

The dragonborn PC would be the ‘child’ of the first dragon the party had slain. They would be the embodiment of some part of the dead black dragon, with others born of the slaying being all of the evil parts. Some would even be able to bond and break bonds of animals. Black dragons hoarding bondings, making them incredibly hated in the World of the Everflow.

The player took this up, learning about his characters birthing through play. The group has encountered a few other dragonborn, always black.

This also gives the group something to think about — they’re about to fight up to three more dragons. What will that mean for the future dragonkin? Will they be mostly evil as the first dragonkin?

Lessons for any DM

  • When a player approaches to play something unallowed in your world try to discover a lore path towards yes
  • Is it just the mechanics they want? Re-lore the banned item into something that makes sense
  • Use this opportunity to build a world together, rather than have it be only the DM’s world
  • Every thing you read is prep for your next session

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