Previews
Nothing New for the New Year
Previews for January and Beyond
By Mat Smith

Dragonborn of Bahamut

Any humanoid race can be reborn
as an emissary of Bahamut

Gods wage war through mortal pawns, and draconic deities are no different. Tiamat creates all sorts of dragonlike beings to manifest her power in the world, breeding warped creatures from her eggs. These evil entities act as the Chromatic Dragon's agents. Of the other draconic gods, only Bahamut stands between Tiamat and her evil goals. The conflict between them has raged for centuries. Those who know of this conflict refer to it as the Dragonfall War.

The Platinum Dragon foreswore breeding creatures to oppose Tiamat's spawn, instead accepting humanoid volunteers to his righteous cause. He only takes those truly dedicated to supporting his ideals and working against vile draconic creatures. A potential recruit's past actions matter little; all that counts is present and future devotion to opposing Tiamat and her spawn. Some wrongdoers have found redemption and purpose in becoming Bahamut's servants.

Those willing to give themselves into Bahamut's care and act as his emissaries in the mortal realms become his daughters and sons. Such humanoids give up all their former racial identity and are born anew. They become dragonborn.

Dragonborn are powerful, majestic creatures that resemble their adoptive father. They fight ceaselessly against the spawn of Tiamat, gaining allies in the Dragonfall War along the way. Dragonborn are great leaders with clear purpose. They are often the motivating nexus of an adventuring party.

THE CALL OF BAHAMUT

The dragonborn children of Bahamut are a unique race in that they are not born; they are reborn. Each one enters the world as a halfling, an elf, a human, or a member of some other humanoid race with all that race's propensities and traits. Bahamut beckons to his would-be followers, and those few who might choose to serve him.

Most of those who hear the Platinum Dragon's call discover it early, before they reach adolescence. A few heed it after reaching adulthood and beginning their careers. Not all who are called answer.

The call is a strange event that one must experience to understand. It takes the form of a courteous mental question, asking if one's heart and soul are able and willing to undertake dedication to a noble and arduous purpose -- protecting the world from the spawn of Tiamat.

Bahamut's call asks the chosen one if she is willing to give herself over entirely to this cause, giving up all that she was before to transform into one of Bahamut's children. This choice is never easy. The chosen one is made aware of the many sacrifices she must make, from her racial identity to her family and friends, even her whole way of life. The only reward for those forfeitures is service to the Platinum Dragon and his abiding love.

THE RITE OF REBIRTH

The Rite of Rebirth transforms a character into a dedicated draconic servant of Bahamut known as a dragonborn.

Becoming a dragonborn isn't undertaken lightly. It is a long process full of self-reflection and commitment. Those supplicants raised in the ways of their original race must carefully consider what they're giving up. While a human might be content to give up her natural versatility, it's rare for someone heavily invested in her racial identity to forfeit that race's abilities.

When the rite begins, the supplicant lays aside all her equipment and possessions for the duration of the ceremony. Dressed in a loose, linen shift, she spends a full day and night fasting and meditating upon her choice. Her mind fills with all the things she is giving up, reminding her she must forgo much of herself to become a dragonborn.

When dawn comes, the prospective dragonborn crawls inside an egg-shaped structure that she has built (see Cost) in order to sleep for the last time in her original form. This symbolic act represents her acceptance of the transformation. When the next dawn arrives, she is transformed into a dragonborn. After awakening inside the sealed egg, she breaks out of it as a glorious, draconic child of Bahamut.

Prerequisites: In order to be accepted as a suitable candidate, the supplicant must be non-evil and have an Intelligence score of at least 3.

Benefit: A dragonborn loses many of her original racial traits and gains the racial traits of the dragonborn race (see below).

Time: The Rite of Rebirth requires 24 hours of meditation and fasting followed by 24 hours of sleep. If the ceremony is interrupted, the prospective child of Bahamut must start the rite from the beginning.

Cost: The symbolic egg crafted by the prospective dragonborn costs 100 gp to create, and requires a handful of scales from metallic dragons.

APPEARANCE

Noble. Draconic. Nearly every description of a dragonborn includes those two words. So thoroughly has a dragonborn physically transformed that only the framework of her former appearance remains. Dragonborn are always slightly bigger than most other members of their original race.

These servants of Bahamut epitomize devotion to righteousness. Their very appearance gives an impression of virtuous purpose. Dragonborn carry themselves with good deportment, seeing themselves as humanoid representations of noble dragonkind.

When a dragonborn walks into an inn, patrons' heads turn and eyes stare. What they see is well worth a second glance. In every aspect of their presence, dragonborn consciously act as emissaries of their adoptive father, Bahamut.

DRAGONBORN RACIAL TRAITS

A dragonborn combines some of the racial traits of her original race and her new form. Only those traits gained from transformation are given here; see also the Mechanics of Rebirth sidebar.

  • +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity. Dragonborn are hearty and healthy, but they are awkward in their newly adopted bodies.
  • Humanoid (dragonblood): Dragonborn are humanoids with the dragonblood subtype and any other subtypes they had before undergoing the Rite of Rebirth. For all effects related to race, a dragonborn is considered a dragon and a member of her original race.
  • Age: After a dragonborn underoes the Rite of Rebirth, she emerges as an adult creature regardless of her previous age. If she lives for 200 years (see Table 1-1, page 10), she enters middle age.
  • +2 dodge bonus to Armor Class against creatures of the dragon type. The dragonborn have an innate sense of how best to defend themselves against their potential enemies.
  • Immunity to Frightful Presence: Dragonborn are immune to the frightful presence ability of dragons, just as if they were dragons.
  • Draconic Aspect: Bahamut has blessed the dragonborn with aspects combining some of the best attributes of good dragons. Upon completing the Rite of Rebirth, a dragonborn chooses which of the following three aspects to manifest. Once the choice is made, it cannot be changed.

Heart (Su): A dragonborn who chooses heart as her draconic aspect gains a breath weapon. The breath weapon is a bright, shining line that coruscates with every metallic color. The line's length is 5 feet per Hit Die the dragonborn has, up to a maximum of 100 feet at 20 HD. The breath weapon deals 1d8 points of damage, plus an extra 1d8 points for each 3 HD the dragonborn possesses (2d8 at 3 HD, 3d8 at 6 HD, and so on). The damage can be acid, cold, electricity, or fire, changing on each use as the dragonborn chooses. A successful Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 the dragonborn's HD + her Con modifier) halves the damage. A dragonborn can use her breath weapon once every 1d4 rounds.

Mind (Ex): A dragonborn who selects the mind aspect sharpens her senses, gaining immunity to paralysis and magic sleep effects. She gains darkvision out to 30 feet and low-light vision, plus a +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks.

At 6 HD, the dragonborn's darkvision extends to 60 feet. At 9 HD, the dragonborn's darkvision extends to 90 feet, and her low-light vision allows her to see three times as far as a human in shadowy illumination.

At 12 HD, the dragonborn's darkvision extends to 120 feet, and her low-light vision allows her to see four times as far as a human in shadowy illumination.

At 15 HD, the dragonborn gains blindsense out to 30 feet.

Wings (Ex):A dragonborn who selects the wings aspect hatches sporting fully formed wings. Dragonborn can use these wings to aid their jumps (granting a +10 racial bonus on Jump checks) and to glide. Those with 6 HD or more can use their wings to fl y.

Gliding: A dragonborn can use her wings to glide, negating damage from a fall from any height and allowing 20 feet of forward travel for every 5 feet of descent. Dragonborn glide at a speed of 30 feet with average maneuverability. Even if a dragonborn's maneuverability improves, she can't hover while gliding. A dragonborn can't glide while carrying a medium or heavy load.

If a dragonborn becomes unconscious or helpless while in midair, her wings naturally unfurl, and powerful ligaments stiffen them.The dragonborn descends slowly in a tight corkscrew and takes only 1d6 points of falling damage, no matter the actual distance of the fall.

Flight: When a dragonborn who selected the wings aspect reaches 6 HD, she gains a fly speed of 30 feet with average maneuverability. A dragonborn can't fly while carrying a medium or heavy load or while fatigued or exhausted.

A dragonborn can safely fly for a number of consecutive rounds equal to her Constitution modifier (minimum 1 round). She can double this length of flight but is fatigued by such exertion. The dragonborn is likewise fatigued after spending a total of more than 10 minutes per day flying. Because a dragonborn can glide before, after, and between rounds of actual flight, she can remain aloft for extended periods, even if she can only use flight for 1 round at a time without becoming fatigued.

When she reaches 12 HD, a dragonborn has enough stamina and prowess to fly without tiring. She can fly at a speed of 30 feet (average maneuverability) with no more exertion than walking or running.

A dragonborn with flight can make a dive attack. A dive attack works like a charge, but the dragonborn must move a minimum of 30 feet and descend at least 10 feet. A dragonborn can make a dive attack only when wielding a piercing weapon. If the dive attack hits, it deals double damage.

A dragonborn with flight can use the run action while flying, provided she flies in a straight line.

  • Automatic Languages: Draconic. Dragonborn gain the ability to speak Draconic upon their transformation but do not lose the ability to speak languages they already know.

  • Favored Class: Fighter. A multiclass dragonborn's fighter class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for being a multiclassed character. Furthermore, dragonborn paladins can leave that class and return to it without penalty. Also, see the Mechanics of Rebirth sidebar.

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