- Rules for playing D&D 5e solo with any character race or class
- Evaluate Dragon PCs and any rules changes, clarifications or tips discovered through play.
- An entertaining read as we follow the young bronze dragon ranger Aryrte-kepesk on his quest to protect good villages in his territory from roaming marauders
The rules for dragon PCs come from my Council of Wryms conversion project (see links in signature). These rules can be used to generate dragon PCs for other settings. Aryrte-kepesk probably lives in the Forgotten Realms but I haven't decided yet. The dragon PC rules are the product of a reverse engineered version of WOTCs race design system based on hundreds of hours of math and play-testing (see signature) so should be pretty balanced but let's check. I've deliberately chosen a mid-range dragon breed (also my favourite one) to represent a 'typical' dragon PC. The ranger class is a mix of martial and spell casting so checks a lot of interactions between the new race and various rules, also I like rangers.
This is a first pass at cutting the Council of Wrym specific material away to create a playable Dragon PC race. The idea is to present the bare rules to you all and get feedback.
What to Expect
Dragons tend to have mid-range HP, high ability scores, good saves, and good skills. They have fewer features than a human of the same total level. The dragon PC races have 1d6 for racial HD on purpose so that the character’s class is important to defining their role in combat relative to others of their kind, just as for canon races. Dragon races do have a bonus to CON and this will result in mid-range HP compared to canon PCs. A dragon PC will often have higher ability scores than a canon race at the same total level, this translates into better skills making the dragon a little like a multi-class with rogue in capability (good skills). High ability scores, in some cases combined with save proficiencies, can also make dragons more resilient against spellcasters and special attacks than HP would indicate. A Bronze Dragon fighter will have fewer HP than human one of the same total level, but is much more resistant to enemy spells and special effects. While most canon PCs are proficient in only two saves (three with the Resilient feat), one of the tricks to make MM monsters a challenge despite having fewer features than a canon PC is to give potent foes more save proficiencies. Saves are part of the compensation for a LA race having fewer class features than a canon PC. A bronze dragon fighter will never be as good a fighter as a human at the same total level, just as a fighter-wizard multiclass will never out-fight a human fighter at the same level. The dragon however can use her flight, strength and mass, resilience against magic, and high skills to contribute in ways the human fighter cannot.
Level Adjustment Explained
Level adjustment is how many class levels a race is worth. When adding the first class to a racial LA do not use the multi-classing rules. To be clear: there are no prerequisites for your first class after a LA, and you get all of the proficiencies of that class. However, LA does affect experience points and proficiency bonus like a class as described on PHB163.
PC dragons begin with only one level in a class. Young dragons are of similar age to PCs of other races, will not age into another category even in a long campaign, and after LA have many class levels left before 20th level.
Hit Dice and Hit Points
The number of d6 hit die (and 4 hit points added to maximum) from a dragon race always equals LA.
How Natural Attacks interact with class features and other rules
Dragons have a variety of natural attacks. When considering how these interact with other rules they are either Unarmed Strikes or Natural Weapons. Unarmed Strikes do 1d6 or less Bludgeoning, Slashing, or Piercing damage. If an unarmed attack does 1d8 or better damage dice or a damage type other than Bludgeoning, Slashing, or Piercing then it is a Natural Weapon and rules that can be used with Unarmed Strikes cannot be applied. When adjudicating how Natural Weapons interact with other rules a Natural weapon is a Melee Weapon but is not a Light, Heavy, or Improvised Weapon. For example, the benefits of Savage Attacker (PHB169) can be applied to a Natural Weapon because it is a Melee Weapon but the benefits of Tavern Brawler (PHB170) cannot be applied because it is not an Unarmed Strike or Improvised weapon. All dragons have at least a bite that counts as a Natural Weapon enabling them to use many weapon-based class features.
These are the traits common to all young metallic dragons. In some cases if a trait was evaluated at a level higher than LA+1 a level is listed these may delay the acquisition of some traits.
Talons. Able to grasp items and point wands but due to weak grip, lack of coordination, or limited range of movement cannot wield weapons, use shields, or perform fine manipulation such as writing. Cannot don or remove armour without help. Cannot apply the bonus for Dexterity to thrown or missile weapons except objects dropped from above. Cannot open locks nor disable traps. Can pick pockets with a Disadvantage. Requires a DC10 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check to open a doorknob though if the door was intended for people two or more Sizes larger you are at a Disadvantage. A wizard must take Mage Hand as a known spell at first level. Can cast most spells requiring material components. Spells requiring specific material components with a gp value require an active Mage Hand to be cast if fine manipulation is described in the spell description. Can use a focus as a substitute for material components. Can use a component pouch. Somatic components require your whole body to be free to move.
Size. Your Size is Large. Whenever your Size places you in danger or prevents you from doing something critical and your kindred is not available the DM might award Inspiration. If your Size makes something more difficult but not impossible apply Disadvantage.
Type: You have the Dragon Type
Dragon resilience. Proficient in DEX, CON, WIS and CHA saves. If your class or other feature grants one of these proficiencies no additional proficiency is gained.
Predator. All dragons have proficiency in Perception and Stealth skills as well as all natural weapons.
Breath Weapon. Every dragon subrace has a unique breath weapon. For all dragons Breath Weapon DCs are 8 + proficiency bonus + Constitution modifier.
Languages. Draconic and Common. You are literate in both languages and can write dragon claw runes but your taloned paws cannot write Common without help.
Ability Score Increase. Raise ability scores: STR+2, CON+2, INT+1, WIS+1, CHA+1.
Speed. Your base land speed is 40 feet. Your fly speed to 80 feet.
Dragon Senses. Blindsight range 30 feet and darkvision to 120 feet.
Tooth and Claw. Your claws do 2d6+STR slashing damage with reach 5 feet and your bite inflicts 2d10+STR piercing damage and has a reach of 10 feet. You do not have the multiattack feature of MM dragons. Any attack not listed is an unarmed strike with reach 5 feet and inflicting 1d2+STR bludgeoning damage on a successful attack.
Subrace. All the metallic subraces have been detailed in my conversion of Council of Wryms. Here though I’ve just edited the bronze to get some initial feedback.
Bronze Subrace traits
Level Adjustment. A young bronze dragon has a level adjustment of +10. A bronze dragon joins when the rest of the party is at 11th level but the dragon begins with only one class level.
Ability score adjustment. Your ability scores are further adjusted as follows: STR+3, CON+2, INT+1, and CHA+2.
Amphibious. You can breathe both air and water.
Natural Armour. Your scales provide AC18+DEX.
Swim speed. 40 feet.
Experienced. You gain proficiency in the Insight skill and one other skill of your choice.
Breath Weapons. Lightning and repulsion breaths improve to those of Young Bronze in the MM.
New Background: Typical dragon
You were hatched to a parent far away from any dragon civilization. This is the background of most dragons of other campaign worlds. While you are a Wrymling your parent will care for you and keep a roof over your head. They will teach you to hunt and survive on your own because as soon as you reach the Young age stage you will be cast out to survive on your own.
Skill Proficiencies: Survival and Nature.
Languages: Any one humanoid language.
Equipment: a treasure item such as a gold nugget, bar of silver, gem, or object d’art of no pragmatic use but worth 100gp. This item was a hatching gift from your parent.
One detail of your far away homeland
9: A world of a distant crystal sphere.
10: Another plane of existence
While a Wrymling you can count on the hospitality of your parent. You are expected to overcome challenges yourself but if a foe or task is truly beyond your capabilities you can generally rely on their aid. In the Council of Wryms setting you are assumed to have accompanied them on their journey to the Io’s Blood Isles
All this changes once you enter the Young category; on that day you are cast out of your parent’s lair and no longer enjoy their protection or aid. However, you are assumed to have found a cave or other lair in a nearby wilderness. While you are living in your lair you are assumed to have sufficient food and water for yourself and one other creature of the same Size and enough shelter for five such creatures. This first lair immediately grants lair actions and your territory, a radius of one half day’s flight, suffers the regional effects of your breed.
You begin with the rogue reputation rank of Annoyance.
Aryrte-kepesk (War-storm) is a 30 year old bronze dragon full of the adventurous spirit of youth. He has already acted as a mercenary for nearby humans, though he only fights for just causes. He has also fought merrow and sahaugin to claim his stretch of sea and coast. He has his own lair but still carries his meagre hoard of pearls on his person.
Just being a young bronze is worth 10 levels. He starts with one level of ranger. Total 11th level. He should be on par with other 11th level characters. As a dragon he has few features but better saves and ability scores as compensation.
You can download his sheet at the start of his adventures here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ppejpmxz9vfy4 ... D.pdf?dl=0
The Pit of Black Evil
The Pit of Black Evil was a tomb for an evil dwarf king centuries ago. Aryrte-kepesk has discovered that ogres and giants that have been terrorising local villages have established their secret lair within the tombs large vaulted chambers. As self-appointed protector and apex-predator in 'his' territory the young dragon righteously sets out to clear out the giants.
The dungeon was generated at the Donjon site. I have not read any areas my PC has not explored. I set the generator to giant theme, large rooms, 1 PC of level 11, small size dungeon (this produced an 8 room dungeon) with straight corridors.
Here is a link to the dungeon https://www.dropbox.com/s/9593e3mr046kf ... l.pdf?dl=0.
Solo Play with Donjon
This is a work in progress post that will be regularly edited as I generate new material by playing.
Generate a single D&D 5e PC of any race or class at any desired level. Use the gp option to determine your equipment. For characters over 5th level or high consult DMG38 for additional starting funds and equipment. Assume you roll the maximum amount for gp. Any starting magic items are free choice within the rarity given. If possible buy 5x level healing potions. Buy some kind of axe or hammer as a last resort for beating down doors so you don't get stuck.
Use the Donjon site https://donjon.bin.sh/5e/dungeon/ to randomly generate your dungeon. Setting dungeon size to Tiny and room size Medium OR dungeon size Small and Room Size Large will produce a dungeon of about 10 rooms. With enough healing potions you can play through this non-stop in an hour or two. If you are 1st level set the dungeon level to first otherwise set the dungeon level to one less than your character's level (for example put a 4th level characters through a third level dungeon). This lower level helps compensate for Donjon apparently treating 3 or less PCs all the same. Set party size to 1. If desired pick any dungeon motif except abandoned. Any map style. Any grid except not grid. The other Donjon settings can be anything you wish. Generate your dungeon. saves a PDF and print but do not read!
Suspense: Read encounters as your PC reaches them. This will provide the thrill of exploration and help you keep PC and player knowledge sorted.
Random encounters are rolled if the PC takes a short rest within the dungeon, once per hour during an attempted long rest, or to restock room previously cleared of monsters if you return to the dungeon after returning to the town. The chance of encounter is 18+ on a d20. Your Donjon dungeon has its own random encounter table at the start.
Ammunition: If a creature has a weapon with ammunition it has 20 shots. If it has javelins or daggers it has three. If it has any other thrown weapon it has 1.
Ceiling height of corridors is equal to twice width. Ceiling height of rooms is equal to half the rooms shortest dimension.
Doors Broken doors are repaired or replaced between the PCs visits to the dungeon. If you are in wild shape or for some other reason can't turn a doorknob then Unlocked doors can be busted open with a DC10 Strength (Athletics) check.
Traps All traps are reset between the PCs visits to the dungeon. Most other traps reset even within the same adventure but use common sense. For example a simple falling stone slab does not reset without help.
Loot despite what the canon rules indicate assume the weapons and armour of fallen foes can be resold (see below). Often this is all the treasure you will find. Where the dungeon decor includes gems without a value (e.g. a demonic idol with rubies for eyes) then if the gems are prized out or otherwise collected use DMG134 to determine value.
Zero hit points if you are reduced to zero hit points and enemies are around they just kill you. If a trap or other hazard reduces you to zero hit points and does not kill outright under the standard 5e rules then make death saves. If you stabilise then roll for a random encounter (d20, 18-20) if there is one your dead. If not then an hour later you can roll HD as per short rest to regain hit points and consciousness.
Situate your dungeon near a good size town to allow the PC to heal and buy supplies and gear between adventures.
Between adventures art objects and gems can be traded for coins at 80% of the treasure's gp worth. Most other equipment can be sold for 50% of it's worth but use common sense, an ogre's great club is a big stick that isn't worth much to anyone who isn't an ogre.
Next issue the adventure begins!