Dungeons & Dragons Online

DM wants me to make my Dragonborn less “flimsy”

Hey everyone!

Skip the Spoiler if you don't want to read the backstory and get straight to the issue.

I'm extremely excited to have finally found a group of players who'll maybe have an opening for me in the near future (they are a group of 4 players plus DM and 2 of them will be leaving after their current adventure). The DM has given me his thumbs up and if the group decides to continue playing together after this adventure, I'll probably FINALLY get the chance to play DnD after spending 2 YEARS satsifying my interest into TTRPGs through watching others play on Youtube and Twitch.

I'm pumped and can't wait! I've asked him whether or not I should start preparing a character, and he told me not to flesh out anything too much since he hasn't come up with a finished plot and setting yet, but to expect classic medieval high fantasy a la LotR and GoT, including a diverse rooster of fantastical creatures and (player) races.

This got me even more excited because ever since I became interested in DnD I wanted to play as something "exotic" like a Triton or Lizardfolk, but the race I wanted to play the most has always been Dragonborn.

So I developed a basic concept for a Dragonborn adventurer, neutral good, slightly tending towards chaotic neutral, it's his first adventure, kind of a sad backstory but nothing edgy or anything like that… Fleshed out enough to go on from there but not too concrete so that I'll be able to adapt the character to the finished story/setting once the DM has completed his part of preparation.

I showed the finished product to him and here's what he answered.

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"Hi man. Really great character concept, I like it! And from what I already have in mind he would fit snuggly into the lore of the world. However, I'm afraid that you won't have too much fun playing this character. You may not know this, this being your first session and all, but Dragonborn characters are actually quite weak compared to other races, despite them having all this cool appearance and everything. I don't want to be the guy who ruins DnD for you by killing off your first ever character during the first session, or by making you feel weak or useless, so I'd suggest you pick another race. Or, if you are deadset on playing as a Dragonborn, to find some Homebrew online to make him less flimsy."

I actually already knew of the Dragonborn's "struggles" but I didn't expect that of being SUCH a big issue, and now I'm kind of concerned myself, so I've looked up Homebrews for a revisited Dragonborn online and tried to make them work for the character I had in mind. So here's what I came up with:

  1. Give Darkvision to the Dragonborn, or another type of enhanced senses (maybe smell? Hearing better would be weird for a race without ears… but probably just Darkvision)
  2. Natural Armor. 12 + Dex should be the right amount, not too much, but just enough to not "break" instantly.
  3. Improved Breath Weapon. From what I've read this is probably the biggest issue, and I've invested most of my time changing this into something more "solid". FIRST, I decided to change the amount of charges from a fixed number of 1 to being equal to the proficiency bonus. I've ALSO decided to make it so that a single charge can be regained via a short rest or by using a bonus action to roll a d6 and getting a 6 on that roll (similar to how dragons recharge their breath weapon) AND all expended charges are regained during a long rest. I've also decided to tweak the levels at which new die for damage rolls are added: 3d6 at 4, 4d6 at 8, 5d6 at 12, 6d6 at 16 and 7d6 at 20. I feel like these traits would improve the breath weapon without making it overpowered.
  4. Give the dragon some teeth or claws. I know from one of the other players that they use a variant rule where unarmed attacks aka punching deals 1d4 of bludgeoning damage plus strength modifier. So maybe biting could deal a flat 1 plus strength modifier of piercing damage, with claws dealing a flat 1 plus strength modifier of slashing damage. Neither would be stronger than the standard unarmed punch but give the character a little more flavor and options against enemies with resistances.

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Now, I felt like I needed some "in-lore" reasons for these changes, so I've decided to have my character not just be a Dragonborn but a Half-Dragon Dragonborn, his mom being a Dragonborn, his dad being a full-on dragon.

I really liked this idea and felt like something "fun" to do with that would be to have his dad not just be a dragon but an Oriental aka Chinese dragon, so that wisdom, not strength, would be his main stat. However, I feel like he should still have a small increase in strength thanks to his mother and the fact that Asian dragons, while not being as physically buff as European ones, are still quite a lot stronger than humans or elves. So would something like +1 strength, +1 wisdom, +1 charisma be possible/viable?

Finally I want to ask y'all if it would be viable to play such a character as a Paladin or Warlock. I want to play something _slightly_ magical but I do feel as if the sheer "size" of a wizard, sorcerer, druid or cleric would overwhelm me, so I feel like a half caster might be the right choice…

What do you say? Would such a character with those racial features be viable? Too OP? Would they have an acceptable amount of synergy with those classes? Are they suitable for a newbie like me?

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+1 strength, +1 wisdom, +1 charisma, "improved" Breath Weapon, Darkvision, low level natural amor, low level bite, low level claws.

Thanks in advance!

Source: reddit.com

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