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D&D 5E 5e Tieflings and Dragonborn

shadow

First Post
So now it's confirmed that the 5e PhB will contain Tieflings and Dragonborn. This has got me wondering what type of Tieflings and Dragonborn will be used.

Until the advent of 4e, the Tieflings were described as characters that had fiendish ancestry in their bloodlines. I think the Planescape campaign setting said that so no two looked the same, the only thing common was some physical trace of fiendish ancestry. In 4e, Tieflings got an overhaul and were now the descendants of the inhabitants of some empire that made a pact with fiends or something. Physically, all 4e tieflings had obvious protruding horns and a distinct look.

I'm not sure about 3e's Dragonborn, but I think that I read that they were humans (and demihumans) that took an oath to Bahamut and gained Draconic traits. In 4e, they were a separate race created by the dragon god Io.

How will the Tieflings and Dragonborn appear in 5e?
 

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the Jester

Legend
I would bet money that they are going to take an inclusive approach. "Some tieflings are the descendants of unwise mortals who made pacts with fiends, while others have fiendish blood in their ancestry" type of things, possibly even with a "In some campaigns tieflings might be x, while in others, they might be y" approach.

Personally, in my game, tieflings have multiple origins.
 


I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Something to note is that each race supposedly has at least two subraces.

So for tieflings, one way they could go is to split the difference: one subrace, the Turathi, is the descendent of mortals who bartered for power from Asmodeus. All arrogant and handlebar'd. One subrace, lets call it the Sigilian, is a critter with "bad blood" who is regarded as inferior and tainted and as such is marginalized and presumed guilty of sin from birth. They're skulky and like dark places. Maybe you can roll to give them a trait from a random evil outsider. They've got goat legs and tiny horns and thin tails and itty bitty bat wings (or not or one or none or something else).

For me, all that's important is that I have some support for those "planar castoffs." When I ran Planescape 4e, I couldn't just let the default 4e tieflings be the PS tieflings, since their stories are so very divergent in tone and character, so I lumped all the different tieflings (and aasimar and genasi and whatever) into a "Planetouched" race patterned after the 4e genasi.

Dragonborn are a slightly different story. They had lore in 3e, but I don't know that anyone particularly liked that lore. They were one of the many abortive "metamorphosed human" stories that several late 3e races had (that the 4e tieflings eventually had as well). It was fine, I guess, but there wasn't a lot of attachment to it.

So when 4e introduced Proud Warrior Race Guys as the core narrative, it was fine. Dandy, even. People didn't like DBs for a few reasons, but the new story wasn't a big one.

5e could split the difference there, but I don't think the team is under quite as much pressure to deliver a Dragonborn that feels like a 3e Dragonborn, 'cuz few folks gave a fig about 3e dragonborn. There's some potential flexibility and discovery to be had at whatever they do with the DB aside from the 4e style. On the one hand, why NOT the 3e version, on the other hand...fresh territory!
 

Derren

Hero
Dragonborn are a slightly different story. They had lore in 3e, but I don't know that anyone particularly liked that lore. They were one of the many abortive "metamorphosed human" stories that several late 3e races had (that the 4e tieflings eventually had as well). It was fine, I guess, but there wasn't a lot of attachment to it.

So when 4e introduced Proud Warrior Race Guys as the core narrative, it was fine. Dandy, even. People didn't like DBs for a few reasons, but the new story wasn't a big one.

I don't think many people were even aware in Dragonborn in 3E, considering they were added in a very late cycle splatbook. And I agree with the lore and don't think many people miss it if 5E went the full 4E way. The only criticism they got where I think the boobs and that they were forced into the Realms. No idea how the FR fans stand on the second issue nowadays, but considering that, if the shown art is any indication, WotC focuses less on sexual attributes in the 5E core books compared to the 4E ones there is hope for the first issue.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I hope the Dragonborn are more like the 4Ed ones- the 3Ed ones did nothing for me.

As for Tirflings...reverse that- give me the 3.x version. I generally liked the narrative that Planetouched added to things, although I personally modified them in my homebrews.
 

Olfan

First Post
In my campaign, tieflings are from Planescape only and dragonborn don't exist. I've never been particular to "beast" races, myself.
 

M.L. Martin

Adventurer
One of the few things they've explicitly backed away from is the idea of dragonborn being the offspring of unblessed dragon eggs, so I'm pretty sure that's out. I'm guessing the subraces will be based on either a chromatic/metallic split, or a division between 'immediate descendants of dragons/transformed humans' and 'a long dragonborn heritage'.
 

GMforPowergamers

First Post
I think it would be really cool if there were 2 ways to create dragonborn, a ritual to change yourself into one, and a ritual to hatch a dragon egg into one... the kicker being both can breed with each other... so 3 subraces

1) Egg born
2) reforged soul
3) Natural birth
 

Remathilis

Legend
I wouldn't be surprised if, rather than do a pure 3e/4e split, they couch them a bit into the lore.

TIEFLING
- Hellborn: You are descended of a pact made with devils long ago. You have the fires of Hell in your veins, and your devilish features (red skin, horns and tail) are easy to notice.
- Pitspawned: You are descended from some ill-fated pairing of demonic forces and mortal parents. Perhaps a cambion, succubus, or worse sits in your family tree. Regardless, you bear some trace of this ancestor's appearance (cloven hooves, small horns, vestigial wings, or a whiff of brimstone) and their power.

DRAGONBORN
- Dragonspawn: Your ancestry contains chromatic blood in your veins. Divided and leaderless, your appearance (and breath weapon) takes on the form of one of the mighty red, white, blue, black or green dragons.
- Brightscale: You once claimed kinship with the powerful metallic dragons. Once, your people lived in vast far-away empires, but today you wander in collective groups. Your scales hold a metallic sheen, and your noble purpose seems driven by the ancient dragons of yore.
 

GX.Sigma

Adventurer
As of the past playtest packet:

"Tieflings" are the 4e Tieflings. The Planescape-style ones are namechecked as "planetouched."

Dragonborn are hatched from dragon eggs that don't receive an official blessing from Tiamat or Bahamut. Their scales and breath weapon are directly related to what kind of dragon they are.

I'm not super thrilled about (but could live with) the tiefling thing; I'm pretty sure WotC realized everyone hates the dragonborn thing.
 

doctorhook

Adventurer
I wouldn't be surprised if, rather than do a pure 3e/4e split, they couch them a bit into the lore.

TIEFLING
- Hellborn: You are descended of a pact made with devils long ago. You have the fires of Hell in your veins, and your devilish features (red skin, horns and tail) are easy to notice.
- Pitspawned: You are descended from some ill-fated pairing of demonic forces and mortal parents. Perhaps a cambion, succubus, or worse sits in your family tree. Regardless, you bear some trace of this ancestor's appearance (cloven hooves, small horns, vestigial wings, or a whiff of brimstone) and their power.

DRAGONBORN
- Dragonspawn: Your ancestry contains chromatic blood in your veins. Divided and leaderless, your appearance (and breath weapon) takes on the form of one of the mighty red, white, blue, black or green dragons.
- Brightscale: You once claimed kinship with the powerful metallic dragons. Once, your people lived in vast far-away empires, but today you wander in collective groups. Your scales hold a metallic sheen, and your noble purpose seems driven by the ancient dragons of yore.
If they go your way, I could get behind it.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
While the speculation on sub races may be true, I think it is likely that "two sub races" won't be a hard-and-fast rule.

Something to note is that each race supposedly has at least two subraces.

Elves will exceed this (as was to be expected, for better or ill), and almost certainly half-elves and half-orcs will not be presented as two sub races of a single species, but as single-option races, without subspecies differentiation.

I would love to be wrong on half-elves and half-orcs, but I don't expect to be.
 

I wouldn't be surprised if, rather than do a pure 3e/4e split, they couch them a bit into the lore.

TIEFLING
- Hellborn: You are descended of a pact made with devils long ago. You have the fires of Hell in your veins, and your devilish features (red skin, horns and tail) are easy to notice.
- Pitspawned: You are descended from some ill-fated pairing of demonic forces and mortal parents. Perhaps a cambion, succubus, or worse sits in your family tree. Regardless, you bear some trace of this ancestor's appearance (cloven hooves, small horns, vestigial wings, or a whiff of brimstone) and their power.

DRAGONBORN
- Dragonspawn: Your ancestry contains chromatic blood in your veins. Divided and leaderless, your appearance (and breath weapon) takes on the form of one of the mighty red, white, blue, black or green dragons.
- Brightscale: You once claimed kinship with the powerful metallic dragons. Once, your people lived in vast far-away empires, but today you wander in collective groups. Your scales hold a metallic sheen, and your noble purpose seems driven by the ancient dragons of yore.

Seems reasonable, though honestly I'd dump the 3E DBs, not of spite, but seriously they're at Illumian levels of obscure and unpopular, and replace them with a more flashy draconic race - Draconians or some such (in 4E Draconians are optionally a sub-race for Dragonborn anyway).
 

Mistwell

Legend
While the speculation on sub races may be true, I think it is likely that "two sub races" won't be a hard-and-fast rule.



Elves will exceed this (as was to be expected, for better or ill), and almost certainly half-elves and half-orcs will not be presented as two sub races of a single species, but as single-option races, without subspecies differentiation.

I would love to be wrong on half-elves and half-orcs, but I don't expect to be.

Could be subraces of human :devil:
 


shadow

First Post
I may be in the minority here, but I never liked the 4e Dragonborn. (Of course, I didn't like the 3e Dragonborn much either.) Maybe it's the artwork in the 4e books, but I always thought that the Dragonborn looked more like giant lizard men or snake men. If there's a draconic player race that I prefer, it would be the Dracha from Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved.
 



Shemeska

Adventurer
The difference between the 2e and 3e tieflings and the 4e "tieflings" is so radically divergent that I'll be honest, I don't really see the 4e as being the same race except in name. While I'm not completely averse to the 4e creatures sticking around as a possible subtype, IMO it would be a genuine loss for D&D to see the wild variety that was an inherent hallmark for tieflings from their 2e Planescape roots through 3.x end up being stripped away and the race be beholden to something so completely different that shares neither the conceptual niche nor the same rich lore that the 2e/3e tieflings possess.

If they end up stripping tieflings of their name, calling them planetouched (which as a term includes more races than just tieflings in the 2e/3e usage), and hijacking the name in favor of the 4e creatures, it would strike me as disrespectful to the original material that has a longer history within D&D.

As for dragonborn, I don't think many people really remember the 3.x version, and the 4e version seems both popular and has more material out than the fairly obscure 3.x race even if they don't have much in common besides the name. I actually rather like the 4e version, so color me in favor of keeping them around.

One thing that really needs to go away however is the design ethos of removing something from the game, then turning around and making a new monster and giving it the name of the one that got removed. It makes a hash of in-setting continuity, it's needlessly confusing to players, and it's lazy design.
 
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