Harnessing the raw power of draconic blood running through their veins, Dragonborn act as formidable forces on and off the battlefield. Due to their elemental affinities, unique traits, and inherent strengths, Dragonborn make great picks for many classes, with the Sorcerer being among the very best.
In this guide, we will explore the intricacies of building and playing a Dragonborn Sorcerer in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. We will include the powers, variations, and strategies that come along with playing your own Dragonborn Sorcerer.
Exploring the Power of the Dragonborn
Picking the Dragonborn as your Race means taking on a variety of advantages and bonuses. Obviously, your background and perspective on the world will be influenced by your Race pick.
However, since we are committing to a Dragonborn Sorcerer build, there is only a bit of room for customization, which we will get into later. For now, let’s see what we gain for picking Dragonborn.
The Dragonborn’s most defining trait is their heritage. Their lineage grants resistance to a specific damage type as well as a matching Breath Weapon. For a Sorcerer, Red, Blue, Gold, or homebrew options are all potent picks.
Ability Score Increase
As a Dragonborn, you are able to increase two Ability Scores by 1 or, with your Dungeon Master’s permission, opt to boost a single stat by 2. Dragonborn gain a boost to Strength and Charisma but your Draconic Ancestry can affect this to some extent.
Charisma is the primary spellcasting stat for Sorcerers, so investing in this is optimal, while the Strength increase can support melee combat, such as for the Stone Sorcerer.
You gain a breath weapon as a Dragonborn, with some variants gaining a boost to this weapon at Level 5. The breath weapon matches your chosen Dragonborn color’s elemental affinity and is capable of a small amount of crowd control.
While the damage will not match that of an actual spell, being able to squeeze a bit more damage on a group of enemies without spending a Sorcerer point is worthwhile.
Explore Draconic Ancestry
The Dragonborn is much like actual dragons in that their color determines some of their abilities. Whether you are picking your variation based on flavor or for optimization, it is important to consider all your options when picking your color as the bonuses that tag along with your Race will directly affect your Sorcerer’s strengths and versatility.
The Standard – Chromatic Dragonborn
The classic pick for Dragonborns is to take one of the standard colors available in the Chromatic Dragonborn list, such as Red, Blue, and Green. Each color has an associated Breath Weapon and natural resistance: Red can breathe and resist fire, Blue can breathe and resist lightning, and Green can breathe and resist poison.
All colors also gain a Warding feature at the 5th Level, granting full immunity to your color’s associated damage type. If we had to rank each color from best to worst for a Sorcerer, the order would be Red, Blue, Green as listed mainly due to the Flame Sorcerer’s ease of access and incredible strength with fire-themed spells, while Blue requires specific Sorcerer builds- such as the Storm Sorcerer- to be effective, and Green has the highest skill floor considering the low amount of poison spells to capitalize on.
However, each is still viable and can be utilized effectively under the right circumstances so work with your party and Dungeon Master to determine the best color if going the Chromatic Dragonborn route.
The Silver Lining – Metallic Dragonborn
Perhaps you want your Dragonborn to be rare or different. Perhaps your world has no standard-colored Dragons and therefore no standard-colored Dragonborn. Or perhaps you want the unique Breath Weapons and resistances that are only available to the Metallic Dragonborn. Regardless of your reasoning, the Bronze, Silver, and Gold colors are all optimal choices as an alternative to the Chromatic choices.
Like the Chromatic options, Metallic Dragonborn gain a Breath Weapon and resistance to an associated damage type. Bronze gains lightning association, Silver gains cold association, and Gold gains fire association.
At the 5th level, every Metallic Dragonborn gains a bonus to their Breath Weapon allowing them to cast Enervating Breath, which can potentially incapacitate a target if they fail a Constitution Save, or Repulsion Breath, which pushes and knocks targets prone if they fail a Strength Save.
The Third Option – Custom Lineage
The best choice from a roleplay perspective is to customize your own Dragonborn with your own color choice not found in the provided lists. You may want to play a Purple Dragonborn, mixing Red and Blue together in some way, or you may want to be striped with multiple colors clashing, resulting in random elements coming from your Breath Weapon.
Talk with your Dungeon Master to homebrew the perfect Dragonborn for your character, creating a unique character for your table to experience. Think about what your color is and how it is made when determining the breath and resistance abilities and be open-minded to your Dungeon Master’s criticism and balancing ideas in case initial ideas do not work.
You can also consider your Sorcerer class when creating a custom lineage to better support your brainchild creation.
Step 2 – Creating your Dragonborn Sorcerer Build
Now that we have explored the Dragonborn Race, it is time to build our Dragonborn Sorcerer. Your Ability Scores, Sorcerer Origin, and Spell Selection will all come into play here, although there is a lot of room for customization, so take this guide as more of a recommendation and less of a min/max build.
Prioritize Charisma when investing in Ability Scores. If your planned Sorcerous Origin does not utilize melee combat, as the Stone Sorcerer does, then consider taking an inherent boost of +2 from your Dragonborn bonus rather than +1 into Charisma and Strength.
Charisma is your primary spellcasting stat but it will also help with conversational roleplay, giving opportunities to do well both on and off the battlefield. After Charisma, consider investing between Dexterity, Constitution, or Strength as your next Ability Score choices.
Strength should only be taken if you will be using melee weapons often, while Dexterity and Constitution will both provide much-needed bonuses to your survivability, either in Armor Class or Health Points.
Your Sorcerous Origin is your subclass for picking the Sorcerer. It determines more bonuses, more available spells, and more flavor for your Dragonborn, and there are a lot of options, each bringing something viable to the table.
However, if you want to truly capitalize on your Dragonborn’s abilities, take Draconic Bloodline. Not only does Draconic Bloodline enhance your Draconic Ancestry by adding additional resistances, but it also pairs well with your character’s flavor.
With Draconic Bloodline, you choose an element and gain bonuses and resistances to that element, similar to Draconic Ancestry. We choose fire as the premier choice, as it grants a bonus to all your fire spells– which happens to be the most prominent element among the Sorcerer spell list.
Coupled with a Red or Gold Dragonborn, you gain double resistance to fire, which should create a conversation with your Dungeon Master as some tables may allow for quarter damage or immunity to fire. Your Breath Weapon will also gain a bonus if the element matches your chosen Draconic Ancestry. As an alternative pick, Wild Magic as a Sorcerous Origin can be fun for its unpredictable concept.
Focus on spells that complement your Draconic Ancestry and playstyle. If taking Draconic Bloodline as your Sorcerous Origin, then focus heavily on spells that match your chosen element. For an example of an optimized choice, a Red Dragonborn with fire as your chosen
Draconic Bloodline element should take spells such as Fireball, Wall of Fire, and Scorching Ray. However, take a spell or two that covers enemy resistances and immunities, as there will inevitably be enemies that counter your element.
Support and Defensive spells such as Shield, Mirror Image, and Absorb Elements will fit well with any combination of subclass and Draconic Ancestry. Balance between offense and defense as needed based on your party’s composition and decision-making as you level up in your campaign to build the best Sorcerer possible.
Strategies for Combat and Roleplay
Now that we have covered ideas for building the Dragonborn Sorcerer, it is time to get into strategies for both combat and roleplay. Dragonborn Sorcerers tend to dominate in whichever field they choose to heavily invest in.
Whether it is damage through lightning spells as a Blue Lightning Bloodline Dragonborn, or through conversational persuasion through heavily investing into Charisma plus taking proficiency in Persuasion checks.
As such, you may find yourself being able to take the lead and certain situations more than others at your table, but you will equally find yourself stepping back and letting others handle situations even if you are not exactly deficient in the area.
Embrace your Draconic Heritage
Roleplay your Dragonborn Sorcerer by embracing your innate draconic power and persona. Tap into the characteristics associated with your Draconic Ancestry, incorporating them into your personality, speech patterns, and actions.
Exploit Elemental Affinities
Use your Draconic Ancestry and possible Draconic Bloodline to resist incoming damage. Whether you choose to become immune to a single type of damage or resist multiple types, if the enemy matches your resistance feel free to tank a few attacks for allies. If you plan on doing so, make sure to have sufficient Health Points and bulk.
On the other hand, some enemies will have weaknesses to your chosen element or could be hindered by damage over time spells. Capitalize upon this with your own elements to do increased damage, especially upon your already increased spells if you take up Draconic Bloodline.
Versatility in Combat
As a Dragonborn Sorcerer, you have the flexibility to engage in ranged spellcasting or melee combat. The Sorcerer is capable of both styles based on your build while the Dragonborn Race allows for coverage in both styles as well considering the boost to Strength and your Breath Weapon. Whether you play as a Stone, Storm, or Bloodline Sorcerer, you will be able to find many options for coverage. Just be sure to pick the right spells and invest properly.
Coordinate with your party members to maximize your effectiveness. Your positioning is crucial for casting proper spells, plus you do not want to cut off an ally’s escape route if you have a wall or barrier-type spell.
If you are on the squishier side of defense, utilize another member’s bulk as cover while supporting them with long-range attacks, and if the opposite is true and you are bulky, then take opportunities to become the focus of enemy aggression and let your partners get breathing room to drink potions.
Your Charisma score will be quite high throughout the game. Utilize this to take advantage of social encounters. Innate charm and persuasion skills will help get information and outcomes you want without the need for violence or combat, and new NPC allies can be made through your successful checks.
Part of this comes down to your own roleplaying capabilities, but if you embrace the character and talk or question your way through dialogue, you will find your footing and begin to clear checks that the less charismatic players would fail. Besides, you look like a dragon, and who wouldn’t want to follow a dragon’s goals and aspirations?
Conclusion on a Dragonborn Sorcerer Build in 5e
Building and playing a Dragonborn Sorcerer in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition offers an exciting and unique experience. The Dragonborn’s Draconic Ancestry, Breath Weapon, and inherent Ability Score increases make excellent choices for a Sorcerer class.
Meanwhile, the Sorcerous Origins all pair well with the Dragonborn Race, and Draconic Bloodline fits with the Race both thematically and from an optimization standpoint.
By carefully selecting your desired abilities and spells, as well as roleplaying your Dragonborn’s Draconic Ancestry, you will unleash true power upon your foes.
With either fire, lightning, poison, cold, acid, or a combination of elements at your disposal, the world you play in will feel a lasting impact from your decisions in combat and conversations in roleplay. So go forth, child of dragons, and prove your might to your Dungeon Master and fellow player characters.