Playing Dragons

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I was wondering if there are rules in 4th edition for letting players play as dragon characters. I know there were in 3.5, with an entire book detailing how to do it and offering classes for dragon PCs.

I'm interested in doing something similar in a 4th edition campaign, but I can't find any rules for it in the books that I own. Are there official rules, and if not, are there any good fan-made rules for doing this?

Also, if there are no rules at all for doing this, what are your thoughts on the matter? How would you handle PC dragons?

Thanks in advance for any advice/help,
LoreSpinner421
There aren't any rules for playing a dragon in 4E. However, there are some dragon companion characters, familiars and such, plus the Dragonborn race which are effectively young, humanoid dragons. I would probably use the Dragonborn as my starting place, as in the upper levels they can gain more dragonish abilities and feats.
Dragonborn dragon soul sorcerer, reflavor as a young dragon. Closest thing you'll find in 4th.
As long as you're okay with the PCs being Medium-sized, then a heavy dose of reflavoring will turn any character class into a dragon.

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Agreed with tehsquirrely above.  That's very easy to reflavor into a dragon.

Note that if you eventually get up to epic tier, they can grab the Epic Destiny Draconic Incarnation, which is pretty awesome in its own right.  Once per day starting at level 24, when you die, you become a Large dragon that is insubstantial and has phasing.   At level 26, you get a daily minor action utility to polymorph into a Huge dragon, with reach 3, a fly speed, and a "Draconic Form Attack" that functions like a big and powerful dragon breath.

Alternatively there's another ED called  Avatar of Io.  Not necessarily as good, but gives you more draconic traits on a permanent basis.
I think you can give players using implements a large size with fairly little consequence. I let my sister play as a unicorn in one game, we reflavored eladrin and just made it large sized, in return she got a daily power that cured a disease or automatically ended a (save ends) condition.
Is it just on PC or the whole party?  If it is just 1 PC you need to be careful and make sure it doesn't over power the other PCs.  However, a young dragon could easily be medium sized for the entire campaign (since they age and grow very slowly).  I had a player that wanted to play a dragon, didn't like the look of dragonborn, but was OK with beign a medium sized dragon.

If that concept works then it is pretty easy to modify a dragonborn into a dragon.  Use inherent bonuses for claw, bite, breathweapon attacks.  Use the dragonborn feats and powers that are more dragon like, maybe still the flying ability from the pixie PC race and your good to go.
My idea is for the whole party to be dragons.

Reflavoring the dragonborn sounds like it could work rather well. I'm just not entierly sure how to go about it. I don't currently have my books to go through, so I'm not certain what would need to be changed to make them more like real dragons. I like the idea of pilfering the pixi's flying ability though. and keeping them medium size would ork just fine.

Honestly I'm not overly familiar with dragonborn having never really used them much. They have breath weapons yes?

This might be much simpilar than I originally thought.
Yep, and you can "type" the breath weapon according to the kind of dragon they are descended from: Lightning, fire, cold, acid, etc. There also are feats that allow you to do ranged area attacks or additional damage types with the breath weapon.
Honestly, if the whole party's dragons, why not go nuts with it? Treat them all as large, let them fly freely, use dragonborn stats, etc. For monsters, why not just knock their opponents down a notch? Humanoids are minions instead of standards, dire beasts & heroes are standards instead of elites, etc. And although there's plenty of problems they could solve easily ("Canyon? We fly over it."), they also have plenty of new interesting problems to deal with.

Dragon 1: "The MacGuffin is inside this lair."
Dragon 2: "The one with all the 5'-wide passages? I don't think we'll fit."
Dragon 3: "Uh... how can we hire adventurers to get it for us?"

Honestly, if this doesn't end with the dragons bartering with towns for tribute and trying to carve out a slice for their Dragon Council, I'd be disappointed.
My idea is for the whole party to be dragons.

Reflavoring the dragonborn sounds like it could work rather well. I'm just not entierly sure how to go about it. I don't currently have my books to go through, so I'm not certain what would need to be changed to make them more like real dragons. I like the idea of pilfering the pixi's flying ability though. and keeping them medium size would ork just fine.

Honestly I'm not overly familiar with dragonborn having never really used them much. They have breath weapons yes?

This might be much simpilar than I originally thought.



it gets easier since they added rules for dragonborn flight in Dragon #421

or you could do what JeffGroves is suggesting

if I were going to change anything in particular about dragonborn, it'd be breath weapon damage type, I'd just let them pick their dragon color and give them the corresponding damage type
Where are the rules for flight covered in the 4th edition books? I've been looking but I can't seem to find them. Are they in the DMG?

I'm thinking about handling abilities by letting the players choose them for themselves, giving +2 to one ability and -2 to another in order to let them customize what type of dragon they want to play. does this seem like a good idea or should I limit it more? I was considering doing something similar with skill bonuses, letting them choose any two to give a +2 bonus to.

My thinking is this would allow the players to customize their build more, rather than limiting a player who wants to play a caster into having to take a +2 strength when it wouldn't do him much good.
Why would you give them a -2 to one ability? No 4E race has a negative modifier to any ability. The dragonborn racial bonuses are +2 Cha, +2 to either Str, Con, or Dex. You could change that into +2 to one physical attribute (Str, Con, Dex) and +2 to one mental attribute (Int, Wis, Cha).
Misread on my part
I'm thinking of allowing the players to choose one of a few different daily powers in addition to the breath weapon encounter power. So far my only idea is a shapeshift power that would allow them to assume a humanoid form. Not sure if I should put a time limit on the form or not though. alos not sure what other daily powers should be avaliable to choose from.

Also still can't find the rules for flight.
Check Page 47 of the DMG or the Rules Compendium, page 210 for flight rules.  Also note that as written the dragonborn rules for flight (gained by taking the Kapak or Bozak sub-race from dragon #421) are broken.

[Sblock Instinctive Flight]
Although your wings are neither large enough nor strong enough to sustain flight for long, your battleground mobility is still quite extraordinary.

Benefit: You gain a flight speed of 6 squares (altitude limit 1). You cannot use this fly speed if you are carrying more than a normal load. You must land at the end of your turn.
This benefit replaces Draconic Heritage.
[/sblock] 


The "altitude limit 1" specifies that they can only be one square off the ground at the end of their turn or they fall.  The requirement that they must end their turn on the ground makes that limit non-functional.

Edit: Added sblock for the ability.
So far my only idea is a shapeshift power that would allow them to assume a humanoid form.



I wouldn't suggest that. It's cool, but then they might as well play "regular PCs who can turn into dragons" instead of "actual dragons" because it nullifies any complications they could have as a result of not being humanoids.

Can't fit into the dungeon? Turn into a human.
Want to talk to a particular human? Turn into a human.
Need to forge an alliance with the local kingdom? Turn into a human.

Being a dragon is much more interesting IMO if you don't have "turn into a human" as a basic solution to any problem involving confined quarters, delicate dexterity, or "the lesser races". They might have to *gasp* befriend humans who could do those jobs for them! Or work out some deal with a local town to guard it in exchange in food.
4 years ago, a player in my game made a Dragon. This was a "Long time ago" in the timeline. This single character (thanks to aging) has outlived many characters. It gives insight about how dragons experience the world.

1. Humans are so short lived, it is hardly worth forging relationships with them. In fact, unless the human is someone with a promising lineage the prefered humanoids to Dragons are Elves and Dwarves because they live around 300 years.  Dragons are apathetic to human affairs.

2. Dragons are afraid of one thing more than Dragon Slayers: Other Dragons.  How do you feel when a group of adventurers declares "Crusade" on all local dragons because "Skath the Scale" decided to get aggressive?

3. Dragon Council allows dragon families and clans to state concerns and address one another within the rules of Civilization.  Each dragon looks at the world map, at "Their Land". They have several regional names for the various locations in the world. The Dragon Struggle occurs whenever a Clan of Dragons decides to "Own its land" regardless of what else lives there.  This means the Imperial City of the southern empire (to humans), is to Dragons, "a big human nest in our fields."

4. As above, dragon diplomacy is often centered around keeping the Dragon Clans at peace. The council is well aware that humans rule the land. Forging out your own "Clan Lands" is double duty diplomacy. First you have to make the dragons acknowledge the land as yours, then you have the humans to deal with...

5.  When Dragons go to war, each Clan quickly forgets their "Dragon Pride" thing. Rather than "Dragons United!", they quickly become "Dragons of the East" or "Dragons of the Mountains North". Dragons also have intermediary species they work with, including Yuan-Ti, Nagas, Lizardmen and Kobolds. These civilizations are often easier to deal with than Humans.

6. Dragons have a hard time living on a human scale. Humans rush through tasks "day by day" and hour by hour, while dragons? perhaps more "month by month" and week by week. Dragons can, and will, operate on a human timescale if they need to, but they find it exhausting.


In conclusion, from my experiences, the worst part about it is timeline.  I mean, you could "age" your world by 300 years, pass by 3 generations. The Dragon? Just now an adult. Overall, dragons are something fun for a "once in a while game" but not as part of the regular campaign. Personally, most of my Dragon PC's have retired their characters over to the NPC side of the table, while one intends on making the highest level possible.

Within; Without.

I can't emphasize this enough with non-human characters. Your players will remember characters with unusual accents. I tend to prefer British accents for Dragons, but that's just my opinion....If you wanted to have some real fun try a Tony Soprano accent for the boss dragon. That might be fun! But definitely experiment with your voice for different characters.