A squamous new Unearthed Arcana has hatched today, with a hoard of new content: races, feats, and spells. Rather than drag on with an intro, let’s wyrm our way in.

The document opens with what looks like the new character creation/race boilerplate. I’m not doing a line-by-line comparison, but nothing is jumping out at me as different.


One of the big deals of this document is that Chromatic, Metallic, and Gem dragonborn are presented as three distinct races. The strong indication here is that “subrace” is going away as an information-presentation concept. I wonder if there were clarity challenges, or if it just felt bad that some races got the “extra” of a subrace and some didn’t.

Chromatic Dragonborn

Okay, no reference to alignment, just elemental nature. Not surprising at this point, but still cool. (Not that the PH dragonborn paints chromatic dragonborn as evil, of course.)

  • Humanoid, 30 ft speed, Medium size. Let’s just get these out of the way in one bullet.
  • Chromatic Ancestry assigns you one of the five classic chromatic types. D&D leaving out orange, yellow, violet, and indigo while bringing in black and white makes me question certain things about word choice, but it’s only like 47 years too late for this argument, so… fine.
  • Breath Weapon is a 5 ft by 30 ft line that does 2d8 damage, scaling to 5d8 by 17th The super big deal here is easy to miss: instead of using your action, you can replace one attack from your Attack action with this. Not the best for melee clerics and rogues, then, but amazing for most other weapon-wielding classes. It’s also PB uses per long rest, rather than 1/short rest.
    • The use frequency is probably a net gain. Getting rid of cone breath weapons is also a mixed blessing. Damage and action economy are clear upgrades.
  • Draconic Resistance is no change from the PH. You gain resistance to your chromatic dragon type’s damage flavor.
  • Chromatic Warding, on the other hand, is a big change: at 3rd level, your draconic resistance becomes 10 minutes of immunity, 1/long rest, activated as an action. Even as a notorious critic of immunities, this is comparatively okay, with its limited duration and usage.

This is a solid boost to the oft-maligned dragonborn mechanics. I love dragonborn enough to play them with PH mechanics, but this is a lot more appealing for many character classes. Probably still okay-at-best for many caster classes, because their cantrips are surpassing the damage they can reasonably expect to set up for the breath weapon.

Metallic Dragonborn

The flavor text paragraph for metallic dragons and dragonborn is more of a surprise than the chromatic. I’m not sure what to make of it, but it is kind of hard to differentiate chromatics and metallics without mentioning alignment in any way. Looking forward to seeing what the eventual official release says in this direction.

  • Humanoid, 30 ft speed, Medium size.
  • Metallic Ancestry does what you’d expect.
  • Breath Weapon is a 15-ft cone, and otherwise the same as the Chromatic dragonborn entry. Interesting, in that it’s so situational which of these is more useful.
    • I wonder if they’d consider just… making both line and cone as available options for each dragonborn, chosen at the time of use. It would be more text, but it shouldn’t break anything or even set records for race feature length.
  • Draconic Resistance is a thing again. Wouldn’t know what to do if it were missing.
  • Metallic Breath Weapon is acknowledging the fact that metallic dragons traditionally have a second breath weapon option… so at 3rd level you get another 1/long rest breath weapon, that once again can substitute for one attack. It’s always a 15-ft cone, and at the time you use it, it’s either a 20-ft knockback and knockdown, or it’s a 1-round incapacitation.
    • That could still be an enormous amount of action denial and concentration disruption, if you’re lucky with some failed saves and good positioning.

Writing a feature strong enough to compete with Chromatic Warding isn’t easy, but this gets there. These two dragonborn are in pretty tight competition with one another.

Gem Dragonborn

To which I say, “Hell yeah some gem dragonborn.” Also, these are not a bad starting point for sketching out Steven Universe-style Crystal Gems. Also also, mechanics to let PCs fuse like Crystal Gems or Voltron would be heckin’ sweet.

I’m not off topic, you’re off topic, shut up. Distract yourself from my free association with the First World lore describing Bahamut, Tiamat, and Sardior (and Steven!) the ruby dragon. I’m excited to see an explosion of fan art of gem dragonborn, let me tell you.

  • Humanoid, 30 ft, Medium.
  • Gem Ancestry is where you choose your gem type. In case you’re not familiar with gem dragons from earlier editions, that’s amethyst, crystal, emerald, sapphire, and topaz. Kind of fascinating that ruby occupies the “there was only one” position for gem dragons the way platinum does for metallics.
  • Breath Weapon is a 15-foot cone, and otherwise follows all of the established trends of breath weapons. WotC, you owe us a lozenge-shaped projectile breath and you forking know it.
  • Draconic Resistance lorem ipsum dolor sit amet
  • Psionic Mind is 30-ft telepathy, no common language needed (but it has to understand a language), and doesn’t grant the ability to respond. I sort of love how many slightly different telepathy features there are, from your GOO-locks to your Soulslike-knives.
  • Gem Flight at 3rd level lets you summon wings made of gems that grant you 1 minute of flight.

Are Psionic Mind + Gem Flight equal in coolness to Chromatic Warding and Metallic Breath Weapon? That’s a lot to ask, though I know players who would have enough fun playing up Psionic Mind that the answer might be yes. I might give one of those features another tiny bump in power to feel as show-stopping as the chromatic and metallic features.

But wait! There was a fourth type of dragonborn in the document. Well, sort of.


D&D has been slowly ratcheting up the “kobolds are mini-dragonborn” thing since before there were official dragonborn as a player race. These mechanics change the implied tone of kobolds wildly – the pathetic grovelers of Volo’s Guide to Monsters are long forgotten here.

  • Humanoid, 30 ft, Small. No change from VGTM here.
  • Darkvision, 60 ft. Also no change.
  • Draconic Legacy strikes, ah, quite a different tone from Grovel, Cower, and Beg from VGTM. Instead, you gain your choice of one of three feature options, which is probably intended to make sure that kobold features appeal to multiple classes.
    • Advantage on saves against the frightened condition. Bravery, folks.
    • One sorcerer cantrip of your choice, using your choice of Int, Wis, or Cha as your casting stat. Innate sorcery.
    • You can use your tail for unarmed strikes, and it does 1d6 damage. It’s still a Strength attack, so this is for the Swolbolds in the audience (hi, Kobold Press!).
    • Gonna be real interested to see if this pick-one-of-several model keeps up. What a shift to the broader model that would be!
  • Draconic Roar grants you and your allies advantage against all targets within 10 feet of you that heard you, as a bonus action, until the end of your next turn. You can use this PB times per long rest. It’s pretty amazing, particularly as a way to gain the upper hand right at the beginning of a fight. A very strong team buff, and one that the whole party may be able to capitalize on if the casters pick spells with this in mind.
    • This is identical in real effect to Grovel, Cower, and Beg in VGTM, aside from being PB/long rest rather than 1/short or long, and changing “that can see you” to “that can hear you.” Remember that reskinned feature in the last UA’s hobgoblin? Yeah. That’s the throughput here.
  • Finally – rejoice, kobolds, this is your day in the sun! You don’t have Sunlight Sensitivity here the way you do in VGTM.

It’s a high-heroic take on the once-lowly kobold, and I like that. It gives the sense that maybe we’re finally seeing kobolds through their own eyes. (Look at that sly cross-promotional marketing. Damn, I’m good.)


What’s interesting here is that these aren’t racial feats. They’re feats anyone can take, and there’s a strong implication that a DM could hand them out as bonus feats under the guise of supernatural gifts. I could be very into a model where a PC can have (not to say “attune”) one bonus feat from Story Stuff at a time, and cycle between the story-based bonus feats that they’ve acquired as part of any long rest.

Uh, not that they’re doing that here, just thinking out loud.

Gift of the Chromatic Dragon lets you give a weapon a +1d4 damage bonus of one of the five chromatic damage flavors (the Baskin Robbins of murder), 1-minute duration, 1/long rest, as a bonus action. Also, when you take any chromatic damage type, you can give yourself resistance as a reaction, PB times per long rest. This looks like a solid feat choice to me – not the almost-always-on benefit of many existing feats, but a good single-fight damage buff and some great emergency defenses.

Gift of the Metallic Dragon teaches you cure wounds, lets you cast it for free once a day or as much as you want with your spell slots, and lets you pick Int, Wis, or Cha as your casting stat. It also lets you manifest protective wings as a reaction when you or an adjacent ally gets hit, reducing the attack roll result by 1d4, PB times per long rest. This is an incredible feat for a lot of builds, and from my perspective maybe most appealing for a sorcerer or wizard. Those protective wings average out to a half-strength shield for you or a buddy.

Interesting side note: there’s a phrasing thing happening here (er, not in the “are we still doing phrasing?” sense). You can cast this spell, but it’s not in your spellbook as a wizard. Therefore, it is missing a key requirement to use a wizard’s 18th-level Spell Mastery feature to cast unlimited cure wounds spells.

Gift of the Gem Dragon grants +1 Int, Wis, or Cha, and you gain a telekinetic backlash reaction when you’re damaged by a creature within 10 feet of you, dealing 2d8 force damage. You have PB uses per long rest. +1 to an ability score feats are fine – it just looks a little odd alongside Metallic and Chromatic that don’t do that.

Overall, the feats look like fun to me.


Lastly, seven new dragon-themed spells. My appetite for dragon-themed spells can go well past seven, folks…

Draconic transformation at 7th level is a short-term (1 minute) self-transformation that requires concentration. It gives you 30-foot blindsight (not a lot of ways to get that as a PC), wings with a 40-foot flying speed, and a 3d8 force damage breath weapon with a 30-ft cone. You can use the breath weapon as part of the bonus action to cast this spell, and again as a bonus action each round of the duration. Concentration is the spell’s only major concern. It makes me think of a Beginner’s Guide to Shapechange, and it’s available to druids, sorcerers, and wizards.

Fizban’s (!) platinum shield at 6th level constructs a glowing shield around you or a creature within 60 feet for up to 1 minute. You can change the target during the duration as a bonus action. The target gains half cover, resistance to chromatic damage types, and the Evasion feature. My take on this feature is that I love that you can change the spell’s target if the presumed draconic enemy (could be any dragon, not just Takhisis!) goes after a different one of your friends. If you learn or prepare this spell, your odds against any dragon enemy improve dramatically. It’s available only to sorcerers and wizards.

Flame stride at 3rd level is basically a flame dash – you move faster and damage creatures as you run close to them. It takes a bonus action to cast, and lasts for 1 minute with concentration. Both the speed boost and the damage aura scale with spell level. Until further notice I’m going to assume that this is WotC’s effort to support Zagreus in a 5e Hades expansion. This spell is freaking incredible for rangers, Eldritch Knights, Arcane Tricksters, and Bladesingers. I assume that some artificers will find it irresistible, though I’m still a bit out to see with artificer builds. Dangerous for a lot of sorcerers, and I’d like to see it added to warlocks. (It’s incredibly on-theme for Fiendlocks, people!)

Icingdeath’s frost at 2nd level is, in a sense, a baby cone of cold that also reduces a target’s speed to 0 on a failed save, though they can use their action to break off the ice that has formed on them or an adjacent creature and end the speed loss. Awesome narrative here, though I might vaguely like to see taking a bunch of fire damage also melt the ice. It’s for sorcerers and wizards.

Nathair’s mischief at 2nd level (Nathair Sgiathach is the god of pseudodragons and faerie dragons, and part of the Seelie Court, as every schoolchild knows) creates a random (d4 table) effect in a 20-ft cube. The spell lasts 1 minute with concentration, and you can move the cube and reroll the effect each round. The effects include a charm (2nd level AoE charm, you say?), a blinding effect, an incapacitating effect, and difficult terrain. I’m thinking this might be a fair bit too strong for a 2nd-level spell, considering how many legendary resistances this might burn through all by itself. It goes to bards, sorcerers, and wizards.

Raulothim’s psychic lance (here’s your lore) at 4th level is a damaging enchantment, which you can either target normally, or by uttering the target’s name; if the latter, the spell ignores cover and invisibility, assuming the target is within range. 10d6 psychic damage is nothing to sneeze at, and it also incapacitates the target until the start of your next turn. No effect at all on a successful save, though targeting Int means a lot of enemies are going to have a tough time making that roll. Bards, sorcerers, warlocks, and wizards all get this one.

Summon draconic spirit at 5th level works about like you’d expect if you’ve read Tasha’s. The stat block for the summoned dragon gives you space to choose your dragon type, gaining resistance and a damaging breath weapon suited to that type. You also gain that resistance for the duration. The hit points aren’t necessarily all that you might hope if you’re expecting a dragon, but try to think of it as damage they’re not focusing on you. Overall, it’s hard for me to judge, but I think it’s a reasonably good use of a 5th-level slot, especially if you’ll be in two or more fights in that time. Druids, sorcerers, and wizards get this one.


This is a beefy content drop, and boy is it tempting to get into guessing which book(s) might be forthcoming that this might show up in. I have very few quibbles with anything here. I’d love to play a dragonborn-and-kobolds campaign that emphasized either maneuvering among dragon overlords, or leading an Arkhosian resistance following conquest by Bael Turath in the 4e Nentir Vale setting.