By far the rarest dragons in Dungeons & Dragons 5E are the Gem Dragons. They are the strange options, the psychic dragons which can manipulate mind and space with a flick of a claw. Unfortunately, they are highly underrepresented. That is, they were, until Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons came out and helped bring attention to these guys! Now, you can play as a Dragonborn of these dragons, which are a potential option for players to take on. Our Gem Dragonborn 5E guide will tell you why you should consider playing them.
Gem Dragonborn 5E Guide
The Gem Dragonborn is a major upgrade to – though not strictly better than – the traditional Dragonborn race. This is a relief; dragonborn are just not very impactful compared to other race options you could choose. Now, you can choose this option, which makes your Dragonborn legitimately psychically charged without dooming them to a bonus to Intelligence.
Gem Dragonborn Lore
By nature, a Gem Dragonborn acts like a standard dragonborn. They have clan structures with strict hierarchies, and act with perfectionist zeal. They are quick to form bonds with strangers that they can trust and eager to prove themselves to those they respect. If you need more information about standard Dragonborn lore, check out our Dragonborn guide.
Gem Dragonborn come from the heirs of Sardior, the Ruby Dragon. Their scales can float above their bodies, charged with psychic energy that is itching to explode outwards. They have a force of will beyond what is possible for a standard human. However, they must endure the relentless onslaught of the emotions around them, keeping them from innately becoming as strong as their ancestors.
Gem Dragonborn Traits
Gem Dragonborn have 30 ft movement speed, and are considered to be humanoid. They start with an Ancestry, which will determine class features. The Dragonborn’s ancestry has a type of damage associated with it. So, a Dragonborn who wants to maximize their efficiency should choose an option they know they will take damage from often, or will benefit from the enemy’s vulnerabilities.
- Amythest: Force
- Crystal: Radiant
- Emerald: Psychic
- Sapphire: Thunder
- Topaz: Necrotic
If you cannot choose, we recommend taking Amethyst, as it is incredibly hard to find damage resistance to force damage. Alternatively, a Bear Totem Barbarian can take Emerald to finally become resistant to all damage.
Ability Score Increases
The Gem Dragonborn, like all Fizban’s Dragonborn, have flexible stats. They receive a +2 in one stat, and a +1 in another. We recommend choosing either Strength, Dexterity, or your class’s primary casting stat for the +2, and then a defensive statistic (Dexterity, Constitution, or Wisdom) for your +1. If your class recommends picking a different secondary stat, like an Eldritch Knight with Intelligence, go with that as your +1 instead.
The Gem Dragon’s breath weapon is a massive upgrade to the base Dragonborn’s. It deals significantly more damage, replaces only a single attack rather than your entire action, and has many more uses without requiring short rests. If you want decent area of effect on a melee-range character, the Breath Dragonborn can do it! And the Amethyst option even gets respectable Force damage in that area of effect. This type of Breath Weapon does tend to work slightly better with classes that can get Extra Attack.
You gain resistance to your Ancestry’s damage type. That’s why Amethyst and Emerald are both so potent! You don’t often get damage resistance to those two damage types. All of the Gem’s damage types are more situational than the base Dragonborn’s safe Fire resistance. However, you can get interesting utility with the Gem Ancestries.
You get to psychically speak with targets within 30 feet, breaking language barriers. Great for translators and faces alike. This ability is significantly stronger than many other types of telepathy, and should be useful often!
At level 5, you gain a small upgrade which can grant you a flight speed. This works very well until you get Winged Boots, but is simply too limited to be your sole source of flight. 1 minute won’t stop multiple encounters from getting painful in terms of mobility. But, this is a great emergency option and can possibly save attunement slots in the future.
Wrapping Up The Gem Dragonborn
Gem Dragonborn are immensely rare, and should be treated as such. They have the potential to greatly influence their character builds with strange damage resistances and powerful areas of effect. Be careful when choosing a Psychic option, as some creatures might be immune to your Breath weapon. But, you cannot go wrong with being a Dragon of pure Force! Try it out the next time you’re going toe-to-toe with foes, or as a midrange build that can move in to get a good Breath Weapon off when needed.