I picked up Fizban's Treasury of Dragon and have been reading it cover to cover. This is my review of the book, chapter by chapter. In this post, I discuss Chapter 1: Character Creation.
There are three ancestries in Chapter 1, each one an alternative to the Dragonborn ancestry listed in the Player Handbook (PHB). There's the Chromatic Dragonborn, Gem Dragonborn, and Metallic Dragonborn.
Stop the press. Gem dragon?
Yes, if you played previous editions of D&D, you may recall that there were gem dragons. I first encountered them as a schoolboy, when my friend Jason brought his monster compendium to school, bravely ignoring the dangers of the potential punishments imposed by the Satanic Panic. We regularly had debates over which dragon was the most powerful, but because we didn't understand anything about the game, we never really bothered referencing stats in our arguments. The Sapphire Dragon had a baseline -3 AC, which is pretty respectable, but we usually ended up accepting that Silver Dragons (also -3 AC) would beat all others in a fight.
When I started running games, I came to realise that having Neutral Dragons was actually really useful. I feel like players are willing to bargain with orcs, hobgoblins, and even demons, but everybody knows that a Chromatic Dragon is evil and that a Metallic Dragon is good. You don't have to talk to them to find that out. But Gem Dragons truly seem to confuse most players. Are you neutral in a good way, or are you neutral in a could-kill-you-without-a-second-thought way?
Anyway, my point is that Gem Dragons are definitely going to be in this book. It took every fibre of my being, but I did resist just flipping straight to Chapter 5: Draconomicon, and continued dutifully reading Chapter 1.
The Dragonborn ancestries presented in this book give modest boosts to what's provided in the PHB. Breath weapons start with d10 damage instead of d6, Gem Dragonborns can fly for a minute, and Metallic Dragonborn have a special Repulsion Breath weapon that can knock opponents prone.
There's a new subclass each for monks (Way of the Ascendant Dragon) and rangers (Drake Warden).
It's pretty hard to mess up the monk class, and although I haven't yet played it myself, this subclass appears to be a reasonable option. My favourite is the Draconic Strike feature, which allows you to choose the damage type of a successful unarmed strike. At 3rd-level, you can spend an action to make a breath weapon attack in a 20-foot cone or a 30-foot line. The way it's written makes it seem like you get to choose the damage type at the moment you make the attack, which strikes me as overly flexible. At 17th-level, you get the Explosive Fury feature, which damages any number of creatures you can see within 10 feet. Obviously the Way of the Ascendant Dragon adds some nice area of effect (AOE) features to the monk class, which I think sets it apart from the other monk paths I've played.
I'm a fan of the 5e monk. I think it combines melee and magic really nicely, I like the ki mechanic, and I think it feels like a satisfyingly powerful class from the player perspective. As far as I'm concerned, it's the easy target for praise.
The 5e ranger, on the other hand, famously missed its mark. I don't hate the 5e ranger class, but then again I've never played it and I think I've only run one game with a 5e ranger in it. I do acknowledge that it is, at the very least, an unspectacular class as presented in the PHB.
The Drake Warden ranger is a great subclass for any player who loves Dragons. By 15th-level, you can ride around on your drake companion, but without question, I would theme the drake as a proper Dragon, and call the player character a Dragon Rider. We'd call it a young Dragon to explain its limited power, but this is Dragonlance at last, and I'm fully on board.
There are three Draconic feats. One allows you to endow a weapon with extra Draconic-inspired damage, one is a telekinetic reaction, and the third provides the ability to protect those around you with spectral Dragon wings. It's a good collection of flavourful abilities, assuming your campaign allows feats.
This was a good chapter. It's short, but for players it provides some new options. For players who are fans of Dragons, this chapter is a gift from Paladine (or is it really Bahamut).