RPGBOT.News November 5th, 2021 – Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons

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Show Notes

In this episode of the RPGBOT.News, we explore Dungeons and Dragons’ new “Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons” supplement. We discuss the new dragonborn race variants, feats, spells, magic items, monsters, and a some exciting new mechanics.

Materials Referenced in this Episode

Transcript

Randall  00:21

Welcome to the RPGBOT.News, I’m Randall James. Welcome on November 5th, 2021. With me is Tyler

Tyler  00:30

Hi everybody

Randall  00:31

and random.

Random  00:32

Good morning.

Randall  00:33

All right, so we’re doing something a little bit different. We’ve been doing this these book reviews when new books come out and we’re realizing that the news is rapid fire enough with D&D 5e and other tabletop gaming, that we are going to transition and just call this “the news.” So, Tyler, what’s the news today?

Tyler  00:53

Well, we just got Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons. We’ve been looking forward to this for quite a few months at this point. And there’s a lot to unpack here. So we’re going to explore the book a little bit.

Randall  01:04

Awesome. That’s exciting. So yeah, I guess maybe to open it up. We have new lore.

Tyler  01:09

Yeah!

Random  01:10

Yeah. I’m actually really excited about this new lore. One of the things that I immediately noticed as I was reading through is how they’re already looking forward to how they’re trying to incorporate this multiverse stuff that they’ve been talking about. If you have listened to some of our other episodes, talking about the future of D&D, or if you listened to or watch the live cast, I don’t actually know what you would call that. But the the future of D&D celebration, basically. They’re really trying to focus more on how they bring in these things that we have talked about, most likely as Spelljammer and Dark Sun, they seem to be using dragons, as the start of what we would think of as worlds is the in the material plane, and dragons see across them. And in fact, dragons are aware of their incarnations, in each of them. And the more powerful dragons can actually do things like talk to the other versions of themselves, or sufficiently powerful ones can absorb other versions of themselves, to get even stronger. And somewhere, that one person who saw Jet Li’s The One besides me is like hey wait, I know this story. Yeah, it is kind of cool, because they’re in a in a game called Dungeons and Dragons, it makes sense that you might actually want to make dragons like the ultimate creature in your world. And this is really, I feel like raising the power level of what we think of dragons, not just, you know, as you face them, but even, you know, there’s a lot of content in the book where they talk about, a lot of folks historically have confused dragons for gods because of how powerful they are. And they’re not gods, they’re just really powerful. One of the takeaways I had is that there’s this idea that right in the beginning, we had Bahamut and Tiamat. And these are the progenitors of the material plane. And there’s this long, epic poem at the front of it, which is describing like, how did this happen? And how did the first world get shattered? And now that we have all of these additional worlds, and I guess it’s maybe worth saying, when they’re talking about a world, they’re not talking about, you know, here’s Earth, and here’s Mars, but more of like, within the material plane, there are all of these different worlds. And they go through and talk about, like, well, there’s the story for Eberron and how it echoes this epic poem. There’s the the lore for Greyhawk and how this mirrors this epic poem.

Tyler  03:33

They’re making that concept kind of more canon. So, like you said, Randall, Bahamut and Tiamat created the first world and then the other gods came in from the outer plane and we’re like, hey, humanoids live here now and then everything got crazy, the world fell apart. Gem dragons were briefly a thing and then not a thing and then a thing again. So now gem dragons are like the the fragments of basically the third dagon god, Sardior, I think it’s pronounced?

Random  04:03

Something like that, yeah.

Tyler  04:05

Yeah, so the lore is cool. And then in addition to the lore, we get a bunch of really cool dragon-themed mechanics and I know people are going to be very excited about all the character options. Probably the first thing people are going to see is the rework of the dragonborn. So dragonborn have been a staple of D&D since late 3.5, they were in the player’s handbook and fourth edition, and then again in fifth edition. But since the release of fifth edition, they’ve been basically the weakest race in the player’s handbook. Very, very cool. Very, very weak. And now they’re reworked to be more in line with other races. So the new version of the dragonborn are a ton of fun. They’re very playable, but they’re not so crazy that they’re going to break your game.

Randall  04:49

Yeah. So what did we get here? For one, it seems to be the theme instead of having your breath weapon once per long rest, you have it a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. That’s exciting because now you’re not hoarding that breath weapon till the end you you know at least use it once and then you hoard the second use still

Random  05:04

Thematically, though, it made sense for dragons to hoard things.

Randall  05:10

Perfect. Even things that can save your life. There are now kind of three origins right so you have your metallic dragonborn and you have your chromatic dragonborn which have always been there and that was tied your breath weapon and resistance. But now we also have this gem-based dragonborn to mirror the third branch, I guess, of dragons. Yeah, a fork of dragon’s. I don’t know. And the with this like the metallic dragon, get an additional metallic breath weapon. The chromatic dragon gets…

Tyler  05:39

They get to turn their damage resistance up to immunity for one minute, once per day.

Randall  05:43

Okay, which is pretty cool. Yeah, and yeah, I guess that’s tied to so if you were a red chromatic dragon and you were already resistant to fire now you can be immune to fire for one minute per day.

Tyler  05:53

Yeah, go take a quick swim and lava if you want.

Randall  05:57

 Nice.

Tyler  05:59

So we also got two new subclasses the monk way of ascendant dragon and the drakewarden ranger, both of which people are really excited about way of the ascendant dragon monk basically lets you like fly for super brief periods, get a breath weapon, cool stuff like that. And then drakewarden finally lets you live out your dream of having a pet dragon. People are excited about both of those. Ascendant dragon is getting some mixed opinions because it’s considerably weaker than the Unearthed Arcana version. And drakeward in is tons of fun. It’s really good. I have character optimization stuff up on RPGBOT.net already and we’ll link those in the show notes. But there’s a lot of fun to be had here.

Randall  06:42

Yeah, there’s a flavor. There’s like a really cool picture in the book of a dragonborn drakewarden and Ranger with their Drake like cuddling and playing around and yeah, that’s a that’s cool.

Random  06:52

I really like both of those. I really like the the Ranger version in particular. And you will probably see if you continue listening to the stuff we put out where I’m going to create a character that is a kobold drakewarden ranger who has a kind of worship full view of their drake, because, boy, that seems like a fun thing to do.

Tyler  07:16

That is the most kobold thing I’ve ever heard that doesn’t involve a trap.

Randall  07:21

And running away.

Tyler  07:22

Uh, let’s see we got we got more of the usual stuff in new splat books, we got some cool new spells. A lot of interesting things in there there. The psychic lance spell was a huge abuse problem in the Unearthed Arcana version where you could walk around and just assassinate people by name, so I’m glad they fixed that. Let’s see. So most of the spells are named after dragons, which appear in D&D history. Like Ashardalon’s step named after Ashardalon, who… I want to say they brought Ashardalon into the canon and fourth edition, but I probably should look that up. Anyway, giant red dragon, absorbed their echoes from across across multiple material planes and became super powerful and messed stuff up for a while. But Ashardalon appears in a bunch of the D&D board games and such. So he I want to say he has been around for a while. But cool stuff. We also got some a completely new variety of magic items. So they’re called hoard magic items. If you’re familiar with critical role and the Wildemount setting, they’re similar to the vestiges of divergence, which works they introduced by Critical Role, basically a magic item that kind of levels up with your character. But rather than rather than leveling up with your character, or as part of the story device, you have to essentially charge hoard items by putting them into a dragon’s hoard for some amount of time. And it creates this cool mechanic where you can steep the item kind of like you’d steep a tea by just leaving the item in a hoard for a year. Or you can kill the dragon, put the item in their hoard, and it only takes like an hour. So if you’re in a hurry, you can go kill a dragon to charge your item. But you need to kill progressively more powerful dragons to go up through the steps with the items. So it it lets you make dragon slaying or at least interacting with dragons like a recurring mechanic in your story while getting this really cool item that stays interesting for your whole career.

Randall  09:27

Okay, and so like I’ve got these really cool gloves that helped me lockpick or something, and it could be the best lock picker ever. As long as I can continuously slay stronger and stronger dragons.

Tyler  09:39

Exactly.

Randall  09:39

That seems like the right path to be really good at locking. Okay.

Random  09:44

Welcome to D&D.

Randall  09:45

Yeah,

Tyler  09:47

I had one of my favorite things about these. So, dragons immediately know if one of these items is in their hoard, but they don’t know where. So I love the idea of somebody sneaks into a dragon’s hoard, hides one of these items to steep, and then leaves and comes back a year later. And the dragon has spent like a year meticulously combing their hoard trying to find this thing and they just can’t. It’s like, oh, I I’m an ancient dragon. I’ve got 20 hoards scattered all over the world worth millions of gold pieces between all the actual gold and items and stuff. And I cannot find this one little trinket buried under a mountain of other stuff. Just going insane for a year until some guy walks in is like, ah, yeah, I’ll take my item back now, please.

Randall  10:35

Yeah, but they’ll know when it’s gone.

Random  10:36

It’s interesting that you mentioned that that is one of the other things that I thought was really cool is that they they really, unsurprisingly, about this book, they did an amazing job of fleshing out dragons as not just a stat block, but as things to incorporate in your world. And one of the things that if you’re familiar with 3.x dragons had like seven age categories, and it was kind of nuts, because every single age category had a different stat block. For one thing, they’ve toned that down to four, which is much easier. They have given us an example statblocks for all of them. And they’ve also talked about how these dragons interact with their world. So like Tyler was talking about, dragons will now, it explains the age progression. Dragons will have multiple hoards, and from these hoards, things expand out from them into the world, affecting how creatures are born, how they live, like you will get people dreaming of the dragon or things related to the dragon. You will get the dragons preferred food suddenly coming to live near the hoard which is a little bit weird until you realize that it’s the dragon drawing the things there all of this does a really phenomenal job of making it so that if you did want to run a campaign with a dragon as a primary feature, you’re going to be really well equipped to do so far beyond just what the stats say. But you could very easily homebrew your own campaign around all this stuff and have a lot to go on. Yeah, sorry. I’m imagining you’re talking about like the favorite food kind of moving into the area. Just going into a city and you’re like ” don’t remember there being so many in and out burgers here, whats…?”

Tyler  12:31

I think one of the examples is one of the gem dragons, their favorite food is giant squid. So giant squid will just move towards where their lair is.

Randall  12:43

Why are there river giant squid? What is happening here?

Tyler  12:48

Pretty much. Yeah, so random touched on some cool stuff. The incorporation of hoards as more of a mechanic for how dragons work is really interesting. Like one of the example layer effects that they added is there’s a chance that humanoids born in the vicinity may just be half-dragon when they’re born, which, imagine explaining that to the parents.

Randall  13:12

Yeah, does does being half-dragon mean being dragonborn or is it?

Tyler  13:16

No.

Randall  13:17

Okay,

Tyler  13:18

Dragonborn are a distinct race. Half-dragon is basically a template, so like, you’re half dragon, half human. So you could be a half-dragon dragonborn and have breath weapons from both of those things. Random and I have a long-running joke about a character we once encountered that had just a ton of templates from back in the third edition era was like half-dragon were-draco-pire-lich. Very silly.

Randall  13:48

When the moon comes out, they become a dragon.

Tyler  13:51

Something like that.

Randall  13:52

Okay, good.

Tyler  13:54

So we also got, we got one last character option that I’m very excited about called Draconic Gifts. They’re similar in many ways to magic items, but rather than being a physical thing you have it’s some magical gift you get from a dragon. And they use the same rarity system that magic items do, so the DM could award these as treasure in basically the same way. So like you go and you you slay a dragon and you get like such and such items. Like this guy gets a plus two sword, this guy gets a magic wand, this guy gets a draconic gift. And they’re they’re flavored as something that you can generally receive as a gift from a dragon. And then the accompanying art is someone about to pour a bowl of dragon’s blood over themselves. So so you can either get it as a gift or by taking it by some means but the the benefits are really cool. There’s some interesting options in there. One of the suggestions is you can just have a feat as a draconic gift and then they don’t give a rarity for that one. So I tried to get people’s opinions about that one on Twitter. And people are kind of split between either rare or very rare rarity. So I’m thinking like, if you’re going to do that it’s going to vary by feat. But it introduces an option to say, hey, I want to give a feat in place of a magic item as basically a quest quest reward or something. And I think that’s really cool.

Randall  15:22

I mean, can you imagine also using that, like add leveling up time, in lieu of taking this feature instead, I’m going to take a draconic feature?

Tyler  15:29

Now that’s an interesting idea. I could see that. Like, take a rare draconic gift and take that instead of an ability score increase? That’s a clever idea.

Randall  15:41

Yeah, exactly. Like one of the things I was looking at, in particular was the protective wings. So basically, you or another creature within five feet of you, you can basically manifest wings for a moment to raise AC equal to your proficiency bonus. That’s nice, because it scales with you as you grow. And it also gives you the ability to protect not just yourself, but folks around you. I think it was a once per long rest. Like I read that I’m thinking that’s really powerful. I wonder what the comparables would be like, if you’re already a tank, do you really want that feat? Or is there something equivalent that you already have?

Tyler  16:11

Well, there’s the defensive duelist feet, which sounds similar, but there will be trade offs between those two things. But yeah, I like that idea. That’s cool. We got some other new mechanics, dragon minions, basically just cool traits that you can slap on to minions that serve a dragon, like one of them is they explode when they die

Randall  16:32

Useful.

Random  16:33

As we were talking about lairs and hoards, so that these layers, a lot of them have maps, now that they’ve given us, in addition to full maps with descriptions of every single dragon type. Now admittedly, they’re they’re scaled for some of the the larger dragons, but you could very easily tone it down. Or if you wanted to, like split parts off and say this is the separate parts of the hoards that are scattered, there’s some really interesting things that it describes for like, like I was saying earlier, what the surrounding environment is like, it affects the creatures, it’ll also affect things like some of the crystal dragons, you’ll just have a spring up around their their lair, you’ll have like rocks that sing. the hoard becomes this magic item sort of by itself, it can have parts, I mean, obviously, you’d like that they, they give a lot more ideas of what you could fill the different dragons hoards with. So there’s tables full of this particular type of dragon, the centerpiece of its hoard will always be this particular type of thing. And so it talks about like one of the gem dragons really hates aberrations. The centerpiece of their hoard is always going to be something where it’s about dealing with the outer plains, finding something about how to root out aberrations, all of the like, whereas in previous editions, that previous thing that might just say, art items. No, it’ll tell you what all the art items that particular types of dragons are likely to have, could very easily get really specific about the things that people are going to find as they go through this stuff. I’m really appreciative that they went so much into how are we going to make these things thematically different so that it’s not just a yes an dragon hoard.

Tyler  18:24

I like that we got tables for random dragon hoards. I always like a good random generation table. So like you can go in and depending on the age category of the dragon and a couple other things, there’s like a series of tables you roll on to get counts of different items of different types and will tell you like, oh, yeah, go in the Dungeon Master’s Guide roll on these such and such tables this number of times. And then you can get a very specific inventory of, like, what is in each of these dragon hoards to make them each distinct. Now of course, you can always just generate that on your own if you want to, but a lot of times, it’s fun to just generate something random just to get ideas and then maybe tweak it from there or just, yeah, throw it on the table as generated and surprise your players with whatever comes up.

Randall  19:11

One of my one of my favorite things about the tables like throughout all of, you know, both the core rule books and then all of the additional source books is getting an idea of appropriate level. You know, even if you don’t use one of the 10 things that are in the table getting a feeling for like okay, this is on par with what ought to happen. And so that kind of gives you even if you want to use your imagination that gives you something to pin to.

Tyler  19:33

Yeah, I like that idea.

Randall  19:34

Perfect. We have new creatures, and I know we’ve kind of hinted at already so we have this new third fork of dragon which are these gem dragons that have you know all the methods that are explained for both chromatic and metallic. You’re gonna get the same thing for gym dragons, and then retrospectively adding content to the dragonborn tied to the gem dragon. Like I thought that was really complete really well thought out.

Tyler  19:55

Yeah, I agree. People have been asking for gem dragons to come back since fifth edition was released basically because they’re kind of a big thing in the lore of Forgotten Realms. And since Forgotten Realms is basically the default setting in fifth edition people were surprised that it took this long for gem dragons to come back. So we have all the usual stat blocks for them, The four age categories used in fifth edition. We got some returning monsters like dragonnes? Dragonnes? However they’re pronounced. There. They’re officially called lion drake’s finally, which has apparently been a fierce debate since they were first introduced and like Monstrous Manual 2 of AD&D. They basically gone back and forth on names since then.

Randall  20:40

I’m not familiar with this. What is this not a dragon thing?

Tyler  20:43

So imagine, imagine a very small dragon with a lion head. That’s basically the art for them in third edition is, frankly kind of hideous. But they look pretty cool now. We also got dragonnels, which are basically a miniature dragon specifically intended for you to ride on. There’s a couple of others like less notable varieties like we got sea serpents and

Random  21:06

Dragon turtles!

Tyler  21:08

Dragon turtles! I don’t want to say they’re less notable they are they’re notably always one size larger than a regular dragon of comparable age category. And the like mythic level dragon turtle is CR 24, as large as a an island that people could live on for a long time.

Random  21:28

I particularly like the bit of flavor that they chucked in on that one. So, of course, this is Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons. Fizban being one of the names that Bahamut it takes in similar style to Xanathar’s and Volo’s. They have notes written in Fizban’s voice throughout. According to Bahamut, neither he nor Tiamat made the dragon turtle. He has no idea where they came from. Seeing that little bit of “how did this happen?” and make makes you think is it really a dragon? but they certainly give it rules like it’s a dragon. All kinds of good art. They’re basically just your enormous underwater kraken if it was a dragon. It’s really good.

Randall  22:05

Then so the fifth edition monster manual has a dragon turtle in it. But this is expanding and actually tying it to the different ages so that you can have an ancient dragon turtle, a young dragon turtle.

Tyler  22:16

I like that they expanded on the dragon turtle because it’s always kind of been an afterthought in previous editions, so this time around, they gave it the full dragon treatment. Like they they use the same hoard rules as other dragons do. I think the same thing applies to sea serpents because they were also a dragon, but they’re less… I believe dragon turtles and sea serpents are both neutral. So they’re not like philosophically inclined like other dragons are. They’re just I am a big angry dragon and I want to eat food and have territory and accumulate treasure. And I like to be left alone other than that.

Randall  22:50

What drives a turtle to be neutral?

Random  22:55

Deep my contemplation.

Tyler  22:57

Tell my collection of shipwrecks, I said “hello”.

Randall  23:02

Cool. We we got we got greatwyrms.

Tyler  23:05

So we mentioned this previously with Ashardalon and the seeing across realities and dragons absorbing their echoes across various material planes. So greatwyrms are essentially, I have looked beyond my own my own world, absorbed other versions of myself to accumulate power, and now I’m big and scary. The draconic greatwyrms are CR 27. I think the the dragon turtle version is only CR 24. But still CR 27 is quickly approaching the CR 30 used for aspects of deities, the Tarrasque, other big spooky things like that. So they are crazy powerful. And they also brought back the mythic actions mechanic which was first introduced in Mythic Odysseys of Theros and hasn’t come back since then. If you’re not familiar with the mechanic, basically, you kill it once it hits zero hit points, boss music plays, and it gets up and has better legendary actions. So it essentially adds a second phase of fighting these creatures where they’re way more dangerous.

Randall  24:11

This isn’t even my final form.

Tyler  24:13

Exactly.

Random  24:14

I touched on this in our episode that we just recorded, which may not be out yet by the time you listen to this. So one thing that’s interesting to look at in Fizban’s is they have gone with the likely to be the standard version of statblocks. Where things that can cast spells no longer have enormous spell lists, and they just have here’s your four spells that you can cast as the spellcasting action. Several dragons particularly I think they can cast spells as legendary actions because they were confident enough that okay, we have toned this down to these four spells we know people can’t break the game with this. That’s that’s one interesting thing that this is sort of the the first introduction of.

Tyler  24:59

Yeah, I’m excited to see that at the table. At some point we’ll just have to do like a level 20 We’re gonna fight a greatwyrm just to see how it goes.

Random  25:06

One of the other fun new creatures in there, they made a hoard mimic, which is basically what if a mimic but the size of an entire dragon’s hoard. It’s like a CR 15 mimic or something. And it just pretends to be the entire hoard and eats people. It is one of my favorite things to come out of a splat book in a long time.

Randall  25:26

But so how does it work like this particular gold coin, I go to pick it up and it seems to be attached and then all of a sudden ah!

Random  25:33

Iike the entire gold pile you’re standing on is the mimic.

Tyler  25:36

Yeah, the the art for it is an adventurer climbing a pile of gold to get to a magic sword perched at the top. And there’s a mimic mouth right behind them with like the long crazy mimic tongue coming out. And the description of it says they’re intelligent, like intelligence 12. So intelligent, more intelligent than your typical human and they speak languages. The description says if they know they’re losing a fight, they’ll bargain for their lives. Like they’ll say, Hey, don’t kill me. I’ll tell you where the real hoard is. Which I like that I like that idea. The monster smart enough to surrender and bargain for its own safety.

Randall  26:16

With the gold that it’s mimicking. That’s terrifying. That’s fair. So was there anything surprised that kind of wasn’t in the book?

Tyler  26:25

Random actually introduced this to me a long time ago. So back in third edition, monster manual five introduced this thing called Xorvintal? Xorvintal? I have no idea how to pronounce that, Random, helped me.

Random  26:38

You’ve done as well as I’m going to be able to.

Tyler  26:41

Anyway, the the concept was, quote, unquote, the great game. And it was essentially, dragons are super scary and powerful. And they decide, you know, what, what if the world was basically a high stakes chess game that only Dragons get to play? It essentially gave dragons a reason to interact in the world beyond just, I need treasure for dragon things. And it allowed the DM to make a campaign into like, Oh, yes, there’s political intrigue or whatever being driven by dragons as the stakeholders and they’re playing this game over 1000s of years with some inscrutable undefined point-based system. And there is no mention of that. In as far as I know, there has been no other mention of that concept in any book. But there is actually some, some surprisingly deep lore in Forgotten Realms about it.

Random  27:38

Well, and it’s interesting that you say that and while that is definitely not in Fizban’s, they did introduce a lot of other things to sort of replace it, there are half a dozen different draconic organizations mentioned that have their own goals. You know, things like increasing the dragon sight, which is the thing that lets dragons view the other echos and, you know, maybe talk to themselves. You know, organizations that do things like that. Organizations that like the dragon cult, very famously, oh, god, who’s that? Ebondeath. You know, very famously worshipful of Ebondeath. There’s this interesting concept they listed in there, I don’t remember what they call it. But basically, a group of differently colored dragons who get together for some common purpose, because they understand that each of them are going to have different skills. If you are looking for ways to add a lot of Dragon flavor to your game, either in tweaking a pre-con or writing your own content. While there’s definitely that one thing missing, I feel like they give you a lot of different ways to try and write that sort of stuff yourself. You know, if you do want to go back and take a look at Xorvintaal for inspiration, we’ll have it linked in the show notes. But other than that, yeah, I think that you’re going to be able to find a lot of what you’re looking for just based on what they do have in there.

Randall  29:04

Awesome. All right. Well, thank you for joining this very special episode of the RPGBOT.News on November 5 2021. This episode was produced with producer Dan all Hilde Leisure Illuminati.

All  29:16

Hail!

Randall  29:17

Alright, you’ll find affiliate links for source books and other materials linked in the show notes Fizban It’s real good. You should get it. You should incorporate it into your game. You’ll find our podcast wherever find podcasts are sold. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate review and subscribe. Share it with your friends. And yeah, we’ll see you next time. We finally did it. We did an episode about dragons on our Dungeons and Dragons podcast.

2 Comments

  1. Tyler Too November 6, 2021
    • RPGBOT November 6, 2021

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