D&D 5e: Dragonborn Cleric Guide
Do you want to slay the dragon and purge the evil from the land? No? You want to be the dragon and purge the evil from the land? Well, we’ve got you covered! This a guide to building and playing a Dragonborn cleric. Whether you’re using the standard array, point buy, or rolling your stats this guide remains the same.
How to Make a Dragonborn Cleric
The Dragonborn starts with two extra points in strength and one in charisma. You have your 30ft walking speed, your size is medium and you speak two languages, common and draconic.
This is where it gets spicy, you start with three racial features, Draconic ancestry, Breath weapon, and Damage resistance. They are however all connected.
Draconic Ancestry: Your great grandpappy was a dragon, which means you’ve inherited some of their powers. You can choose a color that represents the kind of dragon you are distantly related to. All of the colors are viable except for green since most creatures in the monster manual at higher levels are going to have resistance or immunity to poison.
Breath Weapon: You spit an element from your mouth, like a dragon. It directly correlates with the color you chose. Useful at lower levels in combat, very useful in roleplay.
Damage Resistance: You are resistant to the element corresponding to your color.
For your cleric class, I will not break down what kind of sub-class you should choose. All subclasses are viable picks, only the nature domain is sub-par. Now, to the statting!
First of all, get as many points as humanly possible in wisdom. It is your main stat for spellcasting and as someone with an excellent spell list, both in a supportive as well as in an aggressive build, you’re going to want that.
Now, take your second highest stat and put it in CON. Since you’re a Dragonborn and get those sweet two points in str, you are going to want to put your third-highest stat in STR. Out of spells? Smack an enemy square in the face with a mace, works just as well. Put your final stat in CHA, so that you can properly roleplay a holy roller. Finish off by dumping your worst stats in int and dex.
You are proficient in two saving throws, wisdom and charisma. You are also proficient in two class skills + two from your backstory. I recommend that you pick religion, for that roleplaying potential. You might also want to pick up insight, which can be used to see if characters are lying or up to no good, allowing you to call them a heretic.
Moving on to gear. You are going to be proficient in simple weapons, light/medium armor, and shields. So, pick up that free chainmail and a shield for that high AC. If you can get proficiency with plate armor and martial weapons, you can become a walking fortress, so that is highly advised. You can obtain those proficiencies with feats or by choosing certain cleric domains (subclasses) at level 1. I also recommend picking up a mace, since it is a decent weapon.
As for the background, any are viable, but I recommend the soldier background. Not, because it is very good, but it will open your roleplay up to the “tragic soldier finds religion” plotline, which is fun to play.
How to Play a Dragonborn Cleric
There are different ways of playing a cleric, but this build is geared towards an aggressive, confrontational playstyle. You will want to choose spells that buff you, de-buff your enemy, or ones that inflict direct damage. The clerics spell list has plenty of these, but a classic one is bless, which lets you and two others (or three other people if you play support cleric) roll an additional d4 to your attack rolls and saving throws. This doesn’t sound like much but is in practice very good.
If you play aggressively, you start by buffing yourself and then hitting the enemy with high damage in close quarters melee attacks. If you choose a bunch of healing spells you can generally keep yourself alive for a good time.
The best thing about clerics is that they are allowed to prepare different spells from their list every day. So, if you tire of one playstyle you can switch to another, simply by choosing different spells that morning.
How to Roleplay as a Dragonborn Cleric
Clerics will roleplay differently depending on the god you chose to follow. If your god is, for instance, a crazy warlord, you might have the beliefs of a soldier in a holy war. Think and talk with your gm about the organization of your religion and where you fit in the grand scheme of things. You might even get a personal plot about how the beliefs of your religion don’t line up with the actual will of your god.
Art: Linda Lithen