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Dragonborn as Mystaran Drakes

by KtA

I wonder if it would make sense to use Dragonborn stats for Mystaran Drakes... they were made available as PCs in PC1, right?

The Wooddrakes, Colddrakes and Mandrakes could be matched up to the 5 "elemental" types of dragonborn...
Colddrakes - Cold
Wooddrakes - Acid or Poison
Mandrakes - Fire or Lightning

If you wanted to include "true" Dragonborn (i.e. - without the ability to disguise themselves as humans/elves/dwarves), they could be an isolated population of Drakes which lost the ability because they lived for many generations without contact with any humans/demi-humans. So the ability was lost through disuse, like "blind cave fish" losing their eyes via living in permanent darkness.

The heart of the Wyrmsteeth Range in Norwold would probably be a good place for this. It is ruled by dragons, not humanoids, and from CM1 it seems that humans of Norwold (and probably demi-humans too) avoid the Wyrmsteeth. So the Dragonborn of Mystara might have "evolved" from ordinary Drakes in the "shadow" of the dragon kingdom of Wyrmsteeth...

VALLEY OF THE DRAGONBORN
Population: 2,000
Area: 7,000 square miles (roughly oval, about 40 x 20 miles)

The Dragonborn are descended from a group of Colddrakes and Wooddrakes who settled a spruce- and fir-forested valley in the heart of the Wyrmsteeth Range around 2000 BC.

The Dragonborn of the Valley are retiring and cautious, since they live among dragons of far greater power. They do not participate in dragon society, and are thus not really vassals of the red dragon suzerain of the Wyrmsteeth as the dragons of the region are*, but they pay a small tribute (in native copper and silver nuggets and art objects such as bone and ivory 'scrimshaw', necklaces made with the teeth and claws of various wild beasts, etc.) at ten-year intervals to him. This tribute is actually collected by one of the king's lesser vassals - a small green dragon named Yrayt (8 HD, capable of speaking and spellcasting) whose lair is in the next valley. Yrayt keeps about 20% of the collected tribute for himself.

Most of the dragonborn are nomadic or semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, living in small bands of 20-50 individuals. These are governed by consensus with the voices of elders being given greater weight and respect.

Settlements/Sites of Interest: Two villages do exist in the Valley.

Karrak: This is a fishing village of 200 on the shores of the Valley's large central lake (which is warmer than expected at this latitude, due to hot springs - the Valley is an ancient caldera**). It is internally divided into three extended-family "bands" which each select one of their elders; the village is governed by these three elders in council.

Ssrath: This 'village' is a sacred site, with a permanent population of only 50, but increasing to 500 during the summer and winter solstice celebrations, and as much as 1,000 during the decadal visit of their nominal dragon "ruler" when tribute is paid. At these times the small hamlet is surrounded by camps. The village is ruled by the most powerful cleric of the Great One.

The dragonborn follow the dragon Immortals, especially the Great One.

*See "Dragons in the D&D Game Known World: From Hatchling to Immortal Guardian" by Bruce Heard on dragon suzerains and vassals

**Think of the valley as being similar to Yellowstone Caldera and the lake as being much like Lake Yellowstone (especially the West Thumb).