Review - The Hero's Handbook: Dragonborn by Goodman Games
by Jamie Hetchler
The Hero's Handbook: Dragonborn by Goodman Games is the definitive work on the Dragonborn race. They are the heroes of legend, now fallen from grace, as some might say, since their ancestors broke their pact with the dragons.
A character can come from one of the eight major clans or a minor clan as they wish. They can choose to be a solemn warrior of Clan Kengi, a soldier of Clan Karkonus, a champion of Clan Daigo, a mystic swordsman of Clan Aratos, an outcast from Clan Saticar, one of the peace-loving members of Clan Durisshk, a wandering vagabond from Clan Kthonan, or finally a foul marauder from Clan Maahksarith.
You can also choose a minor clan.
No matter where they are from, each Dragonborn follows their own version of the Code of the Dragon, a set of rules and guidelines that they live by.
As a child, the Dragonborn live a life of carefree abandon, with little if any responsibilities. Upon reaching the age of apprenticeship, they receive their first weapon. No matter what type their first weapon, it is called the little fang.
When they become adults, they receive their great fang. Their great fang may change many times over the course of their lives, but the little fang will remain the same as it represents their heritage.
The handbook describes each of the clans in detail with a beginning example on how a Dragonborn of the clan would relate to others. Following that would be their version of Code of the Dragon, adventure hooks, clan feats, and a paragon path.
Chapter 4 describes new feats, divided by tiers, which are available to all Dragonborn. One of the feats, Clan Weapon Training, is a good example of the bonus you would receive by choosing a Great Clan over one of the minor clans.
Chapter 5, entitled Ancestor Paths, is a way to describe a Dragonborn character's family background. More so than any other race, the ancestors play an important role in a Dragonborn's life. The charts are only there to create the skeleton of a family history that the player can flesh out at they desire.
Chapter 6 is the new monsters. Come on now, who doesn't like new monsters? Something new to throw at the players to keep them on their toes and excited. As this chapter shows, some of the most dangerous monsters might just be from the character's own race that have fallen to the evil within them.
Finally, we have the magic items. These are the things players drool over when they have beaten the monster down. It could be something like an echolocation weapon, an ancestral weapon, or even a trader's cloak. Magic items are what the characters dream of, well maybe them dream more about money (ahh...money is good).
The Hero's Handbook: Dragonborn is well written and informative. I will not look at Dragonborn quite the same. They are not just big humanoid lizards; they are unique with a history that spans the ages. They have a connection with their past as well as hope for their future. Often it is not the way they lived their lives that makes them heroes; it is the things they left behind that made them legendary.
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