Updating Dray to 5e

So I’m working on a conversion of Dark Sun to 5e, and I have a good idea of how every race should work except for dray.

In past editions, the only unique racial traits they really had were their claws as natural weapons, darkvision and fire resistance. I’d like to add something else to set them apart as a unique, draconic race. However, going with the dragonborn racial of a breath weapon feels a bit derivative and maybe isn’t a good fit. I’m wondering if there’s anything in Dark Sun source material that would make for more interesting Dray racial traits? Fire resistance especially, while quite good, is a pretty boring trait honestly. I think darkvision also isn’t very exciting, and mostly just serves to trivialize having a light source and what I find to be the most interesting aspect of delving underground in any D&D game, which is the mystery of what is hiding in the darkness.

Could add a trait like the tieflings where they can cast certain spells, they are a sorcerous race after all.

Going with The Wanderer’s suggestion you could even allow Dray to use certain spells as if they were defilers, since all Athasian dragons come from defiler stock. Picking spells with an appropriate draconic theme could make Dray very interesting indeed.

Dray infravision was important for them as they were a subterranean race and dragons have always had superb senses since the days of Tolkien so this is a quality I would lean towards but is certainly not essential. A racial breath weapon I agree isn’t the best fit for Dray and while a natural resistance to magic is another quality dragons are known for, it seems counter intuitive for a race created from magic. Then again the drow were born from basically magic radiation and they’re all but immune to magic (in 2e at least).

Speaking of drow a quality I noticed with them that seemed fun to do with other races was the concept of noble drow having a higher attribute boost and a lot more magical abilities just naturally. The concept of noble dray that might even have wings or a breath attack seems like a neat concept. Drow worked this way because Lolth just picked drow she found promising and made them better, but perhaps defiling magic can empower a few dray eggs to become something more.

I do not see a problem of using dragonborn as dray, but that is perhaps I actually liked the 4e depiction of Dark Sun.

To simplify stuff, you can use dragonborn stats, just changing breath/resistance for some spells (a la tieflings).

Here’s a rough draft writeup I did after considering responses and doing some more reading. I included things like breath weapons and wings as feat options, similar to the racial feats Wizards released in Unearthed Arcana.

The only thing I’m particularly unsure about is the balance of the first generation dray’s traits, and if it might be too much damage output for a racial trait.

I love 4th edition Dark Sun, and played it for years. I guess what I didn’t like about it is how it didn’t have distinctly Athasian racial traits for each race. Elves were just elves, halflings were just halflings, dray were just dragonborn, etc. Half-giants were neutered into Goliaths and might as well not have been giants at all. I feel like a lot of what was unique about the Dark Sun races was lost in translation, and when I play Dark Sun in 5e I want it to recapture that feeling of every race being something different than its normal fantasy trope.

One thing I would recommend is offering first generation dray a mutation table. Dregoth considered the first generation dray failures for a reason when he decided to cast them out. You could even have a table for positive and negative mutations or if you’re a very kind DM you could allow dray PCs to pick their mutations.

Positive mutations could include things such as overgrown scales similar to a crocodile’s in appearance, increased physical bulk that augments strength and/or constitution, or horns that give it a social bonus around other dray.

Negative mutations could include larger claws that increase natural damage but reduce dexterity, areas with no scales at all, reducing their overall armor, a reduced ability score, no tail may give them a penalty to certain social roles with dray as well as balance.

IHMO, those mutations should be more cosmetic in nature. Much like the tiefling wings in the legal AL games. But that is because I don’t like to punish players for the sake of lore and rules (D&D, for me, is all having fun, not only the DM of the players, but all). I do like the idea of some mutations giving disadvantages in social encounters (but no penalties). So, take my opinion here as biased.

Also, as dragon magic is usually tied with sorcerers, so I such to change the key ability and the ASI to charisma instead of intelligence (unless there is no sorcerers in your depiction of Dark Sun).

I feel, however, that the First Generation is more powerful than the second, and that should be the reverse…