One of the biggest things we've been missing for the past couple of years in Dungeons & Dragons has been more content-focused on dragons. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of dragon madness throughout Fifth Edition, including a two-part campaign released early in this edition with a focus on Tiamat. But with 5E being a brand new venture in world-building with a brand new audience, much of the focus from the team has been redefining what the Forgotten Realms is and expanding it across different areas and planes of existence. But at some point, we knew the team would return to focus on dragons, which they did in a very glorious way with their most recent release, Fizban's Treasury Of Dragons.
For those of you who are interested in checking this book out, we're going to be running through the contents of what you can find in it, so THERE WILL BE SPOILERS AHEAD. If you want to skip over them you can go right to the bottom for the final opinion. Also, to be clear on this review, usually, we like to play with a group before we review anything, but it's been difficult with the pandemic to get a group together, so this is primarily a look at the content without a proper playthrough. This Dungeons & Dragons book is divided up into six sections, each of which brings you various bits of content from character creation to dragon magic to various lairs within the Forgotten Realms.
The first chapter focuses on character creation, and for those of you who love the Draconic race, this is going to be a must-own book for you as they explore a lot more aspects of the species beyond just being one of many in the world. Much like their larger counterparts, Draconic people come in various colors and have different traits and abilities about them based on what they can do. For example, Gem Dragonborn all contain Gem Ancestry, and if you happen to be emerald, you can do psychic damage. Or necrotic for topaz. There's also Metallic Dragonborn which gives you damage types such as fire for brass and acid for copper. This chapter also gives several options for Draconic Subclasses, so if you're not just content with being an ordinary fighter, you can choose to be a special kind of Monk or Ranger. There are great options in here and those looking to expand this specific type of race in Dungeons & Dragons have a lot to consider and mess around with when making a character.
The second chapter focuses on Dragon Magic, which for those who have been playing Draconic characters who delve into Wizard, Sorcerer, or other spell-casting classes, is going to make a lot of your leveling worthwhile when you finally unlock certain levels. One of our favorites from the list is Summon Draconic Spirit, which will bring about a Dragonic warrior to fight alongside you with the gem to metallic of your choosing and its own set of stats that you get to control. The chapter also comes with a number of magical items that could possibly be used for DM's to spread throughout the world. Not to mention Hoard Magic Items, which can only be found in a dragon's hoard and are mostly Legendary items. There's also a list of Draconic Gifts that can be manifested in different ways, which could add a bit of intrigue to the way you play depending on the situation.
The third chapter, which will probably get the most attention from anyone who picks up the book, is simply called Dragons In Play. This goes over all of the rules and concepts to having dragons populating your fantasy world and how it works out when dealing with them, finding them, killing them, and even harvesting from their corpses. You're given all the info you need when it comes to making a dragon, including giving it a name and how to customize its lifespan, reproduction, and even eventual death. There are some freaky options in here to where if you wanted to make an intelligent beast who simply rules over what is theirs and lords extreme power, you can. Or you can create a ravenous beast who only lives for bringing terror upon the people and reminding them of who the more dominant species is.
The material we really enjoyed delving into for this Dungeons & Dragons chapter included Dragon Organizations. Because let's be real, Tiamat keeps coming back for a number of reasons, and one of them revolves around cults who are obsessed with worshiping a five-headed dragon. This book gives you everything you need to craft your own dragon-worshiping cult that will do the bidding of a very large master, even if it's just a baby. You're also given a great rundown for DMs on how to manage dragon encounters and incorporating them into your campaign so they are a significant part of it without being overbearing or an unfair surprise on your players at the end.
In essence, if you truly wanted to do everything from scratch, you could create your own dragon and its cult along with several ways for people to pick up on the idea that somewhere down the road, your party will have to take the beast down. Most of the time in previous editions, a lot of this was done with a bit of mental copy-and-paste as you took a dragon from the Monster Manual and a cult from previous campaigns you've played and married the two into a sort of imperfect union, but it worked for creativity and storytelling purposes. This feels like the first truly comprehensive guide in a long time from Dungeons & Dragons of how to make dragons work within any setting you decide to create as if you had thought of it all along.
The fourth chapter of this Dungeons & Dragons book explores Lairs and Hordes, which as we all know from reading fantasy novels growing up, is where a lot of dragons call their home. This section really doesn't apply to the players, this is more for the DM to craft their own territory for the dragon to call home. Whether that be a cave deep in the nook of a mountaintop that few ever dare to venture into, or in a lost treasure they have decided to call home and claim all the gold and gems inside it as theirs, or even a swampy marsh where only the foolhardy would dare come looking for a beast of their nature. This section gives you all the tools you'll need to put something together down to the most miniature of details.
There are things to play with for various bonuses and minuses to players such as the type of terrain, weather and water patterns, the way certain creatures behave in an area that can tip people off that something is wrong or give them clues of where to find the lair. Not to mention various telltale signs of what to look for and different lair actions that can be placed within it. This is essentially endgame territory as you will be making your biggest dungeon here with the dragon you've chosen. Depending on how you go about crafting this, it can easily be one of the biggest epic encounters you'll be able to give players.
The last two chapters go over two different indexes of content, being the Draconomicon and the Beastiary. Both of these are basically DM lists of things to add into Dungeons & Dragons or to help since things up that you wouldn't normally find in other guides. There's a lot to take in from both lists as they have a lot to offer every player who picks up the books, but there's some genuine gold in both of them that make a lot of what you do with a story and battles be amazing. Depending on how you go about forging them. Which is kind of the key phrase to a lot of this book is that you have a lot of options available and the tools to make them work, but its up to you how to use them.
Overall, I believe Dungeons & Dragons: Fizban's Treasury Of Dragons is one of the few must-own supplementary guides that WotC has produced during Fifth Edition. Even if you're not using this content right away, there's a lot to pull from here that can help with character and campaign creation alike. There's far more where for the DM to work with, but it doesn't hurt to have the content on standby just in case you feel like making this feel like a classic dragon adventure.