Once again the folks at Wizards of the Coast have given us a peek into the mind and learnings of one of D&D’s iconic characters. We’ve already gleaned a ton of insight and campaign inspiration from Xanathar, Volo, Mordenkainen, Tasha, and recently Van Richten. Now we’re turned over to Fizban and his wide breadth of knowledge about all things dragons!
Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons is a 224 page tome containing a number of new draconic character options for players, and a great deal of tools, maps, and tables for Dungeon Masters for running campaigns and adventures where dragons are either the main antagonists, or possibly helpful patrons (or sometimes both).
We already got a heaping helping of evil chromatic dragons when D&D 5e launched with the first big adventure modules Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat (collected together as Tyranny of Dragons). Now, players and DM’s are being introduced to draconic lore, both new and old, about metallic and gem dragons across the multiverse.
I’ve had a press copy of this book for about a week now and I have lots of thoughts. Let’s get into it!
Just who is this Fizban character?
When I first heard the announcement of a new D&D book about dragons, the name Fizban was familiar to me but I couldn’t remember exactly where he was from.
Looking it up, Fizban the Fabulous is a wizard from the first Dragonlance novel Dragons of Autumn Twilight (The only Dragonlance novel I’ve read). It turns out that (spoilers!) Fizban is an immortal avatar of the dragon god Paladine from that setting. The book goes on to reveal that in D&D 5e’s lore, Fizban is one of the many mortal guises taken on by Bahamut the platinum dragon. Bahamut is a dragon god and most often seen as one of the very first dragons across a variety of fantasy settings.
Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons also introduces the idea that ancient and powerful dragons exist as fixtures across the multiverse, with echoes of themselves on every world. Bahamut and Paladine are one and the same, as are Tiamat and Takhisis. When a dragon is suitably old and powerful enough, a version of them exists in every D&D campaign setting.
I like this bit of worldbuilding, as it opens up a lot of storytelling opportunities. More so, I really enjoy how Fizban is realized in this book. The character has a really unique and fun look to him across the many pieces of art that fill the book, making him a worthy addition to all the other named guides in D&D.
New Ways of Getting Your Dragon On!
The player options in this book are fairly robust. There are three detailed forms of dragonborn to play as (metallic, chromatic, and now gem dragonborn), each with their own kinds of breath weapon and traits. In addition there are two new subclass options for monks and rangers: the way of the enlightened dragon, and the drakewarden respectively.
While the former is cool, the latter is a ton of fun. The drakewarden gets their own magical drake animal companion that can eventually grow big and strong enough to ride around on, and eventually take flight. It’s a really fun addition to a class that often gets neglected.
There’s also a collection of new dragon-themed feats, gifts, and spells for players to add to their characters to give them some draconic flavor. These gifts and spells range from things to grant a PC’s the dragon’s breath ability to giving them temporary boosts to their perceptiveness or charm. Each is either themed or named after an iconic D&D dragon.
All in all the new options are a welcome addition, and they make the prospect of playing a dragon-themed character very enticing.
Procedurally Generated Dragons, Hoards, and Adventures (Oh my!)
The real meat and potatoes of Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons is the tools presented to dungeon masters for creating dragons and their hoards. The book contains several dozen random tables for generating a dragon’s appearance, mannerisms, motivations, fears, and foibles. Along with this there’s a big two-page spread of tables for generating dragon hoards. This spread leans heavily on the Dungeon Master’s Guide’s random magic item tables, but it also includes new tables for unique mundane items and art objects.
To round this out there’s also tables to accompany your newly generated dragon hoards: curses that follow those who take these treasures, unique magic and enchantments that imbue items kept in a dragon hoard, and regional effects that change the areas around a dragon’s lair.
These tables provide a ton of added content and possible adventures to be had once a dragon has been encountered or defeated, which I like a lot. There’s also tables for every unique type of dragon to flesh out the dragon’s personality and environment, as well as a map of each type of dragon’s lair. The maps themselves are relatively simple, but filled with enough unique details to do in a pinch if you don’t have the time to custom make your own dragon lair.
Dungeon Masters intimidated by the work that goes into creating a dragon antagonist and their treasure-filled lair will find a lot to use in Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons. This collection of lairs and the tables to fill them are worth the price of the book alone.
New Dragons and Dragon-Themed Monsters
It wouldn’t be a new 5e guide book without a bestiary and collection of new NPC stats. The new offerings here are numerous and varied; including but not limited to the resplendent gem dragons, bulky and monstrous draconians (from Dragonlance), deep dragons, aspects of Tiamat and Bahamut, and many others.
The more unique and weird ones are dragon blood oozes, which act like dragon themed black puddings, elder brain dragons; the horrifying creations of a mind flayer colony, and hoard mimics; massive mimics that disguise themselves not just as a chest, but an entire dragon’s hoard.
There’s also new stats for dragonborn NPCs, kobolds, and other servants and allies of dragonkind. No matter what kind of campaign you run, if you’re looking for dragon-themed enemies, or even just some new monsters to fill in a gap in your campaign map, this book has some great ones.
I went into Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons expecting something perfunctory and basic; a collection of information we’ve gotten before between the Monster Manual and Volo’s Guide To Monsters. I was pleasantly surprised to find a literal treasure trove of new and useful content. The book earns its treasury moniker with how much is packed into it.
If you’re needing a better way of incorporating dragons into your ongoing D&D campaign, or are looking to start a fresh one with a focus on everyone’s favorite flying fire-breathing lizards, Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons is an ideal choice. I highly recommend it.
While both versions of the book are good, I highly recommend springing for the collector’s edition with the Anato Finnstark cover. They’re shiny and metallic and absolutely lovely.