Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons provides a ton of new options and pieces of lore for players to use if they want their characters to have more of a draconic feel them: from playing new kinds of dragonborn, to playing characters with ties to benevolent or malign dragons in their past. It creates a lot of new ways of looking at the world of Dungeons and Dragons.
I really liked the book, and the more I read into it the more ideas for dragon-themed campaigns I started to have.
Like a lot of Dungeon Masters I’m always brainstorming ideas for new campaigns and adventures. Most of them I’ll likely never get to run, but there’s a joy that comes just from creating things. Once I finished the book, I had three solid premises for dragon-themed campaigns that might be useful frameworks for others.
So here they are: three draconic campaigns that make full use of Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons. All of them can be set in the Forgotten Realms, or any other fantasy campaign setting of your choice.
1. Dragonborn United To Slay A Hated Dragon
Fizban’s gives players two additional types of dragonborn to play, making the race that originated with D&D 4e more varied and versatile than ever. It’s not inconceivable that players could put together an entire party of dragonborn while still having them feel different and unique.
In this campaign scenario, an all dragonborn party is united together by a shared backstory element: all of them were grievously wronged in the past by the same ancient dragon. Perhaps one character’s family fortune was plundered by this dragon as they raided the countryside. Another’s may have been part of a cult devoted to said dragon, and had to witness a sibling be sacrificed to the terrible wyrm. Paladin, Warlock, or Cleric dragonborn might be charged by their god or patron with doing away with the dragon to protect the community (or the deity’s interests). There’s no shortage of reasons to want to get payback against an evil dragon.
The evil dragon in question has its claws in almost every part of the region; from politics to religion to even agriculture: It sways the will of queens and temples with either gold or fear, and it demands hefty tribute from peasants and farmers. The campaign’s adventures are all or mostly focused around disrupting the dragon’s plans or eliminating its servants bit by bit. This is the kind of antagonist that’s encountered several times over the campaign, until the party is finally strong enough to take the dragon on by themselves.
Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons has dozens of random tables for generating a rich and detailed dragon of any color and type, shaping their personality and appearance. If you’re thinking of using this campaign setup, here’s an example of a randomly rolled draconic antagonist for the PC’s to eventually face:
Zyrethmeregoth the Undying
Known to the humans of the region as Ebonrot, is an ancient black dragon. Her shortened, corpulent and stocky body stands in contrast to her quick movements and energetic attacks on the land. Zyrethmeregoth is ancient and learned, born when elves were still learning the ways of fire and tools. She dismisses modern cultures as historical curiosities sure to collapse at any moment, and relishes observing them slowly decaying and sliding into oblivion. Zyrethmeregoth’s goals are to complete a set of artistic treasures known as the dragonstones; shaped gems carved with symbols of Tiamat upon them. She is devoted to Tiamat, first of her kind, and puts Tiamat’s interests above her own. She has gone to great and dangerous lengths to obtain magical knowledge, becoming a masterful spellcaster. She has also prophesied that a corrupted planetar will fall to the earth like a meteor in the countryside. Zyrethmeregoth’s goal is to devour it and absorb its essence in glory to Tiamat.
2. Rogues Out To Steal Eight Draconic Treasures
Stealing from one dragon is a risky proposition, but stealing from eight dragons is all but impossible. Yet that’s the goal of this campaign idea. The players take up the roles of a party of rogues of every subclass, with the goal of obtaining the mystical ‘dragon orbs’ hidden away in eight dragon lairs that dot the countryside.
This is an extended treasure hunt and heist themed campaign; with each dragon and dragon’s lair being themed differently and posing different challenges along the way. Players must work together to scout out these lairs, learn of their defenses, research and gain the dragon’s secrets in order to even the playing field. Then, suitably prepared, they venture out to plunder the dragon’s lair of their mystical treasures. Whether or not they slay the dragon is up to them.
While the mystical ‘dragon orbs’ are just a macguffin to begin with, you can imbue them with as much or as little backstory as you like. Maybe when combined they hold the key to saving the world somehow (or destroying it). Together they may summon Bahamut, who grants the party a single wish. Whoever collects them all may be seen in the eyes of the multiverse as this world’s one true ruler. It’s all up to you and what your players desire most. You don’t have to have their eventual use figured out when you start the campaign, but it helps. It can be something you fill in the gaps of as you play. All that matters to start with is that they’re incredibly valuable and terribly important somehow (though scholars cannot determine exactly how).
Each dragon’s lair gives you an opportunity to explore different dungeon and adventure themes for your players to sneak about and explore; providing lots of opportunities for them to show off the many capabilities and skills that varied rogues possess. Some might be straight forward: an adult red dragon’s volcano lair, a young blue dragon’s abandoned palace lair half buried in a desert. Others can be much more unique: a fairy dragon’s miniature treasure grotto, only accessible if the PC’s venture into the Feywild and shrink themselves down to the size of pixies, or a brass dragon’s floating casino complex that caters to the land’s rich and powerful; where the dragon orb can only be won in a high stakes game of cards. The possibilities are vast for this kind of campaign.
3. You’re All Dragons
Slaying a dragon is one thing, playing a dragon is quite another. This campaign begins with the players taking up the role of young or adult dragons of various colors and types. Together they stand against a powerful demi-god who seeks to rid the world of dragonkind. Unfortunately for them, this demi-god uses an ancient ritual to strip them of their draconic might and power, reducing them to…3rd level adventurers.
In this form, the players’ dragon characters are mortal beings once more: elves, humans, tieflings, dragonborn, halflings, whatever the dragons most resembled in their life, or the form they would most often take when they shapeshifted. Each player character retains one tiny bit of their draconic aspects still left inside them: a breath weapon ability, a spell they used to know, extra senses or proficiencies, and other such abilities.
The biggest advantage they have over traditional adventurers is their knowledge of the realm. They’ve been alive and active for hundreds of years, and have a great number of contacts loyal to them. They can use this knowledge to their advantage as they quest to rise in strength and regain their lost power.
The campaign is about dragons reclaiming what was theirs, and playing haughty and emboldened characters now humbled by circumstance, having to live life as mortal humanoids do. Instead of relying on 5e’s traditional Ideal/Bond/Flaw system, the roleplaying becomes more about challenging the dragon characters’ previous notions about the world that they held while powerful. Being relatively powerless and experiencing the world with new eyes may give them new perspectives.
On top of that, the more the characters level up, the more draconic abilities and features they regain. To fully become dragons again, they must defeat their demi-god nemesis.