Review of Races of the Dragon

Races of the Dragon
Design Team: Gwendolyn F. M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, and Kolja Raven Liquette
160 Pages
Published by Wizards of the Coast
Release Date: January 2006
$29.95, Suggested Retail Price

I have to say up front that I have always seen the connection between Kobolds and Dragons as a bit cheesy. The 3rd edition D&D connection of these two ends of the power spectrum was, undoubtably, intentional; after all, in 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons, it is possible to have a Kobold that is as powerful, if not more powerful, than a dragon. Still, if there’s one thing that bugs me about Races of the Dragon, it is the kobold connection.

Once you get kobolds out of the way, Races of the Dragon isn’t half bad. The two new races, Spellscales and Dragon-born, are intriguing. I like the space dvoted to the half-dragons, as well as the stuff for those descended from dragons. These things make for great flavor in a campaign, as well as great role-playing opportunities.

The feats in Races of the Dragon were decent, especially the draconic heritage feats. Also, characters having a breath weapon makes for interesting D&D. In terms of spells, though, I was disappointed. I felt like it was a bit of a cop-out to randomly throw in a bunch of “power word” spells. The prestige classes, however, made up for the weakness in spells.

Races of the Dragon includes an interesting, if odd and short, appendix on the dragon language. I think I’d like to either have seen this material interspersed throughout the book, or greatly expanded. Still, I can see some entertaining uses for what is there.

In terms of artwork, Races of the Dragon does an all right job. There is nothing that really stands out, either as being exceptionally good or exceptionally bad here. I guess I’d have to say that the artwork is actually better than the average supplement these days, but that may just be the content of the illustrations; dragons just make for good subjects. The maps by Mike Schley are excellent. I love the trend that WotC has been moving towards by including maps in just about every supplement.

Races of the Dragon is not for everyone. If you have a dragon fetish (and, let’s face it, most Dungeons and Dragons players do) you might pick it up. It’s not as strong as the Draconomicon or Dragon Magic, but Races of the Dragon does all right at most of what it does.

Except with Kobolds 🙂