Hello there adventurers! Today we will be creating a Dragonborn Drakewarden Ranger character for 5E Dungeons &:amp; Dragons using Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons. A Drakewarden Ranger has a connection to the natural world that allows them to manifest a drake as a traveling companion. This four legged draconic pet will begin as size small and will grow in size and power along with the level progression of the ranger.
The ranger’s drake can take on different appearances, immunities, and breath weapons each time it is summoned. In today’s build we will focus on action economy, since the drake will demand to be guided in combat via our bonus action, and we will have a subtheme with resistances.
I highly recommend watching the video as it will provide an indepth guide to build this character from level 1 through level 11 and explain all of the choices along the way. Of course, if you would just like a quick glance at the options I found important when creating a Drakewarden Ranger, you can find a general summary below of what the character would look like at level 11.
D&D Drakewarden Ranger 5E Build
I have decided to have a resistance subtheme to this character build plus I wanted to try out the new Dragonborn race options from Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons, so I have selected the Topaz Dragonborn. This race will give us resistance to necrotic damage and a 15 foot cone breath weapon that deals 1d10 necrotic damage (2d10 at 5th level).
As a Gem Dragon we also get a telepathic ability and at 5th level we can fly or hover for one minute. The flying will be perfect for our Ranger who will focus on archery and their drake as their primary attack.
Ability Scores and Skills
I wanted to have a strong Dexterity for the long bow attack bonus and armor class and a high Constitution for hit points and our concentration spells so I assigned a 15 to each with the Point Buy system. I put the +2 bonus into DEX and the +1 bonus into CON putting them at a 17 and 16 respectively. Constitution is also a part of our breath weapon save DC.
As a ranger, wisdom is the prime requisite for our spells and save DCs, although this will rarely be a factor. However, a few of our skills use wisdom, so I set this at 14. Strength at 10, Intelligence at 8 and Charisma at 8 will round out our scores. I will play this character as a bit selfish and stand-offish. He will not be the friendliest and a bit grumpy, but when it comes to his pet drake, this is when you will see a different side of him.
The background gives us proficiency in Acrobatics and Insight. Both Wisdom based. As a ranger, I picked Animal Handling, Perception, and Survival. Have I mentioned that I absolutely despise the fact that Nature is an Intelligence based skill? Ugh. Yep. So with our -1 modifier, I decided to opt out of selecting Nature in favor of Survival.
With our optional Ranger ability “Deft Explorer” we can pick up a few languages and gain expertise in Perception.
Absorb Elements: This spell is one of the reasons I decided not to choose a Red Dragonborn (fire) as my race. I always have resistance to necrotic damage being Topaz and now with this spell, I can choose fire, cold, lightning, thunder or acid and have a few seconds of resistance from those elements as a reaction.
Goodberry: A day’s worth of nourishment and healing. A Ranger’s go-to healing spell.
Entangle: A twenty foot cube and ensnare a handful of enemies and place difficult terrain onto the battlefield. If they fail their Strength Saving throw against our spell save DC, then they become restrained. The restrained condition applies a 0 movement speed, disadvantage on their attacks, and advantage on attacks against them. With this in mind, the Entangle spell will help us get out of melee combat with a decreased risk of being hit by an opportunity attack and help our team in combat. Especially our draconic companion.
Summon Beast: This second level spell will be our combat bread-n-butter. We will almost always choose “Land” for the small, spirit beast’s type so that we can take advantage of Pack Tactics. Refer to the Combat section below for more details.
Darkvision: Dragonborn do not have darkvision, but our Drake does. A 2nd level spell slot will give us this ability for 8 hours without concentration. We could potentially replace this spell in the future should we decide to take the Eldritch Adept feat or find a pair of goggles of night. But until then, this is fantastic utility.
Silence: Nearly all spells require a verbal component. With our action we can cast our 20 foot sphere of silence and shut down enemy spell casters in the area or prevent all thunder damage. If our drake is within the sphere, no worries at all. As a Gem Dragonborn we have the Psionic Mind ability that gives us telepathy with any creature we can see within 30 feet of us (no action required). Telepathy will ensure that we can still command our Drake in combat even if they are in the sphere’s silence. This spell requires our concentration, so our summoned beast will not be joining us. It’s just us and our Drake for this one.
Pass Without Trace: An hour of sneakiness that gives our entire party (and our drake) a +10 to Stealth checks. A great party resource.
In Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (page 57), we can choose the optional Ranger ability of Primal Awareness. This will give us access to additional spells as we reach certain levels. By the time we reach level 11, we will have Speak with Animals, Beast Sense and Speak with Plants added to our knows spells. I’m cool with this.
No 3rd Level Spells?
You may also notice that I decided NOT to add 3rd level spells at this time (11th level Ranger). I find the utility of our other spells valuable enough to forgo the selection of a third level spell. In a game, I would use the 3rd level spell slots to upcast Summon Beast and leave the second level spell slots for our other second level spells. Also, it is important to remember that if we need to resummon our drake, it may cost us a first level (or higher) spell slot.
Combat situations. Ideally, our combat is fairly straight forward. We will be using our longbow for ranged attacks and our drake for melee combat. The drake provides a body between the enemy and ourselves but could also serve well as an ally to a nearby rogue for sneak attack. With this in mind, it will primarily be bonus action to command the drake and action to shoot arrows.
Building this Ranger, I turned to Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (page 56), to obtain another optional rule, Favored Foe. Favored Foe allows us to add an extra die of damage to an attack and we can use this a number of times per day equal to our proficiency bonus. I recommend using this ability in smaller combat encounters (because it does require concentration), because in larger battles we will need to be using our spells for better tactical measures.
With our drake on the battlefield, we can use their reaction to add a 1d6 of their damage type as determined by their Draconic Essence. This ability is called Infused Strike. For example, if we are within 30 feet of our green/poisonous drake and use our action to attack and hit a target with an arrow, we can add an additional 1d6 of poison damage to the hit by using our drake’s reaction. Should we decide to cast a spell with our action rather than shoot an arrow, we could alternatively apply the Infused Strike ability to one of our allies damage rolls as long as they are within sight and 30 feet of the drake.
In larger battles, I would recommend using our first action in combat to cast the Summon Beast second level spell and of course our bonus action to move the drake into melee combat and use its bite attack. When we cast this spell, we will want to choose the Land option so we get a small beast that has Pack Tactics. This gives the beast advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the beast’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated. This ally, of course, will be our Drake companion.
With our beast and drake taking up melee combat, we can keep concentration on our summon beast spell, shoot arrows (two attacks at 5th level), infuse one of our damage rolls with the reaction of the drake, and add a 1d4 for our Favored Foe Ranger ability.
In battles versus spell casters we will want to use our first action for casting Silence and then move our drake into melee range.
As a reminder, both the beast and the drake take their turn immediately after us so we will want to move our Drake into position first and use the Bite attack. Then, move the Beast into place giving it advantage with Pack Tactics.
Our drake companion is an ability we obtain at third level when we become a Drakewarden Ranger. Once summoned our drake stays with us until we die, it dies, or until we resummon the drake. When we summon our companion it triggers the Draconic Essence ability. We choose either acid, cold, fire, lightning, or poison and our drake will arrive with immunity to the chosen type. The Draconic Essence will also serve as the damage type for their reaction ability, Infused Strike. The appearance of our drake is up to us to imagine when it is summoned and color or traits are not tied into the Draconic Essence.
When we reach level 7, our drake will become Medium sized, we can ride it as a mount on the ground, and it adds an additional 1d6 to its bite attack (2d6 total). If not being ridden as a mount, it also gains the ability to fly. At this level we also get resistance to the damage type we choose for the Draconic Essence. For example, as a Topaz Dragonborn Ranger summoning a Poison drake at 7th level, we will now have Necrotic resistance (Topaz Dragonborn), Poison Resistance (from our Drake) and an Absorb Elements should another type of resistance be needed.
In combat, there may be times we need to resummon our drake, even if it is not dead. This requires an action to expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher. This tactic will prove fruitful if we need to change our resistance during combat. For example, unsummoning our Poison drake and replace its Draconic Essence with Fire so that we can gain Fire Resistance. Other than swapping resistances, we may also want to resummon our drake should it be out of range, effected by a spell, grappled, or restrained.
So, that’s it for my Level 11 Drakewarden Ranger. I hope you enjoy this character build! Leave a comment and let me know how you would build this character or what you would have done differently.
Oh, and here is the full PDF character sheet for our Level 11 Drakewarden Ranger Character Build if you want to take a look!
Level 11 Drakewarden Ranger
On to the next!