Can you play as a dragon in D&D?

Dragon rider

In Dungeons & Dragons, dragons are majestic and formidable creatures. Because of this, many aspiring adventurers ask their Dungeon Masters “can I play as a dragon?”. While the official rules of D&D don’t offer a direct way for players to play as dragons, there are creative ways to play as a dragon.

In this guide, we’ll explore the realm of imagination and suggest various homebrew options that can make your dreams of playing as a dragon a reality.

Can you be a dragon in Dungeons & Dragons?

No, the official rules do not provide a pathway for players to play as a dragon. There is no playable race for dragons or half-dragons, nor is there an official way to become a dragon. There are official ways to have a dragon pet in D&D, but not to play as one yourself.

Homebrew ways to play as a dragon

Homebrew content created by the D&D community offers several ways to play as a dragon. However, these aren’t part of the official D&D 5e rules.

Children of the Dragon

Dragons have always been a centrepiece of Dungeons & Dragons, and this homebrew was created for those wanting more dragon-related content in their campaigns.

Children of the Dragon includes revisions for existing races and subclasses, and a new half-dragon race that is more humanoid in appearance, while retaining the classic qualities of a dragon that make them so formidable.

Council of Wyrms

This was originally a boxed set published in 1994 for AD&D, which provided all the rules and material needed for staging adventures with dragon player characters. It allowed players to play dragons, half-dragons, and dragon servant characters.

This has been translated by fans into the modern game and is called Council of Wyrms 5E.

Adapt D&D 3.5e rules

Adapting D&D 3.5e rules can provide unique opportunities. In that edition, players could play as certain monsters from the Monster Manual, including dragons.

If this is something you’d like to do, ensure you get the approval of your Dungeon Master (DM) first. Your DM can help you to find an approach that fits within the campaign and preserves the enjoyment of your fellow adventurers.

Alternative options for playing as a dragon

Playing as a dragon can fundamentally alter the balance of the game. This is especially the case if you’re looking to play as a chromatic dragon or a metallic dragon.

Don't worry - there are lots of alternatives to playing as a dragon that keep a dragon theme central to your story, if playing as a Drakewarden Ranger isn't appealing.

Play a dragonborn character

The dragonborn race are people born of dragons. Shaped by draconic gods or the dragons themselves, they originally hatched from dragon eggs as a combination of dragons and humanoids.

Dragonborn look very much like dragons, and they often boast scales closely matching those of their dragon ancestor. There are also gem dragonborn, added in Fizban's Treasury of Dragons, who closely resemble gem dragons.

Can dragonborn become dragons?

No, according to official D&D 5e rules, dragonborn cannot become dragons. However, a Dungeon Master could introduce a storyline where this happens as part of character development or plot progression. It's up to the DM to decide if this fits within the campaign's narrative.

Use the spell Draconic Transformation

Draconic Transformation is a 7th-level spell available to Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards. It grants the ability to ‘draw on the magic of dragons to transform yourself, taking on draconic features’. This includes the benefits of Blindsight, a Breath Weapon that deals force damage, and wings which grant a flying speed.

Use Shapechange or True Polymorph

The use of True Polymorph or Shapechange could help you to become a dragon. Just be careful, because a use of Dispel Magic or unknowingly entering an Antimagic Field could reverse your transformation and turn you back into your true form.

Play a draconic touched character

Perhaps your character was a dragon in their previous life, or is convinced they were? Maybe they are a Cleric or are otherwise devoted to Tiamat or Bahamut? Perhaps their pursuit of knowledge leads them to gaining draconic traits or turning into a pseudodragon?

Character development is a powerful tool in D&D, enabling players to create and play unique characters. If you dream of playing a character that undergoes a remarkable transformation into a dragon, ask your Dungeon Master and see if you can incorporate this into the campaign.

Becoming a dragon in D&D is not common, and if your DM is nice enough to allow it, expect a significant challenge.

Play a homebrew adventure

In The White Dragons’ Hunt, the players are young white dragons tasked with retrieving a clutch of stolen dragon eggs. This thrilling adventure, published on D&D Beyond, can be completed in 2-3 hours by 3 or 4 players.

Can you Polymorph into a dragon in D&D 5e?

You cannot Polymorph into a dragon. This is because the Polymorph spell specifies that the target’s new form is a beast. Dragons are not classified as beasts in Dungeons & Dragons, thus, you can’t use Polymorph to transform yourself into a dragon.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to transform into a dragon!

The Wish spell could transform you into a dragon, but Wish is the mightiest spell a mortal can ever cast. Having a use of this spell is extremely rare and up to the DM’s discretion, so don’t rely on this as a means of becoming a dragon in D&D.

Can I Wild Shape into a dragon?

No, Wild Shape only applies to beasts. A dragon is not classified as a beast, and even if it did, there is a maximum CR (challenge rating) restriction for what you can Wild Shape into.

Can you permanently become a dragon in D&D?

There is no official way to become a dragon in D&D, but that doesn’t stop crafty adventurers from trying! This video explaining how to become an adult gold dragon might inspire those looking to permanently become a dragon.

If you’re still not convinced, consider what Gary Gygax wrote in OD&D:

“There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to play as virtually anything, provided they begin relatively weak and work up to the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as let us say, a "young" one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined by the campaign referee.”

With some imagination and collaboration with your Dungeon Master, you could embark on thrilling quests and character arcs that explore the essence of dragons, whether through draconic heritage, connections to dragon deities, or other magical ways.

Add a draconic touch to your dice collection

If you enjoyed our guide and would like to read more, check out our ‘Six signs that you are a dice dragon’.

Don’t forget to equip yourself with the perfect set of dragon-themed D&D dice! Our Dragon Eyeball Dice have a liquid core, with a draconic eyeball that swirls around, watching your every move. If you prefer metal dice, our Bronze Hollow Dragon Dice are highly rated, and make a satisfying jingle when rolled.

If you can’t decide what dice set to pick, why not give one of our mystery dice bags a try?

Pair your dice with our beautifully crafted dragon dice trays, and you’ll have the perfect sanctuary for your dice to land in.

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