Fizban’s Dragon Hoard Review: A PHB for Dungeon Masters

Fizban Dragon Treasure, the latest Dungeons & Dragons reference book, is a bit strange. It’s certainly not a full campaign, like Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. Nor is it a book about a specific environment, such as Eberron: emerging from the last war. And while you have some new options for building characters upfront, the included resources for player characters almost feel like an afterthought. Fizban Treasure it is something unique, a book specially created for Dungeon Masters.

In the center of Fizban Treasure is a section called Draconomicon, almost 80 pages of content dedicated to 20 different species of dragons. That includes gem dragons (amethyst, crystal, emerald, sapphire, and topaz) that have been absent from official D&D books for nearly 20 years. However, it is not a traditional bestiary, filled with stat blocks and story snippets. That comes later in the book. Instead, the Draconomicon is a kind of miniature Player Manual built for DM.

An image of a drakewarden subclass with their pet drake.

Photo: Charlie Hall / Polygon

Draconomicon’s riffs on the dark lord creation system first released on Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloftand then expanded with download only version Domains of delight. DMs choose a type of dragon, for example a bronze dragon, then, just as a player would when creating their character for the first time, DMs roll some dice to determine the dragon’s personality and ideal. Your bronze dragon can delight in sharing knowledge or be fascinated by intelligent magic weapons. You could be obsessed with accumulating knowledge or ensuring that all creatures have the right to self-determination. Little by little, a full non-player character (NPC) begins to take shape.

The lair of a crystal dragon

Photo: Charlie Hall / Polygon

From there, DMs can daydream about what that dragon’s lair would look like. Fizban Treasure is packed with gorgeous full-page Dyson Logos maps, each creating the ideal setting for each dragon’s preferred home. Other sections of the book detail exactly what a dragon’s lair and treasure mean, both narratively and mechanically, for each species of dragon. In no time, you have a compelling villain who can be dropped literally anywhere in the D&D multiverse, ready for players to face off. Or maybe your dragon isn’t a villain at all. Fizban Treasure It also provides guidance for setting up your dragon as an ally, local crime boss, warlord, or even a patron.

Fizban Treasure it also has some good things for the player characters. Drakewarden, a new subclass of rangers, is particularly exciting. Who doesn’t want to have their own dragon spirit that they can ride into battle? But more than any other reference book published in recent years by Wizards of the Coast, this book allows DMs to actively create their own character. The rest of the book supports that premise, with a ton of history and lots of interesting adventure hooks.

To me that means Fizban Treasure it has two main uses.

Many published campaigns drop players around level 8, maybe level 10. Next Critical Role: Call of the Abyssal Depths it’s an anomaly, players start at level 3. But even that book is expected to finish around level 12. Once a published campaign ends, it can be difficult for a DM to keep the story going. Many, including myself, choose to discard existing player characters and launch a new campaign at level 1. With Fizban TreasureInstead, DMs can go to the ground and create a new custom high-level dragon villain (or ally) to deal with those powerful characters. Using the source material from the last campaign, as well as all the story snippets in this book, crafty DMs should be able to spawn another five or more levels of play after just a few hours of work.

Alternatively, DMs could use Fizban Treasure as the seed of an adventure of his own creation. A worthwhile strategy would be to host a long night of character creation, using a zero-session brainstorming event to create solid concepts for the players’ characters first. Then, once all those conflicts and relationships are written in pencil, the DMs can go back to the Draconomicon to create the perfect villain or ally to help advance the story.

Fizban Dragon Treasure It is not a book that every D&D fan should have. Instead, it’s a book seasoned DMs can use to level up their existing games or create an exciting new world of their own. You can find it in local game stores and online starting October 26.

Fizban Dragon Treasure it was revised with a final commercial version provided by Wizards of the Coast. Vox Media has affiliate associations. These do not influence editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy here.

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