Play Your Next 5E D&D Game with a Primal Draconic New Playable Race

D&D Ideas -- Cortex Prime RPG
Meet the Tiefling Druid/Monk with Secrets and a Sweet Tooth in Those Bastards 5E D&D Live Play

Hey folks! The idea of a draconic playable race for Dungeons & Dragons has been favorite of mine since the days when Dragonlance introduced me to draconians (which we could not play). There were also weredragons, half dragons, and even a race of dragon centaurs my friends and I made. Comic books and science fiction also presented many concepts of the dragon man. Dragonborn finally codified this idea into a playable race for characters in fourth edition D&D and finally we had something in official rules to allow players to engage the fantasy of playing some sort of dragon. Two articles in Dragon #182 and #183 introduced young me to the concept of the primal, elemental, nasty linnorm, based not on the more fairy tale versions of dragons we see commonly in D&D but on the sorts of draconic beasts from Scandinavian tales. It is from these very different dragons I developed the wyrmkyne for 5E D&D.

5E D&D linnorm playable race Johan Egerkrans Norse Gods
Johan Egerkrans retells the most exciting and imaginative sagas of the Norse mythology from the creation myth in which the first giant Ymer is hacked to pieces by Odin and his brothers to the gods’ final destruction in Ragnarok. The linnorm seen here can be found in the book too. [Art by Johan Egerkrans]

5E D&D character option — new playable race


Wyrmkyne are presented as a playable race all their own, unrelated to the dragonborn. While inspired by the linnorm dragons they are not intended to be the translation of this dragon types you find with the dragonborn. Instead wyrmkyne are built around the themes and flavor of linnorms and present a more chaotic, primal race forging its own way in the world. Wyrmkyne present players with a great opportunity to play a truly self determined identity. They have no predetermined racial or social outlooks and are much more individually affected by the conditions of their upbringing. Characters of this race will fit in with any party and might very well consider their party their family.

Born of the Earth

Born in the dark places of the world — caves, deep forest hollows and black pools — they wriggle up from deep below where they are birthed from the very flesh of the World Serpent. Orphans from inception, they often grow up in isolation or in small bands when they can find others of their kind. On rare occasions a cluster of larval wyrmkyne called wyrmkinda may spawn in the same place where they grow as siblings, forming a rogue band of draconic humanoids. Occasionally fostering creatures or individuals take in wyrmkyne and shape their morals and identity during upbringing. Linnorms love to take in wyrmkinda and raise them to be minions.

The wyrmkyne originated within the flesh of the World Serpent. In some tales they are said to be maggots, festering in the wounds left by various heroes and other powerful beings who have wounded the World Serpent. Other, less pejorative tales tell how wyrmkyne are created when the scales of the great serpent slough off and become embedded in the world around which it coils. Whatever the case, wyrmkyne enter the world in the recesses of the world and have no direct parentage.

Self Identified

With no parents and often left to survive and mature on their own most wymkyne develop outlooks, personalities and identities of their own devising. Unhindered by conventional societal norms and impositions these dragonfolk are generally very individualistic coming to the conclusions of who they are through personal choice, observation of the world around them and ultimately what feels right to them. Because of this they are often confused by concepts such as gender, social status or artificial ideals of power and authority.

In some rare cases when wyrmkyne have grown up together, they may share some ideals and have formed a collective outlook on who and what they are. When raised by foster parents or masterful creatures, their identities are less a manifestation of their own choice than that of the de facto parents.

Creatures of Chaos

Seemingly spawning at random from the body of an unpredictable primordial entity it is no wonder wyrmkyne are encountered in a number of varieties. Though they all possess the same basic traits — bipedal, two arms, two legs and a lithe athletic form with long neck and serpentine tail — they vary widely cosmetically.  Scales, horns, fangs and teeth appear very differently from one wyrmkyne to the next. Some may have spines and others manes, beards and other hairy growth. The overall stature of individuals can very as well. Some standing sinewy and move in slithering ways while others appear thicker or top heavy with longer limbs and a more brutish cast.

Much of this is a manifestation of the individual wyrmkyne’s inherent abilities and gifts of its descent from the World Serpent. Some scholars have noted these gifts are similar in nature to those found in the linnorms who are, themselves, children of the World Serpent.

Ability Score Increase

Three ability scores of your choice increase by 1.


Wyrmkyne are long lived, maturing after 50 years and living lifespans as long as 250-300 years.


Inherently chaotic creatures with outlooks shaped by the uncertainty of their upbringing and their elemental, chaotic nature, most wyrmkyne tend toward chaotic alignments. The individual morality of wyrmkyne is shaped by the environment in which they mature. Those left to their own upbringing can be good, evil or neutral depending on their formative experiences while those who found fostering with benevolent surrogate parents will tend to be good and those who were taken in by evil, of course, being evil.


The bodies of wyrmkyne are long and serpentine with long necks, lanky torsos and slithering tails, While they may stand to heights of up to 8 feet, their overall framing makes them comparable to other humanoid species. Your size is Medium.


Your base walking speed is 30 feet.


Spawning in the shadowy places of the world and spending their earliest days hidden from the light of the sun you have developed the ability to see in darkness and shadow. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Natural Armor

You have tough, scaly skin. When you aren’t wearing armor, your AC is 13  + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield’s benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.

Blood of the World Serpent

You are made from the flesh of the primordial wyrm and through this lineage you have inherited abilities passed down through the ages to all its descendants. You may select one of the following abilities to reflect the gifts of your ancestry.

  • Long Limbed. Your limbs are long and allow you greater reach. When you make a melee attack on your turn, your reach for it is 5 feet greater than normal.
  • Fortitude of the Earth. You are imbued with the statue of the stones and mountains. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to roll a d12. Add your Constitution modifier to the number rolled, and reduce the damage by that total. After you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
  • Snicker Snack. When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you can roll one of the weapon’s damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit.
  • Withering Shriek. As an action, you give a menacing or disquieting shriek that frightens creatures of your choice within 10 feet of you if they fail a Wisdom save. The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. This effect lasts until the end of your next turn. After you use your breath weapon, you can’t use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
  • Wyrm Spit. When selecting this ability, choose from acid, poison or necrotic damage. As an action, you can spray foul fluids from glands in your mouth, targeting one creature or object you can see within 30 feet of you. The target takes 2d10 damage of the damage type you selected unless it succeeds on a Dexterity saving throw against a DC equal to 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. This damage increases by 1d10 when you reach 11th level (3d10) and 17th level (4d10). You can use this ability a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.
  • Linnorm’s Slumber. When you take a long rest, you do not truly ever sleep. Instead you hang between wakefulness and slumber, in the guarded sleep of your draconic kin. In this state, you appear to sleep, but it doesn’t render you unconscious, and you can see and hear as normal. You are immune to sleep effects.


You speak Draconic, Common, and one other language.

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Follow Eli Arndt:
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Eli Arndt grew up and resides in Washington state. After a chance encounter with Dungeons & Dragons at the age of 8, he has been a lifelong fan of role-playing games of all sorts. Deeply interested in history, anthropology, and archaeology, he enjoys creating grounded game worlds and he dabbles in writing adventures, building monsters and running far more game than he really should. He has also worked as a designer, sculptor and producer of miniatures and love to talk about little toy soldiers and crafting scenery. With a gaming family, he has a special interest in teaching the hobby to others and helping players and GMs grow and develop in the hobby.

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