Dragons are not the only creatures that are capable of using the power of the Thu’um, a powerful type of magic sometimes referred to as the Voice. By using draconic words, a wielder of the Thu’um can create powerful magical effects and even reshape the world itself. It is rare for mortals to understand how to use their voice in such a way, but Tamriel is no stranger to those who have unlocked this magic.
Perhaps this power comes to a character innately—such as a dragonborn—a mortal that has been blessed with the blood and soul of a dragon. Or they have studied the Voice and mastered its power through practice and discipline. Maybe they have been granted a boon by Akatosh himself, either as a reward for their heroic efforts or as a gift to aid themselves in an aligned goal.
However you have unlocked this power is your story to tell. Learning dragon shouts can be used as an alternate reward to conventional treasure and can be awarded as a supernatural gift through heroic deeds or thoughtful discovery.
Using Dragon Shouts
Gaining the ability to use dragon shouts can be considerably powerful for a character. Many dragon shouts can be used as a weapon to rend your foes, or as a tool to overcome challenges, but they require discipline and focus to use effectively. Two rules options are detailed below, depending on how dragon shouts will be used in your game. Regardless of how the dragon shouts will be used, there are some guidelines for using dragon shouts
Dragon Shouts. The Thu’um is a form of magic that uses words of power from the draconic language to form powerful spells. While the effects of a dragon shout are considered spells, they break some of rules of spellcasting.
- You do not need to know the spellcasting feature, or another trait that allows you to cast spells, to use dragon shouts.
- You require the ability to speak to be able to use a dragon shout.
- You do not require to use somatic or material components to cast spells as a dragon shout.
- Dragon shouts that are used to cast spells are only able to cast the spell at the base level.
- Dragon shouts that create spells or effects that have a duration longer than instantaneous do not require concentration to maintain. However, any effects immediately end if you are incapacitated.
Some dragon shouts require the target to make a saving throw to resist its effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:
- Dragon Shout save DC= 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Endurance modifier
Simple Rules for Dragon Shouts
If dragon shouts are rewarded sparingly, having complex rules becomes unnecessarily confusing and cumbersome. Perhaps a single shout is taught to a character by a benevolent dragon, or Akatosh gives out an epic boon to each character for saving Tamriel. For games that can get by with a simple structure, consider using these simple rules:
- Once you use a shout, you are unable to use it again until you finish a long rest.
- If you know multiple shouts, once you use a shout, you are unable to use another shout for one minute.
Complex Rules for Dragon Shouts
If your game uses dragon shouts as a common reward, having rules that are properly fleshed out will help keep things in order and balanced. Maybe your story is focused on dragons and their language, or one of the characters is a dragonborn. In these instances, considering uses the following complex rules:
Shout Points. The first time you learn how to use a dragon shout, you gain an amount of shout points dependent on your character level. See the Shout Points column in the Complex Dragon Shouts table. To use a dragon shout, you must expend an amount of shout points equal to its Power Level, which is listed in the shout description.
You regain all expended shout points when you finish a long rest.
Power Level. Each dragon shout has a corresponding power level. The maximum power level of a shout you can use is determined by your character’s level. As you gain character levels, you are able to use more powerful dragon shouts, as shown in the Maximum Power Level column of the Complex Dragon Shouts table.
Recharge. Dragon shouts takes a considerable amount of mental and physical energy to use, requiring some recovery time before they can be used again. The more powerful the shout, the longer it takes to recover from its use.
Complex Dragon Shouts
|Character Level||Shout Points||Maximum Power Level|
Once a dragon shout is used, the same shout can’t be used again until the recovery time has passed, which is determined by the shout’s power level, as shown in the Dragon Shout Recovery table.
Dragon Shout Recovery
|Power Level||Recovery Time|
For additional ideas, including learning individual words of power rather than full phrases, consider using additional rules for the Thu’um as outlined in the Tamriel Adventurer’s Guide by Meri W or Dragon Shouts created by Weirdo Whoever using Homebrewery.
Dragon shouts are listed alphabetically
Raan Mir Tah: Power Level 3
Your shout summons the beasts of the wild. As an action, you conjure fey spirits that take on the form of beasts, as though you had cast the conjure animals spell.
Laas Yah Nir: Power Level 1
You use an action to whisper a short phrase, revealing all life forces to yourself. Any living creature within 30 feet of you is outlined in light that only you can see, preventing creatures from being invisible to you. This light can be seen through most barriers, but it is blocked by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin layer of lead, or 5 feet of wood or dirt.
Feim Zii Gron: Power Level 4
As an action, you speak to the void, changing your form. Until the end of your next turn, you gain the effects as though you had cast the etherealness spell and you are immune to all damage except psychic.
Mid Vur Shaan: Power Level 3
Your voice enchants your allies’ weapons, allowing them to make a quick attack. As a bonus action, any creature of your choice that is within 30 feet of you can immediately use their reaction to make a weapon attack.
Call of Valor
Hun Kaal Zoor: Power Level 2
As an action, your voice summons a valiant warrior of ages past that journeys beyond space and time to aid you. The spirit appears in an unoccupied space that you can see within 60 feet of you. The spirit is considered celestial and it disappears after 1 minute, when it drops to 0 hit points, or if you become unconscious.
The summoned spirit is friendly to you and your companions. Roll initiative for the spirit, which has its own turns. It obeys any verbal commands that you issue it (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to the spirit, it defends itself from hostile creature but otherwise takes no actions. See this creature’s game statistics in the Valiant Warrior stat block.
Lok Vah Koor: Power Level 4
As an action, you shout out as Nirn itself yields to you. You dispel any natural or magical inclement weather that you can see within 1 mile, forcing only clear skies to remain. Clouds of fog, mist, or other natural or magical weather effects also end.
Ven Gar Nos: Power Level 3
As an action, you create a whirling 5-foot radius cyclone that appears in a location within 60 feet of you that you can see. When the cyclone appears, each creature within 5 feet of it must make a Strength saving throw, taking 4d8 bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful save. A creature takes the same damage when it comes within 5 feet of the cyclone for the first time on a turn or ends its turn there.
As a bonus action, you can move the cyclone up to 30 feet in any direction. The cyclone heavily obscures its area and sucks up any small materials, such as loose rocks, sand, or coins, within a 10-foot radius of it. The cyclone ends after one minute or if you are incapacitated.
Zun Haal Viik: Power Level 2
As an action, you use your voice to create a shout that defies matter. One creature of your choice that you can see within 30 feet of you must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is unable to keep a grip on any object it is holding in its hands and the object is thrown back 15 feet. On a successful save, the creature continues to hold on to the objects in their hands, but they have disadvantage on any rolls made using the object, such as weapon attacks, until the end of their next turn.
Faas Ru Maar: Power Level 1
You speak a force of terror. As an action, you use your voice to frighten a creature as though you had cast the fear spell.
Mul Qah Diiv: Power Level 5
As a bonus action, you take on the mighty aspect of a dragon for 1 minute. You gain mystical dragon hide armor and your AC can’t be less than 20. Additionally, each of your weapon attacks gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls.
Joor Zah Frul: Power Level 4
Your voice lashes out at a dragon’s very soul, forcing the beast to land. As an action, you shout at a dragon that you can see within 500 feet of you. The dragon’s flying speed is reduced to 0 and it is stunned until the start of your next turn. If the dragon is currently flying, it falls to the ground. At the end of each of the dragons turns, it must make an Endurance saving throw. After failing three of these saving throws, it's flying speed is reduced to 0 for the next minute, After succeeding on three of the saving throws, the dragon recovers and the effect ends.
Su Grah Dun: Power Level 5
As a bonus action, you imbue yourself with the speed of the wind. For the next minute, you can make one additional attack whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
Yol Toor Shul: Power Level 3
As an action, you exhale an inferno of fire in a 15- foot cone. Each creature in that cone must make an Agility saving throw, taking 6d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one.
Fo Krah Diin: Power Level 3
As an action, you exhale a breath of winter in a 15- foot cone. Each creature in that cone must make an Agility saving throw, taking 4d8 cold damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one.
Iiz Sien Nus: Power Level 4
As an action, one creature of your choice that you can see within 90 feet of you must succeed on an Endurance saving throw or take 4d8 cold damage and be encased in a shell of ice. The encased creature is immobilized and can't speak, hear, move, or take any actions. The creature takes this damage again at the start of its turn while encased. The creature restrained by this spell must make another Endurance saving throw at the end of each of their turns to try and break free. If it successfully saves against this effect three times, the effect ends. If it fails its save three times, the frost hardens and the creature is subjected to the petrified condition. The successes and failures don’t need to be consecutive; keep track of both until the target collects three of a kind.
While the effect is active, the frost shell has an AC of 10 and has 30 hit points. When the frost shell reaches 0 hit points, the shell breaks, ending the effect. A dispel magic spell can also end the effects.
Kaan Drem Ov: Power Level 2
As an action, you speak to a group of animals to soothe them. Each beast that is within 60 feet of you and can hear you must make a Personality saving throw; a creature can choose to fail this saving throw if it wishes. If the creature fails the saving throw, any effect causing the target to be charmed or frightened ends, and the target becomes indifferent about any creatures of your choice that it is hostile toward. This indifference ends if the target is attacked or harmed by a spell or if it witnesses any of its allies being harmed. The creature becomes hostile again after 1 minute, unless the GM rules otherwise.
Marked for Death
Krii Lun Aus: Power Level 1
Your voice heralds doom to an opponent. As a bonus action, you mark a creature as though you cast the hunter’s mark spell.
Bex: Power Level 1
As an action, you speak a single word and open an object as though you cast the knock spell.
Fiik Lo Sah: Power Level 2
As an action, call forth ethereal forms as though you cast the mirror image spell.
Return to Nirn
Nahl Daal Vus: Power Level 5
As an action, you instantly teleport up to 8 willing creatures that can hear you and are within 10 feet of you to a location on Nirn. The destination you choose must be a location you have seen before, and it must be somewhere on Nirn. If you use this shout and you are already on the plane of Nirn, the effect fails.
Tiid Klo Ul: Power Level 3
As an action, you shout at time itself, slowing it down for those around you as though you had cast the slow spell.
Fo Krah Diin: Power Level 4
As an action, you exhale a 60-foot line of lightning that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make an Agility saving throw, taking 5d10 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one.
Strun Bah Qo: Power Level 3
As an action, you shout to the skies, awakening the destructive force of Nirn. You summons a storm as though you had cast the call lightning spell at 3rd level.
Zul Mey Gut: Power Level 1
When you speak this phrase, you choose a point you can see within 100 feet of you. The sound of your voice originates from that point. Creatures that can hear the voice must succeed on an Intelligence saving throw or be fooled and confused by the voice. A fooled creature will spend its action trying to seek out the voice.
Fus Ro Dah: Power Level 2
As an action, you exhale a blast of force in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in that cone must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 4d6 force damage, is knocked back 20 feet, and falls prone. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage, isn’t knocked back, and remains standing.
Wuld Nah Kest: Power Level 1
The Thu’um rushes you forward, carrying you in its wake with the speed of a tempest. As a bonus action you can take the Dash action. Any opportunity attacks made against you have disadvantage until the end of your turn.