I don’t like Dragonborn – primarily because I have been running my campaign world since the 80’s and still haven’t even actually included gnomes in it… so making room for the “new” races of D&D feels a bit problematic to the themes of my games.
He proposes that the Dragonborn are not so much born as the end of a transformative process that some sinners manifest. That the very foulness of their inner being becomes manifest in their form, leading to their transition from their native race to that of the dragonborn. This links in well with any mythos where dragons are representative of mighty emotions and deadly sins.
He presents two awesome dragonborn on his blog, and here I add Durrek the Elder.
Durrek was once a great sage, and is still a source of much information if you can pry it from him. However he harbours no goodwill towards humanity and it’s allies. After years of living in his home collecting information, books and scrolls his hoard of written knowledge became greater than the hoard of coins kept by some of the mightiest dragons. But he was content to sit on this hoard, surrounded by old scrolls and ancient books that slowly fell apart around him, eaten by insects and humidity and his lack of concern except to collect more. When his housekeeper died, he hardly took notice except to hire a runner to bring him food from the market… and then later from the tavern when he couldn’t be bothered to cook for himself.
It was when the book beetles and cockroaches became a problem for his neighbours that the people finally discovered what had become of Durrek – living in a massive nest of paper and filth, he had descended into the form of the dragonborn. In the end it was only because none would sell nor deliver him food that he was forced from the city to where he lives now, despondent and ever lazy, dribbling out minor bits of information and lore to desperate students in exchange for them taking care of his ancient scaled form.