View Full Version : Dragon Rider Prestige Class

2005-10-18, 08:04 PM
Having recently finished the book Eldest one of my players has contemplating the creation of a Dragon Rider prestige class similar to the ones in Eldest (Obviously altered a bit for my campaign world) and I was hoping someone could give me some constructive comments about this rough draft:

Dragon Rider's are what the great bards sing about in lays, epitomizing the highest virtues of power and good if they are good, leading and protecting nations. Evil Dragon Riders epitomize evil, often becoming the terror of many kingdoms and war between to groups of Dragon Riders have destroyed nations. Most Dragon Riders are multiclassed Bard/Fighters, Bard/Druids or Wizard/Druids but multiclassed Paladin/Wizards and Sorceror/Druids are not uncommon. The intimate connection between a dragon and his rider can only be partaken by two willing participants who are willing to give up a small part of their own individuality to work, live and fight as one.

Hit Die: d6.

To qualify to become a Dragon Rider, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Skills: Speak Language (Draconic), Ride 10 Ranks.
Feats: Weapon Focus (longsword), Combat Casting,
Special: Summon Famaliar class feature or *Obtain Famaliar Feat. Must have made peaceful contact with a dragon of your alignment or one who is of the same alignment on the Evil-Good Axis and who must be withing one step of the rider on the lawful-chaotic access as well"who will agree to participate in a ritual to bond with the rider and serve as it's mount.
Spells: Ability to cast 3rd-level arcane spells.
Class Skills
The Dragon Rider's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge [Any] (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform [Any] (Cha) Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Suvival (Wis).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: *Dragon Rider * * * * ** * * *
1st * * *+1,+2,+0,+2
Low Light Vision, Dragon's Bond * * * *

2nd * * *+2,+3,+0,+3 * * *
+1 Arcane Spellcasting Class * * * *

3rd * * *+3,+3,+1,+3
Draconic Grace (+2 Dex) * * * *

4th * * *+4,+4,+1,+4 * * *
+1 Arcane Spellcasting Class * * * *

5th * * *+5,+4,+1,+4
Physical Changes (+2 Str) * * * *

6th * * *+6,+5,+2,+5 * * *
+1 Arcane Spellcasting Class * * * *

7th * * *+7,+5,+2,+5 * * *
Heightened Senses, Deliver Touch Spells
* * * *
8th * * *+8,+6,+2,+6,
+1 Arcane Spellcasting Class * * * *

9th * * *+9,+6,+3,+6
Perfect Bond * * * *

10th * * *+10,+7,+3,+7 * * *
+1 Arcane Spellcasting Class * * *

Class Features
All of the following are Class Features of the arcane trickster prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Dragon Riders are proficient all martial weapons and with light armor and shields

Spells per Day: At every other level Dragon Rider gained starting at 2nd, the character gains new spells per day (And spells known, if applicable) as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained, except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming an arcane trickster, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

Low Light Vision: Immidiately upon completion of the ritual joining the Rider with his new Partner he immidiately begins to feel the effects of the new bond they share granting him Low Light Vision.

Dragon's Bond: Due to the highly magical and intimate nature of the bond a Dragon Rider has with his mount he may not have a famaliar while still joined to a Dragon. Any Famaliar they previously possesed
is no longer bound to the Dragon Rider but he takes none of the experience loss normally associated with the loss of a famaliar. The Rider and Mount now share an empathic link that functions at a distance of up to one mile.

Draconic grace: At level 3 a Dragon Rider continues to feel the influence of the powers of the Dragon he is bonded to and finds that he is now more lithe than ever, bestowing a permanent +2 to his dexterity score.

Heightened Senses: A Dragon Rider's transformation continues as he bonds more and more closely with the dragon causing his senses to become more alert. The Rider Immidiately gains 4 ranks in the Spot and Listen skills if he doesn't have any ranks in those skills previously.

Physical Changes: As the bond between the Dragon Rider and his mount strengthens they both began to assert the others nature on the other in more obvious ways. A Rider strength increases by 2 points as his physical body toughens and the Dragon Mount gains +2 Wisdom from the experiences the Dragon and his Rider now share over the link. The Rider and Dragon may communicate via telepathy at a distance of up to 100ft in a common language, assuming they have one. For the purposes of spells and abilities such as Teleport if either the rider or mount has been to a location the other is also considered to have been there as well.

Deliver Touch Spells: A Dragon Mount may deliver touch spells for it's rider assuming they are no more than 100 feet apart.

Perfect Bond: The Dragon Rider and his Mount's bond has now reached it's fullest possible connection. The Rider and his Mount often speak for each other and can predicate the others actions without need for verbal or telepathic communication. As a free action that provokes an attack of oppurtunity a Dragon Rider may call his mount to him if it is within 500 feet of his current location, is willing, and is able. He may immidiately mount his dragon that turn if the mount can reach the Rider that round. He may now take 10 on all Ride checks concerning his dragon mount. If the Dragon and his mount are of differing alignment on the Law-Chaos axis both immidiately gain the same alignment of whichever has the higher Charisma score. Former Paladins whose alignment would no longer be of Lawful alignment do not lose paladin abilities as they normally would but may never again take a level of Paladin. Additionally should the either the Rider or the mount perish the remaining living member of the bond takes 2 wisdom damage and 2 constitution damage that can not be restored by any means except by a wish or miracle spell and the rider returns to his orginal alignment if applicable. Rider's who loose their trusted partners often go mad with grief, withdrawing into themselves and losing the will to participate in the exploits they once did.

Hit Die: d6
Darkvision: The Epic Dragon Rider gains Darkvision out to a distance of 60 feet at 21st level.
Bonus Feats: The epic barbarian gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic dragon rider bonus feats) every three levels starting at 22nd.
Spellcasting: The epic dragon rider gains an additional caster level in an arcane spellcasting class he previously had every other level, starting at 22nd level.
Epic Dragon Rider Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Combat Archery, Damage Reduction, Dire Charge, Energy Resistance, Epic Endurance, Epic Fortitude, Epic Leadership, Epic Prowess, Epic Toughness, Epic Will, Extend Lifespan, Fast Healing, Legendary Commander, Legendary Rider, Legendary Tracker, Perfect Health, Spell Stowaway, and Superior Initiative

Epic Dragon Rider
Level * * *Special ** * * *
21st * * *Darkvision * * * *
22nd * * *+1 Arcane Spellcasting Class, Bonus Feat * * * *
23rd * * * * * * *
24th * * *+1 Arcane Spellcasting Class * * * *
25th * * *Bonus Feat * * * *
26th * * *+1 Arcane Spellcasting Class * * * *
27th * * * * * * *
28th * * *+1 Arcane Spellcasting Class ** * * *
29th * * *Bonus Feat * * * *
30th * * *+1 Arcane Spellcasting Class * * *

2005-10-18, 08:41 PM
try looking to pages 124 and 125 of the (ug) 40$ book Draconomicon thing is its only a five step class, not a ten

2005-10-19, 12:27 AM
A few things jump out at me:
-This class seems geared toward the odd in-between-land of "some combat abilities, some magic abilities, not the best at either." As such, I find it hard to judge how powerful it is overall. It doesn't seem bad, though.

-I like the thematic elements.

-The prerequisites are...odd:

Base Attack Bonus: +4
Skills: Knowledge (Arcana) 13 ranks, Ride 10 Ranks.
Feats: Weapon Focus (longsword), Combat Casting,
1. Why a longsword, specifically?
2. Leadership feat, maybe?
3. Speak Language: Draconic, maybe?
4. No base class has both K:A and Ride as class skills. Thus, a character would have to be at least 13th level in order to have the skill points to begin in this prestige class. Now, granted, a dragon is an extremely powerful mount (keep in mind that for a Medium character, the mount should be at least Large, and a Large dragon is already getting pretty formidable), so 13th level minimum might not be out of line. However, I think most 10-level prestige classes let you start by level 10 (so that you can complete the prestige class without going epic).
4b. As an extension to the above, the BAB requirement is unnecessary--it is completely eclipsed by the skill requirement. (In order to get just the 13 ranks of K:A, a wizard would have to be level 10, and even with the worst BAB progression he's already at +5.)

Probably a good thing to do would be to think about at what level/combination you want this class to be available, and figure out what the BAB and max skill ranks would be. Do you want a Ftr 5/Wiz 5 to be able to take their next level in dragon rider? What about a Bard 15? Wiz 10/Drd 3? Bard 6/Drd 9? (None of these combinations can satisfy the prereqs as written, btw.)
Of course, if this is just a one-time use for this player, you don't really have to worry about formal prereqs--just say "yeah, you can start taking this class at level N" or whatnot.

-Also, as RandomNPC pointed out, there is already a prestige class called the Dragonrider listed in the Draconomicon. It's not very much like this one--it's much more combat-oriented and only five levels instead of ten--but still, you might want to consider tweaking the name to distinguish the two.

2005-10-19, 09:14 AM
. . . Now, granted, a dragon is an extremely powerful mount (keep in mind that for a Medium character, the mount should be at least Large, and a Large dragon is already getting pretty formidable) . . .
I tried doing the same thing quite a while back and ran into this exact problem. The rider was just simply overshadowed by his dragon mount. The PrC was an awe-inspiring concept but I found it far to difficult to balance mechanically.
It seems like you may run into this very same problem. Most players I game with would go this route for the combat aspect of it instead of just simply having a pimpin' ride. If the Dragon Rider gets into aerial combat he would probably just be more of a bystander than anything else.
I really like the bonding aspects of your PrC but I would suggest some aerial combat oriented abilities as well. Maybe longspear instead of longsword for fighting while mounted on such a large creature? Can't come up with anything more specific than that (same creative block I had before).

2005-10-19, 10:16 AM
Oh, I happen to have the perfect solution for this "mount is too powerful for him" problem. He first has to complete the five level "Dragon Runner" (http://elfwood.lysator.liu.se/art/a/n/andersson/dragonrunner.jpg.html) prestige class!

2005-10-19, 11:52 AM
First, I would just like to say that tears of laughter came to my eyes when I saw that picture. On to a more serious thoughts...

I am thinking that in 90% of cases that the Dragon Rider's mount will be large, not due to any strange restrictions, but because most of the elder dragons in my campaign setting got mopped up a few hundred years ago in the Dragon Lord's War. Only one player wants to be a Dragon Rider now but my group seems to take things in waves. One will play a certain character and the moment one of the others characters dies or we move on to another character set one of them will inevitably want to play a character unusually similar to one from the previous campaign Player A did. Thus, it is important to me that we have some solid prerequisites.

I am going to make the following changes: Remove the +4 BAB requirement and The Knowledge Arcana ranks then add Speak Language (Draconic) to the requirement list. Also, added Perform [ANY] To Class skills.

I'm going to leave the Combat Casting and the Weapon Focus (Longsword) requirement because that has more to do with the style of training to be received from his rider mentor and the order of riders in general than any mechanical issue.

Also, by my calculations a Bard 9 who put ranks in ride despite being a not class who takes one level of Ranger/Fighter/Druid as there tenth level class could get enough ranks to become a Dragon Rider. Though, I am removing the Knowledge (Arcana) as I said because you're right, bad mechanically. That was more there for flavor than anything so they have enough magical knowledge to complete a ritual but 3rd CL can handle that just fine.

Finally, thoughts on the Epic Progression? I think it is a bit weak and I might make the Bonus Feats more frequent and add some bard feats to the list.