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BinaryMage
2011-07-12, 11:26 PM
This is my first formal attempt at homebrew. All constructive criticism is very much appreciated. This is a type of character I've always wanted to play, and I wanted to see what I envisioned in game statistics, so here goes:

Dragon-Mounted Mage [3.5e PrC]

Creatures of enormous fame in many lands, dragons are a wide and varying species, and their interactions with the common races diverse. Spellcasters in particular are often drawn to researching dragons and in many cases cooperating with them to achieve their goals. Usually the relationship between a mage and a dragon is one of strictly business, with both parties working together to achieve individual goals. However, very rarely, a spellcaster will encounter a dragon that they begin to consider a friend and an equal, and the dragon will feel likewise about the spellcaster. If both parties choose to, the mage and dragon can perform a complex and difficult ritual that, if successful, will create a magical bond between the dragon and the mage. This origins of this ritual are shrouded in mystery, and many who attempt it fail or lose heart. Even for those who manage to complete the ritual, few last long in their partnership with a dragon. Dragons are an ancient and timeless species, and they have different perspectives and ideals than the common races, which can make relationships between the former and the latter fraught with problems and differences of opinion, eventually leading to estrangement and destruction of the bond. For the very few dragons and mages that do make it past the initial hardships, however, they are rewarded with the power and enlightenment granted by a bond as old as time itself.

Requirements
To qualify to become a dragon-mounted mage, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Spellcasting: Capable of spontaneously casting 5th level arcane spells.
Skills: Ride 4 ranks
Feats: Mounted Combat, Resist Dragonfear
Special: Must attract a dragon companion:
Attracting a Companion: In order to create a bond between dragon and rider, a dragon and mage must first mutually consent to attempt the ritual necessary to create the bond between them. Due to the nature of this bond, neither dragon or rider may have had a previous bond of the same sort. In addition, the dragon must fulfill several requirements:

Be able to carry the mage (at least one size category larger)
Be of the same alignment as the rider
Be of at minimum very young age
The dragon's ECL - 3 must be less than or equal to the mage's ECL

If all of these requirements are met, the mage and dragon may undertake in the ritual. As a part of the process, the mage must permanently burn five thousand experience points as some of his or her life-force is necessary to create the bond. The dragon must also sacrifice some of its life-force, though that has no statistical effects. After both parties have contributed, the mage must make a Spellcraft check, with an additional bonus equal to his or her Charisma modifier. The mage may not take 10 or 20 on this check. If the check result, with the stated bonus, is equal to or greater than 30, the ritual is successfully completed, although the mage and the dragon must wait twenty four hours for the magic to take effect. If the check result is less than 30, the ritual failed. Experience points are not recovered, and the ritual may not be again attempted for a month.


Class Skills
A dragon-mounted mage's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Knowledge (all, taken individually) (Int), Spellcraft (Int), and Ride (Dex)
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier

Dragon-Mounted Mage

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spells

1st|
+0|
+0|
+0|
+2|Dragon Companion, Mounted Spellcasting|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

2nd|
+1|
+0|
+0|
+3| |+1 level of existing spellcasting class

3rd|
+1|
+1|
+1|
+3|Energy Augmentation (+1)|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

4th|
+2|
+1|
+1|
+4|Dragon Feat|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

5th|
+2|
+1|
+1|
+4| |+1 level of existing spellcasting class

6th|
+3|
+2|
+2|
+5|Energy Augmentation (+2)|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

7th|
+3|
+2|
+2|
+5| |+1 level of existing spellcasting class

8th|
+4|
+2|
+2|
+6|Dragon Feat|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

9th|
+4|
+3|
+3|
+6| |+1 level of existing spellcasting class

10th|
+5|
+3|
+3|
+7|Unification|+1 level of existing spellcasting class [/table]

Class Features (Hit Die: d4)
The following are class features for the dragon-mounted mage prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Dragon-mounted mages gain no new weapon or armor proficiencies.
Dragon Companion:

After the ritual described above been successfully completed, the dragon gains certain benefits as listed below:

{table=head]Prestige Class Level|Bonus Hit Dice|Bonus Spellcasting|Charisma Adjustment|Other

1-3|+1|+1 caster level|+1|Empathic Communication

4-6|+2|+2 caster level|+2|Improved Maneuverability

7-9|+3|+3 caster level|+3|

10|+4|+4 caster level|+4| [/table]

Bonus Hit Dice: Additional hit dice the dragon gains, which increase stats as normal. These hit dice do not grant the dragon age category advancement. These bonuses do not stack.
Bonus Spellcasting: The dragon gains an increase in spellcasting ability; add the listed level to the normal caster level for the dragon to determine the equivalent caster level of arcane spells the dragon can cast. These bonuses do not stack.
Charisma Adjustment: Add the listed bonus to the dragon's Charisma score. These bonuses do not stack.
Empathic Communication: The dragon and mage are able to communicate with thoughts and feelings instead of words. Due to the magical nature of this bond, this communication persists across any distance and across planes.
Improved Maneuverability: The dragon's power of flight is augmented by the mage, increasing the its flying maneuverability by one step.

If the mage dies, these bonuses gradually decrease, with the dragon being affected as if the mage was one level lower each week, until the level decreases to zero, at which point no benefits are gained. If the mage suffers a level drain, the dragon is treated as the companion of a lower-level mage as appropriate.

After the mage has completed advancement in the prestige class, as long as he or she continues to adventure with the dragon, the dragon gains a bonus hit die or a bonus spellcasting level each level, mage's choice. These hit dice do not advance the dragon any age categories.

Mounted Spellcasting (Ex): Starting at 1st level, the mage may attack or cast spells while riding the dragon normally, requiring no Ride or Concentration checks to do so.

Energy Augmentation (Ex): Due to the knowledge imparted to the mage by the dragon, the mage has increased ability to cast spells that deal damage of the type associated with his or her dragon. At 3rd level, the mage gains a +1 bonus to his or her caster level when casting spells that deal damage of the energy type dealt by the dragon's breath weapon. At 6th level this bonus increases to +2.

Dragon Feat: At 4th and 8th level, a mage can grant his or her dragon companion the effect of any feat for which the dragon meets the prerequisites.

Unification (Su): At 10th level, the bond between dragon and mage is complete. When within one thousand feet of each other, the dragon and mage support each other magically, granting both fast healing 1. a +2 circumstance bonus to armor class, and a +1 circumstance bonus on all saving throws. In addition, mage and dragon may support one another at the cost of their own vitality. Any hitpoint damage taken by one can be voluntarily taken by the other instead. All or partial damage may be transferred, and this damage is not subject to damage reduction or spell resistance on the receiving party.

DracoDei
2011-07-13, 11:51 AM
I would move the ritual to the pre-requisites.

I recommend writing the DC for the ritual as "35" rather than "thirty five". It is traditional for the D&D system to write DCs as numerals, probably so they are easier to locate in the text at a glance.

DC 35 spellcraft seems a bit harsh for a spontaneous spellcaster.

ECL-6 seems a bit harsh. Cohorts can get up to ECL-2 or ECL-1 if I recall correctly.

Might be some shenanigans possible with the Age-Catagory gain, but then again, since the dragon doesn't gain any hitdice to keep up with the passenger (more on this distinction later) it is going to be at ECL-15 by the time the passenger reaches 9th level. I recommend giving at least 2 hit-dice per 3 levels gained by the PrC member, having this progression apply to ALL class levels and other ECL upward adjustments that happen after taking the first level of this class.

My last point is that the dragon is often going to have comparable INT and WIS scores to the PrC member, maybe slightly lower, but only due to the ECL-6 thing, which you probably need to improve. It makes no sense to me that the PrC member would be anything more than an equal partner. Let me copy-paste a few things from a PrC I wrote about gnomes who ride blink dogs (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6018203&postcount=5).
Intro:
A long time ago, the militant arm of the trade guild that had a legal monopoly on the production of repeater crossbows in a certain gnomish kingdom deported itself well in a long war. Their heavy losses evoked the sympathy of an allied blink-dog clan known as the pack of Jark (their ancestral leader). The dogs noted that it was the lack of mobility to get to a range for accurate attack, while still remaining out of reach from melee combatants that was the weakness of these units. Being highly mobile themselves, the pack of Jark volunteered to serve as their mounts if some way could be found to allow the gnomes to travel with the dog when it used its spell-like mobility and defensive abilities. The project caught the interest of gnomish spell-researchers, and their bold inquisitiveness soon solved the problem. The names of the gnomes and blink dogs who were lost between dimensions in the course of said research are enshrined in the oral traditions of the pack of Jark, and on a plaque in the society headquarters.

So successful was the combined unit, that not only has it survived to this day, rather than dissolving into two separate groups at the end of the war, but the gnomish government annexed the property next to the main guild-hall of the gnomish artisans, and built a permanent "kennel" (the term doesn't quite apply in the usual sense since they can open the doors themselves) and gifted it to the pack. In addition the government and the guild work together to heavily subsidize the purchase of the saddles for new members of the society's militant arm, and the training of the blink dogs who wish to become their mounts.


Basic Mechanics:
Jark Mount(Partner): At first level a society member is paired with a blink-dog, an incomplete monster listing for this secondary PC is provided later in this document. The elite array is distributed by the player, and it modified by the racial adjustments given. Skill points are similarly distributed, but the initial feats listed are static and may not be altered (except later, if the DM allows retraining). Feats for additional HD beyond 7 (so at 9, 12, 15, and 18 HD) are selected by the player. This pairing is almost always for life (and beyond in the case of Resurrection). Losing levels in this class or failing to meet the requirements (other than alignment violation) does not cause the partnership to end. In the case of death replacement partners are arranged ONLY if there is absolutely no practical way (up to and including the sale of all team (not party, team) equipment other than the saddle, non-magical armor, and an single non-magical crossbow) of arranging the decease's return to life via something that would preserve the form. At the GMs descretion, if there is an ECL difference of 3 or more between the dog and rider, a replacement might be allowed or even forced. The blink dog never advances beyond medium size, but starts with HD equal to the gnome's ECL, it gains HD to keep it equal, provided no level loss on either side creates an imbalance and there is no ECL buy-off involved. In the case of level loss, the imbalance will continue at an equal amount until and unless the level loss is recovered. In the case of buy-off, the dog does not level up until after blink-dog HD=gnome HD (both modified for level loss) once again.

Example(If this were in print I would do it as a side-bar, as it is, a quote will have to do.):

Silbok Grash-borne Tilazook the Half-Bronze Dragon, is accepted into the militant arm of the guild as a 6th level fighter. With his new prestige class level, his ECL is 6+1+2=9. He is paired with Mish, a upstanding and soft-spoken bitch of 9 HD.

Not one month after joining the society, an outbreak of vampirism forces them into a fierce battle. Silbok is level drained 2 levels. Two failed fortitude saves later, Silbok is a 5th level fighter with a +2 LA. Unfortunately, no caster of sufficient power is available to reverse Silbok's level loss at that time. Neither Mish, nor the society at large cares one whit about the fact that Silbok could no longer make the entry requirements for their initial training program that included getting to be paired with Mish, let along use the skills he learned in that training program.

After some brief but intense training to consolidate the lessons learned from the battle, Mish is back up to 9 HD and Silbok is a 6th level fighter with an ECL of 8.

A bit later, they hook-up with another unit that contains a 15th level cleric. Swamped with casting, the cleric does not have to divine energy to help them for a few days, but eventually a Restoration, Greater is cast, returning Silbok to a 6th level fighter, 1st level Society Member, +2 LA half-dragon, for a total ECL of 9.

Some leveling, a death and a Resurrection later, Mish is a 12 HD, medium-sized blink-dog, and Silbok is a 6/3/+2 Fighter/Society Member/Half-Dragon for an ECL of 11. Mish is now the stronger of the two in some ways, but they simply take this into account with their tactics, and get on with their jobs.

Silbok removes one point of his level adjustment to become an ECL 10 character. Mish does not loose a HD from this process and remains a 12 HD character.

Silbok gains a level. Because they are separated by 2 points of ECL, and only 1 of that is level loss, Mish does not gain a HD. Mish is still 12 HD, and Silbok is a 6/4/+1 -> ECL 11 character.

Another level up by Silbok makes Mish a 13 HD blink-dog, still of medium size, and Silbok a 6/5/+1 Fighter/Society Member/Half-dragon for an ECL of 12.

(And taking something a bit out of order to keep the mechanical aspects all together):
"Blank" for most common starting Jark Blink-Dog
Medium Magical Beast
HD 7d10+(7*Con Mod)
Speed 40 ft. (8 squares)
Init: DEX Mod
AC (18+DEX Mod); touch (13+DEX Mod); flat-footed 18
(+(DEX Mod) Dex, +3 Natural, Chain-Shirt Barding of Jark +1)
BAB +7; Grp +(7+STR Mod)
Attack Bite +(7+Str Mod) (1d6 + (1.5*STR Mod))
Full-Attack Bite +(7+Str Mod) (1d6 + (1.5*STR Mod))
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Qualities Blink, darkvision 60 ft., dimension door, low-light vision, scent
Saves Fort +(7+DEX Mod), Ref +(7+DEX Mod) Will +(6+WIS Mod)
Ability Modifiers* Str (+0), Dex (+6), Con (+0), Int (+2), Wis (+2), Cha (+0)
Class Skills Being Ridden, Hide, Jump, Listen, Spot, Survival, Swim
Feats Iron Will, Run, Protect Rider
Alignment Any Good
Advancement 8+ HD (Medium)
*Use the elite array, as distributed by the player.
Languages Known: Gnomish, Blink Dog
Starting equipment before additional purchases/upgrades from the funds the gnome brought to the partnership: Saddle of Jark (partially paid for by gnome), Chain-Shirt Barding of Jark +1, saddle-bags, waterskin, 10 day's preserved rations, food and water bowls, Tent large enough for self and partner, masterwork grooming brushes and claw-files,

Protect Rider [Jark]
Jark Blink-dogs are partners to their riders in ways that even a paladin's mount isn't. They require no direction, and, indeed, the gnome in the saddle may sometimes be breifly surprised by where the teams ends up, but only to the extent that two swordsmen working together might vary SLIGHTLY from each-others' expectations.
Prerequisites:Blink-dog of the Pack of Jark
Benefits: You fight cooperatively with your rider. The "Fight with Warhorse", "guide with knees", and "Jump" aspects of the Ride skill may not be used with you, but as long as you are cooperating with your rider, the mechanical effect is as if "Fight with Warhorse", and "guide with knees" had been rolled successfully.
The exclusive skill "Being Ridden", counts as a class skill for you. The uses of this skill all require that you also have this feat. For this reason, the skill is described here instead of in a separate block. The skill is Dexterity based and may not be used untrained. There are three uses for this skill:

Once per round when your partner(not merely any rider, but your dedicated partner) is hit in combat while riding you, you may attempt a Being Ridden check (as a reaction) to negate the hit. The hit is negated if your Being Ridden check result is greater than the opponentís attack roll. (Essentially, the Being Ridden check result becomes the riderís Armor Class if itís higher than the riderís regular AC.) You may not use this action if the rider is currently using the "Cover" use of the Ride skill.
You may make a DC 20 being ridden check to retain an unconscious rider in the saddle when they would otherwise fall off.
Spur Self: You can mentally spur yourself to greater speed with a free action. A successful DC 15 Being Ridden check increases the your speed by 10 feet for 1 round but deals 1 point of damage to you. You can use this ability every round, but each consecutive round of additional speed deals twice as much damage to yourself as the previous round (2 points, 4 points, 8 points, and so on). The speed increase is NOT cumulative with that from the "Spur Mount" use of the Ride skill, and they count as each-other for purposes of determining damage.

Normal: A rider must expend actions to control a mount and is not any harder to hit unless taking cover behind the mount.


And now on to selected fluff:
PLAYING A SOCIETY MEMBER
You are a tinkering gnome who is probably every bit as geeky as you are are deadly. You and your mount are a team, equals in every way, and next to nothing without the other, you share a common purse... a purse with very tight strings that tends to go empty at intervals since the costs of your equipment are high, not to mention the costs for the occasion Resurrection or whatever for the "pilot" side of your "pilot/gunner" duo.

Daily Life: A typical day might go in the following order: Breakfast, repeater crossbow making, patrolling as town watch or gnomish borders, lunch, run agility course with targets, more practice separately (probably the only part of the day where you are apart from your mount), dinner, playful argument about which of you gets the foot of the bed this time (lose intentionally), sleep.


SOCIETY MEMBERS IN THE GAME
<Snip>
Society members are good for bold players who get easily bored when their boldness ends up with their character temporarily out of the fight or scenario (paralyzed or dead respectively) since they can still contribute at some level by playing the blink-dog. Similarly, the gnome is weaker, but not totally useless without the dog.

In other words I strongly believe that when it comes to intelligent creatures, the player should not be playing one character who happens to have gotten a cool mode of transport that can attack for itself, they should be playing two characters, one of whom happens to spend a lot of time sitting on the other.

BinaryMage
2011-07-13, 12:07 PM
I would move the ritual to the pre-requisites.

I recommend writing the DC for the ritual as "35" rather than "thirty five". It is traditional for the D&D system to write DCs as numerals, probably so they are easier to locate in the text at a glance.

DC 35 spellcraft seems a bit harsh for a spontaneous spellcaster.

ECL-6 seems a bit harsh. Cohorts can get up to ECL-2 or ECL-1 if I recall correctly.

Might be some shenanigans possible with the Age-Category gain, but then again, since the dragon doesn't gain any hitdice to keep up with the passenger (more on this distinction later) it is going to be at ECL-15 by the time the passenger reaches 9th level. I recommend giving at least 2 hit-dice per 3 levels gained by the PrC member, having this progression apply to ALL class levels and other ECL upward adjustments that happen after taking the first level of this class.

My last point is that the dragon is often going to have comparable INT and WIS scores to the PrC member, maybe slightly lower, but only due to the ECL-6 thing, which you probably need to improve. It makes no sense to me that the PrC member would be anything more than an equal partner.
In other words I strongly believe that when it comes to intelligent creatures, the player should not be playing one character who happens to have gotten a cool mode of transport that can attack for itself, they should be playing two characters, one of whom happens to spend a lot of time sitting on the other.

Thank you, this is all very useful. Ritual moved, DC changed to 30 and written in numbers. I guess I didn't explain the ECL thing clearly. What I mean by "Be of an ECL less than or equal to the ECL of the rider + 6" was that you add 6 to the ECL of the rider and then see if the dragon's ECL is less than or equal to that, essentially allowing a -6 adjustment on the ECL of the dragon, for the reasons you stated and my personal opinion the the ECLs for dragons are ridiculous. I changed the wording to make the ECL adjustment more intuitive. Again, thank you for your advice.

DracoDei
2011-07-13, 12:14 PM
ECL:
Ah, I see... a bold move. Might be too much in the other direction, but some example characters should allow someone (probably not me) to comment on that.

Other stuff:
Glad to be of use, what is your philosophical take on my comments about the relationship between humanoid and "Larger Person"?

BinaryMage
2011-07-13, 12:55 PM
ECL:
Ah, I see... a bold move. Might be too much in the other direction, but some example characters should allow someone (probably not me) to comment on that.

Other stuff:
Glad to be of use, what is your philosophical take on my comments about the relationship between humanoid and "Larger Person"?

Yeah... I wanted an ECL adjustment that would make the dragon still comparable in power to the rider at the end of the class.

Philosophically, I would generally agree with you, I think. Especially in the case of a dragon, the dragon is really an equal partner, not a minion.

DracoDei
2011-07-13, 02:34 PM
Yeah... I wanted an ECL adjustment that would make the dragon still comparable in power to the rider at the end of the class.

Having it scale more smoothly over the course of the class would be better in any case. Specify it gains levels in sorcerer if you don't want to deal with oddball aging stuff... unfortunately this means you may have to alter or remove the current capstone for the dragon.

Philosophically, I would generally agree with you, I think. Especially in the case of a dragon, the dragon is really an equal partner, not a minion.
Well, you can feel free to yoink my feat/skill and/or the (partner) class feature mechanics if you think they would help. If not, I would like to know how you feel they don't fit (too complex?). I am always trying to refine my understanding and technique.

BinaryMage
2011-07-13, 03:16 PM
Having it scale more smoothly over the course of the class would be better in any case. Specify it gains levels in sorcerer if you don't want to deal with oddball aging stuff... unfortunately this means you may have to alter or remove the current capstone for the dragon.


Yes, that would be good. You seem like an expert, so I'll ask you before I make any major changes. I was thinking of changing the ECL to -3, removing the Age Category Advancement thing, and allowing the dragon to gain some hit dice and more sorcerer levels. Does that sound reasonable?



Well, you can feel free to yoink my feat/skill and/or the (partner) class feature mechanics if you think they would help. If not, I would like to know how you feel they don't fit (too complex?). I am always trying to refine my understanding and technique.


I do like your mechanics, and I may steal some of them. I think that the gaining HD at the same rate as a player works great for blink dogs. If my class were about martial dragon riders, it might work. I just think it seems a little off focus. If a dragon were working with a sorcerer, you'd think it would gain spellcasting proficiency, not just hit dice. And having an extra HD each level and extra spellcasting seems like too much.

Currently, I think I will change it so that the dragon ECL adjustment is -3, no age category is advanced, and maybe giving it 5 bonus HD by the end of the class. Thereafter, to keep the dragon powerful enough as the player, it would gain a sorcerer level and an extra hit die alternatingly, one per level. Do you think that would be enough to keep the dragon approximately on par with the character?

DracoDei
2011-07-13, 10:52 PM
Yes, that would be good. You seem like an expert, so I'll ask you before I make any major changes. I was thinking of changing the ECL to -3, removing the Age Category Advancement thing, and allowing the dragon to gain some hit dice and more sorcerer levels. Does that sound reasonable?
Well, there was a reason I was avoiding racial hitdice for the dragon. 3 HD = 1 age catagory, so you would be giving 3 age catagories. I just now realized that it is very simple to just say that the HD granted from the class only advance SOME of the stuff that comes with true dragons gaining HD.I have it advance by ECL.



I do like your mechanics, and I may steal some of them. I think that the gaining HD at the same rate as a player works great for blink dogs. If my class were about martial dragon riders, it might work. I just think it seems a little off focus. If a dragon were working with a sorcerer, you'd think it would gain spellcasting proficiency, not just hit dice. And having an extra HD each level and extra spellcasting seems like too much.

Currently, I think I will change it so that the dragon ECL adjustment is -3, no age category is advanced, and maybe giving it 5 bonus HD by the end of the class. Thereafter, to keep the dragon powerful enough as the player, it would gain a sorcerer level and an extra hit die alternatingly, one per level. Do you think that would be enough to keep the dragon approximately on par with the character?
Sounds good to me?
The HD mechanics weren't actually what I thought you should splice in... at least not generally. What I meant is how the "passenger/gunner"'s HD interact with the "Pilot"'s. Also, and actually ESPECIALLY, the "Being Ridden" feat/skill, including how it negates some of the uses of Ride by the gunner. It drains some skill-points, and a feat (maybe two if they go for skill-focus[Ride] to improve the 1/round AC boost that the dragon can give them to negate a hit). All of this helps keep the dragon lower power, without, IMHO reducing the level of Awesome too much. If you don't like that, you can give it as a bonus feat that the dragon gains from the ritual.

I had some ideas for a similar class a long while ago. Can't find them now. Might find them later. They are probably on the ailing computer somewhere.

BinaryMage
2011-07-14, 05:16 PM
Well, there was a reason I was avoiding racial hitdice for the dragon. 3 HD = 1 age catagory, so you would be giving 3 age catagories. I just now realized that it is very simple to just say that the HD granted from the class only advance SOME of the stuff that comes with true dragons gaining HD.I have it advance by ECL.


Yeah, that's what I did, gave it HD while stating they would not cause age category advancement. Thanks for the suggestion!


Sounds good to me?
The HD mechanics weren't actually what I thought you should splice in... at least not generally. What I meant is how the "passenger/gunner"'s HD interact with the "Pilot"'s. Also, and actually ESPECIALLY, the "Being Ridden" feat/skill, including how it negates some of the uses of Ride by the gunner. It drains some skill-points, and a feat (maybe two if they go for skill-focus[Ride] to improve the 1/round AC boost that the dragon can give them to negate a hit). All of this helps keep the dragon lower power, without, IMHO reducing the level of Awesome too much. If you don't like that, you can give it as a bonus feat that the dragon gains from the ritual.

I had some ideas for a similar class a long while ago. Can't find them now. Might find them later. They are probably on the ailing computer somewhere.

The "Being Ridden" thing is interesting. I wonder about negating a hit on the rider, though. Seems a bit too powerful. Right now, I'm not going to integrate that, but it is a cool skill, and thanks for sharing the information with me. You clearly have lots of experience!

DracoDei
2011-07-15, 12:26 AM
Yeah, that's what I did, gave it HD while stating they would not cause age category advancement. Thanks for the suggestion!
You are quite welcome.

The "Being Ridden" thing is interesting. I wonder about negating a hit on the rider, though. Seems a bit too powerful.
Perhaps... It just seemed to me part of making it an equal partnership. Instead of an well-trained knight with a grasp of tactics and weapons directing his horse to turn to catch a blow on its barding you have a team who are both looking out for eachother.
It is a pretty powerful ability as long as you keep the skill pumped. Although my some of my other experience (play-test of Stretchy Dodge from Falling Anvil, see sig) indicates that you REALLY have to pump the skill-check in at least some cases.
In your case having the dragon roll at the last second to take the hit itself could work instead of outright negating the hit on a successful skill check. it is lower power and makes more sense since blink-dogs aren't SO much tougher than gnomes of equal HD. Dragons kinda have a schtick for being tough, plus you have the whole flight thing where roll, pitch, and yaw make such interceptions more plausible.

Right now, I'm not going to integrate that, but it is a cool skill, and thanks for sharing the information with me. You clearly have lots of experience!
I have written a lot of stuff, true, but:

Others have written more.
More importantly, I don't get to play-test nearly as much as I would like, so it is sorta in a theoretical vacuum (despite the critiques I get).

There are so many different styles of play, and so many variables in the game that what works for one table might be disaster at another.
The hero worship is nice, but be careful you don't sell yourself short.

BinaryMage
2011-07-15, 10:46 AM
The hero worship is nice, but be careful you don't sell yourself short.

Don't worry, I'm not trying to hero worship, just thanking you for all your advice. :smallsmile:

drack
2011-08-02, 08:22 PM
These are cumulative; they do not stack~lazy quote
I suggest wording this better, like "do not stack with HD granted from other sources" also perhaps clarifying that it doesn't gain age categories period after that, because there are many ways to simply use magic to age your dragon.

to determine what level of sorcerer spells the dragon...~lazy moded quote
same clarification here as above

as for the ritual DC I'd say it depends, what level do you expect people to enter this class as? 10? 15?
to give an example at level 10 you have 13 ranks, +5 at least to cha lets say 14 int giving +20 to the roll (50-50 chance at the DC30), and than you can have fun with adding races to make it easier



In other words I strongly believe that when it comes to intelligent creatures, the player should not be playing one character who happens to have gotten a cool mode of transport that can attack for itself, they should be playing two characters, one of whom happens to spend a lot of time sitting on the other.
I play animal companions similarly. :smallbiggrin: that one time I had the bear in a noblemen's costume, and the druid looking like a sword for hire guarding the bear :smallamused:



The "Being Ridden" thing is interesting. I wonder about negating a hit on the rider, though. Seems a bit too powerful. Right now, I'm not going to integrate that, but it is a cool skill, and thanks for sharing the information with me. You clearly have lots of experience!
see ride skill 'cover' :smallwink:



ECL:
Ah, I see... a bold move. Might be too much in the other direction, but some example characters should allow someone (probably not me) to comment on that.
I will, I think it's a bad call to gave the dragon as much power least they start thinking themselves pared up with a weakling (or least other players call shenanigans:smallwink:)

BinaryMage
2011-08-02, 08:30 PM
These are cumulative; they do not stack~lazy quote
I suggest wording this better, like "do not stack with HD granted from other sources" also perhaps clarifying that it doesn't gain age categories period after that, because there are many ways to simply use magic to age your dragon.

Changed to "These bonuses do not stack." Your suggestion is valid, but I don't necessarily want to impose a ban on HD gained other ways.



to determine what level of sorcerer spells the dragon...~lazy moded quote
same clarification here as above

But then it reads as "what level of sorcerer spells the dragon can cast spells as", which doesn't make sense. Dragons essentially cast spells as a sorcerer of a certain level, that is what I was trying to say.



as for the ritual DC I'd say it depends, what level do you expect people to enter this class as? 10? 15?
to give an example at level 10 you have 13 ranks, +5 at least to cha lets say 14 int giving +20 to the roll (50-50 chance at the DC30), and than you can have fun with adding races to make it easier

So you think the DC should be higher?



I will, I think it's a bad call to gave the dragon as much power least they start thinking themselves pared up with a weakling (or least other players call shenanigans:smallwink:)

Well, I'm not sure. The idea is that the partnership is equal. Having a power imbalance in one direction or another seems like it would detract from the partnership.

drack
2011-08-02, 10:50 PM
Changed to "These bonuses do not stack." Your suggestion is valid, but I don't necessarily want to impose a ban on HD gained other ways.



But then it reads as "what level of sorcerer spells the dragon can cast spells as", which doesn't make sense. Dragons essentially cast spells as a sorcerer of a certain level, that is what I was trying to say.



So you think the DC should be higher?



Well, I'm not sure. The idea is that the partnership is equal. Having a power imbalance in one direction or another seems like it would detract from the partnership.
a) than what don't you want them stacking with? :smallconfused:
b)but this sounds like you're casting the sorcerer rather than the spells :smallconfused: just a minor grammar thing
c) not necessarily, I just think that you should use it to gauge entry level as one appropriate to the sort of power one may gain from this class. :smallbiggrin: so I'm just tossing out another way to think about it.
d)yes, but if they're equal in strength than there are a few complications
1) you get other players complaining that you essentially have two characters.
2)the dragon in this case is stronger unless your character is incredibly optimized. Even in spell casting alone the dragon could easily have a few levels on the caster which somewhat defeats the purpose of it having it's own pet mage to tote around..
3) special stuff like blindsight and wings just make dragons better.
4)dragons have big egos: essentially they'll think higher of themselves even if they're a bit weaker, and as such you can still have the same partnership, but this also works as that were you to balance the two perfectly the dragon would think it's self far superior and that doesn't breed a healthy partnership.

BinaryMage
2011-08-02, 11:56 PM
a) than what don't you want them stacking with? :smallconfused:
b)but this sounds like you're casting the sorcerer rather than the spells :smallconfused: just a minor grammar thing
c) not necessarily, I just think that you should use it to gauge entry level as one appropriate to the sort of power one may gain from this class. :smallbiggrin: so I'm just tossing out another way to think about it.
d)yes, but if they're equal in strength than there are a few complications
1) you get other players complaining that you essentially have two characters.
2)the dragon in this case is stronger unless your character is incredibly optimized. Even in spell casting alone the dragon could easily have a few levels on the caster which somewhat defeats the purpose of it having it's own pet mage to tote around..
3) special stuff like blindsight and wings just make dragons better.
4)dragons have big egos: essentially they'll think higher of themselves even if they're a bit weaker, and as such you can still have the same partnership, but this also works as that were you to balance the two perfectly the dragon would think it's self far superior and that doesn't breed a healthy partnership.

a) Did you mean "What do I want them stacking with"? The whole point was that I did want it to stack with HD gained from other sources.
b) Really? I thought "casting spells as a sorcerer" was grammatically correct. How would you recommend phrasing it?
c) Okay. Thanks for the suggestion! I want the ritual to be less of a punishment if you fail and more of a flavor thing; the DC seems resonable right now.
d) I understand that character + dragon is way more powerful than just another character, that's intentional, and what I tried to make the class.
As for power, do you really think the dragon will be stronger? Better at melee, certainly, but way worse at spellcasting. I could decrease the ECL adjustment if you really think the dragon's going to be more powerful...
Not all dragons have big egos. :smallbiggrin:
A dragon that had a big ego wouldn't want a "mortal" partner anyway.

drack
2011-08-03, 12:54 AM
a) "These bonuses do not stack"~lazy quote, no I mean what don't you want them stacking with :smallwink:
c) fare enough :smalltongue: (Call me paranoid, but I always read homebrew with optimization in mind)
D)Hmm, well if you intentionally designed it to surpass tier one than that's your call I guess... (never really got the tear system, ?But I see how some tier one things are easier to optimize)
as for the dragon being stronger... oh wait, they naturally get 1/2HD caster level... so I guess it's not gonna be quite as unbalanced as I thought, but generally max HD of creature=your level in said class and/or similar classes is the standard.
egos: most do though :smalltongue: anywho who says the player is mortal :smallwink:
Also note that some dragons cast cleric spells as an arcane caster :smallcool:

b)I'd suggest:
"As the dragon's spellcasting ability increase ("as seen on table..." in text citation for the table), add the listed level to the normal caster level of the dragon in order to determine the equivalent caster level of arcane (or sorcerer if you decide not to include arcane cleric spells) spells the dragon can cast." well there are countless equally good ways to say it, and probably quite a few better ones as grammar is not my forte, but just thought I'd point it out since
" The dragon gains an increase in spellcasting ability" this is a complete sentence, and this:
"add the listed level to the normal caster level for the dragon to determine what level of sorcerer the dragon can cast spells as"
...or I guess were it two sentences it would probably work if you said "equivalent level of..." anywho sorry to tangent off about grammar :smallredface:

BinaryMage
2011-08-03, 01:14 AM
a) "These bonuses do not stack"~lazy quote, no I mean what don't you want them stacking with :smallwink:
c) fare enough :smalltongue: (Call me paranoid, but I always read homebrew with optimization in mind)
D)Hmm, well if you intentionally designed it to surpass tier one than that's your call I guess... (never really got the tear system, ?But I see how some tier one things are easier to optimize)
as for the dragon being stronger... oh wait, they naturally get 1/2HD caster level... so I guess it's not gonna be quite as unbalanced as I thought, but generally max HD of creature=your level in said class and/or similar classes is the standard.
egos: most do though :smalltongue: anywho who says the player is mortal :smallwink:
Also note that some dragons cast cleric spells as an arcane caster :smallcool:

b)I'd suggest:
"As the dragon's spellcasting ability increase ("as seen on table..." in text citation for the table), add the listed level to the normal caster level of the dragon in order to determine the equivalent caster level of arcane (or sorcerer if you decide not to include arcane cleric spells) spells the dragon can cast." well there are countless equally good ways to say it, and probably quite a few better ones as grammar is not my forte, but just thought I'd point it out since
" The dragon gains an increase in spellcasting ability" this is a complete sentence, and this:
"add the listed level to the normal caster level for the dragon to determine what level of sorcerer the dragon can cast spells as"
...or I guess were it two sentences it would probably work if you said "equivalent level of..." anywho sorry to tangent off about grammar :smallredface:

a) Oh! My apologies for misunderstanding. The bonuses are cumulative, I don't want them stacking with themselves.
c) I understand, I do too. :smallbiggrin:
b) You are correct, and it is now fixed.

drack
2011-08-03, 07:35 PM
Hmm, feel like I should be able to give more to this, but it's rather cut and dry so the only way to rally change it is to change the ELC of the dragon... sorry bout that :smallbiggrin: