: Character level 12th, Mounted Combat, Ride 1 rank, must make peaceful contact with a dragon.
: This feat lets the character attract a dragon willing to bear her as a rider. The character bears no penalties for riding an unusual mount, though she requires a saddle as normal. To determine the maximum CR of the dragon, use the leadership feat rules and subtract 1 from the cohort level, so that the absolute limit is 3 below the character's level. As the dragon gains experience (see leadership rules) she may advance in age, time allowing, or by character levels. Sorcerer levels stack with a dragon's existing caster levels, if any. The dragon has feats appropriate for her HD. The dragon must be large size or larger to bear a medium rider, or medium size or larger to bear a small rider.
Unlike a leadership cohort the dragon is equipped from standard treasure for its CR rather than character wealth. The remaining 2/3 of her triple standard treasure is in coins, gems or similar and kept somewhere safe in a horde; she will not part with it. Unlike a leadership cohort she does not have higher than normal ability scores either. The dragon cannot benefit from barding. Your DM might allow certain magic items to fit on its body, whether from the dragon's own wealth or lent by the riding character. The dragon will demand a half share of party treasure and use 2/3 of this treasure to increase her horde.
: A fighter may select Dragon Rider as one of her fighter bonus feats.
- See Mounted Combat rules, Ride rules and flight rules.
- The ride by attack feat is might be good when flying. The dragon could instead provoke an attack of opportunity in melee and circle around to make a second attack, given a 10' deep x 20' wide area behind the target. Or the dragon might take the hover feat to make things a lot easier. Or the dragon might take fly by attack if the rider takes ride by attack. I'd strongly suggest hover given the places that adventurers go.
- Riding the dragon on the ground though is a lot less complicated. Move up and attack as normal. Whether flying or on the ground, it's a DC 10 ride check for the mount to also attack at the same time.
- In a higher power gaming group or to throw the new player a bone, a prerequisite of character level 9th and max CR = leadership cohort level (instead of level - 1) might be ok. You might let the new player fix her ability scores if she dumped charisma.