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    Default 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Lay-out was inspired by AfterCrescent's 3.5 Cleric Handbook.
    Table of Contents
    • Post 1: Introduction and Party Role
    • Post 2: Attributes and Races
    • Post 3: Class Features, Alternate Class Features, and Alternate Dragon Totems
    • Post 4: Feats and Skills/Skill Tricks
    • Post 5: Equipment
    • Post 6: Multiclassing, Dips, Prestige Classes, and Sample Builds
    • Wherever: Arguments about whether DFA can use Metabreath Feats


    The following ranking system will be used:
    Spoiler
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    Red: Avoid. Never take unless forced to.
    Purple: Bad. Take these if you want but realize that there are always better choices.
    Black: Neutral. There are better options, but you could do worse.
    Blue: Good. Almost always a solid choice.
    Gold: Amazing. This is a cut above the rest of your choices.


    Introduction
    Dragon Shamans aspire to be like their totem dragons and instead get several unique abilities that none of the dragons in any book possess (except their breath weapon). The web enhancement describes the Dragon Shaman as an “Elemental Warrior.” This is also not true unless they are talking about the breath weapon the Dragon Shaman gets. In this case pretty much anything with a breath weapon is an “Elemental Warrior.” So the Dragon Shaman in almost every way fails to accomplish their goal of "being like a dragon." What they end up being is a hybrid between dragonfire adept and marshal. They have secondary (that is, not very good) buffs that pale in comparison to the tricks that a bard can pull (and obviously the buffs that a wizard can do). Despite all of these flaws a Dragon Shaman is a wonderful addition to the party that is more than capable of excelling in whatever role they choose. Dragon Shaman can fulfill essential roles and is more than capable of pulling his weight in a group. The consensus is that the Dragon Shaman is Tier 4. Let's check them out shall we?


    Role in a Party
    Dragon Shaman's cannot fulfill any essential role out of the box (except healing and party support). However with some min/max shenanigans they are easily one of the best party faces in the game, have the HP to take the load off the main tank, and can even make a decent scout. I focus on "Roles" in this guide because when creating a character one should always have in mind what they are going to be doing as a member of a team. If you're playing a dragon shaman then you already are going to increase the effectiveness of your team. Increase it more by specializing.

    • Party Face:
      Don’t count the Dragon Shaman out of this role. The 1st and 3rd level feats are a source of confusion for most Dragon Shamans. They don’t qualify for any of the Breath Feats* and don't have enough feats open for specialization in one area of combat. If you’re maxing out the Party Face Route you’ll need a higher Charisma score and the Brass Totem. Switch Survival for Sense Motive (City Scape) and take the feat Martial Study at 1st level to get Diplomacy as a class skill. The only skill you’re now missing (to get all the synergy bonuses for Diploamcy) is Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) which, you know, if you’re desperate, can be picked up with the feat Educated (but don’t). If you have extra skill points just cross-class it. If you want to be the best party face possible take the invocation “Beguiling Influence” at level 5. At level 6 you can easily grab Imperious Command (Which actually makes sense for a Dragon Shaman); you are beautiful and terrifying. Congratulations you almost are a real dragon.
    • Scout/Trapfinder:
      You’re lacking the skill points to be really good at this role. You’ll want to be a Whisper Gnome who has as his totem Black, Green, or White. With two feats you can grab scent from Tome of Battle. It’ll be much harder to grab trapfinding (Shape Soulmeld (Thieves' Gloves) + Open Least ChakraMagic of Incarnum; requires two feats and at least 6th level) and even if you do you’ll probably end up needing the feat Able Learner and a lot of skill points in order to fulfill this role. Now how do you get disable device as a class skill (without being an elf from Aerenal in Eberron)? Instead of doing that whole mess, it's much easier to just multi-class.
    • Tank:
      Like the Dragonfire Adept, you’re likely to have an ungodly amount of hit points, so being a Tank is not entirely out of the picture for you. You can wear mithral full plate (so don't take heavy armor proficiency) and you have shield proficiency (animated shield). Furthermore if you appear as a big stupid fighter and the dungeon master is role playing monsters appropriately then wizards will likely target (and waste) spells on you that target your will save. Mongrelfolk (who just loves Bahamut) might be the best race for this class role. If you have a high charisma, one of the best things a tank can do is crowd control. Get Imperious Command and the skill trick Never outnumbered. Go Dragonborn and get a quickened entangling breath and use it to really limit the options of those you are fighting. Cowered and entangled is no way to go through life, son.
    • Party Support/Healing:
      If you have a positive charisma modifier, you automatically have this role due to touch of vitality. More on this role later.
    • Damage:
      One way or another you’re going to fulfill this role. You won’t be the best at it but then you get to do other things. They key is to focus on how you want to do damage. The obvious approach is your breath weapon and metabreath feats. You’ll probably want the invocation “Endure Exposure” at 5th level so that you can use your breath weapon as often as possible (and not have to worry about your allies getting in the way). More than likely you'll get one breath weapon per combat; what will you be doing while waiting for your breath weapon to recharge? In melee, damage comes from one source: Power Attack. Yet you don’t have enough feats to be throwing together a feat train and most DM’s laugh when you mention flaws. You'll have to pull your weight some how...


    Weaknesses

    You'll feel extremely useful at lower levels, but as you gain in power your ability to contribute will become lower and lower unless you are aware of the inherent weaknesses in this class. We can talk all day about what they should have gotten, but they didn't so let's just move on. You have no way to overcome your medium base attack bonus. You must wait excruciatingly long in between uses of your breath weapon. Your aura's become less and less important as you gain levels. Healing is an out of combat role. The largest problem with the dragon shaman is they become pathetic in combat without foresight. Squint really hard at those class features and try to imagine what you'll be doing at level 12 in combat. Fortunately with the amount of books available to use there are many, many ways to avoid becoming the waste of space in combat.
    Last edited by Jopustopin; 2013-04-20 at 07:01 AM.
    If I could play dungeons & dragons with only four books: MM I, DMG, PHB, & ToB
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Attributes
    • Str: Strength is an important stat for a Dragon Shaman who wants to do something else in combat besides use their breath weapon. Unless I'm missing something this is the second most important stat.
    • Dex: Mithral Full Plate has a maximum dex modifier of +3 so that is your ceiling. You can boost your own initiative with your aura's, have an ungodly amount of hit points, and even get extra natural armor to boot. I wouldn't go lower than an 8 on Dex. If you're trying to make a scout this becomes more important of a stat.
    • Con: Your breath weapon uses Constitution as it's save and metabreath feats have constitution pre-requisities. This is your main ability. Put your highest stat here. If you are using 32 point buy, start with an 18 here.
    • Int: The usefulness of this stat will depend on what type of build you are going for. Try to avoid a penalty. If you're playing a scout build or a party face build you'll need a positive modifier here.
    • Wis: You have good will saves, no skills that use this stat, and no class abilities that rely on wisdom. Dump this as low as you are willing to role-play.
    • Cha: You want at least a 12 (for touch of vitality). If you have lower then a 12 buy something that makes you pretty so that you can at least use Touch of Vitality. 14 or higher if you want to play up the party face role. If you have a high Charisma score you also get to play up the healing and party support roles.



    Races
    LA+0
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    • Human- You get a bonus feat for a class that needs bonus feats. You get more skill points for a class that has 2 + int. Next Question.
    • NeanderthralFrost- +2 to two important stats; -2 to two dump stats. These guys make terrific dragon shaman. Add the template "draconic" for more win. Watch the movie Encino Man for inspiration.
    • Dwarf/Deep DwarfMM- Dwarves make fine dragon shamans. They have a bonus to constitution and a penalty to charisma. For those who don't care about the Social Build and want to play a dwarf here you go. If you want to play a social build and play a dwarf look at the Dream Dwarf (which dumps Dexterity instead of Charisma)
    • Elf- A dump to your most important stat and a bonus to a dump stat. Around these parts we make fun of elves.
    • Half-Elf- If you're going the party face route and just really want a +2 racial bonus to diplomacy then sure. Otherwise no.
    • Half-Orc- Play them if you want, they are not that bad as a Dragon Shaman. Mechanically there are better choices so play these guys if you want to play a half-orc.
    • Halfling-A bonus to dex and a penalty to str; not a good trade in my opinion. If you want a scout play a Whisper Gnome. None of their racial abilities mesh well with a Dragon Shaman
    • Gnome- They get a bonus to constitution which is great but pretty much every race that gets a bonus to constitution is better than the gnome. Play a whisper gnome if you're desperate to play a small sneaky race.
    • Wild ElfMM- If you want to play an elf this is the way to go. But the bonus to dex is wasted and you dump all your skills out the window.
    • OrcMM- Int and Wis are dump stats anyway so you're looking at +4 str for -2 Cha which is a good deal when you consider you're not gunning for party face anyway. In Eberron play an Orc over half-orc every time. Other setting might have role playing issues trucking around with an orc.
    • WarforgedRoE- These guys are better than dwarves and can make superior tanking dragon shamans. In the FAQ we find that your healing aura only heals you for 1/2 as much so if your DM doesn't know how to use fractions it means you can't heal yourself at low levels.
    • ShifterRoE- Any option that gives you bonus to constitution is preferred. I could see this working for a damage dealing type.
    • ChangelingRoE- Mechanically there are better races. Silver Totem Dragon Shamn who goes into the prestige class Chameleon would make for a memorable character.
    • KoboldRotD/Web- Depending on your level of cheese these guys go from red (MM I) to gold. My advice? Play a variant without a constitution penalty add Dragonwrought and play as old as your DM will let you. This will push it to blue.
    • AxurinMoI-You get a bonus feat which pretty much makes a race gold. If you are an expert on Incarnuum then you know what to do with the essentia point.
    • SkarnMoI- A great race that gives you a boost to strength and a penalty to dex. They have natural weapons and are self proclaimed as "the perfect race."
    • DusklingsMoI-You get a bonus to what you want and dump something you don't care about and it gives you an amazing type (Fey). All good things here.
    • MongrelfolkRoD- Most Mongrelfolk are saddened by not having any dragonblood. I dare you to find a way of overcoming this handicap.
    • Whisper GnomeRoS-You really have only a couple of options if you want to play a scout. If you don't care about skills then whisper gnome wins. Otherwise play a race that nets you Able Learner.
    • Lesser Aasimar: These guys are awesome in conjunction with the template Dragonborn. +2 Con, +2 Cha, +2 Wis, -2 Dex with no level adjustment is superb for a charisma based dragonshaman.



    LA+1
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    • Half-GiantXPH- I personally love this race a little too much. They make great Dragon Shamans with boost to two good stats and don't we all love their psi-like ability? They can use large sized weapons and make great Dragonborn.
    • HobgoblinMM- There are just so many better options for the LA. But if you do end up playing one and you have LA buy-off you'll enjoy a +2 con (that's what a Dragon Shaman gets for the LA).
    • CatfolkRoW- If you want to play a scout the whisper gnome and even the human are superior; they also don't have a LA.
    • Poison Dusk LizardfolkMM3- They are all around better than the hobgoblin. That said, their racial abilities don't mesh that well with the Dragon Shaman.
    • Chaos GnomeRoS- A bonus to two important stats, Constitution and Charisma, make this race a good choice for the party face role.
    • UldraFrost- Your roles are limited and the main problem with these guys is they don't fit you into a role you're good at. If you're going for a "melee" damage type you'll have to work harder to raise their strength.
    • GoliathRoS-These guys are slightly better than half-giants. I personally prefer to role play half-giants over Goliaths but mechanically Goliath has the best stats for a brute dragon shaman.
    • TieflingMM-Bump to two dump stats and a dump on a good stat. Move along.
    • AasimarMM-Play one if that's what rocks your boat. You make a good party face and fulfill that "hero" role you've been dying to play.


    LA +2
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    • Half-OgreRoD- For the level adjustment you get lots of very good things. The only hit on this race is the penalty to charisma. Play a Half-Ogre and have fun!
    • DrowMM- You're paying for two level adjustments for a penalty to constitution? This is just not a good idea.
    • GithzeraiXPH- A penalty to intelligence for a skill starved dragon shaman is no way to go through life son. You pay +2 LA for a massive bonus to dexterity (what will you do with all that dexterity?)
    • GithyankiXPH- Nothing wrong with these guys, just not worth the LA.



    Templates
    Spoiler
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    • DragonbornRotD- +2 to constitution and -2 to a dump stat. A dragonborn at 1st level gives you access to metabreath feats right away. Many great races only get better with Dragonborn. Also it's thematically appropriate for those "fluff" picky DM's.
    • Draconic CreatureRotD- Dragon Shamans need three stats: Strength, Constitution, and Charisma. The Draconic Creature template gives you +2 to Strength, Constitution, and Charisma. A Draconic Dragonborn Mongrelfolk has a +1 LA and +8 constitution, +2 Strength, -2 Intelligence, -2 Dexterity, -2 Charisma. Not only is it min/maxed but everything is thematically appropriate for those "fluff" DM hardasses.
    • PhrenicSRD/XPH- +2 LA and worth it. The boosts to your stats miss you (unless you're playing a social build) but the goodies that come with the class are outright better than any template in the game.



    Point Buy Suggestions
    "Tank" Role/Metabreath/Melee
    Last edited by Jopustopin; 2011-12-10 at 01:49 PM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Main Class Features

    • Hit Die: D10s are all that you need. Your constitution modifier should be huge. You should have the most HP in the party unless you are playing with a Con diehard barbarian (and why isn't he pumping strength?).
    • Skill: You are limited on your skill points per level. Don't panick, you're not a skill monkey but you will always have enough skill points for the job.
    • Proficiencies: You get hosed here. You want the biggest and best weapon possible... instead you're stuck with the Morning Star. Thankfully you have all the armor and shield proficiencies you could ask for.
    • Draconic Aura: At low level Vigor aura is pure gold. Senses is always gold. Presence will help out whoever is the party face. Other than that your "in-combat" aura's leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. At very high levels you're likely to be using EnergyDrM aura to boost the save DC of your breath weapon. If you have allies with the ability to make multiple attacks per round then Power aura becomes a good choice.
      • Energy Shield: Resistances will negate this aura; that said this aura does have it's place at low levels and against creatures with a bunch of natural attacks and no energy resistance to your aura.
      • Power: This one will always be useful. It's bonus damage and some rogue builds that are constantly looking for bonus damage on each attack will appreciate it. Charging builds won't notice it.
      • Presence: This one is awesome and you should have this on constantly whenever you're in a social situation and/or using imperious command.
      • Resistance: This one will almost never come up. Why? Because your dungeon master knows you have it. By the time it's really useful you'll be able to purchase items that duplicate it's effects.
      • Senses: This one is on whenever you are not in combat and are not in a social situation. This is the best aura for out of combat situations.
      • Toughness: This one is merely "okay" at low levels. At higher levels it quickly falls to "useless" and "laughably bad."
      • Vigor: At low levels I have seen this aura save countless battles, a dragon shaman can stall and bring back his comrades into the fight. At higher levels this is mostly an "after the battle" aura in order to bring back the parties hit points to half before using other restorative methods.
      • InsightDrM: If you have a party member with knowledge devotion this aura could translate into bonus damage in combat.
      • EnergyDrM: Whenever you use your breath weapon you use this aura to boost the DC. This aura is great in conjunction with your breath weapon. Bonus points if it provides synergy with your party.
      • PowerDrM: You'll want this at higher levels. You'll need to strategize with your parties spellcaster/manifestor so that they always get the benefits of this aura when it's needed. It becomes a waste if no one is casting spells.
      • ResolveDrM: Maybe in conjunction with some Diamond Mind maneuversToB. Otherwise, you have better things to do with your time.
      • StaminaDrM: Fortitude saves are some of the most deadly effects in the game. You'll need to coordinate with someone in the party who can inform you if this aura will be needed in combat against a particular foe because Bahamut knows you won't be able to identify anything.
      • SwiftnessDrM: This aura gives all party members a climb speed. Other than that it's pretty specific and I can't think of a time that it would be particularly useful over other aura's. If you have a totem that gives you spider climb to all party members this aura becomes a total waste.
    • Totem dragon: This is the biggest decision in every young Dragon Shaman's career. Which Dragon will I try to be like? I recall reading once that acid > electricity > cold > fire in terms of immunities and resistance you are likely to face. So when reviewing breath I arranged the dragons in that order. I only colored the important ones but it's clear that Copper is the all around best, Brass makes the best party face (by having access to the most skills that provide synergy with Diploamcy), and that Gold is straight up terrible. Remember that at level 13 you can share your Draconic Adaptation with all of your allies:
      Spoiler
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      Totem Dragon Best Role Given Skills Breath Draconic Adaptation
      Black Scout Best Worst
      Blue Party Face Good Hilarious
      Brass Party Face Worst Bad
      Bronze Party Face Good Worst
      Copper Party Face Best Best
      Gold No Clear Role Bad Worst
      Green Party Face/Scout Best Worst
      Red Party Face Worst Bad
      Silver Party Face Okay Great
      White Scout Okay Bad
    • Skill Focus: By level 16 you'll have gotten this three times. Count yourself lucky. No dragon offers Skill Focus (Underwater Basket Weaving) unfortunately.
    • Breath Weapon: This is the best ability this class has to offer. You waited long enough for it, now reap the benefits of it. Your breath weapon is almost identical to that of a true dragon and qualifies for all the metabreath feats in a way that no Dragonfire Adept can. Hey DFA suck it!
    • Alignment Restrictions: Restrictions are always red; if you're playing in Eberron I speculate that most Dungeon Masters will lift this restriction since it doesn't thematically make any sense for the setting. I think that most players will be able to find what their looking for. Although being a good aligned scout will be difficult.
    • Touch of Vitality: All around better than the paladin ability but I gotta ask... what the hell does this have to do with dragons? If you are going the party face/imperious command route guess what? You're also the healer!
    • Natural Armor: You get it.. and.. and it's good and all but it's really too little too late. It does stack with races that already have natural armor which is a good thing.
    • Energy Immunity: Guess what types of creatures you'll mysteriously never have to fight? This goes double if you pick up the resistance aura.
    • Commune with Dragon Spirit: Hi! You've reached the Gold Dragon Totem Commune Hotline and we're unable to respond. If you've used commune within the last seven days please hang up and try again. Honestly this abilities color is up to your Dungeon Master. There are no guidelines on how much knowledge your totem has. We can assume that White Dragon Totems are stupid and animalistic.
    • Draconic Wings: Wizards can fly at level 5. The Dragonborn template gives you wings at level 1. What level do we get them here? Level 19. Yes my friends someday you will be like a dragon.




    Alternate Class Features
    • Shamanic InvocationDragon Magic: Give up an aura, learn a draconic invocation. Most of your aura's suck. If you're reading this handbook then you have learned that this is NOT an alternate class feature. You always trade an aura for an invocation; ALWAYS. There is never a reason not to. With that disclaimer out of the way two draconic invocations are standouts for selection. If you are focusing on your breath weapon grab "endure elements." If you're going the party face/imperious command route grab "Beguiling Influence." There is simply no need for 7 aura's and an urgent need for one of these two invocations. Endure Elements is so good for a Dragon Shaman that you might grab it even if you are a Party Face.


    Alternate Dragon Totems
    • Good source found here for some alternate dragon totems.

    *Note that this is considered homebrew. No official rules support alternate dragon totems.
    Last edited by Jopustopin; 2014-05-01 at 07:06 PM.
    If I could play dungeons & dragons with only four books: MM I, DMG, PHB, & ToB
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    FeatsNote that the colors indicated are for that role and may not be the best choice if you are focusing on something else.
    • Metabreath FeatsDraconomicon: The power is not in picking one or two of them and deciding on which to use. The true power is stacking them all on top of each other to quickly move the battle into your favor.
      • Clinging Breath: Does 50% damage on round 2. Yes.
      • Lingering Breath: With the invocation "Endure Elements" this metabreath is awesome good. If there is no where for the bad guys to run apply this feat multiple times and let the good times roll.
      • Maximize Breath: You do max damage this round and with clinging breath half of max damage on round 2. Make sure to do it to every bad guy on the field.
      • Enlarge Breath: Usually you can find a way to hit everyone but in those times when you can't this feat helps.
      • Heighten Breath: You'll want this.
      • Quicken Breath: Not essential but it gives you an extra action for the round you use your breath weapon (since you'll probably be using your breath once per combat).
      • Recover Breath: -1 rounds when you have to wait 1d4+20 rounds is a big waste.
      • Shape Breath: Generally a cone is better than a line. If you have a line breath weapon then this might be a way of blasting everyone.
      • Spreading Breath: Just teleport to a better position using any number of magical items and effects.
      • Extend Spreading Breath: As cool as that sounds, pass.
      • Tempest Breath: Not for you my friend.
      • Entangling ExhalationRotD: By the time you qualify for this feat it's glory days are in it's past. Dragonborn's should grab this at level 1 where it is gold. That said, entangle is always a great condition; all the way to 20. You must have the dragonblood subtype to use this feat. A great way to go about this is to start a battle by entangling as many foe's as possible, wait for your breath to come back, and then stack every breath effect you can to end the battle.
      • Ability FocusSRD: Heighten Breath is almost always a better choice. Also you have an aura that boosts the DC on your breath weapon.

    • Party Face/Intimidation feats:
      • Martial Study (Douse the Flames/Leading the Attack)ToB: This gives you Diplomacy as a class skill. Essential.
      • Apprentice (Entertainer)DMG II: If Tome of Battle is not allowed this is your only other option to get Diplomacy as a class skill.
      • Imperious CommandDotU: Thematically appropriate and Min/Max approved. Get the skill trick "Never Outnumbered."
      • Dreadful WrathPgtF: You have to take this at level 1 which will cramp your Diplomacy style at low levels. It's worth it. Find the book and read the ability.
      • EducationECS: This will get you the final skill you are missing in order to get all the synergy bonuses to diplomacy. Not worth it in my book.
      • Nymph's KissBoED: This is a great feat for any Charisma based Dragon Shaman. It would be great even if it didn't provide extra skill points. Some DM's might make you jump through hoops for it though.
      • Frightful PresenceDraconomicon: The only place for this feat is at level 9 (after Imperious Command). You have to have more HD than they do which could lead to you not getting to use this feat that often (Especially if you have a LA).

    • Tank/Melee Feats:
      • Endurance/Steadfast DeterminationPHB II: Look like a big stupid fighter, pass every Will saving thrown your way.
      • Power Attack: I've heard that this is a good feat from some friends. Hold weapon in two hands and swing as hard as you can.
      • Leap AttackCAdv: You probably already have skill focus (jump). Now that worthless skill focus translates into double damage on charges.
      • Exotic Weapon Proficiency: You know what? There is something satisfying about beating things with a JovarP|H. Your weapon selection sucks, find one that suits you.
    • Scout/Trapfinder Feats: You can't scout in pitch blackness holding a torch. You will want to get darkvision, so if playing a human add the Draconic Creature template. Note: This is not really that optimal of a role for a Dragon Shaman. Only do it if your party needs this role covered.
      • Able LearnerRoD: Essential if you're going to have disable device maxed. If you're going the trapfinder route then Red Dragon Totem's Draconic Adaptation becomes much more attractive. Also essential if you're playing a Silver Dragon Totem who wants to get into ChameleonRoD prestige class at level 6 with Touch of Vitality (look I'm a real paladin!).
      • DarkstalkerLoM: You cannot scout effectively at high levels without this feat.
      • Martial Stance (Hunter's Sense)ToB: This gives you Scent but the feat investment is steep for a feat starved Dragon Shaman. Having move silently, hide, and any trapfinding abilities maxed out will limit your spot and listen. Scent allows you to pretty much auto-detect creatures that are hiding. Not to mention has combat applications.
      • Obtain FamiliarCA: A Dragon Shaman who takes the alternate class feature at level 5 qualifies for Obtain Familiar. Bat's have blindsense and can scout ahead of you without drawing attention.
      • Shape Soulmeld (Thieves Gloves)MoI: Gold if you actually want to be a trapfinder and you take Open Least Chakra and you don't want to lose class levels; otherwise red
      • Open Least ChakraMoI: Gold if you actually want to be a trapfinder (and not lose any class levels); otherwise red

    • Other Feats:
      • Double Draconic AuraDrM: You can project twice as many draconic aura's as before. Many will tell you that this is a staple feat. I disagree. Most of your aura's are too situational. If you want two aura's going at the same time take the feat leadership.
      • Wild CohortWeb: This feat is nice if you're going the chameleon route (to act like a druid) and it's good regardless. If you're struggling to select a feat you won't regret having a riding dog at level 1.
      • Animal DevotionCC: I would talk to your DM about re-flavoring this feat to "Dragon Devotion" with appropriate fluff changes. This is a very good feat if you have a cleric dip. Even without it, it's still pretty good.







    Skills
    Your skill list is not huge. Specialize and move on. On a side note: Real Dragons are the master of senses; usually they have maxed out spot and listen, they have darkvision, super low-light vision, and blindsense. Dragon Shaman's (remember they are aspiring to be like real dragons) don't even have listen and spot as class skills, let alone any of the other "sense" like abilities of a dragon. [/rant].
    • Climb: Not that useful.
    • Craft: Not that useful.
    • Intimidate: Max if you are going the Imperious Command route. Otherwise leave it be.
    • Knowledge (Nature): This has absolutely nothing to do with the Dragon Shaman to the point of being the butt of all jokes. It's a no wonder that Dragon Shamans are nothing like real dragons, they don't know anything about them.
    • Knowledge (Local): You could trade Nature for Local. But don't you have better things to do with your time?
    • Knowledge (Arcana): According to the Errata you do have Knowledge (Arcana). Don't put in ranks in it or you might find out that dragons do not have healing aura's.
    • Search: Not your job.
    • Dragon Totem Skills
      • Hide: No, unless you're a scout.
      • Move Silently: No, unless you're a scout.
      • Swim: No, unless you're playing FFX.
      • Bluff: Max or at least 5 ranks for synergy with diplomacy.
      • Gather Information: If you have the skill points and a high charisma, put a couple in here to auto-succeed on tasks. You have commune though so why not just ask your dragon totem buddy?
      • Survival: Always trade this for "Sense Motive" using Cityscape.
      • Sense Motive: At least 5 ranks for synergy bonus with Diplomacy.
      • Disguise: Not that useful.
      • Jump: If you're building a leap attack build then put enough in to auto-succeed on the check.
      • Heal: I hate you Gold Totem Dragon. Use Touch of Vitality instead.
      • Appraise: No.


    Skill Tricks
    • Never Outnumbered: In conjunction with Imperious Command you win (not the battle of course, you still have to kill everything).
    • Healing Hands: For all you Gold Dragon lovers out there.
    • Extreme Leap: If you have ranks in Jump, then I would grab this.
    Last edited by Jopustopin; 2011-12-08 at 11:53 PM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    This post is reserved for me.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Forgotten Realms Charisma Focused Dragon Shaman
    Dragonborn lesser aasimar
    (32 point buy, no flaws/traits)
    Build Progression
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    Str: 14
    Dex: 10
    Con: 18
    Int: 14
    Wis: 10
    Cha: 16

    1: Dreadful Wrath
    3: Martial Study (Leading the Attack)
    6: Imperious Command
    9: Power Attack
    12: Leap Attack
    15: Double Draconic Aura
    18: Maximize Breath

    Level by Level Progression
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    Level 1 - 5
    Spoiler
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    Level 1:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    Feat: Dreadful WrathPgtF
    HP: 14 (1d10+4)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 4 ranks, Bluff 4 ranks, Sense Motive 4 rankscross class, Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) 4 rankscross class
    Class Features: Draconic Aura +1, Totem Dragon (Copper), Draconic Aura (Vigor, Energy Shield, Senses)

    Level 2:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~23.5 (2d10+8)
    Feats: Skill Focus (Bluff)
    Skill Points Intimidate 1 ranks, Bluff 1 ranks, Sense Motive 1 rankscross class, Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) 1 rankscross class
    Class Features: Skill Focus

    Level 3:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    Feat: Martial Study (Leading the Attack)
    HP: ~33 (3d10+12)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 3
    Class Features: Draconic Adaptation (Spider Climb), Presence

    Level 4:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~42.5 (4d10+16)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 3
    Ability Boost: +1 Charisma
    Class Features: Breath Weapon (2d6), Draconic Resolve

    Level 5:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~52 (5d10+20)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 2, Sense Motive 1cross class
    Class Features: Draconic Aura +2, Shamanic InvocationDrM (Beguiling Influence)


    Level 6 - 10
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    Level 6:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    Feat: Imperious Command
    HP: ~61.5 (6d10+24)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Skill Trick (Never Outnumbered)Complete Scoundrel
    Class Features: Breath Weapon (3d6), Touch of Vitality (heal wounds)

    Level 7:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~71 (7d10+28)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Sense Motive 2cross class
    Class Features: Natural Armor +1, Draconic Aura (Power)

    Level 8:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    Feat: Skill focus (Jump)
    HP: ~80.5 (8d10+32)
    Ability Boost: +1 Charisma
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Sense Motive 2cross class
    Class Features: Breath Weapon (4d6), Skill Focus

    Level 9:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    Feat: Power Attack
    HP: ~90 (9d10+36)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Jump 2
    Class Features: Energy Immunity, Draconic Aura (PowerDrM)

    Level 10:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~99.5 (10d10+40)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Jump 2
    Class Features: Breath Weapon (5d6), Draconic Aura +3


    Level 11 - 15
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    Level 11:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~109 (11d10+44)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Jump 2
    Class Features: Touch of Vitality (Remove Condition)

    Level 12:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~118.5 (12d10+48)
    Feats: Leap Attack
    Ability: +1 Charisma
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Jump 2
    Class Features: Breath Weapon (6d6), Natural Armor +2

    Level 13:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~128 (13d10+52)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Jump 2
    Class Features: Draconic Adaptation (Share with allies)

    Level 14:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~137.5 (14d10+56)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Jump 2
    Class Features: Breath Weapon (7d6), Commune with Dragon Spirit

    Level 15:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~147 (15d10+60)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) 2Cross Class
    Class Features: Draconic Aura +4
    Feat: Double Draconic Aura


    Level 16 - 20
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    Level 16:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~156.5 (16d10+64)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) 2Cross Class
    Class Features: Breath Weapon (8d6), Skill Focus
    Feat: Skill Focus (Hide)
    Ability: +1 Cha

    Level 17:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~166 (17d10+68)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) 1Cross Class, Bluff 1
    Class Features: Natural Armor +3
    Feat: Maximize Breath

    Level 18:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~175.5 (18d10+72)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Bluff 2
    Class Features: Breath Weapon (9d6)

    Level 19:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~185 (19d10+76)
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Bluff 2
    Class Features: Draconic Wings

    Level 20:
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    Class: Dragon Shaman
    HP: ~194.5 (20d10+80)
    Ability: +1 Cha
    Skill Points: Intimidate 1, Diplomacy 1, Bluff 2
    Class Features: Breath Weapon (10d6), Draconic Aura +5





    General Dragon Shaman
    Dragonborn Draconic Neaderthral
    (32 point buy, no flaws/traits)
    Build Progression
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    Copper Totem Dragon Shaman
    Str: 18
    Dex: 10
    Con: 20
    Int: 12
    Wis: 10
    Cha: 16

    1: Entangling Exhalation
    3: Power Attack
    6: Imperious Command
    9: Leap Attack
    12: Improved Bull Rush
    15: Shock Trooper
    18: Quicken Breath

    Invocation: Endure Elements

    Auras: Vigor, Energy Shield, Senses, EnergyDrM, PowerDrM, StaminaDrM (Alternate: Presence)

    Skills: Jump, Bluff, Intimidate (+Never Outnumbered)

    Level by Level Progression
    Last edited by Jopustopin; 2011-09-15 at 12:19 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Looking good :)

    Some nitpicks:

    PLEASE state the sources of feats etc.
    It omits the need for the reader to search for it (if you dont know where to look, finding feats can be a chore. Try finding craven without any help ), he can immediately see if its available for his group, and so on.
    Plus stating your sources is just that more professional.

    Your last paragraph talks about clerics. Thats confusing and should be corrected.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Love it! Always loved the DS, glad to finally see a handbook. Thank you!
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Zombimode View Post
    Looking good :)

    Some nitpicks:

    PLEASE state the sources of feats etc.
    It omits the need for the reader to search for it (if you dont know where to look, finding feats can be a chore. Try finding craven without any help ), he can immediately see if its available for his group, and so on.
    Plus stating your sources is just that more professional.

    Your last paragraph talks about clerics. Thats confusing and should be corrected.
    Thanks! I got cut off last night (around this time) when the site went down and didn't have a chance to fix it.

    Of course if anyone has any disagreement and/or suggestions please feel free to help! If you have seen Dragon Shamans in high level play (I have not) feel free to chime in with some advice. If you guys have builds let me see them; I'll add them to the handbook.
    Last edited by Jopustopin; 2011-09-04 at 02:59 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Imperious Command + Never Outnumbered works once. Skill tricks may only be used once per combat. Thus while it is good at getting the first-round advantage, it's not a clear-cut win.

    The party role you seem to have missed, which the Dragon Shaman actually does well, is Party Support. They buff with auras, they heal, they remove status effects... they work well as a force multiplier, particularly if you go Dragon Shama/Bard.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Any Dragon Shaman Guru's out there that can point the error in my ways?
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    Thumbs up Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Very nice...DS are one of my sentimental favorite base classes. I played one in our EttRoG campaign, and loved it. The mightn't be high on the tier list, but I find them a flavor rich and enjoyable class (my group is mid to low-op).

    I got a lot of mileage out of metabreath feats, and with a decent CHA and an Amulet of Retributive Healing, was able to pull of some decent in combat healing, on occasion (we played from 6th up to about 12th level).

    Saying that someone reading RAW differently than you is "home brewing or house ruling, but that's fine" doesn't make you right, it just makes you seem pompous.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Very good handbook. I'm impressed!

    Just for fun, maybe you could add all the Dragon prcs to a post and how to qualify for it or not, if it's good, if it's cool...

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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Nice Job! Very thorough!

    One thing I might suggest adding, is sample arrays for different point buy values. I know many games range between like 25 and 40 point buy, so having sample arrays for like:
    20
    25
    30
    32
    35
    40
    Might be very helpful for people who want to get a feel for the stat ratings at a glance

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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Jopustopin View Post
    Point Buy Suggestions
    "Tank" Role/Metabreath/Melee
    I'll try to make some more for each role. Hopefully this shows how awesome a dragonborn Draconic Mongrelfolk is compared to the rest with only a +1 LA.



    Quote Originally Posted by JadePhoenix View Post
    Just for fun, maybe you could add all the Dragon prcs to a post and how to qualify for it or not, if it's good, if it's cool...
    I checked all the dragon prcs (from draconomicon) and the only way to qualify for them is if you are a dragon. I think that prestige classes for dragons is outside the scope of this handbook. As far as I know very few prestige classes work with dragon shamans.
    Last edited by Jopustopin; 2011-12-10 at 01:53 PM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Jopustopin View Post
    I checked all the dragon prcs (from draconomicon) and the only way to qualify for them is if you are a dragon. I think that prestige classes for dragons is outside the scope of this handbook. As far as I know very few prestige classes work with dragon shamans.
    Oh, sorry, you misundertand me. I meant those draconic prcs, like say, Dragon Devotee from Races of the Dragon. I know most of them are not optimal, but I imagine some of them might work. It's just a suggestion, I know it falls on the weak side of optimizing.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Very cool. I always like seeing optimization guides for the rarer classes :D

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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by JadePhoenix View Post
    Oh, sorry, you misundertand me. I meant those draconic prcs, like say, Dragon Devotee from Races of the Dragon. I know most of them are not optimal, but I imagine some of them might work. It's just a suggestion, I know it falls on the weak side of optimizing.
    Sorry that it's taken a while. I'm not done with the handbook yet but I've been busy and it's been a while since I've thought about it. I do plan on adding a dipping guide and/or multi-class guide in a bit.

    I can pretty much guarantee that there are no viable "dragon shaman" prestige classes out there (The only one I can even begin to recommend is "Legacy Champion" from Weapons of Legacy). There are very few dips that make sense for a dragon shaman. All of them seem to be base classes IMO and you really shouldn't dip more than 2 levels if you want to call yourself a Dragon Shaman.

    • Fighter 2
    • Marshal 1/Something Else Below 1
    • Barbarian 1, Fighter 1
    • Crusader 2 (Taken at Appropriate IL)
    • Warblade 2 (Taken at Appropriate IL)
    • Swordsage 2 (Taken at appropriate IL)


    Dragon Shaman as a dip for another class works out really nicely as well. A Bard 19/Dragon Shaman 1 would be pretty pimp.
    Last edited by Jopustopin; 2012-02-26 at 04:49 PM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Paladin 2 probably isn't a bad dip for a CHA based DS.

    If you want to add some versatility, a dip into Binder might be OK - especially since the Binder has similar stat priorities as the DS anyway.
    Last edited by Thurbane; 2012-02-20 at 06:28 AM.

    Saying that someone reading RAW differently than you is "home brewing or house ruling, but that's fine" doesn't make you right, it just makes you seem pompous.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    I have some grammar nitpicks.

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    "At level 6 you can easily grab Imperious Command (Which actually makes sense for a Dragon Shaman); beautiful and terrifying congratulations you almost are a real dragon." <- Everything after the semicolon needs to be reworked. Congrats on using the semicolon correctly, though; not many people can do that.

    "Now how do you get disable device as a class skill (without being an elf from Aerenal in Eberron). Instead of doing that whole mess it's much easier to just multi-class." <- Even a rhetorical question generally needs a question mark. Also, you need a comma between "mess" and "it's".

    "Like the Dragonfire Adept you’re likely to have an ungodly amount of hit points so being a Tank is not entirely out of the picture for you." <- You definitely need a comma after "Adept", and another after "points" might be advisable too.

    "Furthermore if you appear as a big stupid fighter (and the dungeon master is role playing monsters appropriately) then wizards will likely target (and waste) spells on you that target your will save. Which is a good saving throw for you." <- I'd recommend avoiding too many parentheses in a single sentence, especially since the preceding sentence already had two pairs. Also, the last segment is a sentence fragment, and should be appended to the first with a comma.

    "If you have a high charisma one of the best things a tank can do is crowd control." <- I'd recommend a comma after "charisma".

    "Go Dragonborn, quickened entangling breath and use it to really limit the options of those you are fighting. Cowered and entangled is no way to go through life son." <- Unless I'm mistaken you need a verb before "quickened", and a comma after "breath". The second sentence feels a little awkward to me, but I'm not sure why; all I know is I had to read it a couple times to really parse it, which is usually a symptom of some structural issue. Also, a comma before "son" would be called for.

    "If you have a positive charisma modifier you automatically have this role due to touch of vitality." <- Again, I'd recommend a comma after "modifier".

    "In Melee damage comes from one source: Power Attack. Yet you don’t have enough feats to be throwing together a feat train and most DM’s laugh when you mention flaws. You'll have to pull your weight some how..." <- A comma after "melee" would definitely be appreciated. Also, the word is "somehow".

    etc.....


    I don't mean to nitpick, but I honestly find grammar makes a big difference in my ability to read and understand text. Without it, my eyes start jumping around, I have to read sentences several times, and I often get headaches. Properly-structured text is much easier to read. It also presents a more competent and professional image; there's a sad tendency in our culture to associate poor spelling/grammar with poor intelligence. You seem to have good things to say, so you could do your own handbook a favour by cleaning it up a little.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Generally excellent handbook.

    My only nitpick is that consensus is that they live in tier 4. I mostly see them ranked in tier 5. Without optimization, they fall in the same "can't do anything well" category as an unoptimized fighter. Optimized, they are likely to have one or maybe 2 useful tricks, but will pretty much suck if their trick doesn't apply, again, much like a well built fighter.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    Generally excellent handbook.

    My only nitpick is that consensus is that they live in tier 4. I mostly see them ranked in tier 5. Without optimization, they fall in the same "can't do anything well" category as an unoptimized fighter. Optimized, they are likely to have one or maybe 2 useful tricks, but will pretty much suck if their trick doesn't apply, again, much like a well built fighter.
    I think it's that a party would almost always rather have a Dragon Shaman in the party than a Fighter. A Fighter doesn't have the flexibility to fulfill as many roles as the Dragon Shaman has available to him. A Dragon Shaman can be almost as good of a tank as a Fighter, while at the same time offer party support and act as a terrific group face. The tier system is based around flexibility & Power and, while the Dragon Shaman is more flexible than a barbarian, he's not as powerful (hence why they are in the same Tier). A Dragon Shaman is way more flexible than a Fighter and almost as good as him at the role the Fighter is supposed to fulfill.
    Last edited by Jopustopin; 2012-02-25 at 11:24 PM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    I have some grammar nitpicks.
    Roger Roger.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    I love it. To add to the grammar nitpicks, please remember that "dragon shaman's" and "guru's" indicates a possessive, rather than a plural.

    Could you clarify what hilarious means in your dragon adaptation chart, please? I seem to have missed it.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    I love it. To add to the grammar nitpicks, please remember that "dragon shaman's" and "guru's" indicates a possessive, rather than a plural.

    Could you clarify what hilarious means in your dragon adaptation chart, please? I seem to have missed it.
    Ventriloquism at will. For the most part, completely and utterly useless... but could have comedic applications?

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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Daftendirekt View Post
    Ventriloquism at will. For the most part, completely and utterly useless... but could have comedic applications?
    It only gets more hilarious when the entire party can do it. It could be useful if you can convince your DM that you can make a wide variety of sounds à la Motor Mouth from Police Academy. I don't think mechanically it's that good of an ability but it does have a very strong utility in increasing the enjoyment of the game in the form of comedy.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Jopustopin View Post
    I think it's that a party would almost always rather have a Dragon Shaman in the party than a Fighter. A Fighter doesn't have the flexibility to fulfill as many roles as the Dragon Shaman has available to him. A Dragon Shaman can be almost as good of a tank as a Fighter, while at the same time offer party support and act as a terrific group face. The tier system is based around flexibility & Power and, while the Dragon Shaman is more flexible than a barbarian, he's not as powerful (hence why they are in the same Tier). A Dragon Shaman is way more flexible than a Fighter and almost as good as him at the role the Fighter is supposed to fulfill.
    False. Knight is a better tank than Fighter or Dragon Shaman, and Knight is in tier 5. To be a good tank, you have to be a threat. Dragon Shaman, with its medium bab and less feats, is less good at holding aggro than a fighter. A Dragon Shaman is a terrible tank. A fighter who is a good tank is...still tier 5.

    The role a fighter is supposed to fulfill is damage dealer or maybe battlefield control. Dragon shaman is much worse as a damage dealer. A Dragon Shaman with entangling breath is... about equal at best to a trip fighter, and much worse at it than a good battlefield control build with thicket of Blades, stand still, mage slayer, etc.

    "Tier 5: Capable of doing only one thing, and not necessarily all that well, or so unfocused that they have trouble mastering anything, and in many types of encounters the character cannot contribute."

    Dragon Shaman is so unfocused that they have trouble mastering anything, and in many types of encounters they cannot contribute. Or, as the guide put it:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jopustopin View Post
    Dragon Shamans cannot fulfill any essential role out of the box (except healing and party support)." .....
    Squint really hard at those class features and try to imagine what you'll be doing at level 12 in combat.
    Yes, they have some use of charisma, so they could be a party face, but by that logic, so can a paladin (Which was tier 5 until Complete Champion gave them love), and neither one is actually very good at the role without optimizing in that direction. Heck, a Zhentarim Soldier can use a good charisma, he could be a good party face with the same tricks, Gets bluff and diplomacy as class skills, and fighters are still tier 5. Heck, I could make a commoner into a party face or a charger by giving them the right feats and stat allocations. That doesn't put commoner in tier 4.

    Unoptimized they are a 5th wheel, useless at almost anything. Optimized, they have a niche, and can fulfill a role. That is exactly where most of tier 5 live.
    Last edited by Gnaeus; 2012-02-26 at 04:00 PM.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    In D&D holding aggro can be accomplished in several ways. A Dragon Shaman can entangle his foe's by taking one feat. You're right Knight is better than Fighter at that role but it's irrelevant. A Knight can only tank. A Dragon Shaman can heal, remove afflictions, improved the group's initiative, and walk along the ceilings. I was just making one point as to why, I think, that other people have put the Dragon Shaman in tier 4.

    Here is a different argument. Marshal is tier 4 according to JaronK's tier system for classes. I'd rather both play a Dragon Shaman over a Marshal and have a Dragon Shaman in my group over a Marshal. If the Marshal was tier 5 then I would agree that a Dragon Shaman should also be tier 5.


    http://brilliantgameologists.com/boa...1&topic=4874.0


    Although Speaking of Marshal....

    Dragon Shaman 18/Marshal 1/(Crusader/Fighter/Barbarian) 1

    Simply put a Dragon Shaman is Tier 4 because of the classes flexibility. I hope my guide highlights this fact.
    Last edited by Jopustopin; 2012-02-26 at 05:06 PM.
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    Dragon Shaman Handbook. Fighter Fix.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Jopustopin View Post
    Here is a different argument. Marshal is tier 4 according to JaronK's tier system for classes. I'd rather both play a Dragon Shaman over a Marshal and have a Dragon Shaman in my group over a Marshal. If the Marshal was tier 5 then I would agree that a Dragon Shaman should also be tier 5.
    That is a much better argument, I'll admit. Gonna think about that one.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Dragon Shaman Handbook

    Where is Dragon Lord?

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